Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Say Cheese!

Last week my publisher asked me to send them a picture of myself, and one of me and the kids that they could use for marketing purposes. Since I'm the official Meehan family picture taker, there are very few pictures of me, so I made an appointment to have some professional shots taken.

ME: I'd like to make an appointment to have my picture taken. I need to have a picture of me and also one of me and my kids together.
HER: Sure. How many kids will be in the sitting?
ME: Six.
HER: How many?
ME: Six.
HER: Are you sure?
looking around, counting heads Umm yeah, I'm pretty sure.
HER: Are they all yours?
Now, I didn't make a conscious decision to mess with the person on the other end of the line, but somehow these words came out of my mouth... Is what mine?
HER: The kids. Are they all yours?
ME: What kids?
sounding a bit confused I'm sorry ma'am. I thought you said you wanted your picture taken with your kids?
ME: I don't have any kids.
HER: Ohhhh. thoroughly confused OK, so you just want to make an appointment to get your picture taken?
ME: No. I need to get a picture taken of me and my kids too.
wondering if she's losing her mind or if I'm crazy That's what I thought! OK, we have an opening for an appointment for you at 6:00 and then for you and your kids at 6:30. Does that work?
ME: Sure!
HER: Now what are the ages of your kids?
ME: What kids?
deciding that I'm obviously a mental patient, she asks... The kids in the picture! What are their ages so we can be prepared for them.
I contemplated, for a moment, telling her that she misunderstood me and that I don't have kids, but I do have cats and would like my picture taken with them, but I reconsidered and told her instead that my phone was breaking up and I was having a hard time hearing her. I think she bought it.

Yesterday morning, I called the studio and inquired, "Ummm, I have an appointment for tomorrow night and I was just wondering, umm do you guys retouch your pictures?
What do you mean?
Well, you see, I have a zit the size of Wyoming on my face and I'm overdue to get my hair colored. There's so much silver coming out of my scalp that it looks like a Brillo pad. And I should probably try to whiten my teeth too.
I think I scared the woman on the other end of the phone.
Anyway, Kelli, my most awesome, wonderful web designer assured me that she could fix the picture if the photographer didn't do a great job. She said she could erase wrinkles, take off ten years and ten pounds. How cool is that, right? But then I started thinking, hmmm maybe I should ask her to add some wrinkles, gray hair, ten years and ten pounds. That way when people see me in person they'll think, "Wow, you look great! Much better than your picture."

So anyway, we went for the pictures tonight. Do you know how hard it is to coordinate a picture with seven people? I have no idea how larger families do it. I guess they just pick the picture with the least amount of bunny ears, possessed looks, closed eyes, and fingers up noses.
Stop making bunny ears.
Look at the camera.
Stop looking at your sister.
Stop squatting down.
Keep your hands to yourself.
Get your finger out of your nose.
Stop making stupid faces.
Oh great! You made her cry. Didn't I tell you to keep your hands to yourself.
The photo shoot is over!
I swear, in every picture, someone was looking away, or had their eyes crossed, or had a demonic look, or was busy scratching themselves. But this was the good part! At least when I got my picture taken with the kids, I was able to strategically place the kiddos around me to help hide my fatness. :D

Then my wonderful husband, who drove separately to this photo shoot fiasco extraordinaire, took the kids out for ice cream while I got my picture taken in peace. As much as I hate getting my picture taken, I discovered that's it's even worse trying to pick out the best picture of the bunch. After 2 1/2 hours of my indecisiveness, the kind lady at the studio, sensing that I could easily be there for another 4 hours before deciding, pointed to a picture and said, "I like that one! That's the best one."
Good enough for me! Thank you. Goodnight.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

But I Don't Wanna Play Tag

I've never really liked the game of tag. I try to ignore it when someone "tags" me for a meme, whatever that is. (Although I admit that someone tagged me the other day and I meant to do her meme thingy, but I totally forgot who tagged me and where her blog was.) However, my friend Michelle just had to go and tag me and well, she's my friend and so I have to do this. You know, because she guilted me into it. Thanks Michelle. :P

Five random things about me:

1. I used to judge parents when I'd see them feeding their little kids fast food. I used to give dirty looks to parents whose child was having a meltdown in the middle of a store. I used to think, "MY kids will never do that", when I heard stories of kids getting into something, talking back to their parents, or saying something loud and embarrassing in the middle of a restaurant. I used to judge parents whose children weren't potty trained by the time they were two.

Then I had children. I learned the fastest way to have your children misbehave, get into mischief, say something embarrassing, or have a fit in public was to judge someone else. I'm pretty good at not doing that anymore. Besides, it's not my responsibility or privilege to judge anyone. Only one person can do that.

2. I had purple hair and wore 4 inch long alligator earrings in high school.

3. I stink at sports. Pretty much all sports. I'm especially bad at volleyball. If the ball comes my way, I scream and run in the other direction.

4. I used to donate platelets almost every month until, when I was pregnant with my sixth, I developed a blood clot and found out that I have a clotting disorder. I had to give myself shots of blood thinners in the abdomen twice a day throughout my entire pregnancy. I can't donate blood anymore because, according to LifeSource, it could be dangerous for me.

