Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moving On - Day One

We said goodbye to our house; the only home my kids have ever known. It was strange leaving. I wasn't overwhelmed with sadness like I thought I would be, especially after lying awake last night with a churning stomach full of nerves. I almost felt like we were just leaving for vacation. I think I shoved the knowledge that we wouldn't be returning to the back of my head so I wouldn't have to think about it. There were a few tears when we prayed, thanking God for this new opportunity, asking Him to help ease the sadness for us and our loved ones, and asking Him to watch over us on our journey. Then we pulled out of the driveway for the last time.

We left about 9:15 this morning. I ran a couple errands first, but we got on the road toward Florida by 10:00. We drove to Lebanon, IN where we stopped for a potty/stretch break. The winner of a signed book from that stop is -

C Barnes

Then we drove on to Louisvile, KY, where we stopped for gas/potty break. The winner of a signed book for that stop is -

Simple Country Girl

We continued on and didn't stop again until we got to Franklin, KY where we had some dinner. The winner for that stop is -


Clay refused to eat and I couldn't figure out why. When he started crying, I felt his head and sure enough he had a fever. I knew this because I had a thermometer in my purse because Brooklyn's been running a fever since Sunday night. I gave both Clay and Brooklyn a dose of Motrin and got back on the road. I could've driven a few more hours, but the kids had been really good all day and I didn't want to push it, so we stopped somewhere in TN (I think Murfreesboro). The winner of the signed book for that stop is -


It was a long day, but on the bright side, there haven't been too many tears, the boys haven't turned my van into a gas chamber of death (yet), and we survived all the idiot tail-gating, crazy drivers in TN. Oh yeah, and thanks to my family for pitching in and buying me a great GPS, we didn't get lost! At all! Not even once! I know!!!

It's not too late to get in on the fun! You can still win a signed copy of my new book, Because I Said So (and other lies from a less-than-perfect parent)! Just watch my video here! Then leave me a comment on my blog. I'll be giving away more signed copies every time I stop during my travels tomorrow! For extra chances to win, share the video on your Facebook page and leave me another comment here letting me know. And please leave contact information in your comment! Thanks! :)

Winners from today's giveaways, please contact me within 48 to claim your signed books.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, for the last time ever, it's your host, the woman who has cried over way too many goodbyes this week, Dawn Damalas Meehan!

When are you moving or did you already move?
I'm leaving Tueday and planning on arriving in Florida Thursday. Then again, you never know just how long it will take to get somewhere when you have to stop for bathroom breaks every fifteen minutes. I'm not looking forward to the long drive with no one else to take a turn at the wheel. I'm not looking forward to the boys turning my car into a gas chamber. And I'm definitely not looking forward to discovering a decomposing Chick*fil*A sandwich a week after our arrival in Orlando. (I'm speaking from experience here.)

I'll be thinking of you lots (and lots!) this week. Safe travels... and hooray for new (and well deserved, and long overdue) beginnings! And just so we're clear... I get to live with you in the winter, right? RIGHT?!?
Tell you what, you clean up any vomit messes that might arise and I'll find a spot for you in my house.

The following questions are about my most recent video. Here it is, in case you missed it.

And was that a tiny little fart I heard at the end of the bloopers?
Ha! The kids were all wondering if anyone would pick up on that. Charming, no?

Were the reactions of the people at the store real? Loved the mom that couldn't get her kid in the cart fast enough!!!
Most of the people in the video were friends who so graciously agreed to let Savannah film them while they looked at me like I was a freak. They did a great job! I don't think they were really acting.

So funny and so true! Did I catch one of your kids sneaking in a "That's what she said" at the end? Hysterical.
Sadly yes. Darn that Steve Carell! That was Savannah in the video, but it's usually Austin who does that. Sigh.

A question for your next SSO: Do you ever get told Brooklyn should be a model? If so, what do you think of that?
Yes, I do. Often, in fact. I wouldn't have any problem with her getting her picture taken for say, print ads. I mean, dressing up and posing for pictures are two of her favorite things in life. But I don't have the time to schlep her around to auditions and such.

Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) goes on sale July 5th! Because I Said So: And Other Tales from a Less-Than-Perfect Parentcan be pre-ordered now. And I'm going to be giving away signed copies this week. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win a copy is watch my video and leave me a comment here. Over the next few days, I'll be traveling from Chicago to Orlando with my kids to start our new life in our new house. I'll choose a random winner every time I stop for a potty break, to get gas, to get food, or to stay in a hotel for the night during our trip. That could add up to a LOT of winners!

Remember, watch the video, then leave me a comment here. I'll choose one random winner every time I stop between Chicago and Orlando this week. For an extra entry, share the video on your Facebook page or via Twitter. If you share it, leave another comment here linking back.

