Hope

Oh yes! There will be tomatoes, dammit!

My brother and I grew up in a 5 room house that was roughly 950 square feet, surrounded by steel mills and iron factories, and a mind-bogglingly complicated network of railroad tracks running along a port built to accommodate large tankers sailing their way through to New York City.

Sitting on my parents' patio, flanked by rose bushes and arbors shaded by nearly every flowering and fruiting tree you can imagine, you'd believe yourself to be somewhere completely different.

My father was a landscaper throughout our elementary school years and he'd often times bring home truckloads of stuff -- trees and bushes his boss had thrown out or given up on at the end of the day, only after growing tired of arguing with my dad and his insisting that they were just merely "very nearly dead".

He'd plant the "very nearly dead" stuff under my bedroom window in a raised bed he'd sectioned off as "the hospital" and they would always (and I mean ALWAYS!) thrive enough to be re-planted, somewhere else.

At thirteen years old, I thought it was magical! 

For reasons too long (and boring!) to go into (you're welcome!) I decided NOT to plant a vegetable garden, this summer. However, my not being able to send one of the kids outside to pick a couple of tomatoes and cucumbers for dinner...well, yeah, no...it just doesn't seem like summer.

Oh, my brother sent over a couple of plants he'd grown from seed, but I never got a chance to get them into the ground in time and...well, yeah, no...they were just merely very nearly dead, dammit.

So, my husband sectioned off an area next to the shed and I threw the plants in there, hoping they would live, for a little while longer, maybe.

Then it rained (A LOT!) and then it got cold (welcome to New Jersey!) and we all pretty much lost hope of ever being able to pick a tomato or cucumber, fresh off of the vine.

Until, this morning. I went to hang a couple of blankets out on the clothes line (because the dryer is being all pissy!), glanced over toward the shed and guess what?!?

Late Bloomers

I was all like, "What magic is this?!?" and although they'd only JUST begun to bear fruit, "Oh yes! There WILL be tomatoes!!!" DAMMIT!

Late Bloomers 3

Aaaaand, cucumbers...**wipes tears from eyes**...we WILL have cucumbers...YAY!!!

Late Bloomers 2
After my son cuts the grass and I get the youngest to do a little weeding, of course...because, she's the one that placed the "Hope" stake into the garden...it's all HER fault, right?!? RIGHT?!?

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Riiiiiiiiiiight. But don't tell her I said so, because Hope is thirteen and STILL believes in magic, too!

©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 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

My kid friended ME on Facebook, now what?!?!

Raising 3 teens, and a kid who's turning 21 in a couple of months (no she isn't, I'm still in denial!), our parenting philosophy has changed quite a bit over the years, because: what worked with 1 kid isn't necessarily gonna fly with another, all 4 of ours have their own way of ignoring us, dammit.

There is one rule, however, that has remained tried and true: we made our kids "friend" us on Facebook.

Why? Because, their world was growing bigger, while our collective parenting street cred has decreased exponentially, it's the internet.

Also, we made our oldest kids wait until they turned 13, because we're really mean and can totally suck wet poodle, like that.

Long story, short: our youngest turned 13 last June, but -- unlike her middle sister, who joined Facebook on practically the hour she turned 13 -- this one thought it better to wait, because...in her words...it's like giving mean girls a microphone.

Word! And I was okay wit-it, because MEAN GIRLS SUCK WET DONKEY BALLS!

Even longer story, short (gosh, but vague-blogging is hard!): My two oldest daughters both have part-time jobs (my middle girl has 2, see previous parenthesis) with varying shifts, and I tag-team carpooling duties with my oldest, who often times is running late and forgets her cell phone at home, which means someone is texting me to either "Don't forget to pick me up at whatever o'clock!" and "Where are you?" or "HURRY UP!" right now, probably.

"Ummmm, okay, and who is this?!?"

So, getting to the point of this story (because I really do have one, promise!): My youngest daughter considers herself lucky, whenever I remember her name, half the time.

"Did you get a friend request from someone, today?"

I walked through the front door and had just thrown my purse on the faux fireplace.

"I don't know, who?"

[BIG GRIN]

Ohhhhhh, right. It's been like, two months. DUH!

"But don't worry, I made it private."

As private as putting it ALL out on Facebook can get, right?!?

"Aaaaand, Papa is on Facebook."

Yep, my Dad is also my very own personal social media police and he's pretty quick to call the rest of our family members out on stuff he reads on the internet...until his youngest grand daughter figures out Tumblr...anyways...

So, yesterday I'm checking Hope's Facebook, because Papa's gotta sleep sometime and....OHHHH...EMMMM...GEEEE!!!

"Bwahahahahahahahaha...[inhales]...SNORT!!!...Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!"

