Our Mother/Daughter Weekend, Gone Ugly Cry

I feel extremely lucky to have experienced (what I consider to be) once-in-a-lifetime type moments, via my little corner of the internets and feel very blessed to have a strong online network of friends and peers (yes, they know about it!) most especially, when dissing them during the Type-A Advanced blogging conference in Philadelphia to spend the rest of the weekend, with my oldest daughter.

Me and Holly
it's our first mother/daughter weekend away, can you tell?!?

While my friends Amy Clark and Jo-Lynne Shane fed my inner-squirrel...I mean, what I meant to say was...encouraged my love of Pinterest (heh) and Maria Bailey had me pretty much convinced that I really do need to improve my vlogging skills (or lack thereof), my oldest spent the day taking herself on a walking tour of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia in the SpringtimeWe've been to Philadelphia as a family, but it's been a while since our last visit and this time I did not have to worry about maneuvering through the crowds...with a stroller...yeah, it's been a looooong while.

Later, Holly confessed that she was also much more relaxed, not having to worry about keeping an eye on her siblings and, well, she is (and always has been) more like a mother to them...than I am...apparently, I don't have a very good inside voice OR follow cross-at-the-crosswalk-type rules, very well, either.

Kid is a tyrant, I tell ya!

Even later, while I was checking in at work during a break in between sessions, Holly limped back into our hotel room, and, well, The Franklin Institute is about a 50 minute walk from Independence Hall...one way...just so you know.

I know what you're thinking (maybe), but she didn't want to spend money on a taxi, even though she was wearing the wrong shoes, especially for such a looooooooong walk, and, well, I wonder where she gets THAT from?!?

[face palm]

Even later still, I got a text from Holly:  poolside :D

I texted her back, asking if the water was warm:  no :(

It was an indoor pool, but the hotel had just opened it up the day before, so :( indeed.

Then, the conference came to a close, I headed out to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Philadelphia with my kid.

Holly in her secret pretend victorian garden.

We are both BIG fans of early-American history -- not to mention historical romance novels -- and had LOTS of fun pretending to walk in Poppy Hathaway's unconventional shoes...along the grounds belonging to the roguishly-handsome entrepreneur, Harry Rutledge...an American-born enigmatic hotel owner in London and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life...aaaaaaand...ummmmmmm...what, not a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, eh?

Right.  Soooooo, then we got hungry. 

Dinner in Philadelphia
left: limoncello and prosecco w/strawberries and mint; upper right: cured meat and cheese platter; lower right: warm pear, cranberry, walnut and gorgonzola salad.

Aaaaaaand, boy did we eat!  EVER!!!  The great thing about visiting Philadelphia (or any metro-area city, really) is, of course, the food and we found a little hidden treasure in Pizzicato located in Olde City. 

mother/daughter weekends: this is how we do it.

Then came the moment we'd BOTH been waiting for:   getting back to the hotel, ordering dessert and a movie in, where we cried the ugly cry and blew through an entire box of tissues.

"I love...[snort-snort]...the relationship we have...[choke-choke]...and that we could...[gasp-gasp]...do this, together...[choke-choke]...Mom."

Aaaaaand, considering the fact that she knows, that I know, that she knows, I am a total dork (we're BOTH okay wit-it) that right there, my friends, is my MOST favorite part of this ENTIRE weekend and totally worth the over-inflated price of an in-room movie...YO!!!

[lump, meet throat]

On the way home, I asked Holly what she enjoyed most about our weekend away?

[one beat, two beats]

"Taking a nice, long, hot bath WITHOUT having to worry about someone knocking on the door OR the hot water running out."

Yep, she's my kid a'ight :)  She's gonna be a really great mom, one day, don'tcha think?!?

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

New and improved with a fan page on Facebook and everything!

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

Parenting Tip #45,371,381: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - Shove a Slushy Snowball Down Someone's Shirt, Instead!

My husband, Garth (not his real name) is really good at not panicking, especially dealing with an emergency situation; when, considering I took to Twitter when my middle girl's butt exploded, clearly I am not.

On the other hand, I have made it my life's mission to NOT sweat the small stuff AND have consistently failed said mission (it was more like a guideline, anyway, really) for the last...ummmm, let's see...how old IS my oldest kid, again?!?

Aaaaanyway, point being (and I really do have one, promise) Garth (not his real name) and I have taken to handling this whole...parenting teens is hard, YO!...by tag-teaming each other, sort of like professional wrestlers would...during a no holds barred steel cage death match.

Blindfolded, with one arm tied behind our backs and buck-naked.

