Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Crocs’


smiths at Johnah

I.LOVE.VACATIONS. Not everybody is good at vacation. I’m really good at them. Super talented.

Scott used to be bad at vacation. We’ve been married long enough now for me to know that he needs to be mentally prepped for fun and relaxation. He has this hard wiring that makes him question whether vacations are completely responsible.


When there is a blizzard, and school is canceled, Scott makes someone in our family walk down the street to look at the highschool. He wants someone else to confirm that there are indeed no cars in the parking lot. He wants to make sure his worst fear has not come true: he didn’t show up for work.

Scott’s Amish attitude can kind of ruin your fun. Not any more. I’ve worked my powers on him. After many years, he finally gets it. Yes. Vacations are expensive, but the return they give you in precious memories, bonding and relaxation makes each vacation a worthwhile investment.

If I was 20-years-old and writing the script for my life, I would include vacations to tropical islands and interesting places overseas. We would take the kids to New York City, Spain, San Francisco and Amsterdam. But that isn’t the life we have. That isn’t the life we can afford. Our life, instead, will include chapters on vacationing in Branson, Missouri.

Scott and I never thought we were a good fit for Branson. Branson has a lot of entertainment that includes singing, plenty of thick make up and big hair. Truthfully, I’ve never even liked musicals. I’ve always thought “Wizard of Oz” would be a great movie, if we didn’t have to stop for all the singing. Get on with it already.

I’m not sure Scott and I really had a choice though. For some reason Branson had its eye on us from the start. We were given two nights to Branson on our honeymoon 21 years ago. We didn’t see any shows, but we played a lot of tennis and enjoyed the scenery. Then, my parents bought a condo in Branson. We have vacationed with Scott’s whole family there and my whole family too. That was magnificent fun. Now we spend every spring break with my parents in Branson, and our children love it. I guess Branson is kind of ours.

(On our honeymoon in Branson.)


One year when Zeke was much younger, he made a poster for a school assignment that told people who he was. The poster included a picture of Branson. He said, “I vacation with my family in Branson, Missouri every year.”

I read that and thought, “We do? Oh. I guess we do.” I guess if our children think their Branson vacations are as important to mention as the color of their eyes, the sports they like and name of their pet, then those vacations are important and special.

We were craving a vacation this year. This winter was especially hard for Eddie. He was sicker than usual. Some how he managed to knock out a really impressive wrestling season. It didn’t end the way he imagined it would though. Like all tough kids who end on a loss, he had a sore heart because of it. Eddie is nothing but resilient. On the way out of the Kohl Center at the State Tournament he said to his Grandpa Dale and me, “At least we get to go see Grandma and Grandpa in Branson.”

I love you, Branson.

I’m not sure my parents were planning on coming to Branson this year. They’ve been to Branson for 23 straight winters; now their bodies are starting to resist their sharp minds.

Nobody’s talked about it, but I’m pretty sure Grandpa made a quick decision when he heard Eddie use Branson as motivation for beating the disappointment of losing. I’m pretty sure Grandpa decided right then that one way or another he and Grandma would get themselves to Branson this year, even if they had to strap themselves to our van to get there.

We spent a week in Branson. We had some silly fun too. We always do. The drive down is always part of the adventure. Scott does 90 percent of the driving. He doesn’t really trust me. He doesn’t trust me because I do wasteful things. I’m careless with the blinker. He says I turn it on well before it’s necessary, thereby causing wear and tear. The blinker then needs to be replaced sooner than if I had used it more modestly, as Scott does. I guess I just thought blinkers grew on trees somewhere. I’m spoiled. I grew up thinking that I’d never run out of blinkers. It’s just another by-product of being a spoiled American. I’m not even going to try to make excuses.

I apologized. I said that we just come from two separate worlds.

Same thing is true for the brakes. Scott informed me on the way to Branson that it is not his fault that we are going to need new brakes on the minivan pretty soon. He walks or rides his bike to work, but he says when he does drive he uses the brakes spar-ing-ly.

I said, “You rarely use the brakes? I never considered the brakes optional.”

He told me that you just have to coast and only apply the brakes in the final moment before you stop. That’s how unspoiled people use the brakes. And, it was pretty obvious that I could learn a lot from Scott.

