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October 2007

Mommy Bloggers' Holiday: What happens in Dulles, stays in Dulles!

Lizdonnadisney_5

"Flying to the west coast," was all my email said, as I was hoping for a little company...you know...a familiar face in a sea of happy-go-lucky-park-hopping strangers...and my dear friend and fellow mommyblogger, Donna (a.k.a. Socal Mom) rose to the occasion!

We had ourselves a virtual Mommy Bloggers' Holiday, for real (she tells the story, so well) and we tore that park up with laughter and squeals of...OMG, how fast does this ride go...not to mention, my kids are totally going to hate me for this...I had a BLAST!

Lizdisneyfountain_2

Donna took a picture of me - yes, we wear a lot of black...in Jersey - and I do NOT believe I've ever looked so...sunny...or, this relaxed...in a long time!

But, wait until you hear what happened, after...Donna!

I got up bright and early the next morning - okay, it was cloudy and I thought it never rained in southern California - and nearly hugged my driver at the front of the hotel.

"You mean, you actually bought me a bottle of water?"

I swear, you California people are way too healthy - they actually had fresh fruit and flavored water kiosks - and I only found one stand selling churros, in Disneyland!?!?

Guess what snack I picked?

"Ooooh, candy!"

The driver told me that there was more water in the car, if I wanted...but, I was too busy sucking on peppermint to answer...or, care.

"We're you headed?"

I told him I was headed home to the east coast...via, Houston.

"Too bad I've got about 15 minutes to catch my next plane, I would have called my friend, Jenn, and I bet we coulda raised a little h...e...double hockey sticks, yes?"

He didn't know; he wasn't quite sure what a mommyblogger was and he'd never been to Houston!

"That's okay, maybe next time!"

Because, I sat next to the two most...BORING...men, in the world - they were from Texas - and I couldn't wait to get myself on the next plane and home to my babies. I missed each of them - yes, I even had thoughts of kissing Garth (not his real name) heavily, on my mind - and counted the hours, eagerly.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking."

Uh-oh.

"We've been circling Newark for the passed 30 minutes and are running low on fuel..."

D'OH!

"...so, we've been diverted to Dulles, to refuel..."

Phew!

"...and, hopefully, we'll be good to land in Newark...um...shortly."

We were scheduled to land at 10:10 p.m. and it was already 11:00 p.m. - being on a plane since noon - the day had turned way too long, already. No matter. I was having a good time.

"So, what do you think was the best Disney movie, EVER!?!?"

Personally, the kids and I still enjoy watching Toy Story and absolutely loved The Incredibles!

"Uh, ladies and gentlemen..."

Now what?

"...we seem to be having an experience."

Boy, did we have fun with that one!

"What do you think he really means, by experience?"

Being way in the back of the plane - sitting in the last row - it was hard to say.

"One of our passengers is having a moment..."

Oh, okay.

"...and we're waiting for the authorities..."

Riiiiight.

"...to escort him OFF the plane."

Well, then good.

"Look, there's an ambulance!"

We all crane our necks and ignore the pleas of the flight attendants - as if, we were NOT on the verge of a riot, already - to get a good look.

"OMG...there he is..."

And I couldn't believe that I actually squealed, with delight.

"...and I think he's NAKED!"

Yep, like a newborn baby...only bigger...and balder...and...well, the rest I'm really trying hard...to forget.

"He's letting himself into the ambulance..."

As calm as can be, thank you very much.

"...and he's closing the doors!"

Apparently, Mr. Phys-co-in-first-class wasn't very happy about being delayed, either, and felt it necessary to get naked in Dulles!

"Man, that was so worth the divert!"

Me, not so much - how we laughed, and laughed - and we were still giggling, even after landing about 1:30 a.m.

"OMG...you're still here!?!?"

The driver was standing there - all wide-eyed and what the hey - and this time, I hugged him!

"So, where you headed?"

What, no candy?

"Well, figuring we're getting home at about 3:00 a.m...straight into my husbands arms and then right to bed!"

[raises eyebrows]

"I mean, I've got two soccer games, this morning...sheesh!"

Though, it was worth it - both Mini-me and The Boy scored a goal - it was a lovely mommybloggers' holiday and what happened in Dulles...well, consider it a perk.

"Momma...I feel sick...BELCH...BLAAAH!"

Doncha wish you had a life, like me!?!

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

East meets west and how I can’t get Chris Daughtry out of my head!

