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August 2012

Summertime Blew(s)

It's the last week, before the first week, of the first day of school and dang if it doesn't feel like just yesterday when I was writing about the last week, before the last week, of the last day of school.

Wienie roast
It's ALL fun and games until someone loses their weenie.

I had such GREAT expectations of trips to the beach, quiet little picnics in the park, impromptu backyard weenie roasts with friends and maybe even a holiday weekend away with Garth (not his real name) you know, just the two of us, like old times.

Then, you know, life happened.

 

Street Sprung a Leak
Noah should be floating by, any minute.

Our plumbing broke, my youngest got sick (pneumonia, in the summertime?!?) then our street broke again (which broke our plumbing, AGAIN!) ummmmm, what else? 

 

Oh, yeah!  Then, our car broke, we had to rent a car so that I could drive my oldest to work and no I cannot make this stuff up.

But, wait, there's more!

Hope Lemure
She's a saucy little leemur.

My youngest passed out while visiting grandpa in the hospital while I was all, like, WHAT THE HELL?!? and feeling totally helpless to, you know, help from a thousand miles away.

UGH!  Then my poor father-in-law was rushed back to the hospital while I was all, like, SERIOUSLY?!? because, you know, I wasn't home THAT time either.

So, while my mother was in the hospital getting her new arm (it's official, she is the bionic grandmother) we had my dad stay with us this month, you know, just in case...DAMMIT!

Day 1 of Heavy Machinery on My Lawn
We've grown used to seeing heavy machinery as lawn ornaments.
You know what?  To save time, just go ahead and read through the rest of July's blog posts and most of my stuff for August (when you have time, of course) and perhaps it will help you better understand why I currently hold the title of President of The FUBAR Club.

On a scale of one to ten, this summer blew (A BIG WET ONE!) to the point where the kids and I are actually looking forward for school to start and I never thought THAT would EVER happen.

In fact, my husband Garth (not his real name) and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday by taking all four of our kids back-to-school shopping...at the mall...at the same time and everything...and NO!...I have no idea what is wrong with us, either.

22nd Anniversary notes
"Because, we're too young to buy wine!" they said.

Then, they gave us our anniversary present -- beautifully hand written notes (love that!) with sentiments that both Garth (NHRN) and I really needed to hear (like, RIGHT NOW!) -- however, this particular one really stands out:

Hope's note
It was written by our youngest.  She is being very polite.  Enough said.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

It's Official, Mom's a Dorkfish!

At the Beach

I took my kids to the beach for the first time the other day (yes, I know, it's the next to the last week in August) in a last ditch effort to have them be able to write something other than, "We hung out in our backyard," on their summer reports and I couldn't help but feel a little like a tourist (in my own backyard) saying stuff like:

  • Ouch, that sand is HOT!
  • How far is it to the water, anyways?
  • Oh, damn, we didn't bring an umbrella.
  • Is it low tide or high tide?
  • Damn, that sun is HOT!
  • What's up with all the red flags and why isn't anyone in the water?
  • Oh, look at ALL the pretty seagulls.

"Nooooooooooooooo, don't feed them!"

I did, however, remember NOT to feed the seagulls -- a cardinal rule, which once broken may or may not cause one to be severely beaten with a beach umbrella, here in Jersey anyways.

Hopey digs the beach
Hopey digs the beach, sort of.

On the one hand, it's SO MUCH easier taking older kids to the beach -- grab a few towels, beach chairs, a couple of water bottles, a little spending money for french fries, maybe even a corn dog (or twenty) then sit back and remind them NOT to feed the seagulls.

On the other hand, I pine for the days when my kids were easily entertained with a shovel, a bucket or watching tourists get beat with beach umbrellas.

Hopey and Glen not fighting at the beach
This is the quietest these two have been ALL summer!

Then again, I have been their main source of entertainment (especially, during the summertime) for the last 18 years and, well, I'm perfectly fine with just hanging out and NOT feel the need to actually have to do anything -- other than remind them to, you know, turn over and go get mom a corn dog.

Holly and Heather sunning on the beach
Aaaand, these two actually LET me take their picture!

Now that my oldest has graduated high school, is working and pretty much learning to support herself by contributing to the household for stuff like groceries and car insurance (reminder:  we live in Jersey, the land of HOLY HELL, HOW MUCH?!?) not to mention, with my middle girl entering her junior year and having to start the college search all over again (see also:  HHHM?!?) I realize that our days of spending quiet afternoons at the beach...together...are numbered. 