5. I've worked at more than 30 restaurants. I'd have to kill a small forest to print out my resume.

Five places I want to see or want to see again:

1. I'd love to take my kids to Disney World.

2. I'd love to see pretty much every country in Europe.

3. I'd love to see heaven, but not quite yet.

4. I'd love to be able to take another cruise to the Bahamas with my girlfriends.

5. I'd love to visit my bed tonight for more than 4 hours.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be 25 below with the wind chill. It's definitely time for a vacation to someplace warm.

Check out Mamaslike and my FAQs.

Edited to add - I guess I forgot to tag 5 other people. Ugh. Tell you what - anyone who would like to participate, knock yourself out! Anyone who doesn't want to do it, don't.

I Can Laugh...Now

I can laugh at these now because they happened a long time ago.

This is why you ALWAYS keep concentrated icing color under lock and key.

They seem pretty happy about their accomplishment, no?

The couch and floor covered in black

The chair and the table covered in black. Nice hand print on the chair, huh?

The wall surrounding the tub covered in black. Note the color of the water. See the black goo dripping from my daughter's nose.

After two baths, the black disappeared and the red pigment was left. For many, many, many, many, many days.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

Well I'm unsickish now. I have my voice back. Well, I don't exactly have MY voice back, but I do have A voice. I think it may be Roz's.

Here are your questions from this week...

From last Sunday's shout out.....

Oh, and a question for your next Sunday Shout Out: I don't hear a lot about Savannah or Lexington. Do they just not get in as much trouble, or is their trouble-making done on the sly? ~anonymous
They pay me for my silence. Actually, they don't get into nearly as much as the others. Anymore. Hmmm, I think I'll have to do a "Mischief Through the Years - a journal of pictures" sometime this week.

OK Dawn, Heres a question for your Sunday column. If you had an entire day to yourself home alone what would YOU do? Let me set the mood. The ENTIRE house is clean there are no clothes to wash absolutely NO work for you to do. How would you spend your time alone? ~plain precious
I hate hypothetical questions. After inventing a car that runs on dirty diapers, discovering life on another planet, and memorizing the periodic table of elements, I'd probably just sleep.

Florida? This is for fun, no school project attached to it? Wow can I have him for a son, he can use any of my spatulas for paintbrushes! ~Donna
:::snort::: Yeah, go figure. He has immeasurable amounts of time, energy, and creativity for things like that, but when he's assigned an actual school project, he'll wait until the night before it's due. Then he'll whine and complain and slap something together. The kid is thirteen years old and I still have no clue how his brain works. I was just talking to Angie about this. He's always been a weird kid. He never played with his toy cars or plastic animals. Instead, he categorized them. He lined them up around his room according to size or color or species or make and model. He's one of those smart kids who doesn't have a lick of common sense. He's in gifted classes, yet he walks to school wearing only a thin sweatshirt (It's been below 0 here this week). I love him to death, but like I said - he's a weird kid.

[I just read this paragraph to him; making sure he didn't care if I posted it, and he jumped up and said, "As a matter of fact..." as he ran to his backpack to do some last minute homework. :::sigh:::]

From Green Goblin Strikes Again...

OMG! How do you survive everyday??...YIKES! ~Nicki

What do you use to get the paint off...everything??? ~Kyddryn
Diaper wipes, of course! I love diaper wipes. I use them for everything. When (if) my kids are all out of diapers, I'll still carry them with me.

From You Just Never Know When You Might Need Green Ric Rac...

I have to ask...who's Vicki? ~Grandmother Goddess of the Garden
LOL! I was wondering if anyone would know what I was talking about. It's from the movie National Lampoon's Vacation. Cousin Vicki is stirring a pitcher of Kool Aid with her hand and Clark asks, "Can I help you with that Vicki? Please?"

Also - will you be doing any book signings in August or do we need to stalk you at the grocery store? ~Lucille
LOL! I'm not sure if/when I'll be signing books, but you don't want to follow me around the grocery store. Trust me!

I would make you soup too, but I can't cook. How bout if I bring you Panera soup? ~Manic Mommy

Oh I love Panera!!! Yum! (Anxiously awaiting my soup, Manic.) Speaking of Manic - there's still time to participate in her blood drive contest. Give a pint of blood, save a life, and win some money!

From Viewer Mail...

Do you have any from New Jersey? I will send you one if not. ~Robin in New Jersey
Someone sent me a can of hairspray from Jersey. What else would explain this?

Here's a question off the subject, possibly for your Sunday Sound husband and I are planning a baseball trip for this summer and the Cubs are on our list...what restaurants would you recommend we try in your fine city? ~SA
Hmmm restaurants in Chicago. See, here's the problem. I rarely go out to eat. Heaven on Seven has great hurricanes cajun food. A good place to get sangria tapas is Arco De Cuchilleros. I really don't know other places around Wrigley, but I'm sure I've got readers who do. Either that, or go to Metromix and look in the Wrigleyville/Lakeview area for ideas.

I see Bekah in Rincon, GA! Yay me! :-) It is so cool to see how much mail you have received. What is his classroom doing with all of this information?
They're going to sell it on the black market.
Is there anywhere that Austin has gotten a card or letter from and told you he wants to go there on vacation or move there? ~Bekah
Austin is ready to move to Florida, Joe wants to move to California, and I just want to go here.

