Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Sound Out

As your kids get older, a question for all of you, how do you keep Santa alive?
Eh, we just threaten the older kids that Santa will only leave them dirt if they spoil it for the little kids. The older ones have fun playing along.

What is you favorite coffee creamer during this time of the year?
Gingerbread by CoffeeMate. Yum-O!

What did Santa bring you?
A new, comfy computer chair that doesn't have screws sticking out of the seat to poke me in the butt.

Hi Dawn, I was lying in bed last night, thinking about what you said. Those darn Twist Tie's and plastic straps they put on all kids toys. Is it a conspiracy? Do they think the toys will really shift that much?
Haven't you ever seen Toy Story? They have to keep the toys contained somehow or Emperor Zurg would be running amok in Al's Toy Barn, the Barbies would be having a pool party, and Mr. Potato would be driving around in a RC car, knocking over displays of super balls.

Has the ENT considered tonsil and adenoid surgery for Clay and Lexi?
Already done. Remember - after Clay's tonsillectomy, I fed him chocolate pudding for breakfast on national TV? LOL

I actually have a question: How do I find some of your older blogs?

Go to the right side of my blog and click on the month you'd like to view under "Old Stuff".

So what does a tooth go for in your parts?
A dollar. Unless, of course, the Tooth Fairy has forgotten several nights in a row and has to pay some guilt money.

I also was wondering if you save their teeth?
Yes, but I have no idea why. What am I ever going to do with these? Why am I keeping them? Maybe the next time I need a root canal, I can just pull my tooth and glue one of my kids' baby teeth in the socket.

speaking of big trips--i am coming to chicago dec. 27-31! i've never been before. any suggestions for the newbie (besides LOTS of warm clothes--i'm from california!).

Yes, I suggest you tell me about your trip more than one day in advance the next time and I could come up with some ideas of fun things to do before you leave. :)

Do you write out Christmas family letters? No way! There is no way to write one of those without either sounding like you're bragging and all conceited-like, or sounding like you have no life with nothing going on at all. Didn't you ever see that Raymond episode? LOL

I hope that Santa was good to you and to all your family. (My 2 year old's favorite present was for some reason the Wellies she received -- she insisted on wearing them ALL day yesterday over her PJs, except when she was painting and please don't ask why that's the exception, as I have no idea.) What were some of the favorites at your house?

First off - what on earth are Wellies? And I think the big hit with my kids was the Wii they received. I have to say that I like it too. In real life, I don't think I've ever gotten a score higher than 70 while bowling. In Wiiland, I get over 150!

As I read this blog entry today I realize this is the beginning of the end of a blog i though very spontaneous, free thinking & funny ; Someone I enjoyed visiting every day.It saddens me because now that you have a book deal and you are actually going to be paid for being you, you are going to have to change because no one in 'the business' is allowed to remain them self. Someone has to tell you how to be you.

Hey, are you trying to tell me how I'm going to be in the future?! ;) I hope I don't sound too naive here, but I'm pretty sure I'll be keeping my feet on the ground. I'm not about to change. I have God and six kiddos to keep me grounded.

Does this mean Joe is home more often instead of having to put in so much overtime? I hope so. I'm sure you and the kids love having him around more.
Yes! It's wonderful! Well, there are times that he drives me nuts and I'm like, "Can't you go back to work???" LOL But really, it's very nice having him around.

Whose beautiful Christmas tree was that? It looks like a picture postcard. Very symmetrical (only a math teacher would say that).

Ahhh, that's my anal sister's perfectly symmetrical tree. I'm pretty sure (even before kids) my tree has never looked that nice!

Your slideshow is fantastic! Something felt funny as I was looking at it, and then I realized that I don't think I've ever seen Christmas morning pictures of kids in jeans! :-) Nah, my kids do the whole Christmas morning thing in their jammies. Those were pictures from Christmas morning, Christmas day at my inlaws, the day after Christmas at my sister's, and a few days before Christmas for a birthday party at my parents' house.

I especially love the picture of your dad. He looks so sweet - can I bring him home with me? :-) He must be so proud!
My dad thanks you for this comment! LOL! He's a great guy. Very laid-back and positive. And yes, both my parents are very proud!

Obviously the answer is "d", but before I saw the multiple choice list, I thought they were all items to help get out of the house and take the kids to school
OK, so my husband actually told me this very thing - that it was to help get me up and out of the house on time in the morning! I'd be offended, but it's true.

Yia Yia is greek for Grandma right?

I suggest the couch to 5K program on! it's awesome. and you can do it as a run walk program, of if you don't feel ready, do it as a speed walk/slow walk program. only 40 mins max a day, 3x a week ;) gee doesn't that sound FUN!?!?
Honestly? Ummm no. It sounds like torture. I'd rather go to the grocery store with the kids than to run on purpose.

Dawn, have you met Flylady?
Nope. Is she related to this guy?

Fat is good for brain development, right?
Which is why I'm so darn smart. ;)

I can relate to your family, but only because I was one of six kids. My mom says that, if she had it to do over again, she'd have had all six of us at once. Any thoughts? I think it would be pretty painful to have all six at once.

Just wondering what's with all the santa bags under the tree. My dad wrapped all those boxes in red paper and then cut different Santa faces out of white paper and glued them on. Cool, huh?

What is your deadline for the first book, in time for next Christmas? My deadline is January 31 (insert freaked out "I'll never finish in time" scream) and the book is scheduled to be out October, 2008 (in plenty of time for Christmas!)

Is that a chocolate milk mustache to go along with it?
Nope, do you think I'd let my kids run around with chocolate milk all over their faces? It's peanut butter, naturally.

Congratulations Dawn!! You passed TWO MILLION!!!!

Wooo Hooo!!! Thank you!

