Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Half Empty or Half Full?

This is a story of my day. I've written it from two points of view. Each story is written about the exact same events on the exact same day involving the exact same people. And each version is totally true.


There have been threats written on the bathroom walls at several of the schools around the suburbs. Although I'm 99% sure these threats were written by some punk who thinks he's really funny, I wasn't willing to chance my kids' lives on that 1% chance the threats were serious. Sooo, I kept my oldest kids home from school today. Savannah went shopping with friends and enjoyed her morning. Austin made the little ones breakfast while I took the middle ones to school. Then he put a movie on for the kids to watch while I read mail, did some laundry, and washed dishes. When the movie was done, Austin got out the vacuum and went to town cleaning the family room floor. I didn't even have to ask him to do it!

After that, I took the kids out for lunch to treat them because they'd been so good all morning. We went to Ihop. When the food arrived, Austin cut up Brooklyn's pancake for her and I cut up Clay's. I didn't even have to ask Austin. He just did it. The kids were really awesome there; they ate their lunches; used good manners; and thanked me for taking them.

When we got back home, Austin mowed the yard. What a great kid!

Later when I picked the middle kids up from school, Lexi ran outside to play. She looked up at a bird sitting in a tree and admired his sweet song.

We ended up having McDonald's for dinner tonight. Yesterday I baked cupcakes for Lexi to take to school to celebrate her birthday. I used a boxed cake mix and realized that Jax and Clay wouldn't be able to eat the leftover cupcakes because of the artificial ingredients, so I made a batch of special cupcakes for them. I put chocolate chip cookie dough in the bottom of muffin cups and mixed up cheesecake filling for the top. Mmmm. Then I made hotdog buns for dinner. After that, Jackson reminded me that I needed to make like a thousand Greek cookies for him to take to school today for his cultural project. I think I was baked out yesterday, so it was McD's for dinner tonight.

At Lexi's baseball game, instead of playing at the park, Clay sat by me through the whole game. What a sweet guy.



I overslept and while I rushed around to get my middle kids to school, my oldest two sulked because I kept them home from school, making them miss all the fun activities going on today. I'm just mean that way. Austin made the little ones breakfast. On the menu was popcorn and chocolate milk. Then he transformed the family room into a movie theater by hanging blankets from all the windows to really darken the room. He dragged out every bean bag chair and pillow in the house for the little ones and gave them bowls of their "breakfast" to eat while watching the movie. Sometime during the movie, they spilled popcorn all over the place. It's probably because about 20 minutes into the film, they lost interest and started jumping around the place like baboons. Upon seeing the spilled popcorn, I gave Austin a look that told him he'd better clean it up before I started raving like a psycho.

He started vacuuming up huge amounts of popcorn, but was having trouble getting the vacuum to suck it all up. He removed the hose from the unit and a fountain of popcorn flew out like snow from a snowblower. The room was covered in kernels! Ugh. It turns out the vacuum was full. After dumping its contents, I turned it back on, but it was dead. Well, it's mostly dead anyway. We don't have a good track record with vacuums. Probably from overuse.

In an effort to get out of the house and stop the whining, I took the kids to Ihop for lunch. While waiting for our meals, Clay looked around the restaurant and said, "We're not sitting by the clock. The clock is over there by the pretty flowers." I'm amazed at that kid's memory. The last time we were there, we did indeed sit on the other side of the restaurant near a clock. Brooklyn piped up with, "I go sleep in the clock."

"You sleep in the clock?"

"Uh-huh!" she confirmed beaming from ear to ear.

"I see."

"Mom, it's 14 o'clock."

"It's 14 o'clock, huh? Do you sleep when it's 14 o'clock?"


"OK then"

When our waiter delivered our lunch, Brooklyn screamed, "I LOVE ca-cakes! YAY!!! CA-CAKES!" (pancakes)

Upon seeing his own pancake decorated with whipped cream and two cherries, Clay shouted out, "Red berries! Mom! Red berries! I LOVE red berries!"

"Yes, Brooklyn. Shhhh, I know you like pancakes. Clay, those are cherries and shhhh, the whole restaurant doesn't need to know how much you love cherries."

Toward the end of our meal, Clay slipped off the booster seat and slid under the table. He popped back up with a stray crayon and a look on his face like he'd just found buried treasure.

Before we left, Brooklyn pointed to a little girl behind us and said (very loudly) Mom! Look! Baby! Mom, there's baby! Mom! MOM! Look there baby! Look Mom! BABY! I see baby Mom? I play with baby? Mommy! Baby! Over there baby! I play with baby!"

