Thursday, April 29, 2010

How Was School?

I picked Clay up from kindergarten yesterday like I always do. He hopped in the car and I asked him, "How was school, Monkey?"

He gave me his standard answer, "Good!"

Out the corner of my eye, I saw Clay's teacher approaching my car. "You had a good day? Then why is your teacher coming out to the car?"

Clay quickly said, "I dunno. Go! Drive! DRIVE! DRIVE!!!"

Oh yeah, that sounds completely innocent. Like I was going to floor it out of the kiss and drive before his teacher could reach my van. Clay flipped himself over the seat and into the back of my van as his teacher reached my car. "So, he didn't have such a good day, did he?"

"Notsomuch," she replied.

I guess he spent the afternoon running around like a cheetah chasing wildebeests a la National Geographic. Although I don't think he bit anyone's butt or ripped flesh from any classmates, so we've got that going for us.

Honestly, Clayton's been good at school and I haven't had any visits from his teacher in a long time, so I just talked to him and took his video games away for the day. I guess I should be happy that he seems to have gotten over his "If you bug me, I'm going to punch you" M.O. at least.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Damage Control

There just aren't enough hours in the day. By the time I'm done with all my "damage control", I'm too tired to get any work done.

"Mama, I have clay stuck in my ear and hair."

"What??? How is Clay stuck in your ear???"

"No, not my brother, Clay. This kind of clay! See?"

Brooklyn turned so I could see a glob of clay pushed inside her ear. After scooping that out, I got to work on the chunk that was embedded in her hair. I think, by the time I was done, I'd pulled out enough hair to make a small wig.

Why did she shove a bunch of clay in her ear to begin with? Why not?


"Mom, will you paint my nails?"

"Didn't I just paint them yesterday, Brooklyn ?"

"But it's washing off. I want more on. Pleeeease?"

"Oh ok, but give me a minute. I need to finish folding this laundry."

A few minutes pass and I notice the unmistakable smell of nail polish in the air.

"Brooklyn! I told you I'd paint them in a minute! Grrrrrr!"

Isn't my carpet pretty? Just like Brooklyn's nails.



"Why on God's green earth is the kitchen floor covered in cereal?!!! Clayton!"

"I was throwing it up and trying to catch it in my mouth," came his innocent answer.

"Well that was a stupid idea not the best idea you've ever come up with. You just wasted a bunch of cereal. Now clean it up and DON'T DO IT AGAIN!"


"What the... Again with the nail polish? Really? REALLY???"





"Clayton, did you think my washing machine was a piece of paper?"

"No."

"Haven't I told you that you can only draw on paper?"

"Yes."

"Then why did you draw on the washing machine?"

"I dunno."

"Uh huh. Makes perfect sense to me. Guess what, Clay."

"What?"

"You're washing the ink off and then you're going to bed."

"Why?"

"I dunno."

IT'S HERE!!!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!

:::drumroll:::




Coming to a store near you November 2! Amazon is taking pre-orders now. Click HERE!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday Sound Out (A Day Late)

From Chicago, where Cubs fan are made of 90% scar tissue, it's your host who's always a day late and a dollar short, Dawn Meehan. And now, answers to this week's questions.


I have just finished reading and *thoroughly* enjoyed your book, "Because I Said So"! As the mother of two, I have experienced almost everything in that book so I feel a sense of sisterhood with you, girl! Thank you for telling it like is really is and not sugar-coating...As a writer myself, I just started a blog called MOTHER TONGUE & Other Sharp Objects...I thought of you yesterday when a strange woman attacked me (I still haven't quite figured out her rant) and I thought, "I bet Dawn Meehan gets this sort of garbage frequently enough to wonder what the heck is wrong with some people with whom we share this world. It's humor, people!"I would love to hear what your M.O. is with strange people, especially moms, who feel the need to act like this...
Thank you for your kind words and best of luck to you in getting your ms sold! As far as the people who sling mud my way - well, I used to cry when I got negative comments. Seriously, I'd well up and sit, staring bleary-eyed at my computer screen, wondering why people couldn't just be nice. I don't do that anymore. Now I just send them a jar of vile-tasting delicious Vegemite to thank them for their contribution to my blog.

So, I want to see a picture of your not so curly do that you got compliments on! I have curly hair and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it straight, but HATE the time and effort it takes to achieve that look.
I hate it frizzy curly, but alas, I just don't find time to straighten it most days.



Why is it call an L?
It's short for "elevated subway". I believe about half the tracks are elevated above ground. The other half is either at ground level like a train or below ground like a subway.

Someone has to ask, so it may as well be me: What kind of cups are you buying that you don't drink out of? The only thing I can think of are Diva or Luna cups...LOL if this is what you mean then the closet greenie in me rejoices ;).
Uhhh, yeah. Clearly, you don't have boys in sports. And because I'm insane I have to research anything I'm not familiar with, I looked up "diva cups". I've gotta say I'm a little grossed out. I'm all for going green, but I draw the line at reusable toilet paper and diva cups.

I dreamt I rented a banana costume once for Halloween. What does that mean?
That's crazy. They must have been all out of the monkey costumes.

What on EARTH did you eat before you went to bed?
Just the usual - a handful of Tums

What is The Neverending Song? Wait, do I really wanna know?
It's too late. You asked. Here ya go...




I can send a card from Hawaii! Where do I send it? Did you post an address?
Oooo! Better yet, how about I come pick it up? I'd be willing to do that, you know. For Savannah, of course. I'd go to Hawaii just for Savannah. But if you insist on putting it in the mail, you can send it here.

