Family Travel

Tell Them About My Name

My kids love hearing the stories behind their namesakes and each still pretty much like their given names, except for our youngest:  while playing a name game at a friend's baby shower, Hope insisted she wanted to be called Robin.

"How come my name doesn't start with a H, like the girls?"

For two reasons:  naming your children with the same letter sounds harmless enough, until you try hollering for one of them, and can't seem to remember their names, without sounding like an idiot...each and every blessed time...because, I'm smart like that.

There is also a pretty neat and totally goosebump-worthy story behind the reason why we chose to name our son, Glen.

One of my husband Garth's (not his real name) earliest childhood memories was from the summer when he was about 4 years-old:  he fell into a rose bush, ten times his size (as he remembers it) when a really big boy from the neighborhood ran over and, without hesitation reached in through the thorns, lifted him out, brushed him off and then walked him home.

The really big boy was a 19-year old, his name was Glen Bates -- a few months later, he was killed in Vietnam.

But wait, my story is about to get a whole lot goosebump-ier.

Continue reading " Tell Them About My Name" »

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

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 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 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] 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

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

New York's Finger Lakes: The Canandaigua Wine Trail

Eagle Crest Wine and newly constructed outdoor pizza oven!

I had the extreme pleasure of being invited by new friends at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection in Ontario County, NY for a girlfriends weekend getaway and join them as guests of the Finger Lakes Foodie Awards.  

We were treated to a wonderful foodie tour and met with some of the most amazing folks spearheading the farm to table (a.k.a. field to fork) food revolution.  

Our 4-day visit was packed with SO MANY wonderful experiences, so I am very excited (and most eager) to share with you the fun things to see and do in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, including the mirepoix of good times:  wine, food and friends.

I've decided to create a series of blog posts to help us along in our journey -- I don't want you guys to miss a thing -- so, I thought today maybe we could focus on wine...yes?!?

Continue reading "New York's Finger Lakes: The Canandaigua Wine Trail" »

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

Traveling With Teens and Tweens and That Annoying 20-Something Couple!

Traveling with younger kids is hard, trust me, I know. My minivan has battle scars -- not to mention, unidentifiable stains, which will stay that way, because, seriously, I don't even want to know and I'm STILL finding petrified food c. 2006 -- to prove it!

Driving, now that my kids are ALL in double-digits, however, and being stuck in traffic, for half the trip (seriously, Connecticut?) can make even the most level-headed, easy-going, and emotionally-balanced parent go all mental.

"Would you PLEASE stop talking and put some noodles into your mouth, or something!"

The Crane 2011

Then again, I don't remember ever having THIS much fun with them, at the beach, when they were little and, quite frankly, I was probably more concerned about counting heads than making with the crane.

Me and SueMe and Sue of As Cape Cod Turns

Or, being able to make last minute dinner plans with bloggers, who I now have the extreme priviledge of being able to call out as good friends who, after asking:

"Are ALL your kids with you?"

Then learn:

"Yes, ALL my kids are here, with us, right here, staying in this one room...[clears throat]...I'll bring the wine!"

And STILL, you know, seem to want us to bring our kids.

The Boy and Garth (not his real name)
Oh and shopping.  While, my husband, Garth (not his real name) and the manchild patiently wait as the rest of us go shopping.

The Girls at Clancy's
Also, eating in restaurants.  Although, 5 out of 6 of us aren't allowed to order off the kids menu, anymore and, well, we don't go out all that often.  But, when we do, it's a treat.

"DAMN...that's a lot of kids!"

Yeah, uh-uh, as if I've never heard THAT before.  Still.  We stopped at a sushi place halfway home and there was an obnoxious 20-something couple sitting behind us and by obnoxious, I mean that even my 10 year-old was all like...EWWW...he's eating her ear!

"Hahahahaha, riiiiiiight, and they're taking them ALL home, with 'em!"

I kid you not.  The kids and Garth (not his real name) were already out the door and I was all, like, huh?!?  Aaaaaand, the fact that he used her as his own private little (okay, not so little) sushi table, way better, right?!?

"Why didn't you say something, mom?"

Honestly, I was too busy, trying to figure out what their story was and, well, would it have really mattered, anyway, if I had?!?

"Because, all of his brains are obviously in her breasts and they wouldn't have understood me, anyway."


"Yeah, also, if the Apocalypse happens, we could use those puppies as flotation devices!"

Aaaaand, oh, how we laughed and laughed.

Gosh, but I love traveling with older kids and someone should really consider banning obnoxious 20-something-year-olds at restaurants. 

