Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Tale of Due Pities

Below are two stories about the stuff that has happened the last few months. I've written two different accounts of the same events. They're both true stories. They're both accurate. One of these stories will make you want to curl up and cry; the other one will make you feel, well, read the stories yourself and you tell me how they make you feel.


STORY ONE

This fall, the catalytic converter went out on my van, costing me $1000 to repair. I hate spending money on car repairs, especially stupid ones like this. I mean, my car was working just fine with the old converter, but noooo, you can't renew your registration unless you can pass the emission test and you can't pass the emission test without a working catalytic converter.

Soon after this, I developed a horrible pain in my abdomen. I waited it out for several days, thinking it would eventually go away, but it just kept getting worse until I couldn't stand it any longer. I decided to break down and pay the stupid $800 a month for COBRA and I went to the emergency room where I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. I had to spend a couple weeks on a liquid diet with strong antibiotics that made me feel much worse than the diverticulitis ever did. It was horrendous.

As if the diverticulitis wasn't bad enough, they also found a mass on my ovary that I had to have surgically removed. While doing the surgery, my doctor discovered that I had a considerable amount of endometriosis as well. Fabulous.

On October, all six kids and I came down with the virus from hell. We were all puking and pooping for days. It was so disgusting! I don't know how we survived that.

Then, during the first really bitter cold weather of the season, my furnace went out. I don't even want to remember how much that cost to fix! We spent two days and nights freezing our butts off, waiting for it to be fixed which totally sucked.

Soon after the furnace went out, Austin came to me with the news that he was really depressed, had been self-injuring, and wanted help. After taking him to the ER, he spent a week in the hospital and then three more weeks in outpatient treatment.

Before Austin had even been released from outpatient treatment, Jackson was admitted to the hospital for his own depression issues.

While I was driving back and forth to the hospital every day, sometimes several times a day, I had to leave Savannah in charge of the little ones and I felt horrible and guilty for that. Too often, I threw some pasta or McDonald's on the table and called it dinner. Meanwhile, all my Christmas preparations were put on hold.

My medical bills were stacking up, but still, I couldn't get my ex to pay a penny of his portion of the medical bills (not to mention school registration fees and extracurricular activity fees).

Then my ex texted me to tell me he'd been fired. There went all medical insurance for the kids and all child support.

And then someone went and called DCFS on me because Jackson was depressed and in the hospital. You know, because I didn't have enough to deal with. It's a good thing I have such wonderful people looking out for my kids' well-being. Of course, the person who reported me had very specific things to say in the report. Things I'd never written about on my blog. Things that only a couple of my very best friends and my ex knew. Gee, I wonder who could possibly have called?

Jackson had to be admitted to the hospital not once, not twice, but three separate times before they finally changed his meds completely. After five or so weeks of inpatient treatment, he was discharged.

Then I decided to get my bathroom fixed to remove the little bit of mold that was on the baseboards. As the work got underway, we discovered the mold on the baseboards was only the tip of the iceberg. It was a much, much larger problem than was anticipated. There was a ton of mold!

Then I cracked a tooth. I have no insurance for myself.

Austin's hair has been falling out for a few weeks. It's gotten to the point where I'm really concerned. When I added the hair loss to the depression, total lethargy, constipation, and dry skin, I began to wonder if he has thyroid problems. I took him to the doctor where we had to wait for almost an hour while a little kids walked around the waiting room coughing all over the place. That was fun. The doctor sent us for bloodwork, but failed to mention that the lab was closed for the day. We drove to the hospital for the bloodwork, but were turned away and told to come back tomorrow.

Life sucks so bad. I don't understand why all these things keep happening to me. When will it stop? WILL it ever stop? I just want to crawl into bed and stay there forever. It's unfair!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STORY TWO

The catalytic converter went out on my van this fall. It stunk having to pay for that repair, but I'm thankful it wasn't anything serious that could have caused a dangerous situation or an accident. I'm lucky that my friend, Doreen knew of a reputable mechanic, and both my friend, Eric and my dad were able to give me rides to and from the repair shop.

Soon after this, I developed a horrible pain in my abdomen. Thankfully, I was able to sign up for COBRA insurance so I went to the ER to get checked out. The doctors diagnosed me with diverticulitis. The good news is that it was managed with medicine and I only had to endure a couple weeks of pain and nausea.

The CT scan I received in the hospital also uncovered a mass on my ovary. How fortunate that they found this mass and were able to surgically remove it before it gave me any pain or problems. While performing the surgery, the doctor discovered that I had a fair amount of endometriosis. Thank God I have a high tolerance for pain and haven't needed any intervention for this yet.

In October, all six kids and I came down with a nasty intestinal virus. Thankfully, it was fairly short-lived for each of us and even more thankfully, my hero, Eric, came over and cleaned up and puke and took care of us. Plus, I got over the virus just in time to leave for my author retreat in California.

Then my furnace went out. Thankfully, I have a friend who works for a heating and cooling company and he was able to give me a fair deal while I was able to help him out with some side work. We only had to be without heat for two days and it wasn't all that bad since my friend lent us his space heaters during that time. Now I have a brand new, efficient furnace and will receive a sizeable tax credit because of it.

Austin told me he'd been feeling depressed. How awesome is it that he was able to recognize his feelings and share them with me, knowing I'd be able to help him. After only a few weeks of treatment, he's doing so much better. I am so thankful he came to me when he did and that help was available to us.

Jackson also approached me with his own feelings of depression and we were able to get him help too. As much as I didn't like driving back and forth to the hospital, at least the boys were in the same place and it was only half an hour away.

While I was driving back and forth, I knew I could count on Savannah to put the little ones to bed for me. My kids were thrilled that they got pasta and fast food so often during this time. I was able to make sure Savannah still got plenty of time to hang out with her friends and go to the movies and the mall during this time too. As far as Christmas preparations went, this year, we celebrated the little things and realized that baking cookies, sending out cards, and decorating weren't all that important.

My medical bills were stacking up, but I was able to keep up with them despite the fact that my ex wasn't being reliable or responsible.

DCFS called me to ask me a couple questions. I answered them and she scheduled a visit with me for the next day. The next day came and she called and said she wouldn't be able to get out this way for another week or so. Clearly, this was a routine thing that she had to follow up on, but she wasn't concerned about it. It's good we live in a country that has these measures in place to help protect children who are really abused or neglected.

On Jackson's third hospital admission, the doctor decided to radically change his medication. There have been some positive changes in his mood since the medication was revised.

Because my dear friend, Kelli, hijacked my blog and my awesome readers came forward with the most amazing outpouring of support, I was able to have some mold removed in my bathroom. It turned out to be a much bigger problem than I originally thought. Thank God I was able to have this taken care of now!

I cracked a tooth. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt so there's no hurry to get it fixed right now. Hopefully the state insurance will kick in soon. If not, my awesome readers gave me the idea of checking into dental schools to have the work done at a reasonable price.

Because Austin's hair has been falling out and he's experiencing some other troubling symptoms, I took him to the doctor. The doctor thinks it could very well be a problem with Austin's thyroid. All he needs is simple blood test to find out. If that's the case, it would explain a lot of symptoms. And with just a little medicine, he should feel a lot better!

Yeah, I've had a lot of crappy things happen in the past several months, but I still know that God is with me. He's got a plan. It must be a pretty big plan and He's preparing me in a major way. I'm not sure what the future will hold, but I'm excited about the possibilities. And I'm so thankful for my friends, both real-life and virtual, who have been a HUGE source of encouragement and support! Life is good!


We choose how we look at things. We can dwell on the negative and get pulled under and drown in a sea of despair, or we can look at the positive, find hope and happiness and go on, trusting in God.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Emails From the Barely Literate

You should see my spam folder. I get a dozen or more of these gems on a daily basis. Although I generally just delete them all without a second glance, now and then, I like to read them for the entertainment value.