Scott got us to Branson in record time with little use of the blinkers or brakes. It was a fun week.

On the way down to Branson I was thinking about something my brother-in-law, Tom, said a few weeks ago. Tom had a surprise party for my sister. He gathered all the guests together and told them how much he loved my sister, Gail. Tom and Gail lost their son, Ryan, in a climbing accident two years ago on Easter.

Tom told the party guests, “You don’t wait until people are in a box in the ground before you tell them how much you care about them.” Tom has walked through fire. I believe what he tells me. His words were indelicate, but sometimes that’s how it is with the truth.

I think Tom and Ryan would say the same thing is true for adventure. You only have one shot at adventure on Earth. I’ve passed up a lot of adventures. I’m going to try to stop doing that.

Our whole family went zip lining in Branson. This was a 3 hour adventure that involved crossing rope bridges and riding zip lines above the trees. We also had a pretty sweet jeep ride through the woods. I shocked my family when I told them I would be joining them for the fun. I think it made them happy.

I couldn’t get the timing down right on the zip lines. Your brake system involves pressing down on the cable above you with your gloved hand, and we all know I sure don’t know how to use the brakes. The first run I pressed too hard. I was so scared, and I wanted to slow down. I slowed down enough to stop completely before the landing. The guide had to reel me in to the tower. That’s annoying for everyone who’s waiting for the whole group to finish so they can move to the next line.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. The next time I didn’t apply any brake at all. I made such a fierce landing, with such velocity that Scott said both towers at the start and end of the line were shaking. The guide seemed to laugh a bit nervously when I exploded on to the scene and almost knocked him off the tower.

I jammed my ankle and my knee on that landing. Eddie says you can’t jam your ankle and knee. I beg to differ. Mine were jammed. My ankle was swollen. I know because I kept inspecting it, and I was sure to show it to anyone who was interested, or sort of interested, or not interested at all.

I had to limp quite a bit for the next few days. People asked me if I was hurt. I told them, “Oh, it’s no big deal. Just a zip lining injury. I’ve had plenty of worse injuries. It’s just something you get used to when you live for adventure.”

smith zip line

I was a little proud of myself after we did the zip lining. Especially when I saw some other moms who stayed on the ground to take pictures of their families. Another lady in our group made me look super athletic. As soon as she started down the zip line, she would start flailing her legs and bicycle kicking in a state of panic. It wasn’t pretty. She quit after the second tower.

zip line

It was an incredible week. We shopped, hiked, saw some shows, played Trivial Pursuit, tennis and cards, and ate a lot of junky food. It was so fun.

Did you know that people get depressed reading about other people’s vacations on Facebook? That makes me feel badly. Everyone has their own cool story to tell. Our story isn’t special, it’s just ours. If you need proof, I can tell you all sorts of things that will not impress you.

Let’s start with Eddie. Eddie’s 17 now. He’s old enough to pack for himself, isn’t he? Well, he had a duffel bag when he left the house. I’m not sure if he had a giant teddy bear in there, a coffee maker or a 8 loaves of bread. What he didn’t have was clothes that he could actually wear. He spent the whole week in Zeke’s sweat pants. We called them his sweat capris. He wore mismatched socks and my very mom-like tennis shoes. He only brought a pair of Crocs. Mismatched Crocs.

We made Eddie go with us to buy him a pair of tennis shoes. It was probably his least favorite part of our vacation. He and Zeke found ways to entertain themselves. I really think they make these looks work.


Our family also doesn’t always get along. We have our fights. The boys fights get a little crazy. One day they were doing a work out. They finished their workout with some wrestling in the grass. As is their habit, someone lost their temper, and the wrestling turned into a precious and loving fist fight. Olivia came running back to the condo to tell me the boys were trying to kill each other. Turns out they were scolded by an employee of the development. That sounded great to me. I hope that guy scared them too. If he could help me figure out how to set them on a path that doesn’t involve a future in MMA fighting, I’d be mighty grateful.

I did my best to punish the boys by playing a nice April Fools joke on them. We told them that the condo develpment managers were going to kick their Grandparents out of their property because of the boys misbehavior. That was mean. I saw some serious fear in their eyes.

