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June 2007

Summer Vacation: Beneath these child-bearing hips, there lies the fragile mind of a mad woman- Day 11

After careful consideration - having spent the last 36 hours nursing a severely wounded cat and desperately avoiding any further instances of uncertain death - I believe that my husband may just be, you know, right, maybe.

Can it be?

Thinking on it some more - having spent more quality time traveling in our minivan, than not - I think I may be driving my children CRAZY!

I mean, seriously, my kids aren't all that small, anymore and are tall enough to ride the bigger rides, even - well, except perhaps Mini-me - but, I say unto you...all ye moms, dads and parent bloggers to be...it doesn't seem to be getting any easier.

[smiles broadly]

That's when bitching about your spousal unit comes in real handy!

"Where's the car seat?"

My parents haven't been feeling well, lately and the kids and I wanted to visit with them, before leaving for Cape May for a few days of...well, I don't know...I've learned not to plan ANYTHING...anymore!

"Um...it's in my car."

Silence.

"Hello?"

Although, I have to admit, the next part of our conversation is a bit fuzzy - my husband claims I hung up on him - understand that I had less than 24 hours to visit with my parents, pick up everything my 11-year-old needed for field hockey, food shop, come home, clean the house, wash the clothes, prepare for a sleepover (because, I am a DORK!) and pack.

"Well, that just totally screws up my day!"

This is the part where he claims I slammed the receiver, but I do seem to remember my replying.

"THIS SUCKS!!!"

The phone rang and I asked Thing Two to answer it.

"He's probably going to make some stupid suggestion that's going to make me mad!"

Yes, I believe that we should always be honest with our children.

"He STILL wants to talk to you."

Shit.

"Look, why don't you just drive down here, on your way to your parents, and I'll put it in your car?"

Uhhhhhh, okay.

"But, that's against the law!"

Okay, but this was kind of a family emergency, sort of, and what I really wanted to do was tell my 8-year-old son to STOP being such a boy scout.

Not out loud, anyway.

"Chill out, sweetie...sometimes mommy's and daddy's have to bend the rules, a little...besides, it's not like I'm robbing a bank."

Though, my husband does work for one.

"That's right...remember Mini-me...today you ARE 80 lbs!"

Even though I did appreciate Thing-Two's attempt at helping the situation, I told her that there really wasn't any reason we needed to, you know, lie.

"That's wight...wee-membah when we took-did the twain...when mommy told-did me to pwee-tend wike I was 4...'cause it's cheaper than being 5!"

Considering the recent rash of bad luck...not to mention, ginormous vet bills...having to take Old Man back, again, this morning...because we woke up and found that his stitches were torn open...EWWW...color me crazy...but, I'm a little afraid of leaving all of this behind.

I think that perhaps Mini-me may just have to stay little...a little longer...although, there aren't really any rides in Cape May, to speak of.

"Thank goodness Aunt C. and Uncle J. invited us, or else we'd have to lie about what we really did for summer vacation!"

Ah, well - at least, we ARE laughing...all the way to Daddy's bank, even - what lies beneath, is the plain truth, that it's only been 11 days and we ALL feel a bit like we're going a little mad, and need a vacation, from our summer vacation, big time - when we can ALL start feeling a lot less, you know, frah-gee-lee.

See you in about a week, everyone...

Minimepeaceout

...peace-out!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Summer Vacation - Mom's unleashed and dancing with power tools, again - Day 9

I grew up in a rather industrialized area of Northern New Jersey - I know, try not to act so surprised - but, beyond the garden gate, lay a tiny oasis of perhaps the brightest hues and most abundant shades of green in the entire neighborhood.

If it weren't for the smells - at the time, drifting over from the fully-functional dumps of Staten Island - you'd think we lived in the English countryside.

Throughout my elementary school years, my father worked for a landscaping company and - though, people in the business would say that a landscaper's grass is seldom green - he spent a lot of his off-hours outdoors and would bring home the occasional stray shrub, or saved many sickly trees from the dumpster and transformed our backyard into one giant nursery, literally.

No matter how pitiful and droopy a plant looked, he just didn't have the heart to throw anything away.

Me?

Well, there's some sort of tree and weird type of bush - growing behind the pool and blocking out some of the much needed sun's rays - I'd sooner take a chainsaw to...aaaaaand...then, whack the sucker...DEAD...aaaaand...only then, would I mow it down to the ground...into tiny bits of...well, much more manageable pieces of mulch.

But, I can't.