EXCUSE ME!!!!! Is today not SUNDAY????? Where is the customary question and answer blog?
Hold your pants on! OK, so maybe technically it was Sunday when I did the Bert post, but it doesn't count if I post it in the wee hours of the morning. I count that as Saturday's post.

Hi Dawn, so this comment is totally unrelated to your post but I have to let you know that you are obviously making some kind of an impact on me. The other night I had a dream that my husband and I bought your house. For some reason, you all couldn't move out in time, something to do with your 6 kids I think, and so we decided that you could stay with us until you could figure things out. Any dream interpreters out there?
Easy - after reading all the talk of diets starting in January, you decided to load up before officially starting the diet, so you had a strange concoction of left-over sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies, a ham sandwich, a couple deviled eggs, and a big glass of egg nog before bed.
But more importantly, I can't believe my house was ever clean enough to make someone want to buy it!

Thanks for sharing the pictures, Dawn. I was truly impressed by the organized presents by the tree. I've never seen that so well presented before, except in magazines that make me feel inferior -- now ever your blog is doing that ;)
Oh no, no, no, no, no. The picture to which you're referring is my sister's beautifully decorated tree with my parents presents artfully arranged around it. (My sister just has a 5 month old, understand?)

Love the stocking gifts! I usually plan my own stocking. Your way, although last-minute, is more creative. Noooo, no, that is most definitely not my way. I actually take the time to think of gifts I believe the recipient will like. I start thinking about presents usually in October and I try to find things that people can use, or things that people would like, but wouldn't spend the money on themselves, or things that are just fun. I do not run out the night before and buy whatever I can find. Ever.
Next year I am SO taking the suggestion from you guys to fill my own stocking with goodies. "Oh thank you, honey. These earrings are just beautiful! How did you know? Oh look! A charm for my bracelet! Thank you! Ahhh, my favorite lotion. How thoughtful, Sweetie!" as my husband just stares at me dumbfounded and unable to remember buying any of the items I pull out of my stocking.

As always, check out my other blog, Mamaslike, to support other SAHMs.


Fun use #64 for mascara .
Stay tuned next week when I cover fun use #65 - using mascara to decorate the television.
I thought he was paying an awful lot of attention to Bert when we were in Florida. It all makes sense now.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I Resolve to Make a List of a minute

Four more days until I start my annual diet, follow it for a couple weeks, get a hankering for Lou Malnati's, and decide that delicious pizza is much more important than eating healthy and getting fit. It's a tradition. Who's with me?

Seriously, I feel a heart attack coming on every time I scale a set of stairs. I run out of breath chasing the kids around the house. I need a small crane to help me get up after playing with the kids on the floor. This can't be good.

Putting on jeans, fresh out of the dryer, takes a feat of Herculean strength. My fat rolls have developed rolls of their own and if I gain one more pound, I fear I'll need the jaws of life to extricate my butt from the seat of the plane the next time I travel.

Why is it such hard work to lose weight? You have to really pay attention to what you eat. You have to make wise decisions and choose the stinky ole fish over the cheeseburger with 1400 grams of fat. You have to *ugh* exercise. It takes so much effort to lose 5 pounds, yet you can gain 5 pounds in a single day without blinking an eye. It's really not fair. Why is that?

So, anyone else trading in ice cream for nonfat, plain yogurt; cheesecake for an apple; pizza for broiled fish and steamed broccoli?

Maybe I should add some more attainable resolutions to my list. Yeah, that's not a bad idea. Hmmm, let's see. I can resolve to not lose my temper with my kids.
Oh wait - scratch that one.

I can resolve to keep my house clean.
Hmmm, nah, that's no good either.

I could resolve to save money, or read every night, or not let my laundry pile up.
I don't think so.

I know! I can resolve to stop procrastinating.
Ugh, I think I'll just make my new year's resolution list later.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Aftermath

Christmas is like pregnancy. For months you prepare for the baby/Christmas. You shop for the layette/perfect gift. For days you wash baby clothes, open packages of diapers, and decorate baby's room/bake cookies, wrap presents and decorate the house. You're up half the night and then whoosh, just like that, it's over. Of course, after pregnancy and labor, you have a cute little baby to show for all your work. After Christmas, you're left with a house full of toys, wads of wrapping paper, mounds of dirty dishes, and thousands of boxes.

I have a little Christmas quiz for you. The following items filled my stocking Christmas morning. What do these things have in common?

A. They all have some yellow on the packaging.

B. They're all tasty treats.

C. They all have the letter "C" in in them.

D. They can all be bought at your local drug store/gas station around midnight Christmas eve.

My middle son, Jackson, got me the coolest Christmas gift!

He has a chance to earn play money at school for good behavior and excellent test scores. Every Friday, his teacher opens a "class store" and lets the kids use their "money" to buy items from the store. They can buy small toys, candy, and other treats.

Jackson hadn't bought a thing all year. He just kept saving his money week after week (which is really unusual for him since money tends to burn a hole in his pocket.) Anyway, he saved up a ton of money and used it all to buy me a beautiful necklace for Christmas. Is that the sweetest thing ever? Of course, today he told me that I was the worst mom EVER and believe me, after his behavior the last couple days, I felt like the worst mom ever. I briefly considered selling him to gypsies.

Oh yeah! I totally forgot about this to give you a heads up! My interview was featured on NPR this morning. Oops, sorry about that. You can check it out HERE though. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the 'web log', they're featuring information and interviews about blogs all week. Here's the web page featuring MY STORY. It always amazes me how they can take hours of tape or film and cut it down to a minute or two. And sheesh, you'd think I could at least slap on some lipstick before getting my picture taken. @@

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Air traffic controllers in Fairytale Land had a small glitch last night as the Tooth Fairy was apparently not granted clearance to land at our house while Santa was there. I'm ashamed to admit that this is not the first time this has happened. In fact, this morning, when Lex discovered the Tooth Fairy had not taken her tooth, her older siblings reassured her, "Oh, it's OK Lexi. That's happened to us before too. The Tooth Fairy gets really busy sometimes and you have to wait a couple days." (The Tooth Fairy has already made a stop here tonight.)

