Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - MomZania Style

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - MomZania Style

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look at the moms in line, shopping all the time
With games for boys and Star Wars toys aglow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
A shelf for ev'ry elf,
But the tackiest sight to see is the sweater that will be
On your very own self.  

Kids that behave and an awesome man cave
Is the wish of Mommy and Dad;
Toys that are tech and a gift card cheque
Is the hope of the girl and lad;
And shoppers galore trying to score the latest toy fad.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you sight;
There's a blow up tree in the neighbor's yard, and one in yours as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn't list far right.  

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Soon eggnog will pass,
And the thing that will make it best is the brandy that you test
Right within your glass

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from MomZania!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Exercise - Suburban Mom Style

There are those moms who finish Ironmans and those who hike the seven summits.  They are amazing, inspiring, and most definitely not me.  My goal when it comes to exercising is to simply make the Surgeon General happy.  You know the drill "30 minutes of some activity most days of the week."  Park myself on the stationary bike with a magazine and call it good enough.

Though, recently, I have been trying to spice up my workout routine.  At the rave reviews of a friend, I was convinced to join her in Zumba class.  You probably started Zumbaing (is that a word?) back in the 90's, but until recently I had completely missed that train.  Holy mother, Zumba is hilarious.  It is like going out dancing in college, minus the libations.  Just like in a club, there are about three people who actually know how to dance and then there are the rest of us.  Who cares that I have no rhythm.  Who cares that I have no moves.  The music is loud; the beat is good; so, I dance and have some fun.

Then, I decided to get one of those fitness trackers.  I have had a pedometer for years, but decided I would jump on the fitness tracking trend before it was gone.  Donning my brand new fitness tracker, Raleigh and I hit the trail.  This thing tracks your distance, your pace, even your heart rate, and because I didn't bother to read the owner's manual, probably some other great things.  Off went the dog and I, cruising along.  What I sadly learned it that my pace is ridiculously slow, my distance is short, but my heart rate, dang, it's high.  I guess that means "get in better running shape" goes on the New Year's Resolution list.  Or maybe I can take my Zumba classmates running with me, then I won't care what my pace is.

There is just one day of school before Christmas break and Scott finishes up the next day.  Then, it is the most relaxing two weeks of the year.  The only two weeks when (nearly) everything shuts down.  I can't wait.  Bring on the eggnog, bring on carols, bring on the holiday cheer - it's officially Christmas time.

That's life in MomZania.

Monday, December 7, 2015

It's Like Speed for the Holidays - ThanksMas

When your family lives on the opposite coast, you don't stretch out the holidays or celebrate them one at a time.  No, you have to speed celebrate.  It is like speed dating for your holidays activities.  You have one chance to get in the entire holiday season.  It was another successful ThanksMas at our house with Mimi, Poppa, and Auntie Em.

We combine the entire holiday season - full Thanksgiving and full Christmas - into one short visit.   We found the perfect tree and roasted an awesome turkey.  We visited live reindeer in San Francisco and stood in line for Black Friday deals.  We ran a Turkey Trot and trimmed the tree.  We opened gifts and played touch football.  We watched Christmas movies and Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special.  And we did it all, just in a bit of a hurry.

It was fabulous to see the Harrell's and show them our new and improved home. They ooo'd and ahhh'd over such luxuries as our working oven and functioning bathrooms.  While all the activities were tons of fun; the family time was the best.  With school out and Scott on vacation, we were able to ignore the real world for a few days and just enjoy the moment.  We already miss our family and are looking forward to our visit East this summer.

Thanks to ThanksMas, our Christmas season got off to an early start.  We are continuing the festivities along with the regular routine.  Scott is in Europe for another whirlwind trip.  Sarah is trying out for the Middle School basketball team.  Jaley is rehearsing away for her big debut in the school play.  With soccer finished and T-ball not yet started, Mick is honing his TV watching skills during his time in the off season. Me?  I don't know where the time goes, but I sure am busy.