Dear Sirs,
Okay, I may not be the most stunning example of delicate feminity out there, but "sir"? Really???

Christmas will coming,
Yep! It'll be here in only eleven short months!

we preparing and supplies more brand products for thisceremonious days,
???

including Down coat, UGG boots,shoes, bags, shirts,sunglasses,watches,belts of Gucci,
Ah yes, the famous Belts of Gucci. I believe this can be viewed on a clear night just south of the Flame Nebula in Orion.

thaPrada,Nike, LV.Puma.Chanel Ugg,Moncler, and so on...... Free shipping and VIP price if order in our website. You can try it and choose the gift for you or your family.
I don't know about you, but this makes me want to run out and shop at this most trustworthy website!

Wish all the best wishes for you. , = you
Oooo goody! The BEST wishes? Like ice cream and ponies and glitter princess tattoos? I'm not sure about the you = you part.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Toxic Mold

Chris started gutting my bathroom today. It was worse than we thought it was. There was a ton of mold behind the walls...



I'm amazed that no one had fallen through the floor. After the tile was taken up, the floor just crumbled away.



Even the floor joists are bad.



I called my insurance company, but they said they wouldn't cover it. I'm calling back tomorrow and throwing a fit until someone comes out to look at it. I did go get an air purifier to put by the bathroom in the hopes that it would trap any mold spores in the air, but I'm so disgusted by this whole mess. My washer and dryer is in that bathroom too. I'm scared to set foot in there to do laundry.

Meow!

One of Brooklyn's favorite things to do is play with my make-up. Sometimes she gets really brave and gets into Lexi's play make-up. For some reason, she never gets stupid brave enough to touch Savannah's make-up though.

Yesterday evening, she asked me, "Can I put on some make-up, Mama?"

"Sure, Oat," I replied, thinking she was going to put on the lipgloss that I'd designated as hers. It used to be mine, but after I'd seen her smearing it on the walls and sink in the bathroom, I bequeathed it to her.

She disappeared into her room while I made dinner.

A few minutes later, she pounced into the kitchen.



"Ohhh, well, look at... you," I remarked. "You're a cat, huh?"

"No, Mom! I'm a spy! I'm Agent Cat!"

"Well, of course you are. But before you slink off to fight crime, come sit down and have some dinner."

"I don't eat dinner. I'm a CAT, Mom!" She looked at me, incredulous that I'd forgotten so quickly.

"That's okay. It's not people food. It only looks like mostaccoli. It's really Cat Chow", I lied.

She looked dubious, but agreed to drink some milk. Out of a bowl. Yeah.


Oh well, it could've been worse. She could've been Agent Bird and insisted I regurgitate a worm into her mouth.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet the Artists

It seems that every time I get down, something happens to bring me right back up. Either my kids will do or say something that just cracks me up, or I'll get a supportive email, or a card filled with encouraging words. Over the next few weeks, I'd really like to highlight some of the people who have gone out of their way to encourage me. There are several hundreds of you out there and I appreciate every single gesture of support from every single one of you!

Here are just a couple highlights from the past few days.


My kids just started the second semester in high school. Their schedules were completely changed around and they have several new teachers now. Austin's art teacher asked the kids, "Let me know if you have any nicknames you'd like to be called."

Austin, completely straight-faced and serious, said, "My name is Paco, P - A - C - O," he spelled it out.

His friends, of course, all cracked up. The teacher looked up from where she was writing Austin's nickname and said, "Obviously, that isn't your name or your friends wouldn't be laughing."

Austin insisted that Paco was his middle name and his friends were laughing just because they'd never asked and didn't know his middle name.

So, my son, Paco, is taking art this semester. I can't wait to see the projects he comes home with. I hope his teacher never has to call me about Paco because I don't think I could keep a straight face while discussing Paco's performance.


And, the other day, I got this absolutely beautiful piece of jewelry in the mail.




It says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I LOVE that verse and have been repeating it to myself often lately. This absolutely gorgeous necklace was made by Patricia Kimle. She has a site, Precious Text, where she makes the most awesome, unique, hand-crafted jewelry with meaning. In fact, I reviewed her jewelry HERE a couple years ago. I can't even count how many compliments I've gotten on this fine art/necklace the last few days.

Please take a look at her site. She's so artistically talented. I know you'll be as impressed with her work as I am! Thank you, Patricia, for thinking of me and for sending me this most beautiful reminder of God's love! And thank you for making such awesome jewelry!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Devil's Playground

I had to take Clay and Brooklyn to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's this weekend. I'm no germaphobe, but I generally avoid that place like the plague. You know, because it's teeming with germs and you only have a .00001% chance of escaping that place without the flu, strep throat, tuberculosis, malaria, or the bubonic plague. I've seen it happen.

So, we walked in and were instantly stopped by the fifteen-year-old security guard. She stamped the kids' and my hands with a special, super-secret code in invisible ink. What they should do, instead of stamping your hand, is spray you down with antibacterial gel.

We continued past the guardchild and headed into the bowels of the restaurant where I tried to avoid tripping over kids hopped up on sugar and the kind of excitement that comes from winning tickets that can be traded in for mind-blowing awesomeness like pencil erasers and plastic dinosaurs.

As I wound my way around the arcade games toward the table that was set up for the birthday boy, a kid sneezed on my arm. I was covered in sneeze juice from a kid who was undoubtedly incubating Ebola. I continued to walk toward the table, wiping my arm on the next kid to get too close to me.

I found the mom of the birthday boy and yelled over the cacophony that is Chuck E. Cheese's.

Hi! Do you have enough help? Do you want me to stay oh gosh, please say no! ?" She told me she had enough people staying to help watch the kids. At least that's what I think she said. I was halfway out the door as she answered.

I eventually came back to get the kids. I searched throughout the restaurant, but couldn't find Clay or Brooklyn anywhere. They weren't at the table. I didn't see them playing any video games. I searched the skeeball tables, the basketball games, inside the basketball hoops (What? Stranger things have happened!), on the merry-go-round, the motorcycles, cars, and boats. Could they have spontaneously combusted from the pure excitement of the place? Then Lexi pointed out the maze of tunnels running along the ceiling. Oh great, I thought to myself,
they'll stay up in the tunnels until I crawl up there to drag them out. And there's probably be a weight limit in the tunnels and my butt will either get stuck in there or the whole ceiling tunnel transportation system will break free from the ceiling and crash to the floor, crushing the kids beneath it.

Thankfully, they weren't in the tunnel transportation system. I finally found them by the ticket redemption counter. They knelt on the ground, their little faces pressed against the glass as they inhaled the Cholera germs living on the surface. If you've ever been to one of these types of places, then you know what I did for the next half hour. That's right. I stood there waiting while Clayton and Brooklyn weighed the pros and cons of getting glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth or a Tootsie Pop or a plastic bracelet. I mean, these are very important, life-changing decisions here, people!

After four and a half hours, I finally dragged the kids toward the door. We were stopped by the security child so she could shine her magic light on the invisible ink tattoos on our hands. The numbers on our hands matched so she said we could leave.

I looked at Clay, jumping around like he was on a pogo stick and said, "Are you sure the numbers match? Because if they don't, I can leave him here. You know, just saying."

As I walked out, I saw this sign on the wall.



That's right. As much as you might be tempted to bring a gun into Chuck E. Cheese's (and I understand how one might get such an urge) it is not allowed.

Chuck E. Cheese's, where a kid can't be shot for being a kid.

Okay, now I'm going to gargle some Lysol before I come down with Typhoid.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where nine out of ten dentists recommend you read Because I Said So, it's your host, the woman who's hunting down that tenth dentist, Dawn Meehan.

Quick question for Sunday sound out- where is your blog about carline? Would love to share it on facebook!
You can read the post about the Kiss 'n Drive
HERE.