Savannah Meehan
836 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
#230
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

What is the picture showing exactly? And yeay for absorbable screws and pins! Glad everything went well..
I have no idea. The doctor gave us sixteen pictures. I can't remember what they each showed.

Is that really a pic of her knee?? It looks so much like those 4D ultrasound of a baby... with eyes, nose a mouth..
LOL As far as I know, it's her knee. I guess they could've been going around taking close-up pictures of random items in the O.R.

LOVE IT! That reminded me of when Joseph fractured his growth plate in his heel and was wearing an air cast (boot) and the dr released him to play but the baseball association required we put some kind of padding around it to prevent other injuries so we wrapped it with bubble wrap. LMBO Us Blankenships are not known for our speed but Joseph hit a double that game AND STOLE A BASE! Guess the pitcher figured he'd never even try to steal with that boot on. LOL
Amy, tell me you have a picture of your bubble-wrapped son!

Anyone in the Chicagoland area, the Lands' End store at Sears in Oak Brook is hosting an event on Saturday, May 1st.

Get Growing for Spring with Award-winning Author Sharon Lovejoyat the Lands’ End Shop at Sears in Oakbrook Center

Register your school to win up to $2,500 for gardening or science programs in the “Way to Grow” sweepstakes.

WHAT: Meet author Sharon Lovejoy and discover the imaginative activities for entertaining and inspiring kids about the wonders of nature from her latest book, “Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars” (2009, Workman). Lands’ End is hosting the event as part of “Way to Grow: Plant a Seed, Make a Difference” – the company’s nationwide initiative to connect kids, parents and schools through gardening.

Fun activities for the family include:

* Decorate pots and plant 100-percent organic Russian Mammoth Sunflower seeds to take home.
* Learn about the wonder of worms through hands-on exploration.
* Register to win essential gardening supplies.

WHEN/WHERE:
Saturday, May 1
11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Lands’ End Shop at Sears in Oakbrook Center
2 Oakbrook Ctr
Oak Brook, IL

Clay's Life of Crime

I'm blogging at ChicagoMomsBlog today. Check it out HERE. You can read all about Clay's life of crime. Oh yeah, and leave me a comment there so I'm not the only dork writer there without any comments. Yes, yes, I am begging.

I've still got some giveaways up on my review blog HERE.

* $200 Visa gift card from Arm & Hammer and BlogHer

* Pong cell phone case

* Gift pack of goodies for Earth Day from Disney

* Jawbone ICON bluetooth headset

* V8 V-Fusion "Picnic at the Beach gift set

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Moms for Mouthguards

A few days after Savannah got her braces on, she was hit in the mouth by a line drive while pitching for softball. You can only imagine how badly her mouth was cut up. Let me tell ya, mouth injuries bleed like crazy! Since then, mouthguards are a standard part of my kids' sports uniforms. I mean, as moms, we want to do whatever it takes to protect our kids, right? The American Association of Orthodontists has come up with a pretty funny video about it!



The American Association of Orthodontists is asking parents to take the Moms For Mouth Guards pledge. For every pledge taken, they’re donating to the National Alliance for Youth Sports to help protect the smiles of kids across the country.

So get a mouth guard to protect your children's teeth and mouths against sports related injuries. And take a moment to take the pledge!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Savannah's Surgery

Savannah had her knee surgery yesterday. I think her knee was a little worse than what the doctor was expecting based on the MRI. The doctor had indicated that he'd be drilling holes up into her femur so it would bleed down into the piece of bone that was peeling away. He was hoping that's all he'd have to do, but he warned me that once he got in there, if it looked like the piece was already separating significantly, he'd probably put a couple pins in to hold the fragment in place while it healed.

When the surgery was over, he came out to talk to me. He told me that he put a screw in her bone as well as three "darts", and he drilled several small holes into her femur so it could bleed down into the piece that was peeling away. Then he told me that her guardian angel was looking out for her. You see, when I first brought Savannah to his office, she presented with just a little tendonitis pain. The doctor told me that if he'd seen Savannah first, he would have asked her questions about her pain and examined her leg and sent her home with the diagnosis of "tendonitis". However, the nurse came into the room first and ordered an xray. Although, based on the exam, Savannah seemed to only have tendonitis, the xray caught the OCD from which she wasn't experiencing any pain yet.

I love stories like this. If the nurse hadn't come in first, Savannah wouldn't have had the xray. Had she not had the xray, they wouldn't have found the OCD. Had they not found it when they did, it likely would've progressed too far to be fixed and she would've suffered problems from it for the rest of her life. And had Savannah not experienced the tendonitis, we wouldn't have sought medical help in the first place. Like the first sentence in my book, Because I Said So, "I believe things happen for a reason." Sure, you don't always know why at the time, but so often you can look back and things make sense. You have that "Ahhhh" moment and suddenly things are clear and you understand why something happened the way it did. That's why you shouldn't worry and stress over things. Like I tell my kids all the time, "Patience, young Jedi". Things will work out the way they should. Just keep the faith. :)

So, she's in pain and her leg is swollen right now. She'll be on crutches for at least two weeks at which point we'll go back to the doctor. And check this out - the screw and pins that were used in her knee are absorbable! They'll disintegrate and be absorbed by her body over the next two years. Amazing! Three tiny incisions for the arthroscopy and absorbable pins! The advances made over a fairly short amount of time astound me.

And thank you so much to all of you who took the time and effort to send Savannah a card! She loved reading every one and seeing where they were from! (One was all the way from Australia!) And she smiled and laughed at the "signatures" written by little ones. She's been making friendship bracelets all day with the kit she was sent. The "bug" was a big hit with Clay and Brooklyn. (She's gotta get that back before they lose it!) And I'm surprised she hasn't sent me out to use the Starbucks card for her yet. You guys really put a smile on her face! She asked me to thank everyone for her! THANK YOU!

