Saturday, February 28, 2009

Baby Einstein - part 2

Here's my room at The Embassy Suites in Glendale, CA.

and the GORGEOUS view from my window...

in the hotel lobby...

This was at Crustacean in Beverly Hills. It was so cool - this river you could walk on ran throughout the restaurant.

They served Dungeness crabs the size of Ohio here.

and huge Tiger Prawns with garlic noodles - YUM!

Here's Tammy from Army Household 6. The airline lost one of her bags too. :( As of this morning, the airline still hadn't located her bag. Mine was thankfully delivered to my hotel after midnight on Thursday.

Here are Stephanie and Erin from Ketchum.

This is Leslie and Jessica.

Here we have Amy from MommyTrackd, Karen from Baby Einstein and
Michelle from Ketchum.

I wasn't on the ball with picture taking this trip. Some of the other girls (and guy) who joined us were Susan and Matt from Baby Einstein and

Rebecca from Girls Gone Child
Jenny and Jackie from MomLogic
I'm probably forgetting others. I really stink at remembering names. Please let me know if I forgot about you!

at the Baby Einstein headquarters...

Some of the Baby Einstein line of products...

This is from the Disney infant line. I just had to take a picture. I love this bedding! It makes me want to have another baby just to use this bedding! Not really. Well, maybe a little...NO!

This is Leslie's purse! I told her it reminded me of those gum wrapper chains we used to make as kids. She said it was made out of Mexican candy wrappers!

I had a fun, interesting, informative day at the Baby Einstein headquarters yesterday. I have a lot to say about it, but it'll have to wait until Monday when I'm more awake. I left the meeting yesterday at 6:00 PM Chicago time, went to the Burbank airport and waited and waited and waited for my flight. This airport is small. Like 4 gates small. Like only 1 newstand which was closed small. You'd think I wouldn't have any problem finding my gate since there were only 2 for United there. You'd think. However, as part of United's plan to mess with passengers, the gate from which my flight was departing, had a sign that read flight such&such to Denver - on time. Yes, folks, Denver is the new San Francisco. While waiting for that flight, I died a slow painful death by easy-listening music. "She's a lady, woah woah woah woah, she's a lady...."

I connected in San Francisco at a gate which had a sign that read, "flight such&such to Salt Lake City" (all part of their ongoing plan to confuse and disorient passengers) and didn't get home to Chicago until after 6:00AM this morning. I vegged out on the plane for awhile, but I had a middle seat and I can't really sleep sitting straight up so I was beat by the time I arrived in Chicago. I sat next to a normal, friendly, adorable girl named Dewey who was on her way home from her honeymoon in Hawaii. She said she got the name Dewey when she was a toddler, sitting on her dad's lap. Her dad was watching a Red Sox game and cheering for Dewey. She thought he was cheering for/talking to her, so she started calling herself Dewey. I thought that was a cute story. I love stories about how people acquire nicknames. In fact, I even wrote about that in Because I Said So.

Check out these seats! These were the seats in first class. They're BEDS! They don't just recline; they're stinkin' BEDS! I was more than just a little jealous of these.

My whole reason for taking the red-eye home was so I could make it to rehearsal this morning at 10:00. I got home, went to bed at 7:00 and could not, for the life of me, wake up at 9:00. I totally missed rehearsal. I could've just stayed in California in my nice hotel room for another night. Ugh, I'm so mad at myself for falling into such a deep sleep.

OK, I'm off to get some sleep...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Baby Einstein - part 1

(written Thursday night)

This morning, I left for California. O’Hare seemed unusually empty today. I guess no one can afford a vacation and no one is traveling for business because no one has a job. It’s kinda scary. I made it through security and over to my gate with no problems. I accidentally ripped my earring out and it went flying across the aisle and hit some poor guy. I have no idea how I managed that and I couldn’t do it again if I tried. I sat next to a normal couple from Ohio on the plane. They didn’t breathe through their mouths or chew like water buffalo or do any other annoying things so it was a good flight. I watched The Secret Life of Bees. I’m not a fan. It was ok, but I wouldn’t go out and rent it.

I didn’t check my bag because I’m always afraid of losing it in transit. I prefer to keep my luggage with me. Now that airlines charge you to check even one bag, everyone wants to keep their suitcases with them instead of checking them. The problem with that is they run out of room on the plane. If you’re one of the last people on, you’ll be out of luck and will end up having to check your bag right there at the gate. That’s what happened to me today. The flight attendant said, “There’s no room. Just leave your suitcase here and I’ll tag it and check it. What seat are you in?”

