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May 2007

Picture Perfect Thursday - Dirty Hands, Smart Mouth


I come from a long line of agricultur


ists - my father was a landscaper, my grandfather and both my great-grandfathers were master gardeners to noble families in Europe - and I often tell my children that gardening is in their blood.

"Ewww, get it out!"

My 8-year-old son has this habit of taking things literally, lately.

So, anyway, what I was trying to say is that I grew up surrounded by flower beds and falling in love with the sweet smell of wet dirt. It's intoxicating, really. A lot of people ask me why I put some much time and effort into gro


wing vegetables, when we are surrounded by farm markets and super-shop-and-drops, and I smile, nod and just say that it makes me happy.

[blank stare]

Okay, to make a long story short (I know, too late) our love for digging in the dirt is infectious - my husband has also developed a rather green thumb, through osmosis - so, we here at This Full House of grimy little hands and bare feet spend a lot of our summertime, outdoors.

"Are there any bees?"

My son is the only one of my four children to have ever been stung by a bee - 5 times!

"Some, but they're not out to get you, or anything."

I lied.


"Besides, are you going to spend the whole summer in the house?"

He's thinking about it.

"The bees are busy out back, but - I have to weed a little, out front - why don't you come outside and shoot a few hoops."

Begrudgingly, he followed me out to the front of the house and, as I kicked at the last of the sticky balls that were lying about, we both stopped in front of the weeping cheery tree to admire the transplants from my MIL's gard



"Wow, check out your great-grandfather's iris!"

[eyes go wide]

"Whuh...oh my gosh...WHERE!?!"

My son pulled a 360 and ran back into the house, screaming

"Oh, for the love


of Pete!"

Bees can be scary - heck, I've been stung before and I know that it, you know, hurts! - but, I really believe that my son's fear of bees was beginning to get out of hand and really starting to get on my nerves. Still. I'm a grown up and he is still, you know, little.  So, I did what any other anxious parent would do.

I dragged his butt back, outside!

"I know you're scared, but try and remember that everything in nature serves a purpose - after all, they are very important to our environment - maybe you could, you know, watch them and may


be you'll learn a little bit from them, too."

He nodded his head and started to cry, a little.

"Okay, but I think you're being mean!"

[blank stare]

"And totally gross!"

Okay, he lost me...again.

"I mean, my family buries their eyes in the garden, that's just weird!?!"

Now, I'm laughing.


"No, I meant the flower."

[wiping eyes]

"Why didn't you just say so!?!?"



I pointed out the fact that the three upright petals and three drooping sepals are symbols for faith, valor, and wisdom.

"Your grandfather always believed that, even though he didn't speak English very well, everyone spoke flowers."

Wait for it.

"He always said that we could learn a lot from gardening."

Whoops, there it is.

"Well, if it supposed to make you smart, maybe you should plant some more!"

Well, shut my mouth - not only are his eyes blue, but I do believe son has inherited his grandfather's sense of humor, too - stupid flowers!

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Why I'll never forget to be very good at acting my age.


Last week, I wasn't feeling very well and asked my oldest daughter (she's 13) to stay home and sit her sisters, including Mini-me.

"But, you said you'd bring her?"


" know, I'm old and guess I forgot."

So, I allowed Mini-Me's little friend play with my cell phone and I spent the next 2 hours, squirming on very hard bleachers and trying to stay warm with my vanilla chai, at my 8-year-old son to his baseball practice.

"I don't know what it is, really, besides the fact that I'm turning 43 and feeling, you know, very hormonal!"

Okay, I'm not one of the youngest mothers, anymore, but I soon found out that I wasn't the oldest, either.

"Yeah, well, just wait until you hit 50!"


"Gosh, but you look great!"

It's true - I would have guessed her to be no more than, well, my age - but, am often told that I, you know, look much younger, too!

"I'm only 35, but I hope I can look as good as you guys, when I'm your age."

Oh, well - this would be one of those "younger" mothers, I was telling you about - although, she's very cute, blonde and perky, I suddenly had a flashback and imagined her as a big old purple dinosaur, singing:

"The more we get together, I hate her, can't stand her...the closer I get to menopause...the grumpier I'll be."

What is it with some women?

"What's your secret?"

[eyes go wide]

"Uh...what do you mean?"

She placed both hands on her hips, and even pouted her lips, a little, and I couldn't believe that she actually looked, cuter!

"You know...keeping up with four kids...finding the time...and still look happy and all?"

Oh, that.