No one has sent me anything from the Bahamas, but doesn't this look nice? It's been below 0 here for a good week. It gets depressing when you go months without seeing the sun.

I want to send a letter from where I live but I need the P.O. Box number. Can you give that to us again?
Sure! It's
Dawn Meehan
PO Box 66274
Chicago, IL 60666

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm Sick

I'm sick. I have no idea why. I take the utmost care of myself. I mean, it's not like I'm staying up until 3:00 am every day, just trying to plow through my overflowing box of email. It's not like I've all but abandoned Weight Watchers for the less healthy, but more popular Dunkin' Donuts Diet. And I'm sure I've never taken my bare hand to wipe a snotty toddler nose because there was no tissue in sight.

Why do we moms have such a hard time taking care of ourselves? Is it because we're just so busy taking care of everyone else that we're simply too tired when it comes to us? I keep meaning to make an appointment with my OB/GYN, but I keep putting it off. There's just something about lying there on that table, making small talk with your cute doctor while he shoves a cold metal jack in a place where a jack should never be, that makes me procrastinate on making the appointment. It's not just the cold metal jack though. It's the fact that after getting the jack situated, he then proceeds to crank it open so wide, you could fit a small car in there. He doesn't park a car up there though. No, instead he shoves his arm, shoulder deep, in where the sun don't shine. I think I could put all that aside, bite the bullet, and just go if only I could lose a few pounds first. I can handle being poked, probed, and otherwise invaded, but please don't make me step on that scale. I'm afraid he'll look at my chart and say, "Wow Dawn! You weigh more now than you did when you were nine months pregnant with your sixth baby! Are you doing the Dunkin' Donuts Diet again?"

I haven't been there since I had Brooklyn 2 years ago. Let's see, that means I'm only about 1 year and 10 months overdue for my 6 week postpartum check-up. I know I should probably get a mammogram sometime soon too. Although the notion of having my boobs put in a vice and squished as flat as a pancake sounds appealing, I just haven't been able to bring myself to make that appointment either. Instead of squashing your boobs during a mammogram, if they could find a way to actually lift those babies back up above your waistline, I bet women would eagerly line up for the test.

My mom keeps nagging reminding me to make an appointment for a physical. I would, I really would, but my doctor moved away recently 4 years ago and I just haven't found another one despite spending months looking not lifting a finger to look for a new one.

So anyway, I'm sick now. I can handle being sick. I mean, really do we have a choice? I haven't figured out a way to get my employer to give me sick days, so life goes on, sick or not. Anyway, I can handle being sick, but I have the misfortune of losing my voice every time I get a cold. I can't handle that. How am I supposed to yell at the kids now? I wonder if I could just borrow the crossing guard's stop sign to hold up?

OK, I'm going to bed. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'Til We Meet Again, Juju

Today is Julian's funeral and I just have to share another word about him. I think Mimi just has this way of drawing us in. She has not only told us about the day to day care of Julian, his treatments and tests, but she has shared her feelings. She's been brutally honest about how hard it's been for them. She somehow makes it real for us as readers. Although outsiders, we feel as though we personally know Julian. As though we're part of his world. But most importantly, Mimi always seems to find the positive. Despite the fact that her baby was just taken from her at a much-too-young-age, Mimi continues to trust in God, thanking Him for the time with Julian, thanking Him for getting her through these days, and trusting that Julian is in His care and she'll see him again one day. How inspiring is that?

Although Mimi's updates bring me to tears, they also inspire me. Hug your kids and say a prayer for all those little ones who are hurting, suffering from cancer and other illnesses.

"She crumbles on to the bathroom floor, an unbelievable pain in her chest... What just happened? She is bleeding. She places her shaky hands on her heart ,expecting to feel blood flowing through her fingers. She looked down at them , NOTHING... The hole in her heart, the incredible pain, the deep sense of drifting away, it was all about HIS death... She is hurting beyond words...How can she explain? No one understands. Alone, on her bathroom floor, she is lost... Never will she hold him too tight again, never again will she kiss his mouth, never will she feel the weight of his little bald head on her chest and never will she have the taste of his tears on her lips... "I want him back" She cries desperately "I want him back, PLEASE GOD" She gets up and gets in the shower, lets the burning hot water run on her face. Maybe it will wash away the tears, maybe even it will take care of the cruel pain ...Maybe when she is done, things will be fixed and will be back to normal... She gets dressed, looks at herself in the mirror and thinks "who is this person? " Dark circles, a few more wrinkles, red, swollen eyes... It didn't go away, this is our normal from now on, our normal life now is us without him... Out the door, she hears the laughter of her boys. One is missing... But they are laughing still... If they can laugh, why couldn't she? If they can play and smile, she can still hug and love them, forever , because she is their mother , simply because they are part of her just as he was, just as he still is... By the grace of God, She still smiles, by the grace of God, she will keep on. The bathroom floor will still be her refuge, but as long as the laughter rings behind the door, she will always get back up..."

You Just Never Know When You Might Need Green Ric Rac

My 6 year old was assigned a family project to do this past week. Of course, being the highly ambitious family we are, we waited until the day before it was due to begin. Lex was given the outline of a snowman on card stock and, as a family, we were supposed to use anything but crayons and markers to decorate it. So, my kids dragged out my many boxes of craft supplies that are neatly stowed away in the attic.

