Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Not-Perfect, Plenty-Good Christmas & Other Random Holiday Thoughts

The kids still have a few days of school and, likewise, Scott and I still have a few days of work, but we are all eager for the holiday break.  Right now, I should be cooking dinner or walking the dog, instead I sit here in my beautifully, ugly Christmas sweater, pondering the (not-so) important questions of the holiday season.

Does the UPS-man ever sleep?  Not once, not twice, but thrice this season, I have woken to find a package outside the door long before the sun has risen.  He must be taken delivery lessons straight from Santa.

Does anyone else have a lazy, well-behaved Elf on the Shelf? Our elf doesn't mess up the kitchen or rearrange the tree.  Heck, most nights he doesn't go anywhere; we find him in the same place the next morning.  Oh yes, I know who's to blame for such lazy un-Elf-like behavior.  Let's just say his locally-based Elf boss is too tired to teach him proper Elf on the Shelf antics.

Is there such a thing as too many decoration?  That is a rhetorical question; the answer is, obviously, no.  Add more tinsel, wear uglier sweaters, put another blowup snowman in the yard.  We only have one time of year to be terribly tacky, go big or go home.

Should we propose a ban on the use of all bathroom scales between October and January?  Absolutely.  It is a feast from Halloween until New Years.  This year, I asked Santa to bring me a scientist who can prove cookies are health food.  Eat up and avoid the scale, because Santa always delivers.

Will everything be perfect this Christmas?  Absolutely not. Beautiful wrapped packages with gorgeous bows atop will be under someone else's tree.  Dozens of decadent, homemade cookies are in another kitchen.  And, hand-addressed cards with personal letters inside will be sent from another family.  But, the Harrell Christmas will be plenty good enough.

That is where we will leave off for my last post of 2016.  We are counting down to our not-perfect, plenty-good Christmas.  The daily routine this year was rather banal, but taken as a whole it has been an amazing year.  Scott has rejoined the Enterprise Group (routing and switching) at Cisco and has an ever growing realm of products to manage.  I am back to work after a 3+ year break.  Bring on the boo-boos and band-aids - school nursing is the place to be.  Sarah is half way through middle school, just days away from being a teenager, and proving to be quite an athlete.  Jaley is rounding the final turn on elementary school in 5th grade and proving that girls are super-tough in Taekwondo.  Mick is all kid these day, with not even a whisper of the baby who disappeared so quickly.  He's in first grade, has a personality to charm the world, and loves every sport he meets.  Even Raleigh is a "big pup" these days.  He can be trusted with both shoes on the floor and food on the counter.

May you also enjoy a not-perfect, plenty-good Christmas.  If the turkey is dry or the gift is all wrong - remember that is part of the fun.  If it is really a mess, you still have 370 shopping days until next holiday season.  We wish you a Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year.

That is life in MomZania

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Family, Friends, Food & Football - Thanksgiving Success

We just returned from an amazing Thanksgiving week in Atlanta.  It was filled with family, friends, food and football.  We arrived in Atlanta just in time to watch the Jackets trounce UVA.   It was the kids first game on campus and my first in over a decade!  We followed that fun by teaching the kids the proper response to "What's the Good Word?" when the GT women trounced UGA in basketball.

Catching up with GT friends made the visit to our alma mater all the sweeter.  It may be years between visits, but friends from college are friends for life.  We laughed and reminisced and hoped the kids weren't listening when we talked about some of the antics of younger years.

While football may be a Thanksgiving tradition, it is really about gathering together.  Our trip was truly a reunion.  All week family and friends opened their homes and their hearts.  We shared the holiday with Auntie Em, Nana, and all of my extended family.  We enjoyed tons of great home cooked food and some of our favorite Atlanta restaurants.

Now, we are home in California and back to work and school tomorrow.  It was a great trip and a perfect way to kick off the holiday season.  Put away the fall decor it is time for Christmas galore.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Competitive Carpool League

My kids may be playing recreation sports, but my carpool schedule is definitely in the competitive league.  It is a mad dash of drop-offs, pick-ups, and coordination. For those of you with school-age kids, I know you are right there with me.

This week was particularly crazy.  I went back and counted it up.  The kids had a grand total of 19 individual activities  - plus an epic night of trick-or-treating on Monday.  I have nightmares of forgetting to pick one of them up.  The sad part is I know it's not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.

