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Because I’m older, wiser and probably have way more stretch marks than you, too!

I'm not one for giving parenting advice - not being able to follow simple instructions and accused of being less than cooperative, myself ownself - but, sometimes I find myself in the position of having to either agree, disagree or strongly suggest that a person teach their child to use phones, properly!

[phone rings]

"Is Thing One there?"

Silence.
"Hello?"

[clearing throat]
"Yes?"

[cough]
"Um...is Thing One, there?"

Silence.
"Hello, can you hear me?"

[sigh]
"Yes...but, who am I speaking to?"

[hestating even more]
"Um...oh...this is So-and-So."

Silence.
"Hello?"

[hesitating]
"Yes?"

[heavy sigh]
"Oh, I get it...okay...um...hello Thing One's Mom...this is So-and-So...may I pleeeeze speak with Thing One?!?!"

[even heavier sigh]
"No, I'm sorry...Thing One is sick and can't come to the phone, right now - perhaps you can try again, tomorrow?"

[click]

What?

It's Monday, the kids and I were all sick this weekend and she should feel damned lucky I answered the phone in the first place, trust me - feeling and looking as I do, right now - you'll thank me, later!

Next week: Teaching your kids the fine art of puking in the toilet and other random crap from a mommy on the edge of jumping the couch!

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

Yet another testimony to the power of being able to make children cheer and grown men cry!

My father is going back into the hospital - since, my mom is feeling better and it's his turn, anyway...dammit! - and though this round of surgery is not life threatening, I do believe that this time, his going under the knife (for the 10th time in three years) will undoubtedly prove to be my family's undoing!

"Hi, Sweetie..."

[&#@%]
"...just wanted to let you know..."

[%@#&]
"...your father and I are home."

[cough]
"Good...um...is everything okay?"

[&#@%]
"Hmmm?"

[%@#&]
"Oh, that...yes, your father's just trying to take his [blankety-blank] jacket off..."

[muffled voice]
"WOULD YOU JUST CALM DOWN...FOR THE LOVE OF...GETTING YOURSELF AGGRIVATED ISN'T GOING TO HELP...IS IT!?!?"

[hissing]
"Ugh...I hope they fix him, soon...because his [blankety-blank] pain is killing me!

[heavy sigh]
"I'm sorry, Sweetie...did you say something?"

[cough] 
"Nope, see you Sunday...love you...buh-bye!"

[click] 

Typically, I would have stayed on the line and offered my mother a few comforting words - like, "Don't worry," and "You'll be fine!" - but, these days - what, with my mother's new knees and my father's dead arm - I'm lucky if I get a word in above all the hissing, spitting and cursing.

"Um...okay, love you...buh-bye!"

[click]

On the one hand, I think it's natural for my parents to feel frustrated with the physical pain they've each had to go through for the past...well, feels like forever to them, I'm sure.  On the other hand...holy cats!...do my kids have to see their grandparents scratch each others eyes out...every Sunday!?!

[shielding them from all the spit]

"I know you are having a tough time - just take a look at all the zits on my chin - really, I do.

This is where I usually start to lose it - because I am A WIMPY-ASSED CRY-BABY!
"But...[snort]...that's no reason...[snarf]...to hurt each other!"

And then my father starts to cry.
"Don't you know...[snarf]...how much it hurts me, too...[snort]...already!?!"

And then my mother starts to cry.

[&#@%]

"I just love these family-get-togethers; don't you!?!"

Now, we're all laughing (and crying) and blowing snot like it was 1999 - I can't quite remember what happened, then, but I'm pretty sure someone was getting something repaired, rebuilt or replaced.
"Ummmm...why are guys crying?"

[eyes go wide]

Oh, [blankety-blank] the kids!

"Uh, we're not crying."

[sniff]
"Yes, you are...[snarf]...and...[snort]...it's making me sad!"

And then the rest of my kids...oh, you know.

On the one hand, I think it's okay for my kids to see that grown ups can be sad, frustrated, angry...well, everything they feel about us, pretty much, and on a regular basis.  On the other hand, holy catharsis...I can't help but wonder, you know, do they really have to see...this...much...snot!?!

"Don't worry...we're fine...the sad is gone...these ARE happy tears!"

[blank stare]
"Who's ready for soup?!?!"

HURRAY!

