Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

OK, thank you to my many readers who took the time to explain what a reader is. It was really helpful to me. In fact, I signed up and put a bunch of blogs in my reader! I'm becoming technologically non-stupid! Yay me! HERE'S a video that one of my readers sent me which, I think, explains it in really simple terms.

What is "the auction" that you are talking about?
Oh, it was a silly auction for Pokemon cards that I had on eBay a little over a year ago. The thing went viral. People emailed me on my eBay account and asked if I'd ever written anything. I told them that I had a blog and people flocked here. I count my blessings every day because of how things worked out. HERE'S the original auction text.

Here is a question for your next SSO: have you ever tallied up the months--I mean YEARS--of your life that you have spent either breastfeedig or pregnant (or maybe even both at the same time!)?
Oh come on! Math? You want me to do math? Let's see, 4 1/2 years pregnant, and I'm really not sure how many years I spent breastfeeding. Maybe 5 or so years? The shortest was about 4 months and the longest was 15 months because she refused to take a cup or bottle! Who do you think that was?

I saw a Wii Fit in the Toys R Us in Vernon Hills this past Friday. I would be happy to pick it up for you and then meet you somewhere for lunch (I'm a lurking fan, not a stalker).
LOL! Thank you so much for your offer, Donna! I think, at this point, that I'll just wait and get it for a family Christmas present. Thanks so much though!

Speaking of diapers... were any of your kids potty trained before the next one came along or have you been changing diapers (sometimes on multiple children probably) for 14 years straight? Also, do you ever wish you used cloth diapers for the budget and environment's sake?
Yep, I've been wiping butts for almost 14 years straight. Sometimes 2 at a time and for a short while, even 3 at once. I should probably say that I wish I would've used cloth diapers, but in all honesty - I think disposables are an awesome invention. I know, I know - not environmentally friendly, but oh so convenient.

Oh my gosh, I'd be so afraid of the kids starting school the next week and using that [peeing in the van] as their "what I did this summer" story to share with the class. Did you warn the kids that WHAT HAPPENS IN THE VAN, STAYS IN THE VAN?!?
You know, that would've been better than the story they DID tell everyone! I heard Lexi tell someone (no less than 10 times) that she was crushed under the garage door. Ugh. (Btw-the garage door is now fixed and all safe-like!)

Dawn--why did you get the cortisone injection?
Because I needed an excuse to get out of aerobics this week.

So, did you tell the owners of the speriment'ed toothbrushes?
Heck no! I just threw 'em in the dishwasher. Voila! Nice and sanitized. Shhhh, don't tell anyone!

Am I the only one who is amazed how clean your house always is in these pictures?
BAAAA!!! Oh LOL! Snort! ROFL!!! Oh ouch! I pulled something!

As for the experiement, that is too funny! Kids love trying out things...Maybe you could get him a neat science kit for Christmas? :)
Yeah, you know either that or a cage.

can he go to preschool? he'd probably do well there..and you'd do well with him there =)

Dawn, I'm relatively new to reading your blog, but I was wondering. You talk about having at least one of your DC on a special no artificials/no preservatives diet. By chance, is it the Feingold diet, or do you just try to read labels?
Yep, that's the one. :)

Also, I'm sure you've covered this before, but how do you find out what people type in to get to your blog?
I use statcounter.

How's the heel? Cortisone kicked in yet?
Yep, it's much better now. Not 100%, but definitely better. Thanks!

I think I know what the writer of the phrase 'I yearbook myself laugh' was looking for. Check out this site:
Oh my gosh! That was great! Hee hee

Here's me in 1960! I look like my mom!

i have a question and please don't take this as judgment on you as a parent, but do the other kids step in and give her [Brooklyn]what she wants when she throws a fit?
You mean like when I say, "Oh for the love of all that is holy, will you just give her your Gameboy! I know it's yours. I know she can't play it. But do you want to hear her scream anymore???"

And what kind of shoes are you wearing that you end up with this stuff?
These are my new shoes! They are so comfy! My kids hate them, so naturally, I wear them every day.

Has Brooklyn seen in the videos of herself having a fit?
Oh yes. She looks at herself, smiles, and says, "That's me! I crabby!"

Dawn, you really should consider you might be allergic to bee stings, and your reaction will only get worse next time if you are.
Yeah, I thought of that and called my doctor when the dizziness didn't go away after several hours. He didn't seem too concerned though. When I asked the nurse if I could have a worse reaction the next time, she said, "There's no way to tell. Just go to the ER if you do."

Hubby and I have been reading a book called Scream Free Parenting. It's AWESOME! Have you heard of/read it?
Yep, I sure have! I wrote about it HERE.

I can totally picture you buckling Savannah in, unbuckling her, putting the dreaded pink jammies on her, etc. while the child wails.
LOL! This struck me as funny because Savannah is my 12 year old! Hee hee. I don't think she'd throw a tantrum if I put pink pajamas on her although I'm pretty sure she'd think I'd lost my mind.

I am a nanny to twin three year olds. One sounds just like Brooklyn. He can throw a tantrum over the smallest thing. His twin brother is as mellow as can be, and has probably had one tantrum in his life. This prooves to me that some kids are just strong willed, and some are not. You can't help what's in their genes, and I think a lot of people with (easy) kids don't understand that.
I think you hit the nail right on the head. Kids are all different. And that's a good thing. It would be pretty boring if everyone was the same. :)

Is the rumor true that the name of your new web site is going to be called "Mom to My Seven Pack"?
That's not funny Rick!

I have a new coping mechanism for tantrums which is just to stare blankly at my children while they flail. As if I'm not involved, and they are just some street urchins I stumbled across on the street. And you know what? It doesn't work.
LOL! You're doing it wrong. You're supposed to sip a glass of wine while staring at them. It still won't work, but you'll feel a whole lot better.

By the way, how do you fasten a child in their car seat while the child is having a tantrum without appearing to be physically abusing the child??????
Hee hee! I wrote about this in my book. Kids like to either play the "stiff as a board" or the "wet noodle" game and buckling them in is a workout that can burn 20,000 calories.

SSO: My son was just diagnosed with ADHD, should I use meds or the diet? which works better? And will it make his blood pressure go up like it did jax? Does it do this to every kid? which would you suggest? whats jax on right now?
Jackson doesn't take medication right now. I can't tell you what to do with your child. That's a decision that you and your family will have to make after consulting with your child's doctor. Talk to the psychologist or psychiatrist who diagnosed him. Ask questions. Discuss possibilities. Then make an informed decision. And remember, you can always change. If you try one thing that doesn't work, there are many, many other treatments available.

sso q: Hey dawn I was just wondering,is savannah the most not bad kid? I mean I know she did the doornob thing but other than that I have not heard many bad things about her.
"the most not bad"? I refuse to answer this on the grounds that it might jinx me.

You can still enter to win an organic Batter Blaster HERE.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just Some Stuff

I need to post about a few misc. things that have been sitting in my inbox.

First, I have a few reviews I'm working on for my review blog. You can check out my review of Batter Blaster HERE.


And thank you to Rachel for giving away some cookbooks to my readers! Here are the names of the winners who will receive a free cookbook, Supper's on the Table, Come Home.

Barbara K. of Natick, MA
Darren D. of Wesley Chapel, FL
Pamela F. of Annapolis, MD
Joy G. of Muleshoe, TX
Karyn K. of Audubon, PA
Meredith K. from Glendora, CA

If you meant to get a cookbook and forgot about it, you can still place an order HERE.


Betty Confidential is having a contest where you can win the same flat iron that Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman's stylists use. Well, not the exact same one. I mean, the same kind. But a new one. Not one that's actually been used on Jennifer and Nicole. Who would want to use the same one with bits of someone else's hair in it anyway? Anyway, just click the Betty Confidential link, register (all you have to do is create a username and password) and leave a comment as to why you deserve to win the iron valued at $195. Also, tell 'em that Dawn (mom2my6pack) sent you and I could win a $25 Starbucks gift card! Believe me, it takes a lotta coffee to keep this mama going!


