Smith Kids MSU Tailgate

Smith Kids MSU Tailgate
Dominica, Veronica, Rebel and Miranda

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tiger Fever!

If we had cable we would be turning on the television tonight at 8:30 for the Tigers game.  Since we don't have cable, we won't be doing so.  We will be listening on the radio on WLAV.  GO TIGERS!

Wednesday night was Kara's night to stay home with mom and dad. When asked what she wanted to do for her special mommy and me time she quickly replied,"get a Tiger's shirt".  Apparently Kara has an acute case of Tiger Fever which was probably contracted from your truly.  At least there is no unsightly rash or bruises that comes along with it!  I must say this is the first time I have really been into baseball and I am really into it. I am wearing my Tiger's sweatshirt right now while daydreaming of tonight's game!  Verlander-- let's go man!

Well it seemed like such a simple request so I of course approved it without realizing that it would actually require driving around for nearly two hours and visiting six stores before we would actually find a suitable shirt--one that fits my skinny minnie little Kara. And that girl is skinny. She LOVES her new shirt and is wearing it today with such pride. She wears it with pride, and with a pink long sleeved shirt underneath it so that she doesn't get cold and as Kara so eloquently put it, "so it doesn't make me look like a boy". 

Anyhow, other than the cost of gas and the twenty bucks for the shirt, it was a fairly affordable outing for her special night and by the time we found the shirt and drove home it was after nine o'clock so it was time to head to bed! We had a lot of laughs and fun during the outing.   It is definitely one of those special memories that you can't make with a television set.  Kara kept saying, "we can't give up mom. You told me to never give up!"  How could I argue with my own words?  I think her pep talk will be replayed on October 16th at the marathon!  I will use those words to push me through the pain!  And another added bonus to the whole adventure was that our dog, Stan, even came along for the ride, so we had some quality time with him!

Vern Out

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alternative uses

Since the kids no longer get to watch television, their overactive imaginations have been coming up with alternative uses for the big black box.  I would like to point out that they have come up with these ideas over the past several months on their own without any encouragement or input from me.  I guess this is their way of following the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle gig!

The first thing they did with the television (other than to watch it) was to use it to hide things from each other.  They like to play hot and cold and they oftentimes hide the item behind the television.  I can not tell you how many sippy cups have been rescued from deep behind the television set which is often a gross reality, but alas it's true.  I am quite perplexed as to why sippy cups get placed back there, but it happens all the time. Anyhow, the television and entertainment center now get used as storage for all things non televisional in nature and a highly popular hiding place for the game of hot and cold.

They also pretend that the television is the airport arrival/departure screen when they play vacation.  They check it to see if their respective flights are on time.  It is very cute.  I think their airlines have a better track record than most of the major airlines today and there is no baggage fee and you get free snacks.  Just saying.

They also used the television and oscillating fan combination to record their incredible musical performances this summer.  Jonas Brothers, you better watch out because my Constantine trio is pretty hot!

And the final use for our television (and my personal favorite) is that AJ recently turned it into a large complex target for his new nerf gun.  He saw uncle Robb shooting his bow and arrow at a target a few weeks ago and he wanted his very own.  He marks all of his shots, puts tape on the television to mark different target points and takes great pride in his ability to aim and kill the television. GO AJ take our TV down, Boy!

Anyhow, life is still incredible without the television being used for its true purpose. In the words of Jon Wilds, "we are living the dream!"

Vern Out 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

20 Miler

Today I ran my first 20-mile long run; the Grand Rapids Marathon training run.  It was brutal, but in a good way.  I feel like I am strong and powerful right now, as I relish in the run induced adrenaline rush.  It is way cool.  Way better than television although I am watching bits and pieces of the MSU game on ESPN at my in-laws as I write this and that is pretty cool too!  GO GREEN!  I feel great about life and I can not wait to run the GR Marathon next month! Yesterday was my birthday and I didn't tune into any shows other than a few bits and pieces of Fringe since Jeff was totally cheated and tuned in to that while listening to the Tigers on LAV.  Talk about sensory overload for me.  Go Tigers-- way to pull off a come back!  I am hoping to head to Turks for dinner so that I can pig out and not have any mess to clean up.  We'll see.