HAHA!!! I nearly choked on my chocolate oatmeal, when I read that.
Let me get this straight. Chocolate? Oatmeal? They make chocolate oatmeal??? Oh yum! I have got to find me some of this!

Is it acceptable to buy your book and give it to my brother who has a very large belly and looks like he's gonna need it soon?
Absolutely! And it'll go over even better if you accompany it with a "Baby Under Construction" t-shirt!


Have you considered a giant stapler?
I cannot, for the life of me, remember what this was in regards to. But I have considered giant staplers in the past (mainly for sewing purposes). The reason I declined, however, was because Brooklyn ate some staples a couple years ago. I had to dig through her poop to make sure they passed okay. I think, had they been giant staples, it wouldn't have turned out so well. Yeah, she gave new meaning to the term "stomach stapling".

Have you thought about giving her [Brooklyn] a Kate (as in Kate plus 8) type hairdo? ...practically shaved in the back and a little length in the front so people know she's a girl?
Uh no. No way. Have you seen her hair?

It's too prettiful to cut. I'd rather smear peanut butter in her hair every day.

Just curious how you do get the gum out?

Peanut butter: it's not just for sandwiches

Maybe more e-bay auctions?? lol

Hmmm, I still have the original pack of Pokemon cards. The winner of that auction said she didn't really want the cards so they've been sitting on a shelf above my desk for years.

Your ex should be put in jail for abandonment and neglect. And stupidity.

Don't forget the contempt of court and the DUIs.

Would he be willing to auction off the drawing? That's really cool and I'd love to have it on my wall!
Actually, we're in the process of making some prints of Jackson's drawing. Jackson is choosing a charity to donate any proceeds to. He's really excited about the project!


Dawn: all you ever have to do to show your thanks is posting that Wii dancing video.
Tell ya what, just imagine watching a very steamy sex scene on TV with your parents in the room. Now imagine something about 20 times more awkward. Yeah, that's me dancing.

OMG I'm still chuckling over the "sucks to be you comment" that you're sure was the only thing Clay heard. Did he pick up on it or did you get lucky?

I can't even count how many times Clay has graced us with his newfound catchphrase. My friend Eric was over to watch the Bears game earlier and spilled some wine when Brooklyn and Lexi jumped on him. Clay looked at him and said, matter-of-factly, "Sucks to be you."

How do you spend time with your teenager? My almost 16y/o seems to be the one that gets lost in the shuffle at my house because he is so independent and requires less from me.

You're right. It becomes harder as they get older because you don't read them bedtime stories or help them brush their teeth or help them with their homework anymore. Plus, teens would rather hang out with their friends than with Mom and Dad, which is normal. But I still insist on spending time together as a family and taking little trips and doing things together. I also try to sneak in those little moments that don't seem like much at the time, but I think they add up in the long run. For example, Savannah talks about her friends and stuff that happened during the day when she first comes home from school. She also loves to come with me when I have to run errands which gives us time to talk and hang out. Austin and I chat after the little kids go to bed oftentimes. I'm trying to make an effort to play more games with the kids in the evening because that always includes conversation and laughter. Unless it's Monopoly. I've been known to take that game a little too seriously. So I've been told. It's not my fault, I'm awesome at Monopoly. And both Austin and Savannah love to watch movies with me after the littles go to bed. I know it's not time spent in conversation, but it's still time together. And you can always, always, find me on the sidelines of their baseball, softball, hockey, football, etc. games.

SSO question: I bought your book from Borders instead of Amazon (because I'm like a special super shopper there and I got a discount). You still get credit, right?
I've had a ton of questions like this. Okay, here's a very simplified version of how it works. When a publisher agrees to buy and publish an author's book, the contract will state how much money (royalties) an author will make on each book. Let's pretend it's $1 a book. The publisher will give the author an advance against royalties. So, let's say the publisher gives the author a $500 advance. At $1 a book, 500 books have to sell before the author starts seeing any royalties. I don't personally care where people get my book; I'm just thrilled that you want to get it! If you like it, please tell someone about it. If you don't like it, then it wasn't really me who wrote it. It was my sister.

And is this a book I can give to a first-time mom and not scare the crap out of her or should I keep it for myself?
Uh yeah, you might want to hold onto it for yourself and give it to the first-time mom after she's given birth.

Now a suggestion. Why in the world don't you have Blogher ads on your site? Its my understanding you can make some serious money if you are a widely read blogger such as you are.

I did have BlogHer ads. I made a whopping $100-$150 a month. Still, every little bit helps, right? But BlogHer ads have some restrictive policies and because of those, I would have had to turn down some higher paying writing jobs, so I dropped the BlogHer ads. At this point, I need to have my blog header redesigned so that ads show up "above the fold". For some reason, the ad people think that no one will scroll down to see the ads even though they have to scroll down to see any and all content on my blog. Apparently they think people are too stupid and/or lazy to scroll down and if the content isn't at the top, the minute they open a page, then they'll just click on by without reading a thing.

Why can't you get money from your blog? There are many less deserving bloggers making a ton of money from their blogs. Why don't you take on some ads?
I'm not exactly turning down dozens of advertising offers a day. Do you know how many companies have asked to advertise on my blog? None.

How are the boys doing?
Austin has good days and bad, but I believe I'm seeing more good than bad lately. :) Jackson, on the other hand, is still in the hospital and going through some major medication changes.

Again, I really can't find words to thank you enough for all your kindness. I'm blown away by this amazing community here! Nothing I can say adequately expresses my gratitude. Every day, I get more cards, emails, and comments of encouragement and support.

I admit, I spent two days in bed this past week. I let myself slip into despair. I felt sorry for myself and had a hard time finding the will to get up and go on with my day. But thankfully (with much help from my kids and you guys), I snapped out of it. Despite all the crap happening, I have many more blessings than crappishness (it's a word, trust me). I still believe everything's going to work out okay.

Besides, the only thing that staying in bed and ignoring the world did, was give me a LOT of work to catch up on! It didn't change the situation. It didn't make anything better. I really hate this saying - When life give you lemons, make lemonade. I feel like slapping people when they say this. BUT, it's true. No matter what your situation is, you can choose to say, "Oh woah is me. Life is so unfair. Whine, whine, whine." OR you can say, "Well, that sucks, but I've still got my health and my friends and a roof above my head and God at my side. It's gonna be okay!"

I'd personally rather smile and laugh and enjoy what I DO have than to cry over what I DON'T have.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Drained

I got an email from a reader questioning my choice to take two of my daughters for pedicures on their day off yesterday. I just want to take a moment to assure you that I'm not squandering money on spa days. The little nail salon by me offers specials on Mondays and I really wanted to do something special for Lexi especially, who breaks down crying several times a week, but won't complain or ask for a thing. Yes, I'm aware that I can spend special time with my kids without spending even the little bit that the pedicures cost. But sometimes, a little something that puts a smile on my kids' faces in the midst of turmoil and pain is worth more than you might imagine. And, in case anyone was wondering, I've gotten many gift cards for restaurants and stores, as well as donations of money, with the instructions, "Please use this to do a little something for your kids", or "Please use this to put a smile on the kids' faces and add a little fun back into their lives."

I actually haven't touched a penny of the donations, but would like to use some of the money to have some repairs done to my bathroom. When my ex installed the shower some time ago, he didn't do a great job and it has been leaking for years. The walls are spongy and covered in black mold. I've wanted to fix this for some time, but the money just hasn't been there to do it.

Some of my best friends in the world, Jen and Chris, are going through some tough times right now too. Jen and I have been friends since our freshman or sophomore year in high school. I think we met when I made her laugh in our history class. And I met her husband, shortly thereafter because Jen and Chris were highschool sweethearts. Chris has been out of work for over a year. Thankfully, he's had some consulting work and Jen has had some babysitting jobs to keep them afloat, but I know that it's been hard. Anyway, Chris does this kind of work on the side so I asked him if he had time between interviews to fix my bathroom because I'd much rather the money go to them than some random company.





