Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where Are Your Shoes?

When my alarm went off this morning, I did the unthinkable. I turned off the alarm and I got out of bed. I know! No, no, please, hold your applause. Seriously, I got up, showered, dressed and got going immediately. "We are SO going to make it to church on time today," I thought. Then I remembered that I had volunteered to bring in some Play-Doh toys for the kids in the nursery.

"Jackson, run out to the garage and grab the box of Play Doh stuff please."
"Because I said so."
"Ugh. whine whine whine"

A few minutes passed and Jackson came in from the garage empty-handed.

"Where are the Play Doh things?" I inquired, not the least bit surprised that Jackson had gotten distracted and returned empty-handed.

"In the garage. duh"

"Bring them inside! We have to get going."

"But they're not in the Play Doh box. They're at the bottom of the refrigerator box."

"Why??? Oh, never mind. I don't want to know why they're in there. Just go get them please!"

"Why are you making me get them?" grumble grumble grumble

"Because I'm mean."

"Yes, you are!" Jackson replied as he stomped off to the garage.

Another few minutes passed and he returned empty-handed yet again.

"I can't get them," Jackson complained.

"Ugh. Fine!" I brushed past him and went to retrieve the toys myself.

I walked into the garage and saw that the kids had set up some kind of fort in there. They had every pillow and blanket from every bed in the house, save mine, piled up in the garage. There was a container of crayons artistically distributed over every square inch of floor; there were containers of pretzels and cereal left out to get stale; there were books, flashlights, dolls, stuffed animals, and toys strewn about.

"What the...??? Did you guys really think that was a good idea? Why did you guys put all this stuff out here?"

"It's our clubhouse, Mom. Isn't it cool?"

"Yeah, it's lovely. And the best part is that now I can spend all day washing all this bedding so it doesn't smell like gasoline, grass, and garagey stuff. Delightful."

By the time I'd picked up some of the blankets, pillows, and towels from the garage, it was time to leave. In fact, it was a little past time to leave.

"Come on. Let's go guys. Everyone get in the car. Someone put the PlayDoh stuff in the car too."

I poured myself a cup of coffee to go and went out to the car. Five blocks later, Austin pipes up with, "I don't have my shoes."

"Seriously? You don't have shoes on? Why not? Where did you think we were going? How can you forget your shoes? How? How?? HOW???"

I hung a u-turn and went back so my THIRTEEN year old could get his shoes. So much for being on time today.

Go HERE for your chance to win a Jawbone bluetooth headset. (By the way, some of my readers were a little confused, so I wanted to clarify one point. This headset doesn't work with your regular ole cordless phone in your house. This works with a bluetooth enabled cell phone.)

And go HERE for your chance to win a Lands' End backpack.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grrrr Auction!

Once again, eBay pulled my auction. I understand why they pulled it the first time. They just don't want unethical people saying the auction is for charity and then pocketing the money. I understand that. When I went to relist it, Make a Wish Foundation didn't come up on their alphabetized list or under the categories of charities helping children. Because it didn't appear to be part of eBay's Giving Works, I listed it again and didn't write in my auction that I was going to donate the money, yet I still tried to make it clear to potential bidders that I really was going to donate the funds.

Apparently you can't say you're going to donate your earnings to charity, but you also can't say that you're not going to say you're going to donate your earnings to charity. I did get a very helpful (and by "helpful", I mean "lame" letter that didn't really explain anything to me. I wrote back to eBay to see just what their problem was and received the following wonderful answer to my question. Don't you just love companies who don't take the time to address your questions and instead send you autoresponders? Autoresponders that pretty much say, "We're not going to answer your question. Do not respond to this letter. We don't really care about your question. Buh-bye." This is really not a complaint specifically about eBay, but against every company who sadly lacks in the customer service department. I honestly don't have anything against eBay. I mean, if it weren't for my auction last year, I wouldn't be where I am right now. That said, I abhor stinky customer service from any company.

(Oooo Oooo! I have a really good customer service story though! I went to Best Buy the other day to check out cameras. I walked to the camera department and began looking around. Very soon, a friendly person asked, "Can I help you with anything?"
At this point, I declined and said that I was just looking.
"No problem. Let me know if you have any questions."
After a few more minutes, I approached this same woman and told her I had a few questions. And then the strangest thing happened. She answered my questions. With intelligence too! She knew what she was talking about! Not only that, but she seemed genuinely pleased to help find the right camera for me. When I told her I was thinking about taking a photography class, she even wrote down the names of a couple photography magazines she thought I might enjoy. It is so rare to find a customer service rep who not only knows what she's talking about, but is willing to share that information with you. And in a pleasant manner, at that! I was thoroughly impressed.

OK, back to the not so great side of customer service.
I hate these autoresponders. Let's see why. Here is the one I got from eBay. Again, I don't really have anything against eBay in particular. I just hate these stupid autoresponders. I've translated it for you so you know what it really says.

*****THIS IS AN AUTORESPONDER. PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE*****Thank you for writing to eBay Customer Support.

Why are you bugging us? We won't read your mail. We won't bother to respond to you. We will, however, send this stupid form letter in response to your inquiry because, quite frankly, you aren't worth our time.

We sincerely value you as a member of our trading community and understand your concern regarding your recently removed listing(s).

Ha ha! You lose. We win. You suck. We just took 2 listing fees from you and you have nothing to show for it. Hee hee hee!

We realize that there are times when you may have additional questions.

Unfortunately we don't have time to answer them.

When your listings were removed by eBay, we sent you a Removed Listing Notice, which explained why we removed your listings and provided helpful information about eBay's policies and guidelines.

OK, so maybe it didn't really contain an explanation and much information after all, but it looked official, no?

Should you have further questions or concerns, please review the information below.

which won't answer your questions, but will give you a lot more senseless drivel to read. You know, in case this letter isn't enough for you.

To ensure that eBay remains a safe and fun venue to buy and sell, all listings must meet certain guidelines. When a listing does not meet these guidelines, eBay may have to remove the listing early.

We must protect buyers from the horrors of people like you who offer to donate their money to charity.

For more information on why eBay removes listings please visit (blah blah blah) eBay may remove listings when the item or listing potentially infringes a third party's copyright or trademark, is prohibited on eBay, or when the item or listing otherwise violates eBay's listing policies. More detailed information explaining these policies is provided below:

1. Potentially infringing items violations: "Potentially infringing" means that items may be in violation of certain copyrights, trademarks, or other rights. For your protection, some items here are not allowed (i.e. are "prohibited"), regardless of their legality, because they almost always violate copyright or trademark laws. Some examples of potential copyright infringement are copies of music on CD-R, counterfeit software (including software that has been pre-loaded onto a computer hard drive), and copies of video recorded from TV or other sources. Examples of potential trademark infringement are replica watches, or counterfeit handbags and accessories, and the inappropriate use of brandnames in the title of a listing title that offers an item made by another company. To read more detailed information on eBay's potentially infringing policies please visit (blah blah blah).

