Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 Days of Christmas and More





I know it is only 12/20, but we have been celebrating Christmas for well over a month.  It started with "ThanksMas" our Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration with Mimi & Poppa.  It was followed by Early Christmas with Nana, as she was headed out of town through the New Year.  Then, there have been all the seasons festivities, including Ladies Tea (or is it Champagne), Classroom Parties, Craft Days.  Heck, we are even going to the "Christmas Eve" church service on 12/22.  Then there is the big day itself on 12/25, followed by a family trip right after that.  This truly is the 12 Days of Christmas. 

You may wonder how two full-time working parents can coordinate all this fun, the answer is simple.  We couldn't!!!  BUT, I no longer work full-time.  YIPPEE!!!  Santa Claus delivered my gift early.  I transferred to a different Cardiac unit at my hospital and effective this week am working part-time.  Ho, ho, ho. 

Beyond the Christmas festivities, we have been busy with all the regular activities, too.  But the regular activities will be on pause starting tomorrow as the holiday break begins.  We hope it is a wonderful holiday and New Year for you and yours.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Elementary School - A Team Effort

Let me start with the fact that I'm grateful my kids have teachers who care and make learning creative.  But am I the only parent who gets exhausted by school projects?  While I remember doing many project myself as a kid (from science fair to the spelling bee), I didn't realize how much work my mom had to do, too.  Now that I'm the parent, I realizing that school is really a team effort.  In the past two weeks, the kids (with a heavy helping of mom help)  have disguised a paper turkey to protect him from the carving block, made a 3-D pumpkin to represent the story book character Just Grace to accompany a book report, made a family feather (don't ask), chased to two super markets to find pita bread, sent in pack of exactly 21 plastic spoons, collected can goods for two different food drives, collected pennies for Pennies for Pasta, and purchased turkey gravy for an in class Thanksgiving feast.  I may have to start pulling all nighters to keep up with this work load.

Good news, the kids have received passing grades, and I think the rush of class projects is calming down.  Which is good since, the holiday rush is upon us.  Black Friday is just a week away and one of the local radio stations has swapped to 24/7 Christmas music. While they are busy, the holidays are always fun.  We are looking forward to seeing Mimi & Poppa next week for Turkey Day.  The kids are working hard on their lists for Santa.  And my annual Ladies Holiday Tea (or is it Champange) is booked, join me if you can.  The Harrell's have been working WAY TOO much lately - it is time to bring on the fun.

That is life in the stroller lane.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tales from the Potty Training Trenches

Everyone told me potty training is harder for boys.  But those words of parenting wisdom didn't preparing me for the marathon of potty training Mick.  I would guess we are somewhere around mile 20, but who knows we may still be at the starting line.

Let's see. We started this "process" back in June.  After some initial successes and many accidents, I threw in the towel soon after - right about the time Scott was on a 2-week Asian business trip (coincidence, definitely not).  We regrouped our attack as the summer ended when the daycare dangled the enticement of a price drop contingent on consistently using the potty. 

Where are we now?  We are stuck in a limbo somewhere between diapers and not.  Mick never has an accident as long as he is naked.  Given that we don't live on a nudist colony, this isn't a good solution outside the doors of our home.  So he is a nudist at home and we cross our fingers when we are out of the house. 

Even though he doesn't have accidents at home, that doesn't mean we aren't having other issues.  Last weekend, Mick decided to pee in a cup - yes, pee in a cup.  Needless to say, I had to mop the floor.  Yesterday, he peed on a shovel so he could "scoop his pee-pee."  And I'm sure that there are two young adults suffering from PTSD after Mick greeted them at the door buck-naked.  Poor guys, there were only trying to volunteer registering voters door-to-door.

As I write this note, Mick is squatting on his little potty watching cartoons.  I don't think you will see it on HGTV, but little potties are all the rage in family room decorating trends.  Oh well, some day he will be out of diapers.