I clean it with bleach often, but the shower needs to be replaced (you might remember back when I wrote about how my kids insisted the shower door just fell off with no help from them.) And now the drywall needs to be replaced because it's spongy and moldy.

In fact, the walls are so bad, that this happened this weekend.



Jackson, who can be the most compassionate, awesome, caring, funny, wonderful kid, can also be just plain horrible. And, unfortunately, his behavior has gotten worse over the past several weeks. I don't know if it's the meds he's on or what exactly is going on with him right now, but he got so mad at Clayton on Saturday because Clay didn't want to play a game with him, that Jackson ended up trying to beat the snot out of Clay. Thank God I was right there to intervene and I took all the punches and kicks. Sunday, Jackson destroyed the boys' bunkbeds (My friend, Eric, is on bunkbed rebuilding duty), took a knife and cut up his mattress and decapitated some stuffed animals. This morning, again, Jackson got bent out of shape over nothing and tried to strangle Clay, lifting him off the floor with his hands around his throat. Jackson's back in the hospital inpatient again. This is his third admission in a month.

I don't even know what to do. I hate not being able to fix him. I hate seeing Dr. Jekyll turn into Mr. Hyde. And when he's Mr. Hyde, there is no reasoning with him. There is no taking a minute to stop and think. There is no recalling everything he's learned in the hospital. There's nothing but rage. And I hate walking on eggshells with my stomach in a knot, wondering what will set him off next. It's scary. And with everything else going on, I feel like a cartoon that's hanging off a cliff and someone keeps peeling my fingers away, one at a time. I don't have many fingers left.

And it doesn't help when family members bring up the times when I've lost it and yelled at Jackson. I have a fair amount of patience, but everyone has a breaking point. When faced with this behavior day in and day out for years, when doing it all on my own (because even before I was divorced, my ex was never around and all the care and discipline of the kids was my responsibility), when combining that with other stresses and five other kids who need attention, it's hard to not lose it sometimes. But there's really no reason to bring it up and make me feel crappier than I already do. Believe me, I beat myself up enough for the times that I've yelled and said horrible things like I'm ready to put him up for adoption. I would take it all back if I could. I'm doing the best I can with what I have to work with. I'm trying. I'm not perfect. Not even close. But I love my kids and I'm doing my best.

I know I'll have people tell me that I shouldn't write this here. This isn't the place for family problems. But I'm writing it anyway. I'm writing mostly because I know there are people out there with children who have difficult behavior problems and I know that those parents probably feel like failures. If Jackson was my only child, I'd feel certain that his problems were 100% my fault and I was a complete failure as a parent. That's the thing about ADHD, depression, and other mental illnesses. They're treated like something bad. If your child had diabetes, you wouldn't try to hide the condition. You wouldn't think you were a horrible parent if your child had diabetes. But it's different with mental illness. Since I have five other children who don't act like Jackson does, I can see that it isn't just poor parenting on my part. But my heart breaks for parents going through similar situations and believing that it's all their fault.

I just want parents of kids who are struggling with similar issues to know they're not alone. I understand how it affects the whole family in profound ways. I know how it drains you emotionally until there's nothing left. You're not alone.

***************
I understand if someone who donated money is concerned with my use of it. I may not agree, but I understand. I'm sorry if I came off sounding nasty. That wasn't my intent. I'm just tired. So tired. Like my title - I'm drained. I don't know how much more I can handle without slipping under. I hope I didn't make anyone mad.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My New New Year's Resolution

I feel like Lexi gets ignored a lot. She's quiet and doesn't make a fuss. She's maternal and likes to help care for Brooklyn and Clayton. She's my little helper and she not only doesn't complain if I ask her to do something, but usually she's done it before I even ask. She's just a very, very sweet little girl.

And she broke my heart last week, when she said, "Mom, can we just have some Lexi and Mommy time soon?"

I feel like I've been running some sort of triage, attending to the kids who need it most. Unfortunately, it's taking up so much of my time, that Lex has gotten a little lost in the shuffle. So, today, I took Lexi and Savannah (who also needed a little time away from the house and everyone) to get pedicures. It was a completely logical idea, you know, since it was freezing and the snow was coming down fast, adding to the inches already on the ground. I mean, who wouldn't think of wearing capris and flip flops to the nail salon, right?

I mentioned on Facebook how I never wear socks. I really hate things on my feet. And before you say anything, no, I don't have a sensory disorder. I just hate things on my feet. And arms. I just hate things touching my feet and arms. And neck. Ohmygosh, I cannot stand to have anything touching my neck or it feels like I'm suffocating. But no sensory disorder. Just plain ole ordinary no likey touchy stuff.

Anyhoo. The no wearing socks thing? Yeah, well that can make for some dry heels. I use the Ped Egg often because it makes my feet smooth and soft as a baby's butt. But I also use it because it grosses my kids out. After rubbing it across your no-sock-dry-heels, you open the container to find what looks like half a pound of grated parmesan cheese. Yep. Totally grosses the kids out.

But I hadn't used my Ped Egg recently. So the nail tech took a look at my heels and said, in Vietnamese, to her nail tech husband, "Ewww, wanna trade with me? I'll do the girls' feet and you do this lady's. Look at her heels! I bet she doesn't wear socks."

I looked at her with raised eyebrows and she translated for me. "Oh, I ask him what he want for dinner."

He laughed and replied in Vietnamese, "Ha ha, no way! You're on your own! Be thankful she doesn't want you to give her a facial. Do you see the size of those pores?"

The nail tech looked up at me and said, "He say he want hamburger for dinner."

But I was not buying it. I just added an 11th New Year's Resolution - learn Vietnamese.

Anyway, the girls and I had a nice time this afternoon. I think the next time, we'll do our own pedicures here at home so we don't have to walk through a blizzard in flip flops and so I don't actually have to learn Vietnamese because I'm basically too lazy for that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Think I've Discovered Why my Back Hurts

"What's wrong Brooklyn? You had a bad dream? Nooooo! Oh, please don't ask to sleep in my bed. Please, please, please. Brooklyn don't you want to go back to sleep in your bed? Oh, sure you do. Your bed is comfy. You don't want to sleep in my bed. Go back to sleep in YOUR BED, Baby."

That's what the logical person (who desperately needs a decent night's sleep) in me wanted to say.

But this is what I really said...

"Ohhh, it's okay, Baby. It was just a dream. It's okay. Mommy's here. Do you wanna sleep in my bed tonight? Hop in, Sweetie. Try to go back to sleep now. kiss kiss Go to sleep. I love you."

THIS is why I wanted to tell her to get back in her own bed.



For some reason, she always sleeps horizontally across my bed. It's like she's a compass or something. She automatically magnetically points north. I scoot her over and turn her around and two seconds later, she's horizontal again. I push her back over and flip, she's back like this!

It's fun for me because I get to be kicked in the butt all. night. long. I've tried putting a pillow barrier between us, but she still manages to sneak her feet under or over the line of pillows. And she's hot! She's like a little heater which is wonderful for a perimenopausal woman who wakes up drenched in sweat ordinarily.

Sigh. But she's cute and snuggly and she's my last baby. How can I possibly turn her away when she throws her little arms around my neck and kisses me and says, "I love you so much, Mommy!" a hundred times a day?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank You!

I don’t know how to even begin to thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. I really can’t wrap my brain around it. A couple days later, it still seems so surreal. I can’t manage to process something of this magnitude. I just sit here, staring at my computer, watching the amount of donations add up higher and higher. I read and reread all your comments and emails offering support, encouragement, prayers, and thanks. And every single time I read them, I cry. I tried to make a video blog to thank everyone, but every time I pressed record and tried to talk, I started bawling and you couldn’t understand a word I was saying.