Looking for more fun blogs to read on the topics that interest you? Look no further! Feedza is a new reader site which features some of the latest posts from some of the greatest blogs.


And here's another cool site. Do you have a hard time saying "no"? Do you tend to volunteer for everything and then sit there and wonder just what you've gotten yourself into? Do you wish there was an easy way to organize those school events, fundraisers, scouting events, or just get all your friends on the same page when figuring out what to do on a Saturday? Center'd is a site you can use to coordinate all volunteers for a given project. Center'd even sends out email reminders to participants for you! Or plan an outing or get-together with family, friends, or your local mom's group. You can plug in the name of your city and what you want to do (like brunch in Chicago) and list of places will pop up. Select a place, send invites to your friends, and load up on eggs benedict! The ways you can use Center'd are endless. Check it out HERE.


Have a great holiday weekend everyone!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Temper, Temper, Temper

After Wednesday's escapades, I decided to take the little ones to the library yesterday morning so they couldn't trash my house so they could play and learn. It was great! I dropped the older kids at school and drove straight on to the library where we played for an hour and a half. I picked up some books for the older kids so they can complain that I'm making them read. And I picked up a couple movies to entertain the little ones this afternoon. Anyone want to take bets on whether I'll manage to return them within a month or if I'll be financing a new addition to the library?

So, my kids had fun at the library. Brooklyn played with the kitchen set and brought me the same egg, bread, and watermelon 4000 times.

"Mom, here's your lunch."

"Oh thank you!"

"No Mommy. You have to eat it!"

"Oh ok. Mmmm yummy. What juicy watermelon! Ooo that's some tasty bread! You're a good baker!"

Happy that I'd "eaten" my lunch, she trotted back to the kitchen to put the plates back in the microwave. A few seconds later, she retrieved the plates and walked back to my table.

"Mom, here's your lunch."

"Oh thank you, honey."

"No Mommy! You have to eat it!"

"Oh ok. Mmmm yummy! This bread is delicious. Yummy eggs and watermelon! Thank you."

Beaming that I liked her meal, she made her way back to the kitchen to put the plates back in the microwave. A few seconds later, she retrieved the plates and walked back to my table.

Are you seeing a pattern here? FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF this went on. I must have "eaten" 17,000 calories yesterday morning.

When we left the library, Brooklyn insisted she stay at the drinking fountain forever at least 20 minutes. I indulged for a bit and then said, "OK, that's enough. We need to get home." At this point, she threw herself down on the floor crying. You know, because the poor dear hadn't had a drink in weeks and was simply dehydrated. I picked her up kicking and screaming and carried her out to the car where she continued her tantrum. She fought long and hard on getting buckled into her carseat, but of course I won. She screamed the entire way home without stopping to take a breath even once.

When we arrived at home, she cried and yelled even more when I tried to unbuckle her and take her out of the car. Although I was tempted to just leave her in the car for the rest of the afternoon, I took her out and put her in my room and closed the door. About 20 minutes later, she finally stopped.

Yesterday, she had a tantrum because she's stubborn and only wanted me to open the door for her when she came inside from playing in the water. I opened the door and told her to get her towel. She refused. I told her she could come inside when she calmed down and got her towel. She screamed harder so I walked away and let her cry. Austin took pity on her, picked her up, brought her inside and put her in the bathtub.

All was fine until I drained the tub and told her to get out. She threw another fit because she wanted to stay in the tub. She continued crying for another 15 minutes. When she finally settled down, I put a diaper and jammies on her. Then she threw the biggest fit of the day because I had the nerve, the sheer audacity, to put her pink pajamas on her. Apparently I failed to get the memo informing me that she would not, under any circumstances, wear her pink jammies. She pulled her jammies off and screamed and cried, tears streaming down her face, that she didn't want those jammies! I just walked away. About 15 minutes later, she cried herself to sleep.

None of my other kids were like this. Well, Austin was like this to a degree, but as far as I can remember, he never threw fits quite as often and long and intense. Savannah, Lex, and Jax never really went through a "terrible two" period. I mean, if I had told them "no", they didn't throw a fit. It was no big deal. With Clay, if he got a "no" from me, he didn't ever throw a fit either; he just looked at me as if to say, "Oh yeah? Well, I didn't want that anyway!" Then he'd just run off and get into some other kind of mischief.

I know this is a phase and if I can keep my sanity, she'll grow out of it eventually. But I'm pretty sure that if Brooklyn had been born first, she'd be an only child.

Oh and my foot? Well, the pain from the shot was gone yesterday. Now I'm just back to the level of pain I had before the shot. However, when I was picking the kids up from school yesterday, I got stung by a bee on the SAME FOOT! I was afraid my whole foot would blow up because the last time I got a bee sting on my thigh, my entire leg swelled up and turned red. The time before that, my arm had a pretty large area of swelling and redness too. This time thankfully, there was just a small red spot on my toe, however, about 10-15 minutes after I got stung, I started feeling dizzy. It got worse as the night went on. In fact, I'm still dizzy today. It stinks. I'd take some Benedryl, but I'm afraid I'd pass out and the kids would blow up the house. Come on bedtime!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

HOW Did You Find Me???

It's time for another installment of "HOW DID YOU CRAZY PEOPLE FIND ME?"

These are the actual keywords (mistakes and all) people googled that brought them to my website.

sometimes you think what’s said to you is very bad if you understand it
Ummm yeah. It's probably a good thing I don't understand this then.

Embarrassed to wear plaid shorts
Completely understandable

Cool ways to say I’m going to bed
Yo dude! I'm crashing!

Turn your pokemon cards into money
LOL! Yes, that's pretty much what I ended up doing.

8 year old too rough with 3 year old
Teach your 3 year old how to bite.

Why doesn’t a toothache go away with antibiotics and painkillers
I don't know. Maybe you should try a shot of cortisone.

purple plaid pants
Is this the same person who googled "embarrassed to wear plaid shorts"?

what are they best pants for petites
short ones

pizza and diverticulitis
not to be confused with gassy, poopy treatment effects that look like the oil on top of a pizza

cheese gives me the toots
LOL! Ok then. Thanks for letting me know?

Good enough to eat label from because I said so
I know my blog's awesome and all, but I wouldn't recommend eating any part of it.

What does it mean when a couple takes a break?
We were on a break!

Is there anything like baking soda to take away the dead mouse smell in a wall
No. It's time to move.

Do not stand at my grave and wee
Oh, please tell me they just left off the "P".

grocery shopping with 12 kids
Ooo! I know this one! What is worse than going grocery shopping with 6 kids?

Diarrhea song of car brands
When you're driving in your Chevy and your pants are feeling heavy...

if I pull back on my second toe, it hurts in the ball of my foot
Don't pull back on your second toe. That'll be $50.00.

embarrassing clothes shopping with mom
Austin, did you write this?

Why do I have to plunge my toilet so often
Do you have kids? There's your answer.

How can I make him/her love me?
First, you should probably decide whether you want him or her to love you.

Are these keywords or song lyrics???

The chicken had a home where she lived with delight so why did she visit the construction site?

She don’t know that face I know she don’t know the things I know she don’t know I run this show

Songs that got if another shall come who’s finer then me and she want to take your love from me would you leave baby please answer the question

i think i’m over you i bought a girl a drink last night but it was only because she had your smile

its not over because it never begun it didn’t break because it was already broken

keywords or a letter to an advice column?

How many more days until July 4th?

my mom is making me wear shorts tommorrow but i dont shave what do i do?