"Oh, I'm not all that...just know...a little brain dead from watching too much baseball!"

No - I don't think that I'm very funny, either - having kids has pretty much cured me of ever having to worry about how I look, to other people, at the moment.

What with a letter, like this?

Dear Mom,

Happy 25th birthday. Haha! Can I ask for more of a mother? No! You are the greatest. I thank you for bringing me into this world, and for coming into this world yourself! Today is all about you, which it basically NEVER is! Today, just sit back...relax...and let your muffins do the talking. Feel free to have us spoil you...even though I might push you in the pool...just kidding, or am I? Well anyway, happy birthday Mom and even if you wake up to be a grumpy, cranky old woman, I'll still love you. Be sure to keep away from Dad, because he is sure to give you (43) 25 whacks. Stay happy! For as long as you can!

Love always and forever,

Thing Two

Not to mention, this:

Dear Mommy,

Happy Birthday!  43, huh!  Guess what, I got you a present.  It's me, your son, Little Man!

Oh, and this:

Happy Birthday, Mom.  You are 43!

Love, Mini-Me

Finally, the one that made me cry:

Time passes by,

As quick as can be,

Because all of a sudden,

You're 43!

But, that doesn't matter,

At all to me,

Because you're my Mom,

And that's all I see.


Thing One

See, I'm not in denial - not with four kids constantly reminding how old I "really" am - it's just that I believe that women shouldn't worry so much about our age and that you youngsters should trust me when I tell you that turning 43 sounds much worse, than it really is.

Sort of.

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

A glance into the world of higher thinking and dirty fingernails.


My 8-year-old son's 2nd grade class hosted a tea and poetry reading, Friday afternoon, that the children have been preparing for, for weeks, and were put to task with having to create their own invitations, for up to 3 people.

It was very cute and I would love to be able to share it with you, only, I can't. Because, I gave it to his grandparents and forgot to take a picture of it - not to mention, show his father - but, I thought that perhaps my parents would enjoy the handwritten envelope marked "By invitation only" and "To Mama and Papa, pleeeeease, come!" and I hand delivered it, personally.

"No, you keep it...really...I've got tons just like it, at home, already!"

I work from home - yes, it's a perk - so, I was an obvious 1st choice on his guest list and the poor kid agonized, for days, over which of his grandparents to invite.

"I chose Mama and Papa, well, because I told a lot about them to my teacher, already."

Little Man's teacher is Ukranian and - being that my parents are Hungarian - well, you know, we are practically kissing cousins, afterall.

"Are these the grandparents who inspire you in your love of history?"

His teacher was being very gracious.

"Yes, and he's the one who was almost shot in the haystack!"

The boy (and his sisters) really does enjoy listening to my father tell of life in "the old country" - especially, having narrowly escaped it, with his life - and Little Man's teacher often allows him to repeat the stories to his class and has also included my parents into his history projects. Like, his oral report on on Dwight D. Eisenhower:

"If it wasn't for people like him, President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, my Mama and Papa would probably not be here, or been able to escape from the bloody communists!"

Yes, Papa's history lessons can be and filled with colorful language and, quite frankly, I was a bit nervous to hear my son's choice of poem, you know, that he finds...GULP...inspiring.


He did great!


Oh, the, I don't remember what the title was - because, I was too busy worrying about whether or not I remembered to charge the stupid camera's battery, okay! - and then I noticed the dirt under my fingernails!

Stupid weeds.

"Wonderful to meet you, finally, and thank you for sharing your stories!"

My son and I are going to miss her and - although, she is Little Man's favorite teacher and this has been his best year - all that homework...not so much!

"I just like to tell my grandchildren, like it is, straight from my heart."

She glanced over at me, but I just smiled and hid my hands in my skirt pockets.

"Not many American children are exposed to such worldly thought, or understand history as much as Little Man does, and thank you, very much, for sharing him, with us."

I was overcome.

"Did you know that European women don't shave their legs!?!"

[eyes go wide]

"But, my mom does."

[glancing down]

"I think."


Yep, the boy is a piece of work.


Just like his Papa.

Although, he and my mom haven't been feeling very well, these days - they do look great, though, don't they and yes, that's Mini-me, she was allowed to sign out of her class to join us and she is wearing her "Brother for Sale" t-shirt, appropriately enough - I understand that having grandkids can be pretty good medicine.

I agree, just not yet!

I'm looking forward to watching him (and the rest of my gang) grow to be, well, very smart and well-versed in the world of higher thinking...and yet...surprisingly very down to earth and a bit hairy, like their mother!