Like, the other night, when my youngest asked for help with an essay and then kept insisting on either disagreeing with or fighting me on ANY and ALL help that was being offered.

My husband walked in through the front door just in time to hear me holler, "Then, why BOTHER asking ME for help?!?"


He rolled up his sleeves, loosened his tie and pushed me...every so gently, yet firmly...you know...out of the way.

"I got this!" 

Or, whenever Contradictory Boy shows up (a.k.a. our 14 year-old son's alter ego) and clashes with the gravitational forces on my husband's forehead, causing a massive facial implosion and one gosh-darned scary-looking unibrow.


"Sooooooo, how DOES one go about creating a character in World of Warcraft?"

We ARE the King and Queen of Distraction (a.k.a. SziSzi of Pandaria) and, well, whatever works, right?!? 

Saturn Sucks
So, this is happening (RIGHT NOW!) and, well, the groundhog lied...the little jerk!

Long story, short (you're welcome!) I've been driving our oldest to and from work (she's saving for a car, we live in Jersey, enough said!) sometimes even on the days when I don't need to use the car (see last parenthesis) unless it snows.

"You don't want to transfer your fear onto her, do you?"

Now that we have a kid driving (and ANOTHER one driving, this spring) the panic that sets in goes way beyond the fact that I don't do snow and, well, Eastern-European-types aren't very good at keeping a straight face; we pretty much suck at poker, too.

"Noooooo, but don't expect me to stop worrying...DAMMIT...and ANOTHER thing..."


Aaaaand, that's when he shoved a slushy snowball down the front of my pajamas.

"WTF, dude?!?!?!?!?"

Although, it worked long enough for me to stand there and forget just what in the heck we were talking about, I am STILL a little confused by his tactics.

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

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

More Big Bang for Their Buck

If you were to visit my house, on any given day, you would most likely be very surprised to hear any one of my daughters singing...by herself or altogether...in Korean...and my son begging me or his father to...PLEASE, MAKE THEM STOP!!!

Not that my son has anything against the Korean.  Or any other language, really.  Although, I have it on good authority that his Spanish teacher may or may not have made a pact with the devil.

Teenagers can be SO weird about stuff, sometimes.

Which brings me back to all three of my daughters and their long-time obsession with K-pop (a.k.a. Korean pop music) more specifically, the boy group Big Bang.

photo credit: Big Bang on Facebook

Ask my daughters something in Korean...g'head...and they will NOT have ANY idea what you are saying.  Ask  them to recite the lyrics to one of Big Bang's songs...fuhghettaboutit...they will give you twenty.

So, when my oldest learned that Big Bang's Alive tour was coming to the United States in L.A. and Newark here in Jersey...ONLY!!!...well, cover your ears...SQUEEEEEE!!!!

She woke up super early on her day off (before noon, she's 18, enough said) the day the tickets went on sale and right when she was about ready to hit PURCHASE...GAHHHHH!!!

Her latop shutdown after performing an automatic update.  

After belting out a few choice words in, well, I'm still not quite sure WHAT language Holly was speaking (best guess, a mashup between Korean and Jersey-pissed) but I do know that she has since disabled automatic updates.

She was able to score two tickets (one for herself and one for my middle girl, much to the chagrin of her youngest sister, but let's not go back there, okay?) they weren't as great as the first set of tickets, pre-reboot...[insert Korean expletive, here]...however, sixth row-right-of -stage-something-or-another was deemed more than adequate and totally within SQUEE-ing distance to K-pop nirvana.  

Big Bank T-shirts Finished

Flash-forward to last night:   so the girls stayed up ALL night making their own t-shirts for...SQUEE!!!...the concert (even let their baby sister in on their revelry) and life was good. 

Holly and Heather Bing Bang
Big Bang Bound

Until, Garth (not his real name) came downstairs this morning and found one of his good t-shirts, newly fringed.

In their defense, they did ask...while he was asleep...and, yes, they learned from the best...YO!!!

Flash-forward to this afternoon:  I dropped the girls, along with their two bff's, in front of the Prudential Center in Newark (literally, pulled up and kicked them out at the curb, it's how we roll in Jersey)  and the lines were THIS LONG already.

My cell phone rang about 5:00 p.m., it was my oldest.

"Hey Holly, are you okay,what's wrong, are the girls okay?"

It's their first REAL concert, can you tell?

"Yeah, just wanted to tell you that we finally got inside."

Welcome to concerthood, my young padawan.  We chatted a bit and then I made the mistake of asking her if they had someting to eat.

"No, and that's a REAL funny story."

Long story, short (you're welcome) the merchandise carts are very near the entrance and who knew that they actually sold food on a whole OTHER level?!?

