I Got Your Lemonade

"e'erybody in the club getting thirsty"

posted by Jesse

A few weeks ago, DJ wrote a nice post about some uncle she claimed to be me, though I’m not sure I fit parts of the description. Mainly the part when she refers to me as “middle-aged”. One part she definitely got right is that we like to mess with each other.

At Lisa’s funeral, one of the speakers was a long-time church member who had married an english teacher at our high school. Lisa happened to be in one of the teacher’s classes at Broughton at the time the pair were dating, and knew the speaker as a Sunday School teacher and youth advisor at church. He told the story of how, at Valentine’s Day, she bought a carnation through the school sale, had it sent to her teacher and signed it as from her church youth advisor. The speaker pointed out he thought the relationship was going well anyway, but Lisa’s prank must not have strained things too much because they ended up together!

So when I hear about DJ collecting money to get a life-size cardboard cutout of one of her favorite teachers made, naturally I think of her Mom. Lisa was good at a little mischief–the kind that spices up the ordinary routine of life, but rarely nears the point of real rule-breaking.

DJ must have been looking to spice up a boring day of baby-sitting her sister and a couple of their friends a few weeks back because I got a text from her that read:

“Yo! We’re drinking your lemonade….mmmmm….it is good!”

It should be noted that I have a favorite lemonade drink mix–Country Time Strawberry Lemonade–that I try to consume more of so I’ll drink less soda. Since I willfully graze on any meals, snacks, drinks, and candy piles that are too big to notice one piece missing at the Tanner house, I make clear that folks are welcome to share in anything I put in the fridge. But I get the feeling that Danny doubles back behind me and tells the girls not to drink my lemonade, because they always treat it as if it’s sacred or something.

Unless DJ gets bored baby-sitting.

I played along and texted back, “Nooooooo!”

She went on to gush in 160-character messages about how great the lemonade was and how regrettable it was that I couldn’t be on hand to stop the free flow of pink goodness from the pitcher that was taking place.

I pretended to be ticked. Then, via text, I received the photo you see at the top of the post, just to drive home the level of consumption of my lemonade.

Ok, perhaps the next day when I got done playing basketball and was forced to quench my thirst with, ugh, water I was slightly less amused. But I’ve got a Star Wars light saber whose only functionality is to serve as something DJ can steal from my room so that whenever I notice it’s missing I can wax indignant and stomp around her room looking for it. How much fun is that?


Stranded! (without internet)

Posted By Uncle Jesse

Danny has been making this face for a couple of days. I know he’s able to keep perspective, but it really is frustrating when the internet is down at the house. But help is on the way–sometimes we wait out an internet glitch, but this one has persisted for a couple days so Danny called a a service guy.

I already knew Danny wrote a lot more than I did on the blog. He reminds me almost daily. What I didn’t know was just how clockwork-regular his posting had been. We had people calling and emailing the house making sure everything was ok when Danny didn’t post on Wednesday! Yes, readers, we are ok. The internet has been down, but somehow we have survived. I had to spend more time in a Starbucks than I would have liked sending in an article on Wednesday night, and Danny may have to atone for the cursing he did when he realized he lost some of his work when it went out, but all in all we came through it unscathed.

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

Tanners back in the Capital

I bet DJ wishes she had her sisters in D.C. with her this time

DJ took a trip with the rest of 8th grade to Washington, D.C. (with a stop at King’s Dominion on the way home!).  The picture to the left is actually from our D.C. trip in January. DJ doesn’t have her phone with her, so she hasn’t sent any pictures from this trip. Funny story about that phone….

Apparently the students were asked to not take their phones, only DJ heard from others that some parents were letting them. She told Danny she wanted to take her phone just to call/text to check in at night. Danny told her he didn’t think she was supposed to but he would check with some other parents to see what they were doing. But the discussion was interrupted and Danny forgot what was finally decided upon.

When the phone wasn’t where Danny thought he had last seen it when DJ left, he thought perhaps she had taken it with her. He wasn’t exactly ticked, because he admitted they had never really settled the matter. But he wasn’t exactly happy either. I was actually kind of curious as to how he would handle. But then I spotted her phone in her room. What a kid.

Blue Streak

One thing I like about the girls’ school is the traditions they have and keep year after year. One of the best is Blue-White Day, where the school is split down the middle–half Blue, half White–and the two sides compete against each other in a series of activities. Then the points are tallied and one side reigns supreme for the year.

it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you gear up beforehand

From what I’ve been told, White had been dominant for a number of years. But last year we reversed that trend, when the 3rd-5th grade Blue team members rallied late for the win. I was actually in attendance; Stephanie was a little upset at the time that Lisa would not be in attendance as she had been for every Blue-White Day. The Tanner girls don’t win a lot of heats in the competition, so it’s nice to get a hug for the effort. I filled in for Lisa, who did her part by smiling down upon the Blue team (or maybe to point talliers).

