Archive for June, 2011


seven quick takes

   Posted by: liz    in Uncategorized

*this week was VBS at our little local church. this was the 4th VBS that the older two boys have gone to there, and it was adam’s 2nd year. as usual, they all loved every minute of it. i’m glad that the older two don’t feel that they’re too old for something like this. i love going early to pick them up and watching them get really involved in the singing and dancing to the music. makes a momma proud.

* i mentioned this on facebook a while ago: kenny and i can’t get enough of the British show Doc Martin. we’re nearing the end of season 2, and i just noticed that it will only be available as “watch instantly” on netflix until july 6th. i think the first three seasons are available on hulu.  not only is it a quirky “big city doctor meets small seaside village,” but the writing is great: the storylines in each episode are so clever, and the dialogue and character traits are so charming (especially that of Doc Martin). i wholeheartedly recommend you begin watching TONIGHT.

* just because i’m a conservative woman…doesn’t mean i support a sarah palin or a michele bachmann presidential run. in fact as of right now, i wouldn’t vote for either of them. i believe in their politics, just not their leadership.

whew! glad i got that off my chest.

* i’m addicted to the runner’s high. and the running part is getting more and more enjoyable as well. for the past few runs, i’ve had to cut them short for rain (i’m afraid of ruining my android in the pouring rain, and i use it as my music and workout tracker (CardioTracker). i’m open to suggestions on music/cardio tracking devices that hold up in the rain!
since i’ve been stretching before and after my runs AND since i’m running in good running shoes, i’ve had no knee or ankle pain at all. i’m considering doing a 5K in july to get ready for the bigger 4 mile run/walk in august that i originally thought would be my first run. i think i’m ready to just dive in and get running in public. :)

* i saw a recipe for tostados recently and i have been craving them ever since! at book club yesterday, the hostess served us these great margarita jello drinks complete with salt on the rim of glass. also, apparently i am addicted to chips and salsa. or chips and texas caviar. or chips with sour cream. summer always brings out the mexican foodie in me. kenny and i once made homemade tamales after having them in Colorado. and one summer we were on a “Huevos Rancheros” kick. and now that it’s friday…i’m ready for a really good margarita!

* i have done absolutely zero planning for the upcoming school year. this is strange for me because i’m usually on it by now. we have done absolutely zero “courses” and i’m so much enjoying our time off. so are the boys. i’ve met a lot of homeschoolers lately who work through the summer and for a while i thought we should probably do that as well. but, on serious consideration of it, i am so glad we’re a “summers off” family.  i know i’ll have some reviewing to do in the fall, but by that time, we’ll all be ready to work again. at least i will.

* here is a picture of adam’s birthday cake. he designed his entire party!


running away

   Posted by: liz    in health, running

i am terrified of sharks and deep water. you’ll never see me on a cruise ship. i’m scared of spiders, but that is a fear you kind of have to deal with when you live in a rural area. the palm-sized garden spiders make my heart-rate skyrocket, but at least i know they won’t kill me.

i used to be afraid of running. in a way, i still am. why would i want to go through something so uncomfortable, so debilatating, by choice? i shook with fear on the high school P.E. Run the Mile day. i started to run it, and after a quarter of a lap, my lungs would burn, and my legs would hurt. i gave up and walked most of it because i hated not being able to breathe. since high school, i’ve been “power walking” regularly, so at least my legs are used to getting some form of exercise. i’m thankful for this since when i began running a few weeks ago, my legs are no worse for the wear. my knees and ankles are a different story, however.

i turned 38 this year, inching ever so closer to the big 4-0. i finally decided it was time to face my fear of running. i’m currently in a stare-down contest with running. sometimes i feel as though i’m winning, and other times, i want to “blink” so badly and just give in. i keep on going for a few reasons:

1/ i feel fantastic at the end of a run. it’s only taken three weeks of running, but my “breathing recovery” has shortened immensely. i no longer feel shakey or that i just want to fall on the ground in a heap of long-winded breaths. i feel on top of the world post-run now and i dont’ want to lose that feeling. during the run, i don’t feel so good, but i keep thinking about how i’m going to feel when i’m done.

2/ i don’t want the good money (that could have easily gone towards groceries) we just spent on my new running shoes to go to waste. i want to wear them out and need a new pair in six months. also, i bought the new pair of running shoes to encourage me to run more, and to start running as correctly as possible from the get-go.

3/ i’m wondering if perhaps running throughout the winter will keep me from getting depressed again.

i’m putting this new hobby “out there” to the blog world and on facebook to keep me accountable. if i blog about it, i’ll keep up with it. if i talk about my running issues, i might get great advice from people reading the blog or my facebook page. i’m encouraged and inspired by other new runners’ blogs, so hopefully, i can be an encouragement to someone else beginning to run again.

so…who’s running away with me?


cemetery walking

   Posted by: liz    in faith, family

one night last week, we did what every other american family does on a coolish spring evening…we got ice cream and went cemetery walking!

before you think we’re the next Addam’s Family, let me explain with a little history. longtime smithical readers will recall the folklore of hauntings in our house. if you don’t, you can brush up on our “haunted” house history at this post.

since i wrote that post four years ago now, we’ve learned more about the original owner/builder of this house. we found out that the original owner and his wife are buried in a local cemetery, so we went to find their head stone (pictured – john and mary mcgarvey).

we have also learned that john and mary had a son named gerome who married a sarah and they raised their family in this house as well. it is believed that this son was the one who locked his daughter, a miss sadie, in the attic. she is rumored to be still living in the area, but is not quite “with it” any more. what has been confirmed was that gerome mcgarvey was found dead in the house. at the bottom of our staircase, to be exact.