Have fun! Enjoy! Good luck! And say a prayer for safe travels if you're so inclined. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where I've Been

This is where I've been blogging this week.

Because I Said So (video)


One of Life's Mysteries Unveiled

I went around the yard today, picking up baseballs, frisbees, empty juice pouches, wrappers, and other miscellaneous junk my kids always seem to leave in their wake.

One of my more interesting finds today was this.


The One in Which I Refrain from Slapping from a Mom

Yesterday, I was talking to an acquaintance who was going on and on complaining because her husband was out of town on business for two nights and she didn’t know how she was ever going to handle taking care of her two kids all by herself.



Wine Marketed to Moms: YAY! (or nay)?

I’m a single mom of 3 girls and 3 boys, trying to juggle kids, work and laundry with the help of God, family, friends and wine (not necessarily in that order). That’s how the bio on my personal blog reads. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I love my kids. I love being a mom. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for all gold in the world, although I’d consider trading it for a nap. Nah, I wouldn’t even trade it for a nap. But let’s face it, being a mom is hard work. It’s demanding. It’s never-ending. It’s emotionally draining. And it’s without monetary compensation.



Japan to Unveil World's Steepest Roller Coaster

My son, who takes Japanese in school, informed me that we “have to go to Japan this summer!” I foolishly thought he wanted to try out his language skills and check out the local culture. Nope. He wants to check out Japan’s newest roller coaster, Takabisha. This roller coaster boasts the sharpest incline in the world with its 121-degree free-fall and 43-meter drop. Pass the barf bag, please.


Kid Shot for Ringing Doorbell

According to an article in the Huffington Post, Michael Bishop, a 56-year-old Kentucky man was charged with attempted murder after shooting12-year-old, Jason Eberle in the back. What elicited this heinous act? The boy and his friends were playing Ding Dong Ditch. Seems like a perfectly reasonable response to me. I mean, I usually get out my flamethrower when kids walk across my lawn. And heaven help the person who lets their dog do his business in my yard; I usually grab my bow and arrow to take care of that nuisance. (That was sarcasm just in case anyone thinks I’m serious. I usually just use a slingshot for hooligans who trespass on my property.)



Why Moms Love to Hate Facebook

In a recent L.A. Times article, the author cites a report which estimates that Facebook lost nearly 6 million U.S. users in the month of May. The numbers were gotten from Inside Facebook, a site that tracks Facebook and the Facebook platform for developers and marketers. A spokesperson from Facebook, while not addressing the exact numbers, stated that the company is happy with its traffic.

Whether Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds or losing users faster than I’m losing my battle with gray hair makes no difference to me. My biggest concern with Facebook is why I keep seeing ads for wrinkle cream, walkers, AARP, and wine. Wait, actually, the wine one is good. I mean, I’m only thirty-eleven! Some of those ads are just insulting.

I, like most of my friends, have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Here’s why . . .


Quaker Chewy Superstar Search!

We’re always looking for fun, free things to do with our kids over summer vacation, right? Well, here’s a good one! Quaker has teamed up with Nick Jonas (insert tween girl swooning) to launch a singing competition for kids ages 8-14. My kids were glued to the TV to watch American Idol and I know they’d love the chance to participate in a singing competition for kids their age!

This Thursday, June 23rd, Quaker’s Mobile Recording Studio will set up shop at Northbrook Court in Northbrook, IL from 10am – 4pm. Kids who come out to the fancy studio-on-wheels will get an opportunity to record one of four songs (“Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars , “Breathe” by Michelle Branch , “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B , “Wildflower” by The JaneDear Girls) in the mobile recording studio. Families will be able to enjoy other fun perks as well, like samples of the superstar of snacks. And even though Nick won’t be on hand to personally greet you, kids can get their picture taken on the red carpet where Nick will be super-imposed in the shot. It’s the next best thing to standing there with him! My daughter can’t wait to have her picture taken “with” Nick Jonas.

Not only has Quaker joined forces with the popular Jo Bro, but also with the non-profit organization Little Kids Rock to make music education more accessible in schools across the nation. The Quaker Chewy Superstar Search is a win/win all around!

The four finalists of the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search will each receive a $1,000 cash prize. Not too shabby, huh? And the Grand Prize winner will get to record a song produced by Nick Jonas, an online music video, a contract with Jonas Group Management and $5,000 in cash! How cool is that?

To enter, just create a vocal performance at the Mobile Recording Studio OR at home. Fill out the entry form and upload the performance at http://www.chewysuperstar.com/. America will have the opportunity to vote on the top five submissions August 29 - September 9 online at http://www.chewysuperstar.com/.