It was the change of seasons that made this week particularly crazy.  I don't mean the change to autumn.  Sarah traded field hockey for two basketball leagues (yes, two and no, that wasn't planned well).  Jaley is finishing her Chorus performances tonight; Taekwondo belt testing is starts Monday.  Soccer isn't even over for Mick, but the emails for basketball and Little League are already flying.  I thought I was raising free-range kids.  What a joke, mine are just as overscheduled as the headlines portray Suburban kids.

Beyond carpool, the rest of life keeps moving at a brilliantly fast pace. The first grading term of the school year is over.   Reports cards are on their way.  I am settled into my new job as the school nurse.  Lots of band-aids, boo-boos, and belly aches, but a surprising amount of significant injury and illness, too.  Fall is always a busy time of work travel for Scott.  Happily, he is in town next week.  Heck, his suitcase may even get fully unpacked, instead of staying half-packed and at the ready.

That is life in MomZania

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Birthdays - Breaks - Braces

First up, birthdays.  It's October, Mick's birthday was in September.  In the words of Dr. Suess, "How did it get so late so soon?"  We celebrated on time, but this post is definitely late.  Mick is officially 7!!!!  Nana came to town to celebrate.  Mick was his class's special person of the day.  He enjoyed a birthday book reading and brought home the class guinea pig, Fluffy, for the weekend (yes, Fluffy survived both the dog and the cat).  There was a birthday party at Jungle Island (envision a louder version of Chuck E. Cheese's).  It was all topped off with ice cream cake and presents.  Mick was thrilled; the adults were exhausted - convincing evidence of a great birthday.

Next up, breaks.  This Monday was a teacher workday at school.  Since, I'm the school nurse, not a teacher, I got the day off, too.  We took advantage of this 3-day gift and headed south to San Diego.  The summary - San Diego is awesome and deserves the rave reviews.  We kayaked in La Jolla, hung out with Shamu at Sea World, visited the animals at the San Diego Zoo, and even squeezed in a history lesson touring the USS Midway aircraft carrier.  The forecast is calling for "super busy" in the near future, so it was perfect timing for a super quick getaway.

Last up, braces.  Yesterday, Jaley said good-bye to her braces, marking the end of phase one.  Modern orthodontia is a multi-phased (and multi-payment) endeavor, so she will get to do it all again in middle school.  For the moment, she is braces-free with a beautiful smile.  As for Sarah and Mick, their turn is coming soon enough.

That is life in MomZania.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Have You Found The Holy Grail of Homework Policy?

The kids are almost a month into school.  The excitement of the first day is a memory.  The sparkling new backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies are already looking a bit dingy.  We are officially back to the grind!

As the homework starts piling up and the long-term projects get assigned, I wonder how any of us will make it through to another June.  Then I found it.  I found it surfing Facebook as I was procrastinating signing Sarah's 7th Grade English Homework and Conduct Policy.  I saw a Facebook post of Mrs. Young's NEW Homework Policy.  It is the stuff of Urban Legend, the Holy Grail of Homework.  It is the No Homework, Homework Policy.  Could you imagine? No homework for the entire school year.  It would be like rainbows and unicorns and Christmas everyday.  I know it will never happen, but one can dream.

Here we are in the middle of September.  Yes, there is oodles of homework and plenty more to keep life interesting.  Soccer has not only started for Mick, but his first game was last Saturday.  Belt testing is underway at Taekwondo for Jaley. Sarah is doubling down with both basketball and field hockey.  Add in a sprinkling of other activities ensures we are fully back to the grind.

Like the kids, I have been back to work (school) for a month.  I am really enjoying working again.  Caring for kids in a school is a million miles away from adults in an ICU, but I still have to think like a nurse.  Most of the kids are just tummy aches and scraped knees, but a few need a much more watchful eye and good care.

That is life in MomZania.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Double Digits - Happy Birthday Jaley!


Jaley officially turned 10 a few weeks ago, but we were just too busy inventing ways to celebrate her birthday for me to stop and write a blog.  Jaley has been celebrating the completion of her first decade for a solid month.  She started celebrating at the Harrell family reunion in NC, continued with a family celebration at home, enjoyed celebrating her actual birthday during our amazing Alaskan cruise, and completed her celebration superfecta with a friend-filled drive in-movie slumber party combo.  She is most definitely the luckiest 10-year-old around.

