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June 2011

Times Fun When You're Having Flies

Not unlike many cultures, growing up, my twin brother and I spent a lot of time with our grandmother -- especially, in the summertime.

Some of my fondest memories are of helping Nagy Mama cook Sunday dinner, or tend to her vegetable gardens, while listening to awesome stories "from the old country."

To be REAL honest, there were a few downright scary moments when I think she, along with others of the grandparent-ly-type, made up half of these so-called folktales, just to scare us kids into, you know, being good.

So...YES!...I have taken poetic license in re-telling some of these MY children.

Something's Peeking
Like, when exploring Uncle John's and Aunt Cheryl's farm, looking for freshwater crawfish (WHAT!?!?) apparently, Jersey's got 'em, who knew?

Frog 1
Aaaand, finding this little dude, instead, then telling my kids that...YES! is most definitely a wishing frog .

Frog 2-1
Which, upon closer inspection, he (or, she???) was obviously ready, willing and seemed to be quite comfortable, actually, in granting us audience, big or small.

Ahhhhhh...but, there IS a have to catch him, first.

Then...and ONLY then...can you make your wish.

Wishing Frog
Unless, you find a tall, dark and really, really brave mom-type blogger (preferably, descended from a long line of warrior princesses) to, you know, do it, for you. 

Because, contrary to what the Grimm Brothers may have told you, it's really bad juju to kiss a frog (see disclosure, below.)

Frog 3
Go ahead, make a wish (you know you want to) but, don't say I didn't warn you...OH!...and you're welcome!!!

Disclosure:  Just so you know, this blog post is for entertainment purposes, ONLY.  I am in no way advocating the kissing of frogs.  In fact, it's probably a REAL bad idea, as some frogs can give humans tapeworm cysts and salmonella poisoning.  (See also:  EWWWW and GAG ME WITH A SHOVEL!!!!) It's okay, though, because I didn't really kiss him/her, made sure to wash my hands (before and after) and, truth be told, the frog didn't look too happy about the idea, either. SHEESH!!!

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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

Perfection is So Over-Weeded

My friend Diana wrote a wonderful blog post on the acceptance of messes (feeling pride in tending to her less than perfect garden) and, well, for me, hers is such a timely story.

Tomatoes 2

My parents always kept a vegetable garden.  Growing up in an urban area, surrounded by ironworks, factories, several blocks of shared housing, warranting little more than a quick glance, before the traffic light changes, we were one of the few families to do so, in our neighborhood, anyway.

Eggplants and Red Cucumbers 2

Still, their vegetables were always so beautiful and, my kids spent hours playing in their green house, when they were little.

Small as it was, our backyard became an oasis and, from the moment you walked through the rose arbor, you'd forget your troubles, become deaf to all the noise outside the garden gate and, well, it was REAL nice to feel privy to that sort of peace, even for just a little while.

Eggplants and Red Cucumbers 2
Then, my husband Garth (not his real name) and I began looking for a house and, as small (and full) as it is, right now, I am very, very thankful for our REAL big backyard, too.

My parents surprised us, that first year, by planting a vegetable garden, while we were away (I forget where, or why) and, well, life was good. 

18 years, 4 kids, 3 cats, 1 Doofus-Dawg and a myriad of OTHER things that I just don't even want to, you know, think about, right now (maybe later) and the garden, well, this is the first summer I have considered “not dealing with it,” either and, you know what?

TFH Vegetable Garden 2

I did, anyway.  Because, as small and overcrowded with weeds as my vegetable garden is, right now, I could not imagine a summer without being able to go outside and, you know, dig in the dirt.

Aaaaand, in the process, perhaps even weed out my mommy brain, just a little, you know?

TFH Grapes 2
Thanks SO MUCH for the reminder, Diana.

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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

The Neglected Side of My Kids' Family Tree

When my son was in the 4th grade, I asked my parents if they'd be interested in speaking to his class about what it was like to have immigrated to America.

Hope and BFF on Heritage Day
This year, they were excited to be invited back to Heritage Day by Hope's 4th grade teacher, who heard them speak a few years ago and was hoping they'd share their experiences with her class, as well.

This time, I was a little concerned about their being able to go through with it.

Family Picnic Mama

To be honest, physically, mentally, emotionally, my parents are in a very different place (who isn't,  right?) they have their good days and bad days -- not to mention, down right sucktastic times when they can no longer hide the pain from their faces -- so, I didn't make any promises and just hoped for a good day.