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Just when I thought I had seen my fair share of maternity wear and tear...

Although, I am NOT pregnant (knocking on wood until my knuckles bleed) I expect I'm feeling a little bit of baby-envy, especially now that my bloggity-good friend, Mom-101 has given birth to a beautiful little girl (welcome aboard, Sage!) and  - not to mention being surrounded by newly and happily married - I can't help but feel this terrible urge to kiss someone and signed nearly every end-of-the-year permission slip my children have brought home from school...xoxoxo!


Why, yes - I'm premenstrual, so what! - I had a very lovely weekend, all things considered, and was feeling pretty good, actually, as if I had a decent handle on, you know, things.


"Um...where are all the flowers and...uh...aren't there any other mothers coming?"

Mini-me and I had plans to plant flowers with her girl scout troop early Saturday morning and I actually was able to get us showered and out of the house on time, for once.

"Well, it's still sort of early."

Me, and one other mother, showed up for 8:45 a.m. and I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if I had gotten the date, time or directions wrong, again.

"Yep, you're at the right park."

We chatted for only a few more minutes - because, can't seem to be able to stand...or, sit...without having to talk to someone, or something, to the point where all the women blink and turn away in awkward silence; can you? - and a couple of mothers finally showed up.

"I don't know about you guys, but I'm thinking this thing's been canceled."


"And I'm trying really hard, NOT to be annoyed, right now."

Blink, blink.

"It's not like we all didn't have something better to do, on Mother's Day weekend, yes?"

Awkward silence.

To make a long story short (I know, too late!) the flower planting was canceled and I, nor the other handful of mothers who DID show, did NOT get the email.

"Well, at least we DID get an early start on our day, right?"

Blink, blink.

So, everyone grabbed their little diggers and went home. Except, me. forgot to bring our hand trowels...and stayed behind to chat and catch up with another mommy friend and the only other person to show up from our troop.

"Why, yes...I write, for a of...but, it also allows me to work out a lot of, you know, personal issues."

Blink, blink.

Like, feeling as if I were, once again, kept out of the loop - yeah, I'm probably being paranoid, so what? - to the point that I am starting to believe that I am NOT worth the ten-cents-a-minute.

Awkward silence.

Don't worry - I'm probably only being premenopausal, again! - it's just that I always thought that motherhood was going to, you know, somehow supposed to get easier. Now, my kids are growing up (so fast, btw!) I seem to be worrying more, than when they were, you know, a lot more little-ish.

What will they do? How will they live? Where are they going? Who's going to teach them? What's up with all the insanity and when will I be loved?

Then, I woke up.

Hollys_note_2 Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day! I love you so much! I hope you have a great Day, and try not to work yourself extremely hard today! Relax! Love you so much!

Thing One

Heathers_note Dear Mom,

On this day, I get so many memories of all you have done. When there is a bad time, you always pull through. That's why today is all about you! I thank you for giving me life, the strength to move on. Whenever I was hurt, you would be there to heal the wound. Whenever I'm scared, you would be next to me, right there. I think of your love, and smile, and that feeling lasts a while! What I'm trying to say, is "I Love You Mom!" and I always will!

Thing Two

Hopeys_note XOX,

I love you and have a Happy Mothers Day.

Mini-Me [written with all the "y's" facing backward]

Glens_note Dear Mommy,

I wish you a happy Mothers Day.  I am giving you a surprise.  Love ya!

Your Son,

Little Man

Blink, blink.

I reached into the bag, gently pulled out the package of tissue paper and unwrapped the pretty silver frame.

"Teacher asked me to write it and, like, to describe my mother."

Yes, my Mother's Day was very lovely - thank you for asking - and don't worry too much about being able to handle more than one kid, Liz.  Whenever in doubt, just think of me and the seven simple little words written by my Little Man...

Kindhearted, beautiful, charming, shopping, cleaning, gorgeous, magnifico...

...and, in the future, if anyone ever needs any help, from me, feel free to drop a line - especially, if you can't make it and decide to CANCEL! - or, stop by This Full House of worn out maternity wear and mother guilt, anytime, and I'll be more than happy to provide an example, in showing you exactly what NOT to do.

Just don't call me...MAGNIFICO...I mean it!

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

To All The Men I've Been, Before...

We have a very busy weekend planned - of course, because it's Mother's Day - which starts early tomorrow morning, where at precisely 8:45 a.m., I will be planting flowers at one of our neighborhood playgrounds with Mini-Me's girl scout troop.