“Umm 18D.”

“And what’s your final destination?”

I bit back my smart-aleck answer of “heaven” and answered her, “Burbank.”
She scribbled this information on a cocktail napkin and tucked it under the handle of my suitcase. I looked at her and said, “A cocktail napkin? Oh yeah, now I’m full of confidence.”

She insisted she’d put a real tag on it.

“I’m never going to see this again, am I?” I joked, looking at my fellow passengers for confirmation of my fears.

“Yes, you will! It’ll go right to Burbank with you!” she lied insisted.

I had a hard time stowing my carry-on under my seat, I held up a line of people as I messed around with it, I dropped my phone in the aisle, and after I finally sat down, I stuck my foot out and tripped a poor guy walking by. It wasn’t on purpose!
I made it to San Francisco and had 10 minutes to make my connecting flight so I pushed everyone out of my way, got off the plane, and ran to the gate for my flight to Burbank. Thankfully that flight was delayed 10 minutes which gave me time to run to the bathroom (and catch my breath from all the running!)

On the flight between San Francisco and Burbank, I sat by myself in the very last row on the plane. I could reach out and touch the cockpit from my seat. It was the size of my girls’ Barbie plane.

So I got off the plane and waited for my suitcase. And I waited. And waited. And guess what! THEY LOST IT! I KNEW THE COCKTAIL NAPKIN WOULDN’T WORK!!! After talking to some United reps and filling out some forms, they informed me that they hadn’t technically “lost” my luggage as they knew where it was – San Francisco.
“That’s nice, but I’m in Burbank!” ARGH!

I rushed to the hotel, dropped off my carry-on and went out to dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant (Crustacean) wearing the jeans and t-shirt that I’d traveled in all day. Lovely.

Now, I’m back at the hotel and it’s 12:00am Chicago time. United just called and said that my suitcase had arrived and they’d send it over within the next 3 hours. Ugh. I just want a shower and sleep, but I can’t take a shower and put my dirty ole clothes back on. Guess I’ll be staying up, waiting for my bag…

On the bright side, I have a very nice, big hotel room with a beautiful view of the mountains! The weather is gorgeous here! I had a delicious meal that I didn’t have to cook tonight! I met some great women and had some nice conversations! I love California!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

So today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is the next 40 days (not counting Sundays) between now and Easter, in which we prepare for Easter. What are you going to do to prepare? Do you prepare? How does one prepare for something like Easter? This is how I usually get ready for Easter...

1. Call Mom and try to talk her into having everyone over for Easter dinner.
2. Buy Easter candy
3. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner
4. Buy that stupid plastic grass that sticks to every surface in your home and doesn't completely disappear until Christmas when it's replaced by tinsel
5. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner
6. Complain to sister that Mom can't make up her mind about what to have for Easter dinner and is stressing out way too much
7. Buy more Easter candy to replace what I've eaten
8. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner and suggest just ordering pizza
9. Talk to sister about what a bad daughter I am for suggesting pizza
10. Decorate the house and pull out the Easter Monkey and laugh about that tradition
11. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner and make fun of her because of the Ham Saga of 1998.
12. Call Mom to apologize for bringing up the Ham Saga of 1998.
13. Buy eggs and dye and more Easter candy (don't ask)

Yep, that about sums it up.

I'm not Catholic and the whole "giving up something for Lent" has never really been stressed in my life. I considered giving up something, however. I figured I could give up coffee, but that would be too great a punishment for my friends and family and well, basically anyone unlucky enough to come in contact with me for the next month and a half.

I considered giving up chocolate, but let's be realistic here. I could give up meat - nah, not enough of a sacrifice as I'm not a big meat eater. Hmmm, perhaps I could give up Facebook or Twitter... BAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA!!! Oh that's a good one! LOL!

I talked to one of my BFFs, Sue today and she said that her church encourages its members to do something for others everyday instead of giving up something. Hmmm, I decided I liked this idea. After all, look what Jesus did for us. I can do something nice for others every day. No problem!

While I was at the library, making my weekly contribution to their renovation fund paying my fines, I gave my change to the librarian and asked her if she'd use it for the next few people who wanted a cup of coffee. (My library sells coffee for $1 a cup). She looked at me like I was nuts. After what I was asking sunk in, she smiled and agreed to do it. Actually, come to think of it, I probably screwed up everything at the library. After I left, she probably stood there holding my money, wondering what the heck she was going to do with it.

