Smith Kids MSU Tailgate

Smith Kids MSU Tailgate
Dominica, Veronica, Rebel and Miranda

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where are you?

Okay so the problem is this: the year of NOTV Blog that was supposed to be a compilation of all the Smith kid's views on our little social experiment whereby we eliminated television from our lives has morphed into Vern's Blog of random thoughts some of which are related to television watching (or lack thereof) and some of which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with television. 

While I enjoy writing and sharing my opinions with our blog audience, I really think that the other opinions offered by my siblings added an interesting level of depth and additional viewpoints to our story. This depth is now lacking since I became sole writer in our enterprise.  All I can say is all the royalties are going to be mine for any book or movie deal that comes out of this gig!

I guess it is not so much of a problem as an annoyance to me.  My siblings were all so gung ho about NOTV2011 when I shared my dream with them last fall and now I can't get them to write a two sentence update once a week.  How lame is that?  Dominica is the exception. She never was really excited about it so I can understand her lack of commitment;  We really did bully her into joining us on the adventure so I cut her a little slack. 

The last time any of my siblings got on here was about a month ago and that was just because I went and spoke as a guest speaker at Mr. Smith's Animal Science class and in lieu of payment or a gift, I requested a post on the blog.  And to his credit a post was promptly added.  I guess I may have to make more guest appearances if I want more updates from him!

I know Mird and Mark are super busy at work so I understand not hearing from them too often, but once a week really just a few sentences would be nice and given the amount of time that Mark is on-line he should be able to squeak out just a little something.

I am not looking for anything fancy here bro and sistas.  We just want to know where you are in the realm of NOTV2011, or your random thoughts on just about anything will suffice--Just a little bone for Vern!
C'mon, know you want to...everyone is doing's the cool thing to do

Vern Out

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fabulous Fantastic Family Film Festival (F to the fifth Power)

The premier Fabulous and Fantastic Family Film Festival event was held last evening in our living room.  The excitement of the event pales in comparison to Friday Fart Festival, but I really did not have the energy to put one of those on last night.  The film festival was a big hit with the kids.  We all snuggled on the couch and watched Far From Home the Adventures of Yellow Dog.  It is a pretty good movie.  You can't really go wrong with a yellow lab in a movie.  It was somewhat predictable, but kids don't care and since I knew I had to get up at 6:30 to run 10 miles this morning neither did I.  I was just happy to chill on the couch and relax for the evening and have the kids be easily entertained.  Today we are back without television and I did survive the 10 mile run with a respectable time of 1:28:03!  Tomorrow is Easter and since I ran so far today I can have my cake and eat it too!
Vern Out

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our staycation

We had the most amazing staycation ever on Tuesday.  It truly was epic.  We never actually left our house or spent so much as a penny, but we had so much fun vacationing at home.  The experience was complete with a trip to the water park, McDonald's Playland, a couple of restaurants and a candy store.  We wore ourselves so ragged that a stop at the Book Bonanza Bedroom Bungalo (AKA Mom and Dad's room) for a much needed nap and book reading experience was an absolute necessity. 

The entire day was magical and enchanted. Perhaps fairy godmothers do exist afterall.  It certainly seemed mine was watching out for me Tuesday because I woke up feeling tired, irritable and ready to just accept that the day was a total loss. I really did not want to do much of anything other than possibly watch a little television and eat a lot of icecream.  Somewhere in between my feelings of PMS and sheer exhaustion, I found myself making a quick, ill-advised announcement to the kids to "Pack your bags. We are going on a staycation".  And while my kids had no idea what a "staycation" was, they could sense the excitement in my voice so they quickly joined me with happy, excited little faces and lots of questions.  Once they fully comprehended the ordeal, their excitement grew exponentially. Kara was so over joyed that she actually had tears streaming down her face.

Anyhow, the day was perfect and wonderful and most magnificent. I will cherish this one forever.  You can look for the rest of the story and pictures on M-Live later this week or early next week.  Until then, we will be keeping busy with something other than our television.  Today is Grandma day for everyone!  The kids are spending the day at the Meijer Gardens with Grandma and Grandpa C. and Mommy is spending the day with Grandma S. shopping and eating out at a real restaurant, not one that was self created!

Vern Out

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend woes

Well we survived the stomach gig so far anyways.  To date, Hazel, AJ and Grandma Karla have caught the nasty bug.  As a result of the kids being sick, we splurged and had family movie night Friday night in lieu of Friday Fart Fest which probably would have been really stinky had we held it with all the diarrhea of recent.  Anyhow, we watched My Dog Skip.  It was a good family movie, but did hit on some heavier adult topics as well.  All in all,it was pretty good, but nothing earth shattering or life altering.  It was nice to sit together and watch a movie and the kids did enjoy it as well. 