What can you do if you have a severily broken arm and can’;t go to the hospital?

the reason spell check was invented

is alowed to take food in a airplane or chuwing gum

Steps tp armpit shavong

Self inficted tortur

Do people seriously google this stuff or do they try to write an email in the search bar?

pretty busy right now taking care of things i have been putting off for way too long, i do that way too much lol. and i am sure you are pretty busy too but do you want to grab some coffee sometime? i don’t have c

i can’t wait to go away to night the kids are so excited! thank you for all you do for me and the girls! i love you!!

just a reminder to check your pockets before doing the laundry ( ink is almost impossible to get out of the dryer).

Things that make you go HUH???

You a song that never ends lamb chop boy on bet

I am laughing so hard are staring

Spank or spanking or spankings 9 year old son

I yearbook myself laugh

toy catapiller back hole at target

Because I said so I don’t know who I am

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's My "Speriment"

So the kids went back to school today. The heavens opened. The angels sang. I should have been dancing for joy, right? And I wanted to! Oh, how I wanted to. But alas, no dancing was to be done by me today. I broke down and got the stupid shot of cortisone in my heel yesterday. Oh. My. Gosh. That gave a new meaning to the word "pain"! My heel is so bruised and sore today. I can only walk on my toes which will probably cause some other sort of toe or leg pain because that's the way it works. Darn that Murphy and his law.

Anyway, I celebrated the return to school until about 9:30AM at which time I realized having the big kids out of the house is not all it's cracked up to be. Sure, it was nice and quiet around here. Yeah, there wasn't any fighting. But the messes. Oh, the messes the little ones got into! And there was no one here to tattle on them. I didn't have any extra pairs of eyes to help watch them. No one was around to entertain the little ones while I changed loads of laundry or went through paperwork.

There was the cereal spilled on the floor, the water spilled on the floor, the 5 million gold dubloons from the Sponge Bob game scattered about the house, and of course, the "speriment".

As I changed loads of laundry, I heard Clay and his apprentice, Brooklyn, run into the bathroom and turn on the water. I finished throwing clothes into the dryer and headed toward the bathroom to check out their latest mischief. I found the two of them perched on the side of the sink, a big bucket filled with water, toothpaste and shampoo. They were vigorously stirring their concoction with toothbrushes. Several toothbrushes.

"What are you two doing?!!!" I demanded.

"It's my speriment!" Clay proudly proclaimed.

"Your what???" I yelled.

"My speriment!" he repeated.

"Your experiment? What kind of experiment is this?"

"It's my soapy speriment!"

"And just what did you think would happen with this experiment? What were you trying to do? Invent a shampoo and toothpaste in one? Clean your hair and freshen your breath all at once?"

He stared at me blankly and said a succinct, "I don't know."

"Ugh. Did you really think this was a good idea?" I asked exasperated.

"I wanted to see if it would be bubbly." He looked up at me innocently.

"Ugh, what am I going to do with you?"

I'm still holding out hope that he'll be a magnificent scientist. Maybe he'll discover a cure for cancer. Hey, it's my fantasy!

By the afternoon, after I squashed all their "speriment" fun, they were bored. Here they are staring out the window waiting for their siblings to get home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's a Wombat!

The other day, while running errands with the kids, we stopped in a pet shop to look around. You want a cheap way to entertain the kiddos? Just go to your local pet shop and let them admire all the creatures there. So, the kids were staring at the birds, then the mice and hamsters, then Lexi walked over to another enclosure and squealed, "Look! Jaguars! Look at the jaguars! Jaguars, Mom! Look!"

I thought, "Hmmm, this pet shop is really expanding if they're selling jaguars now." I peered into the tank to see a couple of ferrets sleeping, all piled up on each other. "Um Lex, hon, those aren't jaguars. Those are ferrets." but I could see how you could confuse them because they look so much alike

"Oh that's what I meant!"

I thought maybe we should take one last trip to the zoo before school starts. You know, remind my kids of the difference between say, zebras and lizards, jaguars and ferrets, and such. So, yesterday I packed up a cooler and the kids and went to the zoo with my dad. Since a lot of kids are back in school, it was pretty empty and the weather was absolutely beautiful!

Click to play Zoo August 2008
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As the kids were getting ready for bed last night, Jackson looked outside and yelled, "Mom! Quick! There's something outside! Come quick!" Well I ran to the door but missed whatever Jackson had seen.

"I think it was a wombat, Mom!"

"It wasn't a wombat. Wombats live in Australia." did they learn nothing at the zoo???

"Well, it looked like a wombat," Jackson insisted.

"It was probably an opossum or a raccoon or something," I informed him.

Well, Clay, being the little punk he is, decided to scare Lexi. "A wombat's outside and it's going to come into your room while you sleep."

There went the next half hour as I tried to convince Lexi that even if wombats lived around here, I wouldn't let one into the house and into her room.

Things have a way of coming back to bite you in the butt though. So, a few minutes later, Clay decided that he was scared of killer wombats too and he walked into the family room insisting he could only go to sleep in my bed.

"There are no wombats outside! If there were, they wouldn't come inside anyway. And wombats don't eat people. They eat plants! You guys are reading all the signs in the Australia house the next time we go to the zoo and there will be a test on it!"

Savannah volunteered to take Clayton back to bed. She scooped him up and started carrying him to his room. Awww, how sweet, huh? About halfway there, she shrieked, "Aeeeiiiiiaaaaeee! A WOMBAT!!!"

Clay actually took flight as he leapt from her arms and ran back to the family room.

I slept with Clay, Lex, and Brooklyn last night.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

First, I want to thank all my readers for being so awesome! You guys seriously lift me up and make me feel better regularly! I'm blessed to have you guys and sure hope we get the chance to meet when my book comes out.

Speaking of, a few people have asked me when my book is coming out. It's scheduled to be released Mother's Day, 2009. I think Mother's Day is the perfect time for my book to come out, don't you? Plus, it was originally going to be released as a hard cover, but the publishers are now thinking they'll release it as a paperback which is good news for us moms who are on budgets! I know the amazing folks at Guideposts are planning some really great, fun things for when it comes out, but I can't tell you any details. Mainly because they haven't told me yet! (I hate secrets!) But I have no doubts it'll be good! :)

And speaking of Guideposts, check out their newly designed website! It's so cool! And right now, there are pictures of Ty Pennington on it! Woo Hoo! Run, go check him it out! Seriously, if you've never read a Guidepost magazine, you're missing out. It's SO inspiring. You'll walk away from it just feeling GOOD! Their website's the same! It's super-easy to navigate and it's full of interesting, fun, informative, inspiring stories.

I was reading comments like I do most every morning, and I came to one that said something like, "I was laughing so hard that my 13 year old looked at me like I'd grown 10 heads, in that way a 13 year can do....." That's all I read because my hand slipped and I accidentally deleted it. I'm sorry. I just wanted the writer of the comment to know that I hadn't purposely rejected it. And I'm bummed I didn't get to finish reading it!

OK, without further ado, here are the answers to life's pressing questions...

Is is wrong that I feel famous because two (count 'em, TWO!) of my comments/questions made it into this week's SSO?
Probably. But that's ok. :D

Good news! Banana Splits is coming back to the Cartoon Network this fall.Are you humming the theme yet, lol?

Hahahaha my 10 year old went back to school today...oh it was so nice and quiet. Sorry I just had to bloat!
Ooo I hope I don't bloat when my kids go back to school! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

My kids explode everywhere they go. You're not giving me much hope that as they get older it gets better...unless your 3 youngest are totally to blame.
It's the youngest 4 who make all the messes. Thankfully, Austin and Savannah have learned (as much as a kid can learn) to clean up after themselves. See? There's still hope.

Remember back in the beginning of summer you were looking forward to the kids being home?
I remember writing that by the time August rolled around, I would deny ever looking forward to school getting out!