I promised her I wouldn't put the picture I snapped of her being wheeled into surgery with a lovely blue scrubs hat on my blog. But I said nothing about using a picture of her knee...


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where Am I Blogging?

I'm blogging at Chicago Moms Blog today. You can read it HERE.

And stop by my review blog and enter to win:

* A $200 Visa gift card from Arm & Hammer with Oxi-Clean and BlogHer

* A "Minimize Morning Madness" gift basket from Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean

* A gift pack of Earth Day goodies from Disney

* One of two $25 gift cards from Safety Tats

* A Pong cell phone case designed to redirect radiation away from the user

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Inner Workings of My Mind

I was walking outside with someone. I'm not sure who it was, but I know she was a friend. We were walking along on a grassy hill. The sky was overcast, but it was breezy and warm outside. I picked up some cardboard, an empty 7-Up case and an empty Dr. Pepper case that were lying on the ground. A man came walking by pushing a grocery cart with those exact same things (some cardboard, an empty, smashed 7-Up case and an empty Dr. Pepper case) in it. I thought that was strange. As my unknown friend and I walked along this grassy hill, we noticed there were all these really deep holes in it. There were perfectly round holes every foot or two and each one was several feet deep. I warned her to watch out, but her foot got caught down in one of these holes in the ground.

Then we had to run to catch a boat that was leaving for New York. I had some drinks and I took my shoes off on the boat. I arrived at the hotel in New York and people got off the boat and went to check in. I didn't check in though. I wanted to, but just didn't/couldn't for some reason. I'm not sure why because I really wanted to go up to my room. I was holding a ton of bags that I was having a hard time juggling. Instead of checking in, I sat down to rest for a while and realized that I couldn't find my shoes. I saw a couple friends from high school there. These were friends I hardly even knew in high school, but there they were, acting like we were the best of friends. There were a whole bunch of very nerdy kids. They were band geeks and had all sorts of instruments with them. I mean, really super-geeky people that I don't know in real life.

I finally found my shoes. A lady had them with her wig and she was totally bleaching them out. My shoes and her wig sat in some sort of unit on the floor. Apparently it was a wig and shoe bleaching machine. They were my giraffe print clogs, but when I got them back, you could barely see the print because they were so bleached out.

I finally went to check in with my tons of bag. They were actually the exact same bags I was trying to carry at the blogger event last week.

Next thing I know, I'm in Paris at this indoor mall that was made to look like it was outdoors. There was a gelato shop with tables and chairs all around it "outside" (really inside a mall) with potted trees and stuff. Brooklyn was with me and she tried some. Austin was there and he tried some too. I couldn't decided which kind to try. They showed me several burlap bags (bags???) of gelato with different flavors. I finally decided to try the citrus nut one. (Blech! Where do I come up with this stuff?)

This is when I realized that I was in Paris and I had never arranged for anyone to take care of my kids at home. I had just left them all. (Yeah, yeah, I know Austin and Brooklyn were eating gelato with me a minute ago and now they're at home. I never claimed my dreams made sense!) I really freaked out. No one would be there when they got home from school! Could I call and get someone to go to my house before the kids got home from school, I wondered. And then it hit me that Brooklyn was home all alone right now because she's not in school! No one was going to take care of them and I was in Europe! How on earth did I forget to call someone to care for them before leaving?!!!! I freaked out in my dream! I couldn't believe I'd forgotten! How do you plan a trip to France and forget to arrange childcare for six kids?! I ran around telling people what I'd done. I didn't know what to do to fix it. I kept asking people to help me. I tried texting my friend several times, but they never answered. I thought maybe my cell phone didn't work in other countries and decided I'd have to look into that in the future. I remembered that Savannah and Austin were taken care of, but I'd totally forgotten to arrange care for the other kids. And then I woke up.

All I can say is - if you analyze dreams, please don't tell me how psychotic this makes me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

I'm forty. I'm divorced (well, almost). And lately, I've been forced to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, like taking out the garbage, unclogging toilets, and shopping for cups (and I don't mean the kind you drink out of.)

So, I needed to go downtown the other day. When I go downtown, I usually take the train. Metra, that is. I know how it works. I know where to park, where to pay for parking, where to get my tickets, how much parking and tickets cost, where to get off once I'm downtown (there's only one stop so it's not brain surgery), and if I have to go farther than a few blocks from the station once downtown, I know I can walk out of the train station and find a line of cabs all waiting for passengers. Easy peasy.

But this time, my friend suggested I take the L because it stops exactly where I needed to go. "But I've never taken the L!" I said in a panic. Just thinking about the logistics put me in a cold sweat. Where do I catch it? Where do I park? How much is parking? How do I get a ticket for the L? Or do they use tokens? There are a million stops downtown, how do I know where I'm supposed to get off? Blue line, brown line, pink line, how do I know which line to take? What if I get mugged and someone steals my camera? Then I won't have any proof that I actually took the L and if I can't blog about it, then why bother? Thankfully, my friends are used to my insanity, so they just roll their eyes and tell me to get a grip.

So I decided to step out of the box and give it a try. I'm in a new phase of my life; it's fitting I try new things, right? I mean, you'll never get ahead, or learn anything new, or experience anything exhilarating if you do the same ole, same ole and stick to the comfortable and mundane, right? Oh, don't worry, I'm not about to do anything too crazy like going skydiving, getting a sex change, or eating Vegemite. But I've lived in Chicago my entire life, and after forty years, I think I can handle taking the L.

In case there are any readers living in the farthest edge of the city who haven't ever taken the L, I'm here to give you a tutorial.