For more information on the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search, Official Rules, and a list of cities where you can find Quaker's Mobile Recording Studio, visit http://www.chewysuperstar.com/.

For parents and kids in Chicagoland, come on out to Northbrook Court this Thursday, June 23rd, from 10am-4pm! See you there!

Quaker has empowered me to write about this event.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, home of Buckingham Fountain where Will and Kate live, it's your host, the woman who almost got kicked out of several stores while making her book launch video, Dawn Damalas Meehan!

I don't have much to say this week because I'm fah-reak-ing out about our move! The U-Pack truck comes on Wednesday! Eeeek! But I did finish the video I've been talking about. Need a laugh? (Who doesn't, right?) Then watch this video. You won't regret it. I had WAY too much fun making it. And make sure you watch until the end for the bloopers! It's worth it! Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The One in Which I Refrain from Slapping a Mom

Yesterday, I was talking to an acquaintance who was going on and on complaining because her husband was out of town on business for two nights and she didn’t know how she was ever going to handle taking care of her two kids all by herself.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that it’s all relative. For her, this was out of the norm and she was having a hard time handling it. I get that. But I honestly didn’t know how to reply to her. I just stood there, blinking. Was she seriously telling me how hard it was to care for two kids for two nights? Really? Try caring for six kids, every day and night. Always. I don’t have another parent there with whom I can split childcare duties. And I don’t get every other weekend off like most divorced parents. I’m not saying that I deserve sympathy or accolades or anything. You do what ya gotta do. No big deal. BUT, please don’t stand there explaining how difficult your situation is to my face when you know what my situation is like. Have a little consideration. 

In the end, I murmurmed a half-hearted, “That’s tough” to show that I sympathized with her struggle. At least a little bit. And then I made it a point to forget to give her my new address and phone number. What? I tried to be nice and Christian-like.

I know I haven’t been blogging much, but I have a darn good reason. I’m losing it. I’m totally losing it. On top of being a single mom to six kids (which probably should’ve sent me over the edge a year ago), I’m moving in less than two weeks. Ohmygosh, I have less than TWO WEEKS! I have a TON of stuff left to pack. My mortgage guy calls me every other day needing more information: bank statements, explanations of deposits, letters explaining why I’m moving to Florida (I sent a picture of our February blizzard with the caption “‘Nuf said”), etc., etc., etc.  I’m trying to tie up loose ends here – return library books, get medical records, take time to meet up with all the friends I’m going to miss. Plus, I’m still taking kids to their baseball and softball games nearly every night. After a week without it, I finally picked up my van today to the tune of $2400 (pass the smelling salts). I’ve been working on a video to promote my new book coming out next month. The video is hilarious, if I do say so myself, but I seriously can’t count the number of hours I’ve put into creating it. Deep breath.

I feel like garbage because Lexi didn’t get a birthday party with her friends the past two years and I promised her one this year before we moved to celebrate her birthday and as a last hurrah with her friends. I dropped the ball on that. I can’t imagine trying to squeeze one more thing in (not to mention paying for it) and I feel absolutely horrible about it. 

I haven’t sold my house here yet and I’m not sure what to do about it.

I know, at some point, I’ll get moved and settled into a new routine. I know I’ll find a better balance. I know good things are in store and everything will work out. I have an inner peace about that. But on the outside? Right now? I NEED A CLONE!  I NEED MORE HOURS IN THE DAY!  I NEED AN EXTRA PAIR OF HANDS! I NEED WINE!

On the bright side (and there’s always a bright side), I’m just about done with the video and I’ll be putting it up this weekend. Spoiler:  In the video, I throw a full-blown tantrum in the middle of the grocery store while people look at me like I’m insane. More good news is that it looks like everything is a go for my closing on the 23rd. And my van is in tip-top shape for my long haul to Florida. And just imagine, I’ll have a wealth of blogging material from a three day, cross-country drive with six kids, don’t you think? So, for now, that’s it from Camp Meehan. Now I need to make dinner, write two articles, and consider getting more than four hours of sleep. Vaya con Dios!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why We Love to Hate Facebook

My car is still in the shop. You don't realize how much you depend on your vehicle until you don't it. The fuel pump went out which caused my car to die. I also need a new distributor, I have a sizeable anti-freeze leak, and I need a tune-up. (I'm pretty sure I've never had a tune-up on this car. Ever. Shhhh.)

On the bright side, at least my car didn't break down on the way to Florida! It could have been so much worse! And, even better, my dad gave me his car to use in the meantime. Two nights ago, at Austin's baseball game, a foul ball landed in the parking lot. Now, I know not to park in the first row for that very reason. I always try to park far away from the field. Still, this foul ball went sailing! It crashed down on a silver car. Ohmygosh, my dad's silver car? Noooooo! It can't be! I ran over and whew! It wasn't my dad's car! Thank God! It completely shattered the window of the car it hit.