"The waves look AWESOME mom, c'mon!!!"

Not to mention, my being able to jump, up and down, and expecting to successfully land, on the ground, on both feet, on purpose.

"Mom, behind you, LOOKOUT!!!"

I totally forgot about the OTHER cardinal rule:  Never, EVER, turn your back on the ocean, which once broken may or may not cause one to be bitch-slapped into next week by an incoming wave, here in Jersey anyways.

SLAP!!!!  Aaaaaaand, I could NOT for the life of me get up AND not because of the wicked undertow or anything, either.

SLAP!!!! I would reach up and grab onto my son's swim trunks.

SLAP!!!  Aaaaaaand, he would slap my hand away (each and EVERY time) so I would, you know, fall back into the water.

SLAP!!! Then reach up again, grab onto my son's swim trunks, not thinking that the poor guy was trying to keep me from pulling his swim trunks off.  So he claims.

"OMG, that was the FUNNIEST thing we have EVER seen!"

Note to self:  next time, try to stand [up] further away from the lifeguard stand.

Moral of the Story:   As I strive for continued excellence in being a source of entertainment for my teens and tween, as well as the entire Jersey coastline, dammit.

Stupid undertow.  Dumbass corn dogs.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

Hey You Guys, Get Off My Kids' Lawn!

I remember walking home from school with my brother (uphill, both ways, bare feet, in the snow, etc...) and both of us running past the abattoir (exotic-like name for slaughter house) as if being chased by zombies.

Living around the corner from a slaught..I mean...abattoir was scary enough (and downright disgusting, in the middle of August, enough said) however, I can't begin to describe the old lady who lived next door without feeling as if I need to get up and run away, real fast, right now, because LOOKOUT!!! SHE'S COMING!!!

Thinking back on on her blood-stained apron and pack of hell hounds (some sort of beagle mix, from hell) I'm guessing she worked next door at the abattoir, at least I hope she did, because the alternative explanation of someone walking around wearing a bloody apron...well...LOOKOUT!!!  SHE'S COMING!!!

We were upsetting her dogs, you see (more likely, walking to close to where the dead bodies were hidden) either way, I hated walking home from school and often times remind my kids about how lucky they are to have their own personal car service (that would be me!) not to mention, NOT having to live around the corner from an abattoir.

Day 1 of Heavy Machinery on My Lawn
Well, good morning sunshine(s)!

According to Melisa, I should have been all...WHAT THE?!?...and, considering we've had plumbing problems since the beginning of summer and they've been ripping up our street consistently for the last two weeks, I was sort of...MEH, WHATEVER!...about it.

Until the kids started waking up:

  • What are those guys doing on our lawn?
  • OMG, can't they fix it right the first time?
  • Hey, they're ripping up the flower bed!
  • We worked TOO HARD for them to mess it up!

It took me a few minutes to calm them all down -- seriously, ALL four of them were ready to go outside (in their pajamas and everything) to holler at the poor guys who, really, were just doing there jobs and, honestly, probably don't give a fig about peonies.

"Don't worry, I'm going to write a letter to the water company and the town."

My 13 year-old son continued to stare out the dining room window for about...oh, I don't know...however long it took me to drain the rest of my coffee mug.

"Nope, I'mma get my baseball bat!"

SNORT!  Talk about role-reversal, seriously, and I couldn't help but imagine my kids wearing bloody aprons.

Doofus-Dawg, however, would make a terrible hell hound -- although, he WOULD lick them to death.

They did eventually put my peonies back, however, the shock of being ripped out of the ground by a bulldozer, I swear I can STILL hear them screaming.  The peonies.  Not the workmen, who were unusually quiet, btw.

Their heavy machinery, not so much.

They DID, however, move their heavy machinery to make way for my kids' car service (me, remember?) and yes there ARE perfectly nice people here in Jersey...dammit!

Day 2 of Heavy Machinery on My Lawn
They're baaaa-aaaack!

HEY YOU GUYS, YOU BETTER GET OFF OF MY KIDS' LAWN!!! BEFORE THEY WAKE UP!!!

Aaaaaand, I'm hiding the baseball bats, just in case (you're welcome).

Stupid plumbing.  Dumbass heavy machinery.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

Color Me 50 Shades of Surprised, In Katie's Green Room!

A week ago (today) my oldest daughter and I traveled into NYC to tape a segment of Katie Couric's new daytime television show (never thought I would say that OUT LOUD...right?...me, either)!