Other than that stuff, life as usual is happening at our place.  The new house is coming along well and I just found out that I get to have speakers in my bathroom. Speakers!  So not only can I lounge in a spa like environment while relaxing in my jetted bathtub with some candles and mood lighting, now I can listen to some mellow music while I am at it!  Man I can't wait for the new house to be completed! 

It will feel so good after long distance runs like today to soak in my new tub.  My muscles certainly are fatigued and I have three blisters and a couple of toe nails that might fall off after today's run. 

Little TV, I mean Vern, Out

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My new nickname; "Vern" better watch out!

Jeff called me his little television the other night.  While I wasn't sure if it was meant as a compliment or in a negative light. After some consideration, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt so I took it as the ultimate compliment.  "He thinks I am as entertaining as modern television!" I thought to myself.   I didn't think too much about the instance, until he called me the same a few more times.  Then last night, he did it again. He called me his "little television".  Considering I gave television up for the year, I was starting to get a bit annoyed with his insistance in calling me a television so I felt it necessary to get more details as far as why he felt that an appropriate nickname for me. So I asked him, "Why are you calling me that lately?" And he said, "You know, You're like a TV, I can't take my eyes off you!"   Not the best compliment, but still it was pretty sweet so "Vern" better watch out I may become know as Little Miss Television.  Pretty ironic.

I find it necessary to note that tonight is the Criminal Minds Season Premiere and I am NOT tuning in even though I would love to see what is going on with Hotchner and the gang. 

Little Television Out

Sunday, September 18, 2011


In the world of running there's a phenomenon known as flow; flow is when everything is going right.  You are in the zone.  You feel great, you keep a good pace, you have no pain, no discomforts even, and you are enjoying the feeling so much that you hardly realize you are running. You are blissful, elated and happy.  It's flow.

I have only experienced flow a couple of times during my illustrious running career, but the few times that I have were the best; they were some of the happiest times of my life really.  Oddly enough, childbirth (without any drugs) also allows me to get into the zone and is the closest comparison I have to flow.  And no I am not kidding, each time I gave birth I got a major adrenaline rush and I rode the high for at least a week.

And while I would love to report that one of my flow experiences was this past weekend when I bandited the Old Boy's Half Marathon, to report such information would be a lie. A big fat lie, not just a little white one.  The race started out fine and for 10 glorious miles I meandered in and out of borderline flow.  I felt really good and I kept a good pace.  Then at mile 10 for some reason my left leg started to bother me (I suspect that it may have something to do with the fifty pound neighbor dog that ran into my left leg full speed when I went running last week, but who knows) and from that point on I struggled.

The pain increased for the last 3 miles.  It is the worst pain I have had to run through. I guess now I feel like I can handle running through pain which is good, but I don't want to push through the pain right now during training and injure myself more seriously before marathon day.  After the race I was feeling low, frustrated and spent.  My left ankle and knee were sore. This soreness was likely complicated by the fact that I totally wiped out in the parking lot after the race yesterday.  Those of you who know me well are not surprised by this supreme display of coordination!  Those who do not, I am not even the least bit graceful.  Not too many people can trip over their own feet.   When I woke up today, I was mad that I would have problems now so close to the big day, angry that I wiped out in the parking lot and added insult to injury and I was tired.  I considered following Miranda's lead and renting movies and having a television marathon today.  I wanted to roll over and give up.  But then after breakfast my kids said, "lets build a house in the basement out of toilet paper". And I thought, "Why not?" So we did.

The toilet paper house was not nearly as impressive as I had hoped, but it did serve as a good distraction and a springboard for something spectacular.  Somewhere during T.P. House construction, I was apparently bitten by a cleaning bug because I ended up cleaning the basement, the kitchen and dining area, the living room, both bathrooms and two out of three bedrooms. Tomorrow I plan to do the last bedroom.  I never watched television other than a few minutes of the Lions game.

Well after the long day yesterday, I came home and read book number 19, "The art of Racing in the Rain".  It was an extremely thought-provoking and touching story about a race car driver's life told from his dog's perspective.  It was so very, very good.  And it got me thinking, "what would our dog say about us?"  I like to think Stan would think we are good people.  I need to believe he knows how much we adore him, but does  he? Do we do enough for him?  I am going to give more thought to this canine perspective and follow-up on this topic later this week.  Until then, I will be busy living, not watching television!