Outside of potty training adventures, life is the usual circus.  The first quarter of school is finishing for the girls.  Sarah is joining a new team in gymnastics; Jaley's soccer season is rounding the final turn.  After a wonderful break, Scott's work travel is heating back up.  As for me, I'm am slowly getting my feet under me as a new nurse.  The ICU is intense; I often find myself holding my breath as I figure out all the pumps, procedures, and protocols.  Despite many tragedies, I have seen a few miracles, too.  While some days are hard (very hard), I do love being a nurse. 

That is life in the stroller lane. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3-Year Old - No More Babies in the House




Yesterday, Mick turned 3!  While it was still a work day/school day, we made sure to squeeze in some celebrating.  There were doughnuts with Scott in the morning, cupcakes at daycare in the afternoon, and cookie cake and ice cream with the family at night.  Basically, Mick enjoyed 24-hours of pure sugar!  Knowing that each birthday must be celebrated multiple times we plan to continue our festivities with a trip to the boats, train, and carousel at Pullen Park this weekend.  

It is hard to believe Mick is already three.  I don't have any babies anymore, just kids.  Though in my heart, Sarah, Jaley, and Mick are always "my babies." That is life in the stroller lane. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

You Not a Girl; You da Mommy

Mick is learning to identify genders.  Sarah and Jaley - girls.  Culley and Will - boys.  His teachers - girls.  Scott and Poppa - boys.  So I asked Mick, "What am I? A boy or a girl."

He looked up at me, perplexed and responded, "I dunno."

To which I said, "I'm a girl."

His response, "NO!!! You not a girl; you da Mommy."


Apparently in Mick's mind, motherhood is beyond gender.  I can live with that belief.  My magical Mommy powers are already disappearing for the girls.  My kisses won't fix their boo-boos and I am only on the periphery of their social calendar.  So at least my "Mommy powers" still hold with Mick, for at least a little longer.


Since I last wrote, there has been a lot a brewing.  Jaley spent a a few days at Camp Harrell being spoiled by Mimi and Poppa at Beech Mountain.   There was time at Tweetsie Railroad, Mani-Pedis, and time at the pool.

The summer came to a close and school is back in session.  Jaley is enjoying the same wonderful teacher she had in kindergarten, because Ms. Withers' choose to move up from teaching Kindergarten to 1st grade.  Sarah is equally excited about her 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Salva.  Plus soccer season started, Sarah tested at the next level in gymnastics, and Mick is moving up classrooms soon.

They say 6 weeks makes a habit, and I'm that far into the new job.  While I still have plenty to learn, we are at least settled into the new schedule and enjoying the new paycheck.


As a great treat last week, Scott made plans for us to enjoy a night away for our anniversary.  Lucky for me, he said "I do" 14 years ago.  So much has happened since that day, I can't wait to see what the next 14 (and more) hold in store.

Up next week, Mick's 3rd birthday!  I can't believe it.  That is life in the stroller lane. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What the....

I once had the mouth of a sailor.  Four letter words and I were quite well acquainted.  Then came kids and I toned down my vernacular to (mostly) a G-rating.   But old habits die hard.  While I have long dropped the F in WTF, you can still often hear me saying  "What the...?"  The problem is Jaley has taken a liking to the phrase, too.

How do I explain to her she shouldn't say "What the" when there isn't anything wrong with either of the words?  In fact, both What and The were on her kindergarten sight word list.  So now, I have a 6-year-old saying "What the...?" and I cringe every time I hear it.  Oh well, at least she isn't saying the last part.

As for the rest of the house.  Things are wild and crazy.  I started work three weeks ago.  It is whole new world.  I'm splitting my time between patient care and classroom time.  While I may have RN after my name, I still have lots to learn about patient care.  In the hospital, the medications are equally curative and dangerous and so are many of the procedures.  I still have so much to learn.  But thanks to great nurses on the unit, I'm learning a ton every day and I won't be working solo for quite a bit.  While I'm making this new transition, Scott has been such a huge help.  He is playing solo dad many mornings, evening, and weekends, since I work 12-hour shift.  Yes, I know I have the best husband!!!!

