Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I May Need a 12 Step Program

Hi. My name is Dawn. I'm addicted to Target. It's been four hours since my last shopping trip. I went to Target for folders, and laundry detergent. But it didn't end there. Oh no. I just couldn't get enough. Pushing my cart down the school supply and cleaning aisles didn't satisfy me. I was a woman out of control. I pushed my cart up and down the beauty aisles. I put a box of hair color in my cart. I justified the purchase, even though it wasn't on my list, with the certainty that I'd seen a stray gray hair in the mirror this morning.

But did I say "enough" and leave at that point? Oh no. I continued on to the food section. I put donuts (for the kids), cookies (for the kids), waffles (for the kids), and wine (for me!) in my cart. But I still wasn't satisfied. I continued to push my cart up and down aisles, perusing everything the store had to offer.

I overheard another customer asked their companion, "Where is the dog food in this store?" Without a second thought, I piped up, "Walk down five aisles and turn left. It's right there." Yes, my problem is really that bad. I admit it; I know where the dog food is despite the fact that I don't have a dog. I'm ashamed to admit that I know where everything is in the store.

I grabbed a package of batteries, some cranberry juice, a cute shirt for Brooklyn, socks for Austin, diaper wipes, mascara, paper towels, dish soap, and a new window shade to replace the one that the boys managed to shred even though they amazingly never touched it. I spent an hour looking at purses and shoes and nightgowns. I was out of control, grabbing things from shelves, throwing them in my cart, and going back for more.

I think I hit rock bottom when I stopped at the greeting cards and spent a good twenty minutes reading cards and laughing to myself. I was hopped up on shopping (without kids, no less) and was acting completely giddy.

Target, you lure me in with your inexpensive Up&Up brand. I head to the store when I need toilet paper and laundry detergent and garbage bags. But I never leave with only the items on my list. No, the pull of your brightly lit aisles full of stuff I absolutely need, brings me to my knees every time. I am powerless when it comes to you, oh store with the red bull's eye.

Oh well, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I'll get to the other steps later; I just remembered I need to go back tomorrow to get a new furnace filter and some lip gloss.

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You can help feed my Target addiction by pre-ordering my new book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) HERE!

When Life Hands You Lemons...

I was talking to some parents and coaches tonight at Jackson's football practice. (He's got a great group of coaches! These guys are all about teaching the boys and not yelling like psychopaths. Believe me, I've seen a few of those. I thought this one dad was seriously going to have heart failure on the field a couple weeks ago. I passed him a drink and my Frankie Goes to Hollywood shirt, then scanned the field house for the AED, you know, just in case he didn't RELAX.) Anyway, I was talking to this coach tonight and it came out that I have six kids. After I explained that I was done (I always feel the need to tell people I'm done lest they think I'm competing with the Duggars or something), he said, "It must be nice to have teens to babysit for you."

I went on and on about how much easier it is now with six kids than it was when I had three or four because I DO have teens who help me out a lot. I bragged about how my oldest two are awesome and many nights, will clean up the dinner dishes and get the little ones to bed while I pick up the middle ones from the football field. Oh yeah, clearly it's my stellar parenting that has given my oldest kids the skills and the desire to be such productive members of my family.

I drove home while patting myself on the back. I am an awesome parent after all. As I turned the corner to my house, I saw my little kids, half-naked, riding scooters down the driveway into the street. It was past their bedtime at 8:30 at night. It was dark. One was wearing only pants. One was wearing a bathing suit and cowboy boots.

When I walked inside and yelled at inquired of Austin and Savannah as to why the kids weren't in bed, they responded with, "Oh, I didn't know you wanted us to make them go to bed."

I'm going to the football field, I'll be back soon, watch Brooklyn and Clay was apparently, not specific enough tonight.

Know why the little kids were still outside? They were trying to drum up traffic for their lemonade stand. My little entrepreneurs set up a lemonade stand on Saturday and made over $8! Yep. They had such a great time, they set it up again yesterday and made a couple more dollars. Today, they opened franchises in Dallas, New York, and Baton Rouge. Tomorrow, they're adding granola bars to the menu. I may be able to retire sooner than I thought!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The One with All the Pee

In accordance with my divorce agreement, I needed to get life insurance. So, I called around and signed up for a plan two weeks ago. They sent a nurse to my house at 9:30 this morning, to check my blood pressure, ask me a few more questions, weigh me (Grrr!), and get some blood and urine specimens. My blood pressure was 100/58. She took it four times to be sure. "Yes, I know I'm fat, but I have low pressure, okay!" Then she took some blood. No problem. Then she gave me a cup and asked me to pee. Well, I'd just gone before she got there, but again, I can pretty much pee anytime, so I took the cup and went to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Brooklyn was babbling on about Dora to this nurse who was humoring her. I returned with the cup. She looked at it and said, "That's not enough."

"What do you mean, that's not enough? I just peed before you got here! It's impressive I was able to come up with that much!" I protested.

"I need you to fill it to this line," she said, indicating the five gallon mark.

I turned on my heel and headed toward the kitchen where I filled a big cup with water. I chugged it down, then refilled it. I chugged that one down and refilled it again. Then I sat down to wait while sipping the third cup.

She urged me to try again. Okay, now I don't know how any of your systems work, but generally it takes more than thirty seconds for the water I drink to turn to pee. Still, I got up and tried again. Not a drip.

This happened five times! I drank water, waited a bit, tried to pee, came back empty-handed, and did it all over again. FIVE TIMES! Meanwhile, Brooklyn has told this woman everything, anyone has ever needed to know about Dora, including the fact that she has big brown eyes just like her. Repeatedly.

The nurse suggested I drink some coffee. I made a cup and gave it a try. After another twenty minutes, the coffee had run right through me and not in the urine kinda way. Yeah. But, after another fifteen minutes, I was finally able to pee. This was at 11:00 this morning. I haven't stopped peeing since.

And my fun continued this afternoon. Last week, when I was at the OBGYN, I was due for a lovely pap (because I've been on the 3 month plan, thanks to an abnormal one a way back.) Unfortunately, the doctor wouldn't do it then because I'd been seeing the nurse practitioner and apparently they don't like to stick their hands in each other's business. Literally. LOL! Ah, I just crack myself up. So I had to make yet another appointment with the NP. I scheduled it for today while the kids were in school. Brooklyn isn't in school yet. Oops, that was an oversight. Oh well, I dragged her along. Being the smart, savvy mom that I am, I brought a brand new toy to occupy Brooklyn so she wouldn't be tempted to peek around the table to see what the doctor was doing and therefor, be scarred for life. Yep, I was prepared.

So B and I walk into a room where a nurse asks me the same questions as last week. I give her different answers, you know, just to change things up a bit.
"Do you smoke?"
"Only when I'm on fire."
"Huh? Oh, I get it. What are you using for birth control?"
"Huh? Antibiotics aren't birth control."
"Oh, so that's why I have six kids!"
"You have three girls and three boys?"
"Yes, and two frogs and one turtle and thirty-two shirts and twenty-four pairs of shoes..."
"Okay, Mrs. Meehan, why don't you just get undressed from the waist down and have a seat on the table," she said, exasperated, as she walked out.

So, quick as a flash, I rip off my pants and undies in one fluid motion while Brooklyn was busy playing with her new Mix Pups. I hopped onto the table and pulled my paper blanket around me. However, I wasn't quick enough. Brooklyn loudly announced, "I can see your butt, Mom!" as she pointed at my exposed derriere. Thankfully, she's only four and is easily distracted. "Oh, look at your puppy! What a cute skirt it's wearing!"

About three and a half seconds later, Brooklyn suddenly stood straight up and grabbed herself while shifting her weight from foot to foot. "Mama...."