Yeah, because "two shirts and a necklace" was really code for "pirated copies of the latest movies".

2. Prohibited items: The listing is for an item which eBay does not allow to be listed on our web site. This means that the item listed may violate a particular law or eBay has deemed it inappropriate for listing. Some examples of these prohibited items would be improperly listed Event Tickets, Offensive materials (such as Nazi or KKK items), as well as certain scanners, cable and satellite descramblers, transceivers, or linear amplifiers.For more information on the regulations on these types of items (listed respectively), please refer to (blah blah blah). Our complete list of Prohibited and Questionable Items policies may be found at (blah blah blah).

Although I don't especially like the Horton Hears a Who t-shirt, I don't think it's particularly offensive. I'm pretty sure it isn't illegal to dress like a dork.

3. A listing violation: the listing fails to meet the appropriate formator guidelines for listing on eBay. To view these guidelines, please visit (blah blah blah). Also, be aware that eBay members are not allowed to use another eBay user's images or descriptions in their listings or About Me page without the owner's permission.

Gotta make sure I didn't steal the pictures or descriptions from anyone else. You know, because there are so many people out there selling these same two shirts and necklace.

If you are a bidder and received a notice about a listing you were participating in, please keep in mind that we are unable to provide you with contact information for the seller. Since the listing was removed by eBay, the results are null and void. We do not recommend that you proceed with a transaction for a listing that has been removed early. Doing so would be at your own risk and without eBay insurance coverage or use of the feedback forum. If you should have additional questions after reading the polices on our site, please use the links provided on this page to contact us.

not that we'll answer you or anything

include your user ID, the item number(s) in question, and a detailed explanation of your situation. This will ensure that the appropriate department addresses your concerns

so we can send you the same generic autoresponder.

Thank you for taking the time to write to eBay


So, I think I'll give up on the auction. I thought it might be a fun way to raise funds, but it's turning out to be more of a headache than it's worth. I just paid Make A Wish Foundation $75.00 instead.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vacation Bible School -part one

It's that time again. Time to start going to bed before 3:00 AM. Time to wake up before 9:30 AM. Time to get up and get going in the morning. Time to be totally worn out by noon. Time to get crazy songs stuck in my head for weeks.

In other words, Vacation Bible School time.

When we got home from the church today, I went in the kitchen to make some lunch. From the family room, I hear Clayton say, "Look what I got at church!" I peek around the corner and see Clay holding up an ant trap. Usually they bring home t-shirts and other craft projects. I guess this year, it's ant traps.

"Clayton! That's poison! Put that down now! Where did you get that?! Clay, you can't just go picking stuff up and bringing it home! Ugh!!! Did you put that by your mouth? Let's go wash your hands! That can make you very, very sick, Clayton." Leave it to my kids. Hopefully tomorrow he'll come home with something less toxic and I'll have some pictures to share.

I took a ton of pictures, but I gave my memory card to the person putting together the slide show. (Oh yes - that's right, I forgot to say that I got a backup camera. I just couldn't live without one for weeks.) I'm sure the pictures all look like last year's pics anyway. For example -

Clearly, he's learning that God's love "sticks" to you.
Or maybe that God's love can "transform" you.
Or perhaps it's that God's love is like sticky, blue tape.

What can I say? He's a weird kid.

I always stay and help out with VBS, but I always, always request to be put in the kitchen so I can get away from my kids serve nutritious snacks to the children.

EBay took down my auction because I wrote that I was going to donate the money to the Make A Wish Foundation. I guess you can't write stuff like that on your auctions unless you go through eBays Giving Works. Unfortunately, Make A Wish isn't one of the charities on their list and that's where Savannah wanted to donate the money. Sooo, I relisted the auction, but didn't write that I would be donating the money to Make A Wish. Just so you know, that's still the plan, however. The money from Savannah's auction will indeed be donated to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Here is a new link for it. Thanks!

And remember to leave a comment on my other blog HERE for your chance to win a new Jawbone bluetooth wireless headset.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

I hope everyone had a good week! I had a busy one. I haven't even finished unpacking from BlogHer. I have 2 tote bags full of swag that I still have to go through! I want to apologize to all the wonderful people I met at BlogHer and then forgot to mention in my recap. I wasn't on purpose. My kids have just sucked the brain cells outta my head and I can't remember anything.
Just a reminder about my auction to raise money from the Make A Wish Foundation. You can check it out HERE. Mimi also has an auction for a painting to raise money for a cancer family. You can find that one HERE. And Michelle is working on setting up a non-profit organization to raise money for cancer families. You can check that out HERE.

You can check out my latest product review HERE and enter for a chance to win a new Jawbone bluetooth headset.

Now to answer viewer mail.....

One thing I learned about marshmallows with the Feingold program - they have blue dye in them, It makes the marshmallow appear more white. There are no good substitutes.
They usually have artificial vanilla too. There is a substitute though. I found natural marshmallows at The Squirrel's Nest. I ordered some for our camping next camping trip. I'll let you know how they taste.

That's cool I sound like Janie! =) Is she weird too?
My friend Janie is totally weird. But in the best way! :) Love ya Jane!

A few people have told me that they're having problems linking to my blog. A reader wrote this....
For those who can't get your blog address to link on their blogs, try this asked the question on the blogger help forum and they said that C&Ping your address was not auto-discovering for some reason.Since the above link works for me, I hope it helps others out.
Thank you for the tip!

Brooklyn looks very tan and her hair looks blonder.... does it lighten from the sun? Nah, I just dyed it because I wanted her to have more fun (and less tantrums).
Before any angry people write me and tell me not to dye a 2 year old's hair, I'm KIDDING. Yes, it's the sun.

Ok, the only thing I have to say about this whole post is Austin is a GENIUS! Dude! His ability to think outside the box is amazing. Did Brooklyn have a red mark on her head afterwards?
Nope, she didn't have a red mark from the goggles. She did get a red mark later when Clay threw a toy and hit her though.

So, am I right or what? Once you get past 5 theory is "What's one more?". It was no harder with 11 than it is with 6, is it?
I agree with your theory! In fact, it may just get a little easier because some of the older kids can take over some chores and help out with the little ones. Hey Debi - I found another big family for you. I met this sweet woman, Mary, at BlogHer. She has 10 kids and a cool blog HERE.

Dont you just love the gift shops at these place....NOT!Its the same at Disney - do a ride and exit through the gift shop.How do you manage to get home without a car load of junk - I mean memoribillia - which will be discarded the next day?
I just tell the kids that we didn't come to the zoo/park/whatever to shop. We came to see the animals/go on the rides/whatever. I'm just mean that way. Oh wait - that's not totally true. I do get the kids "squished pennies" sometimes. They collect them, so when we go someplace that has a squished penny machine, I oftentimes let them get one. You can't beat a 51 cent souvenir!