Well, Blue kept it going this year with another overall win! Stephanie practiced her hula-hooping and did her best. DJ was on a Blue basketball team…and had a cool outfit. I actually was unable to make it to this year’s Blue-White Day because….

Working Man

I’m starting a new job Monday. Overall this is a good thing, but it’s been a bit of a tough sell around the Tanner house. Stephanie wanted me to come to Blue-White Day again, but I had to train at the new job. I won’t be able to substitute teach and be around the school quite as much. I won’t be able to stop by for lunch (I wouldn’t say this was a weekly occurrence any way, but I did drop in with some Panera from time to time).

But they’ve been happy for me, too. Stephanie told me she was proud of me when I told her I’d be on the radio every day.

Have a good weekend, Real Full House readers.

Uncle Jesse

Posted by DJ

Uncle Jesse.  He may or may not know this, but I look up to him…alot. I honestly think he is one of the coolest uncle’s I will ever have.  He is always in the loop. 

A new song comes out, he knows it.   And he shares this knowledge with me.   I occasionally pass it on to a friend or two and within a moth, it is the most played song on the radio.   I have no idea where he gets this information, probably one of his many buddies.

It’s always my buddy Chip or Justin or Bomani.  What do you have to do to be Jesse’s “buddy”?  I don’t know.  But I do know he has over 1,000 facebook friends.  That is a lot of people.

He knows everyone.  Also, I look up to his musicality.  I used to take piano, but Jesse says he never really had official lessons, but he can hear a song once and play it almost perfectly.  He sits down at the piano (except Tuesdays, that’s basketball night) for about 20 minutes every day.  Half the time I have no idea what the song is, but I still seem to really enjoy his loud semi-annoying singing which I can hear very clearly from my room.  He gets one song in his head for like a week and then only plays that one song, so by the end of the week I also know a new song.

Jesse also has a lot of flaws, but I will save those for another post as I don’t want to ruin this one.

 He is a big part if my life.  Home, church, and as of recently school.  He has been subbing a lot in different classes and he is also the track coach. We argue, and mess with each other, but I know, and I hope he knows, that I love him and always will.

50% of the time he seems like a little brother.  The other half he is like a second dad.  We go places as a family, me, dad, Steph, Michelle and Jesse and often we get stares from passersby.  We don’t look like a normal family.  One old guy, one middle aged guy, a teenager, two kids and no mom.  A little confusing, but we are a family no matter how weird we are.  He has been a huge help through these hard times and I couldn’t have done it with out him.  Thanks Uncle Jesse.

Sunday Post 16: My Grandad, Spurgeon

DJ had to present her faith statement to the Session at church tonight.  I’m an Elder at First Pres. and had the priviledge of hearing kids share what they believe in years past.  It’s pretty powerful.

Last week, DJ and I spent some time discussing what she believes so that she’d be prepared for this important event.

As we talked, I began to think about what and who shaped my faith.

Being the kid of a preacher, I was at church more than not.  One Sunday when I was about 4, my grandparents were in town and offered to let me stay home with them instead of the usual routine of Sunday School and sleeping on my mother’s lap through the service.  My parents didn’t like the stay at home option.  Apparently when told I’d be heading with them, I stomped my foot and said, “Church, church, all I do is church!”

My preacher today wishes my attendance was such that I would have the right to say that now!

There were incredible people who molded my beliefs.  Some by making me run in a different direction!  Some simply through their actions. 

My grandfather, Spurgeon (if only I’d had a son to pass that name down to) or as we called him Papa, was a key to showing me, through action, what being a Godly man is all about.

At 9 pm sharp, in the middle of The Love Boat or any other show we might be watching, he would barge into the den reading passages from the bible out loud and would continue until my grandmother demanded he stop.  He seldom missed church and had a blind faith in the God he’d been taught to obey. 

He ran a small grocery store most of his life and fought hard not to open on Sundays when everyone else in town had made that move.  He refused to sell alcohol, which would have been lucrative business for him.  He sang hymns all the time and prayed before every meal.  I can see his unsteady hands and head, victims of Parkinson’s disease, bobbling as he bowed out of respect.

I think the greatest lesson he taught me was to be loving and kind to others.  Although he didn’t have a ton of money, if anyone came into his store hungry or in need, he would give them what they needed, sometimes to my grandmother’s dismay.  And he loved people.  Those who drove the rest of us crazy – and there were some interesting characters who frequented his establishment – he embraced.