But I'm not the only one with a new beginning, the girls start school in a couple of weeks.  I can't believe the summer is over.  It slipped away quickly, but 3rd and 1st grades beckon.   With the start of school, come a slew of new activities.  Jaley is starting soccer and Sarah is stepping up gymnastics.  Even Mick is starting a tumbling class.  There is a big color-coded calendar posted on the fridge so we all (hopefully) get to the right place, on the right day, at the right time (or at least almost at the right time).

That is life in the stroller lane.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

6-Years-Old and One Big Week

It is amazing how much excitement you can cram into one week if you really try.  So I'll quickly run through the week's headlines.

Number One, is really Number Six - as in Jaley turned 6.  In the quintessential mom cliche, "it seems like she was a baby just yesterday."  No matter what it seems like, she is far from a baby and is growing up so fast.  To honor her birthday, we made sure to celebrate all week.  There was a birthday party at a pottery painting studio,  a pinata at camp, and all you can eat dessert to complete her birthday dinner.  Plus she is now the proud owner of roller blades; I hope I don't have to use any of my nursing skills as she is perfecting her skills.

Next on the list is my reentry into the working world.  I am officially employed as Gigi Harrell, RN.  I am equal parts excited and nervous as I start my new career in the Cardiac ICU.  Last week was all about hospital orientation, my first day with patients is this week.  Despite the reality of all the classes and studying during school, I can't believe I really became a nurse, but I did.

As an added bonus, we said welcome home Fiedlers.  Our amazingly wonderful friends are home for a week in Cary.  We have missed them during their past year in Europe and will miss them when they fly back over the pond for another year away.  But today, we are so glad they are hanging out in the Triangle.

To add even more excitement, there was the end of swim season banquet, a week of sports camp, a neighborhood party at the pool, and the start of the Olympics.

Like I said it was a big week.  Hope yours was just as exciting.  That is life in the stroller lane.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Running Out of Runway

The countdown is on and I'm running out of runway.  I start work in just 4 short days.  While I am so excited to start my new career as a nurse, it seems all those loose ends I planned to have wrapped up before my start date haven't been tied yet.  The upstairs AC is on the fritz and my toenails aren't painted.  Both my hair and the hedges could use a trim.  And I definitely need to make a big run to Sam's club, our diaper supply is running precariously low (Mick and potty training are on a break).  As Scott keeps reminding me, the to-do list is never going to get done.  It is already numbered to infinity plus so who cares if the carpets don't get cleaned, I'm taking the girls to the pool tomorrow morning - just for fun. 

While my to-do list has been growing, we have been going.  We made a round trip visit to Atlanta in time that would make Smokey and the Bandit proud.  All told we were only in HotLanta for about 24 hours, but we made it count.  We saw Aunt Marie and the cousins.  We enjoyed lunch with my GT roommate, Priti.  We saw the very entertaining Broadway Dolphin show and more at the Georgia Aquarium .  Most importantly, we visited with Papa, my grandfather.  Just to top off the trip, Scott continued on to CA and I drove back alone with the 3 kids.  Thank God for portable DVD players and video games.  I don't know how my parents ever survived family road trips without the blessing of modern electronics. 

The week was also the end of the swim team season.  For anyone who has ever done swim team, you know that marks the end of a very big commitment for kids and parents alike.  The girls put in their hours in the pool; I did mine at the volunteer table.  On the flip side, the girls are MUCH, MUCH better swimmers than they were before the season began, and I met a ton of new people from my neighborhood.  We aren't changing our name to Phelps, but it was still a good experience. 