Great zoo pictures. I know that you have been asked this before, but, (I have forgotten...lost brain cells through 5 pregnancies!) what type of camera do you have? Your pictures come out looking really clear.
It's a Sony Cybershot with an 11 times zoom. And it's broken boo hoo hoo.

I'm curious...Does Brooklyn habitally go to Austin for comfort? How is Savannah with Brooklyn? In many pictures we see Austin taking care of his little sister. I love seeing pictures of your older kids taking care of the younger ones. I tell my kids all the time that their brothers and sisters are their friends for the rest of their lives.
Nope, actually I think Savannah helps to care for Brooklyn more often than Austin does. And lately, Lex has been playing Mama to Brooklyn. I cherish the times they get along and help each other. It seems they're few and far between.


So do your friends now want to go to the zoo with you just so you have more blog material and they can experience it firsthand?
I highly, highly doubt it.

What? What? WHAT? I stop reading for a couple if months due to an insane ammount of sewing I've been doing, I come back and Brooklyn is HUGE! Not only that, but her hair grew like a FOOT and it's BLONDE now? What happened??????
This is why you don't take a break from reading for a couple months. :D

I've been thinking about getting a PedEgg too, but everyone in my house thinks its so totally gross that I've been reluctant. Maybe I'll just do it anyway and not tell them. ;) Are your heels smoother now that you've been using it?
Yep, it's awesome, but I agree with the other reader who wrote that the blades do get dull. You'll need replacements blades at some point.

My hair was hideous and my mother kept it that way. What was their deal back in the 70's anyway!?!?

Ahhh the 70s. Hideous, you say? Yeah, it's a toss-up between the boy haircut, the smocked dress or those snazzy mirrors in the background.

So, for all of us out there who do not know, can you please tell us ignorant people just what BlogHer is? I've seen you mention it a lot, but I have no clue exactly what the convention is for?
Here's a link to the BlogHer website. The BlogHer conference is a time for us bloggers to come together, network, share, learn, and have some fun. You have to register for the conference and there are different options available from the whole kit and caboodle, to just one day of the conference to just the cocktail parties. There are dozens of sessions you can attend from all topics blogging. The BlogHer sponsors hand out a lot of freebies and there are fun extras like a spa room where you could get massages and the Sesame Street suite where you could make a video with Grover or Abby Cadabby. It's a fun time for those who have just started blogging, those who have been blogging for years, and everyone in between. So now you know for next year. :)

Are you sure you're not really my cousin Terry? Yu look just like her.
Ummm yeah, I'm your cousin Terry.

All I see is photobucket asking you to upgrade. What is up with that?
The person who did my blog design used her own Photobucket account to store the images on my blog. Apparently she exceeded her bandwidth leaving all her customers with error messages on their blogs. And to top it off, she's out of business now. Nice, huh?

So, a question for you to ponder.... What new & quirky things will you encounter in your home when you return from your trip? What do you miss most when you are gone?
I've found all sorts of horrific fun and quirky things upon returning from trips. This time, however, everything was great. Probably because Joe and the kids were out camping while I was gone.

Okay, so I ws reviewing the SSO from July 13th, and saw that someone had asked about Brooklyn being on the St. Jude's website. I'm fairly new to your blog, so did I miss something?!? Was she sick when she was an infant?
No, no, no. I just used Brooklyn's photo on my St. Jude banner over there to the right. She was never sick. I made that banner before I'd ever met Julian or Coleman or any other kid battling cancer or I would've probably used one of their pictures.

My real question to you though: given your paranoia of knocking yourself unconscious and being found by the maid, did you get dressed before cleaning up the water or take your chances?
Why do you think I was paranoid of knocking myself unconscious? The poor housekeeper would've had nightmares for life!

Maybe you can share the name of the person who fixed your blog? I know there are a BUNCH of us who were either waiting on a design or had a design from that company that went out of business! (I paid for a re-design and never got it - grrr!) Oh well, jJust a thought.....if your web buddy needs some more work.
Her name is Kelli. She's super awesome. She does websites primarily for Christian authors and you can find her HERE and HERE.

When you take a trip somewhere in your car, do you always drive 90mph?
You can easily cut a half-hour off your drive time over a long distance by doing so. But your mileage suffers.
I mean, no. No, of course I don't drive that fast. That would be silly. And I don't. I mean, I'm not. Silly, that is.
I'm guessing the same reason keeps the airlines from flooring it across the country all the time.

Have you ever considered having a full-time TRAVEL BLOG? Companies would pay you a go out and visit far flung resorts and tourist traps..Then, you would just do a Dawn Report. The companies would profit..many new people would become travelers..It would be a very wise, you would have a wonderful time as well.
How cool would that be?!! Get on that, will ya?

So..WHO is the celebrity you ran into?
You do realize that Grover was the celebrity. What? You were expecting someone less, um, furry?

Ok.. I have to know. My daughter flys to and from her father's 4-5times a year. We've never dared send her with her crochet project as she didn't want her favorite hook taken away. How were you able to get your hook and/or scissors on the plane?
I didn't take scissors (although small scissors are allowed now) and crochet hooks and knitting needles are fine to take on a plane.

I am anxiously awaiting 5 Minutes for Mom to post their interview with you! You wouldn't happen to know when that will be?
I don't, but I'll let you know as soon as I know. Here's a trailer though - 5MinutesforMom

Did you enjoy the Sea Lions??
Ummm they were climbing all over each other and barking at each other. They were smelly and loud. It was like being at home!

And on Pier 39, did you try Trish's Donuts?
Nooo, but I saw it and if I hadn't been so full of sourdough, I would totally have gotten a bag for myself to share.

Did I see a tattoo on your ankle in one of those pics in S.F.? Is it true that our Dawn is a closet wild-child??
I got that back when I was 18 and knew everything . It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I adore that you and Grover have the exact same expression. That is PRICELESS!
We planned it that way.

The haircut is sizzling, and you must be working out or something because you just GLOW. --Ooooh. Wait a second...are you pregnant....again? :)
Ummm no. Bright lights + oil on my face = "glow".

SSO: Did other anonymous people really ask if you had a blog on those auctions, or did you ask your friends to post if you had a blog?
Those were anonymous people.

Ok so I looked at all the auctions posted on ebay...and for the record you are way too funny to be contained in 1 human body. SO, my question is, Does everyone in the world have a blog??? The first question on each action was asking if you had a blog. I just thought that was funny. Glad to see Savannah's auction doing so well. Hope it sells well.
I know! I thought that was strange too. Not too long ago, I didn't even know what a blog was.

Here's a possible SSO question:In today's recap of the BlogHer conference, you made a list of blogs to check out. Here is a quote:"Alex from Flexible Parenting - she has a nice, clean blog"So are we to assume that many of these blogs are not "clean"?
There are several that are "clean" and some having swearing and are a bit more crude. There are a variety, if you will.

