Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Welcome to the Teen Years

This weekend Sarah turned 13.  She is officially a teenager.  On the path of life, it is one of the big milestones, the threshold to adulthood.  She is ready; I am not!

As with all birthdays at our house, we made sure to celebrate it fully.  She enjoyed a delivered lunch and dessert at school (I wish moms bringing take-out to school was the thing when I was young).  Using only our cleverness (and some clues from the host) we beat the clock at an escape room.  Finally, there was the (mandatory) slumber party.

With a teenager in the house, I find myself wondering.  Who will Sarah become?  Then, memories of my own teen years come to mind and wonder turns to worry.  Is she working hard enough?  Is she working too hard? Will she enjoy her teen years?  Will she enjoy them too much?  Is there a right path?  Is she on it?  Is she making her own path?

Instead of asking questions and stocking up on books to parent teenagers, maybe I should simply remember the final letter from The Breakfast Club.

"Dear Mr. Vernon,
Who (do) we think we are...We found out each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club”

Who will Sarah become?  That is not my question to answer; it's hers.  Yes, I will still wonder and worry.  As a mom, I will still give guidance and advice.  As the adult, I will still make the rules of the house.  But, I won't be the one to decide who she becomes.  Happy Birthday, Sarah and welcome to being a teenager.

That is life in MomZania.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Happy New(ish) Year

We are half way through January; I'm an just now writing my first post of the New(ish) Year.  On January 1, I resolved to do a better job of updating my blog, I wouldn't call it the best start, but I wouldn't call it the worst either.   That is about how I'm trending on all my New Year's Resolutions.  If Resolutions were a graded assignment, I would probably get a C-.  But I went to Georgia Tech, so I'm counting on the professor to curve the score before posting the final grades.

I guess that is the ultimate lesson with New Year's Resolutions, and, much of life. We may not make the proverbial honor role.  Sometimes we may even fail, but we have to keep on trying.

With discussion of New Year's Resolutions, that means another holiday season is in the books.  The holidays were busy.  Yes, just like you, our holiday "downtime" left us with little actual downtime as we tried to cram festivities into every moment.

We started the season at Thanksgiving, with a fun-filled, overdue Reunion in Atlanta with both sides of our families and tons of college friends.  Then, it was back to work, school, and an Olympic-caliber sprint to Christmas.  We skidded into the finish with little time to spare.  Then, came the morning of December 25.  The kids were up before 6:00AM.  The presents were opened and fully operational by 7:30.  By 8:00, we had most (some) of the mess cleaned up. That was good news, because we were on a plane to Florida just a few minutes later.

Then, we enjoyed Christmas all over again.  This time with Mimi, Poppa, and Auntie Em in Vero Beach.  Florida lived up to its promise as "The Sunshine State" with sunny skies and weather in the 80's.  We enjoyed the beach, the pool, and an awesome trip to Kennedy Space Center.  Mission to Mars?  That is the plan at NASA.

We were back home again soon, hung out with tons of friends for New Years, and then it was off to Tahoe.  The record snow fall led to record traffic, but it was worth it 21 hours of driving there (including an unexpected night in Auburn, CA), and 6 hours driving home.  We had two days of sunny skies and fresh powder on the slopes.

Last week, it was back to reality.  School and work are in full swing.  Basketball started for Mick and is mid-season for Sarah.  Spring Field Hockey also started (Spring? Even in CA, January isn't spring).  Jaley just tested in Taekwondo and is now a red belt - just two steps to black!!!  After a nice hiatus from work travel, Scott will be back earning frequent flier miles.  Next up, the big week of birthdays in the Harrell family.  Stay tuned.

That is life in MomZania.

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