"We sort of ran out of money."

Actually, they had a dollar.  Aaaaand, I did what (I'm pretty sure) ANY parent would do.  I asked that really STUPID question.

"So, what DID you spend the money on?"

[one beat, two beats]

Uh-huh...T-SHIRTS!!!!...dammit...or 젠장 (jen-jang) if you're from Korea!!!

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

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

So, I Wrote This Blog Post on Katie Couric's Website

Raise your hand if you NEVER thought you would EVER read THAT blog post title here at This Full House of crunchy floors and sticky socks [raises handed] me, either.

Unlike my house, I like to keep things light and airy on my blog.

Then my oldest daughter Holly and I were invited to NYC to tape a segment of Katie Couric's new daytime television show and I never thought I would say THAT (out loud) either.

Me and Katie
The show on Dating Violence aired on Katie yesterday and my husband was more than just a little surprised to learn that I did not watch it.

"What do you mean you didn't watch it?!?"

Honestly, a part of me was all, like, I wonder if the camera caught a glimpse of us -- we were in the front row, to the right of the stage -- truth is, it was VERY difficult for me to sit through it the first time.

"Mom, I'm on break and they got the show on here at work!"

Especially, with my grown up baby girl sitting next to me, considering this was Holly's first experience at attending something like this AND not having been on a real date-date before.

It's okay, she said I can blog that.

Quite frankly, hearing the story of University of Virginia college student Yeardley Love's murder, at the hands of her "former" boyfriend, was beyond brutal.

Listening to Yeardley's mother and sister speak of their grief over her death, for the first time, in front of millions...well...as a mother, sister and daughter, it shook me to the core.

I was then asked if I would be interested in sharing my thoughts about the show on Katie's website and, as a mom of 3 teens and 1 tween...well...how I could not?!?

I looked through my notes (note: I'm the only one typing away and was so glad the staff thought to introduce me as the "blogger of the day" during one of the breaks after also noticing all the WTH?!? looks I was getting from the rest of the audience!) and then tossed them aside.

"I just talked to Holly about the possibility of my being able to blog our conversation [after the show] and she is okay with...me, too.  Just a thought."

Sadly, I am no stranger to dating violence.  I decided to share my story and it was the MOST difficult blog post to write.

I feel very, very fortunate to be able to say that the experience left me with nothing more than a migraine...physically, I mean.

Frankly, I was a little worried about some folks considering sharing my story as the airing out of dirty laundry and I would have to agree with them.

There is NOTHING light and airy about dating violence.

"So, I wrote this blog post on Katie Couric's site."

My husband, Garth (not his real name) has long made peace with the fact that I blog stuff about us (9 years and counting) however, I don't share any stories here that I wouldn't feel comfortable telling you about on your couch or at my kitchen table.

"I know you wrote it, I shared the link on Facebook."

I need no further validation -- other than perhaps my and Holly's story will spark conversation in other families, as well.

Aaaaand, trust me when I tell you that my hands are shaking, even now -- here is the link:


No, this was not a paid opportunity.  The mental and emotional release...priceless.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

Are you a victim of domestic?  Call or text the National Domestic Violance Hotline:  Peer Advocates are available for assistance and support 24/7. Text “loveis” to 77054 or call 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 TTY or chat live online.

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

I Need a Smartphone to Tell Me I Have a Smartphone

I've been trying to convince my husband, Garth (not his real name) that he really DOES need a smartphone and NOT just for updating your Facebook status, sharing in some Doctor Who love on Twitter or playing Bubble Shoot and Words With Friends.


Not to mention...ohhhhhh, LOOKIT! HOW CUTE!...Doofus Dawg is napping with his favorite blankey...hang on a minute.

Doofus on the Couch
[point, shoot, share, DONE!]

My current obsession with Instagram is another really good example (okay, so I'm a little late to the party, I have an android, enough said!) however, I did not post the pic of Doofus-Dawg.

It's really not ALL that great (seriously, have you seen Neil Kramer's stuff?) I blame Andy (a distant relative of Siri, or something like that) he's not the sharpest android on the block, but I love him anyway.

Besides, THEN what would I blog about?

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Aaaaanyway, what was I saying?

[stares at stains on couch]

OH YEAH!  Garth (not his real name) finally broke down, got himself a smartphone and we now have epic Bubble Shoot marathon sessions together, almost every night before falling asleep on the couch, and everything.

"You two and your silly little phones."

My oldest daughter does not have a smartphone and, now that she's working and has started paying for some of her own stuff (thank you Jezuss!), she wants an iPhone.

