Friday, July 31, 2009

It Takes a Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It seems that I am using up all my help from the village before Lil' Junior even arrives. My pregnancy woes continue and the couch is pretty much my permanent home. However, all the R&R that I need doesn't blend all that well with my two little busy bodies that already call the Harrell House home - Jaley and Sarah.

In comes the village. Scott, of course, is helping out a ton with both the girls and the house. He has gotten reacquainted with both the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner - two appliances he has visited less in recent years when I was at home more. But try as he might, there are only 24 hours in his day. Cisco still takes up many of those. So during the week, we also have two babysitters on call. They have more energy to spare in a single afternoon than I have in a month. Chrissy and Jamie play with the girls while I go to my never ending doctor appointments or hide in my bedroom trying to pretend that napping is a normal part of my personality. And when the sitters are busy, I have an entire army of neighbors and friends that have been lending a hand.

But as the weeks have turned into months and my slide of feeling worse continued, we needed even more help. In comes the extended village. And as anyone knows the first call in the extended village is always for Mom. A mother's job is never done. Jan and Shirley would agree right now - it is truly never done. They are alternating visits to help with the girls and around the house. Shirley was here in mid-July. Jan was here while Scott was away in late-July. Shirley is back again when Scott will be traveling for work and Sarah is tracked out of school in mid-August. Then Jan and Mike are back to help for a short visit in early-September followed by a longer visit when baby arrives in late-September. Finally, Shirley is arriving in early October to make a new home in Cary. As I said a mother's job is never done.

This blog is a special thank you to everyone that is helping out right now. Ever since Sarah's arrival, I have known that it takes a village to raise a child, but this year it is clearer than ever. Thank you to everyone for the help, support, kindness, and love.

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Experiential Child

Jaley is turning 3 next week. And like all kids, she is growing up fast. Time has evaporated all of the pieces that made her a baby and seamlessly changed her into a little girl.

In thinking about the changes in Jaley, it made me realize something about her. I always struggle to describe Jaley - in this blog, talking to friends, or just bragging at the grocery store. I don't have this same struggle with Sarah. When I describe Sarah, my words usually seem to fit. When I describe Jaley, no matter how hard I try, my words never do her justice.

It was just this week, that I realized that Jaley is just a child you have to experience to understand. Her silly songs, crazy dances, and batted eyelashes can steal your heart in under a second. Her insistence to choose her style for the day by dressing herself can make you smile every time you see her parade by in a Halloween shirt in July. Her booming voice and screaming laugh that are much too loud for a child only 37" tall can insure that I always know where she is. It is the experience with Jaley that makes her so special. However, it is an experience would even cause Melville to struggle for the right words.

I can't believe my baby is almost 3, but I am so excited to experience all that that future years hold in store.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pimp My Ride

Scott said I couldn't get spinners for our minivan, so I will have to settle for a vanity license plate instead. We have a couple of leading contenders and just for fun are looking for your votes. Remember, you are voting for a license plate for the backside of a (n)ever cool minivan that will be hauling three very loud children around town.
  • L84CARPL - Late for Carpool
  • OTNMBRD - As in Scott and I will be outnumbered 3 to 2
  • 3FTRJKTS - Three Future (Ga Tech) Jackets
  • NO YNING - A rule in the car (and everywhere) - No Whining
  • And any votes you may have...
Cast you vote, by either sending an email or commenting on this blog. Either way, I would love to hear your opinion on the best license plate for the new ride.

And since I am blogging about our new ride, I must make a confession. I had the car exactly two whole days, before the power of the minivan got under my skin. I got a speeding ticket! Yikes!!!! My last speeding ticket was in 1994. Usually, I drive so slow I make the senior citizens down in Florida look speedy. When we are together, Scott doesn't even let me drive. My lack of speed drives him crazy. But last Friday, with the wind at my back and a large downhill in my path, I drove smack dab into a speed trap. It was a 25 mph zone at the bottom of a very big hill. The kind of hill that because of gravity warrants a 55 mph limit. I was riding the brakes - but only to the tune of 40 mph - still enough to get me a citation. Even my pregnant belly and tears didn't help. He just said, "license and registration ma'am."

