Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Eagle Has Landed - The Girls Are Home - The Rhythm is Back

The Eagle Has Landed.  Last night, the girls arrived safely back home in California.  It was their first solo cross-country flight.  Yup, unaccompanied minors from coast to coast.  There were no calls from TSA and no air marshal met us at the gate, so I am assuming the girls behaved themselves on the 6-hour flight.  Thank God for the iPad, because US Airways has removed all in-flight TV and movies from their planes.  Take away the food; take away the free luggage, but don't take away the in-flight entertainment.  Kids need it for flights almost as much as they need the pressurized cabin.

During their extra week of vacation, the girls had a ball doing a whole lot of everything.  They had one on one time with Mimi, Poppa, Auntie Em, and their cousins.  They played at the pool, learned a little about golf, went shopping, enjoyed marathon Monopoly games, and even had a home-spa night.  It was a great week full of fun and memories.

While the girls were in NC, Scott, Mick, and I enjoyed a great week, too, but the rhythm was different. Like an orchestra playing, a family's rhythm takes all the members of the house. With only three of us at home, it was a completely different beat.  The washing machine and dish washer weren't humming at all times.  There was no squabbling over who got the bigger serving of dessert.  And not even once was there an argument over the TV channel, Mick watched whatever he wanted, simple as that.  For one glorious week, Mick learned what it was like to be an only child.  And guess what, he missed Sarah and Jaley.  So did Scott and I.  It was quieter, calmer, and there was definitely less to pick up.  As nice as it was, it wasn't our regular, crazy rhythm.

Last night, all three of us went to pick up the girls at the airport, even though the task only really needed one of us.  The girls walked off the plane and we welcomed them home with giant smiles and hugs.  As we drove home down the highway, all three kids started fighting over a junky Happy Meal toy.  Then, Scott and I snapped in, "Can't you kids even go five minutes without a fight."  Then, I knew the family rhythm was back to normal.  It may be zany; it may be mania, but it is our family rhythm.  It takes all five of us to play our symphony, even it it's slightly off key.

That is life in MomZania.

Monday, July 7, 2014

From Beach to Beech - An Amazing Family Vacation

The last time I took a two week vacation I got married, enjoyed our honeymoon, and somehow convinced UNC to accept me (the first time through).  This trip wasn’t quite as momentous, but it was amazing nonetheless.  The Harrell 5 went back to our roots and hung out in the Tar Heel state for a fabulous visit.  We kicked it off with Nana at the BEACH; Bald Head Island to be precise.  It's just a mile from the coast, but feels like it's a million.  There are no cars (just golf carts) and cell coverage is iffy, hence it is perfect.  We played in the surf and sand reconfirming Atlantic beaches beat Pacific ones hands down.  Jaley and I kayaked the marshes and at the urge (dare) of our guides sampled Periwinkle snails that were, OMG, live.  I wouldn’t add them to your shopping list, but we can say that we did it.  Sarah took a surf lesson and was hanging 10 almost as soon as she hit the waves.  Mick ditched the floaties once and for all, proving all those swim lessons were totally worth the price.  We were so fortunate to departed just days before Hurricane Arthur arrived.  Our thoughts go out to all those folks on the coast who had damage from the storm.  

Next, we were off to Cary.  While a year has passed since we moved, it was amazing how nice and easy it was to return to the neighborhood groove.  Southern hospitality was at it finest when the Gilmores surprised us with a welcome back party.  The friendship and hospitality continued all week with lunches and dinners, play dates and pool time.  It reminded us why we loved our NC home for 14 years.  It is an amazing place with even more amazing people.   

Finally, we headed to BEECH, Beech Mountain that is, for a giant family reunion.  The last time we visited with that much family was at our wedding on our last two week trip.  It was a three generation Harrell-Beeman family reunion.  We totaled out with 28 people and one very special visit.  We hiked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, had the most patriotic group in the 4th of July Parade, and enjoyed lots of delicious North Carolina BBQ.  Best of all was hanging with the extended family and watching the little cousins play as only cousins can.

Now three of us are home; the girls are chilling a few extra days with Mimi & Poppa.  We are already counting the days until our next NC visit , but until then there is an open invitation to all our East Coast peeps to come on out and visit us in CA.

That is life in MomZania.