Hope

Yes, My Daughter And I Love Kinky Boots And OMG, TODRICK HALL!

I was excited to have been invited to attend an evening performance of Kinky Boots The Musical on Broadway last week, and absolutely thrilled about my being allowed to bring a guest, so I asked my 15-year old if she would like to join me, you know, for a Mother/Daughter Broadway date, or something.

Todrick-Hall-as-Lola-in-Kinky-Boots-2-cJenny-Anderson
Todrick Hall (c)Matthew Murphy

OMG!!!...was her response, followed by...TODRICK HALL!!!...and then...OMG, TODRICK HALL!!!...and this is about the time I started to feel really, really excited about these tickets...beeeeecause...OMG, 15-YEAR OLDS ALMOST NEVER SMILE...and...OMG, MY 15-YEAR OLD CANNOT STOP SMILING!!! 

 

Rainstorm or nah, #KinkyBoots here we come! #motherdaughtergoals

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on

So, whose idea was Kinky Boots, and why should EVERY teenager (and future parents of teenagers) see it?

Aaron-C-Finley-Todrick-Hall-and-Cast-2cMatthew-Murphy
The cast of Kinky Boots (c)Matthew Murphy

I'll be totally honest with you, not having read the book (written by Harvey Fierstein) and never having seen the British movie (inspired by true events, which were broadcast in a British television documentary in 1999), I was a bit nervous about the story line, because...you know...kinky boots. So, I did what EVERY parent of most teenagers would do -- I hit up Google. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there is a fascinating human story behind those red and awesomely-glittery kinky boots...not to mention, the music and lyrics were written by...OMG, CYNDI LAUPER!!! 

Aaron-C-Finley-Todrick-Hall-and-Cast-cMatthew-Murphy
The cast of Kinky Boots (c)Matthew Murph

In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price (at the time of our showing, Aaron C. Finley) reluctantly takes over his family’s failing shoe factory in Northern England, following the sudden death of his father. Help comes from the unlikeliest angel, a fabulous drag performer named Lola (OMG!...TODRICK HALL!). Together, this improbable duo not only revitalizes the nearly bankrupt business, but helps one another grow into the men their fathers always dreamed their sons would become and transforms an entire community through the power of acceptance.

Todrick-Hall-and-Angels-cMatthew-Murphy
Todrick Hall and the Angels (c)Matthew Murphy

I was raised on Broadway show tunes, and so were my kids -- I feel it safe to say all four can name (and sing) quite a few family-favorites, in 5 notes or less -- and the choreography behind Kinky Boots was indeed stellar, it did NOT disappoint, plenty of Broadway glitz and glam for everyone!

Haven-Burton-cMatthew-Murphy-email
Haven Burton (c)Matthew Murphy

HOWEVER, my friends, here's the thing. The thing is, Kinky Boots is more than just a Broadway show...it's a lesson in humanity, this show has a HUGE heart, plain and simple. I found myself SO WRAPPED UP in the story line, I mean, the characters were SO VERY relatable, I felt as if I knew each and every one of these people, for real -- Haven Burton, who played Lauren, had me snort-laughing, I wanted to be her new BFF, throughout the show. 

Todrick-Hall-cMatthew-Murphy

Todrick Hall (c)Matthew Murphy

I kept looking over at my 15 year-old, to see if she was enjoying herself, but her face was blank (just so you know, 15 year-olds excel at blank-face), and then I basically sobbed through Todrick Hall's entire solo performance of Hold Me In Your Heart -- this song speaks to ANYONE who's ever struggled with acceptance (raises hand), or who's fighting with forgiveness (raises other hand), and this is where I decided that...YES!!!...Todrick Hall is absolutely BRILLIANT!

The best part of the evening? Thanks to my friend, Holly (who also invited us to the show and is responsible for this magical experience -- thank you, Holly!) who pointed out the stage door and suggested Hope and I make time to wait and see if we could get an autograph (and possibly a photograph) from Todrick Hall.