I know it wasn't much. It's not going to change the world. Still, can you imagine if everyone did a small act of kindness every day? The world would be a much nicer place, wouldn't it? And the thing about doing something nice for others is it's contagious. The man standing behind me in line at the library made a comment about that being a nice gesture. Maybe the wheels started spinning in his head and he'll go out of his way to be kind to someone tomorrow.

So, if you're looking for something to do to prepare for Easter, consider giving to others in some small way for the next 46 days. Hold a door open, volunteer at your local food pantry, pay for coffee for the next person in line, donate your old clothes to a women's shelter. And think about the reason why you're doing it as you act. Oh, and blog about it too! Tell everyone what you're doing and leave a link to your blog in the comments here so everyone can check it out!

*****If you want an idea of someplace where you can make a donation, check out Peggy Larson's (Coleman & Caden's mom) page for the Cure Search Walk to help conquer kids' cancer HERE.

*****And I still have a giveaway for Goat's Milk Soap HERE.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

A lot of people (and by a lot of people, I mean - those who have never done it) think that working from home is easy. And why wouldn't they think that? I mean, when you work from home, you can stay in your pajamas all day. There's no sitting next to annoying people on the train who talk loudly on their cell phones to their boyfriends, calling them Schmoopsie-poo and refusing to hang up until they do. You don't have to battle rush-hour traffic. When you work from home, you don't have to make small talk with coworkers and kiss your boss's butt. You can take a break and watch Oprah if you want. You can get up and grab a snack from your fridge whenever you want. You can play your old 80s CDs and turn the volume as high as it'll go while dancing around in your underwear and no one will hand you a brochure on psychiatrists covered by your company's HMO.

Yes, it's true that working from home has many advantages. However, if you're a parent, working from home takes on a whole new meaning. On the one hand, it means you don't have to pay for daycare. You don't have to worry about your kids picking up every germ known to man while at daycare. You don't have to dread the call from the daycare that your child bit another child and is a menace to society and will probably end up on a clock tower some day.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses. When I worked at an office I almost never had to stop what I was doing to wipe a coworker's butt. I didn’t have to break up fights between coworkers about which is better, Wonder Pets or Little Einsteins, very often. Fellow employees didn't generally run through my cubicle, screaming. When I used to work in an office, no one ever threw a paper airplane at me, no one ever came to me with a Barbie shoe stuck up his nose, no one ever poured a cup of chocolate milk on my desk, and no one ever screamed for attention when the phone rang.

Now that I work from home, I’ve experienced all of the above and then some. It’s hard to keep your train of thought on track when you have little people who are constantly derailing it. Still, I get to spend time with my children while working. I get to make a living while watching my kids grow up. I can sit down and write and a minute later, get up and play a game with the kids.
True, working from home offers the worst of both worlds. But it also offers the best. It just depends on how you look at it. :) I try to look at it as the best of both worlds. If I wasn't able to work from home, I'd have missed out on this...

This morning, Brooklyn came to me and said, "I think my tummy is hungry."

She'd just eaten 3 cheesesticks so I answered her, "I think your tummy is full of cheese!"

She lifted her shirt up, looked at her stomach, threw her hands up in the air and said, "I don't see any cheese in my tummy!"

Then, a little later, Clay walked into the laundry room wearing this...

Yep, that's great. My little Ariel. I'm so proud.

After we dropped Clay at school (thankfully he'd changed), Brooklyn made a creation out of Legos for me. "Here you go, Mama. I made this toy for you. I Santa."

"You're Santa Claus, huh? Well, thank you for my toy. Should we comb your hair and make it pretty now, Brooklyn?"

She looked me like I was insane. With hands on hips, she spoke down to me. "Mama, I Santa Claus. Santa doesn't like piggytails."

I stand corrected.

Head on over to my review blog to see my latest giveaway from a work-at-home family.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Sound Out

And now it's time for Sunday Sound Out, the part of the show where Larry "sounds out".

What advice do you have for someone who's considering starting their own blog?
Don't start doing Sunday Sound Outs because it takes a lot of time going through everyone's questions, but once you start, you won't be able to stop.

