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July 2012

The Descent, Jersey Style

My brother-in-law is visiting with us for a couple of days this week (yes, on purpose!) but, I wasn't surprised to learn that he really didn't have any plans to go to the beach (or down the shore, if you're from Jersey) and, considering he's lived in Southern California for the last 20+ years, can you really blame him?

Glowing rocks
So, yeah, our rocks actually do glow, you got a problem wit-dat?

Besides, there are plenty of OTHER really cool places to visit here in Jersey (ARE SO!) especially, for BIG TIME history buffs like my brother-in-law (and me) so, when he suggested we take our kids to The Sterling Hill Mining Museum I was all, like, YAY!...oh, wait:

Sterling Mines Capture
I mean, considering our run of bad luck lately, can you really blame me? 

A geologists dream
A geologist's freakin' playground.

Seriously, I couldn't help but think of ALL the dangerous possibilities:  one of us getting beaned on the head with a random piece of falling rock (okay, mostly me!) learning that the misplaced stick of dynamite was in fact SO NOT a dud, finding that one and only hole they forgot to plug up and/or re-living The Descent (be careful, link has sound and dang but that movie scared the bee's juice out of me) for real.

Mining clothes
2,550 feet, 35 miles in length, that's a WHOLE lot of descending, you's guys!

Add being a tad claustrophobic (okay, more like DUUUUUUDE, I HATE FREAKIN' TIGHT SPACES, GETTOUTTAMYWAY!) not to mention, I am not very comfortable with the dark (seriously, have you seen The Descent?) so, actually getting out of the car and buying the tickets to tour one of the oldest mines in the United States (first worked c. 1739) was a HUGE leap of faith on my part.

Heather in the window
Heather's reflection looks almost other-wordly.

I mean, just take a look at some of the stuff they've pulled out of this place for the last 250+ years -- totally creepy, right?

Dinosaurs were among us here in Jersey
So, how YOU doin'?

The museum was packed from floor to ceiling and, quite frankly, as interesting as these artifacts were, walking around displays of rocks embedded with ancient creepy-crawlies didn't help to quell my fears any (NUH-UH!) not one freakin' bit.

Hearth in mine
So pretty, right?

"Hey, look, this one looks like a heart!"

Then one of my kids would point out something really pretty and I think to myself (SELF!) fuhghettaboutit AND really, you've ridden the subway and survived, how bad could it be?!?

Miners I'm PROUD to be able to tell you that I did INDEED survive going into the mines.  Aaaaand, you'll have to take my word for it, because I was too busy holding onto the railing(s), I don't have ANY pictures to really prove it.

Dynamite
Of course, my kid was the ONLY one who knew and shouted out the warning, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!"  She shares a bathroom with her 13 year-old brother, enough said.

Learning about the past is cool AND helps to remind us to NOT take our more modern conveniences (like electricity, YO!)  for granted.

Where do miners go
Guess what this is? G'head, I'll wait.

Oh and indoor plumbing.  More specifically, toilets (see picture above) seriously, just let me hear one of my kids complain about having to share a bathroom...one more time...FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

BlogHer12: Caution, Professional Dork at Work!

@BBSummit with friends
Tracey, Me, Melisa and OH LOOK! It's freakin' Busy Mom at #BBSummit12!

I love traveling to blogging conferences and when people ask me, "What IS it that you do again?" I half-jokingly reply about my being a Professional Dork, by definition:

  • A little odd
  • Often times silly
  • Extremely clumsy
  • Breaks things (a lot!)
  • Prone to laugh-snorting
  • Jumping jack hating
  • Careful to cross her legs when sneezing
  • Average, every day, you just can't make this stuff up, dork of a mom

In other words:  what you see is what you get and, well, it's our imperfections that make us unique...most especially, in the blogging world...yes?

That being said, I feel blessed to be able to work with some of the smartest, kindest, funniest folks I've ever had the pleasure of meeting (IRL) and touched upon this while speaking on the Blogger and Brand Relationships panel during #BBSummit12 last weekend.

I'm still working on a blog-worthy recap (soon-ish, rather than later-ish) but my friend and BlogHer12 roomie Michelle actually live-blogged the whole shuh-bang AND my sistuh-from-anuh-thuh-muh-thuh Melisa shared her experience as one of the awesome organizers, as well.

Today, I am honored to be able to share with you my partnering with Readers Digest and Taste of Home Magazine during BlogHer12.

