Sunday, December 23, 2007

Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas













Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
The adults were all stirring, especially the spouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Sarah wouldn't sneak down the stair;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of pricey toys danced through their heads;

With I in my PJ's and Scott oh so tired
We settled down to "some assembly required";

When out on the lawn their arose such a clatter
We sprang from assembling to see what was the matter;

The moon on the breast of the drought stricken grass
Showed a plastic Santa who'd fallen down on his...bum;

When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But a generous neighbor sharing with us a beer;

With a twist of his wrist, so lively and quick,
We knew in a moment this might do the trick;

More rapid then eagles the box of tools came
As we whistled, and shouted and called them by name;

Now, Scissors! Now, pliers! Now nails and a screw!
On, rivet! On drill bit!, On epoxy and glue!

To affix Part A to Part B makes the side wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!

A wink of Scott's eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

We spoke not a word, but kept right at our work,
We finished toy assembly; then turned with a jerk,

And giving a toast as we finished our brew,
We happily deemed our job to be through;

As we climbed into bed, outside was a jingle,
Could it be Santa or maybe Chris Kringle?

We heard him exclaim, even if he wasn't in sight,
Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Lots of Love and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How Many Days Until Christmas

Rant of the Week
The holidays are upon us. Even if I missed the carols playing on the radio, the decorations up at the neighbors, and the incessant messaging to spend, spend, spend (which we are doing well), I would have still known it was the holiday season. That is because at least 20 times a day Sarah asks, "how many more days until Santa and presents?" Yes, we are doing a good job of instilling the true meaning of Christmas in her.

I have tried the limit the "how many days" interrogation with an advent calendar. However, according to ours there are only 6 more days until Christmas, because Sarah has convinced me that she and Jaley each need to open up one per day. And then I have tried the chalkboard count down. Sarah just erases it and changes to what she wants it to say - one day left. I have tried to ignore the questions, but Sarah just thinks I'm not listening and asks louder. So therefore, I have answered precisely 9 times today that there 13 more days until Christmas.

To give credit where credit is due. Sarah knows when enough is enough. She realizes there are times when I simply can't answer the question of "how many more days until Santa" again. That is when she starts in with the "How many more days until Easter?" (102 days) and "How many more days until Halloween?" (323 days).

Life in the Stroller Lane
So here I am writing about Christmas, but I just saw that my last installment was about Halloween. I guess I am a bit (a lot) behind. To sum it up, November was a blur. The highlight was our trip down to Florida to see Mimi and Poppa for Thanksgiving. Emily was able to sneak down for a visit too. We also spent some time in Orlando seeing Grandpa Perry. The weather was 85 degrees and perfect - so the girls spent most of the week in the pool. I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving morning, but that didn't even put a dent in all of the extra food I ate. I indulged in all things yummy all week.

After our vacation, it was back to the grindstone. Scott spent a week in California for work and then continued on to Austin to attend his cousin Baker's wedding. From the stories and the pictures it was a beautiful affair. And, best of all, Baker's wife, Kate, is a wonderful addition to the Harrell family. Plus rumor has it, she can keep Baker in line. That is just the type of women these Harrell men need.

The day after Scott returned, I flew back to Orlando. I helped my dad move into a senior community. It was a lot of work, but we packed, moved, and unpacked everything in just three days. As for his new place, I want to move in. It is like camp for grown ups. No cooking or cleaning, it's included. Plus there are tons of activities. From Poker on Friday nights to a dinner club to guest lecturers - they have it all.

In between our travels, we have been doing all of the regular Christmas craziness. Now with just 13 days to go, I am trying to close out all of the loose ends. Shirley and Tom are arriving next Thursday and we have lots of fun things planned for their visit.

As for the girls, they are great. Jaley is a hoot. As of recent, she is all about shoes. Imelda Marcos has nothing on her. Every morning Jaley picks out her shoes. If I try to sneak her into a different pair (ones that actually match), she has quite a tantrum. She stomps around, she screams, she throws things, and then she proceeds to get the shoes she does want. I figure there are bigger battles to fight, so at 16 months, Jaley is now in control of her shoe-destiny. Let's just hope that she doesn't find out about Jimmy Choo, our bank account can't handle it.

That is life from the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Monday, November 5, 2007

At least it wasn't the ER

Rant of the Week
After all my griping last week about Jaley's amazing climbing abilities, she had to go and prove what goes up must come down. And down she went, to the tune of three stitches on her eyebrow (click on the picture for a closer look). But for all of her death defying feats, her injury happened in the simplest of ways. She was standing on the ground (yes, terra firma) and I was right next to her (yes, I saw it happen). She reached for something next to the diaper bag, slipped, and fell a whopping 6 inches. That was all it took. She caught the corner of her eye on a hard edge and the rest is history.

I had to alert the staff at Linens N Things, who were way more freaked out than me. I think the poor manager saw lawsuit written in the Jaley's 15-month old teary eyes (though I have no plans ). Then I had to call Scott. Since my calls are usually of such a high priority when he is at work (honey, can you grab milk on your way home?), he didn't answer. But, I just kept dialing him until he did. After four successive calls, he figured I might not be crying wolf.

Then we were off to urgent care. The only good thing about urgent care is that it isn't the ER. The wait was an hour instead of three and stitching her up only took a few minutes instead of eons. Although the process was quicker, it wasn't any less painful (for Scott and I that is). Jaley, thanks to the xylocain, felt no pain. That didn't mean she was happy. They had to strap her down to keep her still. Although she will thank the doctor when she is 16 and doesn't have an ugly scar on her face, she was quite pissed about it that day. Scott bore the brunt of the doctor's visit and I tried to calm Sarah who was freaked out by the entire event. By the time we got home, we were all exhausted, but in one piece.

So all of Jaley's tricks were on Monday, leaving only treats for Halloween night. And while all the boys had their painted on stitches and scars, Jaley got to tout the real thing. Of course, the blue stitches matched perfectly with her fairy princess costume.

Life in the Stroller Lane
The rest of life is the usual - busy. Even with the bonus hour on Sunday, I am still behind. We had our block party on Saturday. After three days of straight rain the clouds parted and we had perfect weather. It was actually a little too sunny and I forgot the sunscreen on the girls (oops). Scott was on the road for Tuesday and most of Wednesday.

Of course, last week was candy week. We didn't just have our sugar rush after Trick-or-Treating, we made sure that we were flying high on all things candy all week. I sent Scott to work with the last of the stash and this week we are in detox mode. The girls had fun, though at Sarah demand they didn't wear either of the outfits that were purchased for them this year. I was all out of fight by then. According to Sarah, they were both princesses, though I am not quite sure what Sarah's outfit was. She put it together herself and it was good enough to fill her treat sack. That's all that really counts.