That is life in MomZania.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Chuck E. Cheese's Next Marketing Campaign

Chuck E. Cheese's is the perfect kids birthday party spot.  It is Vegas for little ones.  Our family has celebrated numerous birthdays at Chuck E. Cheeses' from coast to coast. Why is it that I leave that place so exhausted?

We went to a Chuck E. Cheese's birthday party yesterday.  When we left I was spent.  I wouldn't have been more tired if I had taken an entire bottle of Ambien.  What is it about that place?  I didn't host the party.  I didn't ride any rides.  I didn't play any games.  And I most certainly didn't go climbing through the play structure.  I didn't do anything other than protect the precious ticket pile.  You know the tickets.  It takes 437 tokens to win 33 tickets.  Then, if you are lucky, the girl at the counter will round you up to 35 tickets, so you can get the plastic top that will be broken/lost/thrown away before the day is done.

I do take my ticket protecting job seriously or risk the wrath of young children amped up on sugar.  We proudly came home with both a plastic snake and plastic frog - it was just what I was looking for to complete our house decorations.

I got home and so badly wanted a nap, but I had to go to another loud, wild, kid-centric  event up at the school.  By the time I crawled into bed last night, I don't think I was even speaking in sentences.  I was mumbling nonsense to which Scott replied, "why don't we chat tomorrow."  I shook my head, turned out the light, and slept like a baby.

They say insomnia is a $32 Billion (with a B) market in America.  It turns out all it takes is 30 minutes in a Chuck E. Cheese's to guarantee a great night's sleep. Maybe that should be their next marketing campaign.

Beyond exhausting visits to the Cheese's, we are gearing up for the holidays.  It is definitely and unbelievably that time of year again

.  My house needs cleaning and my grocery getter needs to get going, because company is arriving this weekend. Forget the party cake and pizza, it is Turkey time.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, October 30, 2015


It is Halloweeny.  You know how Christmas is too big for one day, so we added the entire month of December. That now applies to Halloween.  Halloween has gotten much too big to fit into a simple evening of candy collecting with a 5-minute costume and pillow case.  It is a month long affair - it is Halloweeny.

Tomorrow is the big day, the culmination, the 31st.  Today, it the end of the run up.  The kids are costumed at school completing an entire week of dressing up.  No, I don't think it is a coincidence that National Red Ribbon Week is the last week of October.  The have arrived to learn in pajamas, as twins, with crazy hair, donning super hero capes, and more.

Today, Jaley was off as a Candy Fairy, complete with a lollipop wand.  Mick is styling as his favorite candy, of course, an M&M.  Sarah, demonstrating her tweendom, opted for pumpkin attire stating she didn't want to chance ruining her real costume before tomorrow.  There is an all day party in kindergarten and a school wide parade.  Don't think the middle schoolers are left out, there was a Wednesday night Pumpkin Palooza and lunch time festivities today.  Plus, my very social 11-year old is going to two (yes, two) Halloween parties and has made plans to trick-or-treat in multiple locations.

That is just the kids.  We grown up have fully embraced the Halloweeny.  The neighborhood is completely aglow in orange and purple.  Ghosts and goblins add an eerie vibe to nearly every home.  We made sure to spookify our house with a few spiders and bats.  My candy stash is at full capacity and the neighbors asked us down for a little Witches Brew tomorrow night.

Why has Halloween grown to be Halloweeny?  I think it is because everyone can enjoy it.  Who doesn't like free candy!  Unlike other holidays, there is no pressure to host a big meal or buy a million gifts.  Just slap on something orange and have fun.  We say it is for the kids, but we all love Halloween and it today it sounds good to it a Halloweeny a month long affair.

That is life in MomZania.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Snow Plow, Tiger, Helicopter, or Free Range

The throws of school in full swing.  There are endless streams of homework, friends, activities, volunteering, and so much more.  It feels as though I'm spending 26 hours a day on parenting.  With all the managing of the kids' schedules, I have gotten to wondering exactly what type of parent I am.

Am I a Snow Plow Parent?  Simply going out in front of the kids pushing every obstacle out of their way, then laying salt and sand ensuring safe passage.

Am I a Tiger Mom?  Finding all the perfect activities and scholastic opportunities to ensure their success in the classroom, college, and career.