You know that feeling you get - a cold sort of shiver that seizes your insides and numbs your brain - when you take the chance and venture out of your comfort zone, or meet new people for the very first time?

Yes?  Then, perhaps you'll understand why I haven't slept a solid 2 hours, in 2 days.

Preparing for this trip wasn't easy. I mean, beyond the typical hassles most working parents are already aware of, like arranging for child care and calling in a few favors from friends and perhaps that elusive neighbor of yours. And not just getting over the physical (and emotional) part of traveling a ridiculous distance, feeling less like a person and more like cattle, crammed into something with very little leg room and suddenly seems way too narrow.

Sheesh, ya' think they have enough fuel to travel 3,000 miles in this thing?

Nope, I'm talking about...having to talk...in front of a roomful of people who you admire...but, don't know...in fact, they don't know you, either...not really...so, you practice...because, you can't sleep...the night before...and the morning of...and the guy next door is snoring, anyway...very loudly...omg...shut up, already...and then you finally think you're ready...in fact...you look pretty good, too...you start to chat...make a few people laugh...nice...good way to break the ice...you think...and then...they ask the first question...and, then...

Nothing.

Yep, you know that feeling I was talking about - well, it hit me like a ton of bricks - I started to answer, but my nerves took over and my tongue decided it was better if I didn't. You know, talk.

"Uh...I believe that women...um...I mean, the women on the internet don't..."

Crap, I know this!

"Blogging helped me to reach outside myself...um..."

Oh...my...doG...what is up with my tongue!?!?

"Look, I'm obviously not used to being up on stage...or, having ALL these lights on me...I'm saying um...and uh...and stuff I promised myself that I wouldn't....way too much."

Okay, they laughed...that's good...keep going.

"I don't discuss anything in my blog that I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about with friends, on my couch at home - this is a real as you're going to get, folks."

No, I wasn't comfortable - and certainly a lot less articulate than I would have liked to have been - but, the reason for this whole trip was to introduce corporations to what it's like, to live the days, in a life, of a mommyblogger.

"Want to know who they are and what they want? What they don't want? Read their blogs. Check out their "about" pages. They'll spell it out for you!"

Those were perhaps the only excerpts of the two most important points - one of about a dozen ramblings - that I am proud to have been able to have driven home.

But, I got to meet one of my dearest online friends...Socalmom...for the first time...and let me just tell you, it was love at first hug - the BEST part of this whole trip, really - and that...my friends...is what blogging is all about!

[pictures to follow, soon]

In just a few minutes, they're going to call to let me know that it's time to go.

These last few days have been amazing - my hosts have been more than generous with their kindness towards making me feel as comfortable, as possible - but, it's time I bid farewell to the west coast and go back to the life I know.

Make room on the couch, doofus-dog...I'm coming home!

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Picture Perfect Thursday - Where sleep illudes and a little girl's dream comes true.

Well, I made it. It wasn’t easy. I mean, leaving my kids and trying to act as if I was NOT at all excited about the fact that Mommy’s going to Disneyland.

“Don’t worry, Mommy’s working and probably won’t have time to have ANY fun!”

Riiiiight - they didn’t believe me, either.
So, I kissed them goodbye, told them that I would call to tell them exactly what I was doing, every minute, and spent the next 5-1/2 hours of being wedged in between two people, who didn’t.

“This is my first time going to Disneyland and my kids are soooo hating me, right now.”

[sound of crickets]

Okaaaaaay - it was a long flight.
As soon as I got off the plane, and saw all the palm trees - not to mention the mountains and nothing but totally blue sky - I knew that I was…you know…someplace else.

I called the kids, from the car, and sent them a picture of the palm trees, to prove that Momma was on solid ground.

“I miss you and cried in school…a little.”

Ugh.

“I know, but I’ll be home on Friday and I’ll even bring you a pretty!”

My driver kept looking at me funny and - after taking pictures of the trees, the grass, the traffic signs, the inside of the car and promising someone a pretty, four times - I imagine he was wondering, just how many kids does crazy breed?

By the time we got to the hotel, I had pretty much used up all of the memory on my camera phone - oh gosh, I hope I packed my charger!
Oh, well.

So, we went out to dinner, last night and - how I managed to keep my face out of the sturgeon, I’ll never know - I have to tell you, being here at Disneyland feels as if I’ve been whisked away to an enchanted world of lights, music and the smell of something sticky-sweet.