On Thursday I got lost in home improvement hell. My three hour project has turned into a three-week nightmare. All I want to do was re-stain the front porch. Home maintenance is never that easy. First, I had to replace some broken boards on the steps (not sure when that happened). Then, I found out our stain color was discontinued and I couldn't find a close match (I really tried). With no other choice, I had to strip off the old stain and start anew (perfect). It sounded so easy from the clerk at Home Depot, but trust me it isn't. Plus the toxic warning label had me worried I might grow a second head while using the stuff. It took all of Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, but the old stain is gone. After three weeks and countless trips to hardware stores, I am finally ready to re-stain the front porch. I let you know how that goes this week.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of Love.

Friday, October 26, 2007

God Give Me Patience but Please Hurry

Rant of the Week

Let me start with I don't have a clue how you can manage with more than two children. In fact, I am not quite sure how you manage with two children. No matter how much patience I gain (and I have definitely come a long way) it isn't ever enough.


Jaley is at the age where sitting equals torture. Strap her in the buggy at the store, she screams. She keeps on screaming until she uses some Houdini move to break free of the seat belt. Then she stops screaming - a very good thing. But, then she starts bouncing, climbing, wiggling and dangling precariously over the edge of the shopping cart - a very bad thing. The manager at Sam's (yes, I was back there again), came over and begged me to get Jaley to sit down. The manager was a nervous wreck thinking Jaley was going to crash to the floor any second. She escorted me through most of the store and bribed Jaley with about a dozen cookies. That didn't work very well, because Jaley can easily bounce, climb, wiggle and dangle while chomping a cookie.

And with all my attention directed at Jaley, that allows Sarah carte-blanche. Is she three aisles over? Why is the free sample tray empty and her mouth full? Is that my eldest screaming "The Wheels on the Bus" at the top of her lungs? Why is the man on the intercom saying "clean up on aisle 4?"

By the time, I am through the check-out and driving home, I am covered in a cold sweat, gathered evil stares from 4 customers and 8 employees, have lost my temper way more than once, and am starting to understand how ulcers start. So I pray again, God give
me patience, but please hurry.

Life in the Stroller Lane
The rest of our life is pretty much the status quo. Scott was in town this week and on the road part of next. The girls are doing well. Getting into trouble, but only enough to keep things interesting.

New tenants moved into one of the houses. I had the place prepped and ready in 36 hours - a new record. I am not sure if I am getting faster getting the places cleaned and turned or just less picky. Either way, they are moved in and so far haven't called to say anything is broken. The other rental had a garbage disposal issue this week. I got a hands on lesson in plunging a sink and unsticking the disposal. We will see if my skills hold up, if not, it's time for a new disposal.

The construction continues on our porch. It rained this week (a blessing since we are in a major drought), so progress was slow. They are making up for it today, working on Saturday morning.

Today we are having our annual block party. I have 80 hamburgers at the ready. All we need is for Scott to fire up the grill and get to work. The party starts at noon, if you want to join the fun.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of Love.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Sold My Soul to the Warehouse Store

Now that's a pumpkin. We won't be carving it up, but the pumpkin patch we stopped at let us pose for a few pictures!

Rant of the Week
Pick your poison, Sam's, BJ's, or Costco, they are all the same. The sucker you in the door with milk at $2.99/gallon. The next thing you know you have so much stuff that you have to leave a kid at the store just to fit it all in the car.

For us, it has been a slow slip into the world of warehouse stores. We didn't even join until Sarah arrived. And then it was out of "necessity." I honestly don't think I would have made it this far as a parent if I couldn't purchase diapers by the gross. We paid up our $35 and never looked back. But, membership comes at a price. They last time I was in our local store, I remembered I needed a few rolls of toilet paper. But they don't sell just a few rolls, so I went on to purchase 48 "super" size rolls of Charmin. Good news, if I need to use the facilities. Bad news, if I want to put anything else in the closet for the next six months. I have toilet paper stashed all over the house, I think I even stored some in the attic.

They may be large and out of control, but at least my purchases are for household staples. Scott, though technically a member, is banned from the store. I am afraid he is going to come home with 2 gallons of milk, a pack of diapers, and a dozen plasma TVs. You go in for a gallon of milk (conveniently located in the very back corner of this monstrous store) and you can pick up just about anything else along the way. Want a 3-carat diamond ring - grab one. Want a $200 pair of Seven Jeans - grab one. Want a dune buggy - grab one. Somehow you go in planning to spend $3 on milk and you come out with a carload of crap and $300 Visa bill.

You used to sell your soul to the company store, but it turns out I sold mine to the warehouse store. And when they ask me in November if I want to renew my membership, you better be sure that I'll hold out that Visa card, say yes, and smile about it later.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Luckily since the last installment, there have been no more ticks in my bed. I guess my no cleaning policy is really working. Overall things around here are pretty good. Actually, really good. I had a weekend away with a couple of girlfriends last weekend. Nothing eases the stress, like a glass of wine and some good gossip. We chatted for two straight days. We ate breakfast and chatted, we went to lunch and gossiped, we had coffee and chuckled, we drank wine and laughed. Basically, we crammed about two years of "girlfriend" time into one weekend. And what exactly did we spend all that time talking about...You will never know. The rule is what was said at the beach stays at the beach.

This is an equal opportunity home. Scott is off with the guys this weekend. I am sure they won't chat as much, but I will never know for sure. The same rules apply for the guys as the girls and they don't have to divulge the secrets of their weekend. Though from the luggage he took, I am sure there will be golf, poker, and lots of beer.

On the home front, we have started into a construction project. And by "we," I mean the contractor. We moved into our house six years ago. Five years and eleven months ago, we started wishing for a screened porch. So after a bit of a wait, we are making it a reality. And real it is. The back yard is a war zone and the banging starts at 6:45AM. However, next summer we can enjoy the great outdoors without all of the problems of actually being outside (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, to name a few).

The girls are also doing well. Everyday, Sarah asks when it's time to trick-or-treat. Our recent field trip to the pumpkin patch only excited her more. So if you run into us at the store and the girls are in costumes, don't ask why.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I swear I clean this house

Rant of the Week I grew up in Florida, where the roaches 3 inches long and fly. Creepy crawlies don't tend to freak me out. I must say I am still reeling from last Saturday night. It is one thing to have a tick jump on you when your camping. It is something else to find one in your home. But, it is on a whole other level to find a tick crawling around on you just as you are lying down to go to sleep.