 

I look kinda rough in this but i met Todrick Hall yesterday!!! Kinky Boots was such an amazing show spreading the idea of just be yourself and dont care what other people think. Now for the sentimental part: Todrick Hall has been my idol for years now. Todrick was the person who taught me to be myself and to stop caring what people thought and to not be afraid to be unique and different. He signed my playbill and smiled at me and looked in my eyes when talking and put his arm around me for the picture!! I got ten steps away and had to go to the side wall cuz i was shaking and hyperventilating from just meeting my role model and idol 😂 not gonna lie i cried when i got home and im still trying to wrap my head around meeting him and just oh my god last night was the happiest and best day ever! Walking ten blocks from penn to broadway in the pouring rain was so worth it! #kinkyboots

A photo posted by Hope Anne Thompson (@hopeannne) on

And I would walk another ten city blocks...in the pouring rain...wearing a pair of kinky boots...just to see my 15-year old smile...not to mention, my having been a part of her happiest and best day...EVER!!!

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Here's the really best part, we get to share our love of Kinky Boots and offer a special discount code to you (yes, YOU!) you should really go see it:

Save up to 40% on select performances through 2/12/17!
 
Visit kinkybootsthemusical.com and use code BOOTS3
 
OFFER DETAILS:
Mon, Tues, Thurs performances through 2/12/17
$87*
Select Orch/Front Mezzanine
(Reg. $99-117)
 
$45*
Rear Mezzanine 
(Reg. $79-$97)

Friday, Sat, & Sun performances through 2/12/17
$107*
Select Orch/Front Mezzanine
(Reg. $109-$147)
 
$75*
Rear Mezzanine
(Reg. $79-$97)

Conditions:

Offer valid on select seats. Blackout dates may apply. Offer valid for all performances now through 2/12//17. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets. Regular Prices $55-$147. Limit 8 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and includes a $2.00 facility fee. Normal phone and Internet service charges apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice. 
And please, for the love of all things red and sparkly, take a moment to check out the True Colors Fund, because creating a world in which young people can be their true selves is totally worth a minute...or twenty...thank you!
 
Disclosure: I received two tickets to see Kinky Boots. No other consideration or payment was received for this blog post.
© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Why Did I Let My Kid Shred My Hair?

Our youngest cut her own hair when she was 3 years-old (the only one of our four to ever do that, by the way), because being the youngest can be really hard, you know? Unless you have (and know how to rock) a pair of pink cowgirl boots, of course! 

Garth (not his real name) and I have always tried really hard to help our kids cultivate their own sense of style (i.e., point them toward the clearance racks and just get out of their way), however, Hope had fully-grasped her sense of...um...uniqueness at a very young age.

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Still, it's hard to be the youngest, feeling like you're constantly following along in someone else's footsteps can be a bit lonely, even in a houseful, sometimes. Our baby girl has gone through many transformations in her 15 years of being...ummmm...Hope.

Her Goth stage was the most...errrrr...interesting...and don't EVEN think about bringing up her shockingly pink hair...because, well, it's just not shocking enough, anymore, DANGIT!

"LORT?!? Why did you EVER let me wear my hair like that?!?"

As if I ever had a choice. Hope has always been a free spirit = she is my hippy-child. Still, it's real difficult for her to NOT allow her free-thinking to feed into all the draaaah-maaaah and, well, YOU COULDN'T PAY ME ENOUGH TO BE FIFTEEN, AGAIN or GO BACK TO HIGH SCHOOL, am I right?!?!

Hope

After 20+ years of parenting, I feel it safe to say that self-esteem issues are best cultivated when you try to look like everyone else. And I may have mentioned this to my kids, once or twenty times, every day, especially to my girls.

Still, behind all the selfies and Snapchat filters, you can't hide the fact that growing up female is complicated enough (why IS this STILL happening?!?), especially when you're a Mom.