Vern Out

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We still don't have cable.  I suppose getting cable during the year of NOTV would be ultimately stupid so we do not have anything other than basic stations that come in with our rabbit ears.  We don't get to see the Tigers on TV very often.  When we do it is just a real nice suprise.  It's extremely special.  We generally listen to them on WLAV radio and I am surprised that I have actually developed a liking to this radio programming.  I used to get annoyed when Jeff would listen to sports on the radio and now I am right there with him listening.  However, I still get a lot of cleaning done while we listen I am not just sitting idly. Anyhow, tonight we won't get to tune in to see (or hear) if they earn their play-off bid because the game just started and it is already late, but we will be thinking of them as we sleep. 

Still no television at our place.
Vern Out

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book club-The DBC

So when I decided to give up television for the year one of my friends, Lori, emailed me and said "Vern since you are not watching television why don't we start a book club?"  I will be honest, I was not all that excited about a book club, but I did figure I would get to see some of my friends more regularly so I reluctantly agreed.  Well shortly after this written conversation, I started reading.  I haven't stopped.  I just finished book number 18 (that I can remember anyways) and I am working on number 19.

Well book club has been going strong for eight months now (I think) and not only do I look forward to seeing my friends (which I always knew I would enjoy) I actually look forward to reading the assignment each month!  One of our prior readings was Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons which ironically was about a group of women that starts a book club.  After reading that one, we decided our club needed a name so after much deliberation and so many changes to our schedule that I don't even know what our schedule is anymore, we settled on The Dysfunctional Book Club (The DBC).  It suits us perfectly.  Anyhow tonight is book club and I can't wait!  To think book club may have never been born if I hadn't kicked the TV to the curb!  So glad that I did and so excited to see my reading buddies and pick out our next reading adventure!

Sidebar-Mird I am so glad you have been posting updates again and so sorry to hear that you were all sick.  I think I would have caved in too had I been puking my guts out!

Vern Out

Saturday, September 10, 2011

TV Marathon

So I decided this morning at 3 am while I was spending some quality time with the toilet, puking my guts out that today would be a TV marathon day!  When Kenny woke up at 6 in the same situation as I, it was confirmed.  We watched movie after movie until my kids were sick of TV!! ha ha although that took a very long time!  Kenny laid on the couch most of the day and dozed in and out, so it was hardly watching TV anyway.  But about 11 am he wondered off the couch and found toys to play with, so I guess TV does lose its entertainment value when you are watching it ALL day!!

On the bright side, we were all feeling much better by dinner time and even went outside to play for a while.  Tomorrow will surely be better and much much less TV :)

Daniels Out

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I am guessing the Gingko Biloba is not working.  I can't seem to remember much of anything these days.  Then again, maybe my recent surge in forgetfullness is just the sum of my current reality:  I have three young children and caring for them is my day job.  I also have a husband who recently underwent back surgery with a 4-6 week recovery period.  I am experiencing my first ever crescendo of marathon training regimen which requires me to run at least 30 miles a week and oh yeah we are still in the process of building our new house which requires different unexpected things of me each and every day.  Need I go on?  It is no wonder that we missed the pre-kindergarten parent's meeting a couple weeks ago and that Kara had to arrive to her first day of schoool without her backpack because it conveniently went MIA yesterday.  Anyhow, for the record, I don't think the Ginkgo works.

I never was one for statistics.  It seems like if you look hard enough you can find a statistic to support darn near anything.  I don't care about how fast people can do anything unless you are talking about running and then mostly I am just amazed and how fast some people are.  I don't need to know how many touchdowns Peyton Manning has thrown or how many teams are still in the running of the World Series.  Furthermore, I don't really care how likely I am to be struck by lightning or run over by a car while I am out for a run.  I'm gonna run either way, so I guess I just don't see the value in statistics weighing me down or worrying me.