I have a cold, I'm trying to get my house packed up, my kids are home from school, there aren't enough hours in the day. That's about it from Camp Meehan.

This is where I've been blogging, trying to amass enough money to pay for my repairs. Check it out!

In a recent L.A. Times article, the author cites a report which estimates that Facebook lost nearly 6 million U.S. users in the month of May. The numbers were gotten from Inside Facebook, a site that tracks Facebook and the Facebook platform for developers and marketers. A spokesperson from Facebook, while not addressing the exact numbers, stated that the company is happy with its traffic.

Whether Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds or losing users faster than I’m losing my battle with gray hair makes no difference to me. My biggest concern with Facebook is why I keep seeing ads for wrinkle cream, walkers, AARP, and wine. Wait, actually, the wine one is good. I mean, I’m only thirty-eleven! Some of those ads are just insulting.

I, like most of my friends, have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Here’s why . . .


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wacoal Winner!

The winner of a new Wacoal bra of her choice, chosen randomly by Random.org, is . . .

vinobaby said...
I managed a lingere department for several years, and yes, most women wear the wrong size. Some are WAAAYY of. They were always amazed how much better they looked and how comfortable they felt when they found the right size. And Wacoal is a fabulous brand.


Congratulations! Email me at dawn@dawnmeehan.com to claim your prize! And thank you to everyone who left comments!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Don't Do Directions. Or Math. Or Mornings.

This morning, after a whopping four and a half hours of sleep, I got up and headed to NIU. I needed to take an assessment test because I’ve applied for a job working with kids in a school. So I got up at 5:00 AM and headed to Dekalb.The only other people on the road at that early hour are the folks heading home from a night out drinking. And the occasional cow. To make the drive more challenging, it was super-foggy today and I couldn’t see more than a few yards ahead of me.

I drove the sixty miles to Dekalb and took the exit for Annie Glidden Rd. I drove for about a mile down the road and didn’t see any signs of the college campus. Of course, with all the fog, I could’ve driven in to the student center (literally) without seeing it. I started freaking out that I’d made a wrong turn, so I glanced at my Mapquest printout. It read, Merge onto S ANNIE GLIDDEN RD. I looked at the compass. I was going north. Oh great, I thought, I turned the wrong way onto Annie Glidden! I turned around and headed back toward the highway. When I reached the highway, I realized, too late, that Annie Glidden didn’t actually run south of the highway. I found myself forced to hop back on the highway either heading the way I’d come or heading closer to Iowa.  

Because I knew there wasn’t an exit for miles the way I’d come, I opted to head toward Iowa. Unfortunately, as I soon found out, there wasn’t an exit for sixteen miles heading toward Iowa either.
I looked at the clock, tried to calculate how long it would take me to reach the exit, turn around, head back, get lost again, find the campus, find the parking lot, get lost one more time, find the building where the test was taking place, and check in. I cried, knowing there was no way I’d be able to make it in time. I’d just gotten up at a stupidly early hour, driven across the country, and paid to register for this test for no reason. I called my mom, because she’s one of those people who purposely gets up that early, and asked her to pull up a map and direct me on how to get back.

Despite the fact I’d driven several miles out of my way thanks to my severe directional impediment, I actually made it to the test with 14 seconds to spare. I was the first person to complete the test, so I went back over the math section, hoping that sudden enlightenment would occur and I’d miraculously remember stuff I’d tuned out during my sophomore geometry class. After staring at the rectangle for five minutes, I came to the realization that I wasn’t going to suddenly remember how to find the area. I gave up and filled in a random oval on my answer sheet.

I moved to the next math question. Jim is lifting weights. He starts by lifting 15 pounds on day one. He lifts 17.5 pounds on day two.  He lifts 20 pounds on day three. If he continues increasing the amount of weight he lifts at the same rate each day, how many days will it take until he’s lifting 50 pounds?

I scanned the four possible answers, looking for the one that read, Who cares?  Jim will be totally buff and really, that’s all that matters. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a choice, so I did eeny meeny miney mo and picked an answer with a bunch of numbers, letters, and symbols in it because it looked all complicated and math-like.

Then, this afternoon, I drove Jackson about 45 minutes away so he could hang out with a friend of his. On the way back, Savannah begged me to stop at Sonic so she could get a limeade.  I passed the Sonic because of my previously discussed directional impediment.  No problem. I’ll just go to the one on the other side of the airport. I know how to get there. Piece of cake. 