I will be live-tweeting from the Reader's Digest BlogHer Suite #4203 as:

Continue reading "BlogHer12: Caution, Professional Dork at Work!" »

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

So, My Kid Passes Out While Visiting Grandpa at the Hospital & Other Stories of You NEVER Know, You Know?

Hope Lemure
She's a sassy lemur.

Sooooo, I'm in my dear, sweet friend Melisa's fancy-schmancy car headed to #BBSummit12, my husband  calls me on my cell phone and after 4 kids AND 20+ years of marriage -- not to mention, having spent a good portion of my oldest daughter's college tuition on repair bills in just the last month or so -- I sort of figured it wasn't good news.

"Are you sitting down?"

Also, Garth (not his real name) knows I'm a fainter.

"I'm here in the hospital with Hope."

My oldest daughter took Hope and picked up Grandma to visit Grandpa in the hospital (he was admitted the night before and recovering from pneumonia) and at first I was all, like, okaaaaaaay, aaaaaaand??????

"Wait, okay, so why are YOU there again?"

Long story, short (you're welcome!) here's a quick run down of the events prior to my getting on the plane:

  • Wednesday:  car breaks down on the way home from visiting my mom and dad (it was 99 degrees out at the time, just so you know).
  • Thursday:  drop car at shop, rent another car so I can get oldest daughter to and from work; yes she can drive, no not a rental; go figure.
  • Friday:  car won't be ready for a few days; so I go extend rental and pray for winning lottery numbers (yeah, right!)
  • Saturday/Sunday:  oldest kid is scheduled to work, on this particular weekend, go figure.
  • Monday:  pick-up car, drop off rental and get some edible food in the house in preparation for the zombie apocalypse (just kidding, sort of!)
  • Tuesday:  Take oldest daughter to work (I know, the car is fixed, but I'm so NOT a big fan of tempting fate) get my haircut (STAT!) pick oldest daughter up from work and then think about the possibility of packing early, because...you know...you NEVER know, right?
  • Wednesday:   happen to glance at calendar and realize that I have a couple of writing deadlines, HOLY CRAP, tomorrow and just knew I should have packed early.
  • Thursday:  son wakes up with a temperature of 103.5 (UGH, again?!?) pediatrician's office is closing early for vacation (we've been keeping her busy) so, we spend next 3 hours at urgent care (I am NOT EVEN kidding!) my butt still hurts.
  • Still Thursday:  get a call while at urgent care with my son that FIL was being admitted to hospital and consider packing early as being highly overrated.

Now maybe you know why I was seriously second-guessing getting on a plane, the next day, or ever, in the first place, right? 

Still.  My son was responding to the antibiotics and my FIL was recovering nicely (thank goodness!) so, I got packing and was super-relieved when my plane finally landed...you know...on the ground...the right way...with me STILL on it...and everything.

"Hope took one look at Grandpa and passed out."

Sooooo, my poor husband, Garth (not his real name) spent the next 7 hours with Hope, texting me updates and generally keeping me from going CRAZY with worry or convincing me NOT to take part in any activities involving the use of sharp objects and/or heavy machinery.

"Remember when you passed out that one time taking Mama to the Hospital?"

True story.  I rushed my mother to the hospital during a gallbladder attack, passed out in the bathroom, tore my head open and was admitted...at the same time she was...her for an emergency gallbladder surgery and me for a concussion.

"Good thing we were BOTH in the hospital when it happened, right Mommy?!?"

Yep...she's my kid, a'ight...and I'm seriously considering taping EVERYONE ELSE up in bubble wrap, while I'm at BlogHer, next month!

Then maybe investing in a couple of sage sticks, cleansing the house with bleach (straight-up!) and perhaps even hiring an exorcist or something.  You know any?

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Look Mom, I Cut My Own Hair!!!

On my the list of scariest words a parent will ever hear along with:  what's ALL this hair doing in the bathroom?!?

Holly Before and After Self Cut 2
Unless, the kid actually does a gosh-darned pretty good job of it.

She claims to have gotten tired of dealing with ALL that mermaid hair, watched about a dozen YouTube tutorials on cutting naturally curly hair and, well, I envy her confidence (and her curls) even though I'll be vacuuming hair for about a month, or twenty. 

Way to go, Holls!

© 2003 - 2012  This Full House

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

On the Other Hand, My Build-A-Bear's Name Would Totally Be FUBAR!