And then my father does some funny gestures with is dead arm, makes the kids laugh and they charge into my mother's kitchen to eat everything...they do NOT eat at home.

"Mmmm...I wuv mama's duck...es-pesh-wee da neck!"

So, what are you doing this Sunday? 

[click]

Hello?

This is where I would typically think, TGIF.

"Have a terrific weekend!"

But, you're welcome to hang around - just a little longer - and tell me that everything is going to be, you know, okay.

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

If you can’t decide which dog is best, get them all … adopt a doofus!

My husband and I grew up with dogs, but decided to wait to get one until our youngest rugrat was out of diapers. We did the research, asked our family and friends, and finally attempted to adopt a beautiful basset hound through animal rescue, which turned out to be a disappointing experience that left our kids heart-broken.

Not that we're bitter (MUCH!) but, we decided to try our hand at finding our family's first pet through our local animal shelter.

Though believing that investing in "a breed" would be best and having family and friends owning a lhasa-schnoodle-doodle-poo-something-or-another, our economic situation led us on a more...um...mutt-led path.

We got ourselves a doofus-dog!

No, really - I mean the dog is so dumb, he'd be standing right beside you, turn to leave the room, forget there was a wall there, and bonk his head...each...and...every time...earning him the nickname, Pinhead!

[sitting at front door]

"Doofus...dinnertime!"

[turning too quickly]

BONK!

"Pinhead!"

Don't get me wrong, he is lovable (and has never, ever suggested otherwise, as evidenced above) and that's the rub.

Oh, yeah - here's another thing, the dog thinks he's...a cat!

Every night, doofus-dog tries to curl up on my lap and does that, you know, kneading dough (or in my case, muffin top) thingie with his paws.

[roll it, pat it]

AIEEEEE!

"Knock it off, Pinhead!"

Can you imagine going through cabin fever with a 90 lb. doofus-dog?

Me either - so, I took him along with me and the kids to the park on Saturday because, you know, the sun was shining. A dad spotted me walking doofus-dog next to the playground and just far enough away from the woodchips because, you know, if it doesn't walk, he'll eat it.

"Is that a lab?"

[looking down]
"Mostly."

[frowns]
"Oh, I only asked because we have a 1-year-old lab at home and, well, he's just such a nutty dog, you know, that we're seriously thinking about getting rid of him."

Oh, the things I could have told him.

Spending months cleaning up garbage, picking up tons of (yes, that many) torn-up pieces of paper, tissues and used feminine products (EWWW!) not to mention spackling holes in the wall, he wanted me to tell him whether or not, you know, owning a doofus really worth it!?!

.

Yes, I believe he is - today, anyway.

Life is like a box of chocolate labs, you never know what you're gonna get - unless you adopt a doofus-dog!

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

Picture Perfect Thursday: Chill Out!

[Photo essay: by Thing One, age 13
Song credit: Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol]

...I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

...Those three words
Are said too much
they're not enough

...If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

...Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

.

...All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

.

.

...I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

.

.

.

...If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

[Win, lose or draw - sometimes, you just gotta know when to chill - thanks for the reminder, Thing One...I love you.]

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

Like prawns on anabolic steroids, these are the lobsters of our lives.

One of the few things I look forward to about Mondays - okay, about the ONLY thing - is settling in with a chilled glass of my favorite white wine and lusting over his majesty and master chef, Jacques Pepin.The man has the most gorgeous set - filled with very lovely kitchen appliances, knives, pots and pans - I have EVER seen!

Seriously. The man can cook the heck out of anything, especially on a weekday evening. He's fast, entertaining and cooks in a way - with that French accent of his - that can even make the simplest pizza look sexy.

Me, not so much.

Oh, I used to cook. Real food. But, you know. After kids - not to mention copious amounts of fish sticks, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese served with chicken nuggets - I've since lost touch with my inner-chef.

Imagine my surprise when the hubs brought home a lobster - about the size of my youngest daughter - and said:

"Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie...if you need me...I'll be outside, shoveling!"

Nothing says, "I love you," like lobster and has to be, like, the ultimate in take-out food, I thought.
"Wow, it's like raining pop rocks and skittles out there, and you went and bought me dinner!?!?!"

Then, the screaming started.
"Ewwww, grooooss, it's still ALIVE!"