Anyone care to take a guess what happened? Anyone? Give up? I’ll tell you. I drove to the airport. Not near the airport. Not next to the airport. I drove among the cabs and limos dropping passengers off at the terminals. Yeah. Brooklyn asked me if we were going somewhere. 

“Yeah, I’m just gonna park the car and we’ll hop a plane to Mexico,” I answered.

“Mexico!  Mexico! We’re going to Mexico!” she happily chanted.

I found my way out of the airport and headed toward Sonic. I was driving along and then, nothing. My car just stopped. Nothing. No way to steer. No restarting my car. Nothing. As I waited for a tow truck, I called Austin, who was at home, and told him to walk to his baseball game and I’d meet him there as soon as I could. He called me back a minute later, saying that his baseball bag was in my van.  Ugh. Savannah had to pee, Brooklyn was hungry, and I was hot and tired from driving all day, stressed about my van, how much the repairs will cost, the fact that I’ll be without a car until Monday at the earliest, and the fact that my son didn’t have his mitt, bat, helmet, or cleats for the game that was scheduled to start in a few minutes.

When the tow truck arrived, Savannah asked, “So, does this mean, I can’t get Sonic?” Brooklyn piped up and asked, “Are we still going to Mexico?”

After help from my friend Doreen and my parents, we managed to get everyone fed and to their games, where I sat in the freezing rain with my dad all night. And just because not enough crappish stuff had happened yet, I ended the day with this gem.  I twittered the following message:  At Lex’s game. It’s so cold, I can see my breast! It’s JUNE, for cryin out loud! That was immediately followed by:  Breath! BREATH! I can see my breath! Stupid iPhone!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Like National Geographic!

My kids are all amazingly talented. Every single one of my them is a gifted artist. Austin has always been incredibly talented and creative. However, he may fail his art class this semester. It’s not from lack of talent, but because he told his teacher his name is Paco and he goofs off and gives her a hard time every day. His poor sister, Savannah, has the same teacher this semester. She gets to hear all about her brother’s idiocy antics every day.

Clayton, who recently turned seven, is my latest budding artist. His subject of choice is dinosaurs. And poop. And dinosaurs that poop. Yeah, I’m inordinately proud.

As you can see, these dinosaurs are having a lovely little conversation. One is saying, “Fart you.” The other is replying, “Poo you.” These are the kind of details they never show you on those National Geographic specials, but I’m pretty sure Clay’s depiction is spot on.
013 picnik 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
And here are the conversations my kids have with each other . . .
020 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
and this . . .
018 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
“Really, Clayton? A dinosaur pooping???”

“He’s not pooping! This dinosaur is laying eggs. It looks like they’re pooping when they lay eggs, Mom,” Clay slowly explained so my feeble brain could keep up.

“Silly me. Why on earth would I possibly have thought you were drawing poop?” I asked, rhetorically.
 016 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
This dinosaur has no feet, but what he lacks in limbs, he makes up for in teeth. Lots and lots of teeth.
012 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
I’m not sure if Clay is critiquing his drawing or if this is the dino’s dialogue. I don’t think the drawing is bad. Maybe the dinosaur is just complaining about something. Or maybe Clay is just commenting that this dinosaur sucks as opposed to bites. You know, since the dinosaur above got all the allotment of teeth.
021 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
“This is great, Clay! What a realistic drawing of a dinosaur! And there’s no poop in sight! Wow, we need to hang this one up on the fridge!”
014 300x229 Its Like National Geographic!
Ahhh, and here we are. People shooting a, hmmm, what is that? A giant mouse? I love how the one guy is caught in friendly fire. And the dripping blood is a nice touch. Well done, Clay. There’s no doubt in my mind, his pieces will be showcased in the Louvre one day.
claypic 300x200 Its Like National Geographic!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Win a Bra by Wacoal!

I was invited to a blogger event sponsored by Wacoal a few weeks ago. Honestly, before I was invited, I'd never even heard of Wacoal. For those of you who don't know, Wacoal is a lingerie company. They make bras, panties, shapewear, etc. You can order online, or find them at department stores near you.

At this event, we were told that 8 out 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size. EIGHT out of TEN! We poled each other after our fittings and sure enough, I think 9 out of 10 of us were in the wrong size. (I was close, but was still off by a bit.) When I tried on a bra in the correct size, holy cow, I didn't have to tuck my boobs into the waistband of my pants! Seriously, it made such a difference! How many of you know someone who's boobs sag in an ill-fitting bra? How about a person who always has quadraboobs (you know where she spills out on top creating the look of a four boobs)? Yeah, most of us don't really want to look like we have udders under our t-shirts. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a professional fitting! It just takes a few minutes. Do it!