Parties aside, I can't believe my baby girl is 10.  Like a broken record, the time just flies. So much has happened in the past 10 years, I can't wait to see what Jaley delivers to the world in her next 10!

Happy Birthday, Jaley! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bad Moms

School starts next week for the kids and tomorrow for me.  My inbox is teeming with all things back to school.  PTA committee meetings are stacking up.  My color coded calendar looks like a rainbow as I keep adding in the kid's activities.  Plus, I better finish the back to school shopping and find the supply lists for class.  And, those school emergency forms sure won't complete themselves in triplicate.

What did I do today?  It was my last day to get all these things done.  I said forget it (or maybe another word starting with f)!  Instead, I went to the movies and saw Bad Moms.  I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  I haven't gone to a movie in the middle of the workweek - EVER!!!  Every mom can relate to at least part of this story.  We are all bad moms!!!  We are all great moms, too!!!

Yes, we do helicopter and sanitize ourselves right into a tizzy.  What if my kid doesn't get the teacher he wants?  What if my kid doesn't make the team?  What if my kid doesn't get elected to student government?  What if? What if? What if?

Yes, we also love our kids beyond words.  We would walk through fire.  We would dance with the devil.  We do just about anything to make sure our kids are safe.

Moms, school season is about to begin.  Put on your tackle pads, because parenting these days is a full-contact sport.  Together, let's all strive to be bad moms some days, because most days we are all really great moms!  Let the school games begin!

That is life in MomZania.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Vacation, Vocation, & the Very Long Renovation

Vacation, Vocation, and the Very Long Renovation.  That has been what has been keeping us busy these days.

First up, and most fun, Vacation!  We just returned from a week cruising around Alaska - all thanks to cruise director Nana.  It was her birthday, and we all got to take an amazing trip.  We can't thank you enough, Mom!!!  We watched whales feed and glaciers calve.  We spied bald eagles fishing, but didn't have any luck catching any salmon ourselves.  We learned about sled dogs, lumberjacks, and Totem Poles.  As if Alaska wasn't enough, we even got to hanging out in Seattle, WA and Victoria, BC.

Next up, and more work, Vocation!  Vacation can't last forever, so it is back to the working world.  It is official, Scott has worked for Cisco for a very long time - 15 years to be exact.  Cisco has given Scott a great ride, and with three kids Scott's ride won't be ending soon.  Scott isn't the only one with a vocation.  After my one year turned to three year break, I start working next week in the "nurse's office" at a neighborhood school.  It sure will be different than working in the ICU.  The kids are thrilled that while I will enjoy the same vacation days as them, I won't be working in the same school as them - win-win.

Finally, the Very Long Renovation!  Our landscape project is moving forward, but not done yet.  At this point, it has taken longer to plant the plants than it did to construct the house.  The project has taught me some about plants and much about patience.  Some day it will be complete.

That is life in MomZania.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Crazy - Just Another Season of Raising Kids

I was talking to a mom friend today and I asked how it was going.  Her first words, "summer is crazy."  She is right, summer is crazy.  I know the last time I wrote, I was singing the virtues of the lazy days of summer.  That was all bullsh**.  My lazy days lasted through the first weekend of summer and then the real world reminded me the kids are on break, but I am not.

Yes, summer is crazy.  The school year is crazy, too.  Pretty much everything about raising kids is a bit crazy, just the type of crazy changes from season to season and year to year.  We no longer have baby-crazy or toddler-crazy at our house, but we do have plenty of loud-banging-boy-crazy and a bit of can-you-give-me-a-ride-to-hang-out-with-friends-crazy.  Unlike the school year, the kids don't go anywhere during the day unless I plan it out.  Call me the summer kid cruise director - today's activities included my kids watching WAY TOO MUCH TV.  I'm hoping their brains haven't melted into a Nickelodeon-induced gel by the time school returns.

When the kids aren't wasting their days watching too much TV, we have had a few cruise-worthy excursions.  We thoroughly enjoyed the Harrell Family reunion in Beech Mountain, NC.  Plus, Sarah and Jaley each enjoyed one on one time with Auntie Em.  Thanks for all that wonderful Southern Hospitality.  We love our home here, but we sure do miss family.