My 13 year-old's first post on Facebook:

Special K hands
I feel like edward scissor hands with a box. Tip: don't leave empty boxes in our house...you will have to wear it for a couple mins

This is what Hope did NOT share: we are CONSTANTLY finding empty boxes left in the pantry, my husband made her siblings wear empty boxes too, so they couldn't text or use the internet for a good 10 minutes, and how she considered herself lucky, because he made our 15yo son wear a family-sized Oreo box...on his head...YO!

Moral of the Story: If it's on Facebook, it's totally blog-able, no more vague-blogging!

In case you're wondering, my son did NOT post it on his Facebook, and he reads my blog so...sorry dude and you're welcome.

Still, I think this whole kids on Facebook thing is going to work out just fine...shhhhhhhh...don't tell my kids that, not until NaBloPoMo is over, m'kay?!?

©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!   

I'm attempting to NaBloPoMo it this month, feel free to check out what I've NaBloPoMo-ed, so far. And I may have missed a day, or twenty. Oh and just so you know, I'm unplugging on weekends and going blog free, because family time is also very...SQUIRREL!!!

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

Tips and Tricks To Make Life Easier For You and Your Teen: a guest post by my almost-13yo.

I've been  busily training for a couple of new jobs (a much needed and very appreciated couple of new jobs!) so my youngest daughter was kind enough to offer her services and guest blog for me, this week.  

Aaaaand, since I've already failed (miserably!) at posting every day for #NaBloPoMo, I took the kid up on her offer and told her to have at it :)

So, she came up with this, unedited and totally in her words:

Hope is blogging.

Hey hi hey…most of you know me as the youngest person in the thisfullhouse family. If you don’t know me then I’m Hope.  I’m turning 13 in two months. If you’re a parent and you have a teen or many teens like the mom of thisfullhouse here are some tips and tricks to make you and your teen's life a lot easier. 

Remember these are all totally true facts coming from a teen sooooo yeah.

1. Make sure they have a book to read or get into…I went a couple years thinking I hated books and here I am having 82 books/series I want to read.  This is NOT an exaggeration.

2. Make sure you have lots of tea and coffee in your house.  If your teen is upset about something tea is the best thing.  One of the best things my sister makes me is chai hot chocolate.  You make chai tea and mix in a little hot chocolate for a new world to be open in front of your very own eyes.

3. Let them listen to what ever music they want and let them dress how they want.  It doesn’t matter what they dress like or listen to, but if they start to dress a little too badinkadinky let them face the consequences.

4. Let them learn from their mistakes.  It’s the best way for them to figure out what they’re doing wrong, and fix it themselves.  It will also show you just how responsible we teens can be.  So it’s practically a win-win situation going on.

5.  On those nights where you just want to be alone with that special someone ;) schedule a sleepover at your teen’s friend’s house.  The two friends can have fun together and you can be with that special person of yours ;)  Remember at the friend’s house.  If your house you will be bothered for tis and that here and there and be bombarded with millions of questions.  And remember I am a professional.

6.  Have a certain day to hang out with them just you and your teen.  Make a movie night at your house, or go out for coffee, or go on a walk, a jog, a run, whatever you want.

7.  Whenever your teen says ‘whatever’ or ‘I don’t care’ just know that they really do care and they are just trying to cover it up or hide it from you to act “cooler”.  This especially happens around friends; don’t worry it happens to every parent you’re not doing anything wrong.

8. Lastly, GIVE THEM SPACE.  If they are having a problem or trouble with something, no matter what it be, GIVE THEM SPACE.

Try these tips and see for yourself.  Good luck!

Yep, the kid is WAY smarter than me. The only thing I would add: yes, you should also totally consider yourselves lucky...if and whenever your teen allows you to take a picture of the back of their head...YO!!!

©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 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

How NOT TO take videos of your kid.

Because if you happen to have a middle-schooler in your house, who also happens to be a member of the middle school's chorus, then you may or may not appreciate the town's Christmas tree lighting ceremony as a REALLY BIG DEAL.

Hope singing at the tree lighting or at least I am pretty sure it is her
A really bad picture of our youngest daughter singing at our town's Christmas tree lighting ceremony, last night -- at least, I think that it is her -- but wait, it gets worse!

Our youngest daughter has been looking forward to it for many reasons...

WARNING:  this is where, if you are a parent of a non-grader (i.e. pre-schooler or kindergartener) you might want to scroll down past the next sentence, you'll have to trust me on this one.

...especially because there will be middle school boys either singing and/or attending the town's Christmas tree lighting and, well, if you have a middle-schooler in your house, who also happens to be female, then...DER...am I right?!?

Okay, now that we got that squared away: our two oldest daughters have also sung at our town's Christmas tree lighting for the very same reasons mentioned above.

REMINDER:  if you are a parent of a non-grader, DON'T SCROLL UP!!!