Hello! I experienced something recently, and I was wanting to get a parent's take on it if you don't mind. My husband and I both work the graveyard shift. This allows us both time to attend afternoon classes at the local college, go to work, and still manage to get a few hours of sleep every night. This morning, we were woken to the doorbell ringing. When we answered the door there was nobody there. I walked to the end of the driveway and saw a parent walking their children down the street. They looked to be school-aged and the parent was pulling a wagon, so I figured maybe they were selling cookies or something. Though I personally feel fund raisers are rather annoying, I always buy something. Gotta support the schools, you know? Anyway, so I watched this group for a couple of minutes thinking maybe they would work their way back. What I saw bother astonished and angered me. They weren't selling anything. These kids were playing Ding Dong Ditch with the parent telling them good job. I started to walk down to them to let the parent know how I felt about her kids' behavior but someone beat me to it. She didn't even seem apologetic. So I'm wanting to get a parent's perspective on this. What do you think?
Clearly, this parent has no clue what she's doing. She should've taught the kids to run faster.

Hi Dawn, I'll be short and sweet. I love your blog and plan on getting your book when it comes out. My question is what blogs do you read in your spare (yeah right!) time?
I suck. I don't read any blogs regularly anymore. I just have such a hard time finding the time (what with Facebook and everything). :(

I think the photo question was referring to the photo shoot you had. I think it was one of just you that you promised some photos from. But I"m just guessing.
Ohhhhh! I totally forgot about those. Here are a few of them. The photographer did a nice job considering what she had to work with. I hate what I'm wearing. I thought I had packed a different shirt, but I forgot it. (I know - shocking coming from someone who forgot to pack PANTS this weekend!) I had to 86 the full-length ones. Scary.

The other day my six-year-old was SCREAMING at the top of his lungs in the church foyer. This particular kid has a lot of neuro issues and the people understand. However, one lady said, "I would go insane." I replied, "I am insane. I just hide it real well." Is that how you feel?
I think I passed "insane" and cruised right on to "numb".

At the bottom of your comment section of your blog there's:Links to this post What does that mean?
I dunno. I'm not real computery. I just type out words. How they show up on my page is a mystery to me.

I have to ask too...who made that gorgeous blanket in the background of the first video?
My grandma made it for me. :)

I have to ask...I know you are going to reply "no idea," but maybe someone else can enlighten me. Somehow over the year, my links to your site changed. I used to get an email with a link to your site. Now...I only get an email with the whole text listed. (so if I never go to your site do you get the "hit"?) I digress...I've tried to change my sign up to your site, but am unable to just get an emailed link, it only emails me the full text. I like going to your site because I can read comments and see all the exciting pictures, etc. I know, more rambling than you care to read, but it's annoying. Have you heard this from anyone else? Am I just blog impaired?
You are correct. I have no idea.

Are you going to post a picture of the fabulous cake you made?
I did at the bottom of this post HERE.

If Wisconsinite is for Wisconsin, what's the name for people living in Illinois?????

Fun! And I noticed the picture you took of you and DeeDee is from the waist up. Is that because you don't have any pants on?
Yeah, that and the fact that my camera isn't equipped with a wide angle lens.

My question: Why isn't Brooklyn's hands glued to the table? At least that would be something fun to blog about! LOL
I did blog about that! Or maybe I wrote it in my book. I can't remember. Anyway, I wrote somewhere about how Clay super-glued Brooklyn's hands together before she was even 1-year-old. That was awful.

Dawn: My children did this ONCE and never did anything like it again. It all boils down to training, parenting, and discipline. And the child KNOWING discipline is in ORDER before they ever do it again!
Sounds like you've got it all figured out. Congratulations! :)

How can Brooklyn know that you're mad at her when you're taking a picture of what she's done wrong? Do you say, "HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! I NEED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF WHAT YOU'VE DONE SO I CAN SHOW THE POLICE WHEN THEY COME TO ARREST YOU!"
Well duh, Manic. Isn't that what you do? Speaking of my good friend, Manic...this is the last week to donate blood, save a life and enter to win a trip to sunny Florida! Head on over to her blog for details NOW!

Why is Jackson grounded? Did I miss something here?!
Jackson's always grounded from something. Usually it's his mouth that gets him trouble.

And by the 7 inches we're supposed to get by tomorrow, should I assume that the boots were put away or that the mere question of putting boots away incited this?
Uhhh, sorry about that. Just think how much we would've gotten if I'd let Savannah pack them away!

That's exactly why I don't have a cellphone. Ever considered getting rid of it? ;-)
Then how would I feed my Twitter addiction?

When you are away, at a conference or trip, who watches the kids?
Joe usually does. Thankfully his job is flexible enough that he's able to take time off. He's a good dad.

On a different note, how did the little lump Lexi found progress? Did you get it reevaluated?
Wow! You people have great memories! I'd forgotten about that. The lump went away on its own within a couple weeks. Thank you for asking!