I'll have an update and pictures from Christmas either tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime, I wanted to give my readers, who have been following Julian's story, a little update. Although just yesterday, Mimi thought that Julian wouldn't make it to see Christmas, he did. Not only did he hold on until today, but he woke up with a big smile, asked for coffee and donuts, and was a chatterbox throughout the day. I couldn't be happier or more thankful that the Averys will have these nice memories of their last Christmas all together. I would like to share this poem that Mimi wrote last December before Julian had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

About Christmas...

What is it about Christmas that reminds us how much we miss someone?
What is it about Christmas that reminds us how lonely we are ?
What is it about Christmas that reminds us how selfish we can be?
What is it about Christmas that reminds us how unfriendly we can be?

Christmas should be about giving
Christmas should be about helping
Christmas should be about loving
Christmas should be about remembering

Remembering on Christmas Day that it is all about Him,
Remembering on Christmas day that it was all about us,
Remembering on Christmas day how little He was
Remembering on Christmas day how great He is

Never forget on Christmas day that someone is in our heart,
Never forget on Christmas day that we are not alone
Never forget on Christmas day to be giving
Never forget on Christmas day to open your home and your heart.

Because It was on Christmas day that God sent us His son
Because it is on Christmas day that we forget most about God
Because it is on Christmas day that we should always remember
that love , hope ,peace and trust dont only exist on Christmas day...

Monday, December 24, 2007

All We Need Now is the Easter Bunny...

Looks like the Tooth Fairy will get to meet up with Santa for some milk and cookies tonight. I think Lex is more excited about her first lost tooth, than she is about Santa coming.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Sound Out

Hello everybody! It's Sunday! You know what that means.... it's time to answer viewer mail.

First off, I have a couple updates. Michelle has raised over $2000 on her blog for Julian and his family. This money will help Mimi to buy a burial plot close to their home. Ugh, it just breaks my heart to write that. Julian was in the hospital the other day to help relieve pressure on his poor distended tummy. Thankfully, they're home now and I pray they have a wonderful Christmas and can make some memories to last a lifetime.

In other news, I'm feeling fine and dandy now. Hooray. My middle daughter, Lexington, has strep throat however. It just kind of hit her like a ton of bricks this afternoon. You see, in my family we get sick on vacations and holidays. It's just more fun when you can't get to your regular doctor and you have to try and find a treatment center out of town or you have to go to the ER on the weekend or holiday. On the bright side, we discovered the best way to be seen right away without having to spend hours in the waiting room. Just walk up to the reception desk and promptly puke all over the floor. I don't think we've ever been ushered to a room as quickly as we were today.

After we got to the room, we met Dr. Know-It-All. This is why, when my kids get sick on the weekend, I do everything in my power to wait until Monday so we can see our regular pediatricians who, by the way, are all awesome. So, this doctor spent .000000429 of a second looking in Lex's ears. She didn't say a word about her ears.

(Oooo back up. I forgot to tell you about the ENT appointment I had on this past Thursday. Lexi's ears are still filled with fluid from back in October. She did poorly on her hearing test. She's going for her third set of tubes in January. Clay's ears are both filled with fluid, and he did really poorly on his hearing test as well. Looks like he'll be getting his second set of tubes come January too.)

OK, back to today. Dr. Know-It-All didn't say anything about Lexi's ears which have started causing her pain. I asked her, "How are her ears?"
"They're fine," she quickly replied.
"They're fine?" I was really surprised they didn't look infected since I knew they were fluid-filled and now Lex was running a fever and her ears were hurting. "Are they still filled with fluid?" I asked.
"There is no infection," Dr. Know-It-All avoided my question.
"I understand that they don't look infected to you, but are they still filled with fluid?" I asked yet again.
Dr. Know-It-All gave a sigh, looked at me, and in her most condescending voice (I'm assuming this was her most condescending voice and she isn't actually capable of acting more superior), said, "She doesn't need antibiotics if she has fluid in her ears."
Ummm hello? Did I ask you for antibiotics for her ears? Did I say anything remotely like that? After years of speech therapy, at least partially brought about by poor hearing as a result of fluid-filled ears, I'm just keeping tabs on her ears right now.

Anyway, Dr. Know-It-All asked me what else was bothering my daughter. I told her that her throat, stomach, and head were all hurting, that she'd thrown up in the reception area, and that several kids from her class were out with strep. Dr. K.I.A. brushed it all off and said, "Well, it looks like she just has a virus. We'll do a strep test just in case and then let you go home."

Surprise, surprise, the strep test came back positive. The good news is that Lex will be feeling better and won't be contagious after 24 hours on the antibiotics. The bad news is that one or more of the other kids will have it within the next two days. They just believe in sharing that way.

I've taken a bit of a break from my other blog,, but will be back posting regularly there come the beginning of January. As always, if you're interested in advertising on either Mamaslike or this blog, you can get more information here.

Now, without further ado, here are the answers to life's great questions...

Did you just say your husband was grilling? Outisde? In Chicago? In December?
Yes! I highly recommend it! Husband outside grilling = little clean-up for you!

