Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Not-Perfect, Plenty-Good Christmas & Other Random Holiday Thoughts

The kids still have a few days of school and, likewise, Scott and I still have a few days of work, but we are all eager for the holiday break.  Right now, I should be cooking dinner or walking the dog, instead I sit here in my beautifully, ugly Christmas sweater, pondering the (not-so) important questions of the holiday season.

Does the UPS-man ever sleep?  Not once, not twice, but thrice this season, I have woken to find a package outside the door long before the sun has risen.  He must be taken delivery lessons straight from Santa.

Does anyone else have a lazy, well-behaved Elf on the Shelf? Our elf doesn't mess up the kitchen or rearrange the tree.  Heck, most nights he doesn't go anywhere; we find him in the same place the next morning.  Oh yes, I know who's to blame for such lazy un-Elf-like behavior.  Let's just say his locally-based Elf boss is too tired to teach him proper Elf on the Shelf antics.

Is there such a thing as too many decoration?  That is a rhetorical question; the answer is, obviously, no.  Add more tinsel, wear uglier sweaters, put another blowup snowman in the yard.  We only have one time of year to be terribly tacky, go big or go home.

Should we propose a ban on the use of all bathroom scales between October and January?  Absolutely.  It is a feast from Halloween until New Years.  This year, I asked Santa to bring me a scientist who can prove cookies are health food.  Eat up and avoid the scale, because Santa always delivers.

Will everything be perfect this Christmas?  Absolutely not. Beautiful wrapped packages with gorgeous bows atop will be under someone else's tree.  Dozens of decadent, homemade cookies are in another kitchen.  And, hand-addressed cards with personal letters inside will be sent from another family.  But, the Harrell Christmas will be plenty good enough.

That is where we will leave off for my last post of 2016.  We are counting down to our not-perfect, plenty-good Christmas.  The daily routine this year was rather banal, but taken as a whole it has been an amazing year.  Scott has rejoined the Enterprise Group (routing and switching) at Cisco and has an ever growing realm of products to manage.  I am back to work after a 3+ year break.  Bring on the boo-boos and band-aids - school nursing is the place to be.  Sarah is half way through middle school, just days away from being a teenager, and proving to be quite an athlete.  Jaley is rounding the final turn on elementary school in 5th grade and proving that girls are super-tough in Taekwondo.  Mick is all kid these day, with not even a whisper of the baby who disappeared so quickly.  He's in first grade, has a personality to charm the world, and loves every sport he meets.  Even Raleigh is a "big pup" these days.  He can be trusted with both shoes on the floor and food on the counter.

May you also enjoy a not-perfect, plenty-good Christmas.  If the turkey is dry or the gift is all wrong - remember that is part of the fun.  If it is really a mess, you still have 370 shopping days until next holiday season.  We wish you a Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year.

That is life in MomZania

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Family, Friends, Food & Football - Thanksgiving Success

We just returned from an amazing Thanksgiving week in Atlanta.  It was filled with family, friends, food and football.  We arrived in Atlanta just in time to watch the Jackets trounce UVA.   It was the kids first game on campus and my first in over a decade!  We followed that fun by teaching the kids the proper response to "What's the Good Word?" when the GT women trounced UGA in basketball.

Catching up with GT friends made the visit to our alma mater all the sweeter.  It may be years between visits, but friends from college are friends for life.  We laughed and reminisced and hoped the kids weren't listening when we talked about some of the antics of younger years.

While football may be a Thanksgiving tradition, it is really about gathering together.  Our trip was truly a reunion.  All week family and friends opened their homes and their hearts.  We shared the holiday with Auntie Em, Nana, and all of my extended family.  We enjoyed tons of great home cooked food and some of our favorite Atlanta restaurants.

Now, we are home in California and back to work and school tomorrow.  It was a great trip and a perfect way to kick off the holiday season.  Put away the fall decor it is time for Christmas galore.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Competitive Carpool League

My kids may be playing recreation sports, but my carpool schedule is definitely in the competitive league.  It is a mad dash of drop-offs, pick-ups, and coordination. For those of you with school-age kids, I know you are right there with me.

This week was particularly crazy.  I went back and counted it up.  The kids had a grand total of 19 individual activities  - plus an epic night of trick-or-treating on Monday.  I have nightmares of forgetting to pick one of them up.  The sad part is I know it's not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.

It was the change of seasons that made this week particularly crazy.  I don't mean the change to autumn.  Sarah traded field hockey for two basketball leagues (yes, two and no, that wasn't planned well).  Jaley is finishing her Chorus performances tonight; Taekwondo belt testing is starts Monday.  Soccer isn't even over for Mick, but the emails for basketball and Little League are already flying.  I thought I was raising free-range kids.  What a joke, mine are just as overscheduled as the headlines portray Suburban kids.

Beyond carpool, the rest of life keeps moving at a brilliantly fast pace. The first grading term of the school year is over.   Reports cards are on their way.  I am settled into my new job as the school nurse.  Lots of band-aids, boo-boos, and belly aches, but a surprising amount of significant injury and illness, too.  Fall is always a busy time of work travel for Scott.  Happily, he is in town next week.  Heck, his suitcase may even get fully unpacked, instead of staying half-packed and at the ready.

That is life in MomZania