Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Bug, and other things

What a month!!

I did get most of this week off (which was by no means certain, what with all the impeachyness going around at work), and have loved every moment of it!

I was ready for the Big Day wayyyyyy beforehand, which was wonderful, and yet still managed to be up until 1:30 the night before doing things I just forgot about, or didn't plan well enough for. Bread, it turns out, takes 2 hours to rise whether you're in a hurry or not. Huh.

We had pulled back on the reins HARD this year -- everyone got the one item they wanted more than anything, and then some little stuff, but we spent less total than we ever have. I'm particularly proud of the bargaining and haggling. I feel like I made out like a bandit this year.

Christmas was a blast. We had ours at home, then went to the Pike County family for lunch and such -- we did soup and sandwiches this year, with desserts, and it was really great. Much lower maintenance. I'm a big fan.

We wrapped it all up, and came home. Glen got a bit carsick-y on the way, but we made it home and everyone went to bed. About midnight, he came in and told us he had a belly ache, and couldn't sleep, and could he please lay down with us for a bit? We said sure, and dozed off a bit, and within 5 minutes...... the Merry Christmas Flu arrived!! Wheeeee!

He threw up in my hair, on my pillow, on my pajamas, sheets, blankets, ....

ohhhhh, uck. (At least he was facing me, and not dad).

Those who say that humans can't levitate have never had a 7-year old throw up in their bed. Seven-year-olds don't throw up "cute".

We tossed him in the shower, and stripped the bed like a well-trained navy seal team. Tossed the ick sheets in the very hot, very bleachy washing machine. Bleached the (plastic, we're not fools) mattress cover, put on new sheets, found new blankets, and yanked the now clean and much happier child out of the shower.

He feels so great that he asks if he can watch TV. I'm still waiting for my turn in the shower. :(

So the kid gets a new bed of his own on the floor -- starting with a vinyl tablecloth and several old sheets, and finishing with the plastic pillows we've adopted after replacing quite enough of the fiber kind.

I hop in the shower.

It is...



I do not exaggerate. I would serve water this cold with dinner. You could have used it as an ice bath after blanching.

I got to sit in the bathroom for 25 minutes, waiting for hot water, before I could shower. On the plus side, I got to read two uninterrupted chapters of my book...

It was awesome.

Happily, it does not seem to have been the actual flu. I think it was a combination of an unholy quantity of cookies and fudge and a killer case of motion sickness. Nobody else has gotten it, and he never had any other problems. Thank goodness!!!

There are Xmas pictures on photobucket -- here -- but I'll post a few favorites below.

Willow, in her new sleeping bag.

Glen at Grandma's House.

Larry... with his fancy new phone.

The Whole Clan at Grandma Shaw's (the late-rising bread in the background...)

Oh, and one video.... Glen got the amp he wished for for Christmas.

It'll be a noisy year. But he's already got a band going.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

...and a happy new year

I came in the door at 6 am (we have a paper route... I wasn't out until then!), to find Willow standing all by herself in front of the Christmas tree. The tree lights were turned on, but otherwise the house was dark. And she was singing at the top of her lungs to the sweet little tree -- "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy new year!!" Over and over again. I convinced her to do it again a few minutes later, hoping to catch it on video....

yes, I know it's sideways, but it's bedtime and I haven't figured out how to rotate it yet... just turn your head, I have faith that you'll get it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa, Schmanta

Glen has asked at least four times whether Santa is real.

Each time a little differently.

"Mom, who puts the presents under the tree?"

"Mom, is Santa real?"

"Mom, are you Santa?"

Each time, the same answer, because I'm lame.
"What do you think, honey?"

And each time, in response,
"I think he's real."


Because, after all, you can't get presents from a fake guy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little updates

The gig playing duets with Megan on violin (me on flute) and singing duets went so very well!! I have long battled with performance anxiety. In Larry's words, "Sally doesn't do so well on the spot". And boy, that's usually so very true. But this time, after that initial rush of all my body's blood directly to my face during the first song, and the brief moments of panic and existential weirdness, it all leveled out pretty well, and I think I actually (**gasp**) made a connection with the audience!!! I flubbed a few minor times, but they were a forgiving audience.

So apparently, my ideal audience is well-seasoned church and music people, and my ideal venue is the MCL Cafeteria. After all, who's not comfortable at MCL?

And the Burt Carol Sing was as much fun as ever, and then afterward, my parents and Glen and Beth (a friend) and I sat around the piano and sang other Christmas carols. The kids normally come up and sing carols at the end, but we'd skipped that this year, but Glen was all ready to sing.... So we sang. And Beth did her Elvis impression, which made Glen laugh so hard that he couldn't breathe anymore, and he fell right off the piano bench, still laughing and holding his sides.