Headed to hang with Katie Couric

We were both super-excited to be able to share in the experience of my being asked to blog during the taping (I'll be the one hiding behind a borrowed laptop) the subject matter, however, left us both feeling emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.

Katie's audience
I am not at liberty to share with you what the show was about (not yet, anyways, it's airing next month) I can tell you, however, that the entire audience was made up of mothers and daughters with a pack of tissues strategically hidden under everyone's seat: enough said.

Holly and me in the green room
Holly and me hanging out in the green room (it really IS green)!

The best part, besides the fact that Holly and I got to hang out in Katie's green room together and pretend we do this sort of stuff ALL the time, was the conversation leading up to and after the taping.

"Does it matter that I've never been on a date?"

My husband, Garth (not his real name) and I have this unspoken rule about allowing our kids to date at 16.

"Because, you know, the show is about teen dating and everything."

Shhhh, don't tell anybody...okay?!?...and now that our oldest girls are turning 19 and 17 in a couple of months (pausing to let that sink in...still pausing...looking for the friggin' rewind button...Holy Hannah Montana...where DOES the time go?!?) would you believe that neither of our daughters have had a boy ask them out...on a date...or whatever...EVER?!?

"But, you do intend on dating...eventually...right?!?"

I can't say that either of my girls are very happy about it (not as much as their father and I, anyways) or never wondered, "What the heck is wrong with me?" and "All my friends have had boyfriends!" out loud, once or a bazillion times, either.

"There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you."

Long story, short (you're welcome!) teenagers don't date -- they hook up, meet up, whatever, no strings attached -- and, well, pardon the 70's reference, it's just NOT their scene.

"How old where you when you started dating Mom?"

Okie-dokie, here we go.

"18...no WAIT...19!"

Okay, so I don't remember EXACTLY.  It was a while ago.  I started working full-time a week out of high school and dated a string of LOOOOOOS-SUUUUUUHS (seriously, my parents will tell you) before a swearing off dating ALL TOGETHER after finally putting an end to a REAL BAD relationship.

"I remember you telling us about him."

Although I can't claim to know EVERYTHING there is to know about raising teens (besides the fact that the rules do tend to change, quite frequently, sometimes within seconds of each other, depending on which kid we're talking about, I mean) because they feel comfortable enough to talk to their dad and me (mostly me) about almost anything (or, at all even) has remained my constant proverbial golden ring of parenting.

"I'm SO GLAD you met AND then married dad!"

Me, too (a.k.a. understatement of the century) and yet I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around the fact that we will be celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary this weekend!

50 shades of garth
Enough said.

© 2003 - 2012  This Full House

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

#Blogust: Leave a Comment, Save a Child, Enough Said.

Blogust12This post is my contribution to the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life Blog Relay for #Bloglust:  31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about people from our communities who have inspired us.

TODAY, IT'S MY TURN TO HELP:  EVERY SINGLE COMMENT LEFT ON THIS BLOG POST RAISES $20 TO HELP SAVE THE LIFE OF A CHILD IN NEED.    

Here's my story:  I started blogging back in 2003 (when blogging was still in diapers) to connect with other parents, share stories and feel a little less disconnected with life outside my front door, beyond all the dust bunnies and diapers.

It was a different time, social media was in its infancy and success was measured by how THRILLED someone felt whenever someone else (besides their mother) actually read and/or took the time to leave a comment on a blog post.

Not many people in my real life knew I blogged and those who did seemed troubled by my writing into all hours of the night:  as a mother of four young children, I should be sleeping.

Still, I continued to share my stories, kept up with online friends on my blogroll, laughed along with them, offered a sympathetic ear, an empathetic virtual {{{hug}}} or participate in a meme (or twenty) and maybe even share a blog post that moved me in some way.

The internet continued to grow and, not unlike my kids, the blogosphere experienced its fair share of growing pains.  It seemed as if a new controversy would arise with each passing year and I tried,  really hard, to focus on my tagline instead:  helping to make OTHER mothers feel a little better about themselves, since 2003. 

Today?  Social media has EXPLODED as new online communities continue to evolve on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (to name a few of my favorites) and while I also contribute to these forums (turns out, so do A LOT of my friends and neighbors IRL) they are but a small snapshot, a teaser if you will, of the stories I continue to share here on my blog.