On the one hand, we preach self-esteem to our children, and on the other hand, our own confidence eludes us, the moment we see it in someone else. Why IS that?!?

On the OTHER other hand, intellectually, most of us already understand it to be a defense mechanism...LORT!!!...how we women compare ourselves to each other...eh?

"And I am in desperate need of a haircut!"

Hope aspires to be a hair and makeup artist and, well, somehow she doesn't believe that my husband and I think it's a worthy-enough profession, because teenagers tend to put words into their parents' mouths and they really do think the silliest thoughts, sometimes.

Hair  by Hope

"I love the idea of helping other women feel good about how they look AND maybe feel a little better about themselves and myself, too!" ~ Hope

And that's why I let my kid cut my hair.

The end.

P.S. It's actually "shred" not "cut" and I stand (I mean, sit) corrected, yo!

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

The Book Thief

My husband and I have always been avid readers. I'm not sure exactly how many books (hardcover and paperbacks) we've collected over the 25 years we've been married, because that would involve digging them out, dusting them off and actually counting them and, well, ain't nobody got time for that, but I'm pretty sure the number is in the hundreds.

And I have a confession to make. Ready? Okay! Here it is: I am a historical romance novel addict, from way back. 

My love affair...ahem...with historical romance novels...siiiiiiiigh...runs deep...heh, I said deep...and long...oh my gosh, fiiiiiine, I'll stop, right now...and I'm pretty sure I've read (and re-read) every Lisa Kleypas novel in the house, because my oldest daughter also happens to be a big fan of Ms. Kelypas (seriously, Lisa, you write good!) and the kid buys way more books than I do, which works out very well in my favor.

Aaaaaand, if you happen to be a newbie parent...WELCOME ABOARD!!!!...this is where you should be thinking to yourself...heyyyyyy...you know what?!?...I can't wait until my babies grow up, start making their own money and buy books that I happen to like to read, too...not a bad gig, you guys!

Until.

My in-laws have been married for 60-something years and have collected probably close to eleventy-trillion books, which they have started sending over to our house, because we only have a couple hundred and...HEY!!!...what's eleventy-trillion more, right?!?

Actually, they sent over a box or two to donate to our local library and, as I was going through the boxes, I realized many of them were really old (and musty) books. I love really old (and musty) books!

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I took a bunch of my favorites and organized them by the color of their spines...okay, it was my youngest's idea to color-coordinate the darn things and NO she did NOT get her OCD from me...anyway...I think these books add to the vintage-y feel of our house.

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I also found an inscription in one of the books gifted to my Father-in-Law from his sister on Christmas 1945 and, well, Aunt Jeanne passed away last spring and I'm not even sure my Father-in-Law even realizes we have this book, because he's still not over the fact that he and my Mother-in-Law were not well enough to travel up to Massachusetts for her memorial, so I'm keeping it.

14yo: Oh...my...gosh..would...you...guys...just...LOOK AT THIS!!!!

Our youngest also loves books.

Hope Books

Except her taste runs a little darker (and scarier) and it must have been all the Stephen King I read while pregnant with her.

14yo: This book says it belongs to the library!!!

[one beat, two beats]

14yo: Which means Grandpa never returned this book to the library!!!

[eyes go wide]

14yo: GRANDPA STOLE THIS BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY?!?

Me: Actually, Grandpa probably bought that particular one during a book sale at the library.

Grandpa: Nooooo, I stole it.

I'm a little scared of what we'll find out during next week's Sunday supper (or Sunday Suppuh, if you're from New England) yah!

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

NaBloPoMo 2015: Under Pressure

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Our youngest daughter is not a fan of hospitals. Not that anyone we know is all...yay, we're going to the hospital!!!!...or anything...but if she were to measure up with her three siblings, when it comes to being squeamish, Hope has succesfully unlocked the "Holy Crap, I'mma Throw Up!" achievement medal at the age of 8.