Well, because my little Daisy is earning a badge, or something, I think, or maybe not...all I know is that the notice specifically stated - PARENTS HELP!

Guess which one?

So, I'll just pretend it's just another school day - ignore the fact that it is really a Saturday, with no baseball, soccer, volleyball, or anything - and, you know, drag my kids out of the house, kicking and screaming.

Why me?

Well, Daddy won't be home - because somebody's gotta work, right? - and I've grown accustomed to running a pretty tight ship, have never been one to admit that I needed help and probably wouldn't know what to do with myself, if I really did choose to take advantage of free time, if I had any.


Having spent most of the week outside cutting grass - in between those times I was, you know, pretending to work - it's hard to ignore the fact that the poop decks need a swabbing and the crow's nest is starting to smell, well, sort of like wet Doofus-dog.

Given the choice, I'd rather be planting.

So, I won't get to sleep in tomorrow morning - big whoop! - or, probably not on Sunday, either, because both my husband and I have mommies to visit and, either way, I can't think of a better way to celebrate Mother's Day than perhaps petitioning the holiday-gods that A DAY OFF ON A SATURDAY, for my man and me, would be nice.

Because there's no school on Sunday and - just like the Bangles said - it's our I don't have to run day!

And the closest I want to get to having to attend a sporting event is watching it from the comfort of my own couch, in my pajamas, with a cold beverage and plenty of snacks, because, as far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as too much down-time and absolutely NO dieting on weekends.

I've often said to, well, anyone who is silly enough to hang around long enough to listen is that I would make one mother of a husband!

[hocks a goober and hogs remote]

"Can I get you anything?"


"Naw, I'm good and heading out to hammer up a couple of loose boards on the house."

[lip quivers]

"What'd I say?"

[starts to turn and walks out]

"I like to feel needed, too, you know."

Oh, I know and - though, he really doesn't sound (or, isn't) that needy - my husband knows that I couldn't do half the stuff that I, if it weren't for his calm, cool, collected and accepting nature.

Total opposites really do attract.

So, this Mother's Day I would like to acknowledge my husband. Because the man can (and has) stepped into Mommy's shoes at a moment's notice and is still able to keep his manhood intact.

So, Happy Mother's Day, Hon 'cause your one Mother of a hubby...and don't worry about your wallet...that you forgot on your dresser - because, I know that you were very distracted with making the kids' lunches this morning and running late - I'm headed out now to bring them to you and will even buy you lunch.

After I shave my legs, of course!

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Me, my self-propelled rotary mower and some serious lawn-care eye candy!

I have already confessed my obsession with cutting the grass and having been dubbed the resident Lawn Mower Mom, but never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine a more perfect day, than the last two days, spent outdoors in the glorious sunshine and warm weather that has long eluded us, until now.


So, I finished up early and ventured out to the backyard with Doofus Dog and made sure he had a nice, shady place to sit under his favorite tree.


What a sorry sight it was, indeed - typically, I would have had this cleaned up and ready for planting by Mother's Day - but, since I've started working (semi-part-time) again, such demands on my time have become a luxury. Still. My poor vegetable garden.


Lord love a duck, would you look at that - no wonder the kids fight me whenever I holler at them, "Go outside!" - a person could catch a bad case of ticks, or lose a small child, in there! Perhaps you'll understand my reason for concern that I get this darn grassed mowed, better, if I told you that my 5-year-old has a play date, with two other 5-year olds, tomorrow, was pretty obvious to me that we were in desperate need of some serious lawn care.


No worries, Lawn Mower Mom - along with her trusty self-propelled rotary mower and total lawn care eye candy - was on the case!


For the love of Brad Pitt, nothing lights my fire, like shaving off a few inches of overgrown grass and sweating a couple of pounds, especially before swim suit season officially starts in...ACK!, two weeks?...that's a whole lot of cuttin' I'd better be doin', Lucy!


But, did you happen to notice the ginormous fence - all 400' feet of it - our neighbors put in, swearing it wasn't because they, you know, don't like us, or nothing so un-neighborly as the noise of my running over every thing that happens to be hiding in the tall grass, on our side of the fence. Including plastic bags, half-filled with leaves and twigs, from last fall?!?


Yes, the grass was that high and even Doofus-dog was impressed by my mad lawn mower mommy skillz. Although, he did seem a little confused as to where exactly it was that he should, you know, do his business and barely recognized his favorite pooping ground.


Oh - there it is - never mind, he's just a dumb Doofus-dog doing what comes naturally and I've still got a you-know-what-load of mowing to do, before the kids get home.