"Let me guess. You have to go to the bathroom."

"Really bad! I have to go NOW!" she exclaimed as she added some bouncing up and down to the weight shifting, making it an official Pee Pee Dance.

"Well, of course you have to go - NOW THAT I'M NAKED. Ugh." I thought to myself, What to do, what to do. If I quickly change back into my clothes, the doctor is bound to come in mid-change and see the underwear that I've carefully hidden in my pants! She can see my cervix, but not my panties. If I wait, it could be another twenty minutes before the doctor comes in and then it'll be too late and she'll have peed on the floor. Hmmm, maybe I could blame it on her new puppy toys... I quickly discarded those ideas. I suppose I could wrap my paper blanket around me and walk into the hallway half-naked to show her where the bathroom is.
Nah, I don't need anyone else thinking I'm a total freak.

"Honey, can't you hold it?" I pleaded with B. By this time, she was prancing around the entire room, hopping from foot to foot and trying to hold it in with her hand strategically placed on her
Chinese Recipe.

"Nooooo," she whined. "I really need to goooooo."

How wrong would it be to let her pee in the sink? I thought to myself. Oh yeah, that'd look great if the doctor walked in as I'm standing there half-naked, holding my child over the sink to pee.

I opted to open the door and hope for a nurse to pass by so I could ask her to show Brooklyn where the bathroom was. So what if the door's open and someone walks by and sees my butt, right? It's just a butt. Everyone has one, right? I figured no men were going to be walking by in an OBGYN's office anyway. (I didn't consider the idea of husbands coming with their wives to hear their baby's heartbeat.) Ahem.

Anyway, after a little embarrassment, a nurse did walk past and upon seeing Brooklyn's Pee Pee Dance, asked if she could show her to the bathroom. Phew! Crisis averted.

And because I'm extra-lucky, when the NP walked in, she had a student with her. Yay! Is there anyone in any medical facility who hasn't seen my hoo-ha yet? Maybe I should start selling tickets or something.

Anyway, B returned from the potty, much relieved, the NP was super-speedy, and B never even noticed what was going on "down there". And now I've graduated to the six month plan.

Dear, whoever it may concern,

I do not need any more blog material of a medical nature. Thank you.


They're Back!

Today was the first day of school! After dropping the last two kids off, I came home, gathered Brooklyn in my arms and did a little conga line through the house. Yes, they're back at school NOW! Yes, they're back at school NOW! Cha-cha cha-cha cha CHA! I threw my head back and laughed maniacally. Until I noticed Brooklyn backing away from me warily, that is.

I had all these grand plans for today! Get a pedicure, meet a friend for lunch, clean my entire house, paint the family room, get all the buckets of pictures into albums, go through email, work on my book, do some yardwork, pressure wash the exterior, replace the broken window, reshingle my garage roof. You know what I ended up doing? I put a movie on for Brooklyn and cuddled up next to her in my bed and fell asleep. I feel like such a slouch, but I just don't have the energy to do much of anything yet. I try. I really do! I try, but I wear out so fast. I hate feeling like this! I can't wait to get my house back in order and it's killing me that I still feel so yucky. I mean, the pain is so much better now, but my digestive system is shot from the diverticulitis and the antibiotics. I think I need a couple more days of light cleaning and laundry before I'll be able to delve into more intense projects.

I did manage to make my kids their "Back to School Cookie" though.

The older two weren't keen on sharing pictures this time around. They have this need to approve them before I post them. Teenagers! But here's Jax, ready for junior high.

And Lex and Clay being goofballs...

What I should have taken a picture of is the amount of papers I got from ONE day at school. Six kids plus four different schools equals an entire forest worth of paper each month! I don't know how I'm going to keep up with everything by myself this year. I'm not exactly organized. My friends are probably rolling their eyes at that statement because they've seen my desk! Oh well.

Savannah is excited about her Italian class where her name is now Giovanna. Austin's excited about his Japanese class and graphic art class. Jackson and Lexi are just excited to be back at school with their friends. And Clay is excited to eat lunch at school this year. Speaking of lunch... at about 10:00 last night, I realized I needed to make school lunches! Duh! So I ran up to the store. My kids usually either buy or make their own lunches, but I wanted them to be special for the first day. So I bought some Hershey's Hugs and Kisses to put in each of their lunchboxes. I knew they'd think I was a huge dork for doing it. But I figured they'd get over it. I mean, it was chocolate after all.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

IT'S TIME FOR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love my kids. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. I love them more than anything. They're the most important people in my life. But when August rolls around, they need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! My home is in a constant state of disarray (that's a nice way of saying that it looks like the aftermath of an F5 tornado). And the fighting! Ohmygosh, the fighting! They're at each other's throats all day long. I finally locked them outside told them to go outside and kill each other play so I wouldn't have to clean the blood off the carpet hear them anymore. That was all fine and dandy until I realized they'd flooded the yard with the garden hose. I apologize to my neighbors for the river running through your backyard. Hey, look at it this way, you just had your lawn watered without an increase to your water bill. Yay! Sorry (looking down apologetically). I couldn't even get mad at them for flooding the backyard because I'd told them to go outside and play and well, they were playing outside. I didn't specifically tell them not to turn the neighbor's lawn into in a marsh.

After I kicked Jackson outside because of his belligerent mouth, he decided to make a ramp out of scraps of wood. He used his scooter to go up and down these ramps. Here's an old video of him doing something similar.

Now, I love my sons, don't get me wrong. But really? Really??? Boys come up with the dumbest ideas! And not only do they think of stupid things to do, but they don't learn from them! They don't say, "Hmmm, that was a bad idea. I won't do that again." Nope. Instead, they think, "Hmmm, how can I make it more dangerous the next time?" There's always a "next time" with boys. Meanwhile, my daughters and their friends look on in amazement. They're not amazed that my son has managed some fantastic feat, oh no. They're amazed at how seemingly stupid the boys are.

What is it about the male brain? Do they have no concept of danger? Do they just not realize that they're most likely going to be injured? Or do they just not care because any amount of injury or punishment is worth the momentary thrill of flying through the air? I will seriously never understand the male brain. I guess I'll just have to thank them for keeping us females entertained and dumbfounded at the extent of their ummm, daring.

And, in the meantime, there are thirty-two hours and twelve minutes until my house can be cleaned and stay clean for more than twenty seconds, and the kids have some structure back in their lives! Not that I'm counting or anything.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the land before time, it's your host, the woman who sat through her son's first, 12 hour, football game while keeling over in pain and completely clueless as to what was going on, Dawn Meehan.

I want to take a minute to thank everyone for their prayers and well-wishes this week. The pain from the diverticulitis is much, much better now. The nausea and dizziness from the meds and the clear liquid diet are still in full force. And I'm really, really not looking forward to surgery. If I told you the reason why, you'd probably roll your eyes at me. I'm not scared of the surgery itself, nor am I scared of pain. I can handle pain. It's the anesthesia. Anesthesia makes me throw up. Every. Single. Time. I beg the anesthesiologist to help me. I warn him that I'm going to vomit upon waking. He assures me that he'll load me up with anti-nausea meds and I'll be fine. Then upon waking, when I'm retching from the tips of my toes, and barfing up my spleen, he'll walk by and say, "Wow, you weren't kidding! Huh! How 'bout that? I've never seen anyone put their digestive system in reverse quite like that before." It'll go on for hours. It's horrible. If they could do the surgery with just an epidural, I'd be a happy camper.

But anyway, I really want to say thank you! Thank you so much for all your prayers and good thoughts! It means the world to me! :) And thank you so much to my parents and my real life friends. You guys are awesome! My friend, Julie called and asked me if she could pick up anything from the store for me. I said, "Maybe some Jello." She came by with $300 worth of groceries! Ginny and Doreen were right there, offering to take my kids to football and cheer and help out in any way they could. Thank you!!!