A lot of people have tried to help me make sense of it all. My friend, Kelli asked me, “You have faith that God will care for you, right?”

“Yeah,” I answered, not knowing where she was going with this.

“Then let Him care for you! He uses His people to care for each other. It’s not just about you. It’s about letting God work in the hearts of people and moving them to show compassion for another.”

I immediately thought of that old joke.


It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away..

The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"


I tried explaining to my kids how God cares for us. I said, "God is not way up there in heaven, looking down at people who are going through hard times and saying, 'Wow, sucks to be you!' He's right here next to us, saying, 'I got your back. Trust me.'"

{You know the only thing Clay took away from our little talk, right? That's right! "Sucks to be you!" I'm sure he went to school on Friday and when a little kid tripped and fell, there was Clay saying, "Sucks to be you!" I can just see his teacher saying that she'd lost her book and couldn't remember where she'd put it. "Ha! Sucks to be you!" Clay would respond. Sigh. I really need to choose my words more carefully around him.}

And then I thought of how it makes me feel to give to others. I love being able to help someone out, in whatever small way I can. It makes me feel great! It makes me feel that, in this world of injustice and pain, I can do something to make a difference. Is my individual act making a huge difference? Maybe not in and of itself, but as I’ve written on my blog several times in the past, you never know how far reaching your one act can travel. I pray that there were some new people who happened along my blog in the past few days and saw the outpouring of generosity and compassion from my readers. And maybe they weren’t moved to help me, a person they don’t know, but they were moved to make a difference somewhere for someone. Perhaps they went out and shoveled an elderly neighbor’s driveway, or brought a casserole to a member of their church who just had surgery, or called an old friend simply to tell them they’re thinking of them, or donated money to help with the flooding in Australia. It’s all good. And one act of kindness can spread so far.

Before Christmas, when Jackson was in the hospital, depressed, he drew this picture.





He drew a circle that represented him. He then drew three lines branching out from that circle representing three people for whom he’d done random acts of kindness. From those three circles, he drew several others branching off to represent the acts of kindness that the three people were inspired to perform. And so on and so forth until (several hours later) he’d filled the entire paper with hundreds of connections.

He said he wanted to do something big with his life, but he was just a kid and couldn’t make much of a difference. Then he looked at his drawing again and realized that maybe he could make a big difference after all because it just takes one person.


My kids and I thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. And one day (hopefully soon) we WILL pay it forward. Thank you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm Hijacking this Blog!


Hello everyone. My name is Kelli Standish, and I'm a friend of Dawn's, as well as her web site manager.

Today, I am doing something I've never done before: hijacking a client's blog.

Dawn is one of those amazing, perky people who finds hope and humor in everything. She is the bright red balloon that keeps on sailing no matter how rough the winds, and she does it with such sparkle and grace that she keeps us laughing in the midst of our own challenges.

But the rough winds in Dawn's life have gotten rougher lately, and I've watched my beautiful, bright, courageous, cheerful, generous client and friend pounded to the ground. Over and over.

So here I am, thousands of miles away, watching mayhem and heartache ravage the Meehan family. And I'm furious over it. Enough is enough!!!

Dawn isn't the sort of person to ask for help. Not because she's proud, but because she always sees other people's needs as more important than her own. She would rather give than receive. And she has given. Day after day. Year after year.

She's given us laughter when nothing else could. She's given us hope that we weren't alone in our challenges. She's given us hilarious videos and let us share her life. She's given us courage.

I don't know about you, but I want to give back any way I can. I want her to be safe, I want her kids to flourish. And I think if we band together, we can help make that happen.

So. Here are a few ways I've thought of, that we can make a difference for Dawn:

1.) GIVING

a.)
Donate Via PayPal - I'm posting a ChipIn widget here that will allow you to make a donation via PayPal. This will go directly to Dawn's account, and will help her with the major financial pressures she's facing right now.
(Note: Donations can take up to 5 minutes to appear in the totals, so don't worry if yours doesn't show up immediately.)



b.) Buy Dawn's Book
- Here's a direct link to her book on Amazon. Publishing houses watch sales closely. If Dawn's book sells well, this will really help open doors for new writing contracts, and right now, writing is Dawn's best job option. Let's boost her sales and make her publisher sit up and take notice!

c.) Hold a Fundraiser- Most of us don't have a lot of extra money just sitting around, but that's okay because we can get creative! One really easy way to raise funds is to help spread the word. You can even post the ChipIn widget on your own site. Just copy the code below and paste it into a HTML window or widget in your site or blog.




Or what about a bake sale, or a raffle of cool items or services on your blog, or an eBay auction? For instance, my husband and I had a vow renewal ceremony a few years ago, and we got new wedding rings. So we've decided to auction our first wedding ring set on eBay, and send Dawn whatever we make from the sale.


2.) ENCOURAGEMENT

a.) Hope Notes- As Dawn's web manager, I have seen some truly vile hate mail come through her contact forms and blog comments. I would love to see her deluged with notes of cheer and encouragement right now. Do you have a quote, song lyrics, a story, poem, or Bible verse that helped you through a hard time? Post it here in the comments section. Or put it in a card and snail mail it to her. Here's the postal address:
836 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
Suite 230
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

b.) Gift Cards- Do you have an iTunes or Amazon gift card you haven't used? Or a gift card to a fun restaurant with locations in the Chicago area? I loved getting gift cards when I was a kid. I'll bet Dawn's kids would feel the same!


3.) PRAYER


Pray for health and hope and protection, pray for great writing opportunities, pray that no more heaters go out in Dawn's house, pray for reductions in medical bills, pray for insurance help, pray that her vehicle operates well, pray for her courage... there are a million great things to pray for.

These are just a few ideas I have, but you guys are so creative, I know you probably can think of more or better ones. If you do a fundraiser or raffle on your blog, or an auction on eBay, or have other ideas on ways we can keep our red balloon friend soaring, be sure to post them in the comments here!

We might not be able to stop all the suffering and injustice in the world, but we can make a difference for this family and give them back the laughter and joy they've shared so generously.

Let's do this.

Kelli Standish, hacking the blog of....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

At the End of my Rope

Remember when I wrote that I had to learn to stop saying that things couldn't get any worse? Yeah. Well, whether you say it or not, things can get worse. My wonderful ex-husband texted me today to tell me he'd gotten fired. When I asked him why he'd gotten fired and if he was eligible for unemployment, he told me it didn't concern me. He is actually stupid enough to think it doesn't concern me! I wish I could've reached through the phone and slapped his SELFISH face.

Yep. Now, my kids don't have insurance. In the middle of getting help for their depression and abandonment issues, they've lost insurance. As of now, my income is $0 a month. I don't even know what kind of job I could possibly get with no college degree and being out of the work force for 16 years, and with the economy and unemployment rates right now, and the fact that anything I'd make would have to go to childcare for Brooklyn, not to mention the fact that it wouldn't be safe for me to leave my boys alone right now.

So, because my blog doesn't make me a penny, I need to take a break from it for awhile to figure out what I need to do to keep us afloat. I need to look into state insurance and other help, and find a way to get some sort of job.

Not that this makes much of a difference at this point, but here's a link to Amazon again in case anyone has $10 to spare on a great, funny, lighthearted look at pregnancy and childbirth. (You'll like the book, really!) You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth).

And believe it or not, I still have absolute faith that things will work out. I believe God isn't so involved in more important things that He just doesn't have the time to deal with small potatoes like this. Quite the opposite. I believe He's here. He's right here. I know He is. And He'll use this for good. That's not to say that I don't feel like breaking down and crying because I do. But if I break down, guess what - the problems will still be there. It won't solve anything. It won't fix the situation. So, I'll keep on believing and trusting that God has a plan and He knows what He's doing. And I'll do whatever I can to get my kids healthy and make enough money to support us. And I'll ask you guys to keep praying because honestly, that's what's keeping me sane right now. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Think I'll Just Shave Her Head

I want to write something funny. I like making people laugh. I love hearing that something I've written has lightened someone's day and entertained them.