Aaaaaanyway, point being (because I really do have one, promise!) although I have never sung in a chorus (for obvious reasons, especially to my family), this is NOT my first town Christmas tree lighting ceremony; but you would NEVER know it, judging by my total inability to record the gosh-darned event, without getting it TOTALLY wrong, even with several tries:

 

Oh, there was more video (just as bad, too!) aaaaaand this is where you should be SUPER-thankful I did not include them here.  You're welcome!

P.S.: I know, the last caption reads "Wait, did I miss them signing" instead of "singing" but it still fits, because I was SO BUSY trying to video tape my kid singing, I didn't hear a gosh-darned thing.

P.P.S: We've got $100 worth of T.A. Barron books for young readers (ages 6 - 16) that we're just itching to giveaway, just in time for the holidaze!

©2003 -2013 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook and everything!

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

The year we gave thanks for popsicle sticks.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

As a mom of 2 teens, 1 almost-teen (she’s 12, same thing) and a college-aged child (YIKES!) I feel it safe to say that the transition from summer to the start of a new school year is NEVER an easy one. 

Which is why I would allow my kids the chance to decompress on the playground, even if only for a few minutes, every day afterschool.  It also gave me the chance to stop, enjoy some fresh air and help us each get into the swing of their new schedules, which usually happened around November, just in time for Thanksgiving break.

I loved whenever my kids would bring their school projects home and we have certainly collected a fair amount of holiday centerpieces over the years.  My youngest was seven-years-old when she made this “Thanksgiving pretty” in class and she was very careful NOT to hand it to me.

"Wow, this is really very pretty."

[one beat, two beats]

"No it isn't!"

My daughter’s eyes filled up with tears, so I quickly tried to think of something really encouraging to say, without sounding as if I were trivializing her feelings of inadequacy and…yes…I tend to overthink stuff like this, a lot.

"Uh, yeah, it is SO pretty."

To be fair, we were in the middle of the school yard, it was the best I could do, at the time.

"But, it's not how I wanted it to be."

As the youngest of four, Hope has proved to be a walking contradiction of all the things I know (or, thought I knew) about raising kids.

[sniff]

"But, sweetie...my house, my friends, my family, the world...these are very wonderful things to be thankful for!"

The look on her face screamed...Nuh-uh!

"NUH-UH!"

See?!?  Then she placed her hands on her hips: which is a clear signal that my child is about to make a very important point.

"Because, I have lots more stuff to be thankful for."

[wipes eyes in sleeve]

“But, the teacher only gave me 4 popsicle sticks!”

It may not be the most elaborate of centerpieces, but this particular school project reminded me that (as parents) we sometimes have a hard time not seeing the pretty for the popsicle sticks.

"Aaaaaaand, I think it's perfect!"

Have a Prettiful Thanksgiving, everyone :)

©2003 -2013 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook and everything!

I'm NaBloPoMo-ing it, feel free to check out what I've NaBloPoMo-ed, so far (PHEW!) and let me know how I'm doing (I mean, 30 posts, in 30 days, really?!?) when you have time, of course!

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

If I have to eat my words, let it be "dessert"!

Good morning NOTI'm guessing it isn't a morning bird.

We're on the downside of a Nor'easter that came knocking on our house in the middle of the night (because, of course!) and, with a full plate of stuff that needs to get done before the kids get home from school (it's a half-day, enough said!) I am super-thankful to be awake, with electricity and everything.

It's still raining cats and dogs and a couple of squirrels (seriously, I think it's their mating season, or something) so my husband, Garth (not his real name) is all, like, "You're driving Hope to the bus stop, right?!?" early this morning.

Yeah...he's a REAL good dad like that... AND he already took 2 other kids to school, even earlier.

Fiiiiiiiiine, so I holler down the hallway, "You better hurry up, because I am SO NOT driving you to school!"

I, on the other hand, do not react well with mornings...no matter what the weather...yo.

"ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME?!?"

I've been driving kids to and from school for the last 14 years and experienced many "ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME?!?" moments, but NEVER something like this.

"I am SO NOT fighting for a parking space...at the school bus stop!!!"

So, once again, I'm eating my words and driving a kid to school: on the bright side, the middle school parking lot was empty, making the ride totally stress-free.

"But, the doors don't open for another 11 minutes."

[eyes go wide]

"Aaaaaaand, good thing my coat has a hood, right?!?"

Yeah...we grow real smart kids like that...AND aren't you glad I didn't Facebook this, earlier this morning?!?

[sound of circkets, chirping]

Stupid rain, dumbass #NaBloPoMo.

©2003 -2013 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook and everything!

I'm NaBloPoMo-ing it, feel free to check out what I've NaBloPoMo-ed, so far (PHEW!) and let me know how I'm doing (I mean, 30 posts, in 30 days, really?!?) when you have time, of course!

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