Am I the Helicopter Mommy?  Flying overhead making sure the every assignment is completed, every appointment is kept, and every bully banished to harassing others.

Am I the Free Range Friend?  Pushing the kids to fly on their own, make mistakes, and determine their own path.

Maybe I am none of them? Or all of them? Or Tiger on Tuesday and Free Range on Fridays?  Or Snow Plow with Sarah and Helicopter Mommy with Mick?
I really don't know which I am.

I do know for certain parenting is hard work.  If you had asked me when I was 25 what made parenting hard, I would have said the diapers and the spit-up.  In actuality those were the easier parts, messy, but straightforward.  Dirty diaper? Change it.  Spit-up?  Clean it.

The hardest part of parenting is figuring out just how to parent.  Do you let your baby cry it out at 2am?  Let your toddler watch TV?  Let your elementary work out their fight with their BFF alone?  Your middle schooler bomb an assignment because he procrastinated? Your high schooler date and drive?  So many questions and so few clear answers.

You can scour the internet, but you will find an infinite different opinions.  The same is true for asking friends and family.  The truth is there usually isn't an easy yes/no answer.  The answer to real world parenting is it depends.  It depends on the child, the parent, the situation, the day, the place, and the phase of the moon.

What type of parent am I?  I still don't know and probably never will.  I will just answer each tricky question of parenthood as it pops up and hope for the best.  

That is life in MomZania.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Watch Out - Kid with a Cell Phone

Check out Sarah's new cell phone.  Yup, she is holding one of the old school bricks, circa ~1994.  No apps, no texting, not even a way to plug it into the wall - only a car charger.  Sarah was begging for a cell phone, so off we went to the AT&T store. I don't know who was more surprised, Sarah or the AT&T employee when I asked to get service for this old beast.

Scott and I have been dragging our feet on getting Sarah a cell phone.  She has been begging and we have been strongly saying no.  Frankly, I didn't feel like policing one more technology (who are your calling this late), finding anyone else's lost phone (I have enough trouble keeping up with my own), or dealing with the inevitable tech support issues (mom, I just dropped my phone in the bathtub).  Not to mention all the scary stories about cyber bullying and such.  So the answer was always no.  Then, the she started middle school.  It turns out the newest rite of middle school passage is a cell phone - just like dressing out for PE and changing classes.  When Sarah said,  "everyone has a cell phone,"  she wasn't exaggerating.  Everyone does have a cell phone.

After great debate, Scott and I agreed (caved) but only after adding many rules, restrictions, and regulations.  First, she wasn't getting a data plan.  Talk and text, love it or leave it.  Second, we weren't buying her a brand new phone. While she didn't get the 1994 special, she did inherit Scott's old phone.  Third, we set up some (many) rules.  Simple, but not always obvious rules, like humans in the room trump texts on your phone.

So here we are.  Sarah has a cell phone.  More than the candles on her cake, it shows just grown up she is getting.  Her phone has only been working for a few minutes and she is already talking and texting with her friends.  God save us.

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mick is 6!

Mick turned six today.  Where does the time go?  I know every parent says that, but, really, where does the time go?  There is nothing about six that says baby.  Six says, "Look at me, I'm a kid! Full-energy, high-octane, capital K-I-D, kid!" For his birthday, the boy got a mountain bike, a mountain bike with gears!  That ain't no baby bike!

Here I sit enjoying this moment of birthday celebration, but I am also wistful for baby moments gone past.  Don't get me wrong, I don't miss midnight feedings, poopy diapers, or temper tantrums.  But how I miss those moments snuggling a baby.  A quiet snuggle with a sleeping baby may be the closest thing to Heaven there is on Earth.

But enough of my syrupy mom dribble, how did Mick spend his 6th birthday?  Living it up, of course.  We started with a giant pancake breakfast at a local diner.

Next, was his special day celebration in his classroom - including both a crown and special chair for the day.  As soon as school was out, we were off to Pump It Up for a bounce 'til you burst birthday party.  Why wait until the weekend, let's party today.  As if that wasn't enough, it was back home for gifts and more junk food.  Finally, a soft landing right into bed.  We are all exhausted, but it was a great birthday.