Pitch in and help out? Heck, it's just easier and more time efficient if I just do it myself- the first time- correctly. Granted, I ask for help, but it is almost not worth the whining and bickering about who is doing more, better, faster, etc. Yup- I'm a looser mom raising a bunch of looser children : )
LOL! It takes a big person to admit that. :) I fully admit that although I really try to instill a decent work ethic in my kids, there are times when I simply push them out of my way and say, "I'LL DO IT!" because it's a thousand times easier than fighting with teaching them. This always needs to be followed with the requisite guilt trip, of course.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Forgot My Pants

I drove up here to Madison yesterday and beat the snow. Of course, I drove off without my suitcase and had to turn around, go home and get it when Savannah texted me that I'd left it there. Who was it who was just complaining about getting texts from her family every time she left? Surely it wasn't me. Unfortunately I forgot to pack pants. PANTS! Not toothpaste or shampoo. Not socks. Not jewelry. Stinkin' pants! Who forgets to pack pants??? That's right - me! Then I managed to lock myself out of my room, not once, but twice today. I met a very funny writer, Rachael Phillips, in Sonoma this past October. She taught a class on humor writing. One of the things she said you needed to do in order to write humor is "do stupid things". Yep, I think I've got that one covered.

I spoke to a handful of people at the expo today and once again, didn't throw up so that's always good. It snowed here (and I guess in Chicago too) most of the day so I decided to spend one more night here. You know, because I have a rear-wheel drive van and it's horrible on slippery surfaces. The fact that this hotel has social hour with complimentary beer and wine has nothing to do with my decision. I gotta hand it to Joe - he's a good dad and has no problem holding down the fort while I'm away, so I thankfully don't have to try to drive home in this yuckness. (It's a word. Trust me, I'm a writer.)

My nice hotel room at the Baby Expo in Madison.

Now, it's out to dinner with a Wisconsinite Facebook friend, DeeDee.

Reason 104

The following is a public service announcement.
Attention all moms. Below, you will find information and appropriate graphics on why you should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever take a shower while the kids are awake. Ever. If you choose to disregard this message and hop in the shower while the kids are up and running around, you could be faced with the following scenario. This is no laughing matter. This could happen to you.

"Hey kids, thanks for being so good while I was in the sho....what the???? Is that GLUE? Why, why, WHY???"

"And on the floor too?"

"And down the hallway.... Oh, for the love of... The bathroom too???" Before I could snap pictures of the bathroom, however, I had to respond to the call, "Mooooom! Brooklyn's putting her hands in the glue!"

Oh yeah, that's nice. That's just yeah, real nice. Wonderful. I'm pretty sure clean hair and shaved legs are not worth this.

Oh, but the fun doesn't end there. Oh no. While I cleaned up the gluextravaganza, Clay swiped some Valentine's Day candy and headed to the bathroom where he proceeded to pour out the blue-green crystals everywhere. But knowing I'd probably lose it if I saw another mess, he took it upon himself to smear it around clean it up with a dish cloth. Nice.

Ugh, that tile is filthy. I think I need a new bathroom floor. You never realize just how disgusting something looks until you see a picture of it.

And this, my friends, is reason 104 why you should never, ever take a shower while the kids are awake. Heed my advice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Mom R U there?"

After I picked the kids up from school, I drove Lexi to a birthday party. Actually, scratch that. I drove Lexi to the store to get a present for her friend because that's how I work - I can't remember to shop for a present ahead of time, oh nooo. Nope, I have to go out 15 minutes before the party to get it. One of these days I'm going to stock up on kid presents or gift cards so I'm always prepared for birthday parties. One of these days.... Yeah, like one of these days I'll be totally caught up with my laundry. LOL! Ouch, I think I pulled something laughing over that one.

OK, so I run to the store and before Lexi and I get in line to check out, Joe called me to ask me something about the kids. A few seconds later, Savannah texted me.

"I'm cleaning out the closet like you wanted. Should I pack away the snow boots?"

I texted her back, "NOOO! If you pack them away, it will snow every day for the next month."

Three minutes later, I got another text from her. "Dad is broken and doesn't know what's going on. He's confused."

OK then.

Two minutes later - "Now he's yelling at us."

"Well what do you want me to do about it??? Stop doing whatever you're doing to make him yell."

Ten minutes later, Savannah called me. "Mom, Jackson's playing video games!"