If it is associated in any way, shape or form to the medical profession, she will work herself into a full blown anxiety attack and then projectile vomit all over your nice, crisp, white medical lab coat -- you're welcome!

At fourteen, it bothers her to no end whenever someone suggests she is simply being dramatic and clearly that someone has never witnessed anyone projectile vomit...like a boss.

Long story short: I've been taking medication for hypertension and monitor my blood pressure, regularly. And Hope had a breakthrough while visiting my Dad at the rehab center, where she actually walked inside, passed all the medical equipment and headed straight into my Dad's room, without throwing up.

Hope: Can you take my blood pressure?

It's the little moments, when your child opens herself up and attempts to control her fears, that make me agree to do things without thinking on it, too much.

Me: Sure, pull up a seat!

I gently wrapped the blood pressure machine's cuff around her arm and reminded her that it would slowly inflate.

[turning machine on]

It began to inflate and my precious, beautiful and ever so brave daughter began to lose her shit.

Hope: It's not stopping...it's NOT stopping...MOM...IT'S NOT STOPPING...AHHHHHH...MAKE IT STOP...GAAAAAAAH!!!!!

10 seconds later, it stopped.

Hope: Huh, that wasn't soooo bad, how'd I do?

[leaning over the machine]

Me: All things considered, your blood pressure isn't too bad at all.

Hope: GRIN!

Me: You're heart rate, on the other hand, is 128.

Hope: Yeah, BUT I didn't throw up!

End scene.

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

Pink Hair, Don't Care, Unless You Happen To Be My Kid!

I have straight fine hair (and by fine I mean not like...duuuuude, you got some fine-looking hair... but more like...duuuuude, your hair is soooooo fine, can't do nothing wit-it!), so I keep it short and make sure to take many selfies on good hair days...you know...to document...on the Internet...forever and ever, amen.

"What color are we doing, today?!?"

Fortunately, my hairdresser has known me for a very long time and happens to be a good friend of mine.

"Oh, I don't know, surprise me!"

She is also a master colorist and a Ninja with a pair of razor shears. We have pretty much lived through every color on the Redkin spectrum, together.

"I have decided to dye my hair pink!"

Okay, I lied, except pink. Which is probably why our youngest daughter...who has dark hair and looks a lot more like me than any of my other kids...poor kid...decided it would be totally awesome to dye her ENTIRE head pink, because...warning, parental spoiler alert ahead...TEENAGE GIRLS DO NOT WANT TO LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THEIR MOTHERS!

"But you will need to bleach your entire head, you know that, right?!?"

She is also fourteen, which is that magical age in between "Read me a bedtime story!!!" and "Loooook at meeeeee, Mommy!!!" to "What?!?" and "WHAT?!?" because teens are super-inquisitive, like that.

"I already Face-booked Lori about it, she gave me several options and mentioned she may have to bleach it twice!"

**blink-blink**

"Aaaaaand, I'm okay with that!"

Which is Teenagerese for: If it helps her stand out from her older sisters and brother, even better!!!

"I have [birthday-graduation] money saved up!"

Aaaaand, she was saving THAT one for last. As the youngest of four, she's learned to watch...wait...and spring it on Mom when she's SUPER tired.

"So you don't EVEN have to pay for anything!"

Well played, indeed.

 

Before picture of our mom/daughter prettifying appointment, so excited! And a little scared, because...well...you'll see :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:02am PDT

Long story short (you're welcome!): A very large part of me admires her bravery, because being a freshman in high school is hard enough (personally, I'm still waiting to grow out of my awkward stage!) and then there's this teeniest, tiniest voice inside my overly-processed head that's all, "But does it really have to be your ENTIRE head...and pink?!?"

Add to the list of 7 words that you really don't expect or even want to hear, as a parent: Feel how hot my hair is getting!

 

It's getting real up here, you guys!

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:45pm PDT

But then the color started going on and...Holy Hannah Montana...that IS sooooo waaaaay pink!!!