He was a very, very good man.

I’m not sure that my actions are always consistent with the teachings of the bible or even with my own words at times.  I’m certainly not walking around the house singing hymns and I don’t often interrupt American Idol to read passages from the book of Isaiah.  I’m also not nearly as good as Papa at embracing those who are different from me.

I’m proud of my daughter and of the young woman she’s becoming.  And I am thankful for the community that surrounds her helping me teach the things that my family so diligently worked to teach me.

The Great Clothes Migration, 2010

I’ve learned to loath The Great Clothes Migration at our house. 

Twice each year, we go through all of the drawers and closets in our house.  It’s time to move the winter clothes out and the summer clothes in.  DJ’s hand me downs are shipped to Stephanie’s room.  Stephanie’s to Michelle’s.  Michelle’s go into three piles  1) trash 2) really special items we want to keep so that my attic will have a purpose and 3) the give away pile to a very dear friend who has two daughters a little younger than mine.

Yesterday we attacked DJ’s room.  I think I’m going to have to take a week off from work to recover.

DJ is a beautiful young woman who makes very good grades.  She is self confident and a leader.  She was honor camper at resident camp last summer.  She’s just an outstanding all around kid – I am so proud of her.  And, she’s a slob.

After about 30 minutes in her room, I considered calling Caterpiller to see if I could rent a Backhoe.  I discovered:

*15 unmatched socks throughout her room – four of them in her bathing suit drawer

*Enough fingernail polish to paint the nails of every 13 year old in South  America

*Single Benedryl tablets from the bathroom to the closet  and everywhere in between

*Femine products galore!

*A cup from the kitchen

and to top it off,

*Two of my good spoons under her bathroom sink!!

Is she eating cereal on the toilet?  Why would you have spoons under your bathroom sink?

The pile of clothes that don’t fit any longer mirror the local landfill – they just don’t smell as bad. 

She just drops paper – I think she has a neurological issue that keeps her from being able to throw things in a trash can. 

I’m about to take a nap to build up enough grit to tackle Stephanie’s room next weekend.  I’ve given her the seven day warning – we all need to get mentally and physcially prepared. 

I’d rather have three teeth extracted than to spearhead The Great Clothes Migration of 2010.

By the way, we’re missing one bear slipper. 

If you find one, please return it to me.  How do you lose an item this big?

Tonight’s Dinner Special: Roast


Since the girls wear uniforms to school all day, we do not have a dress code for the Tanner family dinner table (other than, you know, being dressed). It is advised, however, that you bring your layer of thick skin.

This family game has been played before, and will surely be played again, and I’m not even sure who started it last night, but it was probably the world’s funniest 8-year old girl, Michelle. It started with her (or someone else) declaring: “I’m going to be Jesse,” and proceeding to imitate the family member that has been named. Everyone else quickly follows suit by naming someone they will ape and soon we are sitting around the table having a “conversation” that consists of each person repeating their chosen subjects’ favorite meal-time catchphrase: Stephanie (as Danny) incessantly asked everyone how their day was, Michelle (as me) talked about watching basketball, etc.

But the real fun comes when we all take turns playing the same person at once. The script and performance are both pretty short, and I doubt Saturday Night Live will be beating down our doors any time soon, but we sure did crack each other up for about ten minutes. Even though the parroting typically consisted of a one-liner and a prop, some of them were pretty spot on. Here’s a quick review:

  • Michelle: singing loud and laughing; fidgeting and clinging on other people, even if they were trying to eat their own dinner; asking to be picked up and tickled. Best Actor award: Me, for my portrayal of Michelle at meals, rocking, kneeling on, or standing next to her stool while eating…and then going the extra absurd step of rolling on the dinner table.
  • Stephanie: a lot of OMGs and other “net-speak”; name-dropping of 5th grade boys that she “definitely does not like” even though their names are heard a lot; complaints about “tons of homework” that will somehow get finished before American Idol starts. Best Actor award: Danny, for his role as “slow-eating Steph”, pausing between bites to take in the scenery and chewing at a cow’s pace.
  • DJ: a lot of “Oh my gosh” (note: different from “OMG”–I guess net-speak becomes less cool around 8th grade) and other teenage tone and dialect, fast-flying thumbs and a refusal to look up from a newly purchased smart phone, play-by-play recaps of what happened in Latin and science classes, and a rundown of how incompetent/unfair the rest of the world is and how it is adversely affecting her. Best Actor award: Michelle, for her cheerleader routine and broadcasting the word of a newly purchased sports bra.
  • Me: donning of a baseball cap and lots of sports-talk; an eye-lock on my phone screen while announcing funny/interesting tidbits that are rolling across Twitter; responding to kids’ stories of the day with a different viewpoint on the situation or attempting to teach a lesson. Best Actor award: Stephanie, who moved to the piano to bang out some chords and sing at the top of her lungs. (am I really that loud?)
  • Danny (who, of course, tried to end the game before his name came up): reading glasses and dumbbells, weird exercise positions, commenting that everything would “make a good blog post”, not knowing how to work his phone. Best Actor award: DJ, who drew the night’s biggest laugh for her depiction of “Father drinking milk from the carton”, turning up the gallon jug and then exuding faux-machismo by strutting around the kitchen talking about how it’s “my milk” because he “bought it from Harris Teeter”.