We obviously are from the same generation. What does "IDK" mean?
I don't know. I mean, I do know and it's I don't know. I mean, I know what it means. It means I don't know. I do really know though. You know?

Oh, but I DO know the names of all the Jonas Brothers. Kevin is the oldest one who plays guitar but doesn't sing very much. Joe sings lead and just starred in "Camp Rock" on the Disney Channel. Nick is the one with the curly hair and is the youngest of the three. They have a much younger brother, whose name I cannot recall at the moment. Can you tell I have a 10 yo daughter who has repeatedly tried to get me to remember who is who? I can't remember my own phone number, but I can tell you all about the Jonas brothers! Oh, and rumor has it that Nick is now dating Selena Gomez, but their publicists claim they are "just friends".
Uh yeah, you might not want to go around telling people this. ;)

Do you have any suggestions about how to get poop in the toilet? My son has been potty trained for 2 months - but refuses to poop in the potty. He goes and gets a pull up on, and poops in it. Then he takes the pullup off, puts the poop in the toilet, and the pull-up in the diaper bin. He still wears diapers at night... Both DH and I have decided we can't fight this one - no matter what I try, he won't go poop in the potty... any ideas short of sleeping on the pot?
I personally don't worry about it. I figure they're not going to go off to college pooping in their pants. They'll do it in their own time. That's just my theory though. A lot of people have a lot of different potty training ideas that have worked for them. You can check out everyone's potty training ideas HERE.

Papa? Why not Papou? My father is Greek and that's what all the grandkid's call him. It's so cute when they're really young.
I don't know. I had a "Papa" so that's what I taught my kids to call my dad. Savannah calls him Papou though.

Remember to check out my auctions and Mimi's auction and stop by my review blog to enter for your chance to win a new Jawbone bluetooth headset.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Great Cicada Invasion

My parents took Jackson out to their house for a sleepover tonight. He loves going there. Well, all my kids love going out to my parent's house, but Jackson seems to especially love it. Maybe because he's one of the middle kids and it seems like he's always trying to get attention. His behavior lands him trouble more often than not and his siblings tend to pick on him because of that same behavior. It's a vicious circle. He annoys them, so they're mean to him, so he annoys them more, so they're meaner, etc. Anyway, that's another story.

So, he went out to Yia Yia and Papa's where he gets some alone time and one-on-one, total attention. He loves it. My parents (I think) love it and it's a little quieter here at home. I'm not saying it's quieter with Jax gone. It would be quieter with any of the kids gone. For some reason, it just makes a big difference in noise levels when one kid is gone somewhere else. It's strange because if I have an extra kid or two around the house, I don't notice any difference in noise levels. It's no big deal to have extra kids here. But getting rid of one for a couple hours makes a huge difference.

Actually I like it when my kids have friends over because then they take a break from fighting with each other to play with their buddies. Although, maybe I should be glad that they fight with each other. I can only imagine if their factions should ever unite. It would be mutiny. I'm pretty sure they'd have the power to overthrow me and their dad.

Anyway, I knew that Jackson would be going on golf cart rides and doing fun things with my parents so I took the rest of the kids to see Space Chimps this afternoon. It was a cute movie. I think we all enjoyed it. It features the voice of Patrick Warburton. I think he's had a contract since 2000 that states he must be featured in all animated films. It seems like I've heard his voice in every animated feature/cartoon made over the past several years. And every time I hear it, I think of Puddy. (This will separate the Seinfeld fans from the unenlightened other readers.)

Towards the end of the movie, there was a part where the theater was absolutely silent. Not a sound came from the screen. You could have heard crickets cicadas in the background. Not a peep came from anyone in the theater. And then Lexi burped. I'm not talking about a dainty 7 year old girl burp either. I'm talking about an "Oh my gosh, did you get any on you?!" kind of burp. This was followed by uncontrolled giggles coming from each and every one of my kids. Lexi, quick-thinking and on her toes, exclaimed, "Savannah!" as she tried to pass the blame onto her sister. I was ever so proud.

And speaking of cicadas, wow are they loud right now. Last summer, Chicagoland (and some other places) had The Great Cicada Invasion. We couldn't walk outside without crunching over the shells of a thousand cicadas. We found them on our patio, sidewalks, cars, lawns, everywhere. For those of you who don't know what they are, cicadas are creepy-looking, red-eyed bugs. They don't bite or sting so they really don't bother me. They just make loud buzzing noises. They're interesting in that the female lays her eggs in the bark of a tree and the little cicada babies, then drop down and burrow in the ground and don't reemerge for 1 - 17 years depending on the type of cicada. Crazy, huh? Last year, the 17 year cicadas emerged and they were everywhere. It was pretty cool, in a very buggy sort of way.

This year they seem especially loud again. Is it just me, or do any Chicagolanders think the cicadas are really loud right now?

Here are some pictures I took of the kids emerging from cicada shells last summer at the Field Museum in Chicago where they had an Underground Adventure exhibit. (Yes, it's basically just another excuse to play with Smilebox again.)

Click to play The Field Museum 2007
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

The Sky is Blue. No it's Not.

While watching Finding Nemo, I had this conversation with Clay.

CLAY: Did that fish get eaten?

ME: The mom fish was eaten. The dad fish and Nemo are ok though.

CLAY: A shark ate them?

ME: A big fish ate them.

CLAY: Actually, a shark ate them.

ME: It was a big fish.

CLAY: And sharks are big fish, right?

ME: I give up. You know everything.

I really don't know how I made it to the ripe old age of 38. My kids point out daily just how stupid I am. Austin is especially good for this. It doesn't matter what I say, that kid will find a loophole and exploit it every time without fail.

"The sky is blue."

"Well actually, the sky isn't really blue. The gas molecules in the sky just absorb the shorter wavelengths blah blah blah blah blah..."

Of course, if I gave the scientific explanation, he'd counter with something else.

"The sky looks blue because the molecules absorb the short wavelengths and...."

"No. The sky is blue because it would look weird if it was purple."

It really doesn't matter what I say, Austin's greatest joy in life is achieved by proving me wrong. Oh, if only I were as smart as a teenager. I used to be that smart. I used to know everything. I did!

I think I've figured it out. Babies are born knowing very little. You teach them important stuff. You teach them how to talk and walk, how to feed themselves and read, how to dress themselves and poop on the potty. They look up to you. You have all the answers to life's problems. In fact, you do such a great job teaching them that they eventually become smarter than you.

You begin to realize that you really don't have all the answers. I mean, you don't even know what MileyWorld is. You can't name all the Jonas Brothers. It takes you 12 minutes to send a text message and you have no clue what Webkinz are. You think that Fergie is the Duchess of York and Wii is simply "we" misspelled. Suddenly your kids are rolling their eyes at you because clearly, only the very simple-minded wouldn't know what "IDK" means.