However, some statistics of mine recently have impressed even sceptical old me; like the number of food items I cleaned out of our van last week, 23 or the number of miles I have run so far this year, 528.5!  I also find it somewhat impressive that I, the woman who had all but given up reading when I started a family five years ago, has now read 17 books this year (and these are just the ones I read to myself and can remember since we all know my memory is not stellar there could be a few others). And more importantly, I have read countless others to my kids. Speaking of useless statistics, we read at least five hours a week and it was upwards of ten in the winter months sometimes more!

Anyhow, the television is still off, I am still running/training for GR marathon and caring for four other people and reading a lot and making sure our new house stays on schedule and under budget and... and... and...

Vern Out

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Man I do love a good run!

Man I do love a good run.  There is just something about hitting the road with nothing more than an IPOD and a dream with a bunch of good friends that makes a run so special!  Yesterday I enjoyed my longest run so far (17.14 miles to be exact) and it was spectacular!  I enjoyed every detail of the experience, the burn in my muscles, the songs on my play list, the conversation with the Brians, Bruce and Mark and the feeling that I was pushing my body just a little further than ever before!  The only thing that was slightly irritating was the rash that developed underneath my breasts somewhere around mile 13.  I have heard about chaffing stories, but have never been victim to the pain personally.  That was tough, but now I know that I can run through it so if chaffing is an issue come October 16th I am prepared. 

The rest of the day I mowed the lawn, washed dishes and laundry (including hanging the clothes on the line), cleaned most of our house, attended our first MOPS meeting of the year where I worked as the chef and took one hell of a bath! A well earned, luxurious hot and steamy bubble bath that I lounged in for nearly an hour.  Then I read for another couple hours and went to sleep. I slept the best that I have slept in years last night!  I guess I earned a good night's sleep too!

The television never crossed my mind the past 48 hours.
Vern Out

Monday, September 5, 2011


Sporting events are starting to become more regular again.  We had a pretty good lull between March Madness and now, but the amount of sporting events available is increasing and a lot of it is good quality spots too-- the stuff that even I don't mind watching so the television has been on a few times this weekend! 

This weekend we watched the Spartan's football season opener and two Tiger's games.  So we are not exactly television free, but we are staying within the confines of our original agreement and while I would love to be truly television free, I would probably no longer be married if I tried to enforce no TV at all.  In all honestly I love Spartan football and the Tigers are doing really well recently so I am  enjoying the sports action.  Especially since I have a husband recovering from back surgery and three energetic and gregarious children to care for as well.

Today I get to run my first 17 miler and then mow our lawn so I don't think I will have time for any television at all.  Thank goodness my parents have the kids so at least I don't have to watch them or worry about their entertainment needs!

Vern Out

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Brains and backs and beyond!

I just got back from a 45 minute run.  For once I have absolutely no idea how far I ran and no plan to return later to drive my route and determine the exact distance either.  I just needed to run.  It is so soothing to me at times like this that I can not even begin to describe it, but it was just what I needed.  I feel at peace now while I await the news from the Nuerosurgeon about Jeff's surgery.  He has the same Doctor who fixed my faulty brain so I feel Dr. Marquart's tagline should be "Brains, backs and beyond".

This morning, I also was witness to Jeff getting super cool compression socks added to his attire (think really cheap white fish net style nylons and you have an idea of what he is wearing right now).  I wanted to post a picture sheerly for entertainment purposes, but he refused.  I also met his Anesthetic Doctor dude who happens to ask Jeff if, "So are you ready for this VP shunt?"  We of course thought he was joking and somehow remembered me and my VP shunt from some nearly five years ago.  Anyhow, they sorted that and Jeff's pre-surgery blood work out just in the nick of time and he went into surgery at 10 which is precisely when I laced up and headed out the door for 45 minutes of glorious running!  

One noticeable thing from my run was the number of dilapitated houses in the Hackley Hospital neighborhood that have multiple high-tech dish units in their run-down yards.  It was very sad to me for some reason to see all of the houses outfitted with fancy television options as if the television could somehow fill a void in their lives that was left by having very little material things. I know kind of a deep thought for my run this morning.  Anyhow, right then amidst these thoughts of mine, Madonna's classic "Material Girl" came on my Ipod and made me laugh. At that particular moment I thought to myself, "See God does have a sense of humor!"

Now I am waiting and praying. 

Vern Out