Yes, I found a tick crawling on me in my own bed. And since I know two friends that have been treated for Lyme's disease in the last couple of years, I must say that just plain freaked me out. I couldn't go to sleep for a really long time and when I finally did drift off, I dreamed of ticks all night - YUCK!

I swear t
hat I all I do clean this house. Laundry, dusting, dishes, sinks, I am cleaning and sanitizing every day. In fact, I had just changed the sheets that morning. But even if my cleaning isn't up to par, we pay the bug people to spray lots of toxic stuff around the house to keep all those critters outside.

So what is the moral of all this. I should just give up cleaning and enjoy the mess. The bugs are coming in whether I want them to or not. The only thing I really need to do is remember to put Frontline on the cats once a month (it had been 6 weeks - oops). It is really simple, if there are no ticks on the cats ,then there are no ticks in the house, and, hence, no ticks on me (or in my bed where both cats sleep all day).

Life in the Stroller Lane Things are good here. We have been trying to do a little spring cleaning in the yard (about 6 months late). You know the routine - trimming and mulching, aerating and seeding, weeding and de-thatching. It is the way most suburbanites spend their weekends. And at the end of all that sweat, is a yard that still looks half dead. Oh well, at least we try.

Scott is on a two-week travel tour. He is raking in the frequent flier miles with back to back trips to San Jose. Since most of the airlines are in bankruptcy, we enjoy the knowledge that all those miles to be worth absolutely nothing in the near future.


On the real estate front, the renters beat the buyers. So we are re-renting #1 to a family in a short-term lease. The plan is to rent to home one last time and then put it on the market to sell next spring. That is if there is still a mortgage industry left by then. Come to think of it, the airline business looks healthy compared to the mortgage market.


Sarah started taking a dance / tumbling class this week and starts swim lessons Saturday. I am putting the Mom Taxi sticker on the back of my car next week. I need a separate organizer just to keep track of Sarah's social calendar. We had to turn down a birthday party this weekend, because she was already double booked. Oh to be as popular as a three-year old. What fun.


Jaley is more fun every day. She, however, has no fear. I found her up on the counters yesterday. Luckily, she choose to dump out the salt shaker instead of exploring the land of knives and stoves. She pushed a chair over to the counter and hoisted herself up - all in the time it took me to go pee. I, guess, I need to do a new round of baby proofing. At this point, I can't put things any higher, because with her new access to the counters, she can reach higher than I can. So onto Plan B or C or X (I can't keep count).


That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Friday, September 21, 2007

To Be the Baby of the Family

Rant of the Week Scott recently read an article about birth order. You know all that research that says the first born is going to the leader the one be CEO and the last born is the slacker and will still living at home at 30. I am not dispelling the research, but right about now I can't quite figure out how it all ends up that way. It seems to me being the baby of the family means you have to learn things quicker, solve problems better, and overall be more independent.

It is just simple math. Divide 24 hours by how many kids you've got (moms don't ever really sleep), the more kids you've got the less time for each one. It used to be that our world revolved around Sarah and only Sarah. We helped, we solved, we coddled. Poor Jaley never had that luxury, there was always another kid clamoring for all the attention. Jaley gets half the solutions, half the help, and half of most everything (EXCEPT LOVE). As Jaley gets older, we may all fall into treating her like the "baby of the family", but for now it sure does seem like she is the one growing up faster, being more of the independent, and turning into the leader.

She is already learning that if she doesn't do things herself, it won't happen. I don't have enough time or energy to everything for her and Sarah, and take care everything else to. I probably carried Sarah out to the car until she was 2. But for Jaley, I just open the front door. She climbs down the stairs, over to the car, and climbs right up into her car seat. At age 1, there was no expectation for Sarah to be self-sufficient. But things are so different for Jaley. The other day, like all days, I was running late. I yelled (I mean asked politely in a loving voice) for the girls to get their shoes on with the full expectation it will be done. I found poor Jaley sitting next to Sarah struggling to slide on her own shoes. Jaley is also expected to keep track of her own blankets, sippy cups, and stuffed animals - a trick that neither she nor Sarah has fully mastered.


As much as I don't currently see the how this birth order stereotypes come to fruition, I have learned a few things this year. No matter what you think beforehand, you parent every child differently. Oh yes, it sounds bad, but, it actually makes a lot of sense. You treat each child different because they are different. No two people are the same. And in the end it is much more important to act fairly than identically. So Jaley may have to get her own snack out of the pantry and soothe herself back to sleep at 3AM, but she also gets the benefit of all I have learned over the past 3 1/2 years about being a fun and loving parent without as many of the mistakes I made as a first-time mom.

Life in the Stroller Lane
I haven't written in almost a month, so I guess I have a lot to catch up on....I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

Nana came to town to see the girls. She
stayed, played, made cookies (of course), and gave Scott and I a whole day to ourselves (God Bless you Nana). We used that time to celebrate our anniversary. We celebrated nine years of building a life full of kids and responsibilities, by taking an entire day pretending that we have didn't have kids or responsibilities. We ate out, we relaxed, we went shopping, we relaxed some more, we even went to a play. It was heavenly. And then the next morning we took Nana to the airport and resumed our real lives with our real kids and our real responsibilities and thought that was heavenly too.

For the past month, Scott hasn't traveled for work. He hasn't been on an airplane this entire month - a feat that hasn't happened in recent memory. Although he is still has been working hard , it has been great to have him home every night. That joy, however, is soon coming to an end. He is on the road the first two weeks of October.

At the end of August, I got our 2nd and last rental home leased and was looking forward to 6 months of quiet time in the rental biz. But, n
o rest for the weary. The resident at #2 hadn't even unpacked when the folks at #1 told me they bought a home and wanted to break their lease. Now, I have #1 advertised for sale and for lease. Whoever bites first gets the home. In the interim, I have been trying to spruce up the place - because of the drought the yard has seen better days. My back is aching because of it.

But real estate isn't my only venture these days, I have started volunteering at a non-profit organization, The Kramden Institute. The charity takes donated computers, refurbishes them, and gives them to local honor roll students that can't afford to buy a computer. It is a great cause and a great charity. I am going to help out with writing some grant applications. As they say, money makes the world go round - true in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds alike.

As for the girls, we have been having a great time. We have been recently on the field trip kick with neighborhood kids and moms. Off to the NC Natural History Museum last week, to the Duke Lemur Center today, and to the Pumpkin Patch and Animal Farm soon. I don't know how much Sarah and Jaley are getting out of the trips, but as Scott will attest, no one likes an educational tour more than me. So off we go, tour book in hand.



