Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 90th Birthday Grandpa Harrell!!

A birthday shout out to Grandpa Harrell. He turns 90 today. So as you celebrate New Year Eve - celebrate Granddaddy too.

As for celebrating his 90th birthday, I must say what a feat. I hope that he passed on those genes to Scott and the girls and that a bit of his genetic code rubbed off on me when I took the Harrell name.

And since such an event can't go uncelebrated. We are off to Springfield, TN this weekend to honor the birthday boy. Most of the Harrell clan with be there as well as lots of friends. We can't wait to see everyone.

To everyone I send a Happy New Year. To Grandpa Harrell I send a giant Happy Birthday, too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year

I have been blogging recently, just not here. Since my last post, I have written my final month of blogs for Triangle Mom 2 Mom (it officially ends 1/9, but I submitted all my articles). So this blog, my real blog, has been sorely neglected.

And with that neglect, I am having to roll up Christmas and New Years into one giant entry - here goes...

The Fastest Christmas Tree in the East
We met Mimi, Poppa, and Auntie Em in the NC mountains for an early Christmas. It was unseasonably cold and way below the threshold of my Florida blood. We went to a cut your own Christmas tree farm on Monday morning; it was -10 with the wind chill. Auntie Em thought she was still in Chicago. They picked, cut, and loaded a tree in the car in under 3 minutes (no joking). Jaley and I missed the whole event, because we were in the car trying to put on her gloves. By the time we were set, the event was over. Jaley and I redeemed ourselves and helped decorate the tree.

No Snow, But We Can Still Sled
Mother Nature didn't treat us to any white flakes, but luckily the snow making equipment picked up where she skimped. We took the girls out for a morning of sledding on Tuesday. I don't have proof in pictures, but I promise that everyone took their turns on the sleds - EVEN Mimi and Poppa.

We Had Christmas Morning Twice
I would be happy with one Christmas morning, but this year we got a double dose. We had our first Christmas morning on the 23rd with Mimi, Poppa, and Auntie Em. Then we drove home on the 24th and prepared for Santa's arrival. The man in the red suit and Nana's delivery via UPS did not disappoint. The girls were treated to a second Christmas morning on the 25th. They are now of full opinion that Christmas present opening lasts days on end.

Gifts Galore

Santa and the grandparents were (as usual) very spoiling of our little girls. Sarah (and I reliving my childhood) loves the Easy Bake Oven that Santa delivered. And the whole family is enjoying the lil' b-ball hoop from Nana. Both girls adore their princess clothes from Mimi and Auntie Em. They are set for Disney next spring.

But One Gift Takes the Cake...
Do you remember the bunny suit that Aunt Clara gave Ralphie in A Christmas Story? Now Sarah and Jaley have their very own!!! And their suits were given, no joke, by their aunt - Auntie Em. The only difference is that Jaley and Sarah actually love their costumes. Thanks Auntie Em, they will be hopping and jumping all through 2009.

Happy New Year
Though we like to think we are still in our 20s our New Year's Eve plans scream of being 30 something and settled. Our entire evening celebration plans consist of watching the GT in the Peach Bowl with the help of TIVO after the girls go to bed. There may be a beer or two involved, but nothing more exciting that that. I am guessing I won't even toast at midnight. I have trouble making to midnight anyhow, but I have to work tomorrow, so that sets me up for an early snooze time. Oh well. At least with these unexciting plans, I am assured not to have a hang over on January 1st - and that is something I was never assured of in my 20s.

So I will end this final blog of 2008 wishing you a Happy and Healthy beginning of 2009. That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of Love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Enjoying the Christmas Lights

It is night, rainy, and really windy. That didn't matter, Sarah and Jaley wanted to sit outside and enjoy our Christmas lights. By themselves, they carried their rocking chairs down the stairs, tied Sarah's umbrella to the chairs so it wouldn't blow away, brought out snacks, and sat down to enjoy the view. Now that is Christmas spirit.

