Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mom, Let's Race!

"Mom, let's race!"  How many times has every parent heard those words?  From toddler to teenager, all kids want to win, and beating mom and dad is an ultimate victory.

Back in the training wheel and stroller days of our family, I used to envision what family activities would look like as they grew up.  The kids would slowly improve until a magical time when we rode, ran, skied, fill-in-the-blanked at basically the same level.  Then, after enjoying a few years of playing as equals the baton would be handed off and the kids would be better than me at everything sporty.

Though like most of parenthood, the reality is never quite like the vision.  It turns out kids don't really improve athletically at a slow steady pace, instead they leap frog from level to level at an incredibly fast pace.  That magical time of being at the same level is minutes not years.

This year all three kids in their own individual way have left me in their athletic dust.  It started with Jaley on the ski slope. We were at the top of the mountain and she said, "Mom, let's race." She was headed down the mountain before I even answered.  I really did try to catch her, but I didn't have a chance.  She was back in line for the lift by the time I made it to the bottom of the hill.

Then, it was Sarah at spring break.  While I'm happy to hike for hiking's sake, she wanted to make the trail a little more interesting.  She set a spot and said, "Mom, let's race."  Off we went.  It was kind of like racing my minivan against a Maserati.  I was hopelessly outmatched against her.

Last, it was Mick this weekend.  He is only 7 and, yes, he schooled me.  Scott and Sarah were out of town, so I grabbed Jaley, Mick, and a friend and headed for a mud run at the Kids Obstacle Challenge Race.  We were the first wave of the day and Mick yells "Mom, let's race." just before he darted off like a jack rabbit.  I wasn't worried, it was a long course, he would tire quickly and I could catch him.  Ha!  Next thing I knew he wasn't in my line of site.  Ego aside, I didn't know if the course was well marked or if he would be able to make it over the obstacles without help.  I went from jog to sprint.  I made up enough of the gap.  At least I could see him.  Every time I got close, he took it as a challenge and picked up the pace.   Over walls, through tunnels, scaling netting, and Tarzan swinging into massive mud, he was ahead of me right through the finish line.  What do I expect? Mick hiked Yosemite's Mist Trail at age 5.

I'm sure there will be many family athletic endeavors ahead, but the baton has officially been passed.  The kids will either be holding back to hang with me or cheering me on at the finish line.

Beyond getting passed by the kids, we have been making the most of summer vacation.  After our travels East, we finished all the new puzzles and maxed out on junk TV before the real world caught up with us.  It turns out bills, laundry, and grocery shopping do not take a summer vacation.  With less than a month left of break, I'm back to busy ways.  I'm finally getting to several house projects that never happened when we moved in, the girls are back to field hockey and taekwondo, and for Scott work is business as usual.  Without the pressure of Saturday sport games and homework, we are saving our weekends for fun. While Jaley, Mick, and I were playing in the mud, Sarah and Scott checked out the sites in Chicago.  Sarah is on her way home now and Scott is staying for work tomorrow.  If our plans hold, the next few weekend will be just as much fun.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Southeast Sojourn

School released and we escaped for a Southeast Road Trip.  The kids and I headed to DC to check out all the sites.  Next, we headed southeast to see as many family and friends as we could, before catching up with Scott and the extended Harrell tribe for family camp at Callaway Gardens.

We jump started our travels with three days in our nation's capitol.  We filled them full - overfull.   DC is the king of my favorite four-letter word - FREE - and we (I) didn't want to miss any of the sites.    Thanks to our Congresswomen (Yes, we are proudly represented in DC by ALL women), we got passes to the White House, Congress, and even breakfast with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (HINT, ask early on their websites and your Congress people can hook you up, too).  We cruised the whole town on bikes (OK, the bikes weren't free, but it was still a deal) - checking out Ben, George, Abe, and all the other giants.  It was an humbling and awe-inspiring visit.