That's life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It ain't cheap if it is for a good cause

Rant of the Week
Y'all already know that I am quite the penny pincher and dare I say cheap. I clip my coupons and buy generic, and do so with pride. But as of right now, I have decided that I am no longer going to be a cheap sake. Don't get me wrong, I am not going to change my thrifty ways. Instead, I am just going to better market all of my frugal ways. I have decided that nobody thinks your cheap if you are doing so for a good cause.

As of today, I no longer keep the thermostat at the house at 79 to lower the power bill, I do it to reduce our carbon footprint. I go to the salon every six months not because I can't stand the exorbitant prices but because I grew out my hair to donate to cancer patients. I buy used cars so that we can reduce, reuse, and recycle, not to save our bank account. We rarely go out to eat so that our family eats healthier meals. I shop at Sam's Club so that we can buy in bulk to reduce packaging. I push the limit on how often I change Jaley's diaper so that we reduce how much goes to the landfill. I don't go to the car wash so that we conserve water. And the list goes on and on.

They say that our grandparents have a much smaller impact on the planet than we do. I don't think it is because they love the planet more, they just grew up in during the Great Depression. They learned the hard way how to conserve their dollars and ended up conserving a few other things too.

So I am no longer cheap (though I will always be frugal). I am just conserving a little bit of everything and if my wallet is a little fatter at the end of the month all the better. As for the coupons and the generics, I can't quite think of what cause that is helping, but I'll going to keep at it nonetheless.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Around the home front, things are pretty much status quo - which in suburbia means life is pretty good. Scott is home for the next couple of weeks. The temperature is a good bit cooler (mid-90's). And it has been quite a while since we had any major crises.

Jaley is into
and climbing just about everything. A regular kiddie gate won't work on our stairs and Jaley has already outsmarted our homemade blocker. Sarah was almost 2 before she figured it out. So now I can't even contain her to one floor. When she isn't giving me a heart attack with her feats of agility, she is lots of fun. She tries (often succeeding) to do everything that Sarah does. That includes delivering a top-notch temper tantrum when we say no.

As Sarah heads toward four she is heading toward being a kid. She tells me at least five times a day, "she isn't a baby anymore", and it's true. She runs off to play alone with her friends leaving me wondering what they are up to. She rides her bike so fast I can barely keep up. She sits in the backseat of the car and critiques my directions and my driving. "Mommy you aren't supposed to go fast through the yellow light." And as much as I hate to see her grow up, I love the person she is becoming. Plus, I still have my little baby Jaley.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Did I move to Phoenix?

Rant of the Week
Did I move to Phoenix? It hasn't rained in about a month and yesterday the thermometer on my car said it was 107 outside. This is the land where 92 is considered hot and 100 isn't in the vocabulary. This August has been one for the record books. We have been sweltering and trying to avoid the outdoors during the heat of the day (which is currently from 6AM to 8PM). Of course, I complain about the heat as I sit in my air conditioned home. I really shouldn't be complaining at all, except that it's hot and everyone bitches when it's hot.

Life in the Stroller Lane
When I last left off we were off to the Myrtle Beach for Scott's family reunion. It was hot there too. With a heat index on the beach of 117, it made Raleigh's 107 seem cool . But the sun was
shining and the girls were up early, so we hit the pools, the beach, and the sand before the crowds or the heat. We built great sand castles and had a blast playing in the resort pools.



As promised I made use of the pool side bar and Scott played some golf. I definitely got the better end of that deal, because the guys almost melted on the back 9. It was great to see all of the family and finally meet Chip and Cindy's adorable twins. I can't wait until they're are just a little older, our kids, theirs, and the soon-to-debut Baby Teems will have great fun together at reunions to come.


After the beach, we were off again. Scott took
the girls to the mountains to meet up again with Jan and Mike. Thinking that they were would escape the heat, they stayed the week at a friends' cabin in the Boone area. But the mercury is high everywhere and the cabin didn't have AC, so summer was felt. Nonetheless, they had fun hiking and swimming at the pool. Mimi and Poppa treated Sarah to a special day at Tweetsie Railroad. It is an amusement park that's pretty much for kids 10 and under. Sarah had a blast and wore out her grandparents as she begged to ride every ride (twice).

I headed down to Florida to spend some time with my dad. He had minor surgery, which thankfully went well. And since the girls weren't in tow, we had a little quiet father-daughter time. Plus as a bonus, my mom drove over to Orlando for a quick visit too. So after the Beeman reunion, I got to have my own mini reunion too.

We all got home this weekend, but Scott flew to California at 6AM on Monday morning. He has been gone so much, I may have to give him directions home. The girls and I are hanging low and getting back into the regular routine (do we have one?) after all the fun adventures. Sarah has announced it is so hot here that we need to go swimming. I should take this as a teaching moment and explain the between needs and wants, but I tend to agree. So we are off to the pool to cool off.

That's the life in the stroller lane. Stay cool. Lots of love.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

One-year-olds Don't Need Birthday Parties

Rant of the Week
Jaley turned one last week. And I decided that to honor this momentous occasion we were not going to have a party. Sarah didn't have a party until she was three and even then I thought it might be too early. In my opinion kids need birthday parties, but one-year-olds only need need to eat a little cake and make a big mess.

So the decision was made - no party. Even if we don't have a party I need a few cupcakes. But, we aren't having a party. I need some of the cupcakes to take to the photographers for her one year pictures (check them out at: http://port77.com/laurencelynnphotography.com/gigi1/). But, we aren't having a party. And I need some of them to take to daycare so she can share with her classmates. But, we aren't having a party. And if Jaley is having cupcakes at school, Sarah needs cupcakes at school too. But, we aren't having a party. And we were due to reciprocate in hosting our neighbors for a cookout, so we need some cupcakes for that night too. But, we aren't having a party. And then we needed some cupcakes for her actual birthday. But, we aren't having a party. Four dozen cupcakes later, we didn't have one party for Jaley - we had three. And in the end it will be four, because Jaley is still getting one more party when we are at the beach for Scott's family reunion so that Mimi and Poppa can celebrate too.

After a straight week of cupcakes, I am still on a sugar high and smiling from ear to ear. That plus the joy that Jaley is one. Her birthday is quite a milestone, it marks the transition from baby to toddler. And this mommy, is honestly not a baby person. Don't get me wrong, I loved my girls when they were infants. But something about the wobbly head always made me a little nervous. As Jaley moves into toddlerhood, it is a beautiful thing for me. She loves to give hugs and kisses. She waves hello and good-bye. She sleeps through the night. She plays with all her toys and squeals in delight. She doesn't need my boobs for nourishment. She chases the cats and yanks their tails. She pulls all the Tupperware out of the cabinets and revels in the mess she makes. She is fun to be around.