Wish me luck as I start work on Monday morning.  That is life in the stroller lane. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ferraris and Fireworks

Last week, we escaped Cary for our annual visit to Beech Mountain to visit Mimi and Poppa.  Before the 4th of July festivities began, Scott and I enjoyed a day away.  While any time without kids is exciting, we maximized the opportunity and kicked up the adrenaline.  We headed to Lake Lure, NC to drive some very impressive (and VERY FAST) sports cars.  It was a belated birthday gift for Scott that I enjoy too.  We hugged the corners on windy mountain roads driving five serious cars.  We felt all 690 horses on the Mercedes McLaren, which I must note cost a whopping $450,000 - much more than our house.  We had the top down on the Ferrari and flew around corners in the gangster-looking Bentley ISR.  As if that wasn't good enough, we felt the power of the Jaguar XK and the Audi S4.  It was a great afternoon and tons of fun.  Unfortunately, none of the cars would accommodate a family of five, so at the event's end we turned in the keys and kept our minivan.

That night we headed up the hill to enjoy the rest of our vacation with the kids, Mimi, Poppa, Auntie Em, and Uncle Marcus.  We went to the pool and the river.  We saw fireworks and made s'mores.  The girls went to camp to hike, swim, and meet new friends.  The grown-ups played poker; Marcus came out the big winner with an extra $10 in his pocket.  As usual, Jan and Mike were great hosts.

With vacation in the rear view mirror, we are back home and gearing up to the next big event.  I start work in less than two weeks.  Before then, there is a quick trip to Atlanta to see my grandfather, plus a trip to California for Scott.  So much for a boring summer. 

That is life in the stroller lane.

Ferraris and Fireworks

Last week, we escaped Cary for our annual visit to Beech Mountain to visit Mimi and Poppa.  Before the 4th of July festivities began, Scott and I enjoyed a day away.  While any time without kids is exciting, we maximized the opportunity and kicked up the adrenaline.  We headed to Lake Lure, NC to drive some very impressive (and VERY FAST) sports cars.  It was a belated birthday gift for Scott that I enjoy too.  We hugged the corners on windy mountain roads driving five serious cars.  We felt all 690 horses on the Mercedes McLaren, which I must note cost a whopping $450,000 - much more than our house.  We had the top down on the Ferrari and flew around corners in the gangster-looking Bentley ISR.  As if that wasn't good enough, we felt the power of the Jaguar XK and the Audi S4.  It was a great afternoon and tons of fun.  Unfortunately, none of the cars would accommodate a family of five, so at the event's end we turned in the keys and kept our minivan.

That night we headed up the hill to enjoy the rest of our vacation with the kids, Mimi, Poppa, Auntie Em, and Uncle Marcus.  We went to the pool and the river.  We saw fireworks and made s'mores.  The girls went to camp to hike, swim, and meet new friends.  The grown-ups played poker; Marcus came out the big winner with an extra $10 in his pocket.  As usual, Jan and Mike were great hosts.

With vacation in the rear view mirror, we are back home and gearing up to the next big event.  I start work in less than two weeks.  Before then, there is a quit trip to Atlanta to see my grandfather, plus a trip to California for Scott.  So much for a boring summer. 

That is life in the stroller lane.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Recovery is a team sport!

Recovery is a team sport.  Thank you to everyone.  Thanks for all the well wishes.  Thanks for all the notes.  Thanks for all the meals.  Thanks for watching the kids.  And a special thanks to Scott, the kids, and my mom for their tireless help and support this week. 

While everyone one else was busy helping me and the kids, I have been napping and hanging out on the couch.  But today is a big day - I actually got out of my PJ's.  Though, I expect at least another week or so of elastic waist bands, because my belly is still sore and I can't take the "good" pain meds. I have a big bottle of OxyContin and all it does is make me nauseous - what a waste.  No worries, I'm getting by Tylenol and Toradol (Advil's way better cousin).  