And with that, this round of Tanner family roasting was concluded.

Some people might think we’re cruel to each other, but I think if observed objectively most would conclude it’s a net positive: everyone gets a fair share and we don’t really dwell on others’ insecurities as much as their habits. And it can be funny and sometimes quite revealing to see which words and actions you put out there, and what the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when they’re “being you.”

Additionally, I have conceded that when it comes to physical pain, the Tanner girls are kind of wimpy and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. I have induced tears from what I perceived to be light tickling and caused seemingly (at the time) irreparable damage to fingers during attempted sports outings in the driveway. I know they didn’t grow up being mercilessly flung into bushes and tackled onto tree roots by Ryan Combs, the 6-foot 6th grader with whom I played backyard football in my youth, but I had hoped to at least teach them the “brush off the dirt and keep going” routine. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

But there are different types of wimpy, and I can tell you that the Tanner girls are going to be emotionally resilient and mentally stalwart, armed to handle the inevitable rejections and insults that will come their way as they grow and learn. Hopefully, they won’t need all the good training we’re giving them in how to let things slide off your back. And hopefully they’ve already faced the toughest thing they’ll ever have to get through.

Weird Free for Forty Days

Posted by Danny

I’m not opposed to Lent, I’ve just never particpated.  Although my current church suggests we give something up, I was raised Baptist.  They give stuff up all the time – there’s nothing left to give when spring rolls around.  Plus, forty days is a really long time.  I might could handle a week. 

That’s why I find it interesting that my daughters always seem to get excited about doing without something during this season.

Last night, DJ and Stephanie made decisions about what they were going to give up.  DJ decided that Facebook was important to her so she would do without it until Easter.  That’s a pretty big sacrifice for her.  Although I cautioned Stephanie, she choose to give up her i-touch.  She just received it for Christmas and she really, really enjoys playing the games.  I fear she is quickly going to fall off the wagon, just as she did last year with chocolate and the year before with chewing gum.  But she’s getting older.  Maybe she will make it this time.

On the way to school  today, the girls asked me what I was giving up for Lent.  I pondered and suggested some things that clearly weren’t going to affect me this season:  kissing girls, cutting my fingernails (I bite only  when necessary), painting the house.  They balked at my list.  I then went with the absurd:  showers, underwear, doing their laundry.  Again, no takers. 

That’s when they began to offer ideas about my sacrifice.  DJ suggested I give up wine.

“That ain’t happening.”

Stephanie piped in with coffee.

“You’re going to get punished for suggesting that.”

Then DJ came up with what she thought was a perfect compromise for all, “Dad, why don’t you stop being weird for Lent?”

“That shouldn’t be a problem.  But I get to decide what is weird and what is not.”

“No way.  If you do something that we think is weird, you have to call one of your dad friends and ask him if he would do it.  If he says yes, it’s not weird.  If he says no, then it’s weird and you lose.”

They acuse me all of the time of doing stuff that they are certain other father’s would not do:  my particular dance moves – I don’t think are unusual; speaking in an undeciferable language and expecting them to respond – I’m sure all of the dads do that; throwing wet sponges at them when they run through the kitchen – a normal family activity for most.  But I decided to go along.  So until Easter, I cannot be “weird.”

I did take it upon myself to explain Fat Tuesday to them as we drove to school.  To celebrate, I opened all of the car windows and began yelling farm animal noises as we drove throughout the the neighborhoods:  “bock bock becock”, a long loud “mooooo”, my doberman pinscher impression.  They thought that was funny, until we neared the carpool line.  That’s when I opened the sunroof and started singing:

Little Bunny Foo Foo hopping through the forrest

scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head.

But, I couldn’t drive and keep DJ from closing the roof.  So as we neared drop off, I turned the radio on to a station that was playing hymns.  How Great Thou Art was beautiful and I knew all the words.   I opened the window and sang along.