Today everyone seems to be feeling a lot better so we are at the library waiting for Kara to get out of school.  Since we got Grandma sick, we had to take Kara to school as well as pick her up.  I will say that while I feel fairly confident that we are not contagious, I am not sad that there are no other kids here.  Better safe than sorry and I would feel bad if we passed this on to any other families.

Vern Out

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stomach bug

So apparently we avoided the run in with Strep Throat only to pick up a stomach bug from Kenny last weekend.  When we all got together, he was sick and we were hoping it was just something he ate, or at least that it was not contagious.  I had all but forgotten about it until Hazel started puking yesterday afternoon.  She puked twice and had uncontrollable diarrhea last night as well.  I called Miranda to see how long this little deal lasts and just how bad Kenny got and she sadly informed me that it lasted about five days and that she had also spent two days sick herself.

My only hope is that Hazel is the only one who gets this otherwise our weekend and early next week are probably a lost cause as far as going anywhere or doing anything fun goes.  So today we will be sticking to home which makes me very sad because I really want to workout at least, but I would not want to get anyone else sick so we will be here.  At least Hazel is too young to beg for television so I won't have to deal with that!  We will not be watching television unless I am unfortunate as Miranda was and I catch this little stomach bug.  If that happens, I may succumb to the TV until the puking stops at least.

Vern Out

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NO TV not ever?

The television remains off; at least at our house it is off!  At my sibling's homes I am unsure as to their television watching because they still are not writing on the blog.  I really thought I had packed them enough of a guilt filled suitcase when we got together last weekend that at least one of them would get on here this week and provide a brief update. It is only Thursday so maybe we will hear from one of them yet this week.  I am an eternal optimist.  I won't hold my breath waiting though because I would likely pass out or die.

We have been busy playing outside in the wonderfully, warm and glorious spring weather.  The kids have a recently acquired, hand-me-down, battery operated, Jeep that has become their favorite toy.  They LOVE it;  the Jeep allows them a new sense if freedom.  They can drive!  Hopefully they didn't get my driving genes although Kara did run into the picnic table the other day so I fear she may have inherited my poor driving skills.

Today is the first pretty yucky day of the week, but thankfully it is Grandma (and Grandpa) Day so the kids are hanging out with them today.  When people ask me if I feel guilty about not letting the kids have a break from NOTV at home (I am pretty mean about requests for television inside our home) I quickly answer "No" without any hesitation at all.   Grandma Days are why I have absolutely no guilt or ill feelings about insisting that the television not be used at our home.  On Thursdays my kids get a break. They are allowed to watch television at Grandma's house.  I hope that it is not used excessively, but on rainy cold days like today it probably is and I have to accept that or give up my "weekend" (which would not be good for any of us) so I live with it.  Therefore, at home, the rule is strictly enforced and my kids do not get a "break" from no TV.

Anyhow, we are sticking with our routine now that we are all healthy again (thank goodness we avoided the strep throat).  Most days this means we workout first thing in the morning, play at the library and/or park for awhile and then home for lunch and outside play time.  Around two we squeeze in a nap time and then when we get up it is time to prepare for supper and take another drive around the yard in our super cool Jeep. It is a blissful existence and I am so glad to have the nicer weather.  I think NOTV2011 is going to be much easier now that spring is here!

Vern Out

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Busy bees

We have been as busy as bees and have not missed TV lately whatsoever.  First thing this morning I ran to pancake breakfast and earned myself some pancakes and coffee.  Jeff was finally persuaded to bring the kids and meet me after I begged and pleaded for about a half an hour.  I had to get all three kids ready to go as well before I hit the road literally running (since Grandma and Grandpa are still gone Jeff had to take them alone so me getting the kids ready was part of the deal), but it was totally worth it and the kids did great. And as usual the Crockery Township Pancakes were YUMMY!  After that, the kids and I headed to Fremont for day one of the Smith family reunion of sorts. Jeff stayed home to work on the lawn mower since mowing season is right around the corner and it was non functional at the end of last year.

Day one of the Smith family gathering went smashingly well and I am not being facetious.  It was so great to see each other and the kids played really well together. Dominica made home-made pizzas (the crust was made from whole wheat flour she made with her mill) and we got to pick our own toppings. So the pizza couldn't have been any fresher and it was very tasty.  Some of the best pizza I have ever had. 