We even got over to the beach for the day - though I still don't understand the weather in Northern California.  We left home with the mercury reading 93 degrees and no clouds in the sky.  We drove 30 miles to find howling winds, cloudy skies, and a very chilly 59 degrees.  We lasted about 30 minutes, never touched the water, and headed home. Unlike the rest of us, Sarah did enjoy some amazing days on a warm, sunny beach.  She took a tropical beach trip with Mimi & Poppa all to herself.  What a great (delayed) birthday gift for her.  Thanks Mimi & Poppa.

So here we are in the middle of July.  We are still battling the dust storm of landscaping.  They say it took a thousand years to build Rome, our timeline is about the same.  Someday it will be done, just not anytime soon.

Scott is in Vegas right now.  It may be sin-city, but it is also conference-city.  He is in Vegas three times this summer.  All work + No play = Scott's trips to Vegas.

I am still looking for the right nursing position.  All I need is a great job, with great hours, and great commute.  It may be easier to find a Yeti, but I'm going to keep looking.  In the interim, I re-upped all my nursing certifications (BLS, ACLS, PALS, NRP, NIHSS, yada, yada, yada) and amped-up all of my healthcare volunteering.  I may not be bringing home a paycheck, but I am definitely working a lot.  

That is life in MomZania.

Monday, June 6, 2016

School's Out for Summer, School's Out Forever (or 10 weeks)

Another school year is a wrap.  Put the lunch boxes and backpacks away.  Sarah is officially a 7th grader, Jaley a 5th grader, and Mick a 1st grader.  While the entire year has flown by, the last month was a particularly hectic blur of school, activities, and work.  Here are a few highlights...

Sarah finished strong in Track and Field.  As the only 6th grader at her school throwing discus and shot put, she automatically qualified for Districts.  But it was her hard work that led her to place 3rd and advance to the County competition.

Mick had a ball playing T-Ball.  Watching a bunch of 5- & 6-year-olds reminds me just how complex the game is.  Why do you get four balls and only three strikes?  Why can you overrun 1st base and home plate, but not 2nd or 3rd?  Why is a foul ball a strike except for on strike three?  And on and on and on.  The coaches were so patient with the boys.  By the end of the season they were running the right way around the bases, catching a few throws, and, occasionally, hitting a pitch.

Jaley is back to taekwondo.  She is my total girly, girl until she puts on that white uniform.  It transforms her into a fighting dynamo.  Don't let her petite size fool you, her kicks and punches are strong.  On days when they spar, she is often "King of the Mountain."

With the exception of a few short trips, Scott has been in town recently.  Now it is time to pay the piper, he is off to Asia next week and then a few other trips right after.

As for me, I have decided it is time to head back to work.  I love being Queen Mom, but I loved being Gigi, RN, too.  Now, I'm hoping to, once again, do both. Last week, I finished an intensive nursing continuing ed program and several other accreditations.   It was a great program with a terrible commute that I'm glad was short-lived.  I dusted off both my resume and my Dansko's.  All I need now is to find the right job.  I'm ready.

I'm also ready for summer.  Summer is an entirely different pace.  It is the freedom to wake up and ask, "what do we want to do today?"  Today, was the library.  Saturday, was white water rafting.  Tomorrow, who knows, we will figure it out tomorrow.

I hope that you wake up soon with the leisure to ask, "what do we want to do today?"

That is life in MomZania.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Now I know My ABC's...

Tomorrow Mick needs to bring in a "Z" item for Show-N-Tell.  He will be bringing in a wand (cast off from a long ago trip to Great Wolf Lodge) that, wait for it, Zaps.  Don't judge, zipper and zebra were already used, I don't feel like going to the store to buy a zucchini, and kindergartners aren't the right crowd for Zeppelin, Led.

With Mick's Zap, my days of Show-N-Tell will come to a close.  I have now Show-N-Telled for 10 straight years.  I know it is "actually" my kids who do the Show-N-Telling, but what young child remembers to pack something on Monday night because, Show-N-Tell day is every Tuesday.  For our family, Show-N-Tell days started in Sarah's first preschool and I have been quietly sending in Show-N-Tell ever since.  Yes, A to Z, one letter a week for 26 weeks a year.  That is 260 different Show-N-Tells - which have spanned from fabulous to fails and everything in between.