Not that I am unable to - my husband has a chainsaw and I do know how to use it - it's just that, well, my husband simply won't allow it.

"You're dangerous with power tools - you must know that, by now - just wait until I get home!"

Yes, I know - I am my father's daughter - unfortunately, time waits for no mommy and I have been known to, you know,
break the rules of suburban living - yes, I cut, weed whack AND edge my own lawn - and take advantage of every opportunity, where I can unleash my...um...more feral side!

So, yesterday morning, after I watered the front, the back and walked the cat - yes, the poor Old Man has been reduced to enduring the balance of his years spent outdoors, wearing a leash - having declared war against the wild rabbits, I decided to screen the fencing around my vegetable garden.

Using my husband's high-pressured and totally cherry staple gun!

WHAP!

"Are you coming into the pool?

WHAP!

"Yep, as soon as momma finishes this project and it's going pretty fast, thanks to daddy's coolest power tool, ever!"

WHAP!

I swear, I zipped through the first panel - made up of several remnant laths and framed by some leftover 2 x 4 - in no time flat and was nearly done with the second.

WHAP...MMMZAP...POW!

When I found myself knocked backwards and flat on my ass!

"Oh...my...gawd...MOMMMMMEEEEE!"

What happened?

Well, suffice it to say that - in the never ending battle of mom vs. wild accusations of poolside martinis and drinking play dates - I'd consider myself lucky enough to make it through the summer...ALIVE!

Aaaaand...just what did we learn from all this?

Well, that metal screening and electric do NOT mix, of course...um...aaaaand that my kids can't be trusted to NOT tell daddy...just what did happen to his power tool...lying on top of the garbage...exactly!

Next week: Further discussion on the joys of living an Amish life and how to survive motherhood, without the aid of power tools, or having to throw up a lung, in Jersey.

After I walk the cat, of course - stupid leash!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Summer Vacation - Humanizing while under the influence of children - Day 7

My parents have very close friends - my father and Mr. T. grew up together and escaped Hungary in the 50's - who recently lost their dog, unexpectedly. The kids and I were at a family function, yesterday and happened to run into them - yes, really, I tripped over air and nearly dropped a whole platter of chicken salad sandwiches - so, I took my cousin's advice, put the food down and struck up a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. T.

They asked how our Doofus-dog was doing and after I finished telling them all of the Doofus-type things he's managed to do (and eat) they seemed almost as surprised, as I was, to learn that he wasn't dead, yet.

"If the chocolate doesn't kill him, my husband will...he's lucky to be alive, really...so, you looking for a dog?"

Mrs. T.'s teared up and she nearly dropped her cigarette.

"I mean...oh, Jeez...I'm sorry...I didn't mean to make you sad."

I immediately changed the subject and asked if they knew of a good doctor in the neighborhood, who could help surgically remove my size 9 foot from my even BIGGER mouth!

"Even though he IS such pinhead, Doofus is an important part of our family and I know how much you must miss Coco."

Personally, I hated the dog.

What?

Okay - so this is where, if I had a penis, I'd ask you to call me an insensitive prick - but, it was one of those yip-yip-fru-fru-type high maintenance little buggers that had more toys, grooming products and hair appointments than, you know, my kids.

But, Mrs. T.'s children are grown now and ALL of her grandchildren live out-of-state and I know how hard it is for her to get used to NOT taking care of, well, something.

Yes, pets and children are very humanizing and we've been spending A LOT of time with my parents.

"I don't want to go home!"

Nice.

"It's fun staying at mama's and papa's house."

Real nice.

"Yes...I know...but, we haven't seen daddy all weekend!"

I gave my husband a belated Father's Day gift and - because he hasn't had a weekend to himself in, well, weeks - I told him that he and Uncle Steve could go out for, you know, a daddy play date.

"So, how were the car races?"

Imagine my surprise to learn that he decided to stay home and build a rabbit fence for my vegetable garden, instead!

Yes, I hate rabbits, but - short of shooting my neighbor for constantly feeding the little suckers - she doesn't care for my pets getting into her yard, either and I trust that the new fence will certainly help keep the peace, at least.

But, then I saw the hole in my cat.

"Hon, come here...QUICK!"

It was an ugly, round and about the size of a large bee-bee.

"Look what the hell happened to Old Man?"

No, I don't sit around and imagine my 98 year-old-neighbor shooting my cat, but - it sure as hell looked like someone did - I had a hard time trying NOT to believe it.

The vet at the emergency hospital, not so much.

"It looks more like a bite."

Nice.