Lex found some paint and immediately slapped a dozen colors on the snowman, smearing them around, covering every inch of his body. I looked at the brownish explosion of pain covering the snowman, and not wanting to squash Lexi's creativity, said, "What are you doing?! Do you really want it all BROWN like that? Does that look like a snowman? Don't you want some help? Can I help you with that Vicki? Please?"

This made me think back to when my mom wouldn't let me help her put tinsel on the Christmas tree. You see, she's insane a perfectionist. She passed this trait down to my sister. I, on the other hand, got the 'Eh, I'll slap it together and call it done' gene. I tried to hang tinsel the "right way". I really did. I started off carefully draping no more than two strands of the silvery stuff over the branch. I made sure each end of the tinsel hung equally on either side of the branch. I started doing this. But this method is boring. It takes too long. So before long, I would take fistfuls of tinsel and loft them up into the tree. Wads of silver strings stuck in clumps between the branches. My mom and sister would stop what they were doing and openly gasp, staring in shock, at me. My method was completely unacceptable to the perfectionist in them and I was fired from my post every year.

I tried really hard to help Lexi with her project without completely taking over. There's a fine line to walk in situations like this. "Should we make a dress or pants? Do you want to use pink fabric or blue? Do you want beads, gems, or buttons for eyes?" Give them choices and let them create, I say.

As they went through my numerous containers filled with crap stuff I'm never going to use, I came to the conclusion that I have a problem finishing what I start. Seriously, I have this huge container of fabric. I don't sew. I don't own a sewing machine. I've never learned how to sew. In fact, I'm not sure I could handle reattaching a button. So why is it that I have 287 pounds of fabric? Because you never know - some day I might just learn. Yes, I know. I have a problem. One day, they'll find me buried in my house among a trillion boxes of miscellaneous stuff, half a dozen cats eating Cap'N'Crunch because I haven't been able to find the cat food for days, another half dozen cats stuck in boxes of macrame supplies ordered from eBay because who knows? - one day I might go back to the 70s and learn how to make some groovy wall decorations.

Actually since joining a twelve step program, I've made some progress. I'm letting go of some of the things I've collected for projects I haven't even started. You might recall seeing some of my eBay auctions for unused sewing patterns...

"I bought this pattern at a fabric store thinking that I’d make my girls cute outfits to wear. However, because my sewing skills, much to my mother’s chagrin, consist of hot glue and duct tape, the pattern sits here untouched. My plans of learning how to sew have been replaced by plans of selling this pattern in an attempt to get some of my money back. If you do indeed know how to sew, I’m sure you could make absolutely adorable outfits with this pattern. This pattern is not cut. In fact, I’ve not even opened the envelope and taken the pattern out. If you, unlike me, know how to turn an envelope full of sheets of tissue paper with black markings on them, into a dress, then this item is for you! In fact, if you’re really good at sewing, you could make a few outfits, come up with your own exclusive label, open an eBay store, and sell them for many times the cost of the fabric. I would certainly much prefer to buy the finished product online as opposed to figuring out how to make it myself. Anyway, you’re bidding on this brand new, never opened pattern. Regular USPS shipping on this item if FREE! If you want it mailed Priority, I will be happy to do that at your expense - just email me with instructions. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the pattern, that’s my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it’s out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I will leave feedback for you as soon as I’ve received your payment. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! :)

Bin of fabric for no apparent purpose

Bag full of yarn and half-finished crochet projects

Almost finished cross stitch project. I started this almost 14 years ago. I should finish it any day now.

A bunch of stuff you just never know if you'll need.

More important stuff

And yet more stuff. You just never know when you're going to need pom poms, embroidery floss, beads, and green ric rac.

LOL! The product of my brief stint with jewelry making. I have a couple dozen of these. Shhhh, don't tell my family - this is what they're getting for Christmas. Maybe wrapped in tinsel. ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Viewer Mail

I've got the best readers in the world! I want to take a minute to thank everyone for your nice comments to Julian's family and thank you to those who have sent them cards and/or made donations to Make-A-Wish Foundation in Julian's honor.
And thank you for everyone who has sent us a card or letter from your town. Wow - we've gotten about 160 now! We appreciate all the time you've taken to look up information about your towns, and we are loving all the pictures of your landmarks and families! Besides the U.S, we've now gotten letters from England, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Guam, Puerto Rico, Germany, France, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, and Sweden! Thank you so much for taking the time to send this information to us! I wish I had the time to share all of these with you because they're very cool! Here are a couple pictures though...

Here's the mail. It never fails. It makes me want to wag my tail. When it comes, I want to wail, "MAAAAIIIILLLL!" (Sorry, I just had a Blue's Clues moment. I know, I know, it's sad. But on the bright side, I wasn't singing, "There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy!")

This isn't even all the postcards. There were several postcards and other pictures included with the letters.

Check out this postcard! It's from a reader named Shirley. Both sides of this card are printed on fabric and it's edged with thread. How cool! Do you make and sell these cards, Shirley?