 

This kid, tho! She is fearless :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:41pm PDT

The salon was very busy (because mah girls at Trio specialize in "I don't know, just make me look good, dammit!") and there were three distinctly different reactions:

1. My favorite: You are SO brave!

2. Okay, I like this one too: Wish I could do pink hair!

3. And the one that stopped me dead in my tracks, because it was not so much what was said, but the delivery: WOW, that's a different look, isn't it?!?

It was when my friend Lori began layering on the two colors (magenta and way more magenta), so I was actually on my way out to pick up my two oldest girls at work. The woman was getting her hair toweled off and I'm pretty sure the grimace pasted on her face wasn't from the toweling.

"I don't think you can get MUCH pinker than that, can you?!?"

Did I mention, I don't do well with passive aggressive asshat comments?!? My kid, on the other hand, took it in stride and without skipping a beat, said:

"I don't know, Lori is pretty good, I bet we can go even pinker!"

 

Now she wants to drive the car. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea... #PinkHairDontCare

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:46pm PDT

Did I mention, this kid is way smart?!? Well played, kid. Rock on with your pink self :)

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

Teenagers, You Goth To Love Them!

One of the BIGGEST fallacies you'll ever hear about parenting teenagers...IMHO, as a parent of teens, four times over, maneuvering through waves of hormonal and emotional angst for the last 9 years...both theirs AND mine...is the popular belief that parents of teens are entirely responsible for their children’s behavior.

That is SO not true! I am mostly responsible for my teens behavior, but not entirely.

Like adults, teenagers have their own agenda and many times (okay, mostly) it involves doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what their parents would do in almost any given situation and, well, it's a part of growing up.

Hope: I'm going to go with Holly and pick Heather up from work!

Unless you happen to be 13 years-old AND your 3 siblings happen to be older than you...well then...I am most assuredly responsible for her behavior...entirely.

Me: Hang on, let me see your face!

Something you may or may not know about me: I don't have a very good poker face and will undoubtedly be the MOST popular person at the Texas Holdem table. Also, the poorest.

Hope: What's wrong with it?!?

However, after 21 years of parenting, you think I would know better, right?!?

Me: Nothing, just stay in the car and try not to scare anyone!

Nope!!! Judging by the way her shoulders dropped as she walked away from my desk, not my best parental moment.

I am, however, a Professional Dork and totally comfortable with calling out myself for being an asshole -- except for this one time.

Holly: Was that REALLY necessary?!?

My oldest was more than happy to take on THAT job.

Me: I'm not happy about her wearing THAT much makeup.

Now this is where my middle girl would remind me about the time she went through her Goth stage and be all over me about how I was NOT helping my youngest with building her self-esteem...if my middle girl had been home when this all was going down, I mean...but Holly was kind enough to take on THAT job, as well.

Holly: Yes, but you're not helping her confidence any.

See what I mean?

Glen (shivering): EEESH!!!

My son was sitting right behind me, playing his video game and making it clear that he wanted NO part in this conversation, until the girls left the house.

Glen: She's sooooo pretty, why does she want to hide it behind ALL that make up?!?

And you know what? I started to brain-vomit ALL the stuff that SHOULD have been said to my 13 year-old:

  • It's hard to be the youngest
  • Feels sort of like getting lost on a crowded street
  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Finding her own identity
  • Being comfortable in her own skin
  • And if that means wearing black lipstick...so be it

Except I was saying ALL of it to my 16yo son.

Me: And now she HATES me!

Aaaaaaaand, flashing my parental insecurities like a bead-hungry and slightly drunken reveler on Mardi Gras.

Glen: She doesn't hate you, she just doesn't like you very much, right now.

Did I mention my teens are WAY smarter than me?!? In fact, I think maybe I've learned more from my teens these last few years as their mom than...well...let's just say, they've been doing most of the adulting, lately.

Soooooo, I thought to myself...SELF!!!...what would teens do?!?...WWTD?!?...I texted her an apology.