The gig at the festival of trees was... loud. They miked us, which was nice. But there was a train going around the middle of the room. A TRAIN. As in .... "Jingle bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the... RUMBLERUMBLE TOOOOOOO TOOOOOOOOT RUMBLE RUMBLE... one horse open sleigh!" It was a challenge. But I think we met it pretty well. It was a good experience.

And the recorder consort concert at Cantrell Methodist was a whole lot of fun! It turns out that Dan Blair is a really good MC... and what a great group of people to play for! They made you feel good just for being there. And I got to play the fife for a little snippet (an octave down, for the sake of their hearing).

Anyway, the next few weeks look like they'll be a race to the finish. I am very, very much looking forward to the two weeks off I'll be taking at Christmas, so I can play with my kids on the floor and really pay attention to them and their thoughts and words -- I'm afraid that all the gigs and work and extracurricular activities will take up most of that time between now and then.

Oh, and I am nearly done Christmas shopping! I have NEVER finished before Christmas Eve, EVER. This is so wonderful.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


This year was the first year I doubted our tradition of helping at the church for the "Feast of Plenty".

I've never questioned whether volunteering on Thanksgiving as a family was "good" for the kids -- I just assumed that it was good for them to learn about giving of themselves in order to show gratitude for all that we have. Humility and service are so hard to teach, but so important...any opportunity is a good one.

We usually get strange looks when we tell people about doing that for Thanksgiving -- the ones that say, "Oh, that's nice, but you're a little strange..." (Now, we always do a "traditional" thanksgiving -- we just do it on Friday rather than on Thursday -- so we're not robbing them of turkey-day festivities.)

But this year, as we left the house to get to the church, Glen was stifling sadness. He was doing a good job of trying not to show it, but what he wanted was to have a thanksgiving like the ones they talked about in school all week. He wanted to sit around the table with family and eat turkey and casserole and play games and watch movies -- he didn't really want to go bus tables for homeless or otherwise very disadvantaged people for two hours, then wash dishes.

I just felt awful all the whole drive there. Doubt, guilt, and a little more doubt... are we "ruining" their perception of holidays? Are we warping them, and will they come to resent volunteer work? Will they think forever that I put other people first and them last? Oh, jeez, parenting certainly hasn't helped me deal with this stupid "guilt" problem I've got...

Anyway, all the kids were WONDERFUL for the whole Feast of plenty, and we stayed until nearly 4 pm cleaning and putting things away until next year, and then we went to Grandma's and had a nice little dinner and watched a movie, and everyone seemed to be pretty happy.

Then on Friday, we went back over to mom and dad's for the afternoon, and they prepared a fabulous feast of thanksgiving-y-ness, and everyone had the most marvelous unstructured play time all afternoon. When Larry got off work, we all sat down to our Thanksgiving meal (Gideon ate almost exclusivley summer sausage, but whatever...).

Then the two little guys wanted to watch Wall-E (again, and again, and again), and the rest of us played Rummy around the kitchen table. (It was a big leap from "go fish", and the adults are so happy to have a new game to play!).

After Grandpa had cleaned us out three or four games in a row, Glen looked around the table at everyone, just glowing from head to toe, and said, "Now THIS is Thanksgiving."

So, all that guilt and doubt for nothing. We may have taught them that sometimes you have to put other people first, and then have what you want later. And we may have taught them that we don't always do the same things that other people do. And hopefully we've taught them that we love them very much and expect a lot from them, even when it's not what they want.

But I don't think we're 'warping' them, or their holidays. And thank goodness.... now if I can just remember this next year, when it all happens again...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pachelbel -- stole this from Sass

I've seen this one before, but it still cracks me up.

Sass posted it, so I'm stealing it... if you have time and haven't seen it, it's really cute.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Post from Justin I've got to share

Justin posted this video on his blog -- I love bluegrass, I love shape-note music, I love old hymns... I had to share this with you.

(and I'm pretty excited that I figured out how to embed a video)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


There's a good reason we don't go "out" to eat that often.

Really, it's just more comfortable for the public when we stay in.

And besides, we get to have craft time.

And the kids prefer it, anyway.

The rest of the album is here... Dinner with the Boatmans.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Halloween Photos

At last, Halloween Photos! The whole album is on photobucket -- you should be able to click any of the photos and get there, if you want to see them all.

