Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Crucial Questions Your Future Husband MUST Be Able To Answer

Twenty-two years ago, I married the first guy who came along. There were several warning signs that it probably wasn't the best plan I've ever had. My friends and family all tried to talk me out of it. I didn't listen. What can I say? I was young, stubborn, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Fast forward. I've been divorced about 5 years now. Sometimes I think about getting remarried but then the thought of sharing a bathroom with someone again makes me a little twitchy. One thing's for sure, though: If I ever DO get remarried, I will be much more picky, er, um, selective this time around. Any possible future husband of mine will need to be able to answer these 10 questions if he wants to put a ring on my finger. Yes, I'm fully aware this may mean I spend the rest of my days alone and that's okay because I have a back-up plan for such a scenario: I'll adopt cats, many, many cats to keep me company and I'll spend my days in my bathrobe, eating Ben & Jerry's from the carton and washing it down with rum. I call it my Cat Plan. But I digress. Let's get to the questions my future husband needs to answer:

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Will My Divorce Scar My Kids For Life?

“In all my years of practice I have never heard of a parent saying that they didn’t want custody of their kids. Parents spend thousands of dollars fighting for custody.” My lawyer shook his head in shocked disbelief. My husband had declined my offer of joint custody and refused to sign the divorce papers until the wording was changed, giving me sole custody of our 6 children.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Win a Trip to See Garth Brooks Live From Game-Changing GhostTunes

I've never been a big fan of iTunes. For all of Apple's awesomeness and ease-of-use, iTunes has always left me confused and angry. When I was asked to try out GhostTunes, a new, full-service music platform, I agreed, hoping it was more user-friendly than other music sites I've tried. GhostTunes was founded by Garth Brooks, who has, up until now, notoriously held out on working with iTunes and other digital platforms to sell his music, believing that the artist gets cheated by selling music in that fashion. He has held firm to the idea that albums should be sold as a collective work and selling songs individually is akin to selling individual chapters of a book. As an author, I can respect that. GhostTunes is a different platform in that it lets the artist decide how they'd like to sell their work. They can sell albums, individual singles, or bundles of work with special prices. 

I love that GhostTunes is super-simple and easy to use. Browse your favorite artists across all genres of music, listen to samples of songs, purchase individual songs, or buy entire albums or special bundles, then download your music to all your devices, and/or listen to your purchased music on the GhostTunes site. Although the GhostTunes site is simple to use, Apple devices require you to download the music to your iTunes library, then sync your device which is a pain and kinda defeats the purpose of using a simpler music platform (thanks Apple!) Still, I do like the ease of use, the choices it gives artists, and the availability of zillions of songs on GhostTunes. Check it out for yourself at GhostTunes.com. 

Now, to celebrate the debut of Garth's new single Mom, GhostTunes is offering one lucky mom and a guest the opportunity to see Garth live in concert, complete with hotel and airfare! For more information and to enter the contest, visit HERE. It would be so cool if one of my readers won! And if you felt the need to bring me along as your guest, hint hint, I wouldn't object.

Oh and you've got to hear the song! You know how country music tells a story and either makes you laugh (Joe Nichols' Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off) or cry (Tim McGraw's If You’re Reading This.) Yeah well, Garth Brook's new song Mom falls into the second category. Like all of you, I wear many hats. I'm a daughter, a sister, a friend, an educator, a writer, and a dreamer, among others. But being a mom is the best job I could ever, ever have! Being entrusted to raise my 6 little bundles of joy (even if some of those "bundles" are over 6 feet tall now) is an awesome and amazing privilege. All the diaper changes, the sleepless nights, the messes, the ruined furniture and the expense is worth it when one of my kids comes to me for advice, or just gives me a hug out of nowhere, or sends me a text with a joke that made them think of me, or does something good for someone else without being prompted. As much as I want to keep them little, it warms my heart to see them growing up into good, kind, responsible adults. Check out a preview of Mom on GhostTunes HERE.

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by GhostTunes via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Ghost Tunes or MomTrends. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BEWARE! If Your Man Does These 15 Things, He's Majorly Insecure

He picks you up, presents you with roses, opens your door, takes you to an elegant restaurant, and endlessly compliments you throughout the night. He repeatedly tells you, his voice laced with incredulous wonder, that he can't believe you actually agreed to go out with him since you are so far out of his league. He treats you like a princess and let's face it, it's flattering. It's a refreshing change to feel so appreciated, especially if you've dated a few self-absorbed, insensitive jerks in the past. You begin to think that maybe he's "the one." But then things head south. His sweet attentiveness turns to overwhelming obsession. It no longer feels like he treasures and cherishes you; it feels like overbearing possessiveness. Suddenly it seems to take all your energy to assure (and reassure and reassure again) your man that you love him. It's sucking the life out of you.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Fanciest Icing You’ll Ever Create

Spicy, warm, aromatic gingerbread cookies are my favorite to bake over Christmas. Not only are they delicious, but they’re fun to decorate too. Whenever I make gingerbread, I cut out several shapes for my kids to decorate. They love squirting icing and sticking candy to personify their gingerbread men. Of course, the also love biting off their limbs and applying red icing "blood" to turn them into zombies. What can I say? My kids are weird. 