But I'm drained. I'm emotionally drained. I feel like I have nothing left to give. It is SO hard seeing your children hurt and not being able to fix the situation. It sucks. It just plain sucks. And when your child's depression causes them to act out in really horrible ways, it takes all your strength to remember there's a little kid who's hurting in there and he just doesn't know how to deal with his feelings. Sometimes you just have to bite your lip and stay calm even though every fiber of your being feels like knocking said kid into next week. And as much as it seems like he's hell-bent on making your existence as miserable as possible, you have to realize that you're getting the brunt of it because you're the parent who is there, who cares, who loves unconditionally, who isn't going to leave, who he's comfortable expressing himself to.

But it still sucks.

Sigh.

Okay, here's something funny. Brooklyn managed to get a small, metal Slinky tangled in her hair today. I have no idea how this happened. I have no idea how I got it out either, but it required supreme patience. And dexterity. And patience.


What walks down stairs, and gets stuck in hair,
And makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, an evil ole thing,
Everyone knows it’s Slinky…
It's Slinky, it's Slinky, for fun it's a terrible toy!
It's Slinky, it's Slinky, it's bad for a girl and a boy!

But you have to laugh at stuff like that. Because if you don't, life has this funny way of slapping you upside the head and making you realize just how silly it was to stress over it. For example, a few hours later, Brooklyn got a wad of bubble gum stuck in her hair. HEE HEE HOO HOO HO HO HAAAA. HA. Ha. Hmmmmm. Ahem.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, Clayton

Every morning, it's the same old thing. I spend an eternity searching for Clayton's shoes, coat, mittens, homework, backpack, folders, library books. You name it, he loses it. Now, I'm not new to this parenting thing. I know how to handle a situation like this. You take a few extra minutes at night, have the child put their homework in their folder, their folder in their backpack, get their snack ready in the fridge, their shoes and coat next to their backpack, etc. By taking care of these things before bedtime, mornings should go a lot more smoothly. At least in theory.

However, even when I make sure these things are taken care of before bed, something happens while everyone's asleep because when morning comes, suddenly the contents of his backpack are strewn about the house and his shoes are nowhere to be found.

One time, Clay blamed it on the dog. We don't have a dog. He tried to convince me it was a burglar once. Yeah, you know those burglars who specialize in leaving all your valuables and just hiding your kids' shoes. Those kind of burglars. Maybe gremlins come into the house at night and rearrange his belongings. I don't really know what happens to Clay's things, but the other day, we couldn't find his coat.

Seriously Clay? How do you lose a coat? We don't have a big house. It has to be here somewhere! Did you look in your room? In the girls' room? Family room? My room? Bathroom? Well, I don't know why it would be in the bathroom either, but look anyway!

I finally gave up, put another hand-me-down coat (that mostly fit) from one of the older boys on him and sent him off to school. A few days later, I found his coat.




Tell me, how does one lose a coat outside in the snow? Wouldn't you notice if your coat had suddenly fallen off in the snow? Why would you purposely take it off while you were outside, IN THE SNOW? Don't you think you'd be a little cold? After walking inside with your boots, snow pants, mittens, and hat on, don't you think you'd realize that you were conspicuously uncovered on top? Wouldn't you remember you'd left your coat outside, and then head back out to retrieve it? I swear, I will never understand that boy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where ROUSs run rampant, it's your host, the woman who survived the fire swamp, Dawn Meehan.

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

From someone in the UK - whats a caboodle?
It's a combination of a cat and a poodle.

As for the unidentifiable goop - is being able to deal with that something that comes with being a mum?
I suppose. However, I missed that lesson because I can handle unidentifiable goop about as well as I can handle puke. That's why Lexi opened the container outside, far away from me. Oddly enough, however, the pictures my doctor took of my guts while doing surgery don't bother me at all.

So sorry you couldn't see Jackson. That does stink!!! Praying for your family. How is Austin doing?
There are good days and bad days. I know that the kids aren't going to be instantly "cured" from spending a few weeks in the hospital. I know this. But I still wish it worked that way. I wish I could just put a bandaid on them, kiss them, and make it all better. But alas, it doesn't work that way. We have a long road ahead of us.

Dawn, you write your blog because it makes you feel good. People send you generous monetary gifts because it makes them feel good to do so. If you don't accept them, the good feelings only flow in one direction. You don't want to be the "fun-sucker" stopping up the good feelings flow do you?
The fun-sucker? I don't want to be the fun-sucker!!! Honestly, I never really thought about it like that, but it makes sense. It would make me feel bad if someone rejected my gift. Thank you, guys, for putting it in perspective. (I'd still rather be on the giving side though!)

Actually, there's something you all could do for me. You could buy my new book. It's really not just for pregnant women. Anyone who has ever given birth will be able to relate to the stories and find something to laugh about in this book. If you could use a lighthearted, easy, fun read, get a copy for yourself or for your sister, girlfriend, mom, aunt, or anyone else who could use a little entertainment. I really think you'll enjoy it. Does anyone who has already read the book want to back me up on this? Anyway, you can get a copy HERE if you're so inclined. :)
Thank you!

Is the thin part of the petal at the top of the rose or on the bottom of the rose?
Put the thin part of the petal at the top of the rose. The thicker part makes up the body of the rose, and the thinner part is the tip of the petal.

Thanks for the how-to. You have such a beautiful voice... it was nice to just listen to you speak.
This absolutely floors me because I hate my voice! HATE it! I literally cringe when I hear myself in videos. It's like nails on a chalkboard.

Awesome tutorial Dawn! I love that you can use chocolate melts!! What was that stuff you mixed in?
1/3 cup of corn syrup and some pink icing color

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I am guessing you can use this same technique to make figures for kids' cakes, right? I'm not a fan of fondant and I think I could have more control with this than strictly figure piping.
I don't see why not. I generally use fondant, but I think you could use the candy clay to sculpt figures. Or you could, you know, just eat it. That's what my kids do. Sometimes they smash it into the couches or the carpet too.

You have great hair. Yes that is what I got out of this video a love for your hair.
(That's just because you can't see the gray.) It's Suave! I really think Suave should hire me as their spokesperson. I love the stuff!

Can you use any sort of white chocolate? I don't know what "candy melts" are :þ
I honestly don't know. Give it a try and see. Candy Melts and other brands of chocolate specifically used for candy making work well.

And same method for marzipan roses?
Sure! I haven't made marzipan in years! :::making a mental note to do a lesson on marzipan:::

I'm not sure if we can even get corn syrup in Australia, think I've seen glucose syrup in the supermakrets would this do if we can't get corn syrup?
Maybe you could use Vegemite. Kidding! Just kidding! Actually, someone else answered this one in the comments, thankfully because I had no idea. I've never even heard of glucose syrup. (Yes, they seem to be interchangeable.)

Thanks so much for making and posting this video! You should have your own show! I could listen to you talk all day.
Interesting. My kids don't listen to a word I say all day.

I took cake decorating classes at Michaels several years ago and never did master the buttercream rose. Where did you learn this technique? This way is much easier and looks more fun! Thanks again!
Yeah, my buttercream roses look like roadkill. About 15 years ago, I took some cake decorating lessons as continuing education classes at a local college. For anyone new to my blog, I have a handful of cake pictures on my website
HERE.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Make Roses out of Chocolate Candy Clay

It's not exactly professional, but I think you can understand the directions on how to make roses out of chocolate candy clay that you can use in cake decorating.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thank you!

