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February 2014

Parenting teens: the call home protocol.

The call home protocolAs a parent-type blogger with older kids (i.e. can quantify their ages using both hands AND having moved over to their feet, even) I sometimes feel this incredible need to share a few insights to help save other parents (especially, those with younger kids) a few sleepless nights, or twenty. 

This week: we're expecting another snow storm (seriously, enough with the polar vortex, it's called winter!) and I tend to spend my off hours worrying, rather than sleeping, especially during snow storms, because kids with their driver's licenses, yo.

Aaaaaand, sometimes they sort of forget to call me, whenever they get to wherever it is they are going, because parents don't sleep...period.

So, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite ways of getting the message of "CALL ME WHEN YOU GET THERE, DAMMIT!!!" across.


**offers a plate of cookies, passes over the clicker**

You're welcome.

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! 

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

Sometimes teens remember the good stuff, too.

One of the most memorable moments of the 2014 Sochi Olympics for our family was watching my fellow Team Kelloggs and Team USA athletes Meryl Davis and Charlie White skate their way to a gold medal in ice dancing.

You see, through our partnership with Kellogg's (an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams) I had the super-awesome opportunity of wishing Meryl and Charlie well and also allowed me the "once in a lifetime" chance to skate with them on The Rink at Rockefeller Center, while taping this segment for the TODAY Show  in NYC.

Okay, I lied. I was in charge of watching everyone's stuff (stupid borked-up back) and WOO-HOO-ing the loudest, take a look:

I am very happy to be able to tell you that Meryl and Charlie are just as down to Earth and awesome in person, as they seem on and off the ice. Both are proving to be really great role models for kids, too.

Especially young adults, who are struggling in school (Meryl was diagnosed with dyslexia and battled with reading until the 11th grade) and perhaps are having a hard time believing in their own aspirations.

I know, because each and every one of my kids has struggled with self-belief (still do, DAGNABIT!) and it doesn't get any easier in high school. 

Continue reading "Sometimes teens remember the good stuff, too." »

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

One man's fashion failure, another mom's super suit.

As a mom of 3 girls -- oh, and a boy who understands the correlation between the changing phases of the moon and its affect on female behavior as more than just a survival tactic -- I believe in the restorative powers of comfort food, especially in the wintertime.

This same line of reasoning, however, does NOT always translate well with clothes.

For example: my husband hates, Hates, HAtes, HATes, HATEs, HATES it when I try to explain away my wearing distressed jeans, most especially when I am super stressed.

Aaaaaand, if these back-to-back snowstorms don't quit it soon, I may NEVER take them off, because asshats multiply in the snow.

This week, it snowed (A LOT!) and it was STILL SNOWING when my middle girl texted to tell me she needed a ride to her internship gig, because her carpooling friend decided to stick it out at school and just take the bus home, smart girl.

On the other hand, my kid is struggling with calculus (it's okay, she knows it!) and would rather NOT have to stay in school, any longer than necessary, anyways.

Plus, she LOVES her mentorship with our county's council for fine, too.

I then did the math, because it is NOT calculus: 24.6 miles to her school, 17.1 miles back to the theater, 11.3 miles back home again...rinse...repeat...[sound of brakes, screeching]...I'm just glad Google maps is not interactively live, because it would be looking for a puke bucket, right about now.

"Hon-NEY, where ARE my SUPER stressed pair of jeans?!?"

Long story, short: both my husband and my oldest daughter offered to make the run for me, but I chose to put my big girl pants on...actually, they are capris...and texted my middle girl to let the theater know we may be a little late, because I will be driving very, like in very, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry, slooooooooooooooowly.

And then I figured on spending the next couple of hours just sitting in my car...yes, I am THAT good at planning out stuff that allows me the opportunity to NOT drive in the snow...maybe even read a book or something.

Then the sun came out, or at least I think it was the sun (later confirmed with my friends on Facebook and Instagram!) but I wasn't ready to go home, because KILLER DUST BUNNIES!!! 

So I decided to drive the 2.6 miles to Trader Joe's, because I have never been I know...OMG, COOKIE BUTTER!!!

"Excuse me, but where is your ladies room?"

I get REALLY excited sometimes, then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror:

Me and my stresssed jeans

Here is Liz, ladies and gentlemen: she's wearing her favorite SUPER stressed jeans, her husband's puffy-insulated-type-sweatshirt thingy, along with her oldest daughter's furry boots...because they were just long enough to cover up the fact that she is actually wearing capris pants...and...YES...the girl can work her dorkside, for sure.

Aaaaaaand, I would like to take this moment to publicly apologize to the woman standing in front of me at Shop Rite, who I judged as being high maintenance (North Face jacket, Ugg boots, Louis Vuitton bag) the night before.

I was wrong and I am very, very sorry. You just go ahead and keep working it...GIRRRRRL!!!

To the asshats who continually insist on riding my bumper...during a the slow lane...feel free to continue to BITE ME!!!

Stupid polar vortex, dumbass winter.

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything!  

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

Love, Hungarian American Style

My paternal grandparents,Toth Maria and Katkics Istvan

My maternal grandparents were married on June 9, 1935 in UjDombovar (pronounced oo-yuh-dome-bo-vah-r) Hungary. My grandfather Istvan was the oldest of 7 children and my grandmother Maria was born on a farmstead in a small Hungarian village bordering present day Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.