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Green Goblin Strikes Again

Sure, you guys can paint! Do it in the garage though, so you don't make a mess all over the house.
Note to self: Do NOT sit down to check email, clean the bathroom, or make a phone call while kids are painting in the garage or you might not hear them come in to wash their hands.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

I wasn't going to do a post tonight. I just wasn't into it. How can I post and make jokes when Mimi is making funeral arrangements for her little boy? :::sigh::: And then I remembered Mimi telling me awhile back, " Keep writing your blog because I have a feeling I'm going to need the laughter in the coming weeks and months." So, for anyone out there who has a need to see the lighter side of life...

I've had a busy week. It's official now. I signed the contract with Guideposts! Not only that, but I sent my manuscript to my editor on Friday! :::raise your glass for a toast::: I'm sure this is a common thing for writers, but I'm so nervous that she's going to hate it. I have visions of her falling asleep while reading it because it's so darn boring. Or worse - throwing up. Or even worse - her eyes bleeding as the words on the pages make her want to toss the whole thing into the fireplace. And for all of you waiting for my book to come out (like anyone's waiting for it after I just told you it's going to suck) you won't have too long to wait. I learned that my book is scheduled to hit the shelves the first week of August and not October like I originally thought! You know what I'm doing the first week of August? I'm going to my local book store, standing there next to my book, and announcing to every patron who walks by, "That's my book! MY book! I wrote it! Can you believe it? MY book is in an actual store! Don't you want to get a copy of MY book that I wrote?!" until security escorts me out.

It was Clayton's birthday this week. He's officially four. We had a little celebration for our immediate family. We're having a big joint party for Clay and Brooklyn in a couple weeks though.
He's requesting a Lightning McQueen cake. And a duck. Help?

I had my first speaking engagement this week. I spoke to the women's group at my church on Wednesday. I didn't pass out or throw up, and I don't think I said anything too stupid so it's all good. Now what are the chances I'll be able to do the same when I speak at my high school for Writer's Week next month?

On Friday, I went to a read-thru of a play. I haven't decided if I'm going to be in the play yet. I know I probably shouldn't because I'm just a wee bit busy these days. On the other hand, being in a play isn't so much work as it is fun. It's a kind of escape from everything else going on. Besides this one has far fewer lines than the one I was in last year (I played Aunt Abby in Arsenic and Old Lace). Hmmm, I have to think about this another day.

This is what my son did today. This is the 13 year old I'm talking about here. If only he had a little common sense to go with his mad genius.

Mom, does this look like an orange tree?
Uhh yeah. An orange tree for elves. Why?

I walked into his room and was greeted by this scene.
Oh. my. God.
No, Mom. It's not God. It's Florida.

(No, all that fluff in the background is not snow. Austin stuffed it all down his jammie pants yesterday, walked into the family room and said, "Does this make my butt look big?" I'm guessing it's going to sit on his bedroom floor for the next two months.)
You're using MY SPATULA to paint?!!! Oh for the love of Florida, WHY?!

I'm blaming it on the people who sent cards and letters from Florida. Austin has decided that's where he wants to live. So naturally, he needed to empty all the containers of salt in the house to make up some goo so that he could make a topographical map of the state complete with 3D orange trees.
Speaking of cards and letters. He's received 96 now. I'll post the updated map tomorrow. Austin wants to move to Florida and Joe wants to move to Napa, CA (I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the people who sent the card from Napa are car people and belong to a car club.)

And now for your questions...

Thank you for the address and the links. Are they in need of donations and if so, is there a special place or should we just mail them? - ma2jenna
Although they haven't requested donations at all, I'm sure, after almost a year of cancer treatment and everything that goes with it and now a funeral, that the Averys could use money. I know they could use prayers. This is their address...
The Averys
111 Aviator
Fort Worth, Tx 76179

Do you plan on sending the kids to college?
Yes! As soon as possible!
Are you saving for it now? We only have 0ne child and can't even save for him. I bet you will be able to send them after you sell a million books! Kristine in Michigan.
A million books, huh? LOL! I think college is important and I do want all my kids to attend. I plan on helping them financially and/or by researching and filling out scholarship and financial aid forms.

Hi Dawn, I noticed you mentioned starting back on the Feingold Diet and I was wondering what you are "treating" with this diet? Our 3.5 yo is autistic and we are about to start down the "fun" road of alternative treatments. Anonymous
We'll be using this diet to help treat ADHD, but I don't think this diet would hurt anyone. It's really just cutting out artificial flavors, colors, additives, and preservatives. Think back a couple generations when store shelves weren't inundated with all this highly processed food. Today everything contains neon colors, artificial flavors, and man made preservatives. Cereal with artificial preservatives, crazy colors and fake flavors, yogurt with artificial flavors, colors, and sprinkles, bread made from flour that has had all the nutrition bleached out of it are in everyone's home. Now think about how many kids get diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and autism (just to name a couple) now as opposed to a couple generations ago. Now, I'm not saying that artificial ingredients in food is solely to blame for this, but it does make one think, doesn't it? It just seems to me that there could be a correlation between the two and if you can afford it, it may help to eliminate some of these artificial ingredients in favor of more natural, organic ones. And taking the junk out of your diet won't do any harm, so it doesn't hurt to try. (Although I admit, if it weren't for my son with ADHD, I probably wouldn't give it a second thought and I'd feed my kids Fruit Loops, waffles with fake maple-flavored syrup, and Kool-Aid for breakfast.)

