Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mean Monkey Bars

Injuries happens. Kids trade their injury tales like baseball cards. One says see this scar...and the other chimes in with remember my cast...Visits to the ER are a right of passage for parents and kids alike. But when you are a parent, you always hope it won't be to your kid.

Last Friday were weren't so lucky. Just that afternoon Sarah learned how cross the monkey bars all by herself. Friday evening she wanted to show Scott. We tried to tell her to wait, because it had rained and was slippery. But she (as usual) was one step ahead of us. In this case, one fall ahead of us. Down she came in the classic playground injury, landing wrist first.

We were off to the ER. Amazingly there wasn't a wait. Yes, that is right. There was no wait in the ER on a Friday night. The x-rays were inconclusive so Sarah was sent home with a temporary cast up to her shoulder. Her first (and may it be our last) cast. Lucky for us, the follow up on Monday with the orthopaedic surgeon was great news.

No fracture, just a bad sprain.

The cast came off and a splint went on. I let our a giant sigh of relief. I still hate that her wrist is hurt, but am so happy it isn't broken. I must say, I am not cut out for this parent of a daredevil life. It just about kills me to see my kids hurt. This time last year, Jaley split her eyebrow open to the tune of several stitches. Then there was Jaley's dislocated elbow in the spring. Now Sarah's almost broken wrist. Jaley and Sarah are both climbers. The higher the better. And while things that go up, must eventually come down. My two monkeys occasionally return to Earth with a thump.

While I'm sure there will be more injuries in the future, I hope and pray that they are minor. For their sake (of course) and for mine (my heart can't take too many ER visits). I don't want them to be the kids with the most injury stories to trade with their friends.

Injuries aside, we are in full Halloween mode here. Don't you remember we celebrate for weeks on end. We had a great time at the Pumpkin Patch with Mimi last week. Over the weekend, Sarah's cast didn't slow her down at all. She ran in full costume in the Monster Dash to benefit for WakeMed Children's Hospital. (Note: We were already planning to go to the event, but the timing was great because guess who's ER we went too on Friday - yes the WakeMed ER).

Tomorrow is a full day of Halloween fun. Painting pumpkins and a party at their school. Then there is a parade in the afternoon and, of course, trick-or-treating in the evening. Since Sarah had her trick last weekend, we are planning for only treats tomorrow. Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Something New To Check Out

And I thought Wiki - was just for Wikipedia. It turns out that wiki refers to any website that allows users to modify the content. There are tons of wiki's on the web - a wiki for every "weason."

The only thing better than shopping is shopping on sale. I just found out about a new wiki site to help - ShopWiki.
ShopWiki is like a regular price comparison website only better. They show all stores instead of just stores that have paid for placement.

I haven't tried it yet, but Christmas is just around the corner. They have a whole section just for Babies and Kids (Jaley and Sarah's lists grow by the day) another section for Wine (yes, wine), and even a gift buying guide (since they don't have personal shoppers at my regular shopping haunt - Target).

Brought to you by your friends at

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do the Zoo

Trying to enjoy the nice weather and make up for the fact that we skipped going all year, the weekend before last we ventured to the zoo. The NC Zoo is in Asheboro - about a 90 minute drive. The trip is more of a voyage than a regular field trip, so it was a perfect test to see what our Disney vacation will be like next spring. Yes, we decided with my Orlando roots it was time to see the mouse. We have turned over our Visa card and the deed to our house for a 6-day reservation at the Magic Kingdom. For all the Disney details, you can read about my planning of the Quintessential Family Vacation.

It was our chance to enjoy the zoo and a practice for Disney. While the weather was great and the animals were out for top notch viewing, the Harrell clan didn't give their A-game. Scott and Jaley were tired from a poor night's sleep. Sarah and I didn't feel well from some sort of little cold. Of course, we didn't fully realize any of this until we were smack in the middle of this giant 500 acre animal preservation. Unfortunately, we only brought a stroller for Jaley. For the first part of the morning we couldn't get Jaley to sit in it. Then was soon as Sarah was too tired to walk, Jaley wouldn't let Sarah anywhere near the stroller. While they bickered about seating, they missed the lions roaring, the gorillas playing, and the baboons procreating. That last one we were happy they missed. Neither Scott nor I are in any way prepared for a birds and bees chat.

At some point we made it back to the car and expected big naps on the way home. No luck. They just bickered over which DVD to watch. Don't let the pictures fool you, this wasn't really an all smiles family field trip.

Now we are locked and loaded for a week of "family fun" at Disney. God save us, because if it is anything like this zoo trip we are going to need the help.

Other Gossip. Mimi and Poppa are arriving tomorrow. The two snowbirds are stopping by as they move from their NC cabin back to their FL home. Since we didn't get to visit them as much as we had hoped, we are all looking forward to their visit.

Rough trips to the zoo aside, we have really been enjoying the girls. All of my medical drama had really stressed out the entire house - girls included. Now that I am (finally and thankfully) back to normal, we are having so much more fun. My recovery cut the tantrum factor in the house by about 60%. A few of the missing tantrums are from Sarah and Jaley, the bulk are from Scott and me. Feeling good is a wonderful thing.

Around the house, we are in the middle of a major overhaul on the backyard. Between last year's drought and the construction of the porch last winter, it is a real mess. It is planting time of year and this is a big project. I don't expect to fully get the dirt out from under my nails until Santa slides down the chimney. In fact, I may have to ask the big guy for a manicure at the start of the year.