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Decorating 101

Have you ever watched HGTV?  In just 30 minutes (and with no budget), they turn any home into a decorator show place.  Why can't I get those results?  With the kids back in school and summer fun finished up, I have turned my focus to trying to decorate our "newish" house.  Unlike HGTV, real world decorating takes a lot of time and effort and budget.  All things, I would prefer to spend in other ways.

Here I sit with infinite ideas pouring out of Houzz and Pinterest.  Kids art wall?  Love it.   Everything stored in cute matching baskets?  Sounds great.  Mural on the Wall?  That must be easy.

Research shows it takes 20 positive comments to offset just one negative comment.  Maybe the same is true of decorator pictures.  For every one picture of pristine closets or perfect play rooms, I need 20 pictures of cluttered, clashing real world homes. Then, I may actually settle into realistic decorating expectations.

The kids rooms will be cluttered.   The pantry will be disorganized.   Things will get dirty, scratched, and broken. Instead of fighting these realities, I should except clutter follows kids like jelly follows peanut better.  I should be thankful we have enough food to make it messy.  And, I should realize homes are made to get broken - it means you are living and enjoying them.

While at some point, I do need to empty that box of glassware sitting in our coat closet. I need to cover up our currently naked walls.  And I need to get a table for our currently junk filled dining room.  Right now, I need to step away from Houzz and delete all HGTV content from the DVR.

Instead, I am going to grab the dog and walk to pick up the kids at school.  The weather is perfect today.  I will save the decorating for a day when it isn't (which may be a while, since it is usually nice here).

As for the family, we are mostly back to the school routine.  Lunches are in the fridge.  Homework is (I hope) getting done.  Activities are taking over our schedule.  Scott is back to traveling again, but not as much as in the spring.  I am volunteering for a myriad of things.  It definitely sounds like Fall.

That is life in MomZania

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fire Drill Fail

The fire department recommends families should practice a home fire drill every three months.  Since having kids, we have had (maybe?) three home fire drills.  Those few times we have actually planned a family fire drill, we have all gotten outside quickly and efficiently.  We have met at the mailbox and applauded ourselves on just how safe we were.

That was until last Thursday night.  If Fire Drills were graded, we would have received an F!  For some unknown reason at 3:00AM, our amazingly loud, painful-to-the-ears, alarm started going off. Scott and I burst out of bed in complete confusion.  MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

1-Minute Mark: We had just installed a home security system, which was having tons of issues, so I immediately thought it was the culprit.  I tap in the code, the screen says "Alarm Disabled." The ringing just keeps blaring!!!  I type the code again, and again, and again.  Absolutely, no luck!  MAKE THAT TERRIBLE SOUND STOP!!!

5-Minute Mark:  Scott screams at me over the horrible beeping, "Do you think it's the fire alarm?"  That is when we both take a moment to actually listing to the noise.  In between, the excruciating beeping, a voice is also screaming "FIRE." Why are we such idiots that we didn't hear it yelling "fire?"  MAKE THAT HORRIBLE SOUND STOP!!!

15-Minute Mark: Jaley and Sarah are up.  Yes, it took them that long to wake up.  I usher them outside, to escape the horrible beeping.

20-Minute Mark: Where the heck is Mick?  He is still sound asleep in his bed.  This noise is loud enough to wake the dead, but my son is still snoring away.  I usher him outside, too.  CRAP, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

25-Minute Mark:  Where did I put the giant stack of owner's manuals the builder gave me when we moved in?  Why didn't I read all those manuals?  Now, with a scarf tied around my ears, I find those manuals and even find the one for a fire alarm.  Why is it for a different brand?  Crap, it is the manual for the fire alarm at our last house. F$@#, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

30-Minute Mark:  I find the right owner's manual.  Scott hits the button to silence the alarm, and for 30 seconds it is quiet.  Then, it starts again.  F$@#, , F$#@, F$#@, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

45-Minute Mark:  With ladder in tow, we hit the silence button on every single unit in the house.  The blaring noise continues.  We try to find an answer on Google; no luck.  The blaring continues.  PLEASE GOD, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

60-Minute Mark:  Apparently, the prayer worked.  The blaring stopped.