Oh and one question for your next Sunday sound-out - DO you really read all the comments or do you just approve all? :) - Lucille
No, I don't read any of them.

Glad you girls had fun. But get out - that's the first autograph you've given? - Karla Well, I've autographed a few permission slips, checks, and medical forms. Does that count?

So I jumped over to Mamas Like this morning, then hopped over to the Tribune article that you mentioned, (can I count all of that jumping and hopping as exercise?)
and was struck by this line: "Her literary agent is chatting with a movie producer." Have you ever thought about which actors should portray you, hubby, and/or kids in this film of epic proportion? - Tina in Ohio
One of the ladies at my church asked me this and I answered, "I'll play myself, of course!" to which she replied, "And Brad Pitt will play Joe?" LOL!!! (He's not quite who I had in mind.)

Tell me Dawn, do your kids have stories like this from school? - Jennifer
I really don't. My kids are good in school. It's just in my presence that they lack the ability to behave.

So, technically, do chickens really have butts? - Jill

Apparently so.

I must have missed your children's ages since I'm a new reader. How old is Clay and Brooklyn and all the other kids? - Twilight
Austin - 13
Savannah - 11
Jackson - 9
Lexington - 6
Clayton - 4
Brooklyn - 1

Another question....Would you ever think about having Super Nanny come? - Kristine in Michigan.
No way! Forget Super Nanny. I'm just sending them to military school.

A question for your Sunday sound off: What is the most crazy thing that your kids have done (so far)? I know... it's so hard to choose... but give us your top 10.
The top ten things this month? Or today? Or in the last hour?

What instruments do your children play? - Rick
Austin plays the saxophone

Savannah plays the clarinet.

Jackson plays the tin whistle.

Ha.....for me it's always someone REALLY tall or with BIG POOFY hair manages to sit right in front of me at my daughter's chorus concerts and never fails matter where I sit....they find me...LOL - Maggii
Sorry about that.

Hi Dawn...I was just wondering if a lot of people in your hometown, or your children's schools, know that you are a "World Famous Blogger". For instance, the secretary at the school and the pencil incident, the booger boy's father from last night, etc. Do you hear feedback from these people who personally see you everyday? - Donna :)
I don't think too many acquaintances read my blog. If they do, they don't really say anything about it to me. (trying to remember if I've said anything really bad about anyone else over the last 6 months)

Thank you for your questions and tune in tomorrow for answers to pressing questions like this...

"Mom, do you have a screwdriver?" ~ Clay
Wait a minute.... a screwdriver? Hmmm vodka and orange juice? Vitamin C? Sounds nutritious.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Julian is Free

Julian is free from his cancer ridden body and is now with the Lord. We'll all miss him, but I'm thankful that he is no longer in pain, unable to run and play. Mimi is no longer having to watch her baby waste away a little more each day. Here is the update from Mimi...

Time of Death ,11:22am ... Never thought I would ever hear these words about my 4 1/2 year old son. But this morning , those words got engraved in my mind and my heart forever. Julian fought until the last painful breath. Again NOTHING peaceful about this process until , until he stopped gasping for air.

Julian looked like a fish out of the water, trying so hard to fill those lungs ,but nothing. You could see the normal breathing motions his body made, but nothing got past his throat.Finally he stopped fighting. When he started having a hard time breathing I went to get Ken . He stood on one side of the bed and i was on there with Julian . We talked him thru his transition . We told him it would be ok . We told him we were proud of him . I told him to say Hi to Jesus for me. I told him that Cody and Jacob were waiting for him . I told him that we would be ok . I told him he wouldnt hurt anymore. I told him good night. I told him I loved him . I told him to play and run . The nurse took his shirt off and told us to touch him , that he could feel us and we needed to feel him . I put my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart beat. Then it slowed down . Then I could not feel it anymore. I heard his first heartbeat and felt his last one .

I was texting Debra right before , texted her Julian was gone, she called and got in her car and came. I got Mamie, she told Ju bye.And Papy.

We got the boys and told them . Sam asked if we were sure he was gone. Then he said it was wierd because he didnt feel like crying . Then he asked to hold him . I needed to clean and dress Ju first . Debra got here, helped me a little, cried a lot... They are not supposed to get attached,how can you not get attached to Ju?

I held Julian . Debra gave him a bed bath , as she had been doing for the past few weeks, put lotion all over him , loved and kissed on him . 1 month ago , she didnt even know him , now she is grieving just as we are . That is what Julian is all about . LOVE, unconditional love... He touched Debra, she touched my heart... Ken , Debra, Mamie, Sam , Gma and I held Julian. Maybe others did , I am not sure. Dana and Jessi came.Pastor Kevin and Vicki, Zach and Sam.Diane came by, Pastor Blair and Pat. Vickie and Gerald. Nanny.

It is now 6 something pm. Dana and her family are still here with us . I love those guys! Thank you ... Funeral home men came to get him this afternoon. Ken carried him to the van , with his blankie (his Christmas blankie he would share with every one) one of his mimis and one of his dinosaurs. We dont know any details on viewing and funeral yet. We will let you know, just make sure you have your YELLOW SHIRTS HANDY !!!!

FLY HIGH MUNCHKIN ... I love you all the way to China, you are the best ,you know that? I love your smell too baby...