You know, I have a friend who insists that she considers my blogs (yes, I have two) a "ministry". I laugh at the thought, but I suppose if I can give somebody reason to smile on a day when everything around them looked bleak, maybe she's right. Do you agree?
I had never really thought about it until people started thanking me for making them smile on an otherwise gloomy day. Like you, it makes me kinda laugh to think about it, but if I can make someone smile on a bad day, then it's all good in my book and people can call it whatever they wish. :)

This is the final countdown week for Christmas and I'm curious - WHEN did you start/finish your shopping?
I was contemplating starting my shopping today, but it's REALLY cold and windy here right now and I don't feel like shopping right now. I wonder how much longer I can put it off?
OK, seriously, I think I started shopping right after Thanksgiving when Christmas was in the air and stores were fully stocked, there was just a little chill in the air, people were in festive moods, the sounds of Christmas carols filled the air, and my favorite holiday coffee creamers were available in stores. I finished shopping today (literally) when the store's shelves were bare, employees were tired, shoppers were frantically trying to find those last minute gifts, the Christmas music grated on our ears, and it was 500 degrees below 0. I'm doing all my shopping online next year.

Your talent blows me out of the water. How do you do it all? Where do you find a second in your day to do everything that you do?
I do it all, but I sure don't do it well! I'm thinking that I may just "wrap" presents in the shopping bags in which they came. I did my Christmas cards, but I have yet to drop them in a mailbox. I bought Christmas gifts for out of town friends, but I have yet to send them. Maybe they can be New Year's presents. Believe me, I've been checking things off my list and breathing a little easier every day.

Yay! My question made it into Dawn's list! But joint compound!!! Did she get stuck together?!?!?! Oh my!!!
Here's what she did...

The rest of the "If a monkey bit you..." question is, "...what kind of medicine would you have to take?" My kids are the greatest fountain of straight lines, ever. Sometimes it just doesn't seem fair...
LOL! I say this all the time. I can remember all sorts of ridiculous, useless, Cliff Claven-like information, but I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday! If only I could send stupid movie quotes, the lyrics to that song I learned in fifth grade that named all the states in alphabetical order (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas.....), and the lines to every part I've ever played, to the recycling bin, I'd free up a ton of space on my hard drive!

PS_If I am first can I have a prize? Like an autographed copy of your book? Hee, hee, hee.
I'm not sure about that, but Guideposts has some awesome contest ideas for my blog readers! I'm really excited about them. This summer is going to be fun!

By the way...What Time do the kids wake you up on Christmas morning????
Let's see...Santa doesn't wrap gifts at my house. He just sets the toys (completely assembled, part A inserted into slot B, batteries installed, and decals applied) out around the tree. That means Santa is usually up until the very wee hours of the morning assembling, constructing, swearing, smashing thumbs, and undoing approximately 4000 twist ties, while watching A Christmas Story play over and over and over again. If the kids just got up on their own to see what Santa had brought, I would never hear them, they'd tear apart the house, and I'd probably sleep til noon. However, in our house we have a rule. The kids can't get up and run out to see what Santa brought until everyone's awake, Mom and Dad have had a cup of coffee, and I've gotten my camera ready to go. So, we can usually hold them off and tell them to hang out with each other in their bedrooms until 8:00.

Can you share with us what kind of camera you are using. I'm planning to buy one your seems to meet my expectations.
Surely! It's a Sony model DSC - H2. I got the display model for 50% off when I bought it! The best thing is the 12X optical zoom!

Quick question: How do you keep up with all those mittens for your kids?
I just tell the kids that if they lose them, they can't have any pie.

Have they ever had one go into labor?
This was referring to the Living Nativity at my church and the pregnant women who have played Mary. I don't think anyone has ever gone into labor, but let me tell ya - when I played Mary two years ago, that was the easiest labor I've ever experienced! All I had to do was turn around, pick the doll up off the ground, and place it in the manger. Ta da! No epidural required.

A question for your Sunday sound-off: Do you do laundry everyday? If so, how many loads of laundry do you do in a day?
Every day is laundry day in my house. I do an average of 4 loads a day; more if I'm doing bedding and/or towels. I don't mind doing laundry at all. I seem to have a procrastination problem with the whole 'folding and making sure the kids put it away' part though.

Where on earth did the idea to scotch tape their faces evolve?
I have no idea. Kids are insane.

And for the 400 of you who wrote something like this...Let's see, dizziness, nausea, lack of energy....pregnant?
Ummmm NOOOOO!!!

I have a question for your Sunday sound much time do you spend reading other people's blogs on a regular basis and do you have a favorite (or two)?
I wish! I actually haven't been able to find time to read other blogs. I check out other blogs now and then when someone sends me a link. I feel bad that I don't have more time to read other blogs especially when so many people read mine. I'd like to return the favor. Maybe some day...

Is your book going to be illustrated? If so, is Rick Green going to do the illustrations? Just wondering. - I'm not Rick asking.
Hmmm good question, Rick. I don't think the book will be illustrated, but I haven't gotten that far yet. If it is illustrated, I assume the publisher will pick an illustrator they think is appropriate for my book. I really don't know how all this works.

This is great! However, I can't figure out how you ended up with just 10 dirty dishes. Just ten?
Well, that's what I had to work with. The song isn't called The 4,932, 834, 082 Days of Christmas. A reader sent me a link to this video. This is the best version of the song that I've ever heard!

Was the drawing on the table?
YES!!! Ugh, now I have a "potato person" on my kitchen table for all time. Mr. Clean only faded it a little bit. I hear tablecloths are in.

I was wondering if ..being your from Chicago..Have you ever been to the Oprah show?
LOL! Nope. My husband thought he'd get tickets for me and some friends for my birthday one year. Little did he know that you can't just go to Ticketmaster and buy them. I believe it's easier to win the lottery, have your kids behave in December, find cute shoes in your size on sale, and get hit by lightning - twice, than to get tickets to Oprah's show! She's one popular lady! It would be awesome though, wouldn't it?