Sadly, many of my longtime online friends are questioning their place on the internet and some folks are even considering the fact that perhaps it is time to step away from blogging:  truth be told, me too.

As a mom of teens and tweens, I too can't help but wonder:  is anybody really listening?  Does anyone still read blogs anymore? 

Until, I received this comment on a recent post (entitled "My Kids Think I'm a Stupid Mommyblogger, I Prefer the Term Family Chronicler" ironically enough) from one of my newer blogging friends, Tracie:From TracieThank you, Tracie.  You will NEVER know how much I needed to hear this, right now...OH, WAIT!...I just did, okay, NOW you know :)

It's folks like you (yes, YOU!) who continually inspire me to contribute to my online community in the best way I know how:  by sharing my stories, hopefully, helping to make OTHER mothers (and dads) feel a little better about themselves and THANK YOU SO MUCH for the reminder, my friend.

Okay, now it's YOUR turn.  Want to help save a child in need?  EXCELLENT!!!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post: 

  • Tell us a little about someone who supported or inspired you 
  • Share a story about a meaningful comment someone made to you
  • Or maybe even let them know about it, right here, right now

Here's the REALLY AWESOME PART:  every comment left on this post will be matched with a $20 donation (up to a maximum of $200,000) I mean, really, not for nothing, but what an awesome way to help bring home the fact that comments really do matter, right?!?

Just so you know, $20 is what it costs to give one child four life-saving vaccines to help protect them against measles, pneumonia, diarrhea and polio.  That's 10,000 children and we can help them ALL with a simple comment.

Shot@Life
Yesterday, the amazing Anissa Mayhew of Free Anissa shared her story and now I'm going to hand the virtual baton over to the awesome Jenny Eckton of Formerly Phread...GO JENNY, GO!!!!

You can learn more about Shot@Life by joining their email list, following them on twitter or liking them on Facebook.

OH, AND FEEL FREE TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS:  A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine preventable disease. We can ALL help stop this.  Comment today, comment tomorrow on Jenny's post, heck you can comment every day, if you'd like, we'll leave the porch light on for ya!

Why?

Because comments really do count, nice matters and even old-blog-timers like me still have a story or twenty to share, just sayin'.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

My Kids Think I'm a Stupid Momblogger, I Prefer the Term "Family Chronicler"!

Bushkill Falls Caution
Reading between the lines: HEY, YOU KLUTZ, BEWARE!

I love it when Garth (not his real name) is home for many reasons that I won't bother you with writing a long, drawn out list or anything (you're welcome!) okay, maybe just one.

Falling Behind the My Pack
Pulling up the rear (literally!)

This week, my kids LOVED being able to hang out with their dad (besides, at the supper table or a few minutes before bedtime) as I, once again, played the role of mom blogger. 

Striking a Pose
I said "G'head and do something," and I got this!

Although, I prefer the term:  family chronicler (yes, it's a word, spell-check says so) the kids and Garth (NHRN) are used to me falling a bit behind (as usual) but, this time, I felt a terrible desperation to capture AND savor the moment.

View fromTop of Trail
The view from the top of the red trail.

I have suffered from back problems for years (car accident in my 20's, birthing 4 babies in my 30's, dumbass 40's) and it's been getting progressively worse. 

Holly at Top of Trail
Holly at the top of the red trail, YAY!

An unexpected trip to the hospital for a kidney stone this past February also confirmed 2 herniated discs in my lower back (a.k.a. 2-for-1 diagnosis...YO!) and a subsequent visit with a neurologist who is still waiting for me to, you know, show up.

Hope Almost at Top of Trail
Hope at the top of the red trail, ALMOST!

What?!?  The man wants to shove a HUGE needle in my back...ON PURPOSE!!!...more than once and then, eventually, introduce more pointy objects into my spine that will keep me flat on my back for weeks.

Heather Owning Top of Trail
Heather owning the top of the trail, YOU GO GIRL!

Yeah, I know, I know, there are worse things.  Unfortunately, I have friends and family who are suffering from all sorts of physical, mental and emotional pain...as we speak...DAMNIT!   So, trust me when I tell you that I am NOT looking for any sympathy, JUST because I am afraid of sharp pointy things.

Garth (not his real name)
He's got a smart phone and he's not afraid to use it!

I am, however, scared to death at the thought of being expected to do nothing more than lay flat on my back for weeks.  There, I said it and NOT just because Garth (not his real name) will testify to the fact that I am indeed a TERRIBLE patient.