"Andy, are you really just a silly little phone?"

I also do NOT have an iPhone (I only pretend that I do) but, Andy and I?  Yeah, we're good.  In fact, my smartphone has enabled me to share a lot of experiences that I would otherwise have trouble...you know...remembering (DAMMIT!) Andy has effectively become my blogging muse.

Another example:  I took this fun pic, while hiking with my oldest daughter, earlier this week and shared it on Twitter.

Aaaaand, yes, only LATER after walking for nearly 2 hours, in the wrong direction, did I realize that we could have used Google maps to figure out just where in the hell we were.

[point, shoot, share, OH SH&T!]

Moral of the Story:   Having a smartphone really DOES come in handy...whenever you remember you have one...I mean...or something like that.

If anyone needs me, I'll be upstairs nursing my bad back and looking for the owner's manual...DAMMIT!

Stupid smartphones, dumbass Andy.

© 2003 - 2012 This Full House

Freshly-Brewed Elsewhere:  I am very honored to be working with Hallmark as a Life is a Special Occasion featured blogger -- this month's post is all about Kit Kats, Click-Clacks and the realization of just how much I really hated grade school!

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

Color Me 50 Shades of Surprised, In Katie's Green Room!

A week ago (today) my oldest daughter and I traveled into NYC to tape a segment of Katie Couric's new daytime television show (never thought I would say that OUT LOUD...right?...me, either)!

Headed to hang with Katie Couric

We were both super-excited to be able to share in the experience of my being asked to blog during the taping (I'll be the one hiding behind a borrowed laptop) the subject matter, however, left us both feeling emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.

Katie's audience
I am not at liberty to share with you what the show was about (not yet, anyways, it's airing next month) I can tell you, however, that the entire audience was made up of mothers and daughters with a pack of tissues strategically hidden under everyone's seat: enough said.

Holly and me in the green room
Holly and me hanging out in the green room (it really IS green)!

The best part, besides the fact that Holly and I got to hang out in Katie's green room together and pretend we do this sort of stuff ALL the time, was the conversation leading up to and after the taping.

"Does it matter that I've never been on a date?"

My husband, Garth (not his real name) and I have this unspoken rule about allowing our kids to date at 16.

"Because, you know, the show is about teen dating and everything."

Shhhh, don't tell anybody...okay?!?...and now that our oldest girls are turning 19 and 17 in a couple of months (pausing to let that sink in...still pausing...looking for the friggin' rewind button...Holy Hannah Montana...where DOES the time go?!?) would you believe that neither of our daughters have had a boy ask them out...on a date...or whatever...EVER?!?

"But, you do intend on dating...eventually...right?!?"

I can't say that either of my girls are very happy about it (not as much as their father and I, anyways) or never wondered, "What the heck is wrong with me?" and "All my friends have had boyfriends!" out loud, once or a bazillion times, either.

"There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you."

Long story, short (you're welcome!) teenagers don't date -- they hook up, meet up, whatever, no strings attached -- and, well, pardon the 70's reference, it's just NOT their scene.

"How old where you when you started dating Mom?"

Okie-dokie, here we go.

"18...no WAIT...19!"

Okay, so I don't remember EXACTLY.  It was a while ago.  I started working full-time a week out of high school and dated a string of LOOOOOOS-SUUUUUUHS (seriously, my parents will tell you) before a swearing off dating ALL TOGETHER after finally putting an end to a REAL BAD relationship.

"I remember you telling us about him."

Although I can't claim to know EVERYTHING there is to know about raising teens (besides the fact that the rules do tend to change, quite frequently, sometimes within seconds of each other, depending on which kid we're talking about, I mean) because they feel comfortable enough to talk to their dad and me (mostly me) about almost anything (or, at all even) has remained my constant proverbial golden ring of parenting.

"I'm SO GLAD you met AND then married dad!"

Me, too (a.k.a. understatement of the century) and yet I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around the fact that we will be celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary this weekend!

50 shades of garth
Enough said.

© 2003 - 2012  This Full House

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

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Look Mom, I Cut My Own Hair!!!

On my the list of scariest words a parent will ever hear along with:  what's ALL this hair doing in the bathroom?!?

Holly Before and After Self Cut 2
Unless, the kid actually does a gosh-darned pretty good job of it.

She claims to have gotten tired of dealing with ALL that mermaid hair, watched about a dozen YouTube tutorials on cutting naturally curly hair and, well, I envy her confidence (and her curls) even though I'll be vacuuming hair for about a month, or twenty. 

Way to go, Holls!

© 2003 - 2012  This Full House

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