We've hosted Thanksgiving for more than a dozen years and, for all my talk of going on killer dust bunny hunts and finding new places to hide the laundry, I really do enjoy having family over for the holidays -- YES, on purpose!
Aaaaaand, now that my kids are older (me too, dammit!) I don't worry as much about:
I don't bother with shopping lists (having forgotten them at home, most likely) or worry whether I've managed to hunt down each and every dust bunny, because they're sort of like pets and we've even named a few of the bigger ones.
You see, no matter how my husband, Garth (not his real name) and I try, we've come to accept the simple fact that, with a family as big as ours, some things just don't go right and, before you can say, "Pass the potatoes," someone's puking all over your nice, clean and shiny floors.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Eve, we've got a Nor'easter banging on our front door and, well, I did what any self-respecting lifestyle-type blogger would do: I decked the halls (okay, mostly the dining room) like there was no tomorrow, literally.
Honestly, with our luck, I'll be super-thankful to have electricity on Thursday, because I am also super-easy to please, like that :)
Last month, I was invited to meet with U.S. Olympic legends and athlete hopefuls representing Team USA in New York City to help kick-off the 100 day countdown to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
I know, who EVER thought a dork like me would EVER be able to say that, out loud, RIGHT?!?
Aaaaaanyway, one of my favorite activities from this awesome event was participating in helping to create an absolutely awesome brunch, in my pretend kitchen at The Culinary Loft, where I was given the choice of cooking stations.
They had me at chicken and waffles, here's how it ALL went down in 3 easy-peasy steps:
In this house (full as it is) DIY projects are gauged by three very important factors:
1. My husband's analytical mind: I'd mention something about this or that getting done and then he would agree with me, using graphs and/or spread sheets and then submitting a final paper in nothing less than 1,000 words.
2. My patience level: I have none. That is to say, with stuff that doesn't work right, after the 17th time and my aversion to reading directions doesn't help any...either.
3. Calculating the time it takes to get the job done: before my husband gets home.
Needless to say, we're a little behind on our DIY projects (not for the lack of wanting, either) and, trust me when I tell you, ability has absolutely NOTHING to do with our ever-growing to do list...either.
Last year...I re-did our bathroom...during Thanksgiving week.
Okay, I just thought of a 4th import DIY factor: if it is a holiday week, or not.
This week, I walked by the garage door and noticed the wallpaper was ripped (DAMMIT!) and who wallpapers a garage door, anyways?!?
Going to Grandma's house on Christmas Eve has been a Thompson tradition ever since we began adding grand kids to their family tree and every year we would trade-off visiting with my parents, as well: dinner here, dessert over there, etc...
My kids are very lucky to have both sets of grandparents in their lives, they know it, we know it and, now that my kids are older (aren't we all?) I'm beginning to truly understand why our folks look forward to having their grandchildren around them, especially during the holidaze.
My father would joke with my kids, thanking them for "re-charging" Papa after each and every visit.
Aaaaaand, as I get older (physically, because mentally I'm still, like, not even out of my teens, yet!) I'm realizing the same restorative power, every time one of my children insist that I stop whatever it is I'm doing, RIGHT NOW, because he or she NEEDS a hug.
We had my in-laws over for dinner, last night. Although they live just a five or ten minute car ride away (because, in Jersey, we speak in the time it takes to get somewhere rather than mileage) we haven't visited with Grandma and Grandpa since Thanksgiving.
It's been a tough year for my in-laws. Just last night, my father-in-law admitted that any and all of the mileage put on their car is for doctor visits and trips to the pharmacy, which is pretty much how my parents spend their days, plus or minus a trip (or twenty) to B.J.'s.
This year, my sister-in-law broke the news that Garth (not his real name) and I would be hosting Christmas Eve (without me, and with good reason) so, I baked one of my mother-in-law's favorite desserts (chocolate gingerbread cake, and it was good) to help soften the blow.
Pinterest has been my time-suck of choice since it first launched in 2010, it really is the perfect social media channel for folks with really, really short attention spans...like me.
In fact, a large part of my day job now involves spending hours and hours flipping through people's Pinterest boards and...well...let me just tell you, it's like throwing open the cabinet doors, clearing a path to the garbage can and telling Doofus-Dawg to "HAVE IT, MY FRIEND"!
Pinterest is my...SQUIRREL!!!!
Yesterday, I mentioned something on Facebook about my thinking it was cute how I keep pinning all these holiday recipes on Pinterest, as if...
Aaaaand, then I realized my FAVORITE thing about Pinterest -- it is the perfect playground for snark, most especially around the holidaze:
Dedicated to everyone and anyone who found their email/inbox bombed by newsletters that you don't remember ever having subscribed to in the first place:
Cyber Monday, so disappointing to me,
Cyber Monday, it was worse than I thought Black Friday to be.
By Monday morning, Monday morning would pretty much guarantee,
That Monday evening I would have 3,982 emails waiting for me.
Cyber Monday, I get it, sometimes it just works out that way,
Cyber Monday, Black Friday starting on Thursday was bad enough you see.
Monday morning, I had little to no warning of what was to be,
Oh Cyber Monday, 3,982 emails, REALLY?!?
Every other day, every other day,
Being spammed every other holiday is bad enough, yeah.
But whenever Cyber Monday comes, but whenever Cyber Monday comes,
I'll be ready for you, the very next time.
Cyber Monday, you won't be disappointing me,
Cyber Monday, send me an unsolicited email and unsubscribed you shall be.
