Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Silly Days of Lore

I get up really early to work on my research project, like 4:00 AM early.  Today I was more tired than usual, so at about 6:30 I decided to take a short nap before the kids got up.
At 7, there was a super silly girl hanging about wondering where breakfast was.
The more the morning went, the sillier she got and the culmination of the silliness is presented below:
Full Screen for maximum silliness:

No coffee needed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Catch Up!

Lost Blog?  Forgotten?  Neglected is a better word.
So how about some catch up photos?  Hurray!

CB making Pierogi with her daddy at Christmas

Baby Belle (not quite a baby anymore, eh?)  Discovering the magnifying glass

CB's Valentine's Day Card Collector

Ms Cocopugs being silly at Meathead's 

My 3 Sweeties

Goofy Belly

Charcoal eyes, kazoo nose, and carrot teeth.  Ahhh those creative Smolen kids 

Cocopugs at her finest

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I am working at home today and had to take a lunch break.  That's not uncommon, but today I am in organizational mode and have worked steady for 5 hours.
For the entirety of 11 years lived in this house, I have had some junk room, some bin, some ugly spot that needed to be cleaned.  Today I am tackling that bug.
For crying out loud, there is 2200 square feet of house here-  not huge, but certainly able to comfortably accommodate 2 grown ups and 3 children.  We have a garage, we have an attic, we have lots of stuff.  We are going to have lots less here pretty soon.  I have big plans for a family free-cycle, and then a garage sale, and then a mass donation.
So when this quest is over, I hope to have:

  • 1 (large) bin with my past:  journals, letters, recordings, transcripts & report cards and that is all.  If anyone wants to know who I was back in the day, those journals should suffice.  
  • A laundry room where I can effectively do *GASP* laundry.  
  • Some storage for household items easy at hand
  • a place for my husband to easily access his hunting gear
  • a lovely entry from garage to home without the desperate sigh *I should really get this done*  
There's a monkey soon to be off my back and I can't wait to tell him GOODBYE!

Monday, July 30, 2012

There are times when I forget.  My most opportune time to forget is when I am stressed and overly busy, things I have been all summer long.  The children have had time for play-  relationship building and tearing down with the girls in the neighborhood, learning to respect feelings and navigating drama.  (that is another post unto itself... girls are AGhhh!)  And while I knew this summer was going to be busy and hard, I did not keep my eyes consistently on what mattered.  I forgot to care about the overall picture, and focused on my little details.  As a result, I have a home desperately in need of attention, a family  desperate for structure, and a schedule to start planning for fall.  Here is where I sometimes forget.  
When I pray the Psalms, I tend to focus on the details of my own self, my own observations of joy, sorrow, pain, sin that I experience in my life.  As I was reading Psalm 32 today I realized that many of my sins really have to do with trust.  I try and control things, I daydream for contingency, I daydream about what could have been instead of cherishing, nurturing, and being thankful for what is.  I waffle sometimes between counting that as sin mostly because it is imagination instead of reality.  But consciously separating myself; hoping in my own ideas of future or past is directly counter to trusting in God's plan he has lovingly unfolded in front of me.   
"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine." -Psalm 32:8-9
This summer so far has had a little famine.  I trust that God will work it for good, and that I will remember.

Friday, May 11, 2012


This year,  making my schedule for the summer is like giving birth.  All the elements are there:  the studio, child care, graduate school, kid activities, home goals, performance dates, and family trips.  They continue to grow and grow and just when you think there is NO WAY this thing is going to come out, it just creatively and miraculously works out, including some pain and tears along the way.
This summer promises to be a little crazy, a little time crunched for me, but hopefully not the kids.  I want them to have time to rest, time to read, time to play, and time to learn.  Hopefully all will be combined into one big superactivity called "SUMMER".  I have day trips planned for the Chicago & Indy museums, local zoo, discovery museum & library activities for afternoons, and lots of home time with both mom and dad around.  Pat & I are celebrating our 15th anniversary this year with a bed & breakfast stay which I cannot wait for, and I am still hopeful we can get in a camping trip to WI later in the summer.
I'm a good Lutheran girl, and I'm not opposed to asking St Anne for intercession when life gets overwhelming, and continuing to rely on grace grace grace grace for the times when I get overwhelmed.  My true reliance is always on the One who knows me best, and who can give me rest when I need it.    Phesheww!  Let the summer begin!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Delicious Pea Soup

I have a project to work on today.  I have been diligently reading articles, working on sources, organizing my thoughts.
It is one of those perfect study/ quiet days, with rainy cool weather outside and a warm couch and slipper day inside.  I had to have soup for lunch, and cooking is perfect procrastination!
Baby Belle and I headed upstairs to try and recreate a recipe I had read last week.  She washed carrots and potatoes in a bowl and dried them, I quartered them.  I melted a half stick of butter in a stock pot and added the potatoes, letting them cook for about 10 minutes.  Then I added a can of chicken stock, and a can of water and brought to a boil. We tasted the broth and decided to add a little salt, pepper, and dill.   When the potatoes were tender (another 10 minutes), I added a bag of frozen peas, and a handful of leftover spinach.  Then we whizzed in in batches in the food processor.  YUM!  We floated a few goldfish and drizzled some cream over the top.  Ridiculous!

 Quick Pea Soup
4 TBSP butter
2 cups quartered new potatoes
2 carrots, rough chopped
1 can low sodium broth
Refil that can with water
salt/ pepper/ dill
1 bag frozen peas
handful of greens (I used spinach, but arugula would be good, too)

Melt butter and saute potatoes and carrots gently for 10 minutes
add broth & water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender
season to taste
add bag frozen peas/ greens, bring back to boil
in batches, puree soup until smooth
(while processing, be sure to leave the little plug out of the lid and cover the whole lid with a kitchen towel)

we drizzled a little cream over the top, and some goldfish
fresh chives would be good, a drizzle of olive oil would be good, a grilled cheese sandwich would be good...  oh yeah-  getting back to work would be good!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Day to Remember

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I am a Lutheran, an American, and too young to remember.  Why does this day matter?

When I was 9, my mom gave me the All of a Kind Family book.    I was completely intrigued.  I knew about the Hebrew people from the Bible, and that Jewish people lived here in the US, but I had never met anyone Jewish.  There was something about that story that tripped my heart and imagination.

When I was 11, my mom gave me another book after I asked questions about WWII.  My grandfather and I had been talking about bombers and planes at an airshow, and again my curiosity was sparked.  The Hiding Place and then The Diary of Anne Frank, and then the entire series of books called The Zion Covenant were the start of books I read about the subject.

 As I've gotten older, I have struggled to understand the war, the persecution, and where God was in all this.  Elie Wiesel's book Night shook my faith, made me question and ultimately continue my search for truth.  My heart is consistently moved by anything surrounding the war-  how relationships changed, how people reacted to ethical and moral dilemmas , who chose to fight, who chose to stay out.  One of my personal heros is Dietrich Bonhoffer, a man who was involved in the plot to kill Hitler, but instead became a martyr. 

My husband's mother is Polish, born in Germany to a Polish woman and an American solider.  I am waiting for her to write her mother's fascinating story about the invasion, switching identities with her sister, thereby protecting her parents, and then working as a cook in a work camp for the SS and being liberated by the US.  

Today matters because no victim should die in vain, whether the victim be a race of people, or a single person.  While it is impossible to honor each individual person, it is possible to look forward and recognize the symptoms of humanity's sickness and work towards a cure of peace and tolerance.