The mom of the little girl looked at me, afraid that I'd actually let Brooklyn run over there and bug her daughter. And I could just see her thinking the words, "Does your daughter ever shut up?"

When we got back home, Austin mowed the back yard. After he finished, he took the lawnmower to the front lawn, but couldn't get it started again. I also tried to start it to no avail. I checked the gas tank - full. I checked the oil - notsofull. In fact empty. We probably killed the lawnmower by running it without oil. Let's see - vacuum, lawnmower, what's next?

After I picked the middle kids up from school, Lex ran outside and looked up at a bird sitting in a tree. The bird pooped on her head. She ran inside crying, "A bird pooped on me!"

I looked at her head and said, "It's probably just a raindrop, honey."

"It's not raining! A bird pooped on me!!!!"

Sure enough, a bird pooped on her head. A bird actually pooped on her head! How often does something like that happen?

"Grab the shampoo, hon."

I didn't even think about dinner during the day today. It never crossed my mind to pull anything out to thaw and I need to go to the grocery store anyway, so I sent Joe for a nutritious meal of fast food for dinner tonight.

At Lexi's baseball game, Clay started whipping pinecones around the playground. I told him to stop or he'd have to sit with me on the bleachers. As I turned around, I was hit square in the back with a flying pinecone. Guess who had to sit with me for the rest of the game.



J Crosby said...

I love it! This post is the very essence of your gift for writing.

(And it shows how people can easily "whitewash" events and be totally truthful at the same time ;-)

Yvonne said...

The first is so serene and lovely and just how that "other" mom that left you the neg comment would describe HER life. The second way, on the other hand is HYSTERICAL! Why not tell it funny? Funny, boring, funny, boring....HMMMMM I will take funny..thank you very much! And, Dawn, thank you for sharing your life with us!

Kirsten said...

Loving the 2 scenerios of your day. As soon as I started reading I knew the first one sounded too good to be true! And the bird poop, it does happen. Last week at a cookout a bird pooped on the side of my head, most of it actually plopped into my wine glass. SO UPSET ABOUT THAT. Oh well, quick trip to the bathroom to wash out my hair and a fresh glass of wine and I was as good as knew. I think people say that is good luck . . . . . like rain on your wedding day (had that too by the way!)

HerstoryGirl said...

This was great!!

Btw, in some countries, it is considered GOOD LUCK to have a bird poop on you.
Don't ask me why!
My dad loves to tell the story of him going on his first date. He was all dressed up and rode a bus across town to meet the girl.
Just a few blocks from her house, a bird dropped a HUGE, PURPLISH poop-bomb on his crisp, white shirt.
He was so upset and embarrassed, he turned around and went home.
I have no idea what happened to the girl.

In any event, he married my mom and here I am, so I guess that bird really WAS good luck! ;>)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I prefer version #2 (as long as it's not happening to me!) ;) You do have a gift, Dawn! I can't wait for your book to come out!!

Tell Lexi that it's good luck when a bird poops on you. How THAT logic came to be, I'll never know, but it's supposed to be true!

Donna in PA :)

lawnajo said...

HILLARIOUS post. And so true, it seems that when my son (5 years old) tries to do things to help without being asked, that’s when something goes wrong or he ends up making a bigger mess. I always get frustrated with him and feel bad afterward when I realize that his intentions were good.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this post! Wow! I am glad you wrote about this today because it is my birthday!


Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager (probably 8th grade...I wasn't so lovely then), my mom took me outside to fuss at me. During the fussing a bird pooped on her shoulder. I could not stop laughing (it took a while to make her realize it actually happened and that I was not laughing at her. The really terrible thing is that at that point we shared clothing and she was wearing my shirt!

Suburban Correspondent said...

I know this is off the subject, but you cannot imagine how many vacuum cleaners we have been through.

Julie B. said...

See? Now during scenario #1, I was hearing this eerie, happy, Leave it to Beaver-ish music in my head, and picturing some maniac with a knife jumping out from behind a bush when you got home, shattering the calm and wonderful day. It kind of creeped me out, really... then I got to scenario #2, and I felt all better... because THAT is how life REALLY is when you have kids. I only have a 19 year old and a 4 year old, and my lunches out go WAY more like #2 than they do like the first scene. And yes, I do mean, they look more like #2... LOL thanks for keepin' it real, Dawn!

Anonymous said...