And here's another little tip. Not all bras are created equal. You have to try on a bunch of them to find a style that suits you well. For example, if you're well-endowed, a demi-cup bra is probably not going to be the best option for you. So, I tried on a few Wacoal bras and decided on one that I liked and that fit well. The first time I put it on, I thought, Ohmygosh, this is so tight! Holy cow, I can't breathe! It actually wasn't tight at all, but I'd gotten so used to my lose-fitting bras that it seemed strange. And now, I can't stand to wear any of my other bras so I'm washing my Wacoal one nearly every day. In fact, I just ordered a couple more online so I won't have to wash this one every day. A good, well-fitting bra is one of those things worth splurging on. But remember to wash it separately and line-dry it so it retains its shape and lasts a long time, making it well worth the money!

Another cool thing about Wacoal is that they donate $2 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for every Wacoal bra, shapewear piece or b.tempt'd bra purchased at their Fit for the Cure events. To find an event near you, go

For a chance to win your own Wacoal or b.tempt'd bra, leave me a comment here that includes your email address. I'll choose a random winner on Monday, June 13. You can go online and choose from any of their bras! But, I definitely recommend going to a department store and getting properly fitted first so you make sure you get the right size! Contest open to the U.S. only. Limit, one comment per person. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Shirt and shoes required. Interpol warning - piracy is a criminal offense. No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post. You'll have 48 hours to claim your prize after being notified. If you don't claim it, an alternate winner will be chosen. If you don't leave contact information in your comment, an alternate winner will be chosen. May the force be with you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I am so Hot! No, Really, I Am.

I sat in a sweltering 98 degree heat at Lexi’s softball game tonight. It was humid, but there was a warm breeze that made it bearable. After an hour and fifteen minutes, the girls were still in the second inning. (When fourth grade girls learn how to pitch, there are a LOT of balls.) I’d been sitting on the bleachers for about an hour and a half when Lexi finally got up to bat. I grabbed my camera and got up, planning to head over to first base in order to get some good pictures of her batting. I stood up, climbed down from the bleachers and started walking. I noticed a couple people looking at me strangely, but didn’t think much of it. Until I looked down.

I have several pairs of 100% cotton capris that I wear in the summer. They cover my fat legs and they’re super-cool and breathable. They also show every little drop of moisture in vivid color-changing, magical wonderfulness. As I craned my neck and glanced down, I noticed that I had distinct butt sweat marks on my pants. Oh yeah, now that’s an attractive sight. It looked like I’d had an incontinence problem. So, that’s why people were looking at me oddly. Excellent.

So I stood there, snapping pictures of Lexi and wondering what to do. I could just stand there by the fence, giving everyone on the opposing team a glimpse of my lovely butt-sweat pants. I could just sit down there in the grass and pretend to be the team photographer while continuing to snap pictures of all the girls. I could walk back to the bleachers while exclaiming loudly, “Oh look at that! My kids got me with the spray bottle of water!” while I feigned frustration. I could look at the other parents and offer a feeble explanation. “Butt-sweat. It’s hot. I really should’ve stopped at the store on the way to the game and gotten a frozen margarita. Cotton pants. It’s really hot.”

I finally decided to walk back to the bleachers while explaining to everyone within earshot, “Remember hypercolor t-shirts?  Yeah, well, these are hypercolor pants. I’m single-handedly bringing back the 80s. You should see my legwarmer and Swatch collection! Really, tomorrow I’ll wear parachute pants and lace gloves!”
I don’t think they bought it.

Note to self: Stop wearing cotton pants in 90+ degree weather.  And buy some leg warmers to be more convincing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

House for Sale

I've only had four showings for my house since I listed it despite my parents' efforts in burying the now zombified St. Joseph statue in my yard. I decided the lack of interest has nothing to do with the economy or the real estate market. It's simply because my listing description is far too dull. See what I mean?

This is the best 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 ½ car garage, ranch home for the price in town. New roof, new 95% efficient furnace, new thermo windows, siding, and doors, new electric panel (circuit breakers), remodeled bathrooms including Jacuzzi tub, tile floors, and fixtures, newer water heater. Large patio, nice wood playground set, storage shed, heated 2 ½ car detached garage, kitchen pantry closet, refrigerator with ice maker, washer, dryer, stove/oven, microwave, and dishwasher all included.

Dull. Realtors really shouldn't be allowed to write those. Writers should write them. So, here is my new and improved listing. Doesn't it make you want to buy my house?