It took a moment, but, once they were able to calm me down, the kids insisted that they would take care of dinner!
"Just like that cooker man on t.v., with the funny accent, you know, just like Papa!"

[raises eyebrow]
"Papa's Hungarian."

[four sets of shrugging shoulders]
"Same thing."

So, as today is Friday - no cooking on pizza and movie night - I would like to share with you some of the highlights of a very romantic Valentine's Day dinner, prepared and served by my children, their way.

.

This is Mini-Me and -- because she does NOT do lobster -- is the official "flower-holder-upper" and is hostess with the mostest , tooo-nuht!

.

Chef Little Man is put to task, right away, and prepares the lobster by petting it and giving it a name - Sebastian.

Thing One - being the oldest and having had the fortunate opportunity of having to dissect one during science class, just last month - gives a quick lesson on which parts of the lobster a person should (and should not) eat and is reminded exactly it is why she, too, does NOT do lobster.

Chef Little Man is put to task, once more (it's good to have a brother) and attempts to remove the bands of Sebastian's restraint.

He finds it a bit more slippery and rather difficult to, you know, hold the sucker and quickly seeks assistance from Chef Thing Two.

ASSISTANCE...ASSISTANCE!

Enter sous chef Mommy with her makeshift lobster mitts!

Oh no, the lobster's too big, it does NOT fit!

No matter, or Jacques would say, "Iz purr-fec-tally fiii-nuh, jus git aye-nutter pot!"

Then, after a bit of screaming (because I am a WIMP!) I was able to, somehow, throw the lobster in the pot, because, you know, I closed my eyes, and then ran away, really fast. After about, oh, seven meenuts or zoh, Chef Thing Two and Chef Little Man decided it was time to check if Sebastian had, you know, ceased to exist.

He hadn't.

Not until 5:59 p.m. (est) officially.

I've always heard that giant lobsters (those weighing over 2 lbs.) tend to be tough - it was, let me tell you, preparing for this meal was hard! A lot like Silence of the Lambs, really. I think I can still hear the screaming. Eh, but the kids did a great job - didn't they set a simply lovely table? - and it's like what another favorite chef of mine Anthony Bourdain always says:

"You're slower than me. You're stupider than me. And you taste good. I will eat you!"

TGIF and happy cooking!

[Edited to add:  It's Tuesday, already and would you believe, with the long weekend plans ahead of us, I wrote this on Friday and FORGOT to hit publish.  Yes?  Of course you would, because I am a DORK!] 

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

Hump Day Diddy Dumbs - Another stupid winter fashion tip in one hundred pounds, or less.

Mini-me pretty much dresses herself, these days, and - being raised a hybrid in a house filled with women with distinctively different tastes - like her sisters, she spends a painfully long time getting ready in the morning.

Not today.

Because the one thing they all agree upon (including my son) is that there is no other fashion tip more important than knowing how to wear your winter...um...innerwear?

All the cool kids are wearing their pajamas inside out and backwards.

Especially the ones living in my house and in the event of a winter storm warning!

Perhaps you haven’t heard - or simply do NOT have a school-aged child living with you, at the moment - but, wearing your pajamas inside out and backwards is more than just personal choice, it’s a moral imperative.

If you're a mom - like me - then perhaps you'll be happy to learn this method works surprisingly well with hooded sweatshirts.

Especially for teenagers - and especially during those not-so-lovely moments (once a month) - the backwards-effect is an attractive alternative to...well, you know.

Economically sound and gender-friendly, this trend truly transcends all antecedent boundaries - especially those enforced by hand-me-downs and/or 8-year-old boys with little or no fashion sense who typically refer to girls as “icky” - just watch, as we blaze a trail in believing that there is a difference between form and function.

Although, getting his attention and turning away from the television may prove a bit, you know, tricky.

Yes, as you can see, wearing pajamas inside out and backwards really does work - a little too well - because it's raining freakin' skittles over here!

Seriously, it sounds like poprocks going off over our heads and it's totally freaking me (and the kids) out!

I mean, the lights are flickering (read: must end blog post before power outage) it's deadly cold and everything is freezing...solid!

Oh, well...at least they had the good sense to cancel school and we all - with the exception of daddy - are home safe and sound.

Now, excuse me while I call my husband, remind him to be careful, tell him how much I really do love him and then proceed to drill a hole into my head and bury my face deep into a box of chocolates.