It was a REAL good day.

Family Picnic Papa 2
In fact, I'm seriously considering taking on a managing role and hitting the public speaking circuit with these two: they are SUCH good tawww-kuhs (or, tock-kerrrrzzzzz, if you're from Hungary!)

My inlaws, not so much.

Family Picnic Grandma

My mother-in-law suffers from trigeminal neuralogia, has for years, to the point where the simple act of eating, drinking, talking and even smiling, causes her debilitating pain.

Family Picnic Grandpa

Married to their son, for nearly 21 years, I feel it safe to say that it probably hurts my father-in-law, even more.  Dad grew up outside of Boston (or, if you're from Boston, then Bah-ston) so, I really do appreciate his strong New England sensibilities and his wicked sense of humor (dry as it is) especially, on a good day, when my mother-in-law is, you know, not hurting.

Family Picnic Grandmothers
I don't blog about my in-laws, much.  The fact that either one of them might be reading this, right now, is probably making my father-in-law, you know, itch and I'm really sorry about that.

Family Picnic Under the Tree

Because, we ALL have learned to enjoy each others company (yes, on purpose!) and, although we may not always agree, let alone, get a word in edgewise (sorry, Grandpa!) my inlaws are an important part of our family's story, as well.

IN OTHER WORDS:  Yesterday was a REAL good day, too.

Consider yourselves blogged, Mom and Dad (you're welcome!!!)

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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

You Know You've Hit the Big Time When Your Dog Gets Fan Mail!

Okay, so I don't usually write about marketing to mom sort of stuff here on this blog anymore (but, I do on this one!)

Because, this is where I like to think out loud with very little thought given to word count or social media metrics.

Still, as a freelance writer and blogging professional (AM SO!) I do receive a lot of pitches (some good, mostly bad) and probably read twice as many posts and articles, every month, about some blogger being wronged, in some way, by yet another company who, you know, just doesn't get it.

I read bad pr pitch stories like this and can't help but pine for the days when moms (like me) would write (for writing's sake) and were THRILLED just to have made it on each other's blogrolls.

Blogging is hard.  Blogging while under the influence of children is damned near impossible, without a strong network of online (not to mention, unplugged) family and friends, I mean.

On the other hand, I've personally worked with some very amazing people, collaborated on equally awesome projects and forged many new fantastic friendships along the way.

Still.  Contrary to what others may think (or, feel) I don't think I'm special.  Nor, do I expect preferential treatment, or, expect stuff to be given to me. 

In other words, I am NOT famous.   But, my dog is:

Subject: Doofus-Dog, Would you like to help feed the hounds?
Date: Fri, June 17, 2011 11:28 am

Dearest Doofus-Dawg:

You are a brainy thing, aren't you? And we adore your absolute candor as you share your thoughts at This Full House.

And so, dear DD, we'd like to see if you want to try our food.

We are XXXXXXXX and have real food for really smart dogs like you.

Ask Liz, though.

Not that she's your boss (no way!) but she might have an opinion or two.

But if she says "Yes," we'll send over our new food (called XXXXXX) for you to try.

Want to?

Aaaaaand, my absolutely most favorite closing in the whole wide Interwebs...EVUH:

With Dirty Socks, Kitty Poop and All Other Things You Shouldn't Be Eating,

Maybe I should be insulted.  Perhaps even feel a little annoyed (at best) but, I'll be boiled in my own lip gloss if I'm not absolutely giddy telling you that my dog gets better pitches than I do!

Because, I'm funny like that.

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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

3,650 Days

As a mom of a 17, 15 and 12 year-old, other than scraping teeth on utensils, or chewing and speaking at the same time (shiver!) things don't bother me as much, as they did, when ALL 4 of my kids were in single the same time (double-shiver!)

  Hope at Fun Day 2011
But, this kid...right here...just turned 10 today and, well, I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that my oldest is now a legally licensed driver.

Heather and Hopey
Or, that my middle girl is turning 16 at the end of this year and how much older than 15 that sounds, right about now.

HopeNglenCape May 2011

Never mind, that my son's next birthday will mark the "Holy Hannah Montana what do you mean we have 3 teenagers in the house," point in our lives where my husband, Garth (not his real name) and I won't be able to use each of my pregnancies as a time line, to remember stuff, for very much longer.