Do you pass down clothes? How do you store them in your 1000 square foot house? Would the whites turn yellow if I put them in the attic?
I do save clothes and hand them down. I keep them in the attic. I've never noticed whites turning yellow, but they do tend to pick up that enchanting "plastic container" smell after being up there for a few months. Although, I have to admit that I gave away all clothes and baby items a couple times "because I was done having kids and didn't need them anymore." Of course, every time I did that, I ended up pregnant within a couple months. Take my advice - giving away your baby things causes pregnancy.

Hey, according to Dave Carlson's What's your blog worth, Your blog,, is worth $1,172,549.58!
Who's Dave Carlson and where can I claim my check?

I'm still in awe over how neatly all those boots were lined up ... by size yet!What's up with that?
:::snort!::: That is the magic of movies, my friend. This is what it REALLY looks like...

And finally, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I went to a birthday party for my dad and my sister last night. Happy birthday guys! We had our school parties today. Now I can finally finish shopping! Eeeek! I haven't wrapped anything yet and I haven't baked a single cookie! I think I have a busy weekend ahead of me.
Now, for your listening pleasure, a Christmas song ---

On the first day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
A lovely drawing of me.

On the second day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the third day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Four dirty diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Seven chicken nuggets,
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Eight mismatched mittens,
Seven chicken nuggets,
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Nine giant messes,
Eight mismatched mittens,
Seven chicken nuggets,
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Ten dirty dishes,
Nine giant messes,
Eight mismatched mittens,
Seven chicken nuggets,
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Eleven loads of laundry,
Ten dirty dishes,
Nine giant messes,
Eight mismatched mittens,
Seven chicken nuggets,
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my children gave to me...
Twelve muddy snow boots,
Eleven loads of laundry,
Ten dirty dishes,
Nine giant messes,
Eight mismatched mittens,
Seven chicken nuggets,
Six whiny voices,
Four poopy diapers,
Three snotty noses,
Two dirty bathrooms,
and a lovely drawing of me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The World is Spinning - Literally

I guess I forgot to give you guys the answers to the movie quotes last night. A ton of you got them right! They were...
1. Airplane!
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
3. Better Off Dead
4. A Christmas Story
5. Breakfast at Tiffanys
6. Dirty Dancing
7. Ella Enchanted
8. Jaws
9. Rainman
10. The Shawshank Redemption
11. The Princess Bride
12. Tootsie (some people said A League of Their Own, but I think that quote was more like,
"What do you recommend?" in reference to Marla
"A lot of night games!")
13. When Harry Met Sally
14. While You Were Sleeping
15. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
16. A Christmas Story
17. Ferris Buehler's Day Off
18. Better Off Dead
19. A Christmas Story
20. Ghostbusters
21. The Princess Bride
22. National Lampoons Vacation
23. While You Were Sleeping (I totally made a typo on this one! It was supposed to say, "These mashed potatoes are so creamy."
24. The Cutting Edge
25. The Princess Bride

That was fun, huh? See, it's good to procrastinate. I can come up with all sorts of fun things to do like that. Of course, when I procrastinate and do all sorts of stupid things like come up with a list of dog names for a dog I don't have and am not planning to get, I end up staying up until 3:00am trying to get actual chores done. That happened last night and I woke up this morning so dizzy I couldn't see right. The whole house was pitching and turning and I couldn't stand up straight. Now this wouldn't have been so bad had I been drinking, but I had no excuse for my dizziness. I couldn't even walk a straight line so I opted to keep the kids home from school instead of attempting to drive them there.

It was a great idea to let the kids stay home. As I lay on the couch trying not to throw up because my head was spinning and making me nauseous, it gave the kids a chance to try some fun, learning experiments. They tested the laws of gravity as they threw stuff around the family room. Brooklyn experimented with the effects of toxic materials by filling her diaper and walking around until our eyes started watering and if it's possible, I think I got even more dizzy. They did a little chemistry and mixed different liquids on the kitchen floor. They broke a snowman soap dispenser. They did some cooking and made nachos with potato chips, string cheese, chicken soup, and cantaloupe. I'm pretty sure we've never seen that recipe on Food Network. They dumped out the contents of the bathroom garbage can for unknown reasons, and finally they took the mattress off my oldest daughter's bed. Why not?! This, my friends, is why mom can NEVER get sick. My poor husband came home from work to this insane mess because I didn't do a darn thing today. Every time I stood up, I fell back over and well, that makes it hard to keep up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Were There Cars in Bethlehem?

My church held its annual Living Nativity this past Sunday. It was 50 below. All I know is that I'm thankful, for once, I wasn't pregnant this year and so didn't have to play Mary. As a spectator, I was able to wimp out in the middle of the second performance and run inside for hot chocolate. ;) I'm not sure why it is, but they seem to like casting a pregnant woman as Mary for this reenactment. With big puffy winter coats on under our costumes, we pretty much all look pregnant anyway. So, poor Mary has to navigate the icy patches and hope that she doesn't really go into labor while sitting among the farm animals in the freezing cold.

The first performance ended up being a kind of practice run. Whatever could have gone wrong, went wrong. The CD got stuck about five minutes into the performance. Someone stopped it and started it over from the beginning. There went an extra five minutes in the cold. After the beginning was replayed again, the CD got stuck at the same place. It was determined that the CD player was frozen, so someone pulled their car up to where the Living Nativity was held, opened all their doors, and popped the CD into their player. OK, back to the beginning again.

Having a car drive up in the middle of "Bethlehem" somehow changed the mood a bit, but hey - the show must go on and these guys get kudos for resourcefulness in my book! So, back in the stable, the geese are honking away. (At least a chicken didn't fly out and step on baby Jesus' head this year. You try keeping a straight face when that happens.) The guiding star moved across the lawn before the wise men came out so when the wise men appeared, they looked up at the sky and pointed at umm, well, nothing.

Still, I love to watch The Living Nativity. It's a moving reminder of what it's all about.

After the show, we drove around a little bit, looking at Christmas lights.