While the girls are flying high with Christmas joy. Scott and I are grounded in regular life. This was my first week at the new job. The advantage of managing the rentals the past couple of years was that I was the boss - if I wanted time off - no problem - I got it. It isn't quite so easy when someone else is in charge. One of my biggest worries about going back to work, was juggling the work schedule when we had winter colds. I knew I would be tested before the daffodils bloomed, but wasn't expecting it on my first day. Lucky me. Last weekend, we all got sick. Scott was the first man down. I was next, followed by Jaley, and Sarah.

With the help of baby Advil for the girls and full strength Advil for me, we all got out the door Monday morning. With the exception of runny noses (which never fully recede until March) the girls and I were 100% by Wednesday. Scott, however, wasn't as lucky. He is now going on day 6 of this cold. We are trying to avoid his germs, so the poor guy hasn't gotten much TLC this week.

Colds aside, my first few days in the office have been good. I think it will be a really fun job and definitely low stress (which is awesome). The trickiest part is dealing with all the different insurance companies - every one's a bit different. However, I'll get it figured out soon. As a bonus, I will probably learn a lot about the medicine industry by osmosis.

Even though it is the start of a new job, I'm not letting it cramp our holiday partying. I met my girl friends for Holiday Tea last Sunday. We are always much too loud and raucous to be at an Afternoon High Tea - but that is what makes it fun. Tomorrow, Sarah is taking her best friends out to a play space and then having them over for Hot Chocolate. Saturday night Scott and I have a sitter lined up and are off to an adults only Christmas party. Sunday night we are off to see a hand bell group and the man in the red suit.

Ho, Ho, Ho. That is life in the Stroller Lane.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa Question

As soon as kids fully grasp Santa, they start questioning. Scott and I are in sync and prepared for the usual suspects.

Q: How can Santa be at every mall?
A: He has helpers.

Q: How does he get around the world in one night?
A: He makes use of the 24 time zones, plus the 10 hours of night. That is plenty of time.

Q: How does he know who's good or bad?
A: He usual special Santa magic and he just knows.

Q: If Santa just knows who is good and who is bad, then why doesn't he know what each kid wants? Why do I have to tell him the toys I want?
A: Good Question, we will have to get back to you.

That last one left Scott stumped last Sunday after a visit with Santa at the library. I wasn't with them, but it left me stumped too. If Santa can visit every house in one night on a flying sleigh, and if Santa can know every kid is good or bad, then why the heck can't he know what gifts they want. I have no idea. My best guesses. The malls like kids to visit Santa so we come in and spend more money. And, parents like kids to visit Santa so they can get their Christmas card pictures.

Scott reason to Sarah was much less cynical (and a good answer for quick on his feet). He told Sarah that kids have to tell Santa in person and/or by letter so that he can double check his gift list. He doesn't want to make a mistake. She accepted that answer, but she balked at Santa using magic to know who is good or bad. "I don't believe in magic," were her exact words.

Oh my we are in trouble.

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

Sunday, December 7, 2008

End of An Era

I just checked the mail and in it was the official copy of the Articles of Dissolution for Harrell & Harrell Properties, LLC. While the rentals have been gone for a while, my stint as an entrepreneur officially ended last Friday when the NC Secretary of State's Office recorded the paperwork. I wanted everything officially closed before year end, so I mailed the paperwork Thursday (thinking it would take a few weeks). Much to my surprise, they received it, processed it, recorded it, and sent my copy back in the mail all on Friday. I guess my tax dollars are at work - that was fast.

And the timing couldn't be better, because my new job starts tomorrow. In honor of being a working mom again, I did the laundry and the grocery shopping this weekend - no more doing much of that during the week. I will be returning to the ways of most Americans - doing my chores on the weekend.

And to leave you with two bits of fun...