I’m not sure if the kids had fun or if I just completely humiliated them.  Either way, I guess we’ll have no more of that for the next forty days.  Sure hope I  can make it!

Short Sheet the Dad

On the way home from school, with my grandparents, we call them Mae and Gaga, we began talking about how to short sheet a bed.  Michele and Stephanie really wanted to know how this funny prank played out.

If you don’t know how watch:

As soon as we got home, we decided we had to teach them how on Dad’s bed to aggrevate him and to show them how.  We unmade the bed, and with Mae’s help remade the bed perfectly.  I told Mae and Gaga, they stay up late, to wait up and take a picture of dad when he got in bed.  Gaga saw the light go off and a few moments later it turned back on.  He could here moaning and groaning coming from dad’s room.  That’s when he ran in the room and took the picture.


Dad said, “I am tired, I am a single parent.  Why did you do this to me?!  You should have just told me, I would have posed for a picture for the blog and I could have been asleep five minutes ago!”

Mae and Gaga just laughed and wished Michele, Stephanie, and I were awake to see his reaction.

Watch out Jesse, you might be next!

Happy Birthday, Bieber


Today is Justin Bieber’s birthday. He was born on March 1st, 1994 at 12:56 a.m. How do I know this? I am living with a Bieb-ette.

Yesterday I picked DJ up from school. She told me she had to make a cake that night. What for?

The Biebs

“For Justin Bieber’s birthday!”


She also told me she was going to set her alarm for 12:56 a.m. because that’s what time he was born. I rolled my eyes, but I was amused.

This Bieber kid is the real deal. DJ first saw him in concert before he went to super-huge-megastar status when he was opening for Taylor Swift. She flew up to Boston to visit her Aunt Sallie and they went to the show together. She’s been hooked ever since.

And it sounds like she’s not the only one. His movie made $30 million the opening weekend. He’s a trending topic on Twitter daily. His fans even went after Esperanza Spalding, the poor girl who dared to win the Best New Artist Grammy over Bieber. So it’s safe to say he’s probably not going anywhere for a while, provided he doesn’t start rolling around Hollywood with, say, Charlie Sheen.

You ever heard of Bye, Bye Birdie? A Broadway show turned movie about a star singer going off to war and the fan who wins the chance to give him a goodbye kiss? The Tanner girls love it because they watch old musicals at Danny’s parents’ house (I am a BIG fan of this–they have a great collection that the girls just love. Kids will watch classic movies; there’s a reason they’re classics!).

I have a soft spot for the show because my middle school and my high school both put on a production of it and I was cast in the same role both times: Hugo, the nerdy, left by the wayside boyfriend, who, perhaps not coincidentally, is about the only lead character who does not sing any solos.

Well DJ is a living Kim MacAfee, the main girl in the show. She definitely has 2011 version of the “Telephone Hour” song mastered, though instead of the rotary it’s today’s teenage combination of text, talk, facebook, and skype.

Bieber's birthday cake, pre-icing

And Bieber is her Conrad Birdie. She paid some exorbitant amount of money to the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never, a week before it officially came out in theaters. If there were a contest to kiss Justin Bieber before sending him off to fight in Libya, DJ would be in it and I wouldn’t bet against her winning.


And last night she made him a birthday cake. I think (hope) that deep down she’s being a little bit tongue-in-cheek in her obsession, but she did insist on making purple icing and spent a lot of time trying to figure out which combinations of food coloring would produce it, so maybe she really does have a problem.

But I admire her creativity and the way she completely throws herself into silly projects like this from time to time. It adds a little spice to the ordinary routine.

some father-daughter time in the kitchen

And maybe the best part was how unfazed Danny seemed that his daughter was making a mess in the kitchen for a Bieber birthday cake. After a day of work, and running the late shuttle for kid pick-up, and cooking dinner, and answering homework questions, I don’t even think I heard him sigh when DJ said, “Daddy, will you help me make icing for the cake? We don’t have any.”


In fact, it was kind of neat to see him passing down some of his better-than-average baking skills to his oldest daughter.

“Grab the confection sugar and the vanilla out of the cupboard….”

And together they made cake icing and iced Justin Bieber’s birthday cake. DJ then took the special purple icing to do the writing.

Unfortunately cakes don’t come with spell-check, so with only Stephanie as the consultant, they first came up with this:


It’s B-i-e-b-e-r (but she fixed it). Whew, maybe she’s not as obsessed as I thought.

Uncle Jesse’s Night Life

Posted by DJ

Thursday Night:  Asleep by 9:13

Friday Night: Asleep by 8:57

He’d be an exciting date wouldn’t he?

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