And this is the reason I don't have my presents wrapped yet. I seem to have run out of tape.

Name That Movie

I had three teeth filled today. I saw smoke come from the drill and thought of Bill Cosby the whole time. LOL! Anyway, I'm tired, my jaw hurts, and I'm too tired to write tonight so here's a little movie quote trivia for you.

1. Can you fly this plane and land it?
Surely you can't be serious.
I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.

2. Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is Greek.

3. Go that way, really fast; if something gets in your way . . . turn.

4. You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

5. We're alike, me and cat. A couple of poor nameless slobs.

6. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

7. Look, I think it's only fair to warn you that I'm practiced in the ancient art... of Origami!

8. We're gonna need a bigger boat.

9. Gotta get my boxer shorts at K-Mart.

10. Yeah. The funny thing is - on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

11. No more rhymes, now I mean it. Anybody want a peanut?

12. I'd like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back?
How do you feel about Cleveland?

13. You realize of course that we could never be friends.

14. I like Mass better in Latin. It's nicer when you don't know what they're saying.

15. What do you mean he don't eat no meat? Oh, that's okay. I make lamb.

16. In the heat of battle, my father wove a tapestry of obscenity, that as far as we know, is still hanging in space over lake Michigan.

17. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

18. I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.

19. He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny!

20. It's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

21. When I was your age, television was called, "books."

22. Are you happy now Clark? She's deaf.

23. These mashed potatoes are so creamy.

24. Toe pick

25. Inconceivable.

As always, check out Mamaslike for great products from work at home moms!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunday Sound Out

First off - to all the people who wrote something along the lines of, “A swimming party in December?! Are you nuts?!”

Yes, a swimming party in December. No, of course it isn’t outside. You can’t swim in ice. Don’t you have indoor swimming pools where you live? Swimming parties are popular around here. It gives us a taste of “summer” in an otherwise dreary time of year.

I accidentally rejected about a dozen comments when I hit the wrong button. If you didn't see your comment show up, I'm sorry. I didn't do it on purpose.

Thanks for the heads up about my blog, Brandi!

Thank you to everyone who wrote and gave me their best New York tips and to those who wrote to explain my pictures!

OK now for your questions...

Does your hubby do anything of this WITH you? do you allow him to?
Although my husband would be willing to help with my never ending “to do” list, I have a tough time delegating responsibilities because no one else does it THE RIGHT WAY!

Do you mind if I ask how many hours sleep you get each night?
Not nearly enough. Maybe 4-5 most nights. It usually catches up to me by Friday though.

Are you at the point where you can hire an assistant part-time to help you?

Is your fame (and I consider you far more famous than me, so, yes, you are famous)a blessing or a curse? Many of the items "to do" on your list are due to keeping up with the blog, and to promote your writing. So - was life better before the Ebay pokemon card sale or is it better after?
I figure it could be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it. I absolutely consider it a blessing. Not only has this given me some much needed income, but it’s given me a feeling of purpose. Yes, I have increased responsibilities now and sometimes it’s hard to keep up, but it’s all worthwhile especially when I get emails telling me that I've brightened someone's day like this one that just came in...
Let me just say that as the “7th Child” and Hubby of a mother of six (5 girls and 1 Boy), I think you are one of the funniest persons I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. I love to read your daily adventures. They bring a certain highlight to my somewhat otherwise boring day. My wonderful wife is also a stay at home mom, and temporary (well semi permanent) father since I am stationed in Diego Garcia, for the next year as a career Navy Sailor. Between my wife and your stories, I get my fill of laughter at how overwhelming the job of a Mother can actually be. Please keep up the great Blog, and Happy Holidays to you and your family.
GSEC(SW) Johnny (Shon) Pation Reynolds IV

By the way, do you have your Christmas tree up? We want to see pictures of it.
OK, here ya go. This is after I rearranged the ornaments so that fifty ornaments were not hanging from the same branch…

I think you forgot to pee in all that hecticness (wow is that even a word?)
You don't happen to be a procrastinator like me do you? But I have learned that I do better under pressure. What about you?
According to my spell check, hecticness is not a word. But it should be. And yes, I’m a horrible procrastinator! Like you, I work much better under pressure. If I have three hours to get somewhere (for example: my plane!) I will be late. If I have five minutes to get there, I’ll be on time.

Do you find it helpful to transfer that list to paper? Or does it just make it more depressing?
I always make lists on paper. I’ve officially turned into my mother.

Don't ya just love the holidays??
YES! I really, truly do! I sometimes have to remind myself what it’s all about and step back from the craziness, but I love Christmas!

Hi Dawn, I've got to know... do you get the kids all dressed up and take a beautiful picture in front of the Christmas tree with everyone looking perfect for your Christmas cards?
I’ve done both the “try to get the perfect picture” and the “pick the least hideous one.” This year, I just picked a picture from our trip to Florida. I’ve lowered my standards considerably. We no longer have to be coordinating. We don’t have to be smiling, hair in place, make-up just so. In fact, we don’t even all have to be looking in the general vicinity of the camera. At this point, if we’re all at least partially in the picture, it’s good.

Hey let me know as your arriving in New York are you humming the song "New York, New York"?
Well I wasn’t until you brought it up. Gee, thanks!

You didn't pay attention to one bit of my advice, did you?
Well, no. Rick, your suggestions on my “to do” list were such a typical guy’s response. And you’re a total enabler as far as my procrastination problem goes.

Maybe a Sunday question: What's a typical day in the life of a mom of 6?
My blog about sums it up.

O'Hare has got to be one of the worse airports to deal with in the country - far too big, confusing, and UGH. I'm sorry.
Nah, I can find my way around O’Hare no problem, however I wasn’t terribly fond of LaGuardia for two reasons. One - I thought we were landing in water. Seriously, the plane was going down, getting ready to land and all I saw out the window was water. The land didn’t appear until about 2 ½ seconds before the wheels touched down. The other thing is - I think there must only be like 2 runways because we sat on the ground for a half an hour waiting our turn to take-off. When we took off, I saw a line of more than a dozen planes waiting behind us.