Newsletter? How do we sign up for your newsletter?
Just scroll down my blog, and towards the bottom on the left side, you'll see a blue box that reads, "Get Book News & Updates from Dawn!" Just put in your name and email address and voila, you'll get my newsletter!

Those notes you wrote are so darn funny ! I used to analize dreams but I just can't figure this one out. LOLJust what were you drinking !?!
Rum and cranberry juice. See, the juice offsets the rum. That's my theory. I'm sticking to it.

So is that who's visiting your blog right now really right? Iceland?! Are you kiddin' me? Europe? Those red things are hypnotic?
Yeah, if you've never scrolled to the bottom of my blog, you probably have no clue what this is about. I have a map at the very bottom of the blog and it shows, in real time, who's visiting my blog. Check it out. I have visitors from 107 countries. I didn't even know there WERE 107 countries! No one from Greenland has checked it out though. There's gotta be a scientist or two living in that frozen land, don't you think? I think they'd like to read about the goofy things my kids do. But I'm not going to get obsessed about it like Que!

I love walking into a Lowes or Home Depot. Just the smell of lumber makes me feel good. Does that mean that I have to turn in my "girl card?"
Yes, it does! I had to stop at Home Depot today to pick up the replacement window I ordered a couple weeks ago. The first thing I said when I walked in, is "This place smells disgusting!" Now, take Babies R Us - I LOVE that store! I don't even have any babies, but I could still get lost in that store for hours and it smells good in there! Like baby powder!

My problem with Home Depot is that the (male) employees treat all women like idiots.
But see, I AM an idiot! At least when it comes to tools and fixing stuff and guy stuff. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I have no desire to learn. I like being in the kitchen and doing "girl stuff". I'm perfectly fine with letting a knight in shining armor take care of that stuff while I sit back and admire him. Hey, it's my fantasy! I can pretend such men exist.

Did they clarify if Rum is NOT a preferred liquid for the next 48 hours?
Sadly, yes. Apparently, if I have any traces of alcohol with these antibiotics, it will induce pain and vomiting of exorcist proportions (not to mention that fact that I couldn't begin to stomach the stuff right now.) You guys can have a drink in my honor though. :)

Is there a post office box where we can send you cards? That is such a simple but uplifting thing - nice for you to receive and feel the love and support and we (the readers) feel like we can do something positive for you.
Awww, that's so sweet. I do have a PO box. It's -
Dawn Meehan
836 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Why do we all hide our underwear in our clothes when we go to those appointments?
Hee hee! I talk all about that in my new book. You guys can pre-order it HERE. Come on, you know you want to. (Really, I'm not just saying that because I have insane insurance premiums and medical bills to pay.)

However, I can't believe it'll take another 6 - 8 weeks for the diverticulitis to clear up! Not on a liquid diet that whole time I hope!?!?
I hope not either. I'm still doing clear liquids now, but I've added half a piece of bread when I take my pills to help my stomach. On the bright side, I've lost 11 pounds so far... I could probably live off my fat for another six months and be perfectly fine. Well, except for the fact that I have no energy to do more than shower every day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Word is BENIGN!

I'm still too nauseous and dizzy to drive so I asked my parents to drive me to my appointment this morning. They'd already committed to babysitting my sister's kids so they split up. My mom asked my dad, "Where do you want to go?" He weighed the options - chase my sister's 3-year-old and change the baby's diapers or drive me to the doctor. So, my dad showed up to take me to the doctor which is a good thing because my dad hates mornings as much as I do. See, my mom is a morning person and if she had taken me, she would've chattered the whole way there until I wanted to jump out of the car. My dad, on the other hand, knows that no person should ever talk in the morning.

So I went in the room and the nurse asked me a bunch of questions like, "Why are you here?" And the ever-popular, "What's the date of your last menstrual period?" Then she said, "And you have three girls and three boys? I see your husband had a vasectomy." I quickly told her, "I'm divorced." Then she asked, "So what are you doing for birth control?" I looked at her. "Ummm, I'm using the fact that I'm divorced and have six kids as birth control. It's working like a charm."
She had me strip from the waist down. I carefully hid my underwear in my jeans and took a seat up on the table with my plush paper blanket arranged around my bare butt so when the doctor walked in, she wouldn't know that I was half-naked.

The doctor walked in, chatted with me, then took a look at the hospital report with the CT findings which had been faxed over. Honestly, I don't even remember what exactly she said. All I heard was the word "benign". I wanted to breathe a sigh of relief, but instead, I drilled her. "How do you know it's benign? Did the report say that? Are you sure? Don't you need to do some tests or something? But are you sure? How are you sure?"

She told me it was an ugly tumor called a benign cystic teratoma. She said, "It's a really strange, ugly tumor. It has hair and teeth."

I kind of laughed because I thought that was just an expression - it has hair and teeth. You know, a way of saying it's ugly. Nope. It has hair and teeth. She showed me a picture. I gagged. I have an alien tumor in my body! Sooo sick! I kept thinking of the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Aunt Voula says, "Now, you are family. Okay. All my life, I had a lump at the back of my neck, right here. Always, a lump. Then I started menopause and the lump got bigger from the "hormonees." It started to grow. So I go to the doctor, and he did the bio... the b... the... the bios... the... b... the "bobopsy." Inside the lump he found teeth and a spinal cord. Yes. Inside the lump was my twin."

So, I get to have surgery to have my ovary and the alien tumor removed. I won't be scheduling the surgery until the diverticulitis is all cleared up (another 6-8 weeks).

She never did do an exam, so basically I just sat there, chatting with the doctor while half-naked for no apparent reason. Yeah.

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You can see it

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Something You Never Want to Hear

Yesterday, I called my regular doctor to make an appointment because Doogie told me to follow-up with my primary doc in 48 hours. The nurse took a message and called me back a couple hours later. "The doctor doesn't want to see you until the week after next. The diverticulitis will take some time to heal and there's nothing he can do now."

"Okay. Um, am I supposed to stay on a clear liquid diet for another two weeks? Because I don't think I can get by on a couple 10 calorie Jello cups a day for the next two weeks. And these antibiotics are making me feel like crap. I'm dizzy and nauseous all day long." I'd take four times the pain to get rid of this debilitating nausea. Seriously, I can handle pain. I can't take this dizzy puking feeling though.

She told me that I had to let my intestines heal and had to stay on a clear liquid diet. I lost it and started crying and begging. I offered her $100 if she'd let me have a piece of bread. My whining broke her down and she finally relented and said I could add some soft, plain, bland, easily-digestible foods when my pain subsides.

Then she continued with, "The doctor isn't too concerned about the diverticulitis. That will get better. Did they tell you in the ER that the CT scan showed a large mass on your ovary?"


"Yes. The doctor is much more concerned with that. You need to make an appointment with your gyno right away. This week if at all possible."

I was floored. That's not something you ever want to hear - found a large mass. It wasn't just the news that floored me, but the fact that they never even mentioned it in the ER! What the heck?!

That may be the scariest thing I've ever been told. After I broke down crying, I pulled myself together and thought how cool it was that I got the diverticulitis in the first place or I never would've had a CT scan and wouldn't even know about the mass. Okay, so maybe I didn't really think it was cool, but it is pretty awesome how things happen sometimes, ya know? The first sentence in my book Because I Said So is "I believe things happen for a reason."

I've been strangely at peace about the whole thing. I know that worrying does nothing to help any situation. It will either be nothing serious at all or it'll be something unthinkable. But either way, me freaking out about it and being scared won't change anything. And besides, I've got God and family and friends (both in real life and virtual) who are right beside me.