But as a seasoned mom, I know what the toddler years hold in store -tantrums and fights, stubbornness and tears. But any day, I will trade you any day a newborn with colic for a toddler having a tantrum. So hats off to Jaley for turning one. Scott and I are so happy that she is a big , beautiful girl now.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Jaley's birthday wasn't the only birthday of the week. Grandpa Perry (my dad) turned 70 on Saturday. It is definitely a milestone worth celebrating. But after 70 years, he is willing to let the exact day for visiting slide a bit. So, I am headed down in two weeks to see him in person.

Plus, life in real estate continues in full gear. In just one week, two families moved out, we did all the clean up and repairs, I sold one house, and I rented another. And though it has been a really busy couple of weeks, things should slow down drastically for me. I guess I will be back to bothering Scott about my next career pretty soon, but first the beach.

On Wednesday, we are headed south to Myrtle Beach to meet up with a posse of Scott's family for some much needed R&R. All of Scott's mom's side will be there. And since we aren't the only ones having kids these days, the family is getting bigger and bigger. I am fully planning to take advantage of the pool side bar at the hotel and having built in baby sitters (named Mimi and Poppa) nearby. Scott plans involve beer and hitting the links.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What is that?


Rant of the Day
I was simply trying to enjoy a few minutes of zen. It is an act I try to perform daily, but sometimes gets missed in the chaos. It is an act that is good for my personal well being, but also important for those standing down wind of me. If you don't have young children this act of zen is more simply known as taking a shower. But yesterday, my moment was abruptly ruined when Scott walked into the bathroom with a collection of something light brown in his hands.

"What is that?" I ask.

"Sarah cut her hair" He responds.

"She what?"

"Sarah cut her hair."

"She what!" I ask again, even though I heard him clearly the first time.

Faster than Clark Kent turns into Superman, I was dry, dressed, and fully into damage control mode. How much had she cut? How bad did it look? When did we have our next round of pictures scheduled? How am I going to explain this to the grandmas?

Before all those questions were answered, I was on the phone confirming that both of the local kid hair cut places had no wait and needed no reservation. Sarah, now realizing the permanence of her momentary fun with the scissors, was hiding under a blanket and crying - refusing to let me see the damage. There was no need to raise my voice or yell, her self-inflicted cropped hairdo was punishment enough.

I usually don't think of myself as a vain person. I don't have cute clothes and often skip the whole makeup thing. But a little cloud of sadness burst upon me when Scott told we what he held in his hand. I have been patient - three and half years patient. Sarah was the poster child for bald babies a trait that lasted well into her toddler days. And when she finally grew a few locks they arrived in a mullet. In fact her hair three weeks ago was the first time that we had EVER cut the sides of her hair. She finally had girl hair, a fact of which Sarah and I were so proud. Finally, a chance to wear all the hair ribbons and bows that the other girls have donned since birth.

There was no time for wallowing. OK, there was a bit of wallowing, but I had to get to the kiddie salon. Keys in my hand, purse on my shoulder, we were out the door in a flash. All the lights were green on the way and we pulled right up to the salon and to my amazement there was no wait. But then I realized that I had a purse but no wallet. No way to pay. And as sorry as Sarah's hair looked the weren't giving out cuts for free.

Back in the car, back to the house, and back to the salon again. Now I have been in the car an hour, my melancholy is getting over powered by my PMS, and I am becoming a bit mean. We are back to the salon and there isn't a customer in the place. But the girl at the front desk, she looks about 18 and has all the attitude that goes with it, tells me that they are booked full and can't squeeze us in. But there isn't a customer in the place. She says it doesn't matter. But I called and they said I didn't need an appointment. She says it doesn't matter. I say I am a mom who's daughter just cut her own hair with scissors. She looks at Sarah and laughs and says it doesn't matter. I tell her that she can kiss my ass and storm out the door. OK, that was not exactly my shining moment of tact, but don't insult an Italian mother's child, especially an Italian mother with PMS.

So now we are back in the car again. I am trying to explain to Sarah that I am mad at the girl at the salon, but she doesn't understand and just whimpers in the back. The other kiddie salon is the in the complete opposite direction - 40 minutes later we arrive at the door. The person at the front desk is a woman - a mother - no attitude at all - just sympathy and a smile for Sarah's new hairdo. The wait is 30 minutes, but thanks a little kindness and a couple of calm minutes, Sarah and I both settle down. The stylist did a good job of getting a pretty cute (though, of course, short) cut out of a bad mess.

We wasted 4 hours and a bunch of gas getting the problem fixed. Though Sarah is still a little sad that she won't be donning a pony tail any time in the near future, she is proudly telling everyone that she now has a pixie. As for me, I realized today that short hair is a lot easier to keep neat. Plus, I am holding out that Jaley's hair comes in thick and quick, because I don't want to wait another three years for Sarah's to grow out.

That's life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gourmet from Cary

Rant of the Week
Scott tells everyone that he didn't marry me for my abilities in the kitchen. When he proposed, I barely knew how to boil water. As time has gone by, I learned the my way around the stove. I no longer shiver reading words like baste, broil, and braise. Although I still occasionally call my mother for advice, I can now turn out a pretty decent meal.



Having a skill doesn't necessarily mean using it. When Scott is away I regress to my dorm room days. Mac and Cheese rules the dinner table. Over the last two weeks, the girls and I have feasted on all things easy. The dishwasher hasn't seen this little action since before we had kids and still used to eat out all the time.

But Scott is back from two weeks of travel and I restocked the fridge yesterday, so I guess I better get back to cooking the family meal again. But not tonight, because it is Friday and this momma never cooks a big meal on Friday nights.

Life in the Stroller Lane
But not having KP duty doesn't mean that I haven't been busy. I am learning that selling a house is the same amount of work as buying one, but with more headaches. There are a few dinky shingle repairs that have to be made to the rental we are selling, and the buyers are insisting on a licensed roof contractor. That means that I am paying twice as much to get half the customer service. Roofers like big jobs, and a couple of shingles to seal isn't their idea of a high priority job. They have been stringing me along for a week. My patience was already worn thin, but now I have PMS too and am about fit to be tied.