The kids and I were sitting around the kitchen table -- actually, I was working on finalizing a few end of summer writing projects, while they hovered in and around my laptop, wondering out loud when, if ever, we would actually do something "fun" before school starts -- while we ALL reminisced about how much fun school "used" to be.

Incredibly enough, my 13 year-old son actually admitted that he kind of liked going to school (if you have a son, especially between the ages of 10 and grown, then you know why this is so gosh-darned incredible) most especially, after I pulled him out of the car and dragged him to the curb screaming.

His gym teacher, who stood at the ready and fielded the boy to the door every morning of kindergarten, will totally back me up on this one.

"Remember the thing about Sniper Bear?"

Long story, short (you're welcome) my son also had this thing....ummmmm....okay, to try and put this as delicately as possible, so as not to scare parents of younger children....the boy could effectively turn the most benign and non-threatening object into a weapon.

"Oh yeah, I drew it in kindergarten or something."

For example:  while future Martha Stewarts of the world imagined an empty paper towel roll into a rain stick or kaleidoscope....my son would fashion into a state of the art rocket launcher....complete with thermal imaging and night vision.

"Actually, it was your first in-class project for 2nd grade."

Needless to say, although I haven't found a picture of an ammo vest as perfectly described as he did in crayon, my son's bear almost didn't make it up on the wall for back-to-school night.

"Nuh-uh, I remember 'cause the class had a bathroom."

Yes, his kindergarten class had a bathroom and he remembers this for a whole other reason I won't bother going into (you're welcome, really!) because, quite frankly, I'm STILL trying to forget THAT incident.

"No, it was Mrs. H.'s class and I know for sure because I blogged about it."

I did a quick search, found it (blogged about Sniper Bear back on September 20, 2006) and read the entire blog post to them.

"OMG!  I can't believe you called my teacher Mrs. Gives-a-crap-load-of-Homework!"

Actually, I blogged her as Mrs. Gives-a-shit-load-of-Homework and, well, contrary to popular opinion, I do make a concerted effort to censor myself every now and again.

"She was my favorite teacher!"

Mine, too.  Although, this teacher did give a shit...I mean...crap load of homework for 2nd grade, I think (a worksheet for every subject, every night, UGH!) my son was allowed to take Sniper Bear home for a quick makeover so that she could hang Cammo Bear up on the wall in time for back-to-school night.

"Wait a minute, was that when you set the house on fire?"

[blank stare]

"In your blog post, you mentioned the dishwasher blew up or something."

Actually, it was the dryer that caught fire.  The dishwasher blew up a few days before and no I did NOT set the house on fire that one time (not on purpose, anyways) and we ALL agreed that my build-a-bear would totally have been FUBAR!

Aaaaaand, now that I'm thinking on it some more, you might want to vacuum out your lint vents...every now and again...just sayin'.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

Call Me Craaaaaaaazy, Talk With Yous Laaaaaaaay-tuh, Maybe

                                                                                        Source: etsy.com via Liz on Pinterest

 

My parents had a telephone similar to this one -- we were living in a 4 room apartment upstairs in my grandmother's house at the time -- it hung on our kitchen wall and had a ridiculously long extension cord that would require untangling, by dangling the hand set and allowing it to spin, at least a couple times a day.

Which is really funny, because going into another room for a little privacy doesn't really matter much if you come from a family of LOUD TALKERS.

Somewhat related:  I was working at the kitchen table yesterday (because it's summer break and we only have one computer, enough said) when my cell phone rang.

Me:  Oh, it's Jenn!

Because, I have a terrible habit of thinking OUT LOUD as well.

13yo Son:  So, I guess you'll be talking REAL LOUD then?!?

True story.  Just ask Jenn.  She's from Texas.  I'm from Jersey.  We sometimes have trouble understanding each other and, well, every little bit helps.

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Okay so what was I saying, oh yeah:   cell phones allow us the freedom of continuing our conversations while running errands, dropping/picking up kids at school, waiting on ridiculously long check-out lines, even while taking much needed bathroom breaks (stupid ridiculously long check-out lines, dumbass bladder) and, well, I'd like to dangle some of THOSE people at least a couple times a day, too.

At the risk of shaking my cane and causing a massive load shift in body mass (you're welcome!) as my friend Jenn would say:  if you choose to have a full-blown conversation out in public, or maybe even in the bathroom stall next to me, I'mma gonna contribute, bless your heart.