Anyhow, I did begin harassing Rebel and Dominica about posting on here once a week with a brief update and I got an entire littany of excuses.  "I just forget"  "I don't know what to write about" "I am too busy" "we just don't do much" to name just a few of them for you.  I have to care for three kids (four if you count Jeff!) and that is a 24-7-365 gig and I find time to do this so I don't have a lot of sympathy for either of them especially since they don't have kids and I don't have internet at home so most of the time I have to do this from the library while watching three kids.

The library blog posting while watching children is a rare art form that I am close to perfecting. Well to be more accurate, I am close to perfecting this if losing a child at least three times during each session, causing power outages to library computers, allowing for the destruction of library property and losing library and credit cards counts as close to perfection!  We always make it home alive and in one peice as my mother used to say so I figure all is well. 

Oh I almost forgot.  Jeff asked me out on a date and I accepted. It was kind of romantic (at least for us). So last night Jeff and I watched the movie, Precious.  If you have not watched it, I won't spoil any of it for you, but I will say this. It is the kind of movie that makes you thankful for all that you have and that makes you think a lot. So in my opinion it is worth watching.  It has some somewhat disturbing scenes so it is probably not the best date night movie selection (especially if you are just dating someone), but Jeff did okay. We have watched worse movies back in our television watching days.  Tonight we are just relaxing after a long day of visiting and playing outside in this wonderful spring weather!

The best news yet!  There are no signs of Strep Throat in our house tonight.  I am not sure just how long the incubation period is for that, but we have to be getting close to being in the clear!
Vern Out

Friday, April 8, 2011

AARGH update

So far so good!  No one is sick and more importantly the television is still off.  I read up on Strep and apparently after 24 hours on antibiotics kids are probably no longer contagious although 48 hours is recommended to be certain so we are still a little concerned!  What a relief though that hopefully we will be spared more illness. I still think the adult in charge should have kept those kids home for that day at least, but I am mostly over it now.

Today we have been busy.  We went to story time at the library, had a restaurant in the kid's bedroom for lunch and now we are busy playing with goop, slime and other icky stuff! My housecleaning is taking a beating today that is for sure.  Oh well, there are still a couple weeks of lent left!

We are heading to the Smith Family Farm tomorrow and Sunday for family gathering stuff since Dominica is in town.  It will be great to see everyone!

Vern Out

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I am not typically an overprotective mom.  I let my kids fall down. I let them make their own mistakes to learn things.  I let them eat things off the floor--without a five second rule.  I even let them eat dirt and other disgusting things (within reason) and I try to encourage them to think for themselves.  Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I am not an overprotective mom in the least. 

But today at the library, I became irritated with another adult for her complete wreckless behavior.  She actually brought what I believe were two of her grandsons to the library to play. This in and of itself is a good thing, but not so much when they had been diagnosed with strep throat yesterday morning.  How ridiculous is that?  How can she sleep at night? 

I have been hanging out at home for nearly a week waiting for my kids to get over this cold. I took them to the doctor to make sure it wasnt strep throat since I heard it was going around and the first day we braved going out in public this happens.  I was completely disgusted with the situation and with the lady for her poor choice.  I bet she could have just stayed home and watched television or a movie with the kids too. Not like me the past week living with three sick kids and no television to entertain.  The worst part was she only announced the strep throat information after Hazel had managed to steal a sippy cup out of the diaper bag she had left on the floor and was drinking from it; it will truly be a miracle if we do not end up with a batch of strep throat here at our house.

I can admit that I was not totally innocent in the whole thing I should have gotten to Hazel before she got to the sippy cup, but the bag was unsupervised on the floor where all the kids play.  Worse yet, the bag was holding a sippy cup that presumably is infected with strep throat bacteria so in my opinion she should have had that sippy cup under lock and key. 

Her announcement was completely devastating to me and I quickly rounded the kids up and headed back home where it is safe.  Another mom with a newborn had already packed up after the announcement and was on her way faster than I was so I don't think I was the only parent there that found the situation to be bad.  I don't think I was overreacting or being over protective.  I really was just trying to avoid another week with sick kids at home and no television to entertain them.

It really stressed me out, but don't worry we are not watching television today.  We have been playing house, making cupcakes and reading our new books from the library.  With any luck we won't end up with strep throat for the rest of spring break although I don't hold much hope for that.

Vern Out

Monday, April 4, 2011

The first quarter update

So we are a fourth of the way done with the year of no TV; a quarter of 2011 is already behind us!  It's hard to believe isn't it?  It seems like just yesterday we were watching the ball drop saying farewell to television at our friend's New Years party. I figured an update on our progress would be a good idea since we have reached such a monumental milestone so here goes:

First of all, I am the only sibling that is left standing as far as providing regular updates on our NOTV2011 social experiment goes. But the other siblings are still participating, they just are not writing about it.  Dominica is the exception. She is pretty much watching regular television although less than she used to do (Domin-correct me if I am wrong on that, but from our conversations I gathered as much to be true).  My goal for the next quarter is to get my siblings writing again if even just a few sentences once a week because I know our readers like to hear from other viewpoints, not just mine. Dominica is going to be in town this week so we are all getting together for Sunday dinner so they will all hear from me in person on the matter then.  Hopefully we will see some feedback from the other Smith kids next week!