Gideon was a Ninja Turtle, in an inspired night-before creation courtesy of Larry (the Shells are GREAT, and made with stuff we had around the house already). However, he got tired of the Shells after just a little while, and took them off -- so he's just wearing a green sweatsuit with a blue mask. Larry said, "It just looks like we didn't try!" But we swear, we did try!! The best laid plans ...

Willow was going to be a flamenco princess in her beautiful new flamenco dress from Spain, but at the last moment was infatuated with the hoop on her purple princess dress-- so she was princess Willow (and remained princess Willow for several days after Halloween. We did finally get her to take it off.)

Glen was Albert Pujols (another stroke of genius from Larry -- we already had everything we needed).

So this year's Halloween was an unparalleled success! We spent $0.00 and everyone was thrilled with their costume!

Caiti and Willow

Willow and Caiti.

Gideon, with the shells on!

Mr. Pujols.
In case the links don't work on the photos, the album is here:
(Caiti, there's a bunch of good ones of Cole there!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A little self-promotion

I promise that Halloween Photos are on the way, and will have been posted by the weekend. They're great!
This Christmas Season, I am just thrilled to have found myself wrapped up (and filled up) with music again! I have lucked into some really wonderful gigs, and am surprised to feel how deeply I'd missed all of this. It's a part of life that I've let go undeveloped too long... (so here's hoping they all go well!)

Here's a list of where and when, if you can make it out:
Nov. 22nd, 4:00 pm -- Seraphim will sing at the Festival of Trees (Orr Bldg, state fairgrounds)

Nov. 30, 5:30 pm -- Fealty (ancient music group) will be playing at Cantrall Methodist

Dec. 2 -- Meagan Turner and I will be entertaining a women's group from a local church with flute/violin and vocal duets (this is just for their women's group, no public, but I'm excited about it and have to mention it anyway!)

Dec 12, 13: Fealty will play at the LLCC Madrigals dinner (they'll play on the 14th too, but I had this other gig...)

Dec. 14: I'll play flute with the Prairieland Voices chorus for the Charpentier "Messe de Minuit pour Noel" at the Episcopal Church at the corner of 2nd and Lawrence (St. Paul's, I believe).

I can't express how excited I am about all of these!

And below, a photo of Seraphim:

And another:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jingle Bell 5K, and Fall-ish photos

Last year, I raised funds for the American Red Cross through "Run Red" -- this year, I'm choosing the Arthritis Foundation.

So I'll be running the "Jingle Bell 5K" as part of a team that is raising funds together. (Glen, my mom, and I ran it last year, too, but didn't do any extra fundraising).
PLEASE do not feel obliged!!! But if you want to help me raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation, there should be a link here to my "donation" page, and you can just do it online. There is also a lot of information about the foundation itself.

And now for photos!

We had a cantalope grow into the chain link fence -- it was so much fun to watch it grow there! And it harvested just fine, although it required some on-the-spot surgery.

Larry snuck a picture of me singing.

Our little princess got all dressed up for the ball, but fell asleep before dinner.

Gideon, pretending to be asleep on Madi.

Man, that boy can throw.

The stumps we use for seating around our fire pit have grown the most astonishing lichen this summer. We can't even bear to sit on them, for the beauty of it!

Willow, ascending the play fort in the backyard. (lip gloss first).

Peeking Gideon.

There's a whole album of great September and October family photos at this link, if you want to see more --

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The photos from Indiana

It has been brought to my attention, ahem, that I didn't specifically state that there are a lot of pictures on photobucket of our trip to Indiana, but you have to click on the photo posted here to see them.

So if you click on the photo posted in the "Indiana Dunes, 2008" post, it'll take you to the album in photobucket where the rest of the photos are, and you can see them, too.

Do it! Click it! You know you want to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Mommy's gotta stay out of the potty treats.

I have this weakness for skittles... and skittles are Gideon's "potty treat" of choice. (We reward successful potty attempts with one skittle).

This morning, he got his potty treat after doing his biz-ness, and then mommy might have had a few as well.

She also might have grabbed a small handful on the way out to the car, surreptitiously so that none of the Little People would notice (and then demand their own, even in absence of potty-ation).

Chewing my three skittles privately, I leaned in to buckle Gideon's car seat. He had been babbling on about the ninja turtles, and waving his hands to illustrate his point, but he froze, looked up, and sniffed twice, like a hound that caught the scent of a raccoon in the tree above.

He looked right at me and said, "Skittle. I want skittle."

I so got caught.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Haiku time

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to write Haiku.

And they're short and painless, so I'll share. (Since it's just the 6 of us anyway...)

Try one! They're fun!

