May 13, 2012 in City

Busy mother becomes hit on CafeMom site

Alex Powers (Klamath Falls, Ore.) Herald
Associated Press photo

From left, Bryerson, 5, Kenninsten, 11, Kabella, 6, McKendrianna, 14, Kenzington, 1, Cashton, 2, Khaleighan, 10, and Zaidensen, 3, pose with their mother, Andrea Dodson, center, in late April at the family’s home in Keno, Ore.
(Full-size photo)

KENO, Ore. – Bryerson Dodson, 5, has found a frog.

His siblings, ranging from 1 to 14 years old, dismount from playground equipment and come racing from corners of the yard to see it.

There are eight in all, and they pass the frog around before their mother, Andrea, hands it to the youngest, Kenzington, who elicits shrieks and laughter when she squeezes the frog a little too hard.

This is the life of Andrea Dodson: Mom to eight children, she baffles friends and family by still finding time for crafts and the online community CafeMom, a website designed to allow moms to talk, share advice and make friends. She’s known there as housefullofkidz.

And she does it as a single parent.

“I swear she’s got to have a cape and a tiara,” said friend and CafeMom cohort Kim Probst, of Klamath Falls. “That woman is amazing.”

When members of the CafeMom website were given a chance to find out how some of the site’s celebrities live, they chose Dodson.

The Keno-area resident is known in the online community of moms for her eccentric decorating, repurposed crafts and family of eight children.

At her home last month, each room was a mix of crazy colors and an ever-present zebra motif. On a wall in the foyer of the house, a trio of mirrors is covered in blue glitter.

Dodson pointed to the piece that started her home decor – a Daniel Dakota grandfather clock, painted in zebra pattern.

While she’s taken discarded household items and decorated them with plastic jewels, glitter and vibrantly colored paint “for a long time,” Dodson said her home decorating picked up two years ago when she and her husband, Jason, split up.

“I don’t have a man living here, so I can live in a sparkling house,” she said.

She began sharing her crafts with members of CafeMom, where she oversaw several forums.

As a moderator, she was expected to make 50 posts a week on forum threads to encourage conversation and keep groups active. Dodson said she stepped down from her moderator post to spend more time with her children.

But it was one such user group of Klamath Falls-area members where Probst first met Dodson.

Dodson currently moderates a handful of groups on the CafeMom forums and said conversations with group members led her to friendships with four local women.

In February, an AOL Web producer came to Dodson’s home to take footage for CafeMom webcasts. “The Real Moms of CafeMom” episodes featuring Dodson were aired on the CafeMomStudio YouTube channel, she said.

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