I liked the 2 scenarios. I have never heard bird poop was good luck. I guess my van should be a mecca for good luck then!!! Also from a post the other day, my pediatrician says Mom's voice is just background noise. So true!!!

The Adorables! said...

I was told that a bird pooping on you was supposed to indicate monetary gain was coming your way. A bird pooped on me when I was in 8th grade, walking across campus. All I got was detention for being late, because I didn't want to tell teacher in front of the entire class why I was late.

A bird pooped on the handle of my car door a few months ago -- I found that out after I went to open my door. My only gain was my older daughter breaking into hysterical laughter at my reaction. That is priceless, so it's a wash.

Amy said...

I love it! I laughed out loud! I had a similar day! Mine was great until 4:30 PM, then went south really quickly!

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...


Brenda said...

A bird pooped on her head? Cup half empty: What are the odds of a bird pooping on your child's head. Gross. Cup half full: Maybe it was aiming for you.

Anonymous said...

LOL! This was great! In some places, like the arab countries, bird pooping on you is really good luck! so I guess I need to keep my car if I wanna be lucky! :)

Shari said...

You are great, Dawn! Love the post of the two scenarios. You are super mom with more patience than me I think! :)

debi9kids said...

LOL! Ok, so as I was reading the first scenerio I was thinking, um, this all sounds WAAAAY too "rosy". haha
The second scenerio is much more realistic.
Ok, so, if you are anything like me...the washing machine will be next! UGH!
:) debi
ps A bird pooping on your head is supposed to be good luck! Maybe nothing else will break????

Shellie said...

Too cool post, I knew there was more going on there than met the eye.

Anonymous said...

I had a bird poop on my head, inside a Home Depot. My response, at the age of 44, was exactly the same as Lexi's.

However, I can count myself lucky. In college, there was a professor who specialized in birds and ecology. He loved doing bird calls and would gaze lovingly into the trees and the sky as he did them. Yes, one time he did end up with a mouth full of bird poop.

Sandy in Tucson

HeyItsBeej said...

"Sure enough, a bird pooped on her head. A bird actually pooped on her head! How often does something like that happen?"

That's happened to me. Twice. Once when I was 17 and in Florida, and once this past fall at Huber Farm (a.k.a. the place where we pick pumpkins). Considering the odds of that happening TWICE, I don't tempt fate during lightning storms.

HeyItsBeej said...

Darnit, hit send before my brain was finished.

The White House should hire you as their #1 spin doctor. Hehe

My Two Army Brats said...

I love the two stories but I'm still stuck on your first bit in scenario 1. The threats on the bathroom wall...that's horrible. I hope it's just some kid being dumb but I'm with you on never taking your kids safety for granted.

Scenario 2 is way more blog worthy of an entrance. Good thing you don't write about your days scenario 1 style lol!

I can certainly see how the two are both true accounts of the days events though!

Anonymous said...

*lol* I guess it's all about perception.
It's like when my two year old decides to make pancakes - I can either be proud that she knows what to put in the bowl or pull chunks of hair out of my head when I see pieces of egg shell and a fine dust of flour all over the counter and floor. I usually choose the first option and leave the cleaning up to my husband :D
Take care!

Erin said...

THANK YOU for the great laugh today... it's all about perspective!

And, yes, a bird pooping on the head is good luck for sure. I can also claim that my husband has been peed on by a white siberian tiger and my dad was sneezed on by a hippo. Disgusting? Oh yes! But lucky... who else has these great claims?

Ari said...

Ok, I was so sure that atleast the Austin part of this whole thing was true! I mean, there really is no better time to prove to Mom that you really can be behaved when you don´t have to go to school! By the time you got to Clay sitting by you on the bleachers, I was a little suspicious... :D
What, you mean you´ve never had a bird poop on you? I thought that happened to every kid atleast once. But, then again, maybe my family is just bird poop target practice.

Rick said...

I would say that my glass is "half full", but somebody stuck a straw in and keeps sucking on it!

(Ever feel like that?)

Brandi said...

That was a neat example of perspective!

Did you unplug it for a few minutes to allow it to reset? Sometimes there is a safety mechanism (?) that keeps a clogged or otherwise incapacitated vacuum from restarting right away.

My husband just realized the last time he mowed that he hadn't put oil in our mower since we bought it. It's only been about eight or nine years. lol

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

I prefer the second one! We went out for pizza last night and I told my daughter to hush the whole restaurant didn't need to hear her. I say that a lot. My kids don't know what inside voices are!