Take heart though. You won't be stupid forever. Some day your kids will probably have kids of their own and suddenly you'll regain your intelligence. In fact, you may even be called wise by your children.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why Are There All These Socks?

I do several loads of landry each day because, well, because I've got a family of 8. Recently I've been seeing a lot of little socks in the laundry. A LOT of them. Here's the thing though - my kids haven't worn socks in months. It's summer. They wear Crocs or sandals or go barefoot. I kept wondering, where are all these coming from? Why am I washing a couple dozen kid's socks a week? Then I was enlightened...

You can't slide around on all fours across the kitchen floor unless you have socks on your hands and feet. Duh.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sold to the Highest Bidder

I listed the shirts and necklace that Savannah got when she went shopping with her friend.  She's donating the money earned on that auction to the Make A Wish Foundation.  Then I went ahead and listed some of the black pants I found in Austin's closet and a toy that he wanted to sell.  I probably have another 2 dozen things to list, but no time to write up descriptions.  Anyway, here are the links if you want to check them out:








Back to writing up my BlogHer recap and a couple reviews......

BlogHer '08 Recap

OK, I'll try to recap BlogHer here. I've been putting it off because I didn't think I'd really be able to sum up the weekend accurately and because I kept forgetting to pull my camera out and take pictures, but here goes nothin'... I got to San Francisco at noonish on Thursday. On the drive to the hotel, I was surprised to see the ocean on one side and hills on the other. It's so nice to see such scenic landscapes. I told my friend Julie, "There are hills! It's so cool to see hills!" She answered with, "You mean the whole world isn't just a giant cornfield?" Seriously, I think the greatest change in elevation in the entire midwest is like 5 feet. As I was checking into the hotel, I ran into Liz from This Full House. I'd met her at Johnson & Johnson's Camp Baby back in April. She's such a sweetheart! She always has this great smile on her face! I ran up to my room, dropped off my luggage and ran down to where Janice and Susan from 5 Minutes for Mom

were doing interviews. There I was treated to a make-over by a professional make-up artist. When I walked into the room, the make-up artist scrutinized my face and said something along the lines of, "Oh my gosh! How much time do I have until your interview?! I don't think there's enough foundation in the world to cover up those bags under your eyes!" OK, so maybe she didn't really say that, but I'm sure she thought it. The interview went pretty well, I think. Janice and Susan are both so outgoing and friendly that they put you at ease instantly. 

007011 After that, I went to the speaker training where I met a few fellow bloggers, another speaker on my panel, and Elisa, Jory, and Lisa. Following the training, I went to a cocktail reception hosted by Johnson & Johnson. I met up with Lori and Edwige there. Then I went to a reception for the speakers. That was fun - open bar, appetizers and a Wii boxing tournament. The prize for the winner of the tournament was a Wii, so I signed up. I figured my kids wouldn't be around to make fun of me if I accidentally hit myself in the face while Wii boxing. I was eliminated in the first round. Oh my gosh am I incompetent! And here I was thinking of getting a Wii Fitness so I could get a fun workout at home. With my complete and utter lack of coordination, I may have to rethink that. I think, if I remember correctly, that Jenny from Three Kid Circus won. 

From there, I went to the Newbie Party where I met some more bloggers. And then it was on to the People's Party where I picked up a tote bag o'swag and a couple more drinks. About 10 minutes after I got there, the lack of sleep, travel, and rum caught up to me and I decided to call it a night. The next day, as my phone rang with my wake-up call, I realized I couldn't move my arms. I tried to grab the phone, but no dice. I kept thinking, why can't I move my arms? What the heck? They worked last night! Then I realized it was from the Wii boxing. I have GOT to make more time for exercise! 

018Friday, I met a whole slew of people. I went to panels on Privacy, Video Blogging (NEED TO GET ME A VIDEO CAMERA AND DO SOME OF THIS!) and Taking Care of Business. Friday night, there was a party at a local nightclub, Ruby Skye. Oh. My. Gosh. I am so old. There were 1000 bloggers crammed into a hot, LOUD nightclub with really LOUD music and so many people you couldn't even move and really LOUD music. Did I mention it was loud? I kinda shut down and hid out in a quietish corner. I met some more bloggers there. I was so thankful when Susan joined me in my isolation. We had a nice conversation until we decided we couldn't take the loudness anymore so we left so she could nurse her baby and I could go on to another party go to bed because I'm old and don't do loud nightclubs anymore. 

021The next day, I spoke on a panel, The Commercial Momosphere: Policies, Ethics, and Outreach with Lotta, Devra, and Kristin. I don't feel like I had too much of value to add to the conversation because I'm still figuring things out myself. 

002 Saturday night ended with the Macy's Extravaganza. Macy's closed off the handbag section for a private BlogHer party where we enjoyed champagne and Hors d'Oeuvres. (Do you have any idea how long it took me to spell that?!) A woman from the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed me there. Then the party moved on to the shoe department where we had wine, and some really delicious food. After the shoe department, we went up a few floors to lingerie where they handed out KY samples, cookies that tasted like perfume and the nastiest shots I've ever had. Who ever thought that chipotle vodka and white chocolate would be a good mix? It sounds like a combination my kids would come up with! Finally, we ended up on the top floor in the furniture department where snacks, sandwiches, ice cream and drinks were served as we lounged on living room sets. Handbags were raffled off, authors signed copies of Sleep is for the Weak, and people danced to music from a live DJ. "A live DJ"? Does that even make sense? Of course he was live. A dead DJ probably wouldn't play very good music. Once again I was the life of the party and left early to go back to my hotel room. I know, I'm just a barrel of fun. In small groups I'm never at a loss for words and I enjoy myself immensely. There's just something about being in such a large crowd, especially when you only know a couple people, that's a little intimidating. 


"Does my hand smell weird to you?" 
And of course, you know all about my day of sightseeing on Sunday. I'm sure I forgot some stuff and some great bloggers that I met and for that I'm sorry. I just can't remember everything that happened there. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On My Way to Where the Air is Sweet

There's just something about meeting a celebrity that can reduce the most self-assured, confident people to fits of nervous giggles. And when that celebrity is someone you've watched on television since childhood, it can be an unnerving experience. You might think I'm talking about a politician here. Or perhaps a famous musician. Or maybe even a movie star. Nope. I'm talking about a furry blue monster who stands a couple feet tall.

That's right, at the BlogHer conference, I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite Muppets, Grover, and the man who brings him to life, Eric Jacobson. I have to say that speaking to Grover was more disconcerting than speaking to a room full of fellow bloggers. There's just something about talking to someone's hand, even if it is covered in blue fur, that's a little strange. I'd be a little worried what that says about me except that I heard person after person tell Grover things like, "I can't believe I'm getting to meet you!" and "I still have the Grover doll I got when I was one year old!" I saw one person even tear up while meeting her cute, adorable pal, Grover.