"In fact, it's not a new wound...it looks more like an abscess...probably been festering for a while...see, how the tissue around it is all dead."

Real nice.

"Are you sure?"

[eyes go wide]

"I mean, how didn't we notice this?!?"

Yes, I was very upset.

"I mean...the poor old man...we've been taking really good care of him, I swear...and it would be almost easier to take...if I believe that it was one of our nutty neighbors!"

Even though she did laugh, the vet seemed to have a hard time understanding what the big deal was about.

"Do you have any children at home?"

[eyes go wide]

"Um...yes...they're home...why?...I mean, we have 4 kids...but, they're with a babysitter...I mean...my oldest daughter is watching them...she's 13...I mean...until Grandma and Grandpa get there...uh...yes, they're home.

I buried my face in my hands.

"No, sweetie, don't get upset...all I meant is...well, these things are sometimes very easy to miss... and you already seem to have your hands full."

Yes, the vet was soooo right - I mean, she is a mom with 3 kids - but, what I failed to tell her is that my grandmother gave us this cat and made me promise that I would take care of Old Man, before she died!

Pumpkincollared

Yes, he's fine and - although, they did have to surgically remove a rather large portion of his backside - he's a tough old man! And there's nothing more humanizing than staying up most of the night, with your pet, and having your children help take care of, well, in keeping a promise.

Pumpkinbackslide


Watching the cat walk into things and laughing our asses off, not so much.

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Summer Vacation - Joy to the sun, surf and mommy swaps - Day 4

Minimesprinkler

So, what are you guys doing this summer?

For us - having spent all my life living on the east coast, where the day can change from sunny to GRAB THE FOOD and RUN FOR THE CAR in a matter of minutes - making definite plans ahead of time really depends upon the weather and having to learn NOT to, you know, make any plans, etc...

Unless I check my local, regional and...what the heck, because I can!...national weather - gosh, but I love the internet! - and ONLY then, will I probably do what my grandmother always used to do, when I was little. Stick my head out the front door and sniff for rain - I mean, I don't want to waste any time, taking a shower, when I don't really have to - and then, I call my Dad.

"How's your knee feeling?"

[heavy sigh]

"My knee's fine, but my blankety-blank-blank back hurts like...."

Click.

"Okay, grab the cooler, don't forget the umbrella and get in the car...LET'S GO...we can get in a good couple of hours, at least!"

Not accounting for traffic, of course.

Littlemanwet

As most parents already know, keeping kids cool in the summer - while keeping enough money in your bank account for, you know, everything else - well, it isn't easy!

Thingtwosprinkles

Thankfully, I have low-maintenance kids -- yes, they get that from their mother -- although, they don't always like it and perhaps even complain to their friends about wanting to, you know, swap moms, they have learned to accept words like, "Not today," and "Maybe next week, when daddy gets paid!"

But, we still find ways to have lots of fun - like celebrating the last day of school at the local sprayground - and, if nothing else, we can appreciate the fact that a little sprinkle...every now and then...goes a long way at Camp This Full House of sweet and sour laundry. . .

Summerswap

That's pretty much the reason why I decided to participate in Summer Swap '07 - brainchild of the very pretty Jay Jenny:

"When I started this in May, I never expected how much fun I'd have. And by reading many of your posts, you all had a wonderful time too! It truly was more than simply getting and giving gifts to celebrate the summer."

Although I am a day late -- I was supposed to post this yesterday, but it was really sunny, we were at the beach ALL DAY and then I, you know, fell asleep -- I received a package of summer goodies from my swap buddy, Renee!

I can't tell you how much fun it was gathering items that spelled out the word SUMMER (I did send a package to my buddy, a day late, of course) so, I'm going to let me kids just show you what I got, along with the note that Renee wrote:

"I hope that the summer in Jersey is treating you well.  I had a blast shopping and hope that you enjoy your Summer Swap goodies!"


Swapseeds


S
...Something special from my own personal garden!

Swapsunscreen

U...UV sun protection for the days you hit the Jersey shore!

Swapflops

M...Multi-colored flip flops to show off your summer pedicure!

Swapreads

M...Magazines that highlight two of your favorite hobbies (cooking and gardening).

Swapbag

E...Everything you need for a quick escape to the beach can be thrown into this adorable tote.

Swapshower

R...Relax and unwind with a weekend pamper pack.

Thanks so much, Renee - as summer swap buddies go, you ARE simply the best - it's like you know me so well.

My pedicures, not so much.

[see flip flops above]

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to take my new bag and the kids out for the day.