Yep. It’s real life on vacation, but it’s still just so good. I love hanging out with these people. I love these people. I’m so grateful to have the luxury to hang out with them in such a fun place. We’re going to do it now; when we’re in a box in the ground, it’s too late.


fus ball smiths


Cheers to Simple

I like my husband’s hair, his eyes, his personality, his physique. I know, that last one is a little personal. Have you seen him though? There’s a lot going on there. That’s all I’m sayin’. Do you want to know what I like most about my husband though? Do you want to know what my husband has that makes me the envy of so many wives? I’m telling you any way. I like my husband’s carbon footprint. It. Is. Sweet.

When I met Scott he was a care free, fun-lovin’ kinda college kid. What he was NOT, was a litterbug. I’m pretty sure that even when Scott was partying, he always remembered to recycle. He comes by this naturally. His mom and dad were “Green” back when it was just Mr. Jeans’ first name, and just another color of the rainbow.

If civilization goes down in a blaze of global warming, I want to tell you that is NOT on Scott (or his parents). Here are 5 ways Scott keeps his carbon footprint lookin’ so good:

1. His Phone

The kids keep talking about how their friend so-and-so upgraded from a 3G Verizon mega data base Iphone to a 62 Gigabyte Google download Chromiumsphere (I’m pretty sure I have all the names right) device. Scott upgraded too, ten years ago. From a rotary phone to this:

scott's phone

Scott and I usually get along pretty well, unless we are driving and he asks me to text someone for him from this device. I tell him to just wait. I say it’ll be easier if I just keep my eye out for a messenger pigeon, or find a cave so that I can etch in some hieroglyphics and send his message that way.

2. His Moccasins

For many, many years Scott wore brown, leather moccasins around the house. Then they tore. He duct taped his moccasins and wore them 5 more years. Then the duct tape tore. He duct taped the moccasins again. Then he fell asleep one night, and I threw his moccasins away. Now he wears these around the house. These were given to me by my mom many years ago. Scott stole them back then, and has been wearing them every day, ever since. He’s “Green”. He’s also a thief.


3.His Snow blower

My parents gave us their snow blower when we moved in to our house ten years ago. It has never been turned on. We’ve been nice enough to store it for them all these years. I don’t know why you would use a powerful snow blower when you can shovel one scoop at a time; seems almost senseless.

scott's shovel

When the kids were little Scott had them out in the driveway helping him with sand pails. They got a little older and he bought them all their own shovels. When they start talking about all their friends’ technology upgrades, we remind them of how lucky they are with their shovel upgrades.

Scott shovels the neighbor’s driveway now too. That is minus two carbon emissions each snowy morning. You’re welcome.

4. His Wheels

If you want to impress Scott, do not tell him you own a Hummer or a Lexus. He’ll be happy for you. He just won’t know what you’re talking about. I bet you think I’m exaggerating. I can do that, but not this time. I didn’t realize it either, but there are a couple of guys in the world who just aren’t interested in cars.

Oh, look at that. I found a picture of Scott next to his rental car on a trip he took with Eddie to see a Doctor on the West Coast. When I asked him what kind of car he rented, he said, “a nice one.” In this picture, Scott is telling you everything he knows about cars, why he thinks they’re so cool, and how they work. Here’s a summary,



Here is a picture of Scott’s real set of wheels. He uses this wicked machine to commute to work every day.

scott's bike

I must say he got all spoiled American on me. This bike is pretty new. He purchased it from someone off of Craigslist last year. I guess he thought his 20 plus-year-old bike wasn’t good enough for him any more. Some nonsense about the seat falling off and the brakes not working. I know. The guy is full of excuses. Now he has this sweet ride. A couple of times a week we ride double around the neighborhood just to make the neighbors jealous. That isn’t right. Sometimes you’d have a hard time proving I’m a Christian.

5. His Toys

Here is a picture of all the electric tools, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, 4-wheelers, I phones, I pads, and head phones that Scott owns:

scott's football

You know what the most maddening thing about all this is? I can’t even get Scott to toot his own horn. We’ll be at a party and someone will be telling him about their sweet new sports car. Or, about how they’re putting an Olympic size pool in their house.

I’ll ask Scott, “Well, did you tell them how small your carbon footprint is?”

He’ll say, “No.”

I’m like, really. What’s the point?

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