I, with my new husband, moved into this house nineteen years ago. We figured we’d stay in the cute little house for a couple years until we started having kids at which point, we’d move to something a little larger. You know what they say about “best-laid plans”? No, really, do you know what they say? I can’t remember the saying. I think it goes like this, “Don’t make plans or God will laugh at you and show you His plans which are never anything like yours.” Or something like that. Anyway, we ended up having six kids and staying in this same little house. We were cozy (which is a nice way of saying we were packed in like sardines), but it made us a close family. A few times, over the years, we toyed with the idea of moving out of Chicagoland to where we could get a larger house for less money, but we always decided that we loved our town too much to move. We have roots here. Our friends and family are here. We have great schools and a fantastic park district here. Everything you could want is a stone’s throw away. And the incredible city of Chicago with everything it has to offer is a quick train ride downtown.

Why am I moving now, you ask? To make a long story short, I'm now divorced and despite the fact that our judgment for divorce clearly states that my ex needs to provide child support and health insurance for my kids, he’s interpreted that notsomuch as an obligation, but as an optional element to the agreement.

Sooo, although I love my home and my town, I was forced to find someplace more affordable to live, along with a job that includes medical benefits. It’s all good though because I did indeed find a cheaper house and a job in Orlando. It's a great house and I suppose, in time, I can even get used to all the rednecks down there. Seriously, you know those People of Walmart pictures? I’m pretty sure they’re all taken there! On the bright side, I’ll probably have the most teeth out of everyone in my subdivision. Kidding! Just kidding. Mostly kidding.

But my house here is in walking distance to preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, community pool, and many playgrounds/parks. Shopping, library, and park district buildings are all super-close. Located in a nice, quiet, well-established neighborhood. One neighbor flies her “W” flag year-round which is undoubtedly jinxing the Cubs, and another neighbor likes to mow his lawn while wearing short-shorts (he really, really shouldn’t ), but other than that, the neighbors are great. Chicago is just a short hop down the Kennedy. We have the Cubs (and that other team), the Hawks, Lou Malnati’s pizza, Garrett’s popcorn, the Sears Tower, Lake Michigan, museums, restaurants, and Oprah. Yeah, so she doesn’t do the show anymore, but you could probably stalk her anyway. The weather is absolutely, perfectly gorgeous at least twelve or thirteen days a year. We get a little (cough cough ton) of snow, but I’ve never, in all my 41 years, seen a snake, an alligator, or a bug as big as a Buick.

And the best part about owning this home is that it’ll be a priceless landmark someday. You know, since I’m going to be famous when I grow up. Stop laughing. It’s true! I’m telling you, this house will be worth some serious money one day because of the whole fame factor. Oh yeah, and I'll throw in a possibly possessed statue of St. Joseph for free.

My Family

Remember when my dear friend and web designer, Kelli from Pulsepoint Design took over my blog and encouraged my readers to send me a card, make a donation, or otherwise help out my family while we were going through some very tough times? I do. Every day, I think about the amazing generosity of my readers, and every day I'm reminded of just how blessed I really am. If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't have the money for closing costs and moving expenses. You've not only helped us financially, but you've given me encouragement and lifted us up in your prayers. With all your support, I was able to go out and find a less expensive house for us to live in. I just want to take a moment to thank you all again. I really couldn't have done all this without your help and I want you to know how deeply I appreciate every single act of kindness from each and every one of you!

A couple months ago, one person wrote me and said that she wanted to help. She owns a photography business and offered to take pictures of my family. Kim from Kimberly Neyer Photography came out last week and did just that. I was so happy to have these pictures, not only because I wanted some updated shots of my kids, but because Kim preserved the memories of this house and surrounding area in her photographs. It'll be terrific to look back at these pictures after we move.

Kim did an absolutely amazing job! She took her time and was great with my kids who were wacko as always. I love that she got some posed shots, but also a great deal of candid pictures of my kids acting like, well, like themselves. I couldn't be more pleased with these pictures!

See for yourself this small sampling of the pictures she took!

Anyone in the Chicagoland area, please check out Kim's website. She's amazing! I highly recommend her! Thank you so much, Kim!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Cooking Show

My kids like to cook. Well, they call it cooking. I call it “making a mess in the kitchen.” Sometimes, they create something edible like cookies or rice krispie treats. Other times . . . Well, other times, they make different creations. Awhile back, Lexi and Brooklyn made this video to show you how to make, um, ah, something interesting. It has sprinkles in it. You like sprinkles.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Since When is 27 OLD?!

Yesterday, as I drove the kids home from school, I talked to Lexi about her birthday. I asked her what kind of treats she wanted to pass out to her class to celebrate her birthday.

“I don’t remember; how many kids are in your class, Lexi?”

“There are 26 kids in my class. With my teacher, it’s 27.”

Clay, overhearing the conversation said, “Wow! Your teacher is 27? She’s so OLD! Not as old as Mom, but still OLD!”