[blank stare]


Okay - even us super lawn mower mommy-types have our limits - that's enough, for today. It's time I head back, clean up a bit and get ready to spend the better part of the afternoon, waiting on one looooooong line, after another, picking up my kids from school.


Besides, I'm about ready for a nice, tall cup of coffee and already packed my travel mug and...look...even Doofus-dog is anxious to go a minute...


...oh, the humanity...what a waste of good caffeine...the agony...Lawn Mower Mom has lost her precious cup of after school mojo...having been defeated once more...and by a big, old Doofus!

Here's a lawn mowing tip for you:

Wear heavy-duty shoes with no-slip soles (I do NOT recommend flip-flops) or, risk injuring yourself, while chasing a dumb Doofus, or, falling down into a pile of doggy-doo and smelling like fertilizer, or both, as the rest of the world, and their mommies, laugh at your sorry grass-stained butt.

It shouldn't happen to a dog!

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Our big, fat wedding weekend away with snakes in the water and sand under my feet cold enough to make me shiver.


Growing up on the Jersey shore, there's nothing better than taking a leisurely stroll on a nice, quiet beach, somewhere far away from the increasing sprawl and turmoil of living a suburban life - especially, now that I have done my part in adding to the population growth - unless, I'm with my husband and we decided to getaway and, you know, leave all of our children at home.

"Who's got the kids?"

I tried not to look guilty.

"Well, you know, it wasn't an easy decision."

Especially, since nearly everyone on our short list of babysitters was also away and attending the same wedding.

"But, I'm sure they are NOT missing us and my in-laws are undoubtedly spoiling them rotten."



Collecting shells and pretty rocks just didn't seem as much, you know, fun and sounded a lot like a scene from "Something's Gotta Give."

"Why are you picking those?"


"The rocks."


"Um...because, well...I don't know...actually, I think it's called sea glass and they' know...really pretty?"

So, I stashed the rocks...I mean...sea glass in my purse and we continued our hike along the beach and onto one of the many nature trails, way too long to take with kids, without having to stop, and making a potty stop, or telling someone to "Be quiet," and "Don't touch the poison ivy!"


"Oh, look...just like in the "Swan Princess" that a nest she's laying on!?!"

I couldn't help and think about how much Mini-me would have enjoyed being this close.

"Shhhh...yes and be quiet!"

But, it was as if all my kids were already there and enjoying the day along with me.


"Ew...look, a snake!"


" the water...right there!"


Little Man would have been impressed and...oh, man...we didn't see half this many wildlife the last time we were here, you know, with the kids.

Heavy sigh.


But, we were followed by the cutest little black-capped chickadee.

Muskrat know that you really can't see it, very clearly...but, I'm sorry, there is NOTHING lovely about this muskrat and there were quite a few of them, you know, hanging around.

"Quick, there's one, let's stomp on the walkway and scare him!"


Okay - so, we acted like a couple of kids - but, I finally figured out at least one of the reasons they call it a "rat." Because it looked an awful 'lot like what I'm used to seeing on the subway and just the thought having one of those running around under my feel makes me want to sort of, you know, shiver.

So, we had ice cream!

"Um...I'll have a...uh...I about a...oh, what'd ya' got that's big, totally fattening, but good?"

It was a perfect end to a wonderful day, but - as the afternoon progressed and we started getting ready for the wedding - anyone living near a beach knows that the weather can turn, rather quickly.


The skies turned gray and, in a matter of minutes, it got so cold and windy, we were glad when the bride arrived - in a horse drawn carriage, no less - and that the rain held off long enough for the bride and groom to share their vows.


And exchange their wedding rings.


They really do make a beautiful couple and - as Mini-me wrote on the wedding card, "You guys make a perfect pear!" - the bride and groom were kind enough to invite all 4 of our children, but totally understood why my husband and I chose to enjoy Cinco de Mayo, alone.

"How was the wedding?"

Thing Two text messaged us the next morning and I smiled while sending her my response.

"It gave me the shivers!"

So, we're back home...again...and were bombarded by hugs at the door and questions, like:

"What did her dress look like?"

"Who did you sit with?"

"What did you eat?"

"Did you see any snakes?"

Ah, now I've really got something to show Little Man, but don't have many other pictures of our wedding weekend away, husband and I were, like, too busy dancing, eating and having fun.


Oh, about the heels, the spa and all that "private time" I got spend with my husband?


Wouldn't you like to know!?!?

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.