There have been the lazy weeks - it's M-week, just bring yourself, Mick.  There have been the disrupt the class weeks - it's Y-week, just bring this microphone and Yell.  There have been the get on the teacher's good side weeks - it's R-week, bring your teacher these Roses.  There have been the last minute weeks - oh no, it's F-week and we're already at school, just take a Floor mat from the car.  There have been the hope it comes home weeks, it's B-week, bring in your hand-crocheted Baby blanket that can never be replaced.  There have been the delegating weeks, it's K-week, Sarah hfind something that starts with K and put it Mick's backpack.  And so many other weeks along the way.

Here we are at the final Z, marking the end of the Harrell's Show-N-Tell days. While I won't miss figuring out what to send in every week, I will miss the innocence age of Show-N-Tell.  My last baby is finished with Show-N-Tell, his time in kindergarten is nearly over.  They grow up fast.

Outside of Show-N-Tell, there is the rest of regular life.  Even though we moved back into our house last year, the house projects continue.  We are hoping to start on the landscape in two weeks.  We should be able to drive on our driveway next week - yippee, no more schlepping groceries.  And, drumroll please...We installed solar panels on our house.  We turned it on today.  That is our electric meter and that is a negative number.  Running the house and sending power back to the grid.  Bye-bye, power bill - or at least when the sun is shining.  Solar on the house - we must be Californians now!

That is life in MomZania.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Driveway Delays - Blame It on the Rain! Maybe? Maybe Not?

They say, "Rome wasn't built in a day."  It sure was built faster than our driveway.  It should've taken 4 days to take out the old driveway and put in a new one; 4 1/2 months later we finally have a driveway. Milli Vanilli and the contractor would say Blame It on The Rain.  I say blame it on the contractor and his heavy dose of false promises, no-show appointments, and horribly blown schedules.  They still have a ton of mess to clean up (that is an accurate weight based on the pile of old concrete in our yard), but at least there is a way to walk into the house.  .

Outside of fighting with our concrete vendor, we have been living the good life. We officially became Californians over Spring Break, by taking our first trip to Hawaii.  It seems everyone in California goes to Hawaii and goes often.  You didn't have to twist my arm to join that West Coast right of passage.  We had a fabulous time.  The weather was great, the beaches beautiful, and we did many fabulous things.  Our most favorite part was seeing sea turtles on the beach.  Although Hawaii's Green See Turtles are a different species from the Loggerheads in the Atlantic, it was like coming full circle after seeing baby turtles hatch on the North Carolina coast last summer.

With memories of an amazing Spring Break to power us through, we now have our sites set on the end of the school year.  I know I'm not the one actually going to school, but as the mom I definitely have a supporting role and am looking forward to the closing curtain on another school year.  Please let this summer be the lazy days type (ha, that won't happen, but one can dream).

That is life in MomZania.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Momitation - A Mom's Meditation

Do you meditate?  If you do, I admire you.  Everywhere you look, the world is touting the benefits of meditation.  Weight loss, happiness, winning lottery numbers - meditation can provide them all.  So, I try.  I try really hard. Apparently doing absolutely nothing is very, very hard.  I even bought Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book to master (OK, learn) meditation.  I didn't help and now collects dust on the bookshelf.  

What I have found is that I mometate instead of meditate.  It’s a mom’s version of meditation and goes something like this:

Deep breath in, deep breath out, deep breath…oh shoot I forgot to swap the laundry…

Wait clear your mind, deep breath in, deep breath out, deep breath…ding, ding - is that a text? I better check that…

Five minutes later, start again, deep breath in, deep breath out, deep breath…bark, bark, bark - oh crap, now the dog has to go out..

Five minutes later, start again, deep breath in, deep breath out, my back itches, just ignore it, deep breath in, my foot is falling asleep, deep breath out, why is sitting quietly so uncomfortable?, scratch, stretch, reposition.

Start again, deep breath in, what are we going to have for dinner tonight? Did I remember to take the chicken out to defrost?  Thinking of food, I’m hungry now.  Forget it, I’m getting a snack that is enough meditating for today. 