Grover with Eric Jacobson

I spoke with Eric Jacobson, who, by the way, sounded nothing like Grover while talking to me. Eric is the voice of Grover and Miss Piggy, among others and has been for 10 years, when he succeeded Frank Oz. I asked Eric how long it took him to learn to move the puppet while saying his lines in the appropriate voice and staying out of view from the camera. He joked, "Let's see... I've been doing this 14 years now..."

"Did you put on puppet shows for your family and friends when you were a kid? Did you always want to be a puppeteer?" I inquired. "I put on puppet shows as much as any other kid, but I never thought, "Wow, I want to be a puppeteer when I grow up!" Eric answered.

"You've obviously gotten to meet and work with a lot of celebrities over the last ten years. Do any moments stick out in your mind as being especially remarkable?" He told me one of the biggest highlights was when singer Paul Simon asked him and Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, to join him on a PBS special "Celebrating the Music of Paul Simon." Paul wrote a version of The 59th Street Bridge Song for Grover and Elmo to sing to him.

When I asked him which character he liked doing the best, he told me that Grover was his favorite Muppet. Eric and Ellen Lewis Gideon, Vice President of Corporate Communications, agreed that it's difficult to choose just one when Jim Henson and Frank Oz have created such interesting and fun characters with such depth and unique qualities. We went on to talk about how Sesame Street is so enjoyable for both kids and adults.

"It's really like a big family, " says Ellen who told me that although the production crew isn't on staff, the same people come back to work season after season. "We've been together for thirty years. And the writers are amazing," said Ellen. They write on two levels so kids are entertained while learning and parents enjoy watching as well." That's true, isn't it? If I was forced to watch some of the shows that my kids like, I would have to claw out my eyes and stab my eardrums. Not Sesame Street. We not only like that fact that it's good, educational and fun for our children, but we parents remember watching the show back when we were kids too. Who could ever forget Mr. Hooper? Or, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...6, 7, 8, 9, 10...11, 12? Or the ladybug picnic?

Speaking of all those great clips we remember from when we were kids, Sesame Street is launching a new website on August 11 that will feature over 3000 video clips of the show. I can't wait to fill my sister's inbox with clips accompanied by exclamations of, "Do you remember this one?" I got a chance to preview their new website and it's super child friendly, easy to use, and has some great parental controls to ensure online safety. I just know that is going to be Clay and Lexi's favorite new site come August 11th.


Me with Abby Cadabby


Puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph

I don't know who is cuter - Abby Cadabby or her bubbly puppeteer, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph.

Grover pic

Me with Grover

Come See my Vacation Slides!

I know, I sound like that annoying aunt and uncle with the reels and reels of vacation slides. "And here's Herb standing by a store. And here he is standing by a palm tree. Here I am standing next to Herb. Here we are standing next to, hmmm, I can't remember what that is. Herb, what were we standing next to?"
"That was our hotel."
"No, it wasn't. This picture was taken the day we drove to that one place."
"No, that's our hotel."
"That isn't our hotel, Herb. Well, I don't remember what we're standing in front of, but here's the next picture..."

I'll risk being the annoying relative here to show you my slideshow of San Francisco. I made it with Smilebox. The service is free, but you can upgrade to a premium membership for extra goodies if you like. This is my fun new toy! I want to make albums with each and every picture on my computer! Give it a try for kicks. It's super easy to customize with page layouts, colors, text, and music. Fun, fun, fun!
Click to play
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox photobook

My Poor Camera

My camera broke. I LOVE my camera! It's a Sony CyberShot and it has an amazing zoom and it takes good pictures and it's broken. <--- to get the real effect, you have to read that last sentence while sobbing to the point that snot drips down your face. The little button you depress to take the picture has broken off. :( At least it lasted while I was in San Francisco, but no more pictures from me until I can figure out how to get it fixed. I think it may still be under warranty. :::crossing my fingers:::

Still, I don't know what I'll do if I have to be cameraless while it gets fixed. I was going to go to Millennium Park this week. Can I go someplace like that without a camera? I'm pretty sure there's a rule against it. I'm having a panic attack just thinking of being without a camera for weeks.


I feel bad to admit that although I knew about Coleman's MRI this past Friday, it totally slipped my mind while I was in California. I just got caught up on his CarePages and was totally saddened to read that there were cancer cells in his spinal tap. :*( Please say some extra prayers for this sweet boy, his twin brother, his parents, family and friends, and all the people caring for him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Day in S.F.

I spent yesterday with my good friend from high school. She now lives 2 miles from The Westin St. Francis where I was staying. Heather and I took a cable car from the hotel to Fisherman's Wharf. I wanted Heather to take a picture of me holding a box of Rice-a-Roni and hanging off the car, but she didn't want to look like a stupid tourist. And I didn't have any Rice-a-Roni. And you can't take pictures while you're on a cable car. I really wanted to take some pictures, but I was afraid if I let go, I'd go rolling back and knock over a whole slew of people like so many bowling pins. Seriously, those streets are steep! You could totally get a workout from climbing up Nob (or Snob, as Heather calls it) Hill.

We also saw Lombard Street. I didn't get a picture of it, but click that link for a photo. Seriously, click it! Crazy, huh? People live on that street! Locals, of course, avoid it, but tourists line up to drive down the street so they can say they did it. We walked around Fisherman's Wharf and went to Ghirardelli Square. Mmmmm, chocolate. The smell of chocolate was a bit obscured by the smell of a burning building though. Seriously, a good dozen firefighters and a huge arsenal of firetrucks were rushing to the square as smoke billowed out from one of the buildings. As the firefighters marched through the square, I screamed, "Save the chocolate! Oh, for the love of God, save the chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!" What? You would've done the same.

Next, we had lunch at Boudin. Yummy sourdough. They have things like Caesar salad - in sourdough bread. Clam chowder - in sourdough bread. Crab cakes - in sourdough bread, a hamburger - in sourdough bread. A sourdough baguette - in sourdough bread. When you walk outside, you can watch through the windows as they bake bread. And there's an exhaust fan that blows the most delicious, fresh-baked bread aroma out onto the street.

After passing a cow and a dancing ice cream sundae, we walked on down to Pier 39. What a fun, touristy place. There were dozens and dozens of shops and restaurants there. You could book an ocean tour there, get a snack, do some shopping, people watch, and just hang out.

After doing some more walking around and shopping, we took a cab over to an Italian section of town where they have streets with really long names...

There, we sat outside, people watched, and sipped our fancy Italian coffees hot chocolate. The reason Heather ordered hot chocolate is because she didn't want too much caffeine. The reason I ordered hot chocolate is because I'm coffee-stupid. I have no clue what anything is and I'm afraid they'll look at me like I'm an idiot when I order a latte cappacino macchiato grande iced vanilla low-fat espresso chai steamed decaf.
When we were recharged and ready to do some more walking, we headed to China Town where there's shopping galore!!! We were in heaven! We decided that, had our husbands been with us, they would've ditched us and found a sports bar immediately. We had fun browsing in the stores and I spent a small fortune on souvenirs for the kiddos.

Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody...

And I got these totally cute earrings for myself! Score!

I totally rushed back to Union Square and my hotel so I could get my luggage from the bell station, repack some, freshen up a little, and catch a cab to the airport so I wouldn't miss my flight. Unfortunately my flight was delayed. I don't get this- it was supposed to be a 4 hour flight that left at 6:30 Pacific time. Because we were so delayed, the pilot said, "We're going to try to make up time. We should arrive in Chicago in 3 1/2 hours." OK, so if they can fly to Chicago in 3 1/2 hours, why don't they always go that fast? Why does it usually take 4 hours? Why???

It was actually a nice flight because I got an aisle seat and had an empty seat beside me! As the plane backed away from the gate, the plane made a loud clunking noise and I said sarcastically, jokingly, "Well, that sounds good." The guy by the window looked at me like I'd never set foot outside my house been on a plane before and said condescendingly, "It's supposed to sound like that." I decided to put on my headphones instead of trying to talk to Mr. No-Sense-Of-Humor.

As we neared Chicago, I noticed lightning out the window. We were flying above/around a storm and it was lightning like crazy. I glanced outside, then went back to my crocheting. Mr. I-Fly-All-The-Time-And-Have-No-Sense-Of-Humor looked out the window, freaked out, and plastered his face and hands up against the glass and commenced hyperventilating. I think he may have wet his pants. I laughed at him and said, "It's supposed to look like that." bit my tongue and continued crocheting. Well, maybe I smirked a little bit.

So after I landed and gathered my luggage, I got a cab. Now I always use American Taxi. They've always been on time. They've always known where they were going. Reliable, competent. Good, right? Well, last night, instead of calling for an American Taxi, I went out and let the ground transportation guy get me a cab. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

They grabbed a Checker Cab for me. First off, the driver hadn't bathed in at least 4 years. As I gagged and stuck my head out the window like a dog (literally, I did this), he asked me how to get out of the airport. Seriously? You're a cab driver and you don't know how to leave the airport? Perhaps you should find another line of work, Bud? Maybe something that includes soap, perhaps? So I seriously directed him the whole way to my house. He was clueless and didn't have GPS. When he dropped me off, I had to get my own luggage out of the trunk, then he asked me for directions back to the airport. Then, instead of charging me a reasonable flat rate like American Taxi, he charged me at a "meter and a half" rate! It was more than twice the amount of American! And he had the nerve to ask me to do the math and add it up for him because he couldn't figure it out! So, to all you suburbanites out there, I caution you against using Checker Cab! Yes, perhaps I just got a bad driver. Yes, I'm sure they're not all completely stupid directionally impaired. However, I called the company today to check on their policy of charging a meter and a half and sure enough, that is company protocol when taking passengers to the suburbs. Maybe Checker is better in the city, but for the suburbs, I highly recommend American Taxi.

I have a million more things to tell you about BlogHer and some bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting and some cool new products. I even met a celebrity! And I'm working on making a slide show with my awesome new toy. More on all this later...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Showering 101

So, I know I said I'd try to update from California, but I have been so busy and so amazingly overwhelmed at this conference that I just haven't had the chance.

Thank you everyone who emailed me to let me know that they were getting weird error messages on my blog. My blog loaded normally for me, so until you let me know, I had no idea. Apparently the person who did my blog design (who is no longer in business) did a horrendous job coding it and it took my awesome, wonderful, talented web designer and her team 3 hours to fix it.

I know, not everything is exactly the same, but it's readable now and considering she did all this work fixing something she hadn't even messed up in the first place (and on a Saturday too), I'm beyond thrilled! Thank you so much, Kelli and team!!! You rock! And she's in the process of developing my website and when it's up and running, my blog will be moved off of Blogger and over there. Make a note that it will be at You know, because you wouldn't want to miss one minute of my mediocre posts.

So, back to BlogHer...Wow is it insane! 1000 bloggers all packed into a room. I have had so much fun here! I've met tons of great people and I have a whole new slew of blogs to check out. I spoke on a panel called The Commercial Momosphere: Policies, Outreach, and Ethics (or something like that) and I didn't throw up or fall of the risers so all is good.

And I only flooded my hotel room a little bit. OK, maybe a little more than a little bit. Dork that I am, I didn't realize that the shower curtain wasn't tucked in when I took a shower tonight. I should have noticed the curtain was outside the tub because it wasn't sticking to my butt every time I turned around or bent over to shave my legs. But alas, I was unaware. Until I stepped out of the shower, that is. That's when I saw there was an inch of standing water covering the bathroom floor. Oops. I threw 4 towels down thinking that would sop it up. Nope. I rung the towels out and repeated. Again. And again. I just kept imagining the poor person on the 11th floor below me. I could see them just sitting there going to the bathroom, minding their own business when suddenly - drip. Drip. Drip. The ceiling started leaking, dripping on their head. And even worse than that was my paranoia that I was going to slip and fall on the wet bathroom floor and knock myself unconscious on the toilet seat and the maid would find me like that the next day.

I'm really excited to see my good friend from high school, Heather, tomorrow. She now lives a couple miles from my hotel and is going to spend the day with me doing the whole tourist thing! I think I may have to go buy some Rice-a-Roni and have her take a picture of me on a cable car.

More later....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

California or Bust

I had a dentist appointment today and was going to write about it, but instead I think I'll make a video blog about it when I get back home.

After my appointment, I went shopping for a pair of shoes because I'd decided that I couldn't wear my Crocs to BlogHer. I went to 50 shoe stores! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a pair of shoes that look cute and yet are super comfortable? I found dozens of cute pairs at every store. They were adorable! Unfortunately, I would break my neck if I ever tried to walk in them. Still, I tried a couple pairs on for kicks. Keep in mind, that at this point, my mouth was still completely numb. So here I am, stumbling around in these heels, my mouth drooping, probably drooling on myself and I couldn't stop thinking about that Seinfeld episode with Kramer and the shoes and the Novocaine!

So, I went to tuck my kids in tonight and I gave them extra hugs and kisses and told them I'd miss them. Brooklyn was ok. Clay was ok. Jackson was ok. Savannah was ok. Lexi cried and told me she'd miss me so much. It broke my heart. Then I tried to give Austin a hug. He jumped away from me and screamed, "Ewww, Mom germs! Quick! Stop, drop and roll!!!" as he fell to the floor and writhed around in apparent pain. I had to pull the guilt card, so I said, "That's nice. So when my plane crashes into the ocean, you can remember this moment for the rest of your life." At this point, he burst into laughter and pointed out the obvious, "There is no ocean between here and California duh!"