I also stamp out a few cookies for myself to decorate with more refined designs. I use royal icing to decorate my cookies. It’s easy to make and use, long-lasting, dries hard, and is a sweet complement to the tangy spice of gingerbread. 

CONTINUE READING TO SEE HOW TO CREATE THESE DESIGNS!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I've Learned About Dating as a Middle-Aged Mom of Six

I’ve jumped into the dating pool a time or two in the past few years, but then I always remember that scene from Jaws and I quickly escape before I lose a limb. I’ve been on my own with my kids for five years now. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs. There have been times when I thought I’d really (I mean, really) like to get remarried just so I’d have a second pair of hands to help me out. It would be great to have two incomes for one set of bills. I’d like to enjoy some “adult time” with someone I love. Then again, there have been times when I have insisted that I don’t need a man; I can take care of everything on my own thankyouverymuch. I don’t need to share a bathroom with a man who leaves the seat up. I don’t want to have to pretend to like my in-laws again.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Because Nothing Says Christmas Like an Ice-Skating Elephant in a Dress

When I was in Chicago last week, I spied a Christmas store while walking around Woodfield Mall. Being in the Christmas spirit, I insisted we go in and look around. There's just something about red and green decorations, shimmering lights, iridescent snowflakes, silver and gold strands of sparkly-ness, elegant nutcrackers, whimsical elves, delicate angels, and jolly Santas that put you in a festive mood. When I left the store, however, I was surprisingly no longer filled with Christmas cheerfulness. Nope, I was left shaking my head and muttering, dumbfounded, "What the crap was that?" I think I've been scarred for life. I'll show you why . . .


I'd love to get inside the head of the guy who said, "Let's take a woman with an old fashioned dress and ice skates, then swap out her head for that of an elephant! Yes! We'll sell millions!"



When I think of the holidays, the first thing that pops into my head is a dapper lion dressed in top hat, waist coat, and spats. It's a shame he forgot his pants since that would have disguised his seemingly dislocated knee.


When I first saw this little fellow, I fondly thought, "Aaaaeeeiggghhhhyyyeeauuuccchhhh!" (I think that's how you spell the noise I made.) As if a bald monkey in pantaloons isn't creepy enough, look at the price tag! For the bargain price of only $239.95 you too could own this disturbing freak of nature.


Merry Mardi Christmas Gras!


 "Since the ice-skating eleph-woman was such a hit, how 'bout we do this? We'll take a bag with a drawstring and slap a lion's head on top of it! It's brilliant!"


I have no words.


"Hmmmm, how to outdo the ice-skating eleph-woman and the lion-head baggy? What to do, what to do? Eureka! I've got it! A peanut! On a winking monkey head! Atop a spring! Yes, a monkey-in-a-box with a peanut balanced on his head. (I'm pretty sure this is what happened to Sid from Toy Story when he grew up. He became a Christmas ornament maker.)



Hey look, kids! It's the traditional clown riding a pig ornament!


It's a mermaid! It's a mouse! It's a mermaid! It's a mouse! With her hand-in-the-air, sassy attitude, who cares? She can totally pull off the Carassius Mus thing.


For those who just can't get over the disappointment of Halloween being over - it's a whole Mariachi band of skeletons! Feliz Navidad!


"You know what people love? Things on sticks! Popsicles! Corndogs! Lollipops! Shish-ka-bobs! Who could resist a baby head on a stick?"



Hey look! It's the Church Lady! On a stick! Now isn't that special?


Yep, apparently you can put any ole thing on a stick and sell it as a Christmas decoration.


"Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas from Phil Robertson, er, um, I mean Santa. Yep, I'm Santa. And no, you can't have my Red Ryder BB gun or you'll shoot your eye out, kid."


Oh look! It's another Sid creation. A hat. On a bear. On a fish. On a spring. Yep, that says Merry Christmas to me!


On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two Victorian cats . . .


It's a rooster! Er, a hen. Hmmm, the large comb and bright plumage suggest it's a male. The eggs, high heels, and pearls, suggest it's a female. Let's just call it the sexually confused holiday chicken, okay? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)


Now, I ask you, who wouldn't love a dance hall pig from a wild west saloon adorning their mantlepiece during this blessed season?


Oh dear Lord, I need a therapy now!


Okay, let's take inventory here. It's a frog. With a fur cape. And charming boots. Holding an engagement ring. Yep, it has all the properties of a classic yuletide trinket.


Christmas is the time for those famous delicacies: gingerbread, eggnog, fruitcake, candy canes, and pastrami on rye


Oh my gosh! Jackalopes DO exist!


 And finally, The Elf on the Shelf after a hard night of drinking. 





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Movies on Netflix

Reason number 286 why I love Netflix: I can get my Christmas movie fix with Netflix! Once Thanksgiving rolls around, I start watching Christmas movies. I can't get enough of them! And Netflix has a TON of them!