And when I’m not pretending to meditate, we are busy with the regular routine.  We learned the opening day of Little League is quite the celebration - complete with a parade, festival, and barbecue lunch.  It was topped off with Mick's first t-ball game.  No score, but everyone batted, everyone ran to home plate, and everyone was happy.  That is my type of sporting event.  Jaley is officially back to taekwondo, and she has proudly added another weapon, a bow staff, to her equipment list.  Beware.  Sarah starts track in a few days.  It is perfect timing; her cast just came off today.  Fully healed!!!  In order to make all these events and others a reality The Marshmallow, our trusty minivan, is  racking up the miles running carpool.   

Scott is out of town this week.  He mentioned there was an org change at work, and I thought, it must be Tuesday.  Cynicism aside, it looks like the changes are good.  The yard work is in a holding pattern as the rains continue to come.  We need the rain, but we would love for mother nature to take just a short break so we can get our driveway back again.  It has been a month of walking the plank, which is much better than our early weeks of walking right through the mud.  The forecast says sun going forward.  Maybe I can meditate and make it hold true.  

That is life in MomZania

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Broken Bones, Birthdays, & Bubbly

 One of my favorite things about California is Winter Break.  It comes at just the right time - when the Christmas break is a distant memory and Spring Break is a far off time.  An entire week with no school and a chance to escape the routine for a few days.  Like most of the Bay Area we headed up to Tahoe for the week.  For a few days we enjoyed skiing (snowboarding) in t-shirts followed by a giant winter storm that delivered a ton of fresh powder.  Just an hour before we were supposed to head out town, Sarah took a fall that took her to the Emergency room instead.  Diagnosis - one broken wrist.  Luckily she is expected to make a full and quick recovery.  She is now sporting a lime green cast and hasn't complained at all; she's one tough kid.

Next up, Nana's Birthday.  We were so glad she choose to celebrate with us in California.  To make her birthday extra special, we took a mother-daughter trip to Napa.  We indulged in great wine and bubbly this weekend.  We didn't even let the torrential rains spoil our fun.  We laughed and reminisced the weekend away as only moms and daughters can do.

Mick has started T-Ball; at least that is the idea when it isn't called off for rain.  Sarah is starting Track & Field; at least that is the plan assuming her cast comes off on time.  Jaley is heading back to Taekwondo; at least that is the goal assuming all goes well at the new studio.

Scott has been crazy busy at work.  He wasn't disappointed when his trip to Denver was postponed this week.

As for me, I am knee deep into our landscaping project - literally knee deep in mud.  They removed our driveway last week and were supposed to replace it just a few days later.  Then dry February turned into record rains March.  Now, we have a mud farm.  If you want to go 4X4ing, just come to our house, we have the perfect track.  We wear our "mud shoes" back and forth to the house and then switch to our "real shoes" in the car.  As for the forecast, it is rain for the next 10-days, so I guess it will be "mud shoes" for the rest of the month. Why is renovating so much more fun on HGTV?

That is life in MomZania.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where does the time go?

Did you know its February? It's nearly the middle of the month no less.  I can't believe Valentine's day is here and Easter is only 40 days away.  The start of the year has been a very busy blur.

Since I last wrote an update, both Sarah and Scott turned a year older.  Sarah celebrated as many 12-year old girls do with a a slumber party.  Scott celebrated as many 40-somethings do with a round of golf and dinner out.  They both were happy with their celebrations, and I was happy to share eating their cakes.

After 4+ months of long rehearsals the curtain went up on Jaley's school play.  It was a a production grander than any typical school play.  It was a cast of thousands (OK, it was actually 165 kids, but it seemed like thousands).  The production ran with 3 complete casts for two weeks with a grand total of 12 performances.

Sarah has just finished the season for her middle school basketball team.  Her team played hard and even made the playoffs.  It was a pretty impressive finish given her school currently doesn't have a gym, so practices were outside (often in the rain) and every game was away.

In order to enjoy a bit of all the happenings, Mimi & Poppa even came for a visit.  They mostly "enjoyed" hanging with me while I shuttled the kids to all these events, but we did enjoy a little down time.  We even took a field trip over to Half Moon Bay to enjoy the beautiful coastline and catch a glimpse of the seal pups.