Through my father's own childhood memories, I now know my grandfather became the patriarch of his family, following the sudden death of his father, and (albeit, very unwillingly) took on the responsibility of supporting his mother and his 6 siblings: 2 years into World War I, my grandfather was 16 years-old, at the time.

My grandmother was a quintessential "old country" girl, pulled out of school around the 3rd or 4th grade (just enough to learn simple math and proficient to write your name in longhand), she spoke with, what we here in the states would also consider, a very heavy Southern accent and my father will tell you that she loved to sing old folk songs, especially when she thought no one was listening.

What neither he or I can tell you is how my grandmother met my grandfather.

What drew them together? How did they fall in love? Did my grandfather seek her family's permission? Or, in my ridiculously romantic imagination, did they meet by chance? On a stormy afternoon, when her day in the fields was cut short and his motorbike broke down in the rain, as she shyly pointed him towards a shortcut and they shared the muddy path back to her village, perhaps?

As the family genealogist, I couldn't help but become very frustrated when interviewing family members and almost always received the same response: people just didn't talk about themselves, or even know anything about their own families, back then.

I never met my grandmother (she died a few months after my brother and I were born) and the memories I have of my grandfather are very different from that of his son's.

So, it's days like this, when images of hearts and flowers abound, I wish someone would hurry up and invent a time machine. Because one of the very first things I would do is go back, sit with my grandparents and listen to THEIR story.

And then I would try to explain why bloggers (like me) share such stories on the internet: I don't want their great-grandchildren to EVER forget where they came either.

On a muddy path, somewhere in between heartache and a folksong.

In the meantime, I'll just pretend that they are both smiling at me...JUST ME...and perhaps even thinking to themselves, "Boldog Valentin nap, kis Sziszikem".

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! 

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

Blogging is not dead, it just needs a little airing out.

It's no secret, I have this terrible habit of taking pictures of other peoples houses. Some folks would call it creeping, but I like to think of my fascination with other people's houses as simply appreciating good curb appeal.


Then there are the houses like number 1658, up there. At first glance, it looks and feels a bit foreboding, as if the stairs or the railings would give way at the slightest touch and send you right back down into some serious hurt.

Although, growing up in an urban neighborhood, where folks sometimes made a habit of misunderstanding your stuff as community property, I totally get the chain across the stoop thing. 

I wouldn't want a bunch of uninvited strangers sitting on MY lap, either.

And yet, even when looking back on it now, I can't help but walk away and imagine there being SO MANY stories here, just waiting to be told, if given the chance.

This is why I am and will always be an advocate for the blogging community.

Stories take time to manifest themselves, sometimes they appear within a blink of an eye and then life moves on to the point where we often times miss things, especially when facing in a totally different direction.

On the other hand, I am also guilty of not reading as many blogs posts (as I used to) and I am also engaging in a lot more conversations on Facebook.

On the third hand, social media platforms (like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter) are just a quick snapshot of a person (in this case, a blogger like me) and very much like a virtual Open House.

For example: I follow Momofali on Facebook (because "stalk" is such an ugly word!) because she's smart...and funny...she also posts smart and funny updates about her kids and dog...and then Momo occasionally shares a link to her latest blog post.

Momofali's Awesome Blog Post

Aaaaaand, this is the best example of how social media helps us to appreciate the curb appeal of an amazing blog post AND further proof in my evangelizing...NOPE!...blogging is SO NOT dead.

Moral of the Story: Shut up and just blog, already.

Until then, I'mma continue creeping on your Facebook (or Instagram, etc...) and you can leave the rest up to my imagination, you're welcome :)

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! 

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

Together Counts: because, some of us parents need all the help we can get (ahem!)

As a mom, with 20+ years of experience in trying NOT to mess up her kids, I feel it safe to tell you that the secret to balance is really quite simple, because there is NO secret: balance is all a matter of perspective.  

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, for a family of 6, while running in twice as many different directions (sometimes, all in the same day) without one (or all) of us experiencing the proverbial crash and burn is a challenge my family and I face, every single day.

TogetherCountsBadgeThat is why I am very honored to have partnered with the good folks at  Together Counts -- a program inspiring active and healthy living through energy balance -- as a contributing blogger to the Together Counts blog for 2013.  In case you missed it, here's a quick recap of our contributions for the last year:


Continue reading "Together Counts: because, some of us parents need all the help we can get (ahem!)" »

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

Parenting teens: the face infographic.

Having entered my 11th year of blogging...she said, in a Gandolf-like voice...I sometimes feel this incredible need to share a few insights, if you will, to help save other parents a few headaches -- especially, parents of younger kids.

In case you missed it: there's the little infographic to help reinforce a more realistic homework ritual and the how much should you help your child with their school project infographic.

This week? I'm laid up with a kidney stone-type pain (they ARE the devil!) and, once again, my husband used his super-power of being able to assess EXACTLY how badly I feel with 8 simple little words: do you need to go to the hospital?!?

You know, I could never figure out those pain scales...either...which inspired me to create an infographic to help other parents decipher their child's facial expression(s), based on the top 5 faces I get from my teens.

The Face Infographic Framed

**passes bottle of [insert favorite brand of pain reliever, here]**

You're welcome.

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! 

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