I love all the Rankin and Bass stop-motion Christmas movies because I remember watching them as a kid. (My own kids are less-than-impressed with them.) I love all the classics like It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, White Christmas, and Holiday Inn. I love funny movies like Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and can quote them in their entirety, line for line. (I know, I know, if only I could make a living with my impressive ability to remember useless movie lines.) I even love movies that aren't necessarily considered Christmas movies, but have Christmassy elements in them like While You Were Sleeping. While You Were Sleeping is one of my all-time favorite movies! It's a romantic comedy and although it isn't a Christmas movie per se, it takes place over Christmas. It also takes place in Chicago which is, in my totally unbiased opinion, the awesomest city ever.

My favorite scene in this movie is the one that takes place around the dinner table when everyone is talking about a different subject. It's so hilarious (and so like my own dinner table!

I went to Cuba.
Ricky Ricardo was Cuban.
You know, Peter should have been an actor. He´s tall.
Alan Ladd wasn´t tall.
Marshal Dillon was six-foot-five.
These mashed potatoes are so creamy.
l could never make a good pot roast.
You need good beef.
Argentina has great beef. Beef and Nazis.
John Wayne was tall.
Dustin Hoffman was five-six.
Would you want to see Dustin Hoffman save the Alamo?
These mashed potatoes are so creamy.
Spain has good beef.
Cesar Romero was tall.
Cesar Romero was not Spanish.
l didn´t say Cesar Romero was Spanish.

You can't help but fall in love with the whole family in this movie! And how can you resist a movie that has a first kiss spontaneously take place under the mistletoe?

Check out While You Were Sleeping on Netflix to kick off your holiday season with a feel-good, funny movie the whole family will enjoy!


 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Are They All Yours?" and Other Things I'm Asked as a Mom of Six

Today, a teacher overheard me talking to my friend about my kids’ grades. “Three of them made honor roll, two are in college and I’m not sure what their grades are yet, and one … well, we just won’t talk about him right now.”
“You have six kids?” she asked, incredulously.
I shrugged and gave her my standard response: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Kids’ Idea of Self-Expression Looks a Lot Like a Mistake to Me

“Look at that guy,” my son whispered to me as we passed a heavily tattooed man with enormous gauges in his ears, piercings on his lips, nose, and eyebrows, and a blue Mohawk. Part of me wanted to respond with, “Wow! What a freak show!” But the mechanism in my brain that keeps me from blurting out things or swearing at bad drivers in front of my kids responded nonchalantly, “Yep, that sure is some blue hair, huh?”

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

You Just Might Have a Teenager If . . .

Four of my six kids are teenagers. Do you understand the magnitude of that statement? I have FOUR TEENS in my house right now! FOUR! I think I deserve a medal for that. Or a nap. Yes, a nap would be nice. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I absolutely love the goofiness of them, but it’s almost like parenting toddlers all over again. Maybe they no longer melt down if I do something as evil as putting ketchup on their hotdogs, or making them wear shoes when we go to the store, but they certainly have unexplained moodiness and attitudes that occasionally make me wonder if they had lobotomies when I wasn’t looking.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Who Promised Us We Could "Have It All?"

I read a piece written by Babble’s Suzanne Jannese, Jennifer Garner Nails What’s Wrong with the Work-Family Balance in America. In it, she makes the point that society still expects the woman to do all the juggling and compromising needed to raise a family while dad can go about his business of bringing home the bacon with little worry about childcare and running a household. I understand what she’s saying. Families have changed over the years, but attitudes about roles within the family haven’t kept up. I get it. She makes some valid points in her article. What I don’t get is this – who ever said that having a family would be easy? Where do we get the idea that we are all inherently entitled to balance? Why is juggling and compromise seen as a bad thing? Why do people believe they deserve to “have it all?”

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Does a Teen Have a Right to Their Privacy?

Last night, I watched the movie Blended. At one point, single mom Lauren (played by Drew Barrymore) goes on a blind date. Her son questions her about her date, asking her things that he could only know if he’d read her email. Realizing that her son had invaded her privacy and looked in her computer, she talks to him about the importance of respecting privacy. A little later, while gathering laundry from under her son’s bed, Lauren discovers a bikini-clad centerfold with a picture of their babysitter’s head taped over the model’s face. Shocked and disgusted, she rips the page to shreds. However, her conversation about respecting privacy comes back to haunt her and she instantly regrets tearing up the picture. Which leads me to the question – is it important to respect your child’s privacy (especially if you expect him to respect yours) or, as a parent, do you have the right, or even the responsibility, to invade your child’s personal space to monitor what he’s doing?

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Little Halloween Celebration for the Younger Set

My kids and I haven't had cable TV for years. It's not that I don't like TV, but it's just so darn expensive! I haven't been able to justify spending money on cable TV when my kids and I spend more time at their sporting events than we do at home, and don't really have much time to watch TV anyway. We do, however, have Netflix. It's inexpensive and it puts some of my kids' favorite shows and movies right at our fingertips. We have a family movie night several times a month. When Netflix asked me if I'd like to be part of their Stream Team and talk about the movies and shows we watch on Netflix, I happily agreed because it's something we do anyway.