Yum yum on that treat delivery- who was that from? YOUR agent?
Actually, it was from my wonderful new friends at Guideposts!

Here's a question for Sunday...what is your hotel and where exactly is it located? What's your favorite thing about it?
I stayed at Morgans on Madison Ave. My favorite thing…hmmm, it’s a toss up between the shower that had both hot and cold running water, but not at the same time, and the fact that one of the elevators was broken, making for a long wait to get downstairs. LOL! Actually, it was a nice hotel and it was within close walking distance to so many cool things.

Just received this from a traveling friend of mine. Since you're staying in a hotel, you might want to check it out (or not - ewww!). DON'T use the glassware.
I didn’t watch that because I figure ignorance is bliss. I did however, take the phone and the remote control, wrap them in the bedspread, and throw them into the corner of the room because Mike Rowe told me to.

Oh Dawn, there is one sight you will regretfully miss, and that's the guitar playing naked cowboy!
Yes, we were told about the naked cowboy. In fact, I believe the exact words used to describe him were, “He’s built like an Adonnis. Really - he has the body of a Greek god.” Sadly, we did miss him.

Is that a ribbon around the Rockefeller building in that picture where you're looking up at it??
Nope, that would be cool though. Those are just flags in the foreground, so they look really tall.

Wonderful pics...I was wondering though..that group shot at dinner...what did you do? Just stop the waiter and say "wait, can you take a picture of this for my blog??" LOL...
Yeah, isn't that what you do when you go out to eat?

Did you really meet Edward Grinnan from Guideposts? Is he as "interesting" in person as he seems in the magazine?
I really did! I didn't spend too much time with him, but he seemed very interesting in person as well. He did tell a really nice story about the effect Guideposts Magazine had on a reader. In fact, I met a lot of really nice folks at Guideposts and I feel bad because I don't remember all their names.

I was thinking, "Oh no, what if Dawn starts cutting the publisher's steak!?!" Fondue was a wise choice.
ROFL!!! Now, THAT would've been pretty funny!

What do you do in order to get those very large photograph in your blog?
I dunno. Click on "large" when it asks what size photos you want to insert?

Did you have a chance to ride the subway while you were here?
Nope. I didn't even have time to pick any chewed gum off the railings.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, of course - are you too young to remember seeing the giant Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man stepping on it in "Ghostbusters"? And Bill Murray yelling, "Nobody steps on a church in my town!" Cracks me up, just thinking about it.
Ahhhh yes! LOL! Speaking of Bill Murray - the guy I sat next to on the plane coming home, told me that Bill Murray had been on his flight out to New York. Aren't you glad I told you that?

The gentleman who sat next to you on the plane - around my house, we refer to those kinds of questions as "If a monkey bit you.." questions (from an old episode of Wings, in which an extremely annoying customer asks Joe some dumb question about biting monkeys).
ROFL!!! I'll have to remember that! Joe (my Joe) asks those kinds of questions all the time!

You didn't post the picture I was most looking forward to seeing!!! The one of your daughter with whatever medium she had decided to paint herself with while you were gone! Surely she got INTO SOMETHING and painted herself? Yes? Please! You gotta give me something!!! You can't tell me you went away and your husband was in charge and your child did not get into anything blue or green or markers or food coloring or frosting or anything fun like that?
Well, I don't have a picture only because I had the camera with me, but fear not, she did get into something. My husband decided to patch some holes in the walls while I was gone. When he stepped outside to check the meat he was grilling, she put her hand in the joint compound and smeared it all around the place.

Did you get the snow globe???????????
Yeah. I give it a week until someone breaks it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm Leaving Today...

Yes, that’s right. My trip has come to an end. It was awesome while it lasted. I was gone from home just long enough to get a really nice break without missing my family too much, but I’m ready to go home now. Although it will be nice taking a shower that doesn’t alternately scald layers of skin off my body and give me frostbite, I will miss this great city.

Before leaving today, my agent and I did one last “touristy” thing. We took a little walk to the Empire State Building. I can now say that I’ve gone to the top of the Empire State Building. I do not feel the need to do it again. Ever. While waiting for four and a half hours in line (or ON line as New Yorkers say) we listened to folks threaten guests that once they reached the top, there would be no signs telling about the buildings or the view and there would be no people to answer questions or explain what they were seeing. Sooo, in other words, "buy our special map and audio tour for the bargain price of $12.99."

Once on top, there was barely enough space to move. It was five hundred degrees up there as they had the heat blasting out the vents because the sun shining through the windows didn’t make it quite hot enough. The reason there was no room is because the entire observation area was filled with souvenirs for sale. Unfortunately, because of ice, the outside area was closed this morning and visibility was only five miles so we didn’t get a very good view (not that we could see out the window with the throngs of people and sweat dripping down our faces into our eyes.)

It was definitely not like An Affair to Remember!

We went back to the hotel, packed up and awaited our rides to the airports. Yesterday, I figured out that the scary tunnel I went through on the way to the hotel, actually goes UNDER WATER! I rode through WATER! That’s crazy! Really cool, but crazy! I got back to the airport quickly, had a bite to eat, and sat down to write as I had over a two hour wait!

I can’t wait to see how my family fared while I was gone. I only got two calls from my kids while I was in New York. One was from my daughter to say, “Daddy’s being crabby and yelling at us.” Ugh. The other one was to say goodnight. Awww. My son only IMed me fifty times to ask me to get him a snow globe of the Empire State Building. After he "reminded" me to look for a snow globe for the the zillionith time, I informed him, "If you ask me one more time, the only souvenir you'll get is a piece of chewed gum I picked off the subway." Hey, if it's good enough for Buddy the elf...