So there you have it.  The worst fire drill ever.  It took us 20-minutes to get the kids out of the house and we never got ourselves or the pets out.  What a lesson. The fire department is right, we need to practice more and be ever thankful it wasn't an actual fire.

Beyond our malfunctioning fire alarms, life is running pretty smooth.  The kids were back to school this week.  Middle school, 6th grade, for Sarah.  Kindergarten for Mick. And an upper class, 4th grade, for Jaley.  At the Welcome Back Parent Coffee this morning, the school's safety officer proudly announced they had a successful fire drill yesterday.  They evacuated the entire school (700 people) in 2 minutes, 43 seconds.  I need him to come train at our house.

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Portland - Friends, Flugtag, Falls, and One Funny Train Ride

We just got back from a fast, but fun-filled trip to Portland.  The motivation for and the best part of the trip was seeing our friends, the Millers.  We hadn't seen them since 1999, but some friendships stay strong regardless of the number of years between visits.  Thanks, Amy and Brook.  

While hanging with the Millers, we tried to squeeze in as much of the Portland vibe as we could.  Food carts - definitely.  Hiking through gorges and swimming under waterfalls - absolutely.  Reading books at Powell's - surely.  Enjoying a great micro brew and standing in line to Voodoo donuts - Hell ya.   

Most unusual was the Flugtag.  Don't know what the Flugtag is?  Ask any Red Bull drinking 20-year old.  It is Red Bull's challenge to actually give people wings.  Teams descend upon one lucky city each year with human propelled contraptions with the hope of flying, though none of the teams we saw actually flew.  They just launched off a 30' platform and splashed into the Willamette River with great pomp.  Even without flight it was a fun afternoon of spectactular splashes.  

As with all trips, there is no destination without a journey.  Our journey to Portland may not have been have half the fun, but it was definitely half the funny and a journey we will never forget.  It started with my 'great' idea of taking the overnight train to Portland (Scott needed to work and wisely choose to fly in later).  In theory, the kids and I would board at 8pm and be magically whisked north to Oregon in time for afternoon sightseeing the next day.  Except, it didn't quite play out that way.  It started with a 5-hour delay in San Jose and the kids sleeping in a train station.  Once we finally started rolling came the motion sickness.  Nothing says 6am wake up call, like the sound of a child retching.  With a little medicine, a little food, and a lot of clean up, we all got to feeling better.  Then, came the realization that most of our electronic entertainment wasn't working.  Then, came the broken engine.  Then, came the delays because our late train had to yield to every other train.  Then, came a day with record breaking heat which made the train slow to 40 mph.  And finally, many, many hours late we finally arrived in Portland. While we were ecstatic to be off the train, it was a horribly, hilarious voyage.  We are still laughing about it.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Summer of Fun

Summer is quickly passing by.  I just got an email from the school about the start of the school year.  I don't know who is more disappointed me or the kids.  I am thoroughly enjoying this "what are we going to do today" summer lifestyle.  

While the days of summer may be numbered, we have been maximizing the ones so far.  Since we were finally moved in to our home, I deemed 2015 the summer of fun.  I was going to make good on all those times I've said, "we should get together soon."  I was also steadfast that we would explore some of the amazing sights of California.  People come from all over the world to visit, we could at least hop in the car and drive a couple of hours. 
From Atlantic (still awesome) to Pacific (still frigid), it has been a busy summer, with more fun coming before the first school bell rings. We camped in Big Sur enjoying some amazing hikes and beautiful coasts, but with weather in the 50's-60's we only got our toes wet.  The girls headed to camp for a week in the Santa Cruz mountains.  While they were away, Mick and I darted off to the Lone Star State to hang in Houston with my great friend Angela.  The trip was a wish for me, but since Angela has three boys it was epic for Mick.  Thanks for hosting, Angela

Most recently, we were off on a North Carolina odyssey.  We had our annual 4th of July family extravaganza in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  There were fireworks and card board boat races. There was zip lining and pool time.  There was amazing BBQ and wonderful sweet ice tea.  Most importantly, there was family. Next up, was time hanging in our old 'hood in Cary.  Nana opened up her home to us and we visited tons of friends.  We were reminded once again what a special neighborhood we lived in - great people in a great place.  