Did I mention the kids are all home from school, today - what was I thinking - and they can't even go outside. Stupid ice!

Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie!

No worries - even if the kids beat it outta me - I'll try and save you at least a little bit of lovins' and perhaps even a lovely coconut-creme, somewhere easily found on my pale-white-dead body.

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

Be careful when killing two birds with one stone, you might miss the birds!

My mother-in-law called, the other night (I think it was Thursday) to catch up on how the children and I have been feeling, lately - since our latest battle with bubblegum fatigue and phlegm - and, balancing the phone receiver with my left shoulder, I continued to time my son (while he completed 100 math facts in less than five minutes) reached for the safety scissors and began clipping the dead leaves off the geraniums on the window sill, and chatted away:

"Uh-huh...yes...they're all better...nuh-uh...no...I'm not busy."

I wasn't being, you know, sarcastic (really!) and besides, I owed her a phone call. Okay. Perhaps two or three, even.

Make a long story, you know, less long (I know, probably not) I had to cut the phone call short, when Mini-me ran into the dining room, stood in front of me and covered her hand to her mouth:

"Yes...in fact, your son is..."

[gag]
"Ulgck...looks like Mini-me's gonna get sick, again...gotta go...call you back!"

[click]

In one quick move, to the baker's rack and back, I grabbed for the puke bucket (what, you don't have one?) placed it under Mini-me, closed my eyes and braced myself for the worst.

Did I mention I was a joiner?

And why not? Because, I swear, it's moments like this that I can't help but wonder...um...what in the hell was I doing.

No, really.

That's the trouble with multi-tasking - although, some mommybloggers don't seem to have a problem with this - it requires lots of, you know, focus.

[wiping the spittle from my eyes]

And I've seem to have lost mine, at the moment.

No matter, I'm on my time now - good time to hit 'ye blog, yes? - the kids'll be home soon and I'm sure I'll be right back at it, again.

The trouble is, I'm having a really hard time getting passed all the negative conotations that comes with me having to explain to people:

"Why, yes...I'm a writer...call me a mommyblogger, if you'd like...but, I'm sorta just trying to, you know, work it all out."

[blank stare]

You know.

It's not always about the phlegm - it's about connecting to other parents (yes...dads, too) who, having dealt with a whole slew of crud I didn't even know about, perhaps can relate to all the crap that goes along with it, too.

Heavy sigh.

Helps me look at phlegm in a whole new way, you know.

For some parents, blogging comes naturally, but - for reasons I won't get into, at the moment [insert your tears of joy, here] - carving out a living at it is like trying to make a dent in the laundry.

For me, anyway.

That's where mommybloggers like Anne-Marie Nichols (a.k.a. A Mama's Rant) come in quite handy, especially when giving interviews and quotes like these:

Don’t treat mommy bloggers like a bunch of dumb housewives and blogging as our “cute little hobby.” Many of us were professional writers and marketers before we stayed home with our kids. We blog because we have a brain and need to reach out to people and share our stories.

I'm not one of them - professional writer/marketer B.C. (before children) - but, she made me think that perhaps there was a place for "my stories" and given me reason to, you know, chill out and re-visit another favorite hobby of mine; a love that both my mother-in-law and I shared, besides her son.

Birdwatching.

It was a beautiful sunny day, today

Tomorrow, not so much.

So, I grabbed the camera and settled in by the birdfeeders outside the backdoor.

You see, even when I'm alone...

I'm never really, lonely.

Yes, I believe that blogging has been good for me and that I have finally found a comfortable niche, but - sitting in the quiet sun, playing with your cat and ignoring the dust kitties - sometimes there are things that are better left alone.

And, if you wait long enough, perhaps you'll get a glimpse of that elusive cardinal...

...or, snap that woodpecker that's been keeping you up at night.

With patience - and even a little luck - perhaps things will become, you know, a bit clearer...

...and the cardinal will see you, too...

...as something shiny and - prehaps even a little pretty - suddenly, before you even know what's happening, you cross paths and it flies straight for your...um...WAIT!

WHUMP!

Due to technical difficulties, we interrupt this bird story and bring you a blogging tip:

Be careful when killing two birds with one stone, you might miss the birds.

You, your kids and perhaps even your mother-in-law will thank you, one day!

And for heaven's sake, do NOT clean your windows - doing housework can kill - trust me!

Stupid bird!

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