Brandi said...

Oh, I forgot to mention the time my older brother and I were cleaning fish in our backyard (as kids). My brother would scrape of the scales and whack off the fish heads, but he would NOT mess with the guts. So, I got the wonderful job of gutting the fish. My brother got hot and took off his shirt. A bird flew overhead and dropped poop on my brother's bare back. The kid me said it served him right!

nutralady2001 said...


First scenario...booooring (although the writing on the wall worries me)

Second scenario....totally hysterically funny..... and much more believable..thanks for the laughs

Heather said...

That was so neat to read, Dawn!!

And tell Brooklyn that some strange lady in South Dakota was walking down the street the other afternoon and a bird pooped on her, too! Not quite on the head, but only because I moved my head to avoid a branch. Instead, I got it on the shoulder of the freshly laundered t-shirt I had just put on. Go figure. :-)

Thank you for sharing your life with us...I get a smile every day!!

Blessed Blackman Bunch said...



Anonymous said...

I wish you could have posted the stories side by side. I kept scrolling up to compare the events and losing my place!

You gave me a great idea for a writing assignment to give my kids this summer. What a great exercise in perspective/point of view. Very clever, Dawn!


As Cape Cod Turns said...

As I was reading the first scenario, I was thinking what a great day you had and boy did you deserve it! I should have known there was the real story lurking between the lines.

And yes, bird poop=luck. I think some mom thought that up to turn a bad situation into a good one.

Rana said...

I love the two senerios! One, so staid and traditional and boring, the lifelike and hilarious to those who see it from 'our side'. Frustrating from your side! The popcorn story reminds me of when we had a windstorm here and it picked up my very full, fresh, bowl of hot popcorn and threw it across the room. While cleaning that up, it started to rain and poured in through the windows! Soggy carpet and furniture, popcorn everywhere, and falling ceiling tiles, what excitement!

Unknown said...

Great post!!

And like everyone else said, it's good luck to have a bird poop on your head!

Anita said...

I just want to say that I'm sorry - although it wasn't ME who said mean things to you and about your blog. It's obvious that your feelings were a bit hurt, especially after many times of making it clear that you add sarcasm and exaggeration to your posts for humorous effect. I for one think you must be mom of the year, and I can totally see my kids doing some of the same things yours do - and doing it out of complete innocence! I mean, kids are meant to play, be adventurous and learn the difference between right and wrong. They are not robots we just push play on or order around to do our bidding.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Too funny!!! Thanks for your 2 different scenarios!!!

Carrie M. said...

I just love this post. It makes you reevaluate your priorities as a know? I mean you can go through life with the attitude in the first scenario or the second. When the kids are grown and out you'll be remembering events in a more positive light, but the kids will remember you reacting the second way. I'm going to go hug my kids now and try not to get mad when I find Cheerio's all over the livingroom floor. Thanks Dawn!!!

Janet said...

I can't wait for that baby to become a 2-year-old. Her mother had best watch that attitude.

I once had a prof who started the semester by telling us we would never hold class outside because a bird once "shat upon my head." (He was completely bald.) Who could blame him? He was one of my favorite professors ever so it was OK.

HeathSaw said...

I'm sorry about your vacuum and lawnmower. That's the way it goes in our house too. Everything breaks all at once.

The first post was too good to be true. My favorite part is with Lexi and the bird :)

Anonymous said...

Great scenarios DAWN-- as far as the bathroom walls that is horrible trust me i woulda kept mine home too. and as far as bird poop never happened to me :::knocking on wood::: but when we were little my sister ran in from the yard and was telling my mom "i dont know it just fell from the sky" bird poop all over her head it was hilarious I laughed forever lol... Imma have to remind her of that today hope u have a great day --sasha

Unknown said...

Sounds like life is kickin' along right according to pace at our house. Sorry about the popcorn, vacuum, lawnmower and pinecones. What a day.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I really wish I could half-cupperize my day yesterday the way you did. You never believe that once your beautiful child gets to be yon 'round 14 that you would actually just bolt from the house, drive off to nowhere and cry in your parked van blasting Rick Springfield tunes after dealing with her distressing defiance all week long.

It's been said, but you do have a gift & it sure helps those of us on the real battle/playfield of parenthood to not feel so alone.

Just One Foot said...

Laughed out loud, then sent it to my sister...I *only* have four kids and they will all be out of school in three short weeks. I am hoping for many summer days like scenario #1 but have lived through many summers with these same kids and think we are in store for more scenarios like #2. Maybe we can just have a happy mix of the two?...