To top is off, we ditched the cars and returned to the amazing, golf cart only Bald Head Island.  We were joined by Nana, Mimi, Poppa, the Fiedlers, and even a quick visit from the Olivas.  We played on the beach and in the pool.  We tried out paddle boarding and decided windy days aren't the best for beginners.  The girls hit the waves on surf boards and even I took a turn hanging ten.  I did grow up in Florida after all.  Everyone agreed the most special moment was witnessing a nest of endangered loggerhead sea turtles rise up and make their way to the sea.  It was truly magical.  

Next up is a long in the making trip to Portland to visit the Millers and then camping in Yosemite.  Like I said, it is the summer of fun.  All the stuff of the real world piling up in the background.  

That is life in MomZania.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ode to Scott and Fathers Everywhere

I usually alternate my blogging between lamenting and celebrating life from the mommy perspective.  In honor of Father's Day (albeit a bit late) I thought tonight I would post a bit about Scott, the good old dad in our house.

  • Scott is Switzerland.  When the kids and I are warring fractions, he comes in and makes peace without ever taking sides (though secretly I know I'm always right - LOL)
  • Scott is Present.  His job is long and stressful and all consuming, but when he walks in the door he leaves it behind.  The crummy meeting, the overloaded schedule, the deadlines looming - he never mentions them.
  • Scott is Vegas.  What happens with Daddy stays with Daddy.  I envision feasts of chocolate and wild children running amok.  It may or may not be true, but the kids are ecstatic for a day with dad and I have learned not to ask the details.  
  • Scott is Spontaneity.  I plan, I schedule, I run the family train on the Express Loop.  Scott is the scenic route, the stop and smell the roses route.  Why don't we ditch the chores and go to the movies?  Why don't we play a game?  Why don't we go out for FroYo?  
  • And Scott is So Much More....Like right now, Scott is sitting at an airport in Bangkok.  He had to fly out first thing Sunday morning, Father's Day. He spent 26 hours flying there and will spend another 26 flying back.  He had just a one day business meeting.  He could have stayed and did some sightseeing.  He could have stayed and gotten some much needed sleep.  But no, Scott said he just wanted to get home to the family.  The sightseeing and sleep could wait until we were all together. 
Thanks to Scott and all the dads out there!  The kids and moms sure do appreciate all that you do, even if the only way we show that thanks is by putting another item on you "Honey Do" list.  

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Meet the Newest Harrell - OMG We Got a Puppy

Introducing the newest member of the Clan Harrell.  Meet, Raleigh!  You can take us out of the Tar Heel State, but North Carolina will always be in our hearts.

Who gets a puppy when you are renovating a home and moving?  Only us!  Do you remember when the Obama's promised their girls a dog when they moved into the White House.  Well, that kind of persuasion by the kids doesn't just happen at the White House. Here we are in our new home with our new puppy, minus the dog training help of the Secret Service.  We got him at 8 weeks and now he is 5 months; we are finally brave enough to introduce him.

If you are curious, Raleigh is a Bearded Collie.  If you ever saw the movie The Shaggy Dog, you know the breed.  Beardies are one of those obscure breeds, but I had one for a little while when I was young and have wanted one ever since.  Since the mom is the one who does most of the walking/bathing/feeding/pooper scooping, Scott said the mom should pick the breed.  Plus, if I don't like the breed I have only myself to blame.

The Good:
Raleigh is sweet and loving.  His sole goal in life is to have his belly rubbed.  He has the potential to be the best family dog ever.  He was (mostly) house trained super quick.  Unlike my children, this "baby" slept through the night from almost day one.  He even cleans up the floor after dinner.