So, I have an appointment tomorrow morning. I can't even drive myself there because the dizziness and nausea are really that bad. I hope I don't throw up on my doctor.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't Fret the Sweat!

I'm writing here today. Check it out and leave me a comment!

Don't Fret the Sweat!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Bet Doogie's on Team Edward

So, my divorce was final on Tuesday. I lost my insurance on Tuesday. I can't afford Cobra coverage and was going to start making phone calls for a cheap, high deductible plan that would at least cover hospitalizations and/or surgery. However, Murphy's Law came into play before I obtained insurance. On Friday, I started having some pretty horrific pain in my abdomen. But I've got six kids to care for and no insurance, so I dealt with it and thought - Eh, it'll be better tomorrow. I woke up Saturday and my tummy wasn't better. It was worse, in fact. I walked around, doubled over in pain as I cleaned up, made dinner, drove the kids here and there. I lay awake all night, crying on Saturday because it hurt so bad. I would have run to the emergency room if I'd had insurance, but I just couldn't bring myself to get help when my brain was virtually adding up medical bills.

Sunday came and went much the same. Constant pain that got a little better, then worse, then better, then worse. Finally, today, I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I knew something was wrong. I called my ex's employer to check out the Cobra plan. Turns out I have until October 10th to pay the nearly $800 and I'll have retro-active coverage back to August 11. Good. I can handle one month of insurance, I decide, then I speed to my local ER.

So, I walk in, answer the basic questions, bp, temp, blah blah blah. I sit and wait. Then they tell me to pee in a cup. I'd just gone before I left the house because I'm an adult and I know to do that, unlike my kids, but thankfully, I can pee on demand (six kids and all...) (Actually, sometimes I even pee accidentally. Hmmm, I hope I remembered to write something in my pregnancy book about involuntary peeing while laughing after you've given birth to six kids. Anyway...)

So I wait. And wait. And wait. Then a guy comes along to draw my blood. Now, I don't like hospitals. And I don't like waiting. At all. I have this habit of acting goofy if I have to wait. It's either that or jump out of my skin. So, the guy's sticking the needle in my arm. I look at him and say, "So! I guess this (I pointedly eye the blood flowing from my arm to the tube) means you're on Team Edward, huh?" I don't think he got it. Or maybe (gasp!) he just didn't think I was funny. Nah, that can't be it. He just didn't get it.

Then I went back to waiting some more. After an hour and a half of waiting, they took me from the waiting room and moved me to a bed in the HALLWAY. I thought about faking a heart attack to be moved into an actual room, but decided not to since I didn't really want to be defibrillated, or you know, moved to the mental health unit.

I finally got in a room and got my standard issue hospital gown. A half an hour later, the doctor came in and introduced himself. I looked at him. I wondered when all doctors became younger than me. Then I asked, "Do you mind if I call you Doogie?" Of course, he was too young to have a clue what I was talking about, so he just gave me a puzzled, awkward look and started asking me questions.
"Where's your pain? When did it start? On a scale of 1-10, what's the pain like now? Do you have any other symptoms? Fever? Nausea? Blah blah blah.... What's the date of your last menstrual period?"
Okay, so I know I only have like two male readers, but it's time for you to leave the room now. Really. Close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and say, "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" as loudly as you can. Trust me. You'll thank me later.

Okay, so I tell him, "Today." You know, because I'm just lucky like that. Then I gave him a look that said, "I swear I will hit you over the head with this bedpan if you tell me what I'm experiencing is menstrual cramps. I'm FORTY! I've had like 300 periods! I KNOW what it feels like!" To his credit, he didn't blame my pain on cramps. Still, after pushing on my abdomen and watching me wince in pain, he decides I need a pelvic exam. Lovely. As if those aren't bad enough, I get to have one in a curtained room by a cute young doctor while I have my period. Score!

Still, I've given birth to six kids. Modesty is kind of a thing of the past. So, I prop my butt up on a bedpan (yep, they've got a fancy set-up there in the ER) while Doogie puts the jack in and cranks it open. Now, I KNOW I wrote a whole section about pap smears in my new book! So, I'll just tell you this - I tend to ramble on and make stupid jokes when in this embarrassing position. So, I glanced at this poster on the wall...

and asked, "Sooo, how do I become an official member of the Clean Hands Club? Are there dues? Secret handshakes? Oh no, I guess there probably aren't any handshakes at all in that club. Unless you use hand sanitizer, that is. Do you get a free sample of hand sanitizer for joining?"

This is the point, he decided I was mentally, uh, challenged.

But did I stop there and just shut up? Oh no! I started telling him kid jokes. "What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup? Anyone can roast beef!"

"Whatcha eating under there?" The correct response to that joke is "Under where?" Underwear! Get it? Under where, underwear. Much hilarity ensues when my kids tell that joke. However, in hindsight, that was a really bad joke with really bad timing. Ahem. Doogie ran out of the room as soon as he was done. I thought to myself - Oh well, at least I have blog material.

Next on the agenda was a CT scan. I lay there and listened to the instructions. "Take a deep breath. Now hold your breath. Now breathe." I did that a couple times. But the final time lasted like 20 minutes. I couldn't hold my breath that long. I got dizzy. There was almost a code blue right there in the CT room. I finally breathed and hoped they wouldn't yell at me for it.

Back to my room to wait. And wait. And wait. And meanwhile, I'm getting a raging headache because I haven't eaten all day. I was finally able to flag someone down and ask for pain relief for my headache, but they never did give me anything. Anyway, Doogie came back and told me I had diverticulitis. I didn't know what that was, but I was pretty sure it was an "old person's" disease. In my head, I could just hear a couple of grandmas sitting around complaining about their bunions, arthritis and diverticulitis.

Long story short. Or well, long story not quite as long as I could make it - he wanted to keep me in the hospital overnight on IV antibiotics, but I played the "I have six kids at home" card and after consulting with my primary doctor, decided to let me go home. I have to take two antibiotics that cost me $350! Yikes! And I have to go 48 more hours without eating. I can have clear liquids. Yum. And I have to rest. Yeah right! Snort! Sure, I'll rest with six kids at home. That's a good one!

I meet with my regular doctor in two days and hope that I don't need surgery. So, that was my fun-filled day at the ER.

The Scariest Place on Earth

I walked into the bowels of Home Depot the other day. That store scares me. I mean, it really scares me. Give me a store like Sephora and I'm at home. Or most clothing stores. I can get lost in Hobby Lobby. I can walk into a Victoria's Secret and do just fine. Oh wait, actually scratch that. Once upon a time, I could have walked into a Victoria's Secret and been just fine. Not anymore. I know Victoria's secret - their sizes only go up to a cute little petite D cup bra and size 5 panties. And the pictures of the models on the walls make me want to slap them (after feeding them hot fudge sundaes, that is.) Depressing. But not scary.

Home Depot, however, is scary. I don't know where anything is. I don't know what anything is. Home Depot people, if you're listening, you need to have a Clueless Female section with cute little pink tools and hot guys with trays of iced mochas and mineral water for us. You can have some comfy seating and while we rest our feet and sip our beverages, the hot guys with the tool belts (heh heh, I just had a visual) can show us the cute pink tools and tell us what they are and how to use them. Or, better yet, they can just offer to come over and fix stuff for us. I know I, for one, would find shopping there less scary in that scenario.

But as it is now, I walk in and freak out over the 800 foot ceilings and the orange aprons and the aisles of foreign looking items. A young worker-guy saw me standing there, drooling (not because I was so overcome with excitement over the power tools, but because my brain had simply shut down when faced the array of drill-looking things) and asked, "Ummm, can I help you, Ma'am? Please? Hello?"