Here it is 6 weeks into the New Year and I'm thinking it is time to start on all those house projects that need doing - like switching the dirt farm into a yard and replacing the cracked driveway that is already half removed (I currently roll over fill dirt into the garage).  Although next week, it Winter Break and the kids are off school, so I guess I will start in March. Oh right, Nana is coming in March.  So maybe, April?  Or maybe next year?

That is life in MomZania.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Surviving Year One - Puppy Edition

Raleigh turned one.  I only know this because a website sent him an email birthday card along with a reminder to buy more flea and tick medicine.  I have enough trouble keeping up with human birthdays, the pets are definitely below the cut.

What his birthday means is that we are half way to the magical dog age of two.  With kids it is the terrible two's, with dogs it is the terrible first two years.  So if that holds, this time next year we should have a great dog.  Right now, we have a full grown puppy who (along with Scott and I) is ever so slowly learning his doggy manners.  Think of Marley from Marley & Me and you will get the right picture.

What has our first year of dog ownership taught us - oh so many things.  I learned the icky-art of pooper scooping.  It is the canine equivalent of changing diapers.  I can bag up that mess while holding an umbrella, talking on the phone, and waving to a neighbor.

I learned herding dogs herd everything including their human owners.  Last year, he nipped my ass more times than I can count.  He nibbled holes in at least 4 pairs of pants trying to keep me in line.  I can't think of lots of reasons to go shopping for new clothes, but this isn't one of them.  

I learned that perched in bay window Raleigh is King of the Castle.  He barks at everything - the squirrels and cars, the people and pets, even the leaves floating in the wind.  He goes outright ballistic when the UPS man walks up to the door.  He dares you to come inside.  Beware, he may jump on you and lick you to death.

I learned that no shoe is safe.  Put it away, far away.

I learned that cat food is much more appealing than dog food.  Put it away, far away.

I learned that human food is much more appealing than dog food or cat food.  Put it away, far away.

I learned that toilet water is the doggy equivalent of Perrier.  I fill up his water bowl every day, but he always chooses the toilet instead.

I learned that dogs are very expensive.  I think Oprah loves her dogs so much, because she is the only person rich enough to own them.

Finally, I learned that having a dog is pretty awesome.  He is always happy to see us.  He forgives us immediately no matter what we do.  He always wants to go where we do - for a walk, a run, a trip in the car, up to the school, or just to the next room - he just wants to be with us.  It is for that reason, we have learned to put up with all the rest of the exhaustion of having a puppy.

That is life in MomZania.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Holidays are History - Now Hop on the Express Train

We are a week into 2016; the holiday season is ancient history.  Everyone should get to ease into the new year.  Short, easy weeks for the beginning of January would be nice.  Instead, Baby New Year arrived and we hopped right on the 2016 Express Train.  January is going to be a blur; wake me up when it's all over.

Basketball didn't just start, Sarah is already 3 games in - plus practice, too. That's basketball 6 times a week - yikes.  The school play, with a rehearsal schedule rivaling Broadway, is just days away from opening night.  Pack a bag Jaley, we will see you again after the curtain closes.  Scott already has a 2016 stamp in his passport - he landed in Germany last night.  I am working with no less than 4 different contractors plus the city to get our dirt farm turned into an average American backyard.  Who would think putting in a couple of plants and a small patch of grass could be so complicated, but this is California.  Complicated is California's middle name.  Heck, even Little League kicked off this weekend. Who has ever even heard of baseball in January? Even the pros don't start until March.  

To make sure every moment is full, we have three family birthday's in the next three weeks.  Slumber parties are relaxing, right?  Why don't we add in a family trip?  What crazy person scheduled that?  Oh right, it was me.  What was I thinking?  I have no idea.  

Then there is a whole list of things I'm avoiding like the school science fair and looming Girl Scout cookie sales.  Maybe if I close my eyes they will disappear.  

If my New Year's Resolution had been to "live every day to it's fullest," I would be getting A+ marks.  I actually resolved to lose a few pounds, which is about the only thing I'm not doing in January.  Heck, maybe if I close my eyes those pounds will disappear, too.  

That is the first stop on the 2016 Express Train.  What is the next stop?  I don't know because I'm now avoiding my calendar.  

Happy New Year to you and yours from the land of MomZania.  May it be healthy, happy, and (not too) busy.