Your mama, your little mama ...

Several people have emailed me, asking me for Mimi's address so they could send a card to her.
I'm sure Mimi would appreciate that. Her address is...
Mimi Avery
111 Aviator Dr.
Fort Worth , Tx 76179

or take a minute to light a cyber candle and send a message to Mimi here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Do You Know Your Shapes?

My friend, Jane, sent this to me with the caption, "This is why you don't buy school supplies at the dollar store." LOL!

Revised to add this note.....
I got an email about this family who recently lost several members in a car wreck involving a drunk driver. People have gotten together and placed several auctions on eBay to help raise money for the family. Check them out when you get a minute.

My Space Page

New Story


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Strike up the Band

I went to my two oldest kids' band concert tonight. I got there really early and found a seat at the top of the bleachers. That's where the seasoned parents sit because we know the wall can be used as a seat back and even though your butt still goes numb from sitting on the hard wood for a couple hours, you have something to lean against. So I'm sitting there watching parents and other relatives come in and find seats. The gymnasium is nearly empty, open seats everywhere, and yet this family came in, walked up the bleachers and sat down right on top of me. Why? Why do people do this? There are two thousand empty seats, but they feel the need to invade my personal space. This irritates me. These are the kind of people who get three inches from your face while talking to you; assaulting your face with little sprays of spit. "This is YOUR dance space and this is MY dance space." Now back off!!!

I scooted over and set my camera down next to me, lest someone else come along and sit on my lap. Do you think the camera deterred the next "clueless personal space" person who came along? Nope. A man and his two year old son sat down next to me. I glanced at the little boy and smiled as he stuck his finger up his nose. Charming. The next time I looked over at him, he was using the very same finger he'd just shoved, knuckle-deep into his nasal passages, to touch my camera still sitting on the seat beside me. He looked up at me and I swear I heard him say, "Ha ha ha-ha-ha!" Gee thanks, kid.

So I scootched over a little more and watched the clock, waiting for the concert to begin. Before long, I was surrounded by spectators and the smell of old lady perfume (you know the really stinky flower kind), wet dog, stale smoke, and good old fashioned B.O. filled my nostrils. Had I been pregnant, I would surely have thrown up right then and there.

Finally the musicians filed in and took their seats. They began playing their numbers and I forgot about the annoying people around me. Both bands sounded really good actually. A little different than when they first started playing their instruments. They'd play a song and with a proud smile, inquire, "Did you like that? Do you know what song that was?"
Ummm Row, Row, Row Your Boat?
Uhhh, Frère Jacques?
Huh uh.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?
No Mom. It's the theme from Harry Potter! Didn't you recognize it?
Ummm yeah. Oh yeah. That was going to be my next guess!

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of the concert I noticed the little boy who had been sitting next to me was now four rows down, taking close-up, flash pictures; blinding the poor kid sitting next to him. His father was still at the top of the bleachers, seemingly oblivious that his two year old had moved on to bigger and better things.
Say cheese! flash
Say cheese! flash
Say cheese! flash
Yeah, that never gets old.

Sitting on the bleachers for the concert reminded me that baseball season is looming ahead. Then the real fun starts. Four kids playing ball at different fields across town at the same time. I know I'm looking forward to that.

Check out what's new at Mamaslike!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm the Map...I'm the Map, I'm the Map, I'm the Map...

Thank you so much to all of you who have taken the time to look up some information about your town and send Austin a letter for his school project. We have been having so much fun reading about your great cities! We've loved looking at the pictures of your towns, famous landmarks, and your beautiful families! We've gotten 50 cards/letters so far from 26 states and several countries! We've read every one! Well, Austin, Joe, and I have read them at least. Austin, who is 13 and basically uninterested in school, is actually excited to get these cards and read about your towns. Joe has decided that he wants to visit every town that's been mentioned because you've all made them sound so interesting. And thanks to the pictures you've sent, I'm enjoying putting faces to some of the names I keep seeing in my comments! :)

As far as my kids' names go...we've gotten one from Brooklyn, NY and one from Lexington, MA. Anyone from Austin, TX? Savannah, GA? Clayton, MO? Or Clayton, AL? Or Clayton, CA? Jackson, MS?

I hope this map works. You should be able to zoom in and out and if you click on a marker, you should be able to read the name of the town and the name of the person who sent the letter from there.

View Larger Map

Sorry I didn't think to stop and take a picture of my toilet-wading daughter yesterday. Will these pictures from July suffice?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cooking 101

Well, it just wouldn't be a normal day if Clay didn't get into something.
I was lying in bed this morning, not asleep, yet not quite awake yet either. I cracked one eye open and glanced at the clock. Ugh. Ten more minutes. I'll get up in ten more minutes, I thought. I smelled something cooking. Who was cooking? Joe's at work. The kids are asleep. Ohhh, I know! Joe must have put the chicken in the crock pot before he left for work. Wow, that chicken is going to fall off the bones and be mush if it cooks that long. I wonder why Joe put the chicken in before he left for work at 4:00 this morning? It smells like it's burning too. I wonder if he put any liquid in with it?

I decided to get up and check on the chicken and pour some water over it. I got up, walked into the kitchen, and my feet stuck to the floor. Huh? I looked down and saw what appeared to be egg smeared all over the floor. A peek at the egg shells in the sink and the yolk covered paper towels in the garbage confirmed my thoughts.