(and no, I don't stick to the exact syllable structure...that's not the main defining characteristic of haiku anyway...)

dusk falling coldly
smell of fire and burning leaves
lonely autumn road

boats rub the bumpers
mud dobbers swarm the boat dock
bluegill play hide and seek

gentle running stream
crawdads hide under flat rocks
cold on my bare feet

smell of cold
outside the window
snow drifts

three jackets by the door
dripping snow melts on the floor
warm dryer running

empty summer school
under the second desk in the front row
six colors of bubble gum

Friday, October 17, 2008

August, 2008, Camping

In August, we camped with the Boatmans out at their grandma's farm, just 20 minutes out of town (which meant that we could camp but still make it to all our 'required' weekend events... it was perfect)

The whole weekend was marvelous. We got to try the most wonderful zucchini relish, went home with enough cucumbers to make our own pickle relish, got to go for an early morning country run, got to see an old cemetery, and got to sleep in the old Ted Williams Tent from Sears that's bigger than our first house together...

And we played and played and played.

Here's a few pictures of the boys (Gideon and Cole) playing on the big tractor together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Indiana Dunes, 2008

Still learning the ropes, so pardon if this is laid out a little funny.

I uploaded all the photos from our camping trip to photobucket, but we'll see if I'm happy with this... I may end up pasting my favorites in here anyway.

But enjoy!! It was such a wonderful trip, and we had so much fun.

Photobucket Album

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sand Angels

We went camping this past weekend at the Indiana Dunes. None of us had ever been there before -- it is just beautiful, and I loved the campground we stayed at. It was, however, COLD. I guess that's what we get for camping in October... But coldness aside, it was a wonderful experience. I haven't downloaded all the photos yet, but I'll get to that later this week -- for now, here's one of Glen making sand angels on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The first moment we got on the beach, all three of our children immediately fell to the ground and rolled around in the sand. We protested for a second, but it was hopeless -- we may as well have dropped them in the middle of a pile of candy, they were so happy to be at the beach.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Camelot photos

Larry was smashing as Sir Dinadan in Camelot recently, and here are some photos for you to see (credited to Donna Lounsberry, not us). He's the handsome bald one in chainmail.
(I also played in an ancient music ensemble with some lifelong family friends -- we were pretty awesome, too. We're just not in the picture.)
Yes, I know I scanned them in crooked. I rule.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Slugabed word of the day -- I find these are relevant to me suspiciously often...hmmmm:

Word of the Day for Wednesday, October 1, 2008
slugabed \SLUHG-uh-bed\, noun:
One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard.
Slugabed is from slug, "sluggard" + abed, "in bed."

As in:

"Starting on Monday morning, there will no longer be a slugabed in the Smith household, for we shall be slinging newsprint, faithfully executing our shiny new paper route."


Monday, September 29, 2008

Sick Willow's Healing Potion

Willow has been sick for the last 3 or 4 days with a nasty cold and fever. One night this weekend, she woke up in the middle of the night looking for a drink and some medicine, and we were talking about all the different things we can do to feel better. After a while, she says to me, "All I need to feel better is God, and Jesus, and my Puppy. Then I'll be all better."

Which was hilarious.

But you know, she has been really nice to the puppy for the last week or so. I suppose you would be, if you categorized your puppy with the divine. She is a pretty great dog, after all.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More happy photo time!

Fear not, citizen. Your fate is in good hands.

I LOVE ILLINOIS WEATHER!!! We have the most amazing storms here. Glen took this picture while we drove underneath the storm front. It was amazing.

There are few things cooler than a big unexplained pile of dirt in the middle of a wide open field.

I loves my goofy hat. And I've got a thing for taking my own picture in elevators. Well, one elevator in particular. It's a thing, I don't know... stupid camera phones...

Me, with my very fine microbrew in Denver when I went for girls' weekend last year.

Our beautiful canine, Madison.

Makin' cookies with mah Glen (April 2008)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Photos!

Waiting to board the plane to Denver. Gideon was wearing his airplane shirt, carrying an airplane, and whenever he'd see an airplane would shriek, "AIRPLANE!!!"

Willow, at the St. Patty's day parade. We. Love. fuzzy. Hats.

Mom, Gramma, and Glen at the Jingle Bell 5K.

Bowlful of Gideon.

He fell off the couch while sleeping, and didn't even wake up.

Autumn camping happiness.

Willow at the garage sale -- had to try it on one last time.

Visiting with cousins in Denver.

I'll post more later -- there are months and months worth we're finding on our phones and cameras!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trying a photo post

Trying it out

What may become a place to post our family photos and information, to share with the Diaspora of the McDaniel and Smith clans.