I called my husband yesterday and he started talking about how he had installed some lights and a new mailbox. He must have talked for ten minutes about this before he asked me about New York. I kept thinking to myself, “Is this how I sound? Do I really go on and on like that about the mundane things I do all day?” The answer hit me as a resounding YES! I guess it’s inevitable. When you’re stuck home all day, dealing with kids, isolated from other adults, you sort of go crazy and given the chance, you talk your head off about any subject to any adult who will listen.
OK, I'm home now. It was an amazing trip! I'm still giddy about it. There wasn't enough time to do and see everything New York has to offer, but I'm so thankful I was able to experience as much as I did. New York is a very unique, fun city and it was especially wonderful at Christmas time.

My flight home was a bit delayed, but all in all, not bad. I sat next to a gentlemen who said things like, "I wonder if you threw a baseball up in the air on the plane, would it just stay in one spot, or would it fly toward the back of the plane?" I thought to myself, "I'm sitting next to my husband coming up with crazy, hypothetical questions like that!"

Joe and kids did fine while I was gone. I think. So they say anyway. Joe patched some holes in the walls and put up some new lights while I was in New York. The kids may not have worn matching clothes all week, but that's no big deal. I think they got along ok. You know what that means, don't you? It means I can leave again sometime without worrying! ;)
Who says they have large rats in New York City?
Inside the Empire State Building

Thursday, December 13, 2007

These Vagabond Shoes...

...are killing my feet. Really. I didn't pack the best "walking in the city shoes" and my feet huuuurt tonight. But it's SO worth it because this city is really awesome! To those of you who wrote and said, "Ask any New Yorker for directions and they'll be happy to give them to you," thank you! You were absolutely right! They were happy to give us directions and like you said, they argued over the best way to get there! LOL!

It rained pretty much all day, but there wasn't any snow in the city. I hear outlying areas got quite a bit though. The weather cleared up this evening however, and it was absolutely beautiful here! I think I nearly made Janet, my poor agent, freeze her warm Californian blood as I forced her to stop again and again so I could take pictures of buildings. I took a lot of pictures of buildings! The thing is - I don't know what any of them are because I didn't have a tour guide. Sooo, to my very proud New York readers, I'm asking you to write and identify any of these pictures for me. Thank you!

I had a totally amazing day! I feel like all I did today was eat! So, I guess all the walking was a good thing. :) I had breakfast with my agent and the vice president. In my ultra smooth, suave fashion, I hit myself in the noggin and left a lovely red mark across my forehead during breakfast. I had to make an impression somehow, right?

Then I went to the Guideposts office and had a meeting with with the editor-in-chief of Guideposts magazine, Edward and a lovely woman, Celeste, who had seen me on ABC News before the book deal even came about.

Hmmm, let's see. I think this is when I went to a great fondue restaurant for lunch. Mmmmm, two of my favorite food groups - cheese and chocolate!

from left: my editor Beth, vice president Jonathan, CEO Dick, agent Janet, and me

After lunch, I spoke with Beth, my editor. This girl is wonderful, witty, sharp, and boy, will she have her work cut out for her when I give her my manuscript next month!

Next I had a conference call with Jennifer in TN who will be working on marketing my book. When we hung up she was "going to fetch her daughter". Hee hee - I love those southern accents! Oh speaking of accents! When I ordered my pizza last night, the guy looked at me like I was strange when I asked for a can of "pop". I forgot it's called soda here. Then he asked me, "Do you want a fork and knife?" I was shocked and taken completely aback because it sounded like he said something entirely different with his New York accent! Say it aloud to yourself a couple times.

Finally, we wrapped things up with Jonathan, who's taking a chance on me. "New author, almost missed her plane, smacked herself in the head, diaper changing, ordinary" me. He really seems to believe in my book. I'm thrilled to no end about these wonderful opportunities and I'm so happy and excited to be working with a great team of people at Guideposts! (and I'm not just saying that because I know they read my blog!)

Oh yeah - did I mention that we did a lot of talking about this guy for some reason? ROFL ;) DSC04229
After we went back to our rooms to rest and freshen up a bit, Janet and I headed over to Grand Central Station for drinks. I mean the real Grand Central Station and not my house, which I oftentimes call Grand Central Station. What an awesome building!

I told my kids, "I went to Grand Central Station."
They said, "Where???"
"Remember where the giraffe got his head stuck in the clock and the old lady beat Alex the lion with her purse?"
light dawns "Oh yeeeaaaahhh! Cool! Did you take pictures?"
(For those of you who don't know - this is from the animated movie Madagascar. For those of you who did know what I was talking about - you, like me, watch too much kid TV!)

They brought us cookies there. I love that place! COOKIES!

We then walked over to Rockefeller Center and went ice skating. Ok, so we didn't really skate, but we watched skaters and had dinner at a restaurant right across the street. They brought us cookies. Yes, more COOKIES! I love New York!

After that we walked back to our hotel while I took dozens of pictures like the goofy tourist I am!

Enjoy the pictures and pretend like you are here!

The magnificent ceiling at Grand Central Station

Grand Central

I guess you can't really see it, but a Christmas scene was projected onto the walls and ceiling

Clock in Grand Central Station

My favorite - the Chrysler Building

A giant thing of pennies. Anyone know what these are for?

A breathtakingly beautiful church. Someone said it was St. Patrick's?

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center





A store window - I forgot where

Store window at The American Girl store

Garbage. It amazed me how much garbage I saw sitting on the streets. I guess there's nowhere else to put it and with a gazillion people in the city, it really adds up.

Ummm a library, I think

A cool looking building

Another neat building

The Empire State Building with lots of fog. Cool, huh?

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