Or, at least, prohibit them from procreating!  I kid.  Sort of.

She should be sleeping, too!
Also, it's sort of nice to have another licensed driver in the house, who can take over and give daddy and/or mommy a much needed break, if need be.

When and if ever she wakes up, of course!

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

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

Our Pilgrimage into Provincetown

Provincetown Harbor
My favorite view of Provincetown, MA.

We're baaaa-aaaack!  What an AWESOME trip we had, too.  I'm STILL sorting through piles of dirty laundry, as we speak.  So, for your viewing pleasure, some highlights of the last days of our summer road trip through New England.

Provincetown Harbor Boardwalk
Day 7 - Provincetown is located way at the tip of Cape Cod, or "upper cape" as the locals call it.The girls were all like, "Wow, Provincetown has a boardwalk!"  Though, we couldn't find anyone selling any funnel cakes, or knew what the heck a "Zeppole" is (i.e. fried dough in Jersey) but, we did get a chance to eat at George's Pizza and, well, it really is the best pizza in P-town!


Provincetown Art
Day 7 - The weather was awesome (albeit, a bit on the chilly side) and Provincetown is filled with warm, bright, shiny and very colorful people!


Provincetown - Blueberry-Lane Pottery
Day 7 - We got a chance to meet fabulously talented artists like Paul Wisotzky, owner of Blueberry Lane Pottery and teacher at Truro Center for the Arts, who bravely choose to give live demonstrations of their work and patiently answer about eleventy-hundred questions (daily) like, "Don't your hands get awfully dry," and "What's hand lotion?"


Into the Provincetown tower 
Day 7 - Provincetown is also home to the Pilgrim Monument (built in 1910) to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown in November 1620. Here the Pilgrims spent 5 weeks exploring the tip of Cape Cod (before sailing to Plymouth) and drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact.


Provincetown tower kids
Day 7 - The Pilgrim Tower is 250 feet high and almost 100 years old.  Heather and I opted out of the climb, about halfway up, due to some serious issues with having to climb 250 foot high 100 year-old towers and not realizing it until, you know, halfway up.

Provincetown Tower Streets
Day 7 - If you're planning a family vacation to Cape Cod (like these people, who were obviously on "vacation mode" and refused get out of my shot) I highly recommend a visit to Provincetown!  It's like one big fat street fair and history lesson all wrapped up in one!

Cape Cod Lighthouse at Hightower
Day 7 - The Cape Cod Lighthouse at Hightower is only a stone's throw away from Provincetown and open for a quick 20 minute tour, although we were ALL pretty much toured-out, by this point in the day.

Cape Cod Lighthouse Views
Day 7 - The kids were happy to be able stretch their legs (before getting back into the car, AGAIN!) and, well, just breath in the fresh salty air heavily infused with the scent of cranberry and rose hips -- someone needs to figure out how to bottle the stuff, seriously!

Cape Cod National Seashore dune grass
Day 7 - This vacation was all about relaxing and being able to partake in quiet little moments (like, chasing sea gulls and getting lost in all the dune grass) while we re-learn to enjoy each others company.  So, yeah, our trip to the Cape Cod National Seashore has paid off BIG TIME!
Next on tap:  Views from a Battleship Wedding!

Greetings from Cape Cod, MA!

Liz@thisfullhouse signature

© 2009 This Full House - All Rights Reserved.

[3/17/10:  Edited to Add - submitting this story to the travel site,

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

Three things you should NEVER talk about while on a family vacation!


Why don't you take a long walk on my...but, that's one looooong jetty!

We just got back from spending a 4-day family getaway with Mini-me's godparents, my parents and my Aunt Elizabeth (she's my father's youngest sister, who I happened to be named after, and...YES...she happens to be a lovable DORK, too) who's visiting from Hungary for the summer.

Yes, we are ALL still speaking to each other...sort of.

Continue reading "Three things you should NEVER talk about while on a family vacation!" »

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

So, You From Joisey?


[This is an original New Jersey Moms Blog post - newest sister site to Silicon Valley Moms Blog - cross-posted here to This Full House and yes, I am VERY HAPPY to be their first contributing blogger!]

Contrary to what other people may have told you - especially, if you've ever watched the opening credits of The Sopranos - there are some very pretty places to visit here in New Jersey, if you're willing to travel beyond the toll booths outside of New York City and away from the factories lining both sides of the New Jersey Turnpike.

It's not called the Garden State for nothin,' you know.

Continue reading "So, You From Joisey?" »

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