First off, I don't like being called "Ma'am". I mean, this isn't Georgia, people! This isn't just a polite thing that people say around these here parts. "Ma'am" to me, means "Old Lady". (Actually, this really has nothing to do with the story. Just forget the whole Ma'am thing.)

So, this guy is looking at me like I'm a complete simpleton. And he's right. At least, as far as tools go. I answered him, "Um yeah, I need, um, some sort of tool thingy for drilling. Like a drill. Or something. You know, to drill stuff."

"Okay.... so you want a drill. What are you going to be drilling?"

"Oh, you know, stuff." At the blank look on his face, I expounded. "Like I might drill a hole in a wall for a picture frame. Or use it to fill my cavity to save on dental bills."

I think I may have freaked him out with that last sentence. Hey, at least I didn't say I was planning on using it for do-it-yourself lobotomies on my enemies.

He asked some more questions to get a better idea of my drilling needs. "Will you be drilling into concrete? How much power do you need? Do you want a cordless drill? Will you be using it for long periods of time?"

"Ummm, do you have anything in pink?"

He repeated his questions again. Slowly.

"Listen, I'm recently divorced so I'm new to this whole home improvement thing. I just need something to hang a paper towel holder from my cabinet. I might want to hang a picture frame some day. I may even have to use it to fix the shelves in my closet. But I'm not going to build a rocking chair or a swingset or a house. I want something small and cheap, but a little more powerful than my fingernail, a butterknife, or my shoe, ok?"

If this guy thought it was tough dealing with me, he should've seen me there last week with the youngest four kids running around like rabid squirrels, touching everything, jumping up onto stacks of wood, and checking out the toilet display. Yeah.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moving On

Those of you who have friended me on Facebook know that my divorce was final on the 10th. A year and a half after I'd originally filed. People weren't sure whether to offer congratulations or condolences. I assure you, in this case, congratulations are in order. A minute after I changed my Facebook status to single, Austin clicked the like button and wrote, "Yay!"

Joe hasn't bothered to see or talk to the kids all summer, but after I got home from court, he called Lexi and Jackson out of nowhere. According to Lexi, he told her that he and I were officially divorced and that he probably won't ever see her again. Nice, huh? He hasn't spent time with them (outside of school) since Christmas eve and he calls, not to ask them how they are, but to discuss the details of the divorce that the little ones don't need to know. After he talked to Jackson, Jackson told me, "I think you should start dating, Mom."

I'm not about to go down that road right now, but it makes me feel good that the kids are okay with the idea. They're okay with moving on. Maybe someday I'll be okay with it too, but after being lied to continuously for twenty years, I cannot imagine having the ability to trust anyone. I always think that people are lying to me. I constantly fact-check. I may be nodding in agreement, but in the back of my mind, I'm trying to add up the facts to see if their statement holds water. I do it with everyone - strangers, family, friends, everyone. It's not even a conscious thing. I don't know how to explain it. It's just an automatic, unconscious response.

My good friends know me and know why I question things. They get it and don't take it personally. Other people get hurt. The thought of meeting someone new and starting a relationship, believing this new person is lying, questioning their motives and everything they say or do is not a good way to begin a relationship. And until I figure out how to dump some of my baggage and trust people again, I can't even think about dating. And, believe me, I have a lot of baggage. It's not just the lying. It's so many things that have slowly chipped away at my self esteem over the years, leaving me believing that I'm not worth anyone's love or respect.

So, in the end, I'm divorced. My kids are adjusting and doing as well as can be expected considering their dad has abandoned them. You may certainly offer me your congratulations as opposed to condolences as I'm beyond the sadness of divorce. I have a joy that comes from above and a new found happiness that comes from learning to love myself. Now to work on my issues so that I may be able to have a healthy relationship some day and be a good example to my kids.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fax Me Some Halibut

I tend to forget my shopping lists at home when I go to the store, so I've taken to making lists and writing notes to myself on my phone because I never forget that at home!

Anyway, today I took a look at the grocery list I'd been compiling and noticed that I'd written another page of notes to myself. I'd forgotten all about these notes. As I read, I remembered when I'd written the page. I awoke in the middle of the night while in New York and reached for my phone to write down the details of my weird dream so I could blog about it. However, since I'd typed these notes on my iPhone while half-asleep, they were less than legible and since several days had passed since I'd actually had the dream, nearly all recollection was gone.

This is what was on the note page...

Ginny movies Ellen stairs dog with doll
Little girl girl yelling at me
Older sister
Chicken in beer beerken laughing so
Doren's friend baseball cap, reading my
blog about pop bomb
Taking shower downstairs in Billy's
bathroom half painted blue
Something hatch & kill you unless you
get rid of it before 24 hours
Blue guys in bathroom
Teeeting about stalkers in bathroom

The only thing I remember at all was there was a guy who had a bunch of cubed, cooked chicken in his glass of beer. I asked him, "Beer and chicken? What is that, Beerken?" In my dream, I thought that was very clever and witty and fell off the bar stool at the island in the kitchen because I was laughing so hard. Yeah. In real life, I tell much better jokes. I think. Although beerken does start to sound kinda funny the more you say it. Beerken, beerken, beerken. It's beer! It's chicken! No, it's beerken!

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry wakes up in the middle of the night, scribbles a joke on a piece of paper and can't read or remember it the next day. "Wait a minute. Wait a minute! Fax me some halibut? Is that funny? Is that a joke?"

Anyway, check out my review blog for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card! Not only that, but you have 23 more chances to win from other participating bloggers. And, we'll be hosting a giveaway for a $100 Visa gift card next week too. And the next week. And the next week... In the end, you'll have a ton of chances to win! Come see

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From New York (you thought I was gonna say Chicago there, didn't you?), the city where you can walk in nothing but a hat, boots, and tighty whities, and no one will think twice about it, it's your host, the woman who took four hours to get all Jackson's football pads on him tonight, Dawn Meehan!

Hi Dawn, My 13 year old son refuses to get a haircut. It is so long and thick & curly and his bangs are down to his mouth. Bad part is he won't comb it to the side to even see his eyes. I am a hair designer and He is the worst client I have ever had! School pics are in a few weeks and I don't want this picture hanging on the wall.
You have two choices here. You can cut it in his sleep and claim "Notme" did it when he yells at you upon waking. Or you can let him wear it the way he wants and put his school picture next to a picture of Chewbacca in his scrapbook for future embarrassment.

I've been racking (wracking?) my brain trying to figure out what these pictures [all the junk under my couches] reminded me of, and finally I got it! It's like a page out of one of those "I Spy" books! You could make up your own game!
Oh yeah, I've done that before. Read this post HERE.

My boys frequently like to camp on the thard diningroom floor or on the outside porch. With or without sleeping matts or air matresses, whether there are bugs or not, my kids would rather sleep in the floor or ground somewhere. Remind me again, why do they each need to have a bed?
They don't! I think Brooklyn has slept in her own bed twice in her four-and-a-half years. And I'm thinking of moving the beds out of the boys' room and turning it into an office for myself.

How funny about the Sprite. (well funny now and thank God no one got hurt by the glass. Wonder how it happened!?)
I have no idea. I mean, it's not like I was clumsy and dropped it. I think it just magically exploded. I'm sure it didn't slip out of my hand as I juggled my purse, my camera, a couple bags full of swag, and two bottles of Sprite. I'm way classier than that.

we all know that Joe wasn't a good husband and "now" is not a good father but "was" he a good father?
Yeah, he was. He spent time with the kids, played with them, hung out with them. I think that's making it even harder on the kids now. They've got to wonder what they did to make him abandon them. I keep telling them it isn't them. They've done nothing wrong. Their dad loves them, but is just making a lot of really horrible choices right now.