I have an unrelated question. I just started a blog, the intent to keep family and friends up to date on our life these days. I decided to make it a public site to make things easier - no one has to "sign-in". I have all the security settings on the highest except for the fact that it's public. I hesitated slightly at making it public since there are pictures and descriptions of my kids all over it. So I'm wondering, since your blog is very well read, do you ever feel like you're living in a fishbowl hoping no creeps are looking in? Do you do anything extra/special in the name of safety?
Good question. When I first started my blog, I used fake names for my kids. After my auction took off and my blog went from 5 hits a day to 94,000 hits a day, people started calling me for interviews. The first one that called, The St. Petersburg Times, asked for my full name and the names and ages of my kids. I told her I didn't want to give out that information. She replied that she wouldn't be able to interview me without it. I told her I'd think about it and hung up. I called all my friends and family for advice; I prayed about what to do. Based on the advice I was given and what I felt in my gut, I went ahead and disclosed all that information. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have been interviewed and may not be in the place I'm in today with a book coming out in a few months. It's a personal matter that you'll have to decide for yourself though and there are a lot of things to take into consideration. At BlogHer there was a session all about this very topic that I think you'll find interesting and informative. HERE's a link to the live blog about that session from BlogHer '08.

The diet doesn't seem to be working for my son after 3 months on it. Do you have any other ideas that I could try before we do meds? Just wondering.
First off, I know people have a lot of strong opinions on whether or not to use medication for ADHD, but I really think you have to make the decision based on what's right for your child and your family. The way I look at it - if my kid had diabetes, I wouldn't hesitate to give him the insulin he needed. I don't personally think ADHD is any different. It's a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be treated.

That said, if you want to avoid medication, trying an all natural diet can help. Make sure you check food labels carefully. Learn the different terms used. For instance, a label might not read "artificial vanilla". Instead it might read "vanillin" which is just another word for artificial vanilla. A cereal may not have artificial ingredients in it, but the packaging may contain TBHQ which is an artificial preservative that will be absorbed by the cereal in the box. Be aware that there can be a lot of hidden ingredients.

For some kids, therapy can help. I think all kids (especially ADHD ones) strive on a routine. A rewards system works for a lot of kids too. My son loves to earn stuff. If he accomplishes A,B & C, he can earn a privilege or small treat. Like a lot of ADHD kids, he really wants to do well and please people. He just has a hard time controlling himself enough to do it.

People have suggested other things to me like fish oil, and other vitamin/herbal supplements. I've not personally tried any of them, but it might be something you'd like to look into. Research online and or ask your pediatrician about it.

Dawn, You should get a Wii fit. It is fun, entertaining and hilarious.
I would love to actually! I got to try one back in April when I went to Johnson's Camp Baby. Unfortunately, Nintendo's production and distribution never seems to meet demands when they release a new product. I have yet to see a Wii fit in a store anywhere. The Nintendo rep at the BlogHer conference told me that Nintendo was increasing production and I should be able find them in stores within a couple weeks. Notsomuch.

Hi, I just started reading your blog, and was wondering what you're treating for Jackson with the diet... ADHD?
Yep. He had to go off meds because they gave him high blood pressure. The diet doesn't work as well as the medication did, but it certainly helps. Plus, it doesn't give him high blood pressure!

I laughed out loud no less than five times. and how the heck did u get the paper to look so spiffy and bright and new? obviously those aren't pictures of the spill it:)
I just scanned them. Voila!

Did you show your older kids [your old schoolwork and drawings]?
Yep. Austin laughed his head off with me. Savannah just gave me a withered look that said, your drawings are lame and so are you.

Dawn, I love this post! I was able to figure out most of them, but I appreciate your help in translating a few. Did you know what they were because you remember your writing and spelling and what you were drawing back then or because you're used to figuring it out from your own brood?
I don't remember what I had for lunch let alone something I wrote in first grade! I knew what they said because I have kids who spell the same way.

I've been wondering...I only have 2 boys and it seems like every night one of them (usually the 3 year old) calls me or comes to find me for something (bathroom run, needing company, because he is lonely, etc.) your kids come looking for you in the middle of the night?
Yes, which is why I sleep in my car.

By the way... "I like are rome" -- did you share a room w/siblings? Was it you and 2 siblings in individual beds? I wondered about that all through the rest of the pictures... Yes, I need help.

Nope, that was my classroom. You can't see the teacher and the other kids. They're hiding.

I'm guessing this just because of your spelling, but did you grow up in the South? Your phonetical spelling looks like everyone in my town sounds. ;)
LOL! Nope. I grew up in Chicagoland.

Did your "Car Hops" [at Sonic] wear skates??
The ones I saw were wearing skates. I think that would be a fun job to have in the summer. Notsomuch when it's 20 below and the snow's up to your waist. Of course, I doubt there will be too many people willing to pull up and eat in their car when the weather's that bad.

We don't have a Sonic here. I keep seeing these commercials on tv and people talk abott it all the time.
I know! We've been tormented by commercials for a long time. I asked a Sonic employee about that and he said it was cheaper to do a nationwide campaign instead of targeting specific areas.

Where is that new Sonic? I live in Chicago, near Evanston and haven't had Sonic for a LONG time!
Aurora. But there are some scheduled to open in Bartlett, Algonquin, Lockport, and Country Club Hills.

lol- that is crazy! I can't believe people get that excited about Sonic! Don't get me wrong, I love them too- hit up happy hour every time my kids are awake during that time frame ;) I just don't have the patience to wait that long for food.Wow, people out there must really love Sonic.
I think it's just the novelty of it. This is the first one in Chicagoland, despite the fact that we've been seeing the commercials for it for years.

And you? Not a good Christian? Oh, come on. You can only turn the other cheek so many times.
I guess I had already turned my cheek 490 times. Get it? Hee hee. 7 times 70. 490? Get it? I just crack myself up. (Yes, I know that's not really what that scripture means.)

You really should move here. Cheaper houses, great paying jobs, Mimi, No snow, and of course a Sonic on every street corner. ;o)
No snow, Sonic's on every corner and Mimi? Sold! When I'm rich and famous, I'm moving to Texas. ;)

I was wondering did you ever deal with that in any of your pregnancies? Not just your average morning sickness, but hyperemesis.
I got the typical morning sickness with every pregnancy, but nothing too bad. If I had, I'm quite certain I'd only have one child. Of course, I say that about Brooklyn all the time - if she'd been first, she'd be an only child!

Maybe if they opened a White Castle in Oklahoma, but not a Sonic. LOL.
White Castle? Blech. There's a reason they call 'em "sliders" you know.

What is this *Subscribe in a reader* it is located on the right side of the blog.
I don't have the slightest flipping clue. It's something computery that I don't understand at all. I'm sure one of my readers who isn't technologically stupid, can explain it though.

And how did you sit in the car [in line at Sonic's] without anyone having to go potty?
Funny you should ask this. Actually, Clay did have to go potty. We thought about letting him go to the back of the van to pee into the little cup the slushie sample had come in. Then we realized the cup was probably much too small and that was probably not the best idea. So, Austin grabbed one of Brooklyn's diapers and he and Clay went to the back of the van where he held the diaper up and Clay peed in it. Smart thinking, huh? I mean, it's not like there was a Walmart RIGHT THERE! It's not like I could've sent Austin or Savannah to just take him to Walmart to use the bathroom. I'm such a dork.

Friday, August 22, 2008

An Author Gets Her Start

I just love kids' artwork as I showed you HERE. Today I was going through some old papers, stories and art projects of mine that my mom had saved all these years. Wow, what a wealth of blog material was in this box!

For example, here are the pages from my writing journal when I was 7. Ever wonder where my spectacular writing abilities came from? Well, here's your answer...

8-22-2008 3;58;48 PM

(I like noodles because they taste good.) Some things never change. Thankfully, my spelling is not one of those things.

8-22-2008 3;58;55 PM

(I gave a Valentine to my friend.)

Unfortunately she couldn't accept it because she had no hands.

8-22-2008 3;59;03 PM

(A whale can swim.)

I like how I had originally written, "A dog can swim." Apparently I thought dogs had great abilities.