Unknown said...

Poor Lexi! Maybe she'll have good luck for a year. :)

Dawtch said...

Welcome to Mercury Retrograde! based on my own experience the past few days, I'm inclined to see the second scenario as being more "realistic"...
You cane see my experiences (the ones posted so far, I have more, after these, I just haven't been able to post yet...)if you're inclined & have the time... here:
and here:
and look for more, they're in my head, just waiting to come out!!

Elisabet said...

It really does depend on how you look at it...and while both versions are "true", number 2 was funnier! We moms just aren't paid enough.

AlaneM said...

Wouldn't it be fab if we could get through these lovely days seeing things like scenario one? I sure could have used that yesterday!!!

Tonya Staab said...

I was so very jealous as I was reading version 1 and was secretly wondering how I could 'borrow' your son to teach mine a few things LOL.

Version 2 makes me feel so much better.

Stephanie said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

the writing on the wall is very scary! i am wondering though how your school calendar runs. my kids start at the beginning of August and get out the week of Memorial Day. we are already dealing with the summer "fun" ;)

lawnajo said...

I found this quote in Oprah magazine and thought of your post:
"For centuries, optimists and pessimists have argued over who's right, and the answer is they both are; each sees what they're looking for. If you focus on happiness, that's what you become more aware of."
~Robert Holden, PhD
author of Happiness Now! Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good Fast

Angie said...

I've never had a bird poop on me but I did have a bird poop on my math homework. I was sitting at a table outside doing homework and then there was a splat. The teacher didn't ask what the stain was and I didn't volunteer the information....

Just One Foot said...

Yeah, we just moved to NY two years ago. Of all the places we've lived we've never gone to school this late. I guess it's because we have a full week off in Feb and a full week off in April, and a ton of built in snow days? We go back on Sept 5th. I've posted about it today at We are just so ready to be like the rest of you!


Anonymous said...

What is it with preteens/teenagers and writing threats on bathroom walls? They did that at my son's middle school this year too. The caught the little brat doing it though!

When this started happening at my old high school the current principal there came up with a great idea that put a quick end to it all...he told the kids that for every threat they found the kids would have an extra day of school added to the end of the year. Guess what?! That's right the little holligans cut that out real quick!


erinbee said...

What a day!

We have had so many bomb threats in my area kids are going to go longer in the summer to curb the "Let's call in a threat and get out of school" temptation.

Mum-me said...

It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? If we all overlooked the bad bits of day ..... well our day wouldn't seem nearly as interesting.

I was once lunching in the park with an open can of coke beside me and a bird pooped right into the hole of the coke can. It's completely true. And I had only taken one sip too. This way in my Uni days when I had to save up my money for two weeks just to be able to AFFORD a can of coke. If I could have gotten my hadns on that bird ....

Fingertip Offerings said...

A post like the first version is okay now and then, but anymore than that and people will know you are hiding something (like, the funny honest truth that we can all relate to whether we want to admit it or not).

I have a cyberfriend who *never* blogs *anything* negative about her husband, her kids,....matter of fact, she never posts anything negative.

I really hate reading her blog.

megan k said...

I got pooped on once, by a pigeon. I was so so gross, but after I thought about it, I almost went to the casino. j/k I thought what are the chances I would get pooped on?

Anonymous said...

I think this might be my favorite blog entry. I knew the first one couldn't have happened that peacefully...after all, I am a mother, too. The second thats more like the Dawns family I know and love! Thanks for the laugh!

TheHMC said...

I totally get pooped on by birds. I've even been pooped on by two different birds, at two different times, while riding in a vehicle. Close topped vehicle at that. Now, you explain to ME how a freakin' bird could manage to crap on me through the window.

Jenn's finding life funny! said...

That was not just funny, but also brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I'm Michelle's former sister in law, and she told me I Had to read your blog. I hate blogs! But I laughed so hard at yours-- I'm so glad I read it. I have twins and the only scenario is the chaotic one--I even made a Montessori school mad at me.


Michelle said...

Ahhhh... the famous track records with vacuums. I finally gave up on my very nice and expensive one and bought my husband a new vacuum for Christmas this past year (yep, a present for him). He told me the other day how horrible it is and it doesn't work and we need a new one. *sigh*

Oh, and our lawnmower has been in the shop since the Monday before Memorial Day. You can imagine how good our lawn's looking right about now!

Love the two perspectives!

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