I love my friends! I am so abundantly blessed with the most awesome friends on the planet. Both my friends in real life and my cyber friends have been a huge source of support to me.

Some time ago, Jackson put a hole in his bedroom door. It was damaged so badly, it no longer closed. My friend Eric installed a new door so Jackson will be surprised when he gets home. My friend Ginny dropped off delicious chicken tortellini soup and bread for us this week. My friend Doreen picked me up the other night after my little ones had gone to bed and took me out for a drink, a bite to eat, and adult conversation. It was heavenly. All my friends have been calling and listening to me complain, and offering their support. I have tons of readers and friends praying for me. It truly brings a tear (the tears are at the surface and it doesn't take much to bring them out these days) to my eye.

Right before Christmas, an anonymous person sent me a card with a $100 bill in it. I was taken aback. Who does something so generous and sweet and wonderful and thoughtful like that? And I can't even thank them personally because I don't know who they are.

Today, Lisa Belkin from the New York Times (You have to check out her blog, Motherlode, HERE. She writes about parenting and the issues that matter to us.) sent me and my family four meals. How wonderful! I even wrote in my new book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) that people should skip the cute baby clothes and bring the new mother a lasagna instead! Nothing is more appreciated than a good, home-cooked, hot meal when you've just had a baby (or you're constantly running back and forth to the hospital/doctor/therapist, etc.)

And today, I received very generous monetary gifts from blog readers Susan and Kathleen in appreciation for entertaining them with my blog. I can't accept them. I appreciate it so much, but I write my blog because I like to make people laugh; I like to encourage others to enjoy their kids, messiness and all. There are no thanks necessary.

I don't even know what to do with all this. I hate being on the receiving end. I mean, ugh, that came out all wrong. I'm very, VERY grateful and honored and touched and so amazingly thankful. But I like being the one to help others. I like being the one to give to others. I like being in a position where I can make others feel good. It's uncomfortable being on the receiving end. I don't even know how to say thank you. "Thank you" just seems inadequate. But thank you. Thank you to everyone. And really, all I want are your prayers. Prayer gives me peace. It makes me feel like everything will be okay.

I'm working on a little vlog to show my appreciation. It's a cake decorating lesson. I'm going to teach you how to make roses out of candy clay. The roses are elegant and beautiful and they look like they must be very difficult and complicated to make. But they're actually pretty easy to do and with a little practice, you can impress the snot out of people with your awesome cake decorating abilities. I hope to have the video up by Saturday, so check back here this weekend. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's Alive!

I stopped by the junior high to get some homework for Jackson. There was very little work for him. In fact, his reading/writing teacher even sent a note saying that the class was starting to read a new book, but there weren't enough for Jackson to take one out of school. Nice, huh? I'm so glad the hundreds of dollars I pay in registration fees and all the supplies I supply are serving him well. Anyway, I know the teachers don't know the details of his absence, and perhaps they just think he's out for a couple days with strep throat or something, but how sad that they can't spare a book for him.

I had an appointment with the family therapist assigned to Jackson on Monday at 1:30. At 1:10, they called me to cancel because the therapist had called in sick that morning. Understandable why it took them until after 1:00 to let me know.

There were visiting hours from 7-8 this evening. I called the nurse's station to explain my situation. "I know siblings are only allowed on weekends, but my nine-year-old daughter has a therapy appointment at 8:00 tonight. I won't have to time to visit Jackson and then drive all the way home to get my daughter and make it over to her appointment by 8:00. Can I please bring my daughter with me to visit Jackson for a little bit tonight?"

She had me hang on while she put the phone down to file her nails. She picked it back up and said, "Tough. Those are the rules. Deal with it, lady."

That pushed me over the edge. I've been holding back the tears, forcing a smile, staying strong, and pretending like everything is fine. But at that moment, the floodgates opened and I said (with a combination of nastiness and sobs), "Thanks a lot! Now my son has to go three days without seeing any family! I'm a single mom! I have six kids! I don't have anyone to help, okay? It would really be that bad to have a nine-year-old on the unit for half an hour on a, gasp, Wednesday?!"

Nonplussed by my crazed sobbing, she offered, "I could page his doctor to see if she'll give an order stating that your daughter can visit tonight."

"Yes, thank you. I would appreciate that," I said. Then I asked her to let me talk to Jackson since it was during their phone hour. She told me that he was in the shower and she'd have Jackson call me back.

I waited nearly an hour and then called again before the phone hour was up. I got through to Jackson and asked him if they'd told him that I'd called earlier. Nope.

Of course, no one ever called me back. No one gave me permission to bring Lexi with me to visit Jackson tonight. I still have no idea when he might be getting out. Someone is going to get an earful when I call tomorrow morning. I will not be crying like a baby and I will not be hanging up until I get some answers.

So many things really suck right now. But still, I refuse be dragged under. (At least, not for more than 10 minutes at a time). There's still funny to be found. In fact, while I was at the junior high, I went to Jackson's locker to get his books. A strange funk hit me when I opened the door. What I found was six sweatshirts and jackets. SIX of them! I didn't even know he had six sweatshirts/jackets! It suddenly made sense to me why Jackson was always saying, "Mom! I don't want to wear a coat to school. I'm not cold!" It's because he didn't have any coats at home to wear to school! As I dug through his veritable outerwear store, I uncovered the source of the stench.

A plastic container. I had no idea what might have once been housed in the container, but I was pretty sure it was now toxic waste. As I left the school, I passed a garbage can and almost threw the entire container in the trash, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me. I took it home. Then I told the kids where I'd found it and my estimated time of rottingness (8 weeks). One child was brave beyond the call of duty. Lexi grabbed the container to open it. "Noooooo!" I screeched, "Take it outside!"




I have no clue what this once was (I'm guessing cucumber slices), but it's all in my garbage can now. I hope it doesn't come to life and slime us in our sleep.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's Time for Another Episode of CRAZY GOOGLERS!

I haven't checked my Google search phrases in a long time. There were over 6000 search terms that brought people to my blog. Here is a sampling of the crazies interesting people out there in cyber space.

dawn damalas meehan divorce
dawn meehan "divorce was final"
dawn meehan divorce?
dawn meehan ex husband
dawn meehan gets divorced
dawn meehan husband
dawn meehan joe divorce
dawn meehan joe lies
dawn meehan kids custody
dawn meehan+divorce
did dawn meehan get divorced?
dawn meehan divorce
"dawn meehan" divorce
joe meehan divorce dawn meehan
mom 2 my 6 pack divorce
when did dawn meehan get divorced
dawn meehan divorced
dawn meehan husband alcoholism because i said so divorce
"because i said so" "dawn meehan" divorce
because i said so divorce
because i said so, blog, divorce
dawn meehan divorce
dawn meehan + divorce
dawn meehan divorce what happened
dawn meehan divorce becauseisaidso
i am really sorry to hear about your divorce
mom 2 my 6 pack divorce

why did dawn meehan get a divorce
Wow! It's like a soap opera or something. Yes, I got divorced last year.

i can't seem to tune out my toddlers wines
Oh see, that's what you're doing wrong. You're supposed to drink the wine in order to tune out your toddler.

vomit costume
hate vomit can i be a mom
i don't want to throw up
don't want kids they vomit
don't want to vomit
i can't even think about vomit without wanting to throw up
These searches should be banned from my blog! Seriously.

i don't know how to be a single mom
Welcome to the club. Neither do I.

i don't want my kid mopping at school what should i say to her teacher
I agree! Tell her teacher that mopping is the janitor's job!

dawn name old lady
Hey now!

when mom asked the question "where is the dog?" we all became worried.
I'm worried! And disturbed that this brought you to my blog.

playland pee pants
Seriously? Why does this one always show up on my blog???