8-22-2008 3;59;11 PM

"I like our room"? Or "I like Rome"? I must have drawn this picture after I was a contestant on Jeopardy.

8-22-2008 3;59;19 PM

8-22-2008 3;59;27 PM

(I saw a dinosaur walking in the field. It was so big. I never saw anything as big as that.)

I've never seen anything quite like that either. Does it have 5 feet and 2 heads? Or does it just have a giant growth on his butt? He appears to be craning his neck to see just what's going on back there. "What the??? What did she just draw on my butt???"

8-22-2008 3;59;35 PM

I can make a deal? Again with the game shows? Actually, it says, "I can make a doll." That must be the doll on the floor. I'm pretty sure I've never made a doll, however. And look at the chair I'm sitting in. I think I broke the legs.

8-22-2008 3;59;43 PM

(A dog can jump over a car.)

Yep, clearly I thought dogs had special powers.

8-22-2008 3;59;50 PM

(I had a funny dream) about a girl and 2 boxes, I guess. I wonder how I ever got up on that bed? It's taller than I am! I do like my purple hair though.

8-22-2008 4;00;00 PM

(I gave a Valentine to my friend.) Again? Apparently I did a lot of this when I was 7. Well, my spelling of the word "Valentine" has changed at least. Unfortunately, I don't think it's an improvement.

8-22-2008 4;00;10 PM

(Here are some funny people.)

They have no hands. They have no feet. The guy on the left has half a head of blue hair, a nose and a mouth. The guy on the right has half a head of yellow hair, one eye and a mouth. Yep, they're pretty funny, in a really scary, sad, demented sort of way. Funny.

8-22-2008 4;00;17 PM

(I have beads. I can string the beads.) Oh look! There I am on the floor stringing beads. Why am I on the floor when there's a perfectly good chair with bowed legs right there? Oh, it must be because there's a spider on the chair! Quick, use your beads to whip the spider off the broken chair, Dawn!

8-22-2008 4;00;25 PM

Yes, even back 31 years ago, cookies were my favorite food group. What I especially love about this is that my sister has a carrot for dinner. My mom has a plate of spinach. My dad has some gray glop (must be left-overs) and I have a cookie. Yeah, life is good. (And note my pretty blue hair!)

8-22-2008 4;00;48 PM

Mmmm, poached Red Hadid drizzled with a light herbed lemon butter. De-Lish! Oh, what? You say it's supposed to be a "red headed fish"? Ohhhh. Scratch the lemon butter then. Hollandaise goes much better with that.

8-22-2008 4;01;11 PM

Just like whales. Not dogs.

8-22-2008 4;01;19 PM

...and a cage over my head. Oh, wait. That's not a cage. That's a chair. I've melded into the chair with the broken legs. Oooo and look! My hair's been dyed. It's a pretty blond here. I wonder how much hairspray one would have to use to get it to stick out like that. See those long, skinny, purple things holding the yellow yarn? Those are my arms. I know, I know, you thought they were Twizzlers, didn't you? They're not.

8-22-2008 4;01;34 PM

I was on a swing today. Or I was a swing today. Or I joined the circus as the "woman with the wild hair, the red eyes, and the green leotard on the flying trapeze".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Supper's On The Table!

Yesterday we got back on track with the "no artificial colors/flavors/preservatives" diet for the kids. I know it'll probably take a couple weeks before Jackson's behavior is under control again. Tonight we're having a really easy chicken alfredo. I got the recipe from Rachel Master's cookbook, Supper's On The Table, Come Home. I love, love, LOVE this cookbook! Most all of her recipes include make-from-scratch foods so they fit right in with our eating plan! Some recipes call for easy short cuts using some store bought items which is really convenient for most people. I just replace those items with their organic counterparts, or my own modifications. But this cookbook has more than just awesome recipes. Rachel has included shopping lists for her weekly menus to make your life of so much easier! Not only that, but she also has a handy time frame to show you how to cook a complete, delicious dinner in the most efficient way. For example, here's Rachel's suggested time frame for her yummy crock pot lasagna:

11:30 assemble lasagna for crockpot
2:00 start French bread in bread machine
4:00 shape French bread; let rise
5:30 bake French bread; make salad
6:00 EAT!

Every recipe I've tried so far has taken an hour or less to prepare and much of the work can be done ahead of time. We've all loved every recipe I've tried. And don't you feel great when you've managed to put a nice meal on the table? I know I do. Although we go the fast food route now and then (Yes, I know it was twice this week!), we try to avoid that because really, who needs all the fat and calories and artificial junk? Not to mention the cost! It was $44 for the 7 of us the other night at Sonic. Who can afford that on a regular basis?

Besides, what better place than the dinner table can you talk to your kids about their classes, teachers, and friends? Where else can you all sit down, relax, enjoy each other's company, and partake in a yummy nutritious hot meal? (Just gloss over the stuff like having to cut up everyone's meat, listening to burps that would rival any frat boy, having conversations about gross bodily functions, getting up and down from the table 20 times to clean up spilled milk, refill glasses, and turn off the oven that you forgot to turn off earlier, and eating your dinner cold because your nursing baby always gets hungry the minute you sit down.)

Seriously though, this is one of my favorite cookbooks. Rachel has tons of quick tips and resourceful ideas at the back of her book which I enjoy looking through. And I love how she has planned out each week so you're eating a variety of foods. She makes good use of your time and ingredients too by putting a recipe for roast beef on Sunday and then beef stew (using the left-over meat) on Wednesday, for example. She includes recipes for 5 full meals, a snack and a dessert every week. You can fill in the other two days with left-overs, going out to eat, or your own favorite recipes.

There are recipes for chicken quesadillas, curly cheesy potatoes, baked potato soup, honey wheat bread, spaghetti pie, meatball soup, monster cookies, Snicker salad, peanut butter pie, and many, many more! HERE are some sample pages. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!

Anyway, if you're interested in getting one of these awesome cookbooks, you can click HERE to order. They're only $15 each ($12 each if you want to start your Christmas shopping early and get 10 or more books) and that includes all shipping and handling costs.

OK, enough about eating yummy homecooked dinners now! I'm getting seriously hungry! So, you know what I did last night? I got out my (actually, Austin crawled up in the attic and got it out for me) step thingy so I could do some step aerobics. I did this hour long step tape back after I had Jackson. I lost 40-some pounds at that time. I looked good. I felt great. What happened? I mean, yeah, I gave birth to 3 more kids, but I'm pretty sure I didn't carry any of them in my butt so I really have no excuse. Anyway, after tripping over this stupid step for a week, I finally made myself do the workout tape.

I still haven't decided whether it's inspiring or depressing to see lean, muscular, well-oiled, perfectly made up and coiffed people working out. The have smiles plastered on their faces, they act like working out is fun and easy, and they don't ever break a sweat. I'm not sure if I should be inspired to work out so I can look like them or if I should throw my shoe at the tv to wipe those smiles off their stupid, skinny faces.

Less than 20 minutes into the workout, I thought I was going to die. I seriously thought my heart would actually explode. Oh. My. Gosh. I decided it was better to go slowly and work up to the full hour than to, you know, go into cardiac arrest, so I stopped. I've got to say that I felt great (after my heart slowed down to under 5000 beats a minute) for getting off my butt and moving. My goal is to do it for one week. Baby steps. After one week, if I'm not dead, I'll go for another week. That's the plan anyway. Then again, I had grand plans back in January when I made my new year's resolutions and those have notsomuch worked according to plan...

