Thursday, March 27, 2008

Candy Everywhere

Life in the Stroller Lane

As you know we never contain our holidays to just one day, we take as least a week to celebrate. Even though it arrived early this Easter was no exception. The girls enjoyed themselves at not one, not two, but three egg hunts. They went to one at school, one at a city park, and one in the neighbor's yard. Despite overflowing baskets, we somehow managed to eat all the candy. By we, I really mean me. I would like to say that it was the girls who overindulged, but the scale doesn't lie. This morning it was screaming that I had way too much chocolate last weekend. Thank goodness we went to the early church service and missed the egg hunt there. If there had been a fourth round of candy eggs, I would have had to get all new pants.

Though egg hunts dominated much of the week, there have been lots of other events brewing around here too. Scott spent a week in California. He has been working a ton, but things seemed to have slowed a bit. Cisco is curtailing travel some going forward, Scott is hoping to keep it to just one week a month. They girls and I are looking forward to more play time with Daddy.

I am learning the buying homes is much more fun than selling them. At this point, I am a prime candidate for a "Flip This House" episode. We have painted and carpeted and planted and seeded. We have hosted too many showing to count, printed a zillion advertising flyers, and restocked the candy bowls enough times to make Hershey shareholders happy. The only thing was haven't done is find a couple of buyers. I am still the optimist and think that right one is just around the corner. That plus the fact that I have checked out the competition and found that our houses are a much better deal. So cross your fingers that the showings today turn into offers tomorrow.

As for the girls, they are growing up too fast. Sarah went to her first sleep over - and stayed all night. I was a little sad that my chick was ready to spread her wings so far. Then I talked to Cousin Robin and found out that Nick is getting his driver's license. That definitely took the sting out of a sleep over. Jaley is like a 4-year old trapped in a 20-month old body. In her mind's eye she is ready to do all the big kid things with Sarah, but often her little bitty body just won't cooperate. No matter how hard she tries, she can't reach the pedals on the bike or the first rung of the monkey bars. Let me tell you, she is mad about it. Since I topped out at 5'2" (on a good day), I can definitely feel her pain. She is growing everyday and on the bike before I know it. The next thing you know, I am going to be talking about driver's licenses too.

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

P.S. There was a delay on the launch of my new blog. It should be live next week. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Changing Expectations

Rant of the Week
I was chatting on the phone with a friend recently. Her first child is just a couple of months younger than Jaley (about 1 1/2). She was explaining how her toddler's new found freedoms were beginning to mean the end of her own. He could now walk, so she could no longer sit. He could talk and babble, so she could no longer have a conversation with another adult. He liked to read books, so she could no longer enjoy a cup of tea and read magazine. I laughed and laughed. It was all so true.

Later in the day, as I was standing at the counter eating lunch (dry cereal right from the box), I thought some more about our chat. It WAS all true, but something dawned on me. My expectations had totally changed. Somewhere between my first child and my second, I no longer expected to sit or talk or read. I still want to and I still wish to, but I no longer expect to. I have just resided that until my kids are a little older that is the way it is. I eat at the counter, I have conversations after 9PM, and I only frequent restaurants that have play places.

I guess that is the stuff of life, things change and so do expectations. I used toast the evening well past midnight, now I expect to be counting sheep by 10:30. I used to have to trek to the library to do research, now I Google it and expect perfect link on the first try. I used to dial and hope the person was home, now I ring their home, their office, their cell, and expect an immediate answer. Expectations change. It seems life is one big journey of changing expectations, most of them good, some of them bad, and hopefully just enough that are great. The addition of kids just sends you on the expectation changing express train for a while (good ones, bads ones, and a whole lot of great ones).

In that spirit, it's time to reset this blog and any accompanying expectations. It will still be the source for the Harrell gossip. Where we are. What we are doing. What is keeping us honest. The stuff I always wrote in the "Life in the Stroller Lane" section. As for my rants, raves, tales, and tirades, the "Rant of the Week" stuff is moving to a brand new blog. Starting next week, I will be writing a weekly blog for a new website that the Raleigh News & Observer is creating. The website will be live in a few days and I'll send out the link as soon as I get it. Even though there will be a new website, I encourage you to keep reading. If you like it, please let the editor know, too.

Life In the Stroller Lane
When I last left off, we were headed to Colorado to visit Nana and Grandpa Tom. We loved their new home, especially the views. Of our 7 day visit, 6 days gifted us with absolutely gorgeous weather - warm, sunny days (into the 70's) and cool, clear nights. It turns out that Colorado has more sunny days than Florida, the sunshine state. Go figure. The one day with bad weather wasn't really bad at all, because we were treated to a good dose of snow. The girls had a blast romping in the famous Colorado powder. However, it turns o
ut that powder makes for excellent skiing, but really stinks for making snowballs and snowmen. That didn't stop us, we just sledded and made snow angels instead.

With the powder at the ready, we let Jaley and Nana bond one-on-one, while Scott, Sarah, and I hit the slopes. We enjoyed two days on top of the Rockies. Sarah isn't ready for the Winter Games in 2010, but she learned a little about riding down a mountain with sticks on your feet. After a five year hiatus, Scott and I put on some sticks, too. As we rode the chair lift higher and higher, we hoped that skiing was like riding bicycle. Luck was on our side; we hadn't forgotten. We returned in one piece and fully enjoyed our small bit of skiing.

The list of things to do in CO was really long, so we squeezed in as much as we could. We saw the red rocks at Garden of the Gods. We played with Sarah and Jaley at Mr. Biggs and Focus on the Family. We hung out and took in the scenery. The biggest highlight of the trip was meeting Tom's sons and their families. After all of the years that my mom and Tom have been together, our paths have never crossed so that we had a chance to meet his family. This trip solved that. Mom had everyone over for dinner. The kids played; the adults visited. It was a really great evening.

As soon as we arrived home, it was back to the grind. Scott has been working long hours, since his job doesn't take a vacation when he is away. I have been racing around at the rentals. Both tenants moved out while we were in CO, so there was all of the move-out details in which to attend. This weekend the weather was raining and Sarah was sick. We those two strikes, we just changed the expectations for the weekend. We hunkered down and worked straight
through until Monday.

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