In between tying up the loose ends to sell Unit #3 and desperately trying to re-rent Unit #2, I have been doing my full-time job of running this house and playing mommy. And Scott hasn't had a moment to spare either. He has been traveling the last couple of weeks and even when he was home, work was taking over just about all his free time. He got home from San Jose at 2AM last night and was back at the office first thing this morning. But things should slow down for him after today and the house closes in just over a week. So we are in the home stretch of this sprint and at the finish line is Jaley's 1st birthday - which is definitely something to celebrate.

That is life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What am I going to be when I grow up?

Rant of the Week
When I last left off one of the rental houses was on the market. And I am glad (really ecstatic) to say that we have a contract for 99% list price and and are closing one day after the tenants move out. It couldn't be a better situation. And with this pending sale, it means that we are at the beginning of the end of our foray into real estate.

But now that that venture is heading towards the exit sign, it is once again time for me to figure out what I am going to be when I grow up. First and foremost, I am a mom. And every Mother's Day card ever printed will tell you no job is more important. But, if you read the fine print you will find that the pay really stinks.

Luckily, Scott salary pays the bills and leaves some for a little fun too. So, technically, I don't have to work. But, the truth is I want to work. I was babysitting full time when I was 13 and have been pretty much been employed ever since. Although I know that I want to work, the problem is I have a few requirements. I want a job that pays a top salary, has a wonderful work environment, is mentally challenging, has low stress, AND requires less than 20 hours a week. You can stop laughing now, because I know that this job ain't exactly easy to find.

Since I know that I won't find the impossible job in the want-ads, I have been dreaming up lots of crazy ideas to do on my own. I have run the gamut from teaching to organizing consignment garage sales to staying in real estate to freelance writing to starting a "mommy track" website to being an aerobics instructor. I have pretty exhausted Scott's patience for listening to my ideas, so now I am branching out to my neighbors and driving them crazy too.

And all the while, I am still knee deep in real estate and over my head in being a mom. So for now, I for the moment I am still figuring it out and open to any ideas or suggestions that you may have.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Outside of my personal career conundrum, life remains good. In fact, it is even better than the last time I wrote. For the last two weeks, Jaley has slept through the night. That is 14 decedent nights of uninterrupted sleep - the most by far in the last 12 months. And what was our secret. Our secret was to throw out the books and the pediatricians' advice and do what our grandmas did. We simply put Jaley to bed with a bottle. She drinks it down when she is thirsty and drifts back to sleep. Simple solution for a major problem. And for those of you worried about her teeth, bottle at night or not, Jaley's teeth are going to fall out before she is 10 and by then she won't be drinking from a bottle.

For the next few weeks, Scott is on the road. He is working a full day in the office today, Saturday, and then headed out of town tomorrow. And next weekend will probably be a repeat of this one. Life at the office is pretty stressful, so the girls and I have been trying to keep things a little more fun at home.

Sarah is doing great and learning more every day. She is definitely the product of two engineers. Though she chats up a storm, her math skills definitely top her language ones. She is prone to mix up M and W, but never 6 and 9. She knows that 5-2=3, but hasn't caught that c-a-t = cat. But we would prefer MIT to Harvard anyhow (he, he).

And not to be outdone, Jaley is learning new things too. She isn't really talking yet, but that doesn't mean she doesn't communicate. She will try to climb right into her highchair when she is hungry. And she will throw an empty bottle at you when she wants a refill. The bottle in the face isn't her most endearing trait, but it sure gets the point across.

And that is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.





Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Life Is Good

Rant of the Week
Before Jaley arrived, my good friend, Sheila, told me that the first year of having two kids was the toughest of her life. That is coming from a lady that had major open heart surgery the following year. But, she also told me that one day, right around the time your youngest turns one, you are going to wake up one morning and think - boy this parenting thing is getting easier - life is good.

Well, I have to tell you - Life is good. For all of you reading regulars, you know that our entry into a family of four has been far from smooth. A tough pregnancy topped with bed rest at the end. Jaley's colic and ear infections. Sarah's normal toddler tantrums. The loss of Sally, my Dad's companion and partner of nearly 20 years. My dad's escalated heart problems. A case of baby blues that may have crossed that invisible line to post-partum depression. My thyroiditis. Scott's long hours and travel at work. Broken leases and dishwashers at the rentals and the decision to start exiting the business all together.

No one thing was a mountain, but stacked together it was a really tough climb. Now that we are here, I can tell you the view from the top is really good. For the first time in a while, I really feel like myself again. And now that it is swimsuit season, can say I pretty much look like myself again, too (though some parts droop a bit more). It isn't that life is perfect. Jaley still doesn't sleep through the night, Scott still has to work too much, and I still get bitchy. But, I am happy, really happy.

The girls are just adorable and becoming my best friends. Sarah is a quite the little person. Sometimes full of piss and vinegar, but mostly full of sugar and spice. And I must say even when she fights against me all day, I may not like it, but I have to admire her sense of dedication and independence. Jaley is too cute for words. She is into everything and can turn a neat house into a war zone in minutes. She has figured out how to get around the gate/blocker at the bottom of the stairs and often sneaks upstairs just to get to the playroom to find more toys. She idolizes Sarah goes to her room first thing in the morning to wake her up. She gives out hugs and kisses (at least that is what I call them) which just melt my heart.

I know that there are lost of bumps in the path as we move forward, but for the moment Life is Good and I am happy just to soak that in.

Life in the Stroller Lane
This weekend Nana and Great Papa (Gigi's grandfather) came in for a visit. We had a great time. We went to a Durham Bulls game, a town Carnival, and, of course, Nana and Sarah baked. They made Scott and Papa a chocolate cake for Father's Day and they outdid themselves making pizelle cookies. We are still enjoying all the indulgences, and need to spend extra time at the gym as a result.

Scott arrived back from California marking the end of some heavy work travel. He is glad to be home through the rest of June. He is also finished hiring. There is always constant churn of workers as people try out new opportunities, but for the moment, Scott's team is fully staffed.


The rental is all spruced up and on the market. The tenants have been a mixed bag. They are cooperating with the showings, but the wife has been a royal witch to me. Oh well, I wasn't looking for her to be my friend anyhow. So now it is just a waiting game. If we don't get an offer in the next couple of weeks, we will just re-rent it.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Mommy, it's giant

Rant of the Week The other week were were at a restaurant and Sarah had to go to the bathroom. As I am holding the door and she is in the stall there is the regular Mother - Toddler dialogue...

"Are you don't yet?"

"Not yet."

"Now?"


"No, I'm going poopy." While we are going through this banter, another woman is giving me, do you have to discuss poop in public look, but I just ignore her.


"Done now?"