You need to get a ticket here. Cool thing is - you put your money in a vending machine and get a ticket for that amount. Then, every time you use it, money is subtracted. You can recharge the same card. I'm like a total authority on the CTA now! Aren't you impressed? (By the way, the attendant thought I was nuts for taking a picture of this. He asked me, "Is it really that interesting?" I was afraid he'd think I was even more insane if I told him I was going to blog about it.)


You have to put your ticket in the slot and walk through the turnstile. No one minds if you put your ticket in backwards and try shoving it a few times until it's a crumpled mess. People won't laugh at you if you need help figuring out how to turn the ticket around. And no one will comment at all if you're a dork and can't walk through the turnstile without the bar hitting you in the butt. Not that I know any of these things firsthand...


This is a helpful sign. You don't want to jump from the platform and walk on the tracks. If you're not hit by a train first, you could be electrocuted. It's a good thing they have a fence to keep you from falling onto the tracks...


There's no fence? No wall? No barrier of any sort? (commence hyperventilating and backing slowly away from tracks) Thank God I don't have my kids with me! I just know one of them would end up flying off the platform!


The train is here!


I didn't pull my camera out on the train for fear of being shot. Maybe next time I'll get brave and take pictures of the other riders. I did get a picture of a pigeon, however. He wasn't on the train. I found him when I got off. That's gotta count for something though.


Daley Center


Time to go back home. Down to the L...

Next time, I'm going to get pictures and video of the performers on the platform even if I have to wait for eight hours to catch someone with a guitar.


The best part of my little adventure was that I did not, in fact, get mugged so I have photographic evidence of my trip. Join me next week when I step out of the box and sing karaoke in front of strangers while totally sober. Kidding, just kidding. Put the ear plugs down.

************************************
Check out my reviews for
* a $200 Visa gift card from BlogHer and Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean
* a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer and Pop-Tarts
* a "Minimize Morning Madness" gift basket from Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean
* one of two $25 gift cards for Safety Tats
* a Pong cell phone case that redirects radiation away from the user

You can find all the contests HERE on my review blog!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Giveaways!

Check out my review blog for some great giveaways!

Two $25 gift cards from Safety Tats!

A $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer and Pop-Tarts!

A $200 Visa gift card from BlogHer and Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean!

A "Minimize Morning Madness" gift basket from Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean!

Click HERE
to get to my review blog and you can scroll down to enter all of these giveaways!

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city with two seasons: frozen tundra, and construction, it's your host, the woman who single-handedly smooshed a spider before it could eat off her face the other night, Dawn Meehan! And now, answers to your questions...

I'm wondering if, or what blogs do you read on a regular or semi regular basis? Do you even have the time?? :)
I seldom find the time to read other blogs as much as I'd like to. Between my own blog, review blog, writing articles, working on books, cleaning house, cooking, shopping, helping with homework, driving to hockey, baseball, and gymnastics, taking care of six kids 24/7, doctor's appointments, teacher conferences, paying bills, laundry, well, you get the idea. After all that stuff, I have like 4 hours left and I usually like to sleep now and then.

Are you not drying and straightening your hair now since so many people complimented you on it?
LOL! At a Chicago Moms blogger event last week, I was running late (shocking, I know) and I didn't have time to straighten my hair. OK, truth by told, I wasn't totally running late. I got downtown at a reasonable time. But then I wandered around block after block, walking in circles because I wasn't quite sure how to get to the Hard Rock Hotel despite directions from friends. I blame it on my phone which was telling me mixed up ways to go. If you've read this blog for any length of time, this shouldn't surprise you in the least.
Anyhoo.....
See, I actually have curly hair, but I use tons of Suave Sleek Styling Cream, and straighten it so I don't look like a crazy old witch with a squirrel's nest for hair. Actually, curly isn't quite right. It's not exactly curly. Nor is it straight. It's more "Roseanne Roseannadanna-ish" For some odd reason, a lot of people complimented me on it. Come to think of it, there was wine at this event. That's explains it. Anyway, to answer your question, Michelle, I'm not purposely keeping it curly because it looks stupid like that. However, these days, oftentimes I simply don't have time to straighten it. Those are the days I don a Cubs hat.

Question for you: what do you use to clean crayon "art" off the windows?? Our current art has been up for months and I'm hoping the artist will update his work if we clean the window.
We're supposed to clean it off?! I figure if I let the kids cover the windows with art, I won't have to look out and see the giant messes they've made in the yard. It's all good.

I'm sure this is very immature of me, but I want to see the farting train. lol
Ok, because of the popular demand, I'll scan a picture of his flatulant train when he gets it back from his teacher.

Loving the creativew solution [on my awesome shower-fixing abilities]. But why does the phrase "Tim the Toolman Taylor" spring to mind?
I know right! I may or may not have grunted a few times after my fun with duct tape.

Did I miss something? What the heck happened to your shower door? Or should I even ask?
Well, Savannah knocked Austin into it a while back. It broke off (and Savannah got a black eye from that encounter). Austin was able to get it back on, but I think that loosened things up because the kids managed to knock it off again a couple weeks later and this time the little thingys that go into the little places, broke off. That's the technical explanation. In plain terms: it broke.

The following picture may shock you. Some viewers may find it disturbing and disconcerting. It's not the usual kind of picture you find here at BecauseISaidSo.com. You're used to seeing pictures of messes and chaos created by my children. This is not that kind of picture. I found this when I sat down at my desk to work the other day. Brace yourselves and scroll down, if you dare.

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And this, my friends, is why we moms never quit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home Improvement (Or Something Like That)

I was invited to a media reception at Kenmore's new live studio in Chicago tonight. Ty Pennington was there. Ty's on my list. You know, my list...