I opened the door and booted Clay out onto the street.

“I don’t think 27 is old, Mom.” Lexi said, smiling innocently up at me. Between you and me, I think she just didn’t want to be kicked out of the car like her brother.

“Good answer, Lex,” I replied. “That’s why you get to live with us.”

I had to go downtown for court today. On my way home, I posted on Facebook, There’s a cute guy on the L. What should I do? I’m not really sure why I even wrote that. I mean what with me being so old and all, it’s amazing I even noticed a cute guy. And honestly, I’m too busy and too much a mom to even think about guys. I’m moving in a couple weeks and I’ve got more than enough going on in my life without any guys. And I certainly wasn’t about to hit on some stranger riding the L with me. Still, despite the fact that I’m so old, I guess it was just fun to even notice a cute guy.

I got all sorts of interesting replies in response to my Facebook post. A couple people told me to “accidentally” fall onto his lap. I considered this suggestion, but since the train was nearly empty, I figured it might look a little strange if I got up, walked down the aisle, stood there a minute, and then fell into the guy’s lap.  Chances are I’d crush his internal organs. If I didn’t rupture his spleen, he’d undoubtedly think I had um, issues (which is a nice way of saying he would think I was a freak).

I got answers of kiss him, propose to him, ask him if he wants to buy your house, ask him if you can take his picture for your Facebook fans, and sing him the doopy doopy doo song. In the end, I opted to ignore him because I’m just cool like that. However, after I got off the train, I realized I’d passed up a chance to interact with another person. That’s not like me. Cute guy or not, I like to talk to random people. You never know what you’re going to learn by talking to someone. You never know the kind of effect you might have on someone. Maybe that person you took a minute to talk to is lonely and your conversation is the only human interaction they’ll have all day. 

Feeling a little sad that I hadn’t seized the opportunity to talk to the cute guy or the intriguing old man, carrying a bag half-full of bread, I got off the train and said “hi” to everyone I passed on the way out to my car. By doing that, I met a woman who’d never taken the L and was confused about where to go so I took a few minutes to help her out. Imagine the possibilities when you stop to talk to someone. Or fall into their lap. Or sing them the doopy doopy doo song . . .

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

There's Gotta be a Better Way to Sell a House!

When I announced that I was putting my house up for sale, approximately 1400 people told me to bury a statue of St. Joseph in my yard so my house would sell. I had no idea that selling a house was that simple. And here I thought you had to stage a house, clear out the clutter, repaint, clean, fix stuff, and list it for a reasonable price. Silly me! But I tend to be difficult and contrary so as scientifically sound as burying a statue undoubtedly is, I opted to skip the saint burial in favor of simply cleaning and fixing up my house.

While I was in Florida house-hunting, however, my parents buried the statue in my yard because, bless their hearts, they were certain that good ole Joe would help get my house sold. 

032 200x300 Theres Gotta be a Better Way to Sell a House!
St. Joseph has helped thousands! Out of the six million or so houses that have been sold every year in the United States since the practice of burying St. Joseph started around 1979, thousands have been helped. Now I’m not mathy, but even I know that those are some pretty pathetic odds. I especially like the “Faith can move mountains . . . and homes!” on the box. What more proof could you want? Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe in the power of prayer. But I think that burying a statue in order to quickly sell your house is ludicrous.

Here he is before my parents threw him in a hole in my yard.
stjoe1 225x300 Theres Gotta be a Better Way to Sell a House!
Rest in peace.
stjoe2 225x300 Theres Gotta be a Better Way to Sell a House!
I haven’t thought about the statue since I got back from Florida and Savannah showed me these pictures. Until Saturday, that is. 

We’ve had a lot of rain around here recently and after a particularly big downpour on Saturday, Savannah looked out the window and exclaimed, “The statue is coming out of the ground!”

Oh great, I thought. Joe was buried alive and now he’s mad. He’s digging his way out of the grave. That can’t be a good sign. It didn’t say anything on the box about St. Joseph emerging from the ground! I thought about googling what to do in this situation, but figured I’d just find information telling me to sacrifice a chicken over the burial spot while hopping on one foot and singing a song about tacos, and I wasn’t really willing to do that. Instead, I decided to blog about it.

So, today, I went outside to take a picture of the poor statue clawing his way out of the dirt, but when I got out there, he wasn’t anywhere in sight. I looked all around the burial site. I searched the surrounding area, kicking at the dirt, trying to catch a glimpse of the statue. 

He was nowhere to be found which leaves me to the only logical conclusion. St. Joe is a zombie and he’s running around my backyard, looking for brains (but he’ll probably settle for the plates of half-eaten cake that my kids have left out there). I hope.

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