Phew…what is that?

I kept telling Gretchen - my new bff and resident Disney historian - how, I can’t keep from giggling like an enamored school girl.

I swear, this place brings out the kid in me (not a terribly difficult feat, from what I’ve been told) and I had to stop myself from skipping…once, or twice!

Then, I saw it.

Cinderella’s castle - sitting there looking all princess-like lit up in pink and purple - and me without my camera phone!

Cinderellacastle

“Oh…my…doG…Mini-me is NOT going to believe this.”

Gretchen?

Okay, I guess I need to learn how to stop boring people (I know, too late) still.

“I can email this to you, right now, if you want!”

That’s when I was reminded why I just HAD to take this trip and realized the reason I love my job, so much - I get to meet the coolest people - and Gretchen took this amazing picture (hence, the bff) and made a little princess, very happy.

Oh, and Mini-me’s going to love it, too…I’m sure.

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Tackle It Tuesday: Flying Fearless, Finding My Song and You Know I Should Be Dancing...sort of!

In less than 24 hours, I am about to embark on one of the greatest adventures of my life - since becoming a mom, anyway - and I’m excited (AND grateful) to have been invited to attend Disney’s Corporate Alliance Meeting in Anaheim, California.

Yes, you heard right, they “asked me” to speak on a panel of mom bloggers about marketing to moms on the web and I am perhaps just as surprised as you are…if not, more. Though, it’s not like I haven’t flown alone…or, across country…to meet, greet, speak and eat with total strangers…alone, before…did I mention that I will be traveling ALONE!?!?

This week’s challenge is HUGE - totally nerve-racking, actually - yep, it’s time to come out from behind the blog and show the “real me!”

I mean, attending BlogHer ‘07 is an experience that I won’t soon forget - unlike, closing the car windows on a rainy day - but, I had a gaggle of beautiful women to hide stand behind with and was too busy totally crushing on a couple of blogging rockstars, you know, the moms who really know how to work-it, to worry about my 5′ 10″ self standing out, too much.

I imagine that many people would say that pulling a bunch of women together - especially, bloggers - and providing them with a beautiful venue, a microphone and “asking them” to share their opinions, is like throwing a dead fish into a crowd of starving cats; you’re going to hear it.

[cringe]

Okay - that may NOT have been the best analogy - but, you get it…right?

Although, motherhood is nothing new (my ancestors have been doing it for years and some have even birthed their babies in the middle of a field, more than once) there are a lot of folks who still don’t understand what it is really like to be a mother. Hell, I’m still learning as I go. And that’s okay. At least, their asking. That’s what this trip is about and why this conference is so important, too.

Yes, I’m going to Chicago at the end of the month…AGAIN…and speaking, as well!

We are way passed the days of comparing recipes and cleaning tips over the garden fence, people and for most women (especially, stay-at-home moms and quasi-dorks, like me) coming into such a professional-looking forum is virgin territory - pardon the pun - my palms are sweaty, my stomach’s a little queasy and I’m breaking out in festering little pustules (you’re welcome!) like you would NOT believe.

Just like the first time, only different.

So, today…I’m tackling a whole bunch of nerves (no, I have NOT gotten over…um…the flying, thing) ignoring a to do list about a bazillion miles long and battling some serious guilt over leaving Garth (not his real name) home with the kids, as mommy goes and plays with the big kids…AGAIN!

But, this time, there’s no hiding.

I’ll be sitting on a stage.  Hopefully, NOT too close to my co-panelists (Jeez, but these women are brilliant and gorgeous…DAMMIT) and looking at about a hundred strangers…looking at me…represent, baby!

“Holy crap, what was I thinking?”

Garth (not his real name) just sat there and listened to me go on…and on (sort of like, now) and then…when, I was finally forced to take a breath…he said the sweetest thing to me.

“Shut up, already!”

[eyes go wide]

“What was that thing…you know…the trick you learned at BlogHer?”

Why, I don’t remember there being a magician, or anything?

“Oh, wait…yeah…I forgot!”

I attended a luncheon with Gail Blanke (I love her column in Real Simple) she is a wonderful motivational speaker, and gorgeous in person as well, DAMMIT, and she referenced an article she’d written (which, I had read and also loved) about finding your song - something that gets you moving - and then singing it.

Mine?