Apology TEXTED!

Then I sat and stared at my phone. And sat. And stared some more. 

Me (siiiiiiiiiigh): She's not answering me.

Aaaaaaand, then my cell phone rang.

Hope: I just saw your text, Momma....

I'm not at liberty to share the rest of our conversation, but suffice it to say that I am forgiven and continue to remain an example of exactly how NOT to act...to my children AND other parents...you're welcome.

Hope Is A Little Goth
She's a little bit Goth, I'm a bit of a Dork...okay, A LOT! #nofilter

In fact, she agreed to a selfie and insisted that I blog the moment...you know...as a reminder...in case I forget what an ASSHOLE I can be.

Glen: Aaaaaaand, another tender moment brought to you by HORMONES!

Teenagers, you gotta love them...I mean...because GOTH!!!...but I love them! Seriously.

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

The Growth Plates

It's been 10 years since my parents sold their house and moved further down the shore to live in a retirement village, or what my kids fondly refer to as "Camp Mama and Papa," but they each have their own very special memories about the house on 10 Union Street and enjoy sharing stories that usually begin with, "Remember that time at Mama's and Papa's old house?" and end with my youngest not having a clue about what they are talking about.

"You were just too little to remember."

It's tough being the youngest, sometimes. Okay, mostly every day, especially if you ask our youngest. She was only 3 years-old when my parents moved and, unlike her 3 siblings, she hadn't "learned how to swim in Mama and Papa's pool" or "ride a scooter down their street" and finding little reminders around our own house isn't helping any.

Growth plates 2
"Are these the plates Holly, Heather and Glen keep talking about?"

Hope was helping me clean the house, the other day (someone was probably coming over for dinner) and she came across a set of plates, tucked way into a corner and hanging next to the bookcase.

"Yes, and I forgot they were even there."

They're a set of wooden nesting plates my parents brought back from one of their trips to Hungary, and they used to hang along the stairs in their entryway of their "old house", like this:

Growth Plates at Mama and Papa's house

We would use them to measure how tall the kids were growing, judging by the size of plate they could actually reach and pull off of the nail. But I'm not sure (i.e. that brain cell burned off long ago and I just can't remember) if anyone was big enough to reach the largest plate.

So, I asked Glen and Holly....because Heather was at work and, well, we already know that two out of three ain't bad....according to Meatloaf, anyway....and if you don't know who Meatloaf is....look it up, youngster.

[sticks out tongue, blows bangs out of eyes]

Sooooooo, according to Glen -- who has all sorts of random facts stored in his brain, he gets it from his father -- nope, no one could reach or has ever been able to pull the largest plate from its nail.

"Oh, really? Watch this!"

Until now, because being the youngest (and smallest) can make a kid feel way more competitive than her siblings EVER were, daaaaaaaaangit. Also, this happens to be the same kid who sent out her own birthday invitations....

"Hi, I'm R.S.V.P.-ing for Hope's birthday party."

....without bothering to mention it to me, her father OR anyone else.

"Oh, I see...and I should have known...it was written in crayon...."

Along with a note scribbled at the bottom, saying:

"Der wilbe food cak fwom da stor and yuky tee"

No, I don't have the invitation. Did I mention, she's the 4th in line? Of everything?

[kicks half-finished baby book under desk]

Yeah. I know. I suck. Soooooo, let it be known that:

Hope is the only kid tall enough to reach AND pull the largest plate from its nail....HUZZAH!!!

[sound of crickets chirping] 

Growth plates

We moved the growth plates to a more prominent and very visible area, you know, as a reminder. In case she forgets. Not to mention, one of the plates happens to cover up a rip in the wallpaper....very nicely....guess which one?!?

"OH WAIT!!! I remember something!!!"

[eyes go wide]

"I remember going with you to take Papa to look for a new house..."

Yes, yes she did!

"Then tripping on the sidewalk, falling down and ripping my knee open!"

Yup, she gets it from her mother.

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