Before cleaning up the sticky egg mess, I checked on the crock pot. The crock pot that didn't have a chicken in it. It wasn't plugged in. It was empty.

Wait. How can that be? I smell something cooking. What on earth is that smell? I look around the kitchen. I look in the oven. I walk through the house sniffing, saying, "What IS that smell?"
Clay, who is awake and sitting in the family room answers me.
"It's eggs, Mom!"
"What do you mean, 'It's eggs'?"
"I wanted eggs for breakfast."
"Did you try to cook eggs?" I asked horrified.
"Yes!" Clay answers proudly.
He ran to the microwave, opened the door, and pulled out a coffee cup with what was once an egg, but is now a hard, yellow/brown, sponge looking, hockey puck.

This is the part where I freaked out. We can skip the details.

Then I cleaned up the sticky egg goo that had been smeared all over the floor while thanking God that Clay didn't burn the house down or hurt himself. On the bright side, it's been almost a year since his last cooking escapade (where he put a package of microwave popcorn, still encased in cellophane, in the microwave for 55 minutes and 55 seconds) so at least it's not a regular thing.

Look at this egg. See all that white stuff? He put a handful of kosher salt on it first. No plain ole, unseasoned eggs for this guy.
Looks a little like a natural sea sponge, no? Who knew an egg could look quite like this.
After the cooking eggstravaganza, I took my middle daughter to the doctor because she's been sick for a couple days and started running a fever today. When I got home, I walked to the kitchen to make the kids lunch. I heard someone run to the bathroom. I heard the door close and the toilet seat slam open. I heard all these things yet they didn't totally register. Do you know what I mean? Even though I was concentrating on making lunch, I was picking up little bits and pieces of what was going on in the rest of the house. Even though I was in another part of the house, concentrating on something else, I knew that Clay was going to the bathroom.

I asked the kids if they wanted celery or apples and heard Lexi's and Clay's replies from the family room. What? The family room? But he's in the bathroom. Isn't he? I walk to the bathroom only to find Brooklyn there. Standing IN the toilet. Yep, there she was, socks on, standing in the water.

Then at dinner, I was delighted to learn that the kids had taught Brooklyn a new word. Chickenbutt. This should be part of every one year old's vocabulary, no? Ugh.

Hooray for bedtime.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lunch with Manic at Brio

I got out of the house today. By myself. And it wasn't even for a root canal! No, I got out of the house and went to a nice Italian restaurant with fellow blogger, Stephanie from Manic Mommy! We had such a great time. Well, I had a great time anyway. I think Manic had a great time. Or maybe she was just pretending. Or maybe it was the wine. Hmm....

We took like an hour and a half to order because Manic was busy grilling me we were busy chatting. Manic is very easy to talk to and our poor wait person had to come back to our table eight times before we were ready to order. (It only took thirty seconds to order our wine, however.)

So there we are drinking our wine, talking, and taking pictures of everything because we're dorks that's what bloggers do, when the waiter delivered my lobster bisque and Manic's salad (she was much better than I and ordered something healthy). He looked at us and warned us not to steal the salt and pepper shakers. Clearly, Manic and I look like the criminal type so I completely understand his warning. We made jokes about sticking the salt and pepper shakers in our purses. I don't think he was amused as he stationed an armed guard to watch over our table. I think we should have taken a picture of him, huh Manic? Next time...

I wasn't apprehensive about meeting Manic because she seems totally normal from reading her blog and hey, we were meeting in a public place. No, I wasn't apprehensive until her salad came. It came along with a huge butcher knife (because it was lettuce after all and everyone knows how hard it is to cut through lettuce.)

Wine. A giant steak knife. It's all good.

Here's a picture of my yummy, low cal, fat free pasta. Only 2 points.

Aren't you all thrilled to know what I ate for lunch?

But here's what I had for dessert...

What??? My lunch was only 2 points, remember? It's ok that I ate nine desserts.

This is what Manic had for dessert.

Just kidding. We shared that.

Oh my gosh - we have the total same hair color!!! And note - the pepper mill is still on the table and not in our purses.

Then Manic asked me to sign her copy of an article about me in the Trib. LOL! Me! Giving an autograph! Me! ROFL!!! It cracked me up! Thanks for making my day asking me for an autograph, Stephanie!

What a fun lunch it was! Stephanie is so bubbly and fun, energetic and funny, interesting and hmmm, what's the word I'm looking for - positive, enthusiastic, effervescent. That's it - effervescent. I, on the other hand, was about to fall asleep. Oh wait - that sounds terrible. I wasn't about to fall asleep because Manic was boring. Not even close! No, that was the lady sitting behind Manic. Her companion talked and talked and talked and she sat there with this glazed look on her eyes. I was just falling asleep because I'm running on 3 hours of sleep and wine.

So thanks for meeting me for lunch, Ms. Manic!!! It was a real treat and we'll definitely have to do it again! Not like how some people say, "We'll have to do this again sometime" and they really mean, "Well, that was a horrid and unusual kind of torture that I'll never repeat!" I mean it like, "That was a lot of fun and we're going to do this again until we've eaten at every restaurant between her house and mine!" :)

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