My older kids like binge-watching shows like The Walking Dead and Orange is the New Black. My younger ones enjoy watching Phineas and Ferb, Good Luck Charlie, and The Wizards of Waverly Place among others. I personally like watching chic flicks and old movies like Roman Holiday, Sabrina, While You Were Sleeping, It Could Happen to You, and Sleepless in Seattle.

This week, my older kids went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. That is way too scary for my younger kids (and me too!) so we stayed home and had our own little pre-Halloween celebration! We watched Curious George Halloween Boofest which was more to my liking than having zombies jump out at me! And my kids helped me to make these adorable desserts to enjoy while we watched our favorite monkey!

I hollowed out some oranges and carved little jack-o-lantern faces on them. My kids filled them with ice cream and put gum drop "stems" on them.

I realized that you need to serve them right away or it will look like they're throwing up chocolate ice cream. My kids, however, thought that barfing jack-o-lanterns were pretty cool.

Curious George Halloween Boofest with my Littles and barfing jack-o-lantern desserts while snuggled up on the couch! Who could ask for a better evening?

Monday, October 13, 2014

15 Crazy Get-Out-of-Work Excuses Only a Parent Could Use

I have to leave work to meet the plumber so I can find out which kid flushed what down the toilet.

I read a rant on Facebook that struck a nerve with me. The tirade was written by a random person who was complaining about parents who miss work because of their kids. “It isn’t fair!” she whined about her breeding counterparts. “Why should they get a day off just because their kid is sick or has some assembly at school? 

Yeah, that’s it. We parents just sit around and think of ways to get out of work. We like worrying about losing our jobs. It’s fun wondering if we’ll have enough money to pay the bills this month if we miss a couple days. And really, there’s nothing more enjoyable than feeling like we’re horrible parents when we’re forced to choose work over our kids (or even when we merely consider choosing work.) 

 CONTINUE READING HERE!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

This, my Friends, is Online Dating

my last blind date
Since all my friends on Facebook have been stalking the guy I'm dating and asking me where we met, I figured I'd explain here. Although I was very tempted to create an entertaining story of how we met that does not include online dating in any way, shape, or form, I opted for the truth. I met him online. Now I know that sounds pretty lame, but it was actually quite an adventure. Before I met Frank, I had to weed though 300-some emails from men who are single for a very good reason. Don't believe me? Here are a few of the emails I received from guys on the dating site. They are copied and pasted, word-for-word, with no editing, here. I don't know why, but when a potential date can only come up with - Hey hot stuff, for an introductory email, I feel the need to bang my head against the wall (and then blog about all the idiocy and social ineptness out there.)


Hi
Really? That's the best you can do?

Hello
See above.

hi there
Wow.

Hello beautiful
Wow again.

Hi how r u..
I'm speechless.

Hey hows it goin?
Is this rhetorical?

Hi how are you?
I give up.

Hi there. How are ya?
:::banging my head against the wall:::

Hi beautiful. How are you? I am Billy. I would love to meet you.
Well, you might want to meet a stranger based on nothing more than a profile picture, but I make it a habit not to meet anyone who addresses a stranger with "Hi beautiful."

So sexy
That's almost a complete sentence. Keep trying.


I adore your smile you are awesomely beautiful my name is Karl what is yours and your favorite color
Hi my name is Dawn it's nice to meet you my favorite color is pink and my hobby is trying to decipher writing that doesn't contain any punctuation.

You seem like a real spitfire. 
Uh thanks?

How do you like online dating?
I like it a little less with each email I receive.

Yep you're quite hot
Gee, thanks. It IS Florida in August, after all.

just a quick message
Yes? I'm listening. Oh wait, you mean that was the message?

I am a recent FL transplant From CO (native) Looking to meet some new people and make new friends. I would like to know if you would be interested in setting up a date sometime for dinner, drinks or a cup of coffee to get to know each other better let me know what your schedules like and let's see if we can't set something up.
Eric
303-960-XXXX
You're asking for a date and giving me your phone number in your first email to me. Either you're some sort of sociopath who wants to make a suit out of my skin or you're selling something. Surprisingly, I'm not interested in either.

Can you turn those eyes off? It's like cheating!!!
And this, kids, is why you should never do drugs.

Grew up in a house full of kids knew right wear your coming from
You were educated in Florida, weren't you?

we would look great together !!! :- )
Well, now that's a matter of opinion.

i agree
That's great! Wait, what?

Okay where to start. Here's a little something about me and what you could except. When it comes to a relation honesty and trust are key. I consider myself a gentlmen and will treat you like a lady. Looking for someone to enjoy eachothers company and hopefully lead to a future together. I have quite the busy schedule do I perfer to plan although I don' t mind being spontatious. Enjoy making people laugh, good convertsation, good food, music and out door activities.
Okay, where to start? Thank you for all this information I didn't want. Also, thank you for helping me to practice patience and restraint because my first inclination was to correct all your errors and send this back to you with a big red, D- scrawled across the top.