The Bad:
He is a puppy!  That pretty much sums it up.  He eats shoes and nips at hands. He spontaneously goes crazy and runs like wild banshee.  He is a herding dog and tries to herd the family.  He jumps on people and chases other dogs.  He chews on everything (except the toys we buy him).

We are trying to teach Raleigh some manners.  Neither Scott nor I have ever really had a dog as adults, we are trying to learn right along side the dog.  Like when Raleigh has a potty accident, we roll up the newspaper and take a good ourselves, because we forgot to let him out - oops.

Please pass along all your tips and advice, because we could use it.  The other night I was running around outside soaking wet in only a towel when he escaped through the front door while I was in the shower.  I think both me and the neighbors will need counseling after that moment.

That is the newest Zania in MomZania.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

And Just Like That, She is a Middle Schooler


In the blink of an eye, Sarah finished an amazing chapter of her own personal story.  Today was her last day of elementary school culminated with a 5th grade promotion ceremony.  Tonight, Scott and I are relaxing at home while she is out at a party with her friends.  How far she has come from the tiny 5-year-old arriving her first day to kindergarten!  And how far she will to go as she moves through middle school and beyond.

While I could rattle off a million memories from Sarah's elementary years, it is the simple ones that sometimes tell the story best.

In Kindergarten, she asked me if we spelled I "I", why isn't you spelled "U"? Good question.

In Second Grade, she was sent to the principal's office for an "altercation" on the bus.  A little boy was teasing her everyday and Sarah decided enough was enough.  You better believe that boy never messed with her again.  And while Scott and I weren't very happy about the visit to the office, we had a glimpse of a future woman who could handle herself no matter what the world or the boys through at her.

In Third Grade, I caught her hiding in her room reading at midnight.  All it took was the first Harry Potter book and she was hooked.  The magical world of books beyond the Dick & Jane was revealed.  She hasn't stopped reading since.  

In Fifth Grade, she brought home a big graded project that I knew nothing about. She didn't need a me to check it or organize it or even know about it.  She just did the work herself and did it well.  That was the moment I knew she was ready for middle school.  It told me more than any report card ever could.

Here Sarah stands ready for the next chapter.  Middle school is such an exciting time, so full of change.  While I can't believe middle school is already here, I know she is ready.

Congratulations, Sarah!

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Too Many Parties - It must be the End of an Overscheduled School Year

Let me be the one to say it, I am tired of celebrations.  Don't get me wrong, I love a party, but there can be too much of a good thing.  It is the countdown to summer and there have been so many end of year/season/school/fill in the blank events I can't keep up.  I think I should just keep a pack of cupcakes in the car so I am ready at all times.

I could blame this overabundance of jubilation on many things, but I just need to look in the mirror to find the culprit.  I, the mom whose mantra is "don't over schedule the kids," have kids who are woefully over scheduled.  It is just so hard to say no.  Piano is good and so is Girls On the Run and so is AWANA at church and so is Taekwondo.  What isn't good is all of them at the same time.  Until this week, Jaley had activities 6 days a week - she is 8.  What was I thinking?

Here we are at the end of the school year and the end of all the activities.  We have celebrated by camping at the beach and camping in the mountains.  We have spray painted our hair and ran a 5K.  We have eaten mountains of cupcakes, ice cream, and pizza.  We have gotten our medals and our awards and tucked them away to get dusty.  We have volunteered for field day and dressed up like pioneers for Apple Valley.  We have finished our Georgia State Report our Pink Dolphin Marine Mammal Project and been the Special Student of the Week.  We checked out a year's worth of work at the school open house and were oriented during middle school orientation. We have been to the student art show and paid for the 5th grade picnic.  We have even become starfish and dolphins at swim lessons. While we may be partied out, Scott and I are simultaneously impressed by all these events and wondering how things got so darn busy.

With the promise of lazy summer days approaching, I will resolve not to over schedule the kids next year.  And when Jaley or Sarah or Mick asks to play soccer or play the flute or join the debate team or tryout for the school play, I will probably say yes, yes, yes, and yes all over again.  Saying yes is often much easier than saying no.  Bring on the awards and ice cream, I am off to 5th Grade Music Performance in just a few minutes.

That is life in MomZania.