  • Sarah, Jaley and I put up the Christmas tree on Friday afternoon. Jaley had an insatiable appetite for putting on ornaments. After each one was placed, she looked at me and said "tree not beautiful yet." Apparently, my two year old has high tastes in tree decorating. But when the very last ornament was placed, Jaley dusted off her hands, looked at me and said "tree beautiful now, Mommy." I don't know where she gets this stuff.
  • Scott and I walked upstairs this morning (things were a little too quiet) to find Jaley buck naked standing in a sink full of soapy water. Sarah was instructing her on how to give herself a bath. The girls know they can't play in the bathtub without adult supervision, so I guess Sarah figured the sink was almost as good.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho - It's Off to Work I Go

My blogging is not real time. If usually runs a few weeks late. So this news of a new job, isn't really news to many of you. But, I had to write about it nonetheless. As of Monday morning 12/8 - I am back to work. Not that running the real estate venture (adventure) and raising two kids wasn't work. In fact, that was the problem with the real estate - it was too much work. But unlike my recent gigs, this job comes with the added bonus of a steady paycheck. Go figure.

Are wondering how I found this new job? I didn't look in the want ads or log onto All I did was get a sinus infection. Yes, that's right a sinus infection - got me my new job. So it goes...A few weeks ago, I had to call the doctor to make an appointment, so I could get those precious antibiotics for my nagging sinus infection. As I was waiting on the phone, the recorded voice said something to the effect of "Our practice has grown. We recently added one new doctor and two new PA's, however our office staff has caught up yet. We are working to correct that. Thanks for your patience in holding."

After I booked my appointment, I thought to myself - that message sure did sound like they were hiring. I figured if they treat their staff half as well as they treat their patients, it would be a great place to work. I faxed in my resume (the real one, not "the other story" one). I had a job interview, two TB tests, a drug screen, and OSHA safety training. I guess I passed them all, because they offered me a part-time job working in the front office. It is just the type of position I wanted. It is part-time with set hours (Mon, Wed, & Fri -- 8-5). It is in an industry that helps people. And I can't take the work home with me. In fact, I won't even be able to log on at home. When I leave the office, I'm off work - completely (except for the whole running a house and raising two kids job).

Since, I have been working from home for the past couple of years, it will definitely be a shock to the system. My feet aren't ready to wear dress shoes again. I don't know when the laundry will get done. I used to throw in a load when I was managing the business accounting or fielding tenant gripes. Somehow, I think I will ease right back into adult conversations and writing with pens instead of crayons. Plus, I believe I will find a way to enjoy the extra cash flow. The mall is calling my name.

As for starting a job two weeks before Christmas, I have been busier than Santa's elves on Dec. 23rd. I have been trying to get all the shopping, shipping, and Christmas cards done in advance. As soon as I finish this note, I am going to start some of the wrapping. The Christmas tree will be going up tomorrow night. If it doesn't get done by Sunday, basically it probably won't get done. But heck that was my goal this year anyway. I even wrote about keeping things simpler in my newspaper blog last week .

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Family, Fun, and Food

The adage goes that you can either enjoy the moment or enjoy the pictures later - you can't do both. I planned to take all these great pictures while we were in Atlanta, but it just didn't happen. You get this picture and you like, because we were too busy having fun.

We spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta with the Kurtzer family (my aunt's family). Contrary to the very small number of branches on my side of the family tree, hers goes far and wide. Scott and I hang out with my aunt, grandfather, cousins and lots of other friends and family, while Sarah and Jaley played non-stop with a whopping 11 2nd and 3rd cousins. My aunt and cousins planned tons of fun stuff to do, including football in the park. Doesn't that sound perfect for the Thanksgiving weekend. However, we didn't play nearly enough foodball to run off all the food. The thanksgiving meal alone was four courses. That doesn't count all the other wonderful meals. I am still full. It was grand fun.

The important part of the trip was seeing family, but we did sneak downtown to visit Georgia Tech and the Georgia Aquarium. Downtown Atlanta today is nothing like the downtown Atlanta I lived in. The Atlanta I lived in was dirty and dangerous. The Atlanta we visited was beautiful and upscale. What a change. We all loved the GA Aquarium. I'm not an expert, but all the hype about it being the world's best aquarium seemed pretty true to me. It was amazing.

And to get in one parental brag. The girls were amazingly well behaved for the car ride. Historically, car trips have been anything but smooth for our family. Hopefully, this trip marked turning the corner to make road trips possible again.

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