You know what…I dunno. You know me better than anybody. What song best describes me? My husband Garth (not his real name) thinks that I should definitely stay away from ANYTHING, you know, too disco - although, you know I should be dancing! - and NO Freebird, please!

My life has turned into a major roller coaster - more than usual, I mean - and, though I don’t know where it will all lead to, for now, I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

[cue announcer]

“Liz, you’ve just been handed your head on a silver platter…what are you going to do…NOW?”

[brushing bangs out of eyes]

I’m going to Disney Land!

[re-enter, real life]

But, not before running a gazillion errands (that’s way more than a bazillion, btw) including, but NOT limited to, food shopping, after school pick-ups, car pooling drop-offs, printing off a few more business cards (’cause, ya’ never know) and sewing a bunch of Girl Scout badges onto Mini-me’s brownie vest, seeing as she has her first meeting…um…this afternoon!

Wish me luck!

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

This Mom Speaks Up: Or, is it better to just walk away?

Work It, Mom - one of my favorite blogging communities - linked to a New York Times article about suppressing your emotions when arguing with your husband and how this may NOT be a good idea:

“In men, keeping quiet during a fight didn’t have any measurable effect on health. But women who didn’t speak their minds in those fights were four times as likely to die during the 10-year study period as women who always told their husbands how they felt.”

Talk about timing - I just blogged about this same thing - a quick synopsis: stupid argument over money and rather than talk-out our anger, we didn’t speak and even slept in separate rooms, Thursday night.

Color me another disappointing statistic - let’s see, how many rules of engagement…er…work-out your marital spats did I break on that one, huh?!?
Unfortunately, my post had nothing to do with research.

It happened to me. In real time. In front of the kids. In contrary to everything that I’ve ever taught my children and, at the cost of sounding like an absolute simpleton, I left my comments here and still stick to my decision.

“Where’s Daddy?”

The kids were ready to celebrate the weekend, it was nearly 8:00 o’clock in the evening - Friday night pizza and movie night, you know - and Garth (not his real name) usually gets home about now.

“I dunno…but, we can’t wait any longer…EVERYONE IN THE CAR!”

My oldest daughter invited a friend to sleepover - yes, she asked first and I thought…feh…WHY NOT, what’s one more!?!? - and I was waiting for Garth (not his real name) to get home, so I could, you know, leave.

“Do we all get to pick a movie?”

Suuuuure!

“Wow, good thing we got room in the car!”

Riiiiight!

“Are you sleeping with Daddy, or us, tonight?”

WHY NOT!?!?

“Now, what would make you think that?”

Duh.

“Well…Daddy slept in the living room, last night…and he said it was because he was more comfortable on the couch.”

Oh.

“Nope, you guys get the couch!”

Oh, the things I could have said…or, at least can think to say…but, don’t…NOT out loud…or, in front of the kids, anyway…because, I am supposed to be, you know, the grown-up!

“Daddy can sleep in the shed!”

In theory, anyway.

“Look, Daddy’s home!”

Swell.

“Let’s surprise him and tell him that he gets to feed FIVE kids, tonight!”

Yes, kids can say the funniest things - don’t look at me, they get their sarcasm from their mother - and I have no illusions about hiding our emotions from children…they see…hear…and do, in fact, know exactly what’s going on.

I, however, had no idea about Garth (not his real name) or, what he was thinking, coming home so late - it was nearly 9:00 p.m., I think - and leaving me with the children. Having to explain myself, again. One of them wasn’t even his, for goodness sake! I was soooo tired of talking, already.

“Mommy rented us a bunch of stuff!”

We’ve punished each other enough, yes - I mean, he couldn’t even look at me - so, I just walked into the kitchen and felt…well, I really don’t know how to explain it…just sort of numb, I guess.

Makeupflowrs

I asked him what the flowers were for and when he explained that they were, indeed, for me, I couldn’t help, but wonder…HUH?

“I read your blog, today.”

Suddenly, I wasn’t so angry…anymore - not that I agree with makeup presents, much - and we’ve managed to get passed another rough patch and, yet again, perhaps leave a whole new group of self-proclaimed experts, dumbfounded - or, not!

.
This time, it was better to just walk away….and blog it.

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

When being bad feels pretty darn good!

Minimemickeydee

In here? Yes. You mean, here? Yep. Now? Yes. Are you wed-dee? Uh-huh. Wed-dee? Um…go ahead! In here? Just, DROP IT…um…good job, Sweetie!