"No, Momma, lots of poopy, and it's stinky too"

"OK, tell me when your done." As the banter continues, the woman's look changes to how can you let your daughter talk about the stink of this unmentionable bodily function, but I just ignore her again. And then.

Sarah yells out at the top of her voice "I'm done Momma, and my poopy is GIANT."


At this point, the woman in the bathroom just groans in disgust. But, do I tell Sarah to quiet down or not discuss such topics - No. I am a well-seasoned mother, who is now officially immune to all discussions of bodily functions. Instead
, in my proudest voice, the only thing I say is "Wow, Sarah, I didn't know you knew the word GIANT. That is a new word - good for you."

The poor woman was so disgusted with this whole event, I think she left with a sigh and never even took care of her own business. As for us, we just went on our merry way. I am way too far into this whole mommy thing to lets some bad looks and talk of poop put a shadow on Sarah learning a new word. And, in case you are curious, I check the pot and she definitely used the word GIANT correctly. My, oh my.


Life in the Stroller Lane
You would think that flying home from TN with a screaming baby would be enough to dissuade me from flying again, but no two weeks later we were in the air again. And this time, I flew with the girls solo. We headed down to FL to surprise Poppa for his 60th birthday. Scott had to leave town before us for work and met us at the Orlando airport. So that left just me, to juggle it all. I packed economically with stuff for all three of us in just one suitcase, but that doesn't mean we traveled light. On top of the suitcase, I had to get three people, two car seats, one stroller, and three carry ons, checked in, through security, and kept seated through the majority of the flight. Let's just say that Scott picked us up in the airport and made sure there was a cold beer in the car.


But the travel "adventures" were more than worthwhile. It was a complete surprise when Sarah rang the doorbell at Mimi's and Poppa's house. We were so happy to be away from the daily grind even Tropical Storm Barry couldn't rain on our parade. Though the storm did curtail one day's worth of pool time.

It seems that life in the stroller lane is getting busier every day. As I mentioned last time, we are putting one of the rentals on the market. So with some sweat equity from me (and at 95 degrees there is lots of sweating) and the help of some professionals we have prettied up the place. One day, I even repainted the picket fence. As much as I pretended to be Huckleberry Finn, not one person stopped to help. So I had the pleasure of doing the job myself. And if you need proof of my efforts, all you have to do is look at my hair, which 10 days later still has wisps of white paint sprinkled in. But, as of now, the house is ready to show. That is if the tenants are helpful, which I am paying them to be. So next Tuesday it goes up for sale and then I will hold my breath. I have priced it well and it seems in nicer shape than the competition, so cross your fingers we get an offer quickly.

Next week Scott is headed to CA and Nana and Great Papa (Gigi's grandfather) are coming to town. The girls are just getting spoiled from all directio
ns these days - and they love it.

That is the news from the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Momma has still got it

Rant of the Week It is funny how time changes everything. When I was in college and went for a run, if I got a whistle from a construction worker, I was insulted. I was ready to hang out an ERA flag and give those men a piece of my mind. Now that I have a few "laugh lines", parts that sag, a couple of kids, and drive a station wagon, any construction worker that gives me a whistle makes my day. As soon as Scott walks in the door from work its the first thing I tell him.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Ah, but you don't read this journal to hear such dribble. I know you read this to hear about the girls, Scott, and I. When I last left off we were headed on our first vacation as a family of four. The girls did about as well as they could, but we didn't make any new friends on the plane either. The trip to TN was pretty smooth, but Jaley cried most of the flight back. There is just no good time to fly without interrupting some portion of an infant's nap schedule. It seems that some of our fellow passengers thought that harsh stares, loud sighs, and some exasperated grunts were what Jaley needed to settle down.

But, visiting all the family in TN was a great treat. We introduced Jaley to her great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Plus, Jan, Mike, and Emily were all in town too. So, Sarah and Jaley were in spoiling heaven. We went to Chuck-E-Cheeses', the park, Little League games, the pool, played outside, played inside, and more. Somehow, Sarah still had energy, but after all that excitement I was tired. Since we live several states away from all of our family, it is wonderful to get time with extended family and a joy for us.

Since getting back home, we have been pretty much status quo. I am pleased to announce that Jaley seems to be infection free and has even been sleeping through the night for us. Scott is on the road this week. Poor Guy is in New York City. I finished up most of the painting around our house and am now focusing on the real estate thing again. We have decided to sell one of the rentals, so it is time to get that place "prettied up." The real estate market has slowed down here, but compared to the real estate woes in much of the country it is a great market 'round these parts.

That's the news from the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Houston, We Have Lift Off

Rant of the Week
Here is the summary of the countdown to Jaley's momentous and scary (only for Scott and I) accomplishment.






10. Yeah, Jaley can scoot.
9. Yeah, Jaley can crawl.
8. Yeah, Jaley can stand.
7. Now, Jaley can cruise around the coffee table.
6. Now, Jaley can use her walker to get around the kitchen.
5. Uh oh, Jaley can crawl really fast.
5. Uh oh, Jaley can stand and spill our drinks off the coffee table.
4. Uh oh, Jaley can climb the stairs.
3. Oh crap, Jaley can crawl faster than I can catch her.
2. Oh crap, Jaley can climb right into a full bathtub.
1. Oh crap, where did Jaley get to now.
Lift Off - On May 5th, as Scott and I were celebrating the Mexican holiday with ice cold Corona's,
Jaley took her first steps. Not just once, but three times she put together a couple of steps.

Though we are very proud of our 2nd little daredevil were aren't quite ready to have two very mobile children. Now that both kids can walk, that means that they can head in different directions. How am I supposed to keep them safe when they one runs East and the other West? So until I figure out that riddle, I think we may need to fit Jaley with a pair of weighted shoes. That may slow her just enough that I can still catch her.

Life in the Stroller Lane
First steps are by far this week's major headline, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy with the rest of life. We live in a high growth area, the kind where groceries stores and McMansions replace replace farms and forest quicker than you can blink. But the developers haven't gobbled up everything yet, and we went to a strawberry farm right down the street from our house. Sarah and her friend, Cassie, braved the mud to pick some delicious berries for us.

And in between berry picking trips, I have been on a house painting mission. OK, only half the house. And lucky for me, it is the most boring parts - hallways, laundry room, etc. After 5 1/2 years, the cheap builder beige paint was looking a little worse for wear. Everything from four feet up was still close to the original color, but everything below that mark was a mural of peanut butter hand prints, crayon streaks, and paw prints. Let's just say the girls and the cats have been hard on the paint. So out with the old and in with the new "totally washable" paint. Will it clean up like it does in the commercials? Probably not, but I am hoping it is good enough to be worth the extra $10 bucks a gallon.