[sniff-sniff]

As soon as I check the weather, give a quick call over to my parents house and, you know, take a shower - Happy Summer!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Summer Vacation - quiet little blogging moments in real life, with kids - Day 1

Not many people know - in real life - that I blog and not many bloggers know - except perhaps a few, who I know in real life and are kind to stop by, anyway and leave a comment - that this blog is about as real as a life can get, with kids.

Busy one minute, colorless the next and then there are those moments - you know, the kid-friendly kind of spontaneous we parents have learned to expect - that slowly begin to unfold and reveal their beauty, which simply leaves me wordless.

Okay, the same can be said for days that go on...and on...without solace, or any peace in sight...when I can't seem to make my kids happy...and everyone is out to get me...oh yes, they are...and I do NOT want to get out of bed.

Thankfully - although, the kids and I happen to STILL be in our pajamas - today is one of those, you know, better days.

[stretching and yawning]

It's the first day of summer vacation, but - you know, that I know, that I've got a lot to be happy and blog about - there's a sort of melancholy running through This Full House of bursting backpacks and empty cereal boxes.

Thingtwogradmom


Okay, so in the last week, we've celebrated a graduation...

Minimegradmom

...and our fourth and probably last kindergarten celebration...

Minimecandles

...moving to the other hand and blowing out six candles, in yet another celebration of my husband's most favorite Father's Day present, can make any mom feel sort of, you know, weary.

Minimesad

Although, I have to confess, being surrounded by a gaggle of kids, who mostly look like this, well, let's just say that saying NO can prove difficult.

Littlemanhappy

Twelve hours into our first day of summer vacation and I have to say - even though I really wasn't expecting to find myself in between jobs, so soon - I don't think I've ever felt this, you know, worn out, already.

I guess I'm just surprised to have been hired...and then fired...in less time than it takes for most people to, you know, in real life.

[spitting out sour grapes]

Ah, well - being a mom with four kids, trust me, I know - there is NO such thing as my ever having too much time on my hands.

Thanks to all of you - especially, those bloggers who heard the call and took the time to take a stand with me - I really do feel lucky to be in such good company and I really do feel just as content as my Little Man looks, at the moment.

Thingonehappy


After all, I do have a teenager - who still likes me, sort of - but, she's not home, right now, because Thing One is celebrating the first day home from school and summer vacation, by sleeping over a friend's house.

What?

I can't blame her. Her best friend's house IS much bigger and her mother is WAY more, you know, nicer and it's probably a whole lot quieter there, too!

[heavy sigh]

Such is life.

But, before I go and pick her up from the movie theater - on the way to my MIL house to dig in some shrubs and plants I took her to buy, yesterday - I just wanted to thank all of you (yes, YOU!) who stopped by and participated in This Full House challenge for Sunkist.

The kids and I will be adding another $22.00 to the proceeds to our lemonade stand to benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America and will post pictures of the sale, as soon as, you know, our lemonade stand is delivered!

Speaking of which, I placed each of your names into a hat and Mini-Me has picked the following winners of a free lemonade stand:

Glennia - I'm looking forward to watching your summer unfold with your new digital camera!

NTE - Yes, it's Never That Easy, but you blog it so nicely!

Believer in Balance - A far away hug to you and the kiddies, especially The Super Pooper!

Katespot - I bet you feel lucky, too, because we live, you know, closer and you can thank Mini-Me in person, next week!

In the meantime, I hope that everyone enjoys a safe and happy summer.

[stretching, again]

Feel free to stop by, anytime during the next 70+ days - just clean off a chair and don't mind the laundry - there's usually plenty of excitement going on here during the summertime and we're always more than happy to share.

[rubs neck and ignores the hollering]

Anyway, that's what blogging is for!

Enjoy your summer, everyone - may you find many little quiet moments, of your own - just be sure to holler (REAL LOUD) if you need me.

I'll be upstairs, asleep!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

The Power of Blogging: A Shout out to all BlogHers, Blog Spotters, Lurkers, Maya's Mom and anyone else who's willing to take a stand for charity!

I've got a lemonade stand to pick, with you!

Sunkist is calling all kids (7 to 12 years of age) to "Take a Stand" for their favorite charity and is offering over 10,000 lemonade stand kits free (while supplies last) in it's 3rd year of inspiring children to give back to their community.

Take a Stand Day - to squeeze more fun into lemonade stand season, Sunkist is encouraging kids to jump-start lemonade sales in conjunction with the first-ever “Take a Stand Day” set for Thursday, June 21st and through the first weekend of summer.