I explained to the cashier - poor thing looked a little scared and kept backing up, the whole time - as Mini-me and I were dropping off a donation to RMHC, for The Big MoFo Delurk, yesterday.  Thank you all very much for participating (you too, Miss Zoot) and helping me show my kids that, yes, mommy can open her wallet and spend $15.00 on something other than milk, eggs, bread and fabric softener.

Even though I didn’t get to extend the dollar amount into the triple digits - like, Miss Zoot would’ve - because, it nice to be able to do something right, for change.

[heavy sigh]

Besides, Garth (not his real name) is angry enough with me, already.

Funny, he’s such a Dudley Do-Right (don’t worry, he knows it) and it is one of the (many) terms of endearment I would use whenever our friends wonder how in the heck we EVER got together, in the first place, since I was a bit of a rebel - back in the day and way before children.

Yes, Liz B.C. was a bad girl - are you shocked? My parents would be, if they read my blog, and my mother-in-law probably doesn’t believe me (yes, she reads me) anyways.

But, that was then and now I have four other egos to stroke….including my husbands.

“How much do you want me to spend, tonight?”

We wolfed-down ate dinner and Garth (not his real name) got home just in time to see me and Thing Two leave for the art auction being held at the high school.

“Okay, thanks….but, I don’t think we’ll have to donate any more than that.”

Liar, liar.

“We’ll be home around 9.”

Pants on fire!

“Thing Two will probably find it boring, anyways.”

Nose as long…whoa, hold on there - no need to get personal - but, my parenting skills haven’t been the best lately and I already owed Thing Two some private time (Thing One’s still sort of mad me, anyway) so, bidding on gorgeous pieces of art for charity was the perfect excuse for a mommy-daughter-night-out.

“But, what about meeeeeee!?!?”

Next time, it’s Mini-me’s turn.

“But, the girls get to do stuff with you all the time!”

After The Boy, of course!

“Be good for daddy.”

Because, mommy is about to do something really, really…BAD!

“Look, it’s a Wooster!”

Honestly, it was exciting to be able to buy something - especially, since most of the bids started at $150.00 - from one of my most favorite artists of all time - Jane Wooster Scott.

“Aaaand…so is THIS one!”

Getting two framed and SIGNED lithographs - for the price of what it would have probably cost just to frame one - made me feel like such a winner!

“For only two-hundred bucks, it’s a steal!”

I’ll save you from having to hear the rest of my verbal beating argument (you’re welcome) but, a bulk of the money raised last night is going back into the school system (heaven knows, we need it) and he knows I never spend that much money, at once, on anything, unless it’s on the kids, going in the fridge, or the gas tank.

“What’s the matter with daddy?”

Swell.

“Nothing you have to worry about, Sweetie.”

Liar, liar - dang, but mommy lies a lot - just call me Matt.

“Why isn’t Thing Two going to school, today?”

Because, Garth (not his real name) and I weren’t speaking - sometimes, it is better to just walk away - I went upstairs, shut our bedroom door, but I was too angry to go to sleep. I decided to put away some clothes and developed a few new curse words.

“Stupid [bleeping] closet!”

GAH!

“Momma?”

Dang it.

“I’m sorry!”

UGH.

“For what?”

And the tears came fast, now.

“I told you not to wimp-out on buying those pictures and now you and daddy are getting divorced!”

If, being a grown-up can stink…THIS MUCH…then, living with one has to SUCK!

“No, baby…it’s going to take a lot more than that!”

I tried to explain it, the best I could - because, there are going to be plenty of other times when her dad and I won’t like each other, so much - but, moms and dads don’t know everything (act surprised, okay) when the answers don’t come quickly and we need to work on getting through the bad times, too.

“Can I sleep with you?”

Well, daddy certainly won’t and - seeing as she’s 11-years-old and an honor student - I sometimes forget that she’s still a kid.

“Of course!”

So, we crawled into bed and watched Letterman.

[snicker]

I am officially declaring a mental day - because, I am a dork - and if there is anyone else out there, who’s feeling a little bad….go ahead….give yourself a break and just go with it….it is what it is….but, it can always be better and because I said so, damnit!

As for Garth (not his real name) well, we kissed (sort of) and I hope to be able to make up and be friends, again. By the end of the week, I think. Or, before Aunt Flo visits and all hell breaks loose!

Wish me luck!

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.