No blog entry is complete without a Jaley ear update. The good news is Jaley's ear is infection free. The bad news is their is still lots of fluid in her ear, which causes painful pressure and a top-notch ear ache. So, for now, there are no antibiotics, but we have to continue with the regular doses of Baby Advil and 3AM wake-up calls. And on the moments when we do sleep, Scott and I dream of the time when the sleep-through-the-night fairy comes to visit Jaley.

At the end of this week we are off to TN to see most of the Harrell Family. We are really looking forward to spending a few days visiting with all the relatives. But we aren't quite sure how we are going to sleep at night with all four of us sharing the same room. It is our first trip as a family of four - wish us luck.

And that is the news from the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.




Monday, April 23, 2007

Lil’ Sis Comes Out Fightin’


Rant of the Week
As you know, Sarah is a daredevil – with a capital D. It comes as no surprise that Sarah has a black eye. What is a surprise is who delivered the blow. It wasn’t a playground tumble, a bat wielding friend, or even a swing from me - no it was little Jaley who gave Sarah her first black eye. Sarah was walking backward, Jaley was crawling forward, and they both came tumbling down. Unfortunately for Sarah, the edge of the coffee table caught her fall and her left eye has been a rainbow of color ever sense. Luckily, she is no worse for wear and is quite proud of her shiner. I am just happy that only Jaley had professional pictures scheduled for this week.

And speaking of professional pics, Jaley was in for her 9-month pictures. I must say the photographer outdid himself. We just don’t know which one to choose. If you don’t mind entering in your name and email address (fakes are fine too), you can catch a peak at: http://port77.com/laurencelynnphotography.com/jaley1/.

Life in the Stroller Lane
And sense it seems n
o week is complete without a trip to the pediatrician – we made another visit last Monday. As suspected, Jaley’s ear infection still hadn’t cleared up. So now we are onto another antibiotic. From the astronomical co-pay I paid for this prescription, I know this is really strong stuff. Let’s just hope it works. And if it doesn’t, at least we have Mother Nature is on our side. The weather here has turned wonderful. And when the weather is warm, ear infections tend to disappear. So bring on the heat.

But by this point, Jaley doesn’t remember life without ear infections. She is turned into quite the little trooper. As long as we give her a little Baby Advil, she is ready to go on any adventure. This weekend we headed to the zoo. NC has a great state zoo, but for some odd reason it is located in Asheboro (about 90 minutes from Raleigh). So we put the DVD player in the car, loaded up the girls, and broke out the sunscreen for a great day of animal adventure. By the time we got home, we were all beat, but we had a great time.




And then there was the big project of the past two weeks. I redecorated the girls’ playroom. I was inspired by too much HGTV. And though no one from Martha Stewart has called me yet, I was really happy with how it turned out. I painted the walls and a small mural. I made the curtains and the animal pictures. I even have hung an extra curtain rod with clips, so Sarah (and Jaley soon) can hang all their artwork on the wall too. Sarah LOVES the room and I have definitely redeemed myself from the “Atomic Vomit Green” bathroom debacle last Fall.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Amazingly, I am turning 29 again. Scott is in CA for the week. When he booked the trip and didn’t realize that it was my birthday. Guilt is such a wonderful thing. He felt so bad about missing my birthday, that he has gone above and beyond to make it special day (week) for me. On Thursday he surprised me with a gourmet chocolate cake. On Friday, we got a sitter and had a wonderful dinner out. On Saturday, he came home with flowers. For tomorrow, he made plans for me with friends and bought another cake (this time ice cream) which is waiting in the freezer. I tell you, I think I want Scott to go out of town for all of my birthdays.

And the best part is that Scott isn’t the only one who outdid themselves for my birthday. Sarah looked through the Sunday circulars, picked out a gift for me, and took money out of her piggy bank to buy it (with a little help from Daddy). Sarah bought me my very own pair of Hot Pink Crocs (comfy plastic shoes for those who aren’t familiar). They are just like her pair of Crocs that she got from Mimi at Easter. So now, we match as we stroll through our day. I don’t think that I could love a gift more. And since I won’t be wearing any other shoes for a while, I am just going to have to go shopping to get more things in hot pink.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of Love.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Eat My Words


Rant of the Week
Humility is the first skill that every parent needs. And it is with my humblest sincerity that I admit my last two entries have been a lie. Not of the proportion of the Enron scandal, but not a truth that held through the test of time.

The first confession: Only days after I bragged about Jaley finally sleeping through the night, did she completely reverse her trend. I like to sleep when I am sick, but Jaley likes to rock the house. And so when the ear infections crank up, so does the midnight crying.

And that takes me to my second confession: We weren't over our winter colds yet. The same day that I gloated that everyone in the house was finally germ free, Jaley woke up barking like a seal (which is parent speak for croup). And when I took her to the doctor, it turns out that her ear infection wasn't any better either. Poor Jaley has now scored the trifecta of day care illnesses - stomach virus, ear infection, and croup. As of yesterday, she had finished yet another round of antibiotics and we are waiting to see if that one cured what ails her. We, of course, want Jaley healthy because we love her, but the selfish side of Scott and I won't miss the midnight screaming either.

Life in the Stroller Lane
But after nearly nine months, Scott and I are used to functioning (even if it is not our top performance) on very little sleep. So we don't let a few tears in the night slow us down. And we definitely made sure to enjoy the Easter holiday. And like most holidays for our girls, Easter lasted the better part of a week. We went to four (yes, four) egg hunts - one at school, one at a local park, one at church, and one in our backyard. That was in addition to dieing 3 dozen Easter eggs (egg salad anyone?); Easter packages and letters from most of our loving and thoughtful family (tough luck that we didn't even send them a card); and stocked baskets from the Easter Bunny for Sarah, Jaley, and Scott (for some reason I didn't get a basket).

And when I haven't been playing helper to the Easter Bunny, I have been doing the IRS dance with our CPA to finish up our taxes. Our taxes were such a mess this year, our return actually uncovered a bug in the computer program that our CPA uses. Let's just say, I have decided that freedom does have a price and we pay it each April 15. But don't think me un-American or un-appreciative. As I write out the checks to the IRS and the state of NC, I make sure to use my first amendment write by saying a few curse words and then I finish it off with a sincere (though off-key) singing of the National Anthem.

Scott has been in town the past few weeks, but really busy. He is finding out again about the fun of employee turnover. He has three employees leaving his team over the next couple of weeks, so he is trying do more with less until he can hire in some new folks.

And so that is our life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.