we know this to be fact because it’s been recorded in official county records, and we have found it online. we also found a newspaper clipping saying that foul-play was suspected, but it’s a cold case.

people talk around here. we met a woman at a local back yard BBQ last year who did her own family history, and she said if you go back far enough, you realize everyone around here, if they were born and raised here, are related. it makes sense since it’s still a fairly rural area, and back several decades ago, there were even less people. and even farther back, you never went anywhere since you didn’t have a car, so you married who was around you. she had relatives that were related to the mcgarveys and she was who told us where to find the cemetery stone with the original home owners’ names.

the pencil drawings are still on our attic walls, but the period dress of the girls doesn’t quite match the stories that are floating around about a girl being locked in our attic, driving her to insanity.

what is factual is the death of gerome in our home. it’s weird to think that he was pushed, but that’s the rumor. at least the story is told with a wink-and-a-smile leading one to believe that it was not an accident.

regardless of the past history of this house, i choose to believe in the good memories we are making raising our family here. i want the walls to tell stories of family and unconditional support and love to the families who will one day move in and make these rooms their home.


our youngest is FIVE!

   Posted by: liz    in family, family fun

five years ago today, we welcomed Adam Henry Smith into our family! Kenny and I like to tell the boys the story of the day the two older boys came to the hospital to meet Adam for the first time.  Sawyer was just 21 months old, Rowan was several weeks shy of turning 3. Rowan couldn’t wait to hold him, but Sawyer wasn’t too sure of him.

He was especially more unsure of him after an attempt at giving him his own balloon failed (he was cranky that Adam didn’t notice him giving him his special balloon). I love the mind of a toddler…

Adam, you amaze us more and more with each new year. You sing your days away with whatever song is in your head, you love learning along with your older brothers, and you love playing soccer, roller skating (LIMBO!)  and swimming in the deep end of the pool with the big kids. You take this mama’s breath away with worry some times, but you know your boundaries even if you challenge them from time to time!

We love you like crazy, A-H!


boys growing up.

   Posted by: liz    in family

i found myself contemplating motherhood for the umpteenth time the other day. perhaps it was coming across old pictures of the boys as toddlers/babies and wondering just how i made it through the stage of “3 kids 3 and under” for so long…and just how quickly they have become grown boys now (5, 7, and 8 years old this summer).

kenny and i have reached a whole new stage of parenting, and i am finding it hard to leave the last stage behind. it has taken 8 years of parenting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to land into “school-aged children” stage. i no longer have to carry a bag with me every where i go, change diapers, wake up every night to feed a baby, and wonder just what is going on in that head of theirs (i can now ask them, and more times than not, they’ll tell me).

this is unchartered territory for me. and i’m a bit daunted by it.

i know how to change a diaper, swaddle a baby nice and tight, make homemade baby food and hold the baby facing out so s/he can see and stop fussing. i’m not sure i know how to make three very different boys happy on a daily basis so that they continue to love to learn and yet have fun.  i know how to soothe my babies, but i can’t see into the minds that are molding in the young men my boys will become. how can i soothe away those bigger worries when they bring their troubles to me? how can i be assured they’ll bring their troubles to me?

i think i’m finding myself nostalgic for the younger years recently because hindsight is 20/20. those days look easier now that they’re not “these days.” of course i’ve forgotten how exhausted i was back then, how worried i was about each “off” cry or negative character trait i felt i had to nip in the bud. we have much more freedom now to have an un-interupted conversation, time to sit and relax on the deck while all three boys entertain themselves, and i know that in a few years, we’ll look back on this parenting stage with longing hearts. again.

which is why people tell you to embrace the day. but what i need to know is…how to embrace it when you’re daunted by it?

me and the boys, 2006 (i love how sawyer looks like a mini football player here, and rowan is working out his “fake” smile, and 2-week-old adam just wants to eat!): 

me and the boys last fall (sweet boys lovin’ on their mama. this picture makes me swoon):


laundry room makeover, part 2

   Posted by: liz    in homekeeping

(Click on pictures to see larger view)

You can refer to this post to see more “before” pictures, but here is a reminder of some “before” photos of the old laundry room…fake paneling on a wall, decades-old smelly cupboards, and white beige linoleum flooring with “enlongated” hospital grade toilet:

And two “after pictures” to show you what we’ve gotten done over the weekend, including changing our minds about cleaning the old toilet versus buying a new one, discovering how poor a product Pergo actually is, and finding no structural needs to fix (whew!):

See that white cupboard next to the toilet? I’ve had that since I had my own apartment. It’s been in our basement since our move here and it’s serving well as our new storage area. We lost a lot of storage area taking out the old (smelly) cupboards, but it was mostly holding junk that we should have taken to Goodwill long ago, and garbage we have no reason keeping.

The flooring caused us the biggest headache. We had originally picked out Swiftlock Laminate flooring ($90) for the entire room, but after several hours of trying to cut and fit and lock it together around several water pipes and holes for the toilet and washer drain, we gave up. It wouldn’t stay “locked” and the pieces never came together to ensure a water tight seal. Because you know how important it is for a bathroom to have water proof flooring (the biggest reason we re-did this room was the sub-floor, which “stank.” I’ll leave the smell to your imaginations.). So we took the flooring back and opted for a $50 sheet of linoleum which has the look (not feel) of a hardwood floor. I think it looks fabulous and it was installed within minutes (not hours! and kitchen scissors took care of all the holes – no need for the saws!).

I’m pleased with the look of the original exterior siding on the back wall. I think it helps with the country porch look-and-feel to the room (as this room was originally the kitchen exterior porch).

I hope to add more pictures when I finally finish the room. At least it’s half functional as of today!