Remember to check out Rachel's cookbook HERE. And from now until next Wednesday, when you order a cookbook (through the online site ONLY, not mail-in) you'll get your name put in a drawing. For every 20 books sold, Rachel will choose a winner from those names, and that person will receive a FREE cookbook to give away. This is great for bridal showers, the young family who just moved to your neighborhood, your daughter, your mother, your best friend! Good luck and happy cooking!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Never-Ending Line

Sorry for my little rant earlier today. I'm human and was having a bad day and had gotten one too many nasty comments this week. I felt the need to lash out instead of just snorting and deleting and moving on. Joe's been doing a few side jobs and hasn't been home in weeks. There's an unwritten rule, some of you may know about, that states: your children must act like deranged gibbons the last 2-3 weeks before school starts. Jackson's been off the diet the past few days because, well because it's really hard cooking everything from scratch every day and I let him have fast food the past 2 days and before that, we ate at my sil's for my niece's baptism and before that, it was Jackson's birthday party...

Anyway, it hasn't been a fun summer with Jackson off all meds and now that he's full of artificial junk, he's extra fun. And by fun, I mean, "I don't want to be in the same state room with him right now!" Of course I love him, but I really don't like him right now. The fact that Joe hasn't been around at all just ices the cake. I shouldn't whine because I did it by myself for many, many years when money was really tight and I've got it easy now. And there are single parents and military spouses who do it by themselves every day. It really makes me thankful that, at least usually, I have someone else around to help out.

So sorry to anonymous. I shouldn't have sunk to your level. Oh and thanks to the dozen or so people who wrote to tell me that I'm mean or I'm not a Christian because for once I stood up and wrote what I felt in response to the many nasty comments I get (and usually delete) each week. Because I'm human, I can't be Christian I guess. Apparently I've had it wrong all this time.


Sooo, because I'm clearly insane, I took the kids to Sonic last night. It was the first day this store was open. And to make it an even more awesome experience, I left around dinner time and drove in rush hour traffic. It took us over an hour to get there. But it's Sonic, right? Worth it, right? So we get there and lo and behold, everyone this side of Chicago is in the Walmart parking lot next to the Sonic. About a dozen Sonic employees were out there directing traffic. I pulled up, opened my window and asked, "So this is the line to get to Sonic?"

"Yeah, there's about an hour - hour and a half wait right now."

"Yikes!" I turned to the kids who'd already been sitting in the car for over an hour and asked them, "Do you want to wait? There's a long line. Or would you rather go home?"

They all agreed that they wanted to wait. If we'd left at that point, we'd just be sitting in traffic for an hour to get home anyway.

So we crept through the parking lot inching along toward the new Sonic. We had fun watching the people in the other cars. There was a very pregnant woman in a car in front of us. She got out of the car and walked around to stretch her legs now and then. I was pretty sure she'd go into labor before she reached the restaurant. I could just imagine the conversation between her and her husband.

"I WANT a cherry limeade."
"But honey, an hour wait!" whines her husband.
But I WANT a cherry limeade!" she insists as she grabs the car door and shoots laser beams from her eyes at her husband.
Afraid she'll actually rip the car door off its hinges, he says, "I'll buy you some limeade at the grocery store. I'll even add some cherries to it." He tries to appease her and find a way to get out of the line that stretches all the way to the end of the earth.
"You don't love me!" wails the preggo lady as she starts to cry.
"Of course I love you," hubby insists, resigning himself to the wait and secretly hoping she goes into labor right there in their Expedition so he can leave the line.

Entering the parking lot (or trying to anyway...)

beginning of the line that wound around the Walmart parking lot

I wish I'd gotten a picture of the Walmart employees who were standing outside on a break. I'm sure they were marveling at the stupidity of the whole lot of us.

Another line of cars just waiting to get in line

a car in front of us. The passenger grew completely crazed while waiting and cut off someone's head

The kids getting tired of waiting

the kids getting loopy from waiting (They were walking around with slushy samples while we waited. Savannah had just had a blue coconut one)

I'm so excited! After only 3+ hours, I'm getting to eat my dinner!

finally made it to the Sonic lot - the Walmart lot's still full with a long line waiting to get in

cars lining up for the limeadey goodness

look at all their yummy offerings

How many Sonic employees can you shove into a tiny restaurant?

The answer is 16

Slushy tower

I probably should've taken pictures of the food, but after an hour+ drive and TWO hours waiting in line, we inhaled that stuff so fast, it couldn't be captured on film. Here's one lonely tot.

Especially considering the insane amount of time we sat in our car last night, the kids were awesome. Had I known it was going to take that long, there is no way I would've gone! We won't be returning for a few weeks at least.

Oh and they got my order wrong and the guy taking my order didn't seem to have a clue about the menu, but considering the absolutely insane amount of traffic they were handling and the fact that it was their first day in business, they did pretty well. If I'd been working there, I would've gone home and sat there shaking and rocking and trying to unwind for a good 4 hours! Everyone was really friendly and a manager talked to me for a minute and said, "I know you've been waiting a really long time. Thank you. We hope you like everything!" That there negates any wrongness in my order.

Stupid Jerks

This is one of handful of comments I've received this week. I generally just delete these, but I'm in a bad mood today and I'm sick of the idiots who have nothing better to do with their lives than to tell me what to do with mine...

Honestly, I cannot understand you allow this from your kids. As I understand they never get *really* punished for this kind oh horrible behavior???
I come from a family of 4 children and myself I have 3 children. Of course they are sometimes agitated bu when in public, the slightest attempt at misbehaving is *immediately* stopped.
You might want to think about the future character of these children. Obviously they have no limits and they know that they won't be punished, so hey, let's continue.
I've been reading your blog for weeks and obviously you are a smart person, so I am just amazed at this educative laziness. Seems that your children own you, and they know it.
Publish Reject (Anonymous) 4:01 AM

Well "anonymous",
First off, have the balls to use your actual name, you judgmental idiot. "As I understand they never get *really* punished..."
"As you understand"? "As you understand"? Clearly, you don't understand much of anything. You only know what I choose to share on my blog. Period. To take that minute amount of information and draw the conclusion that I never punish my kids, is completely ignorant.
Calling me lazy is the most absurd insult I've ever received. Come spend a day in my shoes and see how "lazy" you feel.
I should be concerned about the future character of my children? Well, I'll tell you right now, THEY wouldn't ever write a nasty comment to a stranger for no reason other than to be mean.
@@ I just have to roll my eyes at you and anyone else who feels the need to tell me how to raise my kids, or tell me what I'm doing wrong. I didn't ask for your advice. I know I'm not perfect. I don't pretend to be. I'm an ordinary mom doing my best to hold it all together while raising my family.
I don't put parts of my life out here for ignorant, self-righteous jerks like yourself to condemn me. I share what I share to help other NORMAL people feel a little better; to let other people know that they're not alone. And I share because I have the most awesome readers (not including you) in the world! My readers (except you) make me feel better and let me know that I'm not alone either.
No, everyone does not have to agree with everything I write. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But if you have nothing nice to say, then keep your mouth shut.

OK, I'm done now. I feel better. Now, back to your regularly scheduled humor.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just Take a Couple Inches Off the Back

As I combed Brooklyn's hair this morning, I noticed that it seemed shorter. The more I looked at it, the more I realized it was a lot shorter. All her curls in the back were gone. I asked the kids, "Did you one of you guys give Brooklyn a haircut?" They all insisted they had not.

"Seriously, one of you guys gave her a trim. Who's lying to me?" I demanded, getting angrier that not only had someone cut my baby's curls, but that someone was lying to me about it. I stared at Lexi and Clayton, looking for some sign that they were lying to me. Duh! I'll just ask Brooklyn who cut her hair! "Who gave you a haircut, Brooklyn?"

"Claypunk did it."

I gave Clay the evil eye.

"Ok, I cut her hair, but just a little bit."

Ha! A good 5 inches were taken off the back! I'm so sad because her curls are gone and apparently Clay did this yesterday and threw the hair in the garbage which has since been dumped. I can't even put the little curls in an envelope to save so I can look at them one day and say, "Hmmm, here's some hair. I wonder why I saved it. I wonder which kid this was from."