Even better than a good start to my recovery is the news this should be my FINAL SURGERY (please, let it be be true, because surgery sucks).  Unlike past visits to the OR, my doctor found a definite reason for my pain - not just the usual post-op "well we hope this surgery worked."  It turns out one of the ligaments holding up my lonely little ovary had torn.  The doctor said to Scott "no wonder she was hurting, that ovary was just flopping around."  He actually compared my ovary to twisting a testicle on a man.  I would have paid money to have seen Scott's face when the doctor made that analogy.

So with this week nearing it's end, we are all looking forward.  Jaley has her first swim meet, go Mini Sea Dragons.  Mick is having a special day with Nana.  And Sarah is headed to Mimi and Poppa's for her week at "Camp Harrell." 


Ellen Degeneres is starting soon, so I better wrap this up.  That is life in the stroller lane. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daddy's Home

It took 80 days for author Julio Cort├ízar to go around the world.  It took Scott 13.  He flew west, first to Shanghai, then to Bangalore, then to Delhi, and finally home completing the circle.  He is exhausted, but it was a very good trip.  He finally met in person some of the people he has worked with for years.  As wonderful as video conferencing is, face-to-face meetings are always better.  

While Scott was away, life here has kept up at its usual busy pace.  Sarah and Jaley finished school - and will be rising into 3rd and 1st grades next year.  Not much work was done in the final days of school, with lots of parties and performances - and a room full of parents with cameras in hand.  


With summer officially under way, camp time started.  Sarah and Jaley spent their days last week at a farm/nature camp - complete with gardening, horseback riding, tending chickens, creek stomping, pond swimming, and hiking.  It sounded like so much fun, I wanted to go, too.  Behold, they said I was too old to be a camper. Instead, I enjoyed some special time with Mick.  It is so rare that I have time with just him, it was really wonderful. 

In between our fun, there were lots of chores and infinite time at the pool.  Swim team is quite the commitment, with 3 practices/week, a Tuesday meet that runs well into the late night hours, and volunteer time for the parents.  If you are looking for us, come by the pool, since we are there more than home.  All that hard work is paying off, the girls are swimming better than ever and I'm sporting my best tans in a decade (despite applying sunscreen by the bucket). 

That is life in the stroller lane.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Have One When You Can Have Four?

Well, crap, I'm scheduled for surgery again.  Yes, normal people have a problem, have one surgery, and low and behold they are better.  But not me.  Apparently, I'm always the overachiever.  Instead of one surgery, I have dragged this out for four surgeries. 

For those of you, who are wondering what the heck I'm rambling about, I have been plagued for the past 4 1/2 years with pelvic pain.  It has been a saga that makes Tolstoy's War and Peace seem brief.  The pain has ranged from the joyous pain-free 2010, to the I can't get our of bet 2009, and everything in between.  Right now, I'm in the middle zone - wishing it was 2010 and happy its not 2009.  Thanks to about eight Advil and four Tylenol (and sometimes a little wine), I get my backside through the day.  But, I'm tired of living with constant pain.  Hopefully it ends as of June 18th, plus 3-5 weeks of recovery.

For the first time, my doctors (and I have seen many) think this is the magic surgery.  I sure hope so.
The odds are on their side, since at this point I have only one ovary left.  While four surgeries, definitely stinks, if I had it to do again, I would.  That is because, my piecemeal approach to a total hysterectomy gave me the chance to have Mick.  And having Mick, is worth much more than four surgeries.

So wish me luck on the 18th.  I sure hope that any future visits I make to the OR are as a nurse and not as a patient. 

That is life in the stroller lane.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Potty and Planes

All the talk around our house these days is potty talk.  Yes, we talk about the potty morning, noon, and night.  We even talk about the potty at dinner.  Mick is making the leap (or at least we are trying to make him leap) to the land of being potty trained.  At this point, Scott and I are 8 1/2 YEARS into changing diapers; we are more than ready to be done with this part of parenthood.  Mick is a week into underwear and thus far things are looking (somewhat) promising.  Please send positive potty thoughts our way, because we really want to stop spending all our disposable income on disposable diapers.