I was all set to go and while I was there, I planned on asking him to marry me. Or build me a house. Or come live with me in said house. And he'd be so impressed by my stellar home improvement skills, that he wouldn't be able to resist. But alas, I goofed up and dropped the ball yesterday which set in motion the events that made it impossible for me to attend tonight.

I was supposed to join in a chat for Goodnites on Gather.com last night. I got confused on my days and totally missed it. I also thought we had gymnastics then hockey at 7:00. I came home from gymnastics, made dinner and sat around eating and talking with the kids until I realized that we had baseball at 6:00 and it was 6:20. Oops. Being a little late never killed anyone, right?

So, because I had completely missed my chat last night, I needed to make it up tonight. The chat was fun. Missing Ty was not. Then again, I don't know that I could handle anymore ADHD males in this house.

But if I HAD seen him, he would've been totally impressed by my use of duct tape, yarn, and a cheap shower curtain to fix my shower door! See?






Oh yeah! I rock! The kids can't break anything that I can't fix!

Damage Control

While I clean one room, the kids trash two others. This is what I do all day.

"Hey Mom! What is this?"

"Put it back!"

"But what is it?"

"It's packing material. Now PUT IT BACK!"

So, of course, when I checked a couple minutes later, it didn't surprise me one bit to see that Clay had notsomuch put it back, but had instead (with the help of his partner-in-crime, Brooklyn), put it here...



I have no idea what possessed them to fill the sink with styrofoam. I started to scoop it out when I realized that...




the sink was also filled with water.


"What were you thinking???" I asked the kids, knowing clear well that they weren't, in fact, thinking at all. I could hear Bill Cosby's wisdom echoing through my head, Kids have brain damage!


"We were washing them, Mom!"


Ugh. I wondered, I really, truly wondered, if anything I say ever gets through their heads. Today, that question was answered for me.


Clay and Brooklyn had some friends over to play. I heard both Clay and Brooklyn telling their friends things like, "You have to put that toy away if you're done playing with it," and "You have to stay in the kitchen with your snack". I honestly can't count how many times I heard my words come out of their mouths. On the one hand, I was proud, happy, nay, beaming that they remembered my instructions and even went so far as to impart their knowledge to their friends. On the other hand, I wondered how they could remember and tell their friends not to eat in the family room when I have to remind them EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THEIR LIVES NOT TO EAT IN THE FAMILY ROOM! How is this possible? Anyone know the answer to this burning question? Anyone? Anyone at all?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gorillas & Kings & Blob-a-doodles, Oh My!



G stands for Gorilla, or Gargantuan arms, or odd Growths, or Gigantic spare tire...

K stands for King, or Killer, or Kriminal, or Krazy teeth. Yeah, yeah, I know, but not many words start with K! Kut me some slack, here!

and finally,

R stands for Red blob-a-doodle. I'm not sure if blob-a-doodles are naturally red or if this one is simply bleeding from the king inflicted gunshot wounds.

Yep, I'm mighty proud of Clay. You should see the farting train he drew yesterday. Puts the blob-a-doodle to shame.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, home of Garrett's (Chicago mix!) Popcorn, it's Sunday Sound Out starring your host, the woman who rode the L for the first time in her life, Dawn Meehan.

Parents of tweens, check out the new articles (including mine) on the Don't Fret the Sweat site! Parenting tweens today is hard. Get all the help you can with informative articles here, and join in the discussion! DON'T FRET THE SWEAT

Did any of your kids refuse to sleep in their own bed and throw a fit to sleep in yours? If so how did you deal with it?
Brooklyn did. I dealt with it by letting her sleep in my bed every night for 3 1/2 years being calm and consistent, sticking to my guns, putting my foot down, and insisting she sleep in her own bed. Honestly, there's some great bedtime help on the Goodnites site HERE. There's helpful information about bedwetting, and also tips on creating bedtime routines, helping your kids have the confidence to stay in their beds throughout the night, and enjoying bedtime rituals with your children. You can also download and/or listen to the Iggy Bedtime Theater stories with your kids. (You won't want to claw your ears off while listening to these with your kids either! I promise they're entertaining for adults as well!) And you can join me for the next bedtime chat on Gather.com April 14 from 8-9PM Central Time.

But is it just me, or is Brooklyn's the same picture as before?
It's just you.

Totally weird question I know... But I was wondering, could you post what colors each of your kids uses for the Easter Egg Hunt? Just out of curiosity, lol.
That really is a weird question. ;) Austin finds blue eggs, Savannah finds purple, Jackson finds the green ones, Lexi finds pink, Clay finds orange, and Brooklyn finds yellow eggs.

So basically what you are saying is that Austin is just like you?[ the bad comments on my report cards]
Except that I had a little higher aspirations than he does. Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. Go ahead! Ask him! I'll tell you his answer! He wants to be a hobo! Yep, a hobo. He doesn't even know what a hobo is!

What about first grade? You must have been an angel in first grade, right? A good teacher that could see your real potential?
I was a total angel in first grade and I had the best teacher ever! I still remember her - Miss Heater. She had Duso the Dolphin. Anyone remember him? "Hey Duso, come on out!" You gotta love friendly dolphin puppets and the slightly creepy songs that accompanied them back in the 70s, right? Please tell me that at least one person knows what I'm talking about here. I tend to wander off-topic now and then, by the way. Did any of my report cards mention that little tidbit?

completely unrelated, although i know my report cards looked like that too - with a lot of 'doesn't complete work on time' and 'spends too much time daydreaming'... but i have to say that my daughter is very disappointed that you changed your pictures. she loved austin's old picture and anytime she saw that i was on your blog, she immediately said, 'i want to see the boy with the blue tongue!' haha! AND smooth on the absence of the 30 something (and lack of replacement mentioning of age)! ;)
I was going to put that picture here for you, but then you had to go and mention my advanced age! Grrrr! OK, I'll be nice anyway. Here ya go...