A little later, I took Lexi to get a haircut. She'd decided that she wanted it trimmed and I thought it would be a good idea to take her today. You know, break up the day; get out of the house; distract the kids from fighting with each other for a few minutes. So we walk into the shop and Jackson says he wants a haircut too. Jackson just got a haircut less than a week ago! He insisted that he didn't get enough cut and wanted it shorter. Oh yes, I'd love to pay for another haircut because you can't make up your mind.

So we checked in and sat down to wait our turn. Brooklyn saw a container of suckers on the counter and made a bee line for them.

"I want one!" came her wail as she stood on her tip toes trying to reach the suckers.

"Be a good girl and you can have one after Lexi gets her hair cut," was my calm, matter-of-fact answer. However, all anyone heard was, "Be a good girl..." before my words were cut off by screaming of epic proportions. Brooklyn threw herself down on the floor and continued to cry as if someone was kicking her. Yep, that's a perfectly normal, justified reaction, don't you think?

A couple of young adults looked on in horror. A couple of gentleman looked on in horror. I looked on and wondered if there's a boarding school for temperamental 2 year olds somewhere in the world because I'm willing to sell my house and live in a cardboard box in order to afford such a place for her.

I picked her limp, screaming little body off the floor while trying to pin her arms and legs. I dodged her flailing limbs as I attempted to sit down without being kicked in the face. Meanwhile, Clay is walking around the desk and giving me a challenging look; a look that says he's going to push the envelope until I lose it. I'm thinking - it's no big deal that he's walking around the shop. He's just walking around. He isn't getting in anyone's way. No big deal. Lexi has other ideas though. She takes off after Clay to try to get him to sit down. This makes him squeal and take off in a makeshift game of tag. Ugh.

I catch Clay's arm and pull him over by me. The problem is - I had to let go of Brooklyn in order to get Clay. So, Brooklyn runs back over to the suckers and screams even louder, frustrated that they're just out of her reach. I walk back over to the counter, grab Brooklyn. Again. And try to distract her by saying, "Is that Papa?!" while looking out the window into the parking lot. It worked for 4/10ths of a second at which point she yelled, "That's not my Papa!" and started crying even louder. Now, if my other kids had teased her like that, I would've yelled at them. "Don't tease her! You're just making things worse!" But there I was, telling her that her Papa was outside. I didn't have time to dwell on my inequitable rules as Clay was jumping up and knocking baseball caps off a rack high on the wall. I picked up the hats with one hand, while grabbing Clay's arm with the other.

While all this is going on, I'm aware that people are staring at us. I can only imagine what they're thinking. I deliberately avoid eye contact.

Clay takes off again, shoots me a challenging look, and starts walking around the waiting area. Only this time, he adds the element of kicking his shoe off every few steps. I see his shoe flying through the air out of the corner of my eye as I wrestle Brooklyn into a chair and call to Clay, "That's one. That's two..."

Clay stops and starts to walk toward me, but again Lexi, trying to be helpful, tries to catch him which sends him screaming through the shop.

"THAT'S IT. We're leaving. GO!" I say, indicating the door. "You guys can't behave for 5 minutes and now we're leaving. Go."

The kids all file out without a word. Except for Clay, that is. As he reached the door, he asked, "So, does this mean, we're not getting suckers?"

Austin and Savannah told me that the other waiting patrons laughed at this. All I heard were the sounds of applause as we left the building.

Have Plans for Dinner?


Although I feel really bad and guilty about doing fast food 2 nights in a row......
I'll get over it!
See ya there!

Monday, August 18, 2008

For Here or To Go?

We always let our kids choose what they want to eat for dinner on their actual birthday. They can choose a casual restaurant or take-out or I'll cook them a special meal. Jackson chose Taco Bell today. Wow, what a treat. <---that was sarcasm in case you missed it. Well, actually he chose Bahama Breeze, but since we didn't want to refinance the house in order to dine there, we made him go with "plan B".

I had to go to the stupid gyno for another pap because if you'll remember HERE, I now get to go every 3 months. On the way home, I stopped at Taco Bell to pick up the grand fiesta birthday dinner. I had a feeling that if I went through the drive-thru, there was no way on earth they'd get my huge order correct, so I went inside to order.

"Welcome to Taco Bell. Can I take your order?"

"Sure, I'd like 9 soft tacos..."

She cut me off with, "OK, will that be all?"

"Ummm no. I'd also like 3 crunchy tacos..."

"OK, your total...."

"I'm not done! I'd also like an order of nachos, a bean burrito, 2 steak gorditas, a chicken chalupa, 4 strawberry fruitista freezes, and 2 mango fruistas."

"OK. Is that for here or to go?"

I just stared at the girl waiting for a light to go on. She continued to look at me blankly.

"It's for here. I'm just that hungry."

My sarcasm was lost on the girl who got out a tray and started piling food on it.

"I'm kidding! I'm kidding. It's to go," I cried.

Still clueless, she said,"Oh ok," and began to fill a bag with tacos.

Then she looked up and asked me seriously, "Do you want a drink holder?"

Clearly, they hire Rhodes scholars at this Taco Bell.

"Nah, no drink holder. I'll hold 4 cups in my hands and 2 with my feet and I'll balance the bag of food on my head while I walk out to my car on my buttcheeks."

She stared at me for a full minute as if trying to gauge whether I was a joker, a circus performer, or just an escaped mental patient. Or maybe she was thinking, "Gee, I wonder if Brad will call me tonight? What color lipgloss should I wear to school tomorrow? Why does my hand smell like funnel cakes?"

I gave up and conceded, "Yes I'd like a drink holder please."

I double checked my order right then and there because there's nothing worse than getting home, realizing you're missing half your order, and having to drive back to get it. Amazingly they got it right. So I got home and took the food out to the picnic table in the backyard where I saw this display:

It's their "fort". The fort consisted of some boxes, an old mattress, a piece of plywood, some seats that are supposed to be installed in my van (when Joe gets around to it in another 5 years or so), assorted beach towels, and the umbrella from the the picnic table. No big deal until I saw the "padding" they used. They had my crib set: comforter, bumper pads, diaper stacker, mobile, curtains, and dust ruffle strewn about the garage floor and yard. What the??? I had the set packed up in a box in the garage and was trying to decide whether to sell it, give it away, or pack it up ad save it because I loved it so much. Now it was full of dirt and debris. Yay, more laundry!

And where was Joe through all of this? Sitting in the backyard, snoring away in my beach chair. Not that the kids don't do this kind of crap on my watch. I've had my share of being oblivious to their shenanigans (hee hee hee, I said "shenanigans"!) But hello? He was sleeping! Ugh.

I just had a rotten day because the kids think that pillows are to be thrown at each other, food is supposed to be plopped onto the floor, crumbs are to be spread across the table, peanut butter smeared knives are to be set on the counter, toys are to be left out over every square inch of floor, eyes are to be rolled at me, and whenever the phone rings, they're supposed to follow me around the house screaming their heads off. How many more days until school starts???

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

Hey there! I've had such a busy week. The kids go back to school soon and I'm trying to do a few more fun things with them before then. And of course, I've been glued to the TV every evening watching the Olympics with Austin and Savannah. Wow, they've been fun to watch! It makes me want to flip my way across the family room floor. It makes me want to do really fast laps at the neighborhood pool. Ok, ok, it makes me want to make use of the gym pass that's been collecting that unidentifiable debris that settles at the bottom of my purse and do some walking at least.

Jackson's birthday party was fun. I think everyone had a good time. Yes, I made his cake. I googled "tropical cake" and found a picture of one that I used as a guide for the cake I made. I know it turned out pretty cool, but I still look at it and feel like a slacker because I didn't find the time to make the hibiscus out of royal icing earlier this week. And the chocolate top for the snack shack, that Savannah tried to make for me, didn't turn out well so we ended up using a plastic coconut shell for that. Oh and the surf boards were a last minute idea that were made out of iced cardboard instead of edible icing. Maybe I'm insane, but stuff like that bugs me.