Oh Monday morning, take this as a warning of what is to be,
On Cyber Monday, next year I'll be sending an auto-response, p.s. BITE ME!
With my sincerest apologies to the Mamas and the Papas.
I.M. Tired N. Cranky
© 2003 - 2012 This Full House
Not for nothing, but we used to do holidays BIG here at This Full House of crunchy floors and stinky socks, sometimes decorating months in advance.
Actually, I may or may not have forgotten to take down last year's [insert upcoming holiday, here] decorations and, well, a few months more and I'd have to dig them out again anyway, right?
Then life happened and holidays just sort of started going all #FUBAR, for one reason or twenty.
Halloween 2007: I carved the pumpkin way too early and, well, it was gross and swarming with gnats by the end of the month. So, I just left it out and pretended...yeah, sure...we meant for it to look all gross, just in time for Halloween!
2008 will forever go down as the bloodiest Halloween, EVUH: when my middle girl's butt exploded, literally and we'll just go ahead and skip right over 2009, if you don't mind, m'kay?
Halloween 2010 was the last time all 4 of my kids went pumpkin hunting, together: because, clearly, I was the only one having fun.
This time, last year? I was positively morose. My youngest was graduating 5th grade and, well it was my baaaaaaayyyyyybeeeeeeeee's LAST Halloween parade.
Although I did remember to bring my camera, I totally FORGOT to check the stupid sd card. #dumbass
"Are we going to put up any Halloween decorations, this year?"
Ugh. Right. So, I can't help but feel like my youngest daughter is getting the short end of [enter upcoming holiday, here].
"Right now, want to help?"
So, last Sunday, Hope and I hit the Dollar Store for some last-minute...is THAT realy all we got for Halloween...stuff and took to task getting our house looking all fall-ish and festive-like.
Hope and I got it ALL up and Halloween-ish by the time my two oldest girls got home from work later that afternoon.
I know, it's not like it's going to win an award or anything and, truth be told, my neighbors probably won't even really notice the difference, from any other day. Still. Hope and I had a really great time and we may or may not have gotten a little carried away with the spider webbing.
"The spiders are going to have a party!"
Good. One less decoration to worry about, right?!? In fact, throw in a couple of red and green hats, a few jingle-y bells and we've got us some pumpkin elves.
What?!? I sort of like the idea of our being the Nightmare Before Christmas House, right?!? RIGHT?!?
[sound of crickets, chirping]
Whatever. Eat your heart out, Martha!
Martha Stewart, I mean, not Jenn @TheNextMartha <---- that woman OWNS Halloween!
© 2003 - 2012 This Full House
Although it seemed like a good idea at the time, the trouble with having so many kids born 2-3 years apart, I never really did sit down and do the math to figure out that perhaps one day we would be celebrating...a couple of major milestones...THAT SAME FREAKING DAY!
So, I thought to myself...SELF!...why not throw one GIANT graduation party the following weekend or something and just be done with it?
Self: Okay, ummm, but what about Hope's birthday?
Me: Ummm, what about it?
Then it suddenly occurred to me (thank you, Self!) this year Hope's birthday happens to fall on the SAME day as the graduation party, tentatively speaking of course.
With Father's Day that Sunday (I think, wait, yeah, I'm pretty sure) then the 4th of July (which, as a 1st generation born American, is really a BIG DEAL at our house) a few short weeks after, well, the rest of the family might as well just sleepover, right?
"Don't make yourself crazy, Mom!"
I have a REAL bad habit of thinking out loud.
"Just make it ONE BIG HAPPY EVERYTHING PARTY!"
BRILLIANT! Further proof that my kids are SO MUCH smarter than I am. Really. Then, it rained almost ALL week and I started freaking out (because, I am freaky like that) about having to be stuck indoors with 20+ people.
So, we broke down and ordered a tent just in case. Still. People might want to use the bathroom, or something. So, I tried to pace myself and spent 3 days cleaning and/or rearranging the house.
Then, it stopped raining and, well, at least the house is Thanksgiving clean and thank goodness I won't have to do THAT again...not until...well...next Thanksgiving.
Which reminds me (thank you, Self!) I owe this kid a "Happy Birthday" post, but decided to save it for another time (you're welcome!) because, well, I'm still trying to recover from...you know...EVERYTHING!
Enough said. In the meantime, if anybody needs me, I'll be upstairs, trying to convince my kids to help me bring ALL the clean laundry back down from off of my bed.
Once they wake up, of course! Considering today just so happens to be the first day of their summer break...as well...YO!
© 2003 - 2012 This Full House
Growing up, our family consisted of me, my twin brother, my parents, my maternal grandmother and my Aunt Theresa (the rest of our extended family lived overseas) so, yes, celebrating holidays, like Easter was a very big deal.
We would wait for my father to come home from working at the garden center (Easter flowers were pretty big in the stone ages too, believe it or not) only then would we carve into the Easter ham or (in my brother's case) dive into some Hungarian smoked sausage and crack open a couple of Easter eggs dyed by boiling them in onion skins (red, white, yellow, etc...) on Good Friday.
If we weren't full from our Easter baskets, that is: their remains at the foot of our bunk bed still visible from the kitchen table.
My parents always joked about how lucky we were (okay, half-jokingly) because, the Easter Bunny never could quite make it as far as Eastern Europe.
Their grand kids, however, are very familiar with the Easter Bunny and it was fun to watch their faces light up and my son's eyeballs cross...each and every year.
Then, all of a sudden, it started to get...you know...less fun. By 2008, I had a few choice nicknames for the furry little leporidae and was posting stuff on my blog like:
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