So while you are casting your votes, if any of you NC locals have a suggestion on law firms to help me get my citation revoked, reduced, or resolved, PLEASE let me know your recommendations. For those of you not local to the area, in NC people don't take speeding tickets sitting down. Here in the Tar Heel state you fight it in court. You gotta love the freedom of democracy.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Baby Is Off To School

For a child, everyday can be a milestone. There are a million firsts to learn and experience. By any measure, today was a biggie. Sarah's enjoyed her first day of school. She is now officially a big kid - a full-fledged kindergartner at Mills Park Elementary School!!!

On the one hand, it is hard to believe that my baby is 5 1/2 and ready for the big leagues. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that it was only 5 1/2 years ago that Scott and I were still DINKs - enjoying a simpler, more lucrative life with dual income and no kids - a life that was also less full of love and laughter.

We made the morning special. Scott went into work a few minutes late, so that he could join us for our first drop-off. We even took her out for a quick breakfast before we both walked her to meet Ms. McGuirt in her new classroom. Sarah was so excited. She was practically in the front door before we had the car parked.

I was a bit melancholy. Sarah has been in daycare since she was 6 months old, so it wasn't the leaving that was tough. It was the thought that she was growing up and spreading her wings. Someday (faster than I'll believe), she will spread those wings and find that she can fly on her own.

My melancholy wore off before too long. Lil' Junior started kicking in my belly and reminded me that while Sarah may be growing up, I still have two more first days of kindergarten to savior. And I have many, many years of the school years left. In fact, the tax payers of Wake won't finish the K-12 schooling of the Harrell clan for another 19 years (as scary as that is)!!! By the time that comes around, I will either very, very melancholy as my youngest leaves the nest or suffering from dementia because I'll be so damn old. Time will tell.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Bought a Car in My Bathrobe

Actually, I was dressed in regular clothes (regular maternity clothes that is). I could have been dressed in only a bathrobe or even just my birthday suit. It didn't matter. Yesterday, I bought a car over the phone.

It was kind of fun. I haggled my way through all of the car buying hoops without ever leaving the comfort of home. It was the last day of the month and the salespeople wanted to make a deal. I knew which model I wanted, but I wasn't picky about features or colors. As Scott said, I only cared about it being green (as in spending the least amount of greenbacks as possible). I called a couple of dealers and said give me your best price. They called back and I said try a little harder. They called back again and I said try one more time. Before the end of the day, I got the car I wanted at a price even lower than I had hoped (though I didn't tell the dealer that). No running around town, no uncomfortable chairs at the dealership (the kind that make you want to sign on the dotted line no matter what the price), no fuss. I may never go to a car dealership to shop again.

I have to back up a little bit. You may be scratching your head, wondering why in the heck I was buying a car anyhow. Didn't I just by a car in September? Why yes, I did. In fact, I bought the perfect little microvan. I drive a Mazda 5 that I still love and that is still in perfect shape (especially if you like a few Cheerios crumbs on the seat).

The problem is that while my Mazda 5 technically seats 6, the third row of seats are in the cargo area. So as a family of 5 we can fit in the car, but I could never carry groceries at the same time. And as all moms know, having kids means a lot of trips carrying groceries.

Bye-Bye microvan! Hello minivan!


As of yesterday, we are the proud owners of a White Toyota Sienna. It is a couple of years old with only 16000 miles. With kids three young kids this car is going to take a beating. I figured get one that is a little broken in and then I won't fret when I find out that milk was just spilled all over the back seat. And though we already have a purchase agreement on the car, we haven't actually seen it yet. We will be introduced to our family mobile tomorrow in Greensboro. We are headed up to spend the 4th of July in the mountains and will sign the final paperwork on our way to Beech Mtn. The dealer is going to make one change on the interior for me (to help with all those inevitable spills) and we will pick up our car Sunday on our drive home. It should look like the one pictured above. If not, the deal isn't binding and I will be shopping by phone at the end of July.


While last week we made room in the house for Lil' Junior, this purchase means we will have room in the car for him. Of course, we still don't have a car seat for him, but that is just one little legality I will deal with another day.

Right now, I need to get the microvan packed for its last family trip. We are off tomorrow morning to visit Jan and Mike and celebrate the 4th. While we are excited to see them, we are really excited to see Emily and meet her boyfriend Marcus. They are making the trip from Chicago. As if those aren't reasons enough for the trip, Sarah has spent the week with Mimi & Poppa. And I really am missing my first born.

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