The house is still cleaner, but not as clean as I would like it to be. I am still working on my lent goal to remove clutter from our lives so until Easter I figure I have some wiggle room with the housework stuff.  It is definitely a work in progress, not a completed masterpiece.  Along the same lines, the sheets are still getting changed more regularly though not as much out of necessity as just out of habit which I suppose is a good thing that I have developed the habit of changing our sheets regularly. However, the additional sex has tapered off at our house over the past month.  I don't know about my siblings in this department, they may still be mating like rabbits without their televisions, but we are back to our usual deal.  Which is probably why I have caught Jeff cheating lately, not with another woman which would be forgiveable, but with the.television which is unforgiveable (just kidding).  If I go away, when I get home he almost always has the TV on now.  This was not true back a month ago so another goal of mine is to resolve this cheating issue with Jeff during the next quarter.  It may resolve itself if the weather gets nicer because Jeff then spends all his time outside when it is nicer!

So all in all life without television is every bit as blissful as I imagined it would be.  I am still thoroughly enjoying it.  I am still reading a lot both with the kids and on my own.  Once I had kids I had pretty much given up reading stuff for me until this year so I am really enjoying my adult reading material.  It is great!  I will be enjoying life without TV even more once the Butler Bulldogs win tonight and ends all this March Madness craze. 

I am faster now that I gave up television too and I am still skinnier despite my most recent cooking spree.  I admit it may just be coincidence, but I dont think so.  In the year of NOTV so far I have run three races and I have won awards at all three.  In the past I never really won awards so this is a new thing.  My most recent race was a victory and I won my first trophy ever which is way cool.  Additionally, I am still at least six pounds lighter than I was on January first some scales show me at an eight pound loss and I am a woman so it goes without saying that this is way, way cool.

My final thought on the matter, at least for now, is this.  Last night I was leisurely soaking in a piping hot bath totally relaxed (if you read my most recent M-live story that will post later today, you will appreciate that total relaxation does not come easily to me) and when I opened my eyes I saw something totally horrific. It was awful. The mold is starting to grow back on the ceiling.  I could not believe it since it has only been three months since I was so dangerously scrubbing the ceiling in my first NOTV cleaning frenzy. So during this second quarter, I fear that a return trip to the barstool in the bathtub to scrub the ceiling will be necessary as well. Pray for my survival from this one; it truly is extremely dangerous up there.

Vern Out

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The TV is on

I curse March Madness because it means the TV is on again. But I am watching the games nonetheless.  I know. I am a bit hypocritical tonight.  Our house is just too small to avoid the TV when it is on unless I was going to hang out in the basement which is still very cold despite the relatively warmer ambient air temperatures of recent.  Yes, the television is on again for the night, or at least until the games are over and I won't lie, I am sitting here in front of it.  I feel slightly guilty although not too guilty considering the day I have had and the week leading up to it.

First thing this morning, I ran a 10K race.  This was a last minute race decision, since my road trip to Miranda's house was cancelled due to my sick kids; I didn't wish to share the misery with my sister and her kids.  I was bummed to miss seeing them, but I seriously would not wish this cold on my worst enemy let alone my beloved sister and nephews (oh and Mark of course) so I just could go there.  However, going away to a run for the morning seemed like a good idea (it was an alternative that would work to preserve any shred of my sanity that may remain after this week being stuck at home with sick kids) so the plans were finalized late last night and it was so great!  I know many people would never qualify running just over 6 miles as a great thing, but I do.  My reasoning in the decision to do so was this.  I figured I would get a break from the fussy sick kids and some much needed exercise at the same time.  The best part ended up being that I won my first trophy, ever so the race was totally a great way to start the weekend if I couldn't be with Miranda. 

I returned here to this cranky kid infested and germ saturated place I call home to care for my sick kids for the afternoon.  We have already taken two baths since I got home.  This is due to the fact that the bath tub is the one place that everyone seems to be happy in right now.  It is not a pretty thing, but it allows for some breaks in the seemingly endless crying and whining that comes along with this cold.

As for the March Madness deal, I am still cheering for Butler to win the whole thing (or for VCU if they win tonight).  So at least I have teams that I prefer to make this all a little more interesting.  I will still be happy when it is over and the television goes back to black!

Vern Out