"So, she said....blah, blah, blah....and I said....yada, yada, yada....and she called me a so-and-so....you believe that or what?"

[clears throat]

"That's just craaaaaaaaazy!"

[dead silence]

"Here's my number....la, la, la....so, call me maybe."

[one beat, two beats]

"There's this crazy b*tch, ovuh-heh, I'll have-tuh call yuhs back!"

A little passive aggressive?  Maybe.  However, I live in Jersey and well they cut people here for less.

MOST ESPECIALLY in bathroom stalls...YO!

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

 

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

She Bangs, He Bangs, We All Bang A Uey!

I drove my SIL into Massachusetts (my husband's aunt has been very ill and recovering in a nursing home) for what turned out to be a last-minute, don't-worry-we'll-just-go-ahead-and-cash-in-those-reward-points, road trip and clocked in nearly 700 miles this weekend.

Boston Old and New
Boston: Old and New

The thing with last-minute, don't-worry-etc-etc-type, road trips is that there is NEVER enough time to do ALL the things I really would like to do, whenever we do get up there.

Boston Alleyways
Boston: This Way and That

Or whenevah yah up thah (if you're from Massachusetts) considering most of my husband's family lives in and around the Boston area and, well, turns out Massachusetts is a pretty big state.

Boston Water Feature
Boston: Water Feature

Still, my friend Sue and her family live about 90 minutes away from where we were staying (which is about 5 hours closer than usual, btw) and, well, it took ALL my strength to keep my husband's car from veering off and following signs to Cape Cod.

I was also too busy banging u-turns (to make a change in direction when driving, in Jersey) dang, but Massachusetts signs are so gosh-dahned confusing!

Not to mention, they most likely don't teach the "keep one car-length between you and the car in front of you" rule when switching lanes, or maybe people just "saht of fahghat that paht" of the driver's test.

Boston Church
Boston: Church (one of many!)

Aaaaanyway, it was difficult enough leaving the kids (and my husband) home this time, considering they just about divorced me when visiting with Sue...on my bloggy little road trip, last March.

The kids, I mean, not my husband. 

Garth (not his real name) MADE me go (don't believe me, ask Sue, she'll tell you) still, I couldn't help but feel a little guilty.

Not this time, tho.

Long story, short (you're welcome) I don't know of any travel site(s) that lists "Consider visiting nursing homes" as a vacation destination:  i.e. one of the saddest places on earth.

Boston Durty Nellys
Boston: My kind of place.

Still, it was nice to be able to help my SIL show her aunt's family a little support, considering I was adopted as an honorary cousin (during a girl's weekend away on Cape Cod, btw) years before my husband and I hooked up, even.

Boston Old Courthouse
Boston: The Old Court House

We decided to drive into Boston and do a little site-seeing with my niece.

Which, of course, meant I was too busy looking up, most of the time, rather than watch where I was walking (it's drivers AND walkers to the right, right?) and it was soon after I took a picture of Ben Franklin (a tribute to our founding fathers, right next to Starbucks, yo!) when I tripped over someone's bicycle.

"Have a nice trip?"

Gosh, but I love my SIL's sense of humor (sort of!) and what IS IT with these Massachusetts people, anyways?!?

The bicyclist was trying to help an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair from off of the curb and cross to the other side of the street and, well, good thing I was NOT thinking out loud (for once) right?!?

"Can we help?"

My SIL and I each extended an arm, he grabbed both.

"Hang on a minute!"

The wheelchair was mechanical, very heavy and three more pedestrians ran over, along with the doorman from the hotel a few doors down, to help.

"On three..."

We gently sat the man back down into his wheelchair, while the doorman stopped traffic and the bicyclist followed alongside, making sure he made it safely across the street to the adjacent more wheelchair accessible sidewalk.

"Thank you guys..."

We were all shaking hands.

"...some of these streets can be real annoying."

I empathized with the doorman and admitted to banging more than a couple of U-ies already.

"Yah from Bahston then?"

Heh, must have been the Uey (a.k.a. U-turn) that brought out the Bahston.

"No, we're from New Jersey."

[one beat, two beats]

"Sahm diff-rahns."

Clearly, we're not the only ones who can't seem to make a left turn to save our lives.

Moral of the Story:  Deep down inside, people are good, even if they do drive like crap, or something like that.

It was a good trip.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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