We went to my niece's (and goddaughter's) christening today.
I had to tell Brooklyn, during dinner at my bil and sil's house,
"Don't put M&Ms up your nose."
"Don't put M&Ms up your nose, Brooklyn."
"Don't put M&Ms up my nose? Why?"
"Because I said so!"
So, she listened to me. She took the M&Ms out of her nose. And she ate them. Um.

Then later tonight, I had to tell her,
"Don't put grapes between your toes."
"Pinky toe! Pinky toe! Pinky toe!"
"Brooklyn don't put grapes in your toes."
"I eat them?"
At this point she took the squished grapes out of her toes and ate them. Which is worse - bacon-cheese crickets, booger M&Ms, or toe jam grapes?

OK, here's my Sunday Sound Out:

Sorry if this has been asked before but what software do you use to edit your video clips (and add titles etc., the times you do that)?
I just use Windows Movie Maker. There are probably better programs out there, but this came on my computer and Austin was able to show me how to use it, so it works for me. :)

Does Clay use the tolet brush as a microphone??
Nah, he uses it as a weapon of destruction. Lexi's more the type to use it as a microphone.

Is Brooklyn going to preschool at all this year where you'd be *gasp* alone for a few hours at some point during the week?
Nope. She's still all mine this year. I will, however, be getting a little break from her partner in crime Clay a couple hours a week.

Have you contacted ebay about the refusal to pay guy? They should be able to give you a refund, right?
They refund the final value fees but not the listing fees.

Are you expecting?
I'm expecting my kids' class schedules in the mail any day now.

Have you not seen Forest Gump? I know you've mentioned not watching too many movies before, but that is a can't miss one! *Of COURSE* table tennis is an Olympic Sport! :)
You know, I almost commented on Forest Gump, but then had second thoughts because I couldn't remember for sure if he played ping pong in the Olympics and I didn't want to sound like an idiot. Well, more of an idiot anyway. I haven't seen that movie in many years. Maybe it's time to rent it. I haven't seen Castaway since it first came out either. I think I'll have to have Tom Hanks night after the Olympics.

Something up for discussion... at what age do you (and others) think it's OK for children to be left home alone for short periods? My friend and I do not see eye2eye on this, nor should we b/c IL and most other states do not have a law, just guidelines. Just curious about others. Thanks!
Hmmm good question. I think it really depends on the kids. You know what your kids are capable of more than anyone else. Would they be able to react appropriately in an emergency? Would they be scared to be alone? Would they follow your rules or invite friends over or do other things they aren't supposed to do while you're gone? How far away will you be? How long will you be gone? Are your neighbors home and able to help out if need be? These are some things to think about. Illinois is one of few states that actually has a law about this. They say it's illegal to leave any child under the age of 13 home alone. I trust my 12 and my 13 year olds. I think they're mature enough to handle being at home alone for a short time. My 10 year old? No way.

Your tile [in the bathroom] is beautiful! Did you guys do it yourself?
Joe did all the remodeling on the bathroom and it only took him 15 years to do it. OK, so it's really only partly due to his procrastination. Mostly, the delay was due to lack of funds. The tile does look really nice, but I didn't want that tile. Know why? Now that bathroom doesn't fit in with the whole "white trash garage sale" theme we have going in the rest of the house.

Hope you had fun! Did you visit the artwork on the top floor of the [Kenosha Public] museum?
Only very briefly. This is about the time the sugar-filled Jelly Bellys became so concentrated in the kids' blood stream that they actually went into orbit. (The kids, not the Jelly Bellys) Afraid we'd have to pay for some 4600 year old carved ivory statue from Asia if we stayed any longer, we quickly escorted the kids outside where they proceeded to run around in circles like chickens with their heads chopped off.

Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
LOL! Love it!!!

Did you buy some "Belly Flops?"
But of course! One doesn't go to the Jelly Belly factory and not buy Belly Flops. I also got a 10 freaking pound box (it was only $10 there!) of my new favorite candy! It's chocolate covered Sunkist orange gems! I just love chocolate and orange together. Mmmm.

Oh did Lexi forgot her glasses again?
Oh no, they were broken. Again. We see the good folks at For Eyes every other week. I think it was Brooklyn who got ahold of them and bent them this time.

I'm surprised you aren't taking the kids out to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine or have you done that before?? We are making the trip out to Union (the middle of nowhere) tomorrow.
Oh heck no! I try to avoid insane crowds of people and from what I hear Thomas makes for an expensive, crowded day out there. I hope you made it out alive! :)

Do you think that if enough of us were to have our boobs hanging down to our waists that it might just become fashionable?
I think it's worth a try!!!

So, when are you headed to MD to put your cake brain together with ACE OF CAKES, Duff?
I've already decided that Duff is going to be so impressed by my novice cake making skills that he's going to offer to make me a congratulations cake when my book comes out. He doesn't know this yet, but I'm sure he'll agree, don't you think? I just love his laugh. Doesn't he make you smile when he laughs?

Do you really have a Pear laptop just like iCarly?
iCarly? I know this one! A tween show starring that girl from Drake and Josh, right? I have no idea what kind of computer she has, but I have an HP. In fact, at the BlogHer conference, HP had a booth there where they were showing off this little baby computer. It was so darn cute! I want one because it's so small and they told me they could paint it pink! No, I don't need one. I have a perfectly wonderful, new one right here. But it's small. And pink!

So?? did they like the crickets??
Tastes just like chicken.

LOVE the cake, and if you say you made that yourself, I think I may have to throw up.
If I say that I bought it, will you promise not to throw up? I don't do barf.

Okay...what did you use for the thatched roof on the cake?
I used a grass tip (has several holes in it) then I just kinda pulled the icing out as I moved the bag of icing down the side of the roof.

Do your kids actually have an uncle named Sam, or did Jackson get those crickets from the United States Government?
LOL! They have an actual Uncle Sam who plays catch and lightsabers, and "flip me upside down again!" with the kids. Oh, but speaking of the other Uncle Sam! I keep forgetting about this! I know I have a lot of readers who are part of a military family and I have a little information for you guys. I got this information at BlogHer (can you believe I'm just now going through the bags of stuff I received there?!) Anyway, it's Military One Source. This is a program provided by the Department of Defense which provides help with child care, personal finances, emotional support during deployments, relocation information, or resources needed for special circumstances at no cost to active duty, Guard and Reserve (regardless of activation status) and their families. Their website is chock full of information and I just love these ads. Are these kids adorable or what?

You really should give lessons [on cake decorating] -- ever consider it?
No, I but keep saying I'll make an instructional video one of these times.....

My goodness, what would you charge for a cake like that?
A million dollars. There are not enough hours in the day to do cakes for money.

How long did it take you to make [the cake]?
Not including baking time, it took me about 4 hours to decorate. Speaking of cakes....a couple readers shared this link with me and I want to pass it on. This woman posts pictures of less-than-awesome cakes on her blog. The cakes themselves are pretty funny, but her running commentary is hilarious. You can check it out HERE.

Oh, and does the item at the end of your blog about Joe showing you the garage door mean that he's installed a sensor? Hopefully that will be a big load off your mind.
Yes. And no. HERE.

what did you use to make the spherical shaped thingy in front of the hut? My almost-7-year-old wants a cake that depicts the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where the huge, round, boulder is rolling down out of the cave at Indiana Jones, and I'm trying to figure out how to do a small, absolutely round boulder. I thought of two small pyrex bowl-shaped cakes glued together with frosting, but if you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
Eh, I just used a piece of plastic for that. But I know how you can make a perfect ball shape! Get THIS PAN from Wilton! I've used it to make baseballs and Pokeballs. It's super easy! An Indiana Jones cake would be fun to make! Good luck with it!

Where does one go to buy bacon/cheese flavored crickets? Just curious!
Bob's Bait & Tackle?

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