Who's watching all the 12 kiddos while you are gone? And is going to BlogHim/Her a paid gig? It sounds fun, regardless!!
I only have six kids and my parents watched the youngest four. Austin and Savannah were on a mission trip with church, doing work in Michigan until Saturday. My parents picked them up Saturday and watched all six overnight. They're taking the next five weeks to recover.
And yes, I went to BlogHer this year for Unilever because of writing I'm doing for the Dontfretthesweat.com website. I love working with Suave, Degree, and Dove deodorants and giving practical advice on raising tweens! This has been such a really great opportunity for me, talking about tween issues, and working with products I already use! Especially if you have tweens, you need to check out the site when you have a minute and leave me a comment over there!

Sounds like you had a great time, that's awesome!! Is returning to your normal life comforting or stressful (or both)?
It's totally stressful which is comforting. I'm used to stress and chaos. It's my life. :)

Check out my post about the kids' and my trip to the Ronald McDonald House to serve lunch. It's the first post about our pay-it-forward project from 77Kids by American Eagle. You can read it HERE.

And finally, I know a lot of you have signed up to receive newsletters from me. And I know I haven't sent out a single one. (Hanging my head in shame). But that's all going to change. The first edition of my most awesome newsletter will be on it's way to you shortly! Along with some amazing, surprising news that you won't want to miss, there will be a fabulous giveaway that everyone is going to want! If you don't want to be left out of the spectacularness of it all, it's not too late to sign up! Come on, all the cool kids are doing it! Scroll down a bit on the left side of my blog to the blue box that reads, "Get book news and updates from Dawn". Fill in your email address and voila! You'll be able to receive the first edition of my newsletter delivered right to your computer!

Time for Reentry

I’m on my way home from New York now.  I really love visiting New York City, but every time I’ve been there, it’s been for business so I haven’t had much time for sightseeing.  The same was true on this trip.  Other than a quick walk around Times Square, I didn’t see much other than my hotel room and conference hall. 

Although I wouldn’t want to live there, there’s something so cool about New York City.  The energy, the lights, the smells, and the eclectic mix of it all is so uniquely New York.

And unlike Vic, I didn’t miss my kids while I was there.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I love my kids more than anything, but it’s so seldom that I get a break from them.  It was nice to be able to turn off all the drama, all the responsibility, all the stresses of every day life for 3 whole nights. 

And now, sitting in the airport, waiting to start the boarding process, my mind is reeling with thoughts of bills to be paid, appointments to be made, email to be read, meals to be made, rooms to be cleaned, laundry to be done, school supplies to be bought, articles to be written…  Although I love the break, reentry into the atmosphere of reality is a bumpy ride.

So, before I get home and my kids start jumping all over me, looking for souvenirs because they missed me so much, I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the day.


Edwige & Lori from Johnson & Johnson.  These girls are awesome!


Beth from Role Mommy and me.  I was a contributor to her book, See Mom Run (which is now available as an audio book HERE.)


Vic outside the Letterman studio


Meagan Francis who writes a great blog, great books, and also works with me on the Goodnites NiteLite panel.  There were some friends I never saw while at BlogHer, but Meagan was one I ran into like 20 times!


Liz, my sweet New Jersey blogging friend, and me


Victor and Elmo.  Vic said that Elmo grabbed his butt.  I hope it was a girl in that costume.


Some people should just not be naked.  Ever.  Especially in the middle of Times Square.  (I’m pretty sure this is not the original Naked Cowboy.  I think this is one of his franchise guys.  Scary.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Gives the Word "Pop" a New Meaning

There's something very cool about New York. I've been here a few times now and I'm just fascinated by the energy and the eclectic mix of it all. But it's noisy. I mean, it's NOISY! I lay there in my hotel room last night, listening to the sirens and cars honking and general city noise, while trying to will myself to fall asleep. It didn't work. I finally stuffed my ear buds in my ears and tuned in to the ocean sounds on my iPod to drown it out.

So, after a less-than-wonderful night's sleep, I didn't wake up until 10:30 this morning. Oops. Kinda missed the morning sessions. And breakfast. And the coffee in my room tasted like butt. (No, I've never tasted butt, but I'm certain that is what it would taste like.) I wonder if there's a Dunkin' Donuts around here.

Last night, I got a call from Lisa Belkin, who writes the Motherlode blog for the New York Times. Check it out! She's a smart, insightful writer. I met Lisa when she interviewed me a while back. I remember she asked me, "Do you exaggerate what you write on your blog or does all that stuff really happen?"

I believe I told her, "Oh, hang on a minute! My son is on the refrigerator! Clayton get down from there! What do you want? Ask for help if you want something up high! Brooklyn, tell me you did NOT just spill nail polish on the couch! I'm sorry, Lisa, you were saying?"


Anyway, she called and asked me to join her and a small group of bloggers at the New York Times for lunch and a tour of the building. Since she reads my blog, she knew that Vic was here and hanging out with me so she invited him along as well. We bloggers gathered in the lobby, introduced ourselves, and started chatting while waiting for Lisa. Victor tried to join in the conversation, but I could tell his eyes were starting to glaze over. And then it happened. He saw tv-type screens. A lot of them. In a true ADD moment, he walked to the wall o' screens and stared, mesmerized by their flashing pictures and words. Or maybe it wasn't so much an ADD moment as a "guy thing". I'm not sure. But anyway, that was it for him. He was hooked. We didn't see him again until the end of the tour.

By the way, thank you Lisa for the nice visit with you, the interesting tour, and the yummy lunch! You're awesome!

The day went on, I did stuff, I met people, I had fun. I made several security guards freak out and call in the SWAT team. I probably shouldn't have put that part in there, but I'd hate for you to hear about it on the news first. Sooo, I'll explain. I was waiting for the elevator along with about 30 other people when there was this LOUD noise. It sounded like a bomb. People around me did the whole "duck and cover" thing. I had no idea what had happened until I felt the moisture on my leg. I looked down and saw broken green glass everywhere. I looked at my hands, where I'd been holding two glass bottles of Sprite. There was only one bottle remaining. (This is why they make plastic bottles, duh!)

Uh oh. In slow motion, I turned around and saw people to the left and right, cowering from the "bomb". An entire family was drenched in Sprite. Another person may have been impaled by projectile green glass. Sprite may have been dripping from the ceiling and running down the elevator doors. The scene, which had been unfolding in slow motion for me, suddenly caught up to real time as a couple security guards came racing around the corner, rapidly talking into the microphones on their lapels. I thought to myself that I should explain what happened and apologize profusely and make sure someone could clean it up quickly before an innocent person slipped and got hurt on the broken glass. I thought that. But as the security guards moved in, I frantically pounded the elevator button repeatedly and made a hasty retreat. I'm pretty sure my conference badge has been tagged and there are wanted posters up all over the hotel. I'm a little embarrassed afraid to go near the scene of the crime. I may just stay in my room tomorrow.

Finally, this evening, I went to a party hosted by Mom Central and Johnson & Johnson. Someone mentioned they were looking for dad bloggers so I told them that I happened to know one. I ran back to the hotel, grabbed Vic and dragged him over. So, this guy John starts talking to Vic and decides that Vic is awesome. "Wow! You have six kids? And you're single? And they live with you?? Oh my gosh, how do you do it??!!!" I think he may have bowed down a little while saying that last part. Then he turned to me and asked, "Do you have kids?"