Good morning mom.
Mom? Don't tell me my kids are doing online dating!

how's the laughing going
How's the learning to write an email going?

Hey sweetie!..your eye's keep catching me everytime is shown...have to say hello again..i'm Gregg..your looking right through me!....
Oh, I'm looking right through you, alright.

very, very funny....... :)
My profile is funny? Or my pictures are funny? Or your attempt at an introductory email is funny?

Hello, im stephen
We breaking up already?
It's been a while since I've dated, but I'm pretty sure you have to have a relationship before you can break up, and since this is your very first email to me . . . You know what? Yes, yes we're breaking up.

Beautiful eyes...and that's no joke...
Oh, I'm glad you specified! I almost laughed out loud at your compliment! Whew! Faux pas averted!

Good Afternoon my beautiful queen. When I first saw your profile, all I could say was WOW a beautiful queen that knows how to write and get straight to the point lol
I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Go Pack Go
Yep, that's how to win a Chicagoan; talk about the Packers.

You look lovely .. and your funny . I like your eyes cheers randy
My funny what? What are eyes cheers randy?

Hello there, wanted to let you know as I've been swimming around this big ole sea its easy to swim right on by most of the fish. And the bright flashes of some catch your attention and after closer examination many are nice enough but not quite what I'm looking for. But for a barracuda life on the reef is waiting for that one combination of brilliance and looks evident at once to swim by. So when prowling the shoals what should arrest my attention, but an auburn haired beauty that reached thru the masses and grabbed me instantly. So what say you gorgeous, then but repent and I shall speedily whisk you up in my strong arms and share our blended lives together.
Sincerely Your
Robert
How exactly would one go about obtaining a restraining order?

How long does a guy have to know you before you show him your blog?
Ah, but then I wouldn't be able to write about all my awful dates. And let's not underestimate the possibility of a potential date finding the post I wrote about my colonoscopy. I'm pretty sure I'd have a hard time looking someone in the eye, knowing he'd read the details of my explosive diarrhea.

Very beautiful
Hello and how are you? You have very beautiful eyes..
Hi beautiful would love to find out if your heart is as beautiful as you
Very attractive lady
Just wanted to compliment you on your eyes. Very Niiiice!!! Joe
You're gorgeous
You're gorgeous..will u marry me :-)
Wow are sure are strikingly beautiful!
you have amazing eyes
great profile very beautiful woman
You are gorgeous!
you are beautifull
I'm in love with your eyes
your eyes are something else
Wow, you are simply stunning. Tim
You look absolutely Breathtaking! Matthew
Hi, my name is Don. How are you?
Wow. What a pretty lady. : )
very pretty
Dear every single guy who has written something along the lines of the above emails, stop. Just stop. Please, for the love of God, stop! Try reading the profile. Find something else to comment on, something of substance, anything else. Thank you.


This is merely a tiny fraction of the insanity that's out there, my friends. Suddenly your husband's dirty laundry on the floor doesn't seem so bad, does it? When faced with this dating pool, your spouse's incessant football-watching is no longer that big of a deal, is it? So when I got Frank's email which sounded normal and sane, AND referenced The Brady Bunch and Seinfeld, I had to respond. That was over a month ago. We haven't stopped talking since.  :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Stepdad Requirements

The other day, as we were getting ready for school, Brooklyn asked me if she would ever have a stepdad. She proceeded to give me a list of her requirements for a potential stepdad. When I got home from work, she immediately asked me, "Did you find me one?"

"Find you one what?"

"A stepdad!" (Duh!)

"In the 8 hours I was at work?! Uh, no. No, sweetie. Not quite yet."

I asked her to repeat her requirements for a stepdad because I thought they were funny. Here she is . . .
video

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

And the Short Guy Laughed

Friday evening, I was sitting in my family room and I heard the noise that indicates my kids have turned on the water outside. I yelled out the back door to the kids, “Stop playing with the water! You have 10 minutes before you need to come in and get ready for bed.”

“We’re not playing with the water,” they all chimed.

“Well, just turn it off, please,” I instructed.

They insisted, “But we didn’t turn it on!”

I closed the door and listened more carefully to the sound that I had thought meant the water was running. I followed the noise through the kitchen and traced it to my refrigerator. Uh oh, I thought. My refrigerator is making really strange sounds! I opened and closed the doors a few times (like that was going to stop the sound and make everything okay.) Any technician would agree. “Well it was broken, but since you opened and closed all the doors, you fixed it!”

I decided I’d probably have to call someone to come look at it on Monday. In the meantime, I just plugged in my ear buds and cranked up The Psychadelic Furs. Voila! No more annoying noise.

At some point on Saturday, I asked Jackson to mow the lawn because I was pretty certain if he didn’t mow it soon, he was going to need a scythe just to clear a path to the front door. This is when we discovered that he couldn’t mow the lawn because a small lake had formed on the side of the house. You know, where the water was running. Where the water had been running full blast for nearly 24 hours straight. Yeah, there. Apparently I was right the first time. It wasn’t the refrigerator; it was the water spigot on the outside of the house.