Regardless of Mick's potty training status, Scott won't be changing diapers for a couple of weeks.  He is off to Asia - first to Shanghai and then to Bangalore.  Most of his 14 days will be spent on airplanes, but in between he is meeting with a mix of Cisco employees, vendors, and customers.  No sightseeing or beach time - this is an all work, no play kind of trip. 

As for the girls their minds are already into summer, even though there are a few days left of school. We have been spending much of our free time at the pool for both swim practice and fun time.  Yesterday, they spent the entire afternoon outside building a fort with the boys next door.  It was the relaxing fun that only happens for kids in the summer.

As for me, I have been enjoying life without studying.  I haven't read anything more complicated than a magazine since passing my nursing boards.  How nice, especially since my summer of fun is coming to a close much sooner than I expected - but more about that in my next post.

That is life in stroller lane.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Have you been to Bald Head Island?

  Have you been to Bald Head Island?  If you haven't, you should go.  We escaped there for a few days last weekend.  It was absolutely wonderful.  Bald Head accessible only by ferry and no cars are allowed.  It is only golf carts on this 12-mile beach.  Even Tropical Storm Alberto couldn't stop our fun.  When the sun wasn't shining, we learned about sea turtles and more at the BHI Conservancy.  We went for a nature hike and watched hundreds of crabs scurry past our feet.  We even made time for a trip to the NC Aquarium in Kure Beach.  The water was cold, but the girls and Scott were brave enough to dive in.  Mick and I stuck to the land.  We relaxed and enjoyed some stress free days - the first in a very long time.  
 

And the stress free ways will continue for at least the next couple of months.  Yesterday, I passed the my nursing licensing boards. I AM OFFICIALLY a NURSE.  Gigi, RN - that's me.  It has been wild ride since I started this process, but I really went and did it. This crazy dream started in 2008 after a long night in the ER with Sarah, and it is now a reality.  Though I can't quite believe it.  Unlike believing I really am a nurse, I am having no trouble believing I have a two-month break before I start work.  If you want to find me, look for me doing all sorts of "fun mom" things.  I want to catch up for lots of play time that was missed the past 18 months.  


As for the kids, they are doing great.  Jaley and Sarah started the swim team.  So we have been at the pool every night at practice.  While it is a bit of a juggle since the practices run right through dinner time, it is amazing how much they have improved in just two weeks.  Mick is getting so big and continues to say the cutest things - from "dinner is 'licious, so yummy in my tummy" to "I'm grumpy, 'cuz Mommy made me go to bed."  

Scott is getting ready for a two week trip to Asia.  Bring on the jet lag.  


That is life in the stroller lane. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Taking Lots of Kids Pictures - Its What Moms Do

  


I thought it was time for a few pictures of the kids, doing what they do best - PLAYING.  While life was busy with me in school, I managed to take a few pictures proving that life wasn't all work and no play.  It was an early Spring, so we went for a family hike at Umstead.  Sarah tried out a little rock climbing.  Jaley set Mick up with the longest Match Box Car train we've ever seen.  And one day when Mick was "napping,"  he turned his room inside out .  Yes, that is Mick on top of a mountain of every book and article of clothing in his room. 

As for school, my official graduation is tomorrow.  Bring on the Pomp & Circumstance, I'm ready to flip my tassel.  Despite the thrill of graduation, I still have one (and only one) hurdle left on my Nursing School Odyssey - passing my boards.   I am scheduled to take my licensing exam, the NCLEX, on May 24th.  It is a national test to ensure I have achieved a "moderate level of competency."  Sadly, the practice tests I've been taking are leaving me feeling less than competent.  Happily, the first time pass rate for UNC grads is something like 98% - I hope those odds hold up for the class of 2012. 

For all the moms out there, have a very happy Mother's Day.  Get spoiled you deserve it.  That is life in the stroller lane.  