While our country faces nasty rhetoric from the Left and the Right, touring DC is a wonderful reminder of just how great our country is, how many have made the ultimate scarified to make it such, and the best outcomes usually arise from compromise not conflict.  In fact, maybe some of our nation's leaders should revisit the DC sites to remind themselves of those facts.

We left DC exhausted and with more on the list to see, but the real reason for our trip was family and friends.  We enjoyed a great, but too short visit, with Scott's cousin and Uncle in Richmond, and sent our love to all the other cousins in VA.

Next was three days in NC.  As they say, you can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the girl.  That is how it feels every time we visit the Carolinas.  Nana was the bestest hostess.  She fed us, housed us, and spoiled us.  She had special grandma time, while I reconnected with friends from UNC.  We all enjoyed hanging out with the crew from Mintawood Court.

Bidding adieu to NC, we headed south to ATL.  It was short, but sweet.  We visited with my aunt and cousin, had a little (too little) time with Auntie Em before swinging by the airport to pick-up Scott.  The poor guy had to work while we played.  With the Harrell 5 together, we headed to Callaway Gardens for Family Summer Camp.

In honor of Mimi & Poppa's special birthdays this year, they wanted to introduce a new generation to a place they enjoyed for summer vacations when Scott was a kid.  Even with monsoon rain from Tropical Storm Cindy, it didn't disappoint.  There was water skiing and cooking classes.  There was golf for the guys and the spa for the ladies.  They were rope courses and zip lines, biking trails and a 5K.  There was even circus camp for all ages.  It you are wondering when you cross the line as too old to try the trapeze, I think I passed it about three years ago.  I didn't care, I climbed that ladder anyhow - because you don't get to ride the flying trapeze very often.  Our family did get to fly through the air, but let's just say it wasn't with the greatest of ease.  Who cares about the sore muscles, we got to fly on the trapeze!!!

As camp came to a close, it was time for Sarah and I to head home.  Scott went straight to a work conference.  Jaley and Mick extended their travels back to NC to enjoy some private grandparent spoiling from Mimi & Poppa.  

Now everyone is home and our memory bags are very full.  It was an epic start to our summer; going forward it is much more low key.  Puzzles are spread out on the dining room table and the DVR is full of second run movies.  We are ready to test our lazy skills.

That is MomZania.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

And She is Off to Middle School

1st Day of Kindergarten - 2011
Just like that, Jaley is off to middle school.  Of course, just like that meant two weeks of celebrations, a field trip to a water park, a half-day outdoor DJ/picnic/festival soiree, a personalized class song, a kindergarten tribute, a musical performance, and a graduation ceremony with a touch of Pomp and Circumstance, but Jaley is indeed off to middle school.  On the one hand, I can't believe her time in elementary school has come to a close.  On the other, I am amazed by how much she has matured, learned, and experienced in six short years.  From the alphabet to zoology, manners to multiplication, they cover a lot of material in elementary school.  Jaley was right there gleaning all her teachers shared and more. From curious kindergartener to phenomenal fifth grader, she is ready to make the leap to middle school.

Last Day of 5th Grade
A piece of me wishes I could recapture the just turned 5-year-old I dropped off for her first day of kindergarten.  More so, I am ready for her to make this leap. It is an important milestone in the life story she is writing for herself.  I look forward to seeing what the next chapter brings.

Before we start that chapter, we get to enjoy the beautiful interlude named summer.  Yes, summer is here!!!  Ten glorious weeks to enjoy whatever adventures come our way.  Unlike most summers of recent, our family is (finally) at a steady state.  Scott and I aren't going back to school or moving coasts or renovating house or moving homes or starting new careers or looking for work, we are simply cruising along hoping the current landscape stays our status quo.  Of course, by writing the words status quo, it is most likely a guarantee some big change is around the corner.  If major change is coming, it will have find us; we certainly aren't looking.  

Bring out the sunscreen and heat up the grill; we are ready for some summer fun. That is life in MomZania.  

I, however, an having more