I started following your blog about 7 months ago. Right after I read 'Because I said so!' (Loved it by the way!) Can't wait for your new one..SSO? When is it supposed to be coming out? I am dying to read it.
Good question. I'm not exactly sure, but it's supposed to be coming out this fall. I'll get back to you with an exact date when I have one. And THANK YOU for reading my book and taking the time to tell me you liked it. :D

Nothing to do with this post (sorry - SSO?)but are you still using the neti-pot thing you mentioned ages ago? I too find the idea of pouring salt water up my nose revolting/terrifying but I have yet another cold & would like to rediscover breathing...
Yes, breathing is one of my favorite pastimes. I don't use the neti pot regularly, but I do use it if I have a cold. Don't worry, I promise to never make a video of me using it.

Did you share these [my report cards] with Austin? He might have a better outlook about the whole school thing if he sees that you had your moments, too. Plus, being able to laugh at mom is always fun.
Oh, he doesn't need any more reasons to laugh at me! And showing him my report cards will only make him say, "See? Why should I try harder? You didn't and you're doing pretty well for yourself, don't you think?"

Might sound like a really dumb question, but is the address sufficient if i was to send a get well card from Australia??? I know a dumb vegemite eating Aussie question!
Not a dumb question at all! Just use:
Savannah Meehan
836 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
#230
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
USA
if you want to send a card to Savannah. She's scheduled for surgery next week.

Dawn, do you sometimes wonder what this year is meant to be about? Is it meant to teach us out here in voyeur land something? You something? Is it just crap because crap eventually comes around to everyone eventually? Although you are getting an extremely unfair amount of crap lately.Do you ever ask "WHY? After everything else WHY??" Cause if I was you I sure would.Thinking of you all and hoping that whatever the reason for the crap it has decided enough is enough and leaves your lives.
Hmmm, I actually don't wonder or think that at all. In fact, I think I have it pretty good. I've never (knock on wood) had anything really bad happen. I figure God's got it under control, so why should I worry about silly little things.

SSO; I would love to know what kind of laundry detergent you use? With 6 kids I bet you do a ton of laundry! I only have 4 and I do about 3-4 loads a day. I can't keep up!
OK, honestly, I used to use Target brand detergent, but I recently did a review of Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean. I was paid to try it out and write about my experiences. I figured when that bottle was gone, I'd go back to my Target detergent. But that Arm & Hammer stuff is really good! It has a fresh, clean smell and it really gets out those nastified stains, so I've recently switched to Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean. But don't worry, I buy it at Target. (Don't want to hurt Target's feelings.)

SSO: Could you give us newly single moms some advice on how to make it work money wise? I would love to know how you do it now with 6 kids. I have 3 and its hard doing this alone. Are you a stay-at-home-mom still? Thanks for any advice.
Well, I'm newly single myself and trying to figure out how it's going to work. I think it's important to distinguish between wants and needs and teach your kids this lesson too. You may not have as much discretionary income as before so extras like going out to eat, buying things on a whim, vacations, going out to the movies, etc. may have to be cut back or done away with. That's not to say you can't have any fun. Instead of taking the family out to a movie which can be really costly, rent a movie at Red Box for $1 or check it out for free from your local library, for example.
Accept hand-me-downs (even seek them out!) and shop resale stores for your kids' clothes.
Do a clean-sweep of your house and have a garage sale or eBay those things that are just taking up space in your home. You'll clean and organize your house while making some money.
Cook at home. You can save a ton if you skip the restaurants and drive-thrus in favor of eating at home.
Call your utilities and see if you qualify for a discount based on your income.
Drop unnecessary things. Maybe it's cable tv, or magazine or newspaper delivery. Maybe it's your monthly manicure or your child's violin lessons that they hate and want to quit anyway.
Create a budget. You probably had to do this when filling out divorce paperwork anyway. It's good to see on paper just where your money is going.
Make mutually beneficial friendships! Maybe your friend can fix things around your house or drive your son to hockey practice. In return, maybe you can fix their computer or mow their lawn. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but return the favor when you can.
Hmmm, I guess I had more ideas than I thought I did. Anyone who has other ideas, feel free to chime in and share your wisdom!

I just googled something ridiculous (looking for an exact Bill Cosby quote) and your blog was the first thing on the list. It made me laugh really hard! So when you see "so i went upstairs to my bed which is where i wanted to be in the first place" I have explained myself and deserve credit. ;) And for future reference, the exact quote I was looking for is "And my wife sent me to me room... which is where I wanted to go in the first place." (I was pretty close.)
I did see that search phrase in my stat counter! Although I didn't think twice about it since the one right after yours was, "Jesus woke up my mom to feed the baby".

Whew! What a relief it will be when Austin can drive!
Relief. Yeah, that's the word I was looking for. Not apprehension, fear, nightmare, horror. Nope. Relief.

Forgot to mention the other day. Happy one year anniversary on the release of your first book. What is the proposed release date of book two? Eagerly awaiting number two.
Thanks, Sandy! Wow, it has been a year! Time has FLOWN by!

Do the other set of grandparent's get to see the kids? And how was your Easter?
Easter was good. My parents see my kids. My inlaws never did see them much, so nothing's really changed there.