Monday, April 30, 2012

Nurse Gigi - Then and Now!

THEN & NOW



 I did it!!!  Today, I finished nursing school.  It has been a crazy 16-months, but it is here - I finished my last final this morning.  The champagne is chilling in the fridge. 
 
It turns out my new nursing career was foreshadowed many moons ago.  My mom searched through her old pictures and gave this to me as an early graduation gift.  Apparently, I played "The Nurse" in an elementary school play - Go figure!!!

THANK YOU to everyone who supported me through this journey - Scott, the kids, my mom, my in-laws, my sister and brother in-law, my aunt, my friends, and all my UNC-CH classmates. I wouldn't have made it without you.

So what is next? A much needed break.  I plan to do all the fun things I have put off while I was in school.  After that?  Passing my licensing boards in June, followed by a job in the Cardiac ICU in July.  Yup, I really am going to be a nurse!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's It's Snow, Almost!

Like an April Fool's from Mother Nature, I awoke to hail pelting the house at the speed and volume of a machine-gun. When the wind died down, it looked like a rouge snow storm had hit, except it was 60 degrees outside. Good news, I haven't found any roof leaks (though it was sunny today). The only apparent damage was a few minutes of lost sleep. I hope the neighbors were as lucky.

This week is Spring Break for the girls. Scott packed up the kids and headed South to visit Mimi and Poppa. I have clinicals and class, so I am staying home and manning the fort. While I am bummed to be missing a family vacation (and trust me Mimi had lots of FL fun planned), I only have 4 weeks left of school. Thank God!

The countdown is truly on. I am madly dashing to the finish line, and the rest of the family is cheering me on and doing well. Mick had school pictures. We got the pictures back and I think the photographer airbrushed him - he can't be that grown-up - he is still my baby. Sarah and Jaley are walking the Mills Park "Marathon." Unlike a regular marathon, we have 8 weeks to finish 26.2 miles. That is good news; nursing school has been horrible for my exercise regime. In the spirit of Spring and warm weather, the girls are signed up for Swim Team beginning in May. It turns out Swim Team is a major undertaking for kids and parents alike. Wish me well as a volunteer for the many activities while trying to keep Mick from diving head first into the pool. I may have to bring along a personal life guard, just to keep little guy safe.

That is life in the stroller lane.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Where does the time go?

I haven't updated this blog in forever. What can I say, life has been busy - that type of busy when showering becomes a luxury. So here it is, my final day of Spring Break and it is time for a quick update.

Most importantly we are all doing well and we are all counting down until I finish school (7 weeks, 3 days). I think we had the stamina for one year of an accelerated nursing program, the problem is the program is 16 months long. But the end is in sight.

Sadly, this hasn't been a cake-walk of a last semester. Say what you want about about Ga Tech, but that last semester was pretty relaxed. Not so much in nursing school. I have been working 12-hour weekend nights shifts and juggling a daytime schedule the rest of the week. Zombies are real, as I have turned into one more than once in the past two months. Good news, I am switching to day shift the second half of the semester, so I should it should be a little more balanced.

As for the family, they are doing great. The girls are still enjoying gymnastics. Sarah is hoping to join a more competitive class in the Fall. Jaley is planning to join the suburban masses and play soccer next school year. As for Mick, he is a riot. He dances and jives and shouts to his own funky beat entertaining us (and anyone else nearby) along the way. Scott took a new job at Cisco - for the first time in his career he has Engineering in his title.

That is life in the stroller lane.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bye-Bye Car Seat - Sarah is 8!!!

According to the laws of the great state of North Carolina, Sarah is a big kid and no longer legally requires a car seat. Sarah turned 8 yesterday and another milestone has passed in our house - one car seat down and two more to go. .