This Full House Kids 2007Cape May 2007

Like, how this post is supposed to be about Hope's 10th Birthday and here I am, going on about her siblings and, well, that's how it goes, when you are the youngest, right?

Sponge bob hopey
But, this kid...right here...makes us laugh AND cry (especially, whenever she feels the need to interject herself in a conversation and correct one of us, which is often) like no one else we know (she's usually right, btw!)

We're Spinning in the Rain
Although, sometimes Hope will swear that she is ALWAYS last and that no one EVER listens to her, she has single-handedly managed to claim an especially squishy spot in each of our hearts.

Hope Dandelion
Because, Hope IS a mashup of ALL that is good in our lives at the moment and, now that she's crossed-over to double digits, too (SOB!) I can't think of a better reason to celebrate, than this:


From Day 1 to Day 3,650 (or, 3,652.42199, including, leap year) there is and always will be ONLY one Hope -- a.k.a. Queen of the Cat Daddy.

Hope is 10
Happy 10th Birthday, Hopey!

P.S. After careful consideration, I've decided to surprise Hope and take her to get her nails done after school, today.  I understand, she's only 10 (see above) but, it's the ONLY thing on this kid's birthday list and, considering I'm her mother, it's really not a whole heck of a lot to ask, is it?

P.P.S. Besides, she's MY kid...soooooooo...pppfffbbbllltttt!!!

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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

Maybe This Time, She'll Stay...Parked.

Last week, I got to spend a few days at one of my favorite summertime destinations and, would you believe, it is NOT Disney?

My family has never been, actually.

Nope, in fact, I was happy for the opportunity to write about my favorite vacation spot, here in Jersey (is, too!!!)

Still, leaving home, without my kids, is always hard. 

However, I did not expect my youngest daughter to cry and hug me, as hard, as she did, or to make my son feel as if I were never coming back home, ever again.

Then, about halfway into the 2+ hour car ride it dawned me.

"Hi mom, we need the password for Netflix."

My kids were sad, beeeeeecause, they weren't allowed to, you know, come with me and, well, the fact that they probably would be fine, without me (for the next few days, at least) just made my time away from home a little easier.

Then, I came home, gave them each their presents (don't judge) and we ALL settled in to catch up on Season 2 of Glee (thank you, Netflix) when it hit.

"Mom, we need to practice parallel parking!!!"

A wave of nausea, when realizing that my oldest daughter is taking her driving test on Tuesday and...for those of you who have been reading along...for the last 8 years (you know who you are!) and my many new friends I've met over the internets...I hope you understand when I repeat this, all in UPPERCASE:


Oh and, one more thing:


[takes deep breath]

So, Garth (not his real name) and I traded cars, since she'll be road-testing in it, anyway.

Also, the hand break is in the center console, where instructor can reach it, if need be, but I hope not, still, you never know, it is supposed to rain, like buckets, okay, pour actually, ugh, moving on.

Late this afternoon, Holly and I headed over to the high school and, seeing as I grew up about 25 minutes outside of New York City, while my husband grew up with head on parking (ONLY!) I instructed my 17 year-old in the fine art of parallel parking.

Holly Parking Phase 1

Phase 1:  wasn't very successful and I suspected it was because the poor kid couldn't see the back of the first pretend car.

"This is no use, Mom, I can't see the garbage can in the front!"

See, I told you, because, I'm smart like that.

Holly Parking Phase 2

Phase 2:  I found the pair of slippers, from Christmas, that don't fit Garth (not his real name) in the trunk, so I balanced it right on top of an empty box of garbage bags and, viola!!!

Holly Almost Parked

Almost, not quite, but I just stood there, taking pictures, all quiet like (which is very, very hard for a Hungarian, just so you know) and let Holly get a feel for her.

Holly Parked

Well, seems like she's ready and close enough to the curb for Mr. or Ms. DMV Instructor, even, right?

"I'm gonna pass this suh-cuh!"

Yep, to me, it sounds like she's more than ready to drive, in Jersey!

"Even if you don't, no biggie!"

Seriously, we live in Jersey, either way, she parks like her muh-thuh.

"Can I blog this?"

So, you know, I could remember what in the h...e...double hockey sticks I did...for the next 3 times, I mean.

"Can you believe that Hope's turning double-digits this week, too, Mom?"

Because, you know, they don't stay little for long...DAGNABIT!!!!

UPDATED TO ADD:  She passed.  I did NOT puke.  Aaaaand, now it starts...

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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