I walked outside my house and was greeted with this sight.


I started hyperventilating, envisioning my water bill. I remembered my parents yelling at me for taking such long showers as a teen. “Do you want to pay the water bill?” they demanded. “You don’t need to take a 30 minute shower!” Ohmygosh, that was nothing compared to this!

I kept calm and tried to figure out the best way to go about stopping the leak. To an outsider, it may have looked like I was running around in circles, flapping my arms like Chicken Little, squawking, “My water’s leaking! My water’s leaking!” But I assure you, I was busy, using my cerebral cortex to formulate a logical plan for curbing the steady flow of water.

Thankfully, my level-headed friend told me to call the emergency number for the water department. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I called, explained my situation, and was informed that some guys were on their way over to check it out.

In the meantime, I figured I could keep the water from gushing out by screwing a spray nozzle onto the hose. I ran across the street (I didn’t actually run. I don’t do that. It’s an expression) to borrow one from my neighbor. I realized I’d have to screw the sprayer onto to the hose with the water rushing from the hose in a torrential stream. I’ll give you a minute to picture this. Yep. 

Me + hose + sprayer = me drenched from head to toe. Just as I realized the sprayer didn’t even fit on the hose, the guys from the water company showed up. They took one look at me, my wet hair stuck like seaweed to my cheeks, my tank top plastered to me, my shorts dripping down my legs, and started laughing. Well, the short guy laughed. A lot. The tall guy was all business.

“Uh yeah, I tried to screw this sprayer on the end of the hose. I didn’t work. It wasn’t one of my better ideas. Then again, it wasn’t my worst idea either,” I stammered.

The short guy laughed some more.

The tall guy screwed some sort of fitting onto the end of my hose. He didn’t get wet at all. Apparently the secret is to fold the hose in half, effectively crimping it and stopping the flow of water while screwing the fitting onto the end. The short guy looked at me as I wiped the mascara from my cheeks and attempted to smooth my dripping hair back off my face, and he laughed some more. Not liking the short dude.

In the end, the guys stopped the surge of water and left. I walked inside so I could change clothes before heading back to the football field. No sooner did I get upstairs than the doorbell rang. I ran back down and answered. The water guys stood there. “I’m sorry to bother you, but you know, instead of calling a plumber, you could just go to Ace and ask for a . . .”

I interrupted at this point. “Thank you, but I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’m pretty sure I can’t fix this, and I’m scared to go to Ace because I’m convinced the guys there all take bets on what crazy fix-it problem I’ll come up with next.


And the short guy laughed again.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Reasons Why I Wish my Kids Grew up in the 80s

I’m proud to say I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Well, I’m not so proud of the plaid, flared pants I wore as a kid, but overall, I think it was a great time to grow up. Come to think of it, it’s pretty amazing that any of us from that time period even survived to adulthood – no seatbelts, second-hand smoke everywhere, heck, cigarettes for sale in vending machines! — running around outside by ourselves with no cell phones until dark, scorching-hot metal playground equipment positioned over asphalt and guaranteed to give you a concussion, 3rd-degree burns, and/or Tetanus, and lawn Jarts (which were basically little spears that children were supposed to throw in a target on the grass, but inevitably ended up impaled in some kid’s skull every summer).

CONTINUE READING HERE!

image: flickr

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I’m a Parent. I’m a Teacher. How Back-to-School Is Putting Me at Odds with Myself

It’s back-to-school time — that most wonderful time of year when the backpacks don’t smell like sour milk, the pencils are sharpened, and the brains are like dry sponges just waiting to soak up all the knowledge their teachers can impart. As a parent, I yearn for this time of year. Don’t get me wrong — I really love spending time with my kids all summer. But when those last couple weeks roll along, it becomes clear that they need to get back to school — for everyone’s sanity!

For the past few years, however, instead of doing a little happy dance when August comes around, I have mixed emotions. Working in a middle school, I know that back-to-school time for my kids also means back-to-school time for me. And although it’s exciting to begin a new year and it’s refreshing to get back on a normal schedule, it can also daunting.

So I find myself conflicted inside. I approach the following same 10 back-to-school themes as two selves — two sometimes opposite, opposing forces — all within the embodiment of just one parent. I meant teacher. I mean person.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I’m Trying to Be Strong, But I’m Drowning in This Single-Parenting Thing

I can’t even begin to adequately describe the overwhelming feeling that threatens to drown me daily. It’s like trying to stand in the ocean. You get your footing, but before you can enjoy the cool water washing over, soothing you, you spot a wave on the horizon. It moves closer and you know it’s going to hit you, but you’re powerless to stop it. You’re in too deep to simply turn around and head toward shore. Sometimes you can dive under it and resurface with only a little water in your nose. Sometimes you can jump up and avoid being swept away with only a spray of salt stinging your eyes. But other times, times when you’re distracted doing something else, the wave sneaks up, hits you, and drags you under, scraping you along the sand and bits of broken shell, pulling you away, twisting you around until you don’t even know which way is up; all you know is that you can’t breathe and you can’t get your footing, and you don’t know if it’ll ever end. And now and then, before you can resurface, a second or third wave knocks you down and keeps dragging you along until you’re not even sure you want to resurface because sometimes it’s just too darn hard to try to remain upright.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Moms and Dads Confess: "The Laziest Thing I've Done as a Parent"

The other day, I washed the same load of laundry for the THIRD time because I was just too lazy to take the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer. Every time I went to switch loads, I realized they had that “stale clothes musty funk” so I re-washed them, only to forget about them for another day or two. And repeat. And repeat.