"Oh ok, let me just forget about Lexi's party. I'll turn around and drive back home through rush hour traffic and deal with it. GO TELL YOUR FATHER!!!"

Twenty minutes later, Joe texted me. "Is Jackson grounded from video games?"

"Uh yes!"

Five minutes later, Joe texted again. "How long is he grounded for?"

"Until he's in college. I don't know. I haven't decided yet."

Tell me why is it that moms are the only ones who can deal with any crisis that arises? (And yes, I know I'm generalizing here. I can do that. It's my blog.) Why, when we're on the other side of town/at work/in a meeting/on a business trip, does everyone feel the need to call us to put out the fires? Why is this? I'm just trying to understand why it seems like a preferable idea to call me when I'm half an hour away, than it is to just ask their father a question.

Is it because I'm too demanding and insist on things being done a certain way? Is everyone afraid of making a mistake and making me mad? I admit I can be kinda anal picky about how things are done. But let me tell ya, I don't care how things are done when I'm gone. Not one little bit. As long as the house doesn't burn down and the kids are still alive, it's all good. Heck I don't even care when there are little itty bitty pieces of paper all over my bedroom floor. I don't care that the kitchen is piled high with dirty dishes from Austin's latest baking experiment. Nope, it doesn't bother me at all when there's an open bottle of honey on my bedroom floor. It's no big deal when the kids (and by "kids", I mean "Brooklyn") smears a tube of my chapstick on my comforter. Nope. I don't mind. Nosiree.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

I was going through some half-written blog posts that I never got around to finishing and posting when I found this one that I wrote several months ago. I'm posting it now...

A couple days ago, I wrote:

The day didn't end on such a wonderful note, however. When we got home, I saw the boys' room covered with toys and games. I yelled at told Jackson to pick them up. Instead of picking them up, I heard him whine, "Why do I have to pick it up? I didn't make the mess! Austin dumped them out on the floor! Clay made most of the mess!" He was so belligerent in his tone of voice that I lost it and informed him, "Fine. I'll pick it up!" I scooped up the mess, threw it in a laundry basket, and dumped it out the back door. I may or may not let him earn them back. I'm so fed up with his talking back.

An anonymous person wrote a comment and told me I was wrong to tell Jackson to pick up his things. I didn't publish the comment because, although the person probably thought she was giving me sound advice, she assumed a lot of things that were incorrect. She didn't know the whole story. She thought Jackson was my oldest and I was making him clean up the younger kids' messes. She also didn't know that Austin had not dumped out the games and Jackson had lied to me about that. And she didn't know how Jackson had been talking back to me in a very disrespectful manner all day. But her comment got me thinking anyway.

When the little kids make the mess, I do actually ask the older ones help them out oftentimes. You may think it's unfair and yes, in a way, I agree that it is. However, when those same older kids were 2 and 4 years old, they didn't have to do all the cleaning by themselves. So why should the ones who are currently 2 and 4 have to do all the picking up themselves? Usually it's me who helps the little ones clean up their messes, but I don't think there's anything wrong with expecting the older kids to help keep the house clean as well.

Now I'm not saying that you're wrong if you do things differently. I can understand the reasoning behind not making the older kids clean up after the younger ones. I'm just telling you how it is in my house. Everyone pitches in. Period. In a large family, I think it's important that everyone helps each other out. And, especially since the kids share rooms, that means the older ones are enlisted to help clean up the smaller ones' messes sometimes. Plus, my older ones earn allowance for helping me watch/care for their younger siblings, and for doing chores like taking out the garbage, unloading the dishwasher, etc. I just hate hearing, "But I didn't do it." My answer to that is usually, "Well I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed them for you. We all pitch in and help out."

That said, I do try to make sure I don't take advantage of the older kids and expect them to care for my little ones or help out too much. They are just kids themselves and don't need or deserve the level of responsiblity that I have.

So, I'm curious - those of you with more than one child, how do you distribute chores among your children? Do your older children have more responsibilities or not? Do you make the older kids help out with younger ones? Do you feel that with age, come more responsibilities and more privileges or do you strive to treat all children exactly the same?

There isn't a right or wrong answer to this; I'm just curious as to your thoughts on the matter. So, please be respectful to others when you post your comments.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Brooklyn

Brooklyn is three today. Although, if you ask her how old she is, she'll tell you, "I'm halffree." I'm not sure what this means. Halfway to three? Three and a half? Maybe it means three in another language?

Here's a little video I took before Christmas. This kid could fall asleep anywhere, anytime.

And here's an oldie, but goodie...

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl! I love you!

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