I also have a question about leaving a question for you for Sunday Sound Out. I tried last week sometime to write a brilliant and probably the most witty and inspiring question through your "Get in Touch" button and somehow it got lost in cyberspace. (I can compliment myself multiple times since it didn't go through you see! lol)So my question now is...is it a problem for others since you said you had a lack of new questions...or is it just techno-challenged me?
Ummm, ???

Does Lexi watch iCarly? Or Drake and Josh? Or does she just like Miranda Cosgrove?
Yes, yes, yes.

he [Joe]might have a terminal illness and that is why is doing what he is doing to save the kids greive
Sorry, but this is ludicrous. What Joe has is not terminal. And even if that was the case, a parent who abandons their kids before dying is not going to save them grief in any way, shape, or form.

I swear (but I try not to), some people must give their kids ice cream out of the container in order to have a peaceful conversation on the phone. If that were me, the ice cream would be all over the house and them! You are so down to earth and normal. Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone in my parenting adventure.
Oh, don't get me wrong. There are plenty of times I let my kids have whatever they want to buy a couple quiet minutes on the phone. "You want a fruit snack? Sure, take the whole box! You want a giant candy bar ten minutes before dinner? No problem, have two! You want a pony? You got it!"

Don't forget to check out my Arm & Hammer review HERE and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a $200 Visa gift card.

And check out the Pop-Tarts post HERE to be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Afterschool Rocks

I was invited by Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and The Afterschool Alliance to meet Miranda Cosgrove last Thursday. My kids were back in school last week, but I decided to take Lexi out of school for the morning for some one-on-one, mother/daughter bonding time. And, of course, because opportunities like these don't come along every day. I knew she'd love going and would remember it for years to come.

After enlisting the help of some friends, I got everyone up and ready, dropped Brooklyn off at my friend, Gin's house. Had Savannah walk Jackson and Clayton over to my friend, Ellen's house on her way to school. Ellen took the boys to school for me. Then I cruised to the train station, but missed the train I was trying to catch. I didn't have quite enough time even with my friend, Eric's offer to valet park my car on the way to work so I could just hop out and run for the train. It's ok though because we caught the next one and made it downtown with like 45 seconds to spare. And, because we didn't get back home in time, my friend, Doreen picked up Clay from school and kept him for an hour until we got back. Lexi and I thank all our wonderful friends for all their help!!! I'd never be able to handle everything without you guys!

Here's a little video from our day...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Backyard Beach

Remember when I said my kids had been getting along and behaving really well? Yeah, um, about that...

A couple days ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone while cleaning my bathroom. I always talk on the phone while cleaning. By the time I finish my conversation and hang up, my house is clean and I don't even remember doing any of it! It's awesome! It's a great, virtually painless way to tackle yucky chores.

After my bathroom was all sparkly, I walked through the kitchen to hang up the phone. As I was saying goodbye to my friend, I stopped in my tracks as Clay and Brooklyn, dripping wet and wrapped in towels, came walking out of the other bathroom.

"Bye Jules. Talk to you la..what the??? What are you two doing?" I yelled in my friend's ear on the other end of the line. Of course, Clay and Brooklyn were up to no good. Duh. I should've known this from the start. They were quiet. The whole time I was cleaning the bathroom, I didn't suffer a single interruption from them. Obviously that meant they were doing something like trying to scale the garage, or removing the tires from my van, or lighting the yard on fire, or painting the windows with crayon and smooshed cheese. (In case you're wondering, it's especially hard to get smooshed American cheese off windows.)

Really it's a toss-up. You can have a quiet conversation while the kids destroy the house express their creativity, or you can have a conversation like this:

"So I was talking to my lawyer and he said hold on a minute. Get down from there right now! What are you thinking? Do you want to fall and crack your head open? I'm sorry, Julie, so I was talking to my lawyer and he said that no, I can't paint your nails right now. I know you want nail polish, but I'm on the phone. I'll paint them when I get off. Sorry, Julie. I swear this kid wants her nails painted every day. Every single day! She has so many layers of nail polish that her nails are like 2 1/2 inches thick! I have no idea what I was saying. Oh yeah! My lawyer told me that he'll set up a court date for Clayton, I told you to put on a jacket if you're going outside. It's cold out there! Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is cold! Yes, it is! Fine, don't put on a jacket. Suit yourself. But then you have to stay inside. Sure, I'll put on a movie for you. Hang on, Julie. I'm sorry. OK, there we go. Now, they're all set with a movie. So, what's going on with the job situation? Oh, we were talking about the court date? Oh yeah! Well, I told him yes, I can get you some chocolate milk. Where's your cup? Sorry Julie. Hang on a sec."

OK, I know some of you are probably thinking that conversation is horribly rude and permeated with bad manners. And yes, if you're on the phone with the doctor's office, or a business call, or your mother, you don't want to have conversations like this. However, if you're on the phone with your girlfriend who is having an identical conversation with you because her boys are beating each other over the head with golf clubs and running out into the street as she's talking to you, then I say, go ahead! It's understood. It's mutually acceptable. It's what stay-at-home moms do. If we waited for an opportunity to talk in peace and quiet, we never talk to anyone! We'd sit at home all day with no outlet until we snapped and started having conversations with sock puppets named Argyle and Bobby.

Anyway, I digress. I wasn't having the aforementioned conversation so I should have been aware that my kids were up to no good. Back to the dripping wet kids emerging from the bathroom.

"What are you guys doing?"

"We just took a shower, Mom."

"I can see that. Why?"

We just felt like it."

"Uh huh," I said as I noticed the dirty footprints covering the floor, leading from the backdoor, through the kitchen, down the hallway, and into the bathroom. I followed the footprints. At the bathroom door, I stopped in my tracks. There at my feet was a mound of discarded clothing that was soaked in water and covered in sand.