The kids and I have volunteered to "take a stand" and we will donate all the proceeds from our This Full House challenge for Sunkist to our local chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

My kids have ALWAYS wanted to run their very own lemonade stand and now, with the help of the good folks over at Sunkist, we can give a little back to the blogosphere, as well.

This Full House will donate an additional $1.00 per comment left on this post (say hello, wish us luck, or just pucker up and send us a kiss) and give away 4 lemonade stands to bloggers who wish to join in on the fun. Comments will be open until Monday 3:00 p.m. and the winners will be randomly picked by Mini-Me [pictured below] who will be moving to "the other hand" and turning 6, tomorrow!

Minigraduate

My littlest rugrat is also an official "grader" after graduating kindergarten, yesterday - Happy Birthday, muffin!

The recipients of the lemonade stands will be picked on Monday, June 18th, which just so happens to be the last day of school...can I get a YEEHAW!?!

Please feel free to wish Mini-Me a Happy Birthday, tell a few friends, use your blogging super powers to pass the word and help This Full House of loose change and lost socks start off the summer with a big CHA-CHING!

Go ahead, make our day - let's prove to "the man" that there is power in the blogging world (no matter how small) and that it is good - and help a little brother and sister enjoy their summer.

What do you have to lose?

I promise, there's nothing under the cushions - it's not like I'm getting paid for this, or anytime soon, or anything - 'cause tomorrow really is Mini-Me's birthday...and people are coming over...so, I had no other choice but to, you know, clean house!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Hump Day Diddy Dumbs - In praise of a middle child, sort of...

When Thing One was born, my husband and I couldn't wait to bring her home and welcomed our new roles, as mother and father to our brand new baby daughter, celebrating each milestone of "firsts" with equal amounts of enthusiasm and trepidation.

Then, I became pregnant with Thing Two and - though, I couldn't wait and called my husband...at work...and gave him the results of the pregnancy test...while in the middle of a meeting with a client...because, I am all about informality - I was surprised to feel a bit worried about whether or not I was ready to separate myself from being the world to Thing One and not knowing exactly how I was going to manage sharing, well, pretty much everything else with TWO babies!?!

Then Thing Two was born and...WHAM!...things like colic, irritable bowel and projectile vomiting became standards in our vocabulary, as we spent the next 8 months sleepwalking and it was obvious, right from the start, that there was no comparison.

"I can't seem to be able to make her happy and I'm afraid that this child will grow up to hate me!"

I cried - along with Thing Two - nearly every night and tried everything that any doctor, lawyer, Indian chief and even my MIL suggested that I simply strap the child into the stroller, or car seat and just go with it.

I did and it worked.

Soon, she (and I) grew used to needing very little sleep and spent the next couple of months, together - watching Barney, Pooh Bear, or any blessed video that would give us, along the rest of the house, a little peace - and sort of getting reacquainted, with each other.

Then, Little Man came along and Thing Two adored her new baby brother and I was surprised at how quickly she adjusted to her new role as "big sister."

Middle child, not so much.

"I can't seem to be able to make her happy and I'm afraid that this child will grow up to hate me!"

After all, at 2 1/2 years old, she wasn't even out of diapers yet and I cried on her first day of nursery school - she did NOT.

"Gotta kiss for Momma?"

She ran right for the play kitchen set, and started pushing a shopping cart, and I just shook my head and waved, as her teacher tried to coax her back.

"That's okay - she knows Momma's busy with the baby and her big sister is just down the hall, too - have fun and I love you, baby!"

She did.

I remember rushing around and barely making it to her preschool graduation, because the next day, her baby sister (child #4) was scheduled to arrive - though, at this point, she and I had learned to pretty much go with the flow - Thing Two would always be the middle girl.

Thingtwograd

"I can't seem to be able to stop thinking about when you were little and how much you've grown!"

Thing Two - my middle girl - is graduating 5th grade, today.

"I can't believe you're going to middle school, already."

Thingtwograd2


She's smart, confident, beautiful and has a wicked sense of humor - especially, when things around here can get a little, you know, sticky - we've grown to refer to Thing Two as our family's little peacemaker.

"It's okay - Thing One told me a lot of stuff and showed me around, already - now, you'll have two of us to worry about and I'm sure I will have fun getting into lots of trouble and making YOU mad."

[snort]

"Am I really that terrible of a mother?"

She shook her head and sort of, smiled.

"Nah, you're kind of somewhere, you know, in between."

I love you too, baby.

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.