I answered him, "Yep. I'm a single mom of six kids." I believe he said, "Oh". I stood there blinking, my mouth slightly agape. There is so no justice in this. A single dad takes care of his kids and it's all, "Oh my gosh, how do you do it?! You're amazing! You should win an award!" When a single mom takes care of her kids, it's all, "Yeah, well, that's expected. They are your kids afterall." And actually, it's not just single parents. It's parents, in general. Grrrr.

Anyway, I have another activity-filled day tomorrow (you know, setting off Sprite bombs, dodging security and what-not), so I'm gonna fire up the ocean sounds on the ole iPod and try to get some sleep before I have to wake up entirely too early (and on eastern time, at that)!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The One with All the Parenthesis

So, Vic (I just can't call him Spuds. I have a problem with admitting that I have a friend with a potato name.) decided to join the ranks of women bloggers at BlogHER in New York. He really wanted to go to BlogHIM, but until someone organizes that (HA HA HA! See what I did there? I made a joke! Because everyone knows a bunch of men aren't going to organize a conference), he decided to see what all the fuss was about at BlogHer. (I personally think he just wanted to check out all the hot mom bloggers.) Hmmm, could I use any more parenthesis in this post? (That was rhetorical.) Hey look, yes, I can use more parenthesis!

So, anyway, Vic decided to go to BlogHer, but since he made this decision at the last minute, airfare under $5000 to New York was hard to come by. So, with the help of yours truly, we figured it might be cheaper to fly through Chicago and continue to New York on the same flight I was taking. See, that way, I didn't have to worry about sitting next to a coughing, snotting, smelly weirdo, and he didn't have to worry about someone having heart palpitations because his shoulders encroached into their seating area. (Really, his shoulders are about as wide as he is tall. Or, for another example, about as wide as my butt is.)

So, I picked him up from the airport yesterday. My kids were thrilled with the whole driving around the airport 50,000 times and finally parking since Vic couldn't seem to locate his luggage that was never actually lost. Then, instead of taking him downtown and showing him the awesome sights of the city, I dragged him to Home Depot and Play it Again Sports and Target. (What? I wanted him to feel at home with all the running around and kids screaming in the background.)

He cut his finger while fixing my window and confused poor Brooklyn. She kept offering him a BandAid and looking very puzzled at the wet toilet paper he'd stuck to his finger. I looked at her "what's wrong with this guy?" expression as the proffered BandAid, dangled from her little fist, then I consoled her with, "Sweetie, they don't have BandAids in Tennessee. They just use toilet paper." (Vic has a slightly different account of the incident HERE.)

Anyway, it was a nice short flight today. I was freezing. He offered me his sport coat. He asked the flight attendant for tomato juice (EW! That's just wrong unless it's mixed with vodka.) And he hardly laughed at all when I couldn't figure out why I was unable to return my tray table to it's original position. I kept slamming it up. Slam! Slam! SLAM!!! The poor person in front of me got whiplash thanks to all my slamming. Then he gave me a "Really? Are you serious" look, as he reached over and the pulled the water bottle out of the seat pocket, enabling me to lock the tray in place. And then he carried my bag with my computer. I'm not sure, but I think he may have rolled his eyes when I asked if he was sure it wasn't too heavy. (Hey, it was breaking my shoulder!)

So now, here we sit in a relatively quiet corner of the hotel bar, tandem-blogging while waiting for our rooms to be ready.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Come Chat with Me

Hey guys! Come join me at 12:00PM CST to talk about bedtime issues. As part of the Goodnites Nite Lite Panel, I'll be answering your questions on such topics as bedwetting, bedtime routines, strategies for helping your children fall asleep, nighttime fears, and more.

Just click "like" on the Mampedia page on Facebook and join in the conversation! Wednesday, noon, central time. See you there!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Now THIS is How You Camp!

I took my oldest three kids to church on Sunday so they could join several other youth and adult chaperones on a mission trip to Michigan to work for the Grand Rapids Area Service Project. The junior high kids (Jackson) are coming back Tuesday. Austin and Savannah will be staying with the rest of the senior high kids until Saturday. The kids weren't allowed to take their cell phones on this trip. I understand why. I mean, my kids would do nothing but text friends all day if they had their phones. And they're there to work and bond with the other kids and spread God's love through service to others. It would be impossible to concentrate with their phones constantly buzzing. But as a parent, it's a little hard not being able to check in on them despite the fact I know they're in good hands. Actually, one of the chaperones left me a comment on Facebook saying all the kids were doing well and Jackson wants to get up at 6:00 tomorrow to help him make pancakes. I guess I can see that. If he'd said that Austin or Savannah wanted to get up at 6:00 and cook, I would've known that something was very, very wrong.

Anyway, I've had several people tell me, "Oh, how nice, you'll be getting a break with only half your kids at home." Are you people nuts??? There is no break! I've lost my three helpers! I don't have any extra eyes watching the little ones. I don't have anyone to mow the lawn or take out the garbage or help pick up after the mess-makers. I've been busier the past two days than I ever am with all six of them home!

I wanted to make these days fun for my little ones though, so yesterday, I told my them, "Let's have a camp-out!" They just stared at me, eyes wide and mouths agape.

"But you hate camping, Mom."

"That's true. But we're going to go camping mommy style!"

Their interest was piqued.

"First, we have to really clean up the family room," I informed them. Now, I have to preface this by telling you that I DO, in fact, clean my family room often. Honestly, I clean it daily. I vacuum it at least two or three times a week. I move the couches out and vacuum underneath regularly. However, despite that, this is what I found when I moved the couches out yesterday...

Shoes, dishes, a toy watch, a plane, a tag

a purse, a book

a puzzle, a toy plate, a movie,

more shoes (no wonder Clay can never find his shoes!), a sippy cup, a battery, some candy wrappers, Connect Four pieces, and K-Nex pieces

a plastic hotdog bun, more Connect Four pieces, Polly Pocket hair, a ball, a magnet, more K-Nex pieces, and a Hungry Hungry Hippos ball

lipstick, the handle to a broken hairbrush, an ice pop wrapper, a bracelet and more K-Nex

another toy watch, a battery, and a BandAid wrapper

a domino, a marshmallow, some feathers, a bent paper clip, and a straw

When we could see the floor once again, I showed them how mommy camps. That's right - no bugs, no heat, no cricket noises all night, and no disgusting bathrooms you have to walk to in the middle of the night. And the best part is - mom gets to sleep in her own comfy, cozy bed! Oh yeah!

Ni-night kids!

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where the greatest change in elevation from point A to point B is five feet, it's your host, the woman who single-handedly drove across the country with six kids and lived to tell the tale, Dawn Meehan!

Dawn---you know 6 + 6 = 12. Doncha?
Seriously? You're asking me a math question? You must be new around here, aren't you?

I do have a SSO one about this- When and how did you come across him? [Spuds]
LOL! Well, he'd stalked my blog for some time. He'd sent me a friend request on Facebook and since my Facebook page is really kinda like a fan page, I accept pretty much anyone. I think he'd written a note like "I'm a single parent of six kids too. I feel your pain." We should have bonded instantly, right? Nope. I thought, Who is this weirdo? I bet he doesn't have six kids. Whatever. So, months pass and I don't give him a second thought. Then I'm out to lunch with some blogger friends one day. I check my phone and see that this "weirdo", Spuds, has mentioned me on Twitter again. I said aloud, "Does anyone know who this guy is? Some weird guy named Spuds keeps mentioning me on Twitter." Barb and Melisa both pipe up and say, "Yeah, we know Spuds! He's a good guy! He's for real. He's really nice!" (I don't remember, did you know him too Steph?) So, I send a direct message to him via Twitter saying, "I have it on good authority that you're not, in fact, a weirdo, like I originally thought." I kept checking my phone, just certain that he'd write back, confirming his non-weirdo status. But he didn't. He didn't write a word. (Later I learned that he couldn't send me a direct message back because I wasn't following him on Twitter.)