And then there was the time I was too lazy to iron my son’s shirt so I just went over his collar a little bit with my hair straightener. What? It sort of worked!

It occurred to me that parenting can sometimes look a little like a bad movie about living in a frat house. From the circles under our eyes, our unkempt appearances, our horribly dirty cars, worn socks strewn around our houses and foul smells emanating from our garbage pails, parents might seem half a step removed from uncivilized in their lowest and laziest moments, at least judging by appearances.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tires, Idiots, and Bare Butts: The Story of my Life

My car had been feeling a little funky lately. I didn’t know what was wrong with it, but it just didn’t feel quite right and it sounded a little louder than usual. I stopped for gas a couple weeks ago and decided to check my tires. Maybe they’re low, I thought. That could probably cause it to feel weird. I came up with that idea like I’m some sort of mechanic-y type genius!

I pulled up to the thingamajiggy labeled “air” and read the instructions. Insert one dollar in quarters. After digging in my purse, the cup holders of my van, and the floor, I produced 3 quarters, a gum wrapper, a penny that was stuck with a bonding agent more powerful than super glue (probably Diet Coke), and a broken, melted crayon. Bummer. I grabbed a dollar bill and ran into the gas station to ask for change. The not-so-nice woman behind the counter informed me that she couldn’t give me change unless I bought something. Gee thanks, lady.

I left the building and accosted the passengers of the first car I saw. I popped my head in their open window, holding up my dollar bill and asked, “Do you have change for a single? I need quarters so I can fill my tires.” Judging by the petrified looks I received, the passengers interpreted my question to mean, “Can I have some money for drugs so I don’t have to rob the store?” They acquiesced (probably in an effort to make me leave) and tossed some quarters out the window before quickly rolling them up.

I walked over to the air machine and was really proud of myself for remembering how fill my tires. The only reason I’d ever filled my tires before was because I got stuck while driving on the beach in North Carolina. The beach patrol guy laughed at me, let some air out of my tires, and helped me get off the beach. Then I had to figure out how to fill them up again. At that time, I bought one of those tire thingys that has the little ruler that slides out. Too bad my kids used it as some sort of mini sword and broke it at some point. 

I began filling the tires. Apparently my front tires were really, really, embarrassingly low. So I filled 3 of them, but the fourth one wouldn’t hold air. Every time I checked, the pressure went down a little. What the heck? Is there a hole in my tire, I wondered?  I’m embarrassed (but apparently not too embarrassed since I’m telling the world [or the 10 people who read my blog]) to admit that it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out that my quarters had run out and the machine had turned off. When I texted that little tidbit to my friend, he asked, “Um didn’t you hear that the compressor had turned off??” One would think, but alas no, I hadn’t noticed.

Anyway, fast forward a couple weeks. I’m driving to work when I got a sudden sense of dread deep in my gut. You know that feeling? That feeling you get when something bad is going to happen? I broke out in a cold sweat and started breathing weird as the impending sense of doom overtook me. After several miles of feeling that sense of dread, I suddenly couldn’t drive over 20 miles an hour and my steering wheel was turned halfway around in order to go straight. Oh crap, there’s definitely something wrong here. I pulled over, got out and looked at my tires. Flat. Great.

I called AAA and waited for the tow truck they assured me would arrive within the hour. I work in a bad area so I locked my doors and kept an eye out as I waited. A woman, at a house nearby, took her garbage down to the street while watching me the whole time. She came out a second time. Then a third. Finally, this Haitian woman, with her boob hanging out of her dress, walked up to my car and asked me if I was okay. I rolled down my window and told her I had a flat tire and was just waiting for a tow truck. As she walked away, a gust of wind blew up her dress to reveal to the entire neighborhood that she was going commando. I’m still having nightmares about that. There are just some things you can’t unsee.

My friend and principal was on her way to school from a dentist appointment with her son so she came to pick me up and take me to school. But not before seeing my front tires and exclaiming, “Dawn, they’re bald!” My first inclination was to joke that all tires are bald; tires don’t have hair. It’s what I do when I feel stupid. I had no idea there was anything wrong with my tires. 

So, after a 2 hour wait, the tow truck eventually gets there and takes my car to the shop at Walmart and my friend brought me to school several hours late. Way to start off the year, Dawn! Late already and it’s only the second week.

As soon as I got to my classroom, I called Walmart. “A tow truck is dropping my van off there in a minute. Please change the flat tire. I’ll pick it up after work.”

“We can’t work on your car until you sign our papers.”

“But I’m telling you now, over the phone, please fix the tire.”