That's enough rambling and that is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barking Seal and More

The weather is still in the 80's, but apparently winter colds are already in season. Jaley woke up barking like a seal this morning. Yup, good old fashioned croup. We are off to the doctor in just a bit to confirm the diagnosis, but Dr. Mom knows with certainty it is croup. A little albuterol and a good steamy shower and she'll be good as new by Saturday. We are getting flu shots next week, so maybe we will start cold season now and close it out before Halloween. Wishful thinking, but you never know.

Ironically, Jaley was much crankier last week when she was healthy. She treated us to a couple of her 30 minute tantrum performances. The tickets are free, but we all pay when the crying goes on and on. While she let loose one day, I gave up fighting her. Instead, I logged onto the library website and reserved a copy of Raising Your Spirited Child. I figured it was time to bring in some outside advice. According to child experts, all those great traits that make Jaley so much fun to be around 90% of the time can combine and collide the other 10%. The trick is for parents to stop the eruption before it happens.

After scoring Jaley, Sarah, Scott and myself - it turns out Jaley isn't alone. In fact, we live in a full fledged spirited house. So while Jaley tantrum turned me onto the book, it turns out I am learning more about parenting myself than I am about parenting the girls. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

I am pretty much back to myself, but there was another hiccup in my recovery recently. Over the weekend, I had terrible back pain and a bit of trouble in the potty department. I went to urgent care and their quick lab test confirmed my suspicion of a recurrent bladder infection. The problem was that despite the antibiotics I got worse instead of better. I went to my regular doc on Monday morning. By then the urgent care had the full lab results. Final diagnosis, no bladder infection at all - just a bad back. I ain't sick, I'm just getting old (or at least too old to be picking up both the girls all the time). As for the antibiotics, they had prescribed Cipro - so at least I don't have to worry if there is anthrax in my mail - I'm covered.

Since the weather has been so nice we have been enjoying some time outside. Here are the girls decorating our driveway. Yes, they are already wearing their Halloween shirts - I made them wait until October. Scott is back in town this week and back to CA next week. It is time to pay the piper on business travel after his long hiatus to help me recover.

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

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where was this when Jaley was a newborn!

I just learned about a new gripe water for colicky babies. Of course, I am learning about this 2 years too late, but I still thought I would pass it on. You never know, maybe you have a colicky baby (not the grandmas, but everyone else)? Or more likely, know someone who does.

The I have no idea if it works, but I remember Jaley's first year. I would have tried anything (that was safe) for her baby colic. This a new gripe water is called Colic Calm and it claims to help with baby gas and acid reflux. I found out about it because the founder was in PBS.

Again, I have no idea if it will work, but if it does (and it's safe) it would be better than giving gold to a family with a colicky baby.

It Ain't Free, but It May Be Even Better

Last week, I wrote about getting books for free through the US Department of Education. Today, I add to my penny pinching list - this time it's for when you are shopping online. It is a trick that many of you probably already know, but just in case you don't, here is a way to save a little (or a lot).

Most online companies, send out coupon codes to their regular customers to keep them coming back. That is great for the regular customers, but what about the rest of us. How do we get to save? How do we find out the magic-money-saving coupon codes? It's simple, go to!

Just click on their website or a similar one, for a list of all the coupon codes. Now I never checkout without first checking for coupon codes. In just the past couple of weeks, I saved a bunch on items I was already going to purchase.
  • I got extra cash back for switching from Time Warner to AT&T (good ridens to Time Warner).
  • I saved 20% on our car rental with Enterprise for Grandpa Harrell's 90th birthday celebration.
  • I even saved 5% on the Jaley's Halloween Costume (Sarah's I got used on eBay).

Heck, if Wall Street had been more frugal and clipped a few more coupons maybe they wouldn't need a $700B bailout.

Here's to saving a couple of bucks. That is life in the stroller lane.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Big Girl Room

I wanted to show off Jaley's Big Girl Room. After placing our order back in 1984, the bed finally arrived. OK, it wasn't 1984, but it was over 4th of July weekend.

The wait ended up being worthwhile. Let's face it, July, August, & September weren't the best months for me to be redecorating. In fact, those months weren't for much of anything, but getting through. And through we did, life here is going really well. I am pretty much feeling like old-Gigi again. Scott is in CA for work. Basically, it is life as usual (which is a beautiful thing).

But back to the point, here is Jaley's big girl room. Since she has been crawling out of her crib for 5 month, she was thrilled to have finally have a bed with easier entry/exit access.

The best part about the bed, wasn't the bed at all. The bed usually came with a toy box and little rolling stools that fit underneath the bed. We decided to not get those pieces. Instead, we ordered a trundle bed for underneath. Upon delivery, they brought the trundle AND the storage container and stools. I love FREE - so I said thanks and kept the extra pieces. While Jaley's 10X10 room left no space for the toy box, I just loved the stools. I used extra fabric from making the window valance to recover the stools and make pillows for her bed.

Now the stools make a perfect reading nook. And we want to encourage lots of reading now in hopes for scholarships later. Let's just say that with the current downturn in the Dow, Jaley and Sarah's 529 accounts are looking quite sad.

We purchased the bed at a local furniture store, however, it turns out you truly can buy anything on the web. You can order the furniture online and the pieces are delivered to your door. Modern Furniture, Contemporary Furniture, Italian Furniture, even Kids & Baby Furniture - all types of furniture. And while I love Jaley's set, I bet it would have been here faster if I bought it online.