Hmmm, this is a new one, I thought to myself. "What on earth did you two do?" I asked in wonder.

"We made a beach."

"A beach, huh? In the sand box?"

"Yeah, we filled it with water and went swimming like the ocean!" Clay beamed, proud of his clever idea.

I began thinking that perhaps those two watch a little too much Phineas and Ferb. Where was Candace when I needed her?

"That's just..." I floundered for words. "That's great," I said with tons of only a hint of sarcasm.

Every week, I find myself instituting rules I never thought I'd need. This week it was the No Swimming in the Sand Box rule. Now if only my kids' messes disappeared as easily as Phineas and Ferb's...

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week in Review

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a nice Easter! I got sick on Saturday and have felt kinda crappy the past couple days so I've skipped the blogging in favor of sleep.

Here are some pictures from my week...

We only spilled one cup of egg dye this year!


Oooo pretty


All Brooklyn's eggs looked like rocks for some reason. How does one even manage to make gray Easter eggs???


Baseball, baseball, and more baseball

hockey, hockey, and more hockey

I took Lexi out of school Thursday morning to meet Miranda Cosgrove (more on that to come). She was insanely excited! A million thanks go to my friends, Ginny, Ellen and Doreen for helping me out sooo much! I couldn't have gotten Lexi downtown without all of you guys and your willingness to help me out big time! Thank you!

I went to court yesterday for a pre-trial conference concerning my divorce. It went very much in my favor with the judge saying that the kids and I could stay in the house. It looks like the divorce will be final on May 4th. It's sad because I never imagined my life would turn out like this. I don't think anyone goes into marriage, thinking, Oh well, if it doesn't work out, we'll just get divorced. Actually, some people probably do have that attitude. But most of us think that things will last forever. And once kids are thrown into the mix, we do everything we can to make it work. We try for years. We put up with more than we probably should "for the kids' sake". But sometimes, there comes a point when we realize that staying together "for the kids" is not really the best thing for the kids. In the best cases, both parents put their own feelings aside for the best interest of the children. They cooperate for their sake. They work together to make sure the kids know that none of it is their fault. They bite their tongues and keep their negative thoughts about each other to themselves. They both spend as much time as possible with the kids and do everything in their power to ensure them that they are very much loved and cherished and that will never change.
That's not my case. I don't know if Joe is trying to punish me. I don't know if he's just having a hard time separating his feelings for me from those for the kids. I have no idea what on earth is going through his head. I do know that he loves the kids and used to be a hands-on dad. He used to spend time with them, take them for bike rides, play catch with them, help them with homework. Unfortunately, he's cut himself off from them and hasn't spent time with them for 3 1/2 months. He changed his cell phone number so we can't call him. He told his lawyer that he doesn't want joint custody and doesn't want visitation. My heart breaks for my kids and I work overtime making sure they know that it's not their fault and that their dad loves them. That's all I can do.
I'm not writing this to bash Joe. Like I said, I don't know what his problem is and why he's making the choices he is. I mostly feel sorry for him. I'm not going into all the details of the divorce and things he's said or done. Just letting you know what is going on and why I don't keep up with my blog as much as before. I'm just kinda busy these days.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Coffee, Tea, or a Pinecone?

Clay had baseball at 6:00 tonight. Savannah had a softball meeting at 6:15. Jackson had hockey at 7:00 on the other side of town. Joe is still not in the kids' lives (other than when he happens to be working at the school where a couple of them attend.) I haven't figured out a way to clone myself yet.

So, after reminding the kids to get their mitt, bat, cup, water bottle, hockey stick, etc. 50,000 times, we all piled into the van and headed to Clay's practice. I dropped off Clay and Austin and pulled away to cruise to Savannah's softball meeting. As we drove down the street, I thought, Hmmm, I don't remember seeing Clay holding his baseball bag. I turned around and went back. Sure enough, Clay and Austin were standing there, looking a little lost. They grabbed the equipment, but couldn't get the water bottle or Austin's cell phone because they'd forgotten them at home. Not enough time for me to grab it. Gotta get to meeting. Away we went.

Walked into meeting, explained that Savannah would be out for the season even though the season hasn't even begun. Sped home, grabbed Austin's phone, Clay's water bottle, and Jackson's water bottle. Dropped Austin's phone off at the field where Clay was playing. Forgot to give him the water. Headed across town to Jackson's hockey practice. Realized I forgot to Febreeze his pads. Gagged a few times. Sat down to watch. 3 1/2 minutes later, Austin texted that Clay was done. Dragged everyone out to the car so we could drive back across town to get Clay and Austin. Brooklyn trudged out to the car carrying an armful of pinecones she'd collected.

"Mom, can I bring these home?"

I eyed the pinecones. "Why? So you can drop them on the floor of my car where they'll stay for the next 2 months while everyone steps on them and crushes them into the floor?"

blink blink

"Sigh OK, bring them along. Just get in the car so we can get your brothers."

The entire way across town, Brooklyn held her pinecones up while shouting, "Coffee! Tea! Lemonade! Dr. Soda (I think this is a relative of Dr. Pepper) Chocolate Milk!" She offered me a pinecone. "Here Mama! Don't you want some coffee?"

"Sure, Brooklyn", I said as I stopped at a light and reached back for my pinecone coffee. I held the "coffee" to my mouth as I gulped it down. I noticed the car next to me at the light looking at me strangely. "What? You've never had pinecone coffee before?" I asked.

This game went on the entire way home. I think I consumed 15 cups of coffee. I'll never sleep tonight! (I'll also never get all the sap off my hands!)

Leave it to the little ones to lighten an otherwise stressful evening. :)

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