“I’m sorry, but we won’t do anything until you come in and sign.”

“GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

I borrowed my friend’s car, drove to Walmart and stomped over to the service center.

“My van was just dropped off by a tow truck. I need a new tire.”

The guy behind the counter looked over his shoulder toward the parking lot and asked, “Are you sure it was dropped off?”

“Yes, it’s right there in the parking lot.”

“Is it invisible?”

I blinked at him a couple times. Then put on my most sarcastic font and said, “Yes, yes, it’s an invisible car. I got it the same place Wonder Woman got her jet and Mermaid Man got his boatmobile.”

He looked confused.

“No, it isn’t invisible! It’s right out there in the parking lot.

“Have you been here before?” he asked. I nodded so he went on. “What's your phone number?”

“847- blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah.” [Editorial note: I did not actually say blah blah blah, but I don’t want to put my phone number out here or I’ll have hundreds of hot, young guys booty calling me at all hours. Oh wait a minute, on second thought . . . No, no I can’t have that.]

“Are you sure your number isn’t 407-blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know my own phone number,” I answered while wondering if this guy was on some sort of “exceptional needs” special work program.

“Okay, so you want us to fix your tire?”

“No, I need a new tire.”

“Are you sure?”

“Ummmm yeah, pretty sure. The tire is shredded. No amount of duct tape is going to fix that baby.”

“What size tire do you need?”

I stared at him blankly. “I don’t know! It’s round!”

He looked up my car and apparently figured it out. Then he asked, “Do you having locking lug nuts?”

“If I knew what a freaking lug nut was, I’d be changing this myself!” I grumbled angrily.

I signed the stupid paper and as I walked away, I texted the entire, true conversation to my friend who just happens to be a cop. He responded with, “I’m afraid you’re going to hit someone. Remember, that’s battery. They’ll fingerprint you and take your picture.”

In the end, I’m happy to report that I did not, in fact, punch anyone in the face. I didn’t get mugged or killed while waiting for the tow truck. I did get new tires. But I still have nightmares about that woman and her bare booty . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Redecorating Made Easy with RoomMates Décor

I recently had the opportunity to try out RoomMates Décor. RoomMates produces peel and stick wall decals for every room in your house. You might remember that I posted here about how my walls are still bare despite the fact that I've lived in this house for 3 years now. I took a look at RoomMates website and became instantly excited about the possibilities! It took me a good week to finally decide on a design because THEY HAVE SO MANY FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE! Oh my gosh, there is something for everyone there! And they partner with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. and more so chances are your kid's favorite character/movie is available. You can even get personalized, custom decals at RoomMates. Although I know there are plenty of decals my kids would love, I chose one from their home decor category to try out.

I wasn't sure how well these decals would work on my walls because I live in Florida and houses down here tend to have textured walls. I wasn't sure they'd stick to my walls since they're so bumpy. I was a little concerned the decals would peel up since the website states that they work best on smooth surfaces, but I gave it a try anyway.


I opted to apply this quote above the arches between my kitchen and family room. It took me less than 10 minutes to apply these (and that includes the time it took me to move my chair/ladder around since I'm "vertically challenged".) Also, I'm not real good with the planning and measuring and making sure things are precise; I just went with my gut and slapped them up there on the wall so when I stood back, I realized a couple of them needed to be repositioned a bit since they were crooked. That's a really AWESOME feature - these are removable! You can easily peel them off and reapply them wherever you want, making it super quick, easy, and affordable to give your room a whole new look in minutes!



It has been about 2 weeks since I applied the decals and they're still sticking beautifully despite my textured walls. They haven't peeled up at all. So, I officially say they can be successfully applied to rough, textured walls too.


Cool, huh? I love these and can't wait to order some of the dry erase ones for my classroom at school!

Here's a special for my readers! Use code RMLOVIN for 15% off your order! This code expires 9/30/14 so check out the huge selection of decals including Frozen, Star Wars, Cars, Rapunzel, and hundreds of others HERE!

Monday, August 18, 2014

“I Am Good Enough”: The Lesson I’m Struggling to Teach Myself (and My Kids)

I looked at myself in the mirror. I turned a bit to the side, sucked in my stomach, put my hand on my hip, raised my head a little, and studied the image peering back at me. Then I let out my breath, dropped my arms, and burst into tears. The voice that resides in my head sneered at me. “You are a fat, ugly, stupid loser. That is why no one will ever want you.” The voice is not nice. In fact, she can be downright callous and mean. I don’t like her. I try to ignore her heartless words, remembering that her cruelty stems from her insecurity. Still, more often than not they find their mark, making me doubt everything I believe about myself.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

6 Ways my "Bad Parenting" is Good for my Kids

I remember walking to school with my sister every day when we were in elementary school. If it was hot out, we wore shorts. If it was raining, we walked with umbrellas. If it was winter, we trudged through the snow wearing boots and snow pants. We walked more than a mile a day, unsupervised, in all weather, five times a week. And guess what? No one thought twice about it. EVERYONE walked!

CONTINUE READING HERE!

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