So, once again, weeks go by and I don't think anything about it. Then, one day, I was at the pool with my kids and I was lying there, looking at my phone and he popped into my mind. I have no idea why. NO clue. But I thought to myself, Hey, that guy never wrote back to me when I told him I'd been assured he wasn't a weirdo. What's up with that?! If someone wrote to me and told me I wasn't a weirdo, I'd answer. And really, I'm a cute girl. Why wouldn't he answer based on the cuteness factor alone? That ticked me off. So, I decided to send him an email. But I didn't want to send an email directly TO HIM. That would put ME in the weird category. So I accidentally sent him an email that was intended for someone else. Accidentally. On purpose. I don't know! It seemed like a good idea at the time. I'd been drinking. Leave me alone. It worked, didn't it?

He wrote back right away. He was funny. I wrote back to him. He wrote back to me. I wrote back to him. And then nothing. He stopped. I kept checking my phone, but nothing. I hate to admit it, but I was bummed out. I figured I wasn't nearly as witty as I thought I was. Later that night, I checked my spam folder and lo and behold, there was mail from him. It had suddenly started going to my spam folder. He HAD written back after all!

And that's how I came across him. You know, after he came across me. He's since overcome his "weirdo" status. Just in case you were wondering.

Do you 7 live far from your extended families...well grandparents? Do Joe's parents at least see the kids?
Nope, we live minutes away from both my parents and Joe's parents. And no, Joe's family doesn't see the kids. They hardly ever did before the divorce, so that's not really a change.

ROFLMBO!! Clay is TOO cute for words! How old was he there? [climbing the fridge]
He was almost 4 in that video.

Where at the Outer Banks are you?? Now that you've been, do you think you want to stay, I mean move there??
We stayed in Corolla. Although I'd love to live on the coast, it would be too expensive to live so close to the ocean. Maybe some day. In the meantime, I'm checking out areas with less expensive housing. Yes, yes, Beej, Kentuckiana is still at the top of the list. Primarily because it's just fun to say Kentuckiana.

I have to ask, did Jackson get a haircut? The 6th picture down doesn't really look like him, but it looks a bit young to be Austin.
Yep. Right before we left, he told me he wanted a hair cut. I agreed because it's HIS hair and I don't really care about hair. I don't care how my kids wear their hair or clothes. It's all temporary. Let them experiment with stuff like that. They can always change their hair or clothes. No big deal. Anyway, he wanted it cut. Then afterwards, he was really sad. He cried for over an hour about it. I felt sick. The lady cut it shorter than he'd wanted and he didn't speak up. :( And while we were at the beach, his ears got sunburned badly. I just wasn't thinking. His ears haven't seen sun in YEARS! I hope he lets it grow out again. I like it long on him.

Were you stuck on the Corolla beach? We got our Odyssey stuck out there and ruined the transmission with all the sand after being towed from 3/4 of our tires buried!
Yes! I felt like an idiot. About halfway down the beach, I realized that driving into that sand was a bad idea so I started to turn around and go back. Bad plan. By turning, I got out of the packed ruts and well, let's just say, there's still sand in my van and under the van and in the spare tire and in the hitch...

Now for someone who lives in the UK and failed miserably at geography - how about a map of your travels and how many miles did you drive? It sounds like loads!

It was over 2200 miles. Yikes!

Have you always lived in the midwest?
Yup, I was born in Chicago.

SSO ? Did you get a new van? I thought you had a bit smaller one that was white or maybe green? This one looks like you have tons of room for everyone!
Uh nope. Same one. And nope, there's not much room for everyone. There's a ton of room in the back, but there are only 2 bench seats that seat 3 people each. It's a tight fit for everyone especially with car seats taking up space.

You take great pictures! Can I ask what camera you have
Yes, you can ask.

OK I gotta know, how do you handle car trips with all your children without having a nervous breakdown? I only have 3 kids and we just took a trip 3.5 hours away and I about lost it. And that's with DVD and snacks and at least 2 stops on the way for potty breaks. Any tips for the next time I have amnesia and think trips with the family are fun?
First of all, I never said I didn't have a nervous breakdown. Actually, it really wasn't that bad. I mean, I hated all that driving. I was very tense and sore and was kinda freaked out about all the sitting because of my clotting disorder. But the kids were awesome. I had to yell at Jackson a few times to knock it off and keep his hands to himself, but other than that, the kids were really very good. We had DVDs, snacks, some coloring books, and games. The older kids had their iPods. If the kids got a little loud and goofy, I just turned up my iPod to tune them out. Ta da!

Are you for real or just jokinng about having to stay 500 feet away from Paula Deen? I'm sure you are joking but you just never know! Maybe in the "court documents" you also can't blog about it.......or I missed the post about you having a restraining order. LOL
What do you think?

I wanted to say thank you for posting about vitiligo. You have no idea how much it helped us :-)
I'm so glad! I mean, I'm not glad your daughter has it, but I'm glad my post helped you out some. Vitiligo in itself is not a horrible thing to have (all things considered), but the thing about autoimmune diseases is that people who have one, oftentimes develop others at the same time. For those of you who don't know, Jackson has Vitiligo. He's losing pigment in patches of skin all over his body. Eventually, all the color will go away. It's hard because as time goes on, he's starting to look more and more patchy. Plus these non-pigmented areas have no protection from the sun and burn in a matter of a few minutes, increasing risks for skin cancer.

Dear Dawn, when you guys are on this trip, do you stay in a hotel? How do you divide up rooms, is there one for girls and one for boys? If so, how do you get all the boys to be good without you being in there?
On the way down and back, we got adjoining hotel rooms. That way, we all fit and I didn't have to leave anyone on their own in a room. While we were there, we rented a house which was great because we had almost all our meals there and I was able to do laundry every day. Yeah, I know that sounds sick saying I got to do laundry every day on vacation, but when you have six kids, you realize that it's a very good thing not having to pack that much or come home with 20 loads of dirty laundry.

All of that's important and all... but did anyone get peed on?
I will not admit to any peeing on jellyfish stings. (Those things hurt though!)

How many times did you threaten to pull the car over if they didn't knock it off?
Not once. I did threaten to abandon the car on the side of the road and fly home but that wasn't because of the kids. I was just tired of driving.

No,no,no! You can't do that...DO TELL ALL about your visit with Spuds!!! :)
I'm not one to kiss and tell. That's just a figure of speech, of course. :)

We met up when the kids and I stopped for the night while driving home from NC. We all had dinner at Cracker Barrel (one of my kids' faves!) and then we hung out in the hallway right outside the hotel rooms and talked for a few hours while my kids watched TV and settled down to sleep. It was nice. :)

I am SO glad you had a good vacation. Doesn't Austin have his permit yet? Here in MO the kids get a permit at 15.
You can get a permit at 15 here too, but I didn't have the money at the time I had to sign him up for summer school. By the time I did, it was too late and the class was filled. He'll be taking driver's ed later this year.

You look absolutely stunning in the white shirt and totally diminutive next to Spuds.
Ha! I am definitely not diminutive. He's just a really big guy. But if he makes me look small, I think I should stand next to him as much as possible.

Your kids are so "creative"! Do they also put all the creativity away after they're done with it?
Ha ha ha ha! Hee hee! Ho! Hoooo boy!

If you took Spud's purple shower and your red shower, what would you get?
Two exasperated parents.

Take a page out of Spuds book and make him clean it [shower] up. :)
Oh, I did. And you want to know what happened? The whole "be very careful with this cleaner because it has bleach in it" speech didn't sink in.

I present Exhibit A...

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