polish butt
(((polish))) butt
"butt polish"
polish for butt
butt in polish
the word buttock in polish

poland butt
polish word for butt
polish butts
"butt" polish
butt dupa
dupa butthead
butt poland
how do y say butt in polish
butt polish

polish but
butt pollish
how do you say butt in polish
what's butt in polish
a polish butt
Bet you didn't know there were so many ways to ask this question, did you?

can i use butpaste in my face for makeup
It depends. Are you a clown?

few more days to go of my birthday, my age getting older
Really? That's so odd. I thought one's age got younger with each passing birthday.

how do australians feel about vegemite
I can tell you how this American feels about Vegemite. Refer back to the searches on vomit.

how do you say la'taniana'bo'vanashrianiqualiquanice
Ms. Smith

how to handle it when people think i am my daughters grandma
If it's a woman, ask her if she's her child's father. If it's a man, ask him if he's his child's mother. Or kick them.

how to make your mom say yes to driving you to a friends at 1030 at night
Ha ha ha ha ha! You're funny!

how to tell a friend you are sorry their mom is sick
Do you have a pen and paper? Okay, take notes because this is complicated. You say, "I'm sorry your mom is sick." Got all that? Want me to repeat it?

how to write a funny blog post in 42 minutes
Take a bunch of stupid google search phrases and make fun of them.

"got glasses" or "got * glasses" or "got contacts" or "got * contacts" or "got lenses" or "got * lenses" site:blogspot.com
Wow. Just wow.

"how long" does scooba take "to clean a room"
What's more intriguing - scooba or the random use of quotation marks?

"mr. heckles" dies friends "supposebly" joey chandler
"ms. hermit crab"
"my underwear"+"a nurse"
"pelvic exam" "me in" daughter "table with"
"snow in his underwear"
"ugh that stinks" "stinky"

There really should be a Punctuation Impaired self-help group.

how to make grocery shopping easier for my young kids
Leave them at home.

... i like the way you ... i see cause .. you baby i can .. your ... let me ... busy.. im so pretty .. stop .. she like .. she walk ..
Oh look at that! It's time for your meds!

all the polly pocket stuff that has been made on earth
Evil Things for $400, Alex

beat it i beat she let me she been fielding sience she let me
Uhhh?

the scariest place on earth
You've been in Jackson and Clay's room, huh?

killer moth
See? Someone else has seen a killer moth! I didn't make it up! They exist!

i'm rich
I'm single!

101 uses for vodka
I can think of one.

dick van dyke dentures
Sheesh, and I thought Justin Bieber nail polish was a bad idea.

dishes for birds
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure birds don't use dishes.

i drink wine every nigjt, i am divcored singe mom
You were drinking when you wrote this, weren't you?

i have 3 boys how can i try to have girl next
Well, it starts with a man and woman who love each other...

i have children when do i get my life back
When you figure it out, let me know.

i just realized i google the weirdest things
You and 80,000 other people...

i love lingerie -- oh my god. i even have a subscription to the victoria's secret catalog. well, i don't have a subscription, my neighbor does. she just hasn't received it for a couple of years.
Ha! This was actually funny!

i say cause you say cause one
Ummm?

i told you kids to stay out of my butt!
You might want to see a doctor for that.

i walked up behind my friend and slapped her on the butt. then right after i hit her, i realized it wasn't my friend! it was a strange girl i'd never seen before, but then i had to see her every day!. it was so embarrassing
Well it's a good thing you didn't type it in Google so a million people could read about it.

i was late for work because i didn't know i needed gas in my car?
Just my two cents, but I think your boss is more likely to believe this if you end it with a period, or even an exclamation point.

is it crazy to want six kids
Yes, yes it is.

it's my best friend birthday and i dont know what to write on her facebook wall anyhelp.
You're the same person who asked how to tell your friend that you're sorry her mom is sick, aren't you?

locked up in a liquor store with you
Definition of awesome

looking great after 6 kids
Awww, thank you!

my stomach is sore and i keep pooing and peeing myself what should i do
See a doctor.

my teen daughter pee his pants and grying
I'm more concerned about this person's English, than I am about the hermaphrodite pee-er.

opposite of vegemite
edible

say i'm crying in technical terms
I'm shedding saline solution from my lacrimal apparatus.

should i go to a football game if it is raining while being pregnant
Heck no! You should use any excuse you can think of to get out of going to a football game!

things a mom doesn't want to hear
Mom, there's something wrong with the toilet and water is everywhere!

wats my first real name cause i have no idea wat is it
Maybe you forgot it the same time you forgot how to spell "what".

what does a glass exploding in your hand mean?
It means you're holding it just a little too tightly. Either that or you're a wizard or something.

what does the phrase "here you go brooklyn" mean?
It's what we say to get her to shut up.

what does this phrase means "my son turns 4 tomorrow"
I'm not sure, but I think it's means your son is three and it's his birthday tomorrow.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the sister city to Forks, it's your host, the woman who sparkles in the sun, Dawn Meehan!

I have the number one reader-nominated blog on Babble.com! You like me! You really like me! Thank you for all your votes! My blog wouldn't have been ranked #1 without you guys. Thank you!!!

Do you mabye have a P.O> Box we could send them a card to help cheer them up?
Yes, I do! In fact, I think that's a great idea! Jackson is still in the hospital and probably will be for some time. He's having a hard time coming to terms with all the anger he's locked inside this past year. On the bright side, Austin is doing much better! I'm praying it continues as he heads back to school tomorrow after being away for several weeks. When the inevitable stresses add up, I hope he remembers the coping techniques he's learned.

What? No video of you dancing???
How much moola do we have to raise to get you to post your dance video so we all can see you in your jiggin' with it glory?

There isn't enough money on the planet. But, tell you what, I have a better idea. What do you think of me adding some cake decorating tutorial videos to my blog?

something to consider instead of throwing away small bottles of stuff - donate it to the USO for use in care packages, or even give to a homeless shelter
I was feeling all good for donating the 6 bags of clothing and stuff to Wings and now I feel bad for not knowing that anyone would want some stupid bottles of hotel shampoo. Point noted. I'll donate them the next time I acquire a stash. But I'm hanging on to any containers of body spray or deodorant so I can pass them out to smelly passengers on future airplane flights.

you had a caboodle in there!!! i was just thinking the other day, how much i wished i had back the caboodle i had in high school! do they still sell those?
Yep, they still sell them. I wish they still sold Clickers though. Remember those? Curling irons that ran on butane. Totally safe, of course. I think only a couple dozen or so people's heads went up in flames. I can't imagine why they're off the market. And you guys amaze me at your attention to detail on my pictures.

BTW, turtled or not, I love your purse. Care to share where you got it?
I won it! I won it at a Dinner with Disney event. I would never spend that much on a purse. I have a strict rule about not spending more ON a purse than what I keep IN a purse.

Sorry Dawn, Number 8 will no longer work. New Illinois law starts tomorrow that it is illegal to own a pet monkey in the state. LOL. My kids and I heard this one on the news last night and were really bummed that we have lost the opportunity for that pet monkey we always wanted.
That's what you noticed about my resolution list? The whole 'driving 50 miles over the speed limit' thing didn't phase you. Just the pet monkey, huh? Sheesh, Patrick Demsey brings one rabid monkey into the country and ruins it for everyone! Okay then, scratch the pet monkey. Instead, I'll just make it my resolution to start addressing everyone I meet as Colonel. But I won't pronounce it like "kernel". I'll say it just the way it looks - "colonel".

Have yourselves a wonderful week! And remember - toepick!


******** Oops, apparently I forgot to actually add my po box address. It's -
Dawn Meehan
836 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
#230
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Who's Visiting My Blog Right Now?

 
Home About Dawn Blog Books News & Events Press Kit FAQS Photos Video Fun Mom's Time Out Get In Touch

Dawn Meehan 2008-. All Rights Reserved.
Site Design by Pulse Point Design