Let me tell ya, after the past couple weeks where I feel like all I do is scream at the kids because all they do is fight and make messes, I am so looking forward to this trip! I'm just sad I'm going to miss Austin's championship baseball game tomorrow night.

I'll be bringing my laptop and will try to update from the BlogHer conference. Have a great weekend everyone!

Gone to BlogHer 08

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Countdown to BlogHer!

I leave for San Francisco for the BlogHer conference Thursday morning so technically, I should be in "freak-out" mode. I'm not there yet. I'm starting to get stuff done though. I got my hair done today. She covered the gray highlighted it. Whenever I get my hair dyed highlighted, my scalp itches like mad. Does this happen to anyone else? I look like I have serious dandruff issues as I claw my poor head like crazy for hours after getting my hair colored. Still, bloody scratches down my skull are better than gray unhighlighted hair.

I also got it cut. Until last summer, I've always had long hair as an adult. I think the reason I've kept my hair long is because I was traumatized as a kid. I spent my youth looking like a boy. Seriously, I have pictures of myself looking like this.

I don't know why, but my mom always insisted I have my hair cut short. Darn that Dorothy Hamill and her stupid haircut!

So I got brave and cut it short last summer. Well it was short for me anyway. Today I asked my hairdresser, who also happens to be a really good friend of mine, if she'd cut the back of my hair really short, but keep the front long.
My friend, Gin, said, "I cut it like that last month."
"No, I want it even shorter in back. I want to be able to kinda fluff it up in back if I want."
"You want it like John and Kate plus 8?"
"I have no clue what her hair looks like," I said. Then I pointed to a picture of a supermodel in her hair magazine and told her, "Make me look like that."
She looked at me like I was stupid and said something along the lines of, "Are you serious?! Her hair is MUCH shorter than yours. I can cut it short like that, but it won't be long in front then."
"I don't want you to touch the front. Just make the back short," I insisted.
"So basically you want 2 different haircuts?" she asked.
"Is there something wrong with that?"
At this point, she shook her head and told me she'd cut it the way I wanted, but I had to promise to tell everyone that I'd cut it myself.

Actually, she didn't cut the back as short as I wanted it so it ended up looking fine.

What we women go through to look prettiful. Like waxing. What sicko ever decided that smearing hot wax on sensitive body parts then ripping it off, was a good idea? Who proclaimed that smooth was good and Brillo pad hairy was bad?

And pedicures. I do love me a good pedicure, but I can't afford them very often and who has the time to just sit there and do nothing but relax? So, I got a PedEgg. Have you guys seen these? My kids told me I needed one after they saw a commercial for it on tv. So what - my heels have skin thicker than an elephant's. Does that really mean I need one? I got this PedEgg thing back when Mimi, Michelle and I saw Oprah. I've been using it since and I've got to say that I love this thing! You rub it on your heels and then open it up and dump out the contents of your dead heel skin which looks curiously like grated Parmesan cheese. Mmmm.

And I haven't started packing yet because I have no idea what to wear. Men don't do this. They pack whatever they find on the floor that passes the sniff test. Done. Why do we women agonize over what we'll wear? I think if I bring a steamer trunk, I can pack my entire closet. That way, I can try on 12 things every day that I'm in California and I won't have to decide what to pack.

Tomorrow I go to the dentist to get 2 teeth fixed. You know, because I'm old and thanks to 6 pregnancies, my teeth are falling out of my head. Pretty soon I'm going to look like I'm from Peoria. (Kidding. JUST KIDDING!) Because I just made fun of Peoria, my cheeks are going to swell up after my appointment and I'll look like a Puffer Fish at the BlogHer conference.

Sooo, who's going to BlogHer?

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Smell Like the Zoo

We went to the zoo again today. This time I went with my friend Jen and her 4 kids. Lexi brought along a friend also so there were 11 kids between me and Jen. Jackson spent the first half of the trip dreading the moment we reached the play zoo because he knew he had to return the geode he stole the last time we were there. We walked up to the first employees we found which just happened to be teenage boys. Anyway, Jax burst into tears and told them that he'd taken the rock and was sorry and wanted to return it. The teenage boys looked shocked and said, "Good job! Thanks for being honest and bringing it back, dude!" (I was kinda hoping to find a grumpy old man who would give him a lecture about stealing!) So that's taken care of and hopefully he never does it again.

Here are some more pictures. See- keep reading my blog and eventually you'll see the entire animal kingdom from the comfort of your couch in your nice air-conditioned home! No walking required.


Brooklyn in her natural state.

A stick insect. Ewwww!

The fountain is back! Yay! I'm glad they didn't take it out. All they did was add these....


The gang minus 2 kiddos

polar bear. He was playing in the water and putting on a fun show. We watched him for a long time and when we finally moved on, this is what Brooklyn did...

You got it. She threw a fit and even jumped out of the wagon while it was moving and ran back to the polar bear.

Maybe I should buy her this polar bear to stop her crying.
BAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAA!!!!! NOT! In case you can't see - the price tag reads $2,699.95!

Chito and Rita are spectacled bears. What kind of bears? Spectacled bears!

The gang minus Brooklyn. They're soaking wet from standing in a sprinkler by the elephants.

baby giraffe


It was a long day

and we were stopped by an even longer train on the way home. 150+ cars!

Brooklyn's head kept flopping forward so Austin came up with this creative restraint system. Yep, they're goggles.

From the zoo, we had to go straight on to Jackson's last baseball game. I was all hot and sweaty and my hair was gross and I smelled like a camel. Lovely. I just always feel this obsessive need to hop in the shower the instant I get home from the zoo. Anyway, Jackson did a great job pitching and hitting, but the team lost so they came in 4th for the season. Not too bad!

Someone just left me this comment:

"I don't know if you read all your comments... I seem to recall you saying somewhere that it can take you awhile to get through your e-mail... I just wanted you to know I gave you an award that I am supposed to pass on for blogs that are fun to read. It is a long post and I've got another award before that one... you are the last one on the list if you don't want to read through it all. I don't see where you've posted any of those kinds of doohickeys so don't feel like you have to put it on your sidebar or anything. You just make me laugh."

Thank you so much and thank you to HMC who gave me an award last week and to all the awesome, sweet bloggers who have given me awards in the past. You're right - I don't put them on my sidebar because I don't think I'd have enough room to put all of them there. (Man, do I sound full of myself, or what?!) I absolutely appreciate all of them however! You guys rock!


I did pick the winner of the SafetyTats Saturday night, but then forgot to post it! Oops! The winner is...
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:9
Timestamp: 2008-07-12 02:25:10 UTC

The 9th comment came from...

I would love to have some safety tats! Very good idea!
By Amanda, at July 11, 2008 1:32 PM


For those of you inquiring about the Luvs diaper coupon, I removed the link because they "ran out of coupons" a couple hours after I posted it. I thought that was crappy, so I took the whole link down.

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