The Boy
He didn't want me to wait alone, at the top of the red trail.

Apparently, I am an equally AWFUL actress.  There was no hiding the fact that the 2-hour car ride had taken its toll -- not to mention, attending 2 blogging conferences, in 2 of my most favorite walking cities, in 1 month -- as each of my kids took turns holding my hand, clearing a path or asking me if I needed to sit down.

Thompson Clan 2012
When did they get to be THIS BIG?!?

Not for nothing, but it broke my heart.  Kids today have enough to worry about -- I have teenagers, trust me, I know -- still, my mother is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday (a long overdue shoulder replacement) but, this time she's really, really scared and, well, I finally "get it".

Masked Mom
Look, it's the masked blog-guh!

No, I'm not the smartest, bravest or most talented person in cyberspace (seriously, I'm okay with it) however, my kids seem to like hanging out with me inspite of the fact they believe I'm stupid for not going back to the neurologist sooner.

Aaaand that's just all sorts of cool, right?!?  RIGHT?!?

[sound of crickets]

Riiiiiight.  Stupid back, dumbass 40's.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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

#BlogHer12: Blood, Sweat & Tears AND More Sweat

This was my 6th time attending BlogHer yet here I am again, sitting for nearly an hour in front of a blank screen, wondering "Where in the heck do I start?!?"

Me and Busy Mom
Yeah, I'm hanging out with Busy Mom...WHAT?!?

I could choose to begin by telling you some crazy-assed story of nearly popping a blood vessel just trying to get there, like my dear friend Busymom did, but my train ride into NYC from Jersey is less than an hour and was completely uneventful.

DSCN0442
#PopCapMoms Afternoon Tea at the St. Regis Hotel

Or, after attending my first event shortly after arriving into NYC and drinking my weight in tea (that's A LOT of tea, btw) how I had to find a bathroom REAL BAD and was tackled by Jenn in the lobby of the hotel.  

Me and Jenn at MoMA
Me and Jenn scarin' the straights at MoMA

Seriously, nearly had the pee squeezed out of me, that Jenn's SUCH a good huggah!  Not for nothing, but she seems to also enjoy making me pee my pants snort-laughing every blessed chance she gets, bless her heart.

DSCN0432
9/11 Memorial: pool of tears.

There were tears, as well.  This was my first visit to the World Trade Center, or downtown NYC for that matter, since the 9/11 attacks.  The rain just added to the terrible feeling of loss and, personally, living just across the river, I couldn't help but reach out and want to wipe some of the wet away.

Patty and Me
Visiting my bloggy-friend Patty.

Thankfully the happy outweighed the sad.  Like visiting with Patty and her mom in Queens (gracias por las empanadas, Senora!) while she's recovering from surgery was most definitely a highlight for both me and Melisa

Me and Michelle
With my two other roomies: Michelle and Flat Sue

Traveling the subway, in 1000 percent humidity, not so much (even the camera is all like, b*tch please!) however, traveling with Flat Sue?!?  EPIC!!!  Don't believe me?  Check out Melisa's post Flat Sue visits #BlogHer12.  Go ahead, I'll wait.

Invite to Martha
Table setting courtesy of @TheNextMartha

This year, however, stands out above all others:  I was invited to sit @TheNextMartha's table during Martha Stewart's lunchtime keynote.  Trust me when I tell you that my new friend Jen is ALL that and a bag of blue glitter.

Sue @TheNextMartha table
Flat Sue says, "THPBBPBBPBPBPTH!!!"

I was totally honored to share the experience of MARTHA STEWART DISSING ALL THE HARD WORK THAT WENT INTO CELEBRATING PURE INSPIRATION AND JEN'S CREATIVITY ENTIRELY with her.  No, really.  It's okay.  Glitter-envy is hard.

BlogHer12 Peeps
MMMF, I love you, you're number one!

Along with spending much needed quality time with some of my favorite people IRL (see also:  Melisa's entire BlogHer12 photo stream) priceless.  My stomach still hurts from all the snort-laughing and giggle-talking that went on and, well, I wouldn't trade in those moments for all the swag in the universe.  Truth!

Then again, BlogHer is not ALL fun and games (mostly, not all) this year was a working trip for me and live-tweeting from one of BlogHer's newest sponsor's suite ALL DAY was an awesome experience that I will write about, on my other blog, at a later date.

MoMA Double
At the MoMA:  we could be related.

Or, as soon as my eyes uncross -- you're welcome!!!

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

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