We celebrated with a cookie cake at lunchtime on Friday (no cakes in the classroom in 2nd grade) and a girls-only ice skating party. By the end of the party the kids were hyped-up on sugar and the parents were exhausted; it passed the test of a good party. We celebrated as a family that evening and proved that Santa isn't the only one to deliver gifts. Sarah was spoiled by friends and family alike.

As for the rest of the house, we are all well. I survived my first 12-hour night shift (7p-7a) on Friday night (yes, right before the party). Besides being a little tired, it was a great first night on the hospital floor. I am splitting the rest of the semester between days and nights, so I expect to be tired until graduation. If you see me wandering around in a daze, please point me in the right direction and give me a little push.

Scott is busy at work, but also busy trying to ignore that his birthday is arriving in 10 days. He is turning 39! How did that happen? Weren't we just complaining about turning 29 yesterday? But the calendar doesn't lie and that big birthday is just around the corner. To soften the blow, we are headed out with friends next Friday night (thank Nana for babysitting).

Jaley is having fun in kindergarten. She was the "star student" last week (don't worry this isn't a brag - all the kids get to be star for a week). She made a poster and then her teacher and her classmates wrote a book that was about all of her. Plus the 100th day of school is coming up, complete with a t-shirt she decorated with 100 things (thanks again to Nana for doing that project when I was working).

And Mick, he is wild as usual. I have a lot to learn about raising a boy. It is a whole different world. He currently turns everything he can find into a "gun" and "shoots" us. I mean everything. He was "shooting" me with Jaley's fairy wand last night. Where did he learn that? Not from me. Or Scott. And definitely not from the girls. It must just be a boy thing.

And that is the news from the stroller lane.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year, New Laughs

I hope your New Year is off to a great start. Before I get into the news from the Harrell house, it is time for a little humor. Last week, here is the conversation I had with Mick’s Sunday school teacher.


Teacher: “Your little Mickey must really like Mickey Mouse.”

Me: “Yes, why do you ask?” Meanwhile, I’m thinking of course Mickey loves Mickey Mouse. He shares a name with Disney’s most treasured character and thinks the entire Disney Jr. channel is a personal serenade.

Teacher: “In class, we were asking the kids questions and having them respond. We asked, ’Who is the Son of God?’ All the kids shouted, ‘Jesus’, except Mick who shouted, ‘Mickey Mouse.’ We asked, ‘Who loves you?’ All the kids the shouted, ‘Jesus,’ except Mick who shouted, ‘Mickey Mouse.’ And so the class went.”

Me: I was laughing too hard to even respond.

I just love the things little kids say. It can be endearing, humorous, and embarrassing all in one sentence. Mick is going to grow up soon and stop considering a Mickey Mouse religious figure. Until then, I have to treasure these moments. It may not have made his Sunday school teacher happy, but Mick’s shout out sure cracked me up.

Now that we are back to the regular routine, we need all the humorous relief we can find. I am officially back to school tomorrow, but am already knee deep in assignments. The semester kicks off at 9AM tomorrow with a 3-hour comprehensive test, followed Tuesday with a multi-part practical exam – fun, fun. As busy as I am, I’m not the only one. Scott is on the 6AM flight to San Jose. Sarah is practicing for the class spelling bee. Heck, even the cats have vet appointments this week. Vacation is only a few days past, but it is already a memory.

As for the holidays, we squeezed in lots of fun into a short time. We visited with Mimi and Poppa and spent lots of extra time with Nana. Christmas was a hurricane of wrapping paper – which led to three very happy (and spoiled) kids. On New Year’s Eve we finally saw the Acorn drop in Downtown Raleigh, though we attended the early session and were home before 8:00pm. We ice skated, watched movies, and went to a kids museum. We slept in as late a Mick would allow. In the end, we tried to play as much as possible. We knew the holidays would be over soon, and play time would be a rare commodity once again.

While the New Year’s countdown is over, we have another countdown beginning. I have just one semester left of school. We are counting down these last 16 weeks and hoping life is a little less hectic in May. That is life in the stroller lane.