Gretchen Smith

I'm an elementary music teacher and mom to three kids, Melody, Dixie and Charlie. Dixie was adopted as a preschooler and Charlie has autism. Now that they're all in school, I thought life would slow down, but it only seems to speed up each day.

Planning Ahead

Charlie likes to plan ahead, perhaps moreso than is actually practical. He will save a sucker 'for dessert the next time that it is Tuesday and we eat macaroni and cheese' or decide that this toy needs to stay there until a certain child comes to play again (who may not come for months).In June, we were driving in PennyVann and had this conversation:Charlie: Why does Dixie always get the mail every day that there is mail in the mailbox?Gretchen: ...more

Performances, Planned and Impromptu

So tonight is the fourth grade music program. Six songs, twenty speaking parts, one song has three instrument parts and they break out into singing in four parts, one song has two part singing while twenty kids go stand in the back and play the recorder and the front row plays the tambourine, two songs feature kazoo, all sorts of craziness. And my girls have piano tonight. So life is already going to be a bit nuts.Then they call a ...more

9:32 a.m.

As I sit to write this, it is 9:32 a.m. I awoke at approximately 8:00 this morning, and have therefore been awake for 92 minutes.On August 1st, I had sinus surgery. I'd taken the kids to my mother's the day before and she returned them to me yesterday. As a result, I think it's safe to say I've done more in the last 92 minutes than in the previous 168 hours ....more

Only Melody

A few weeks ago, we were all in The Betty, driving to church. I don't think I've introduced you to The Betty, Dowlan's car. It's a 12-year-old white Buick that we bought from Granny. On the drive home from put hissing, she hit 30,000 miles. Since life is in my head is a perpetually word association game, follow along.   ...more

Sew Cool!

During the last few weeks of 2nd grade, the girls' school had enrichment time at the end of the day. They were allowed to choose from a variety of offerings and Dixie chose sewing. She brought home a cute little apron, with only a few missed seams.Yesterday, I finally got the last of my sewing and craft things put away and organized. After taking the girls to rehearsal, I made my way through my mending pile and then returned to ...more

Days with Charlie

This summer, I am working as the vocal coach for a local community theatre group. It's a children's summer program and we are putting on 101 Dalmatians. I've really enjoyed going to spend an hour or two a day with a small group of motivated kids. It's so different than my usual gig of 400 kids before lunch that I don't really know what to do with myself some days ....more

Watermelon

I'm convinced there's no piece of childhood summer that carries more magic than the watermelon. Without it, summer has not truly begun. There's just so many memories attached--just the smell makes me seven again, sitting on the back deck with a green and red smile of melon, juice dripping down my chin, trying my mightiest to spit black seeds further than my brother. I even lost a tooth in one once. When I realized it, I frantically sorted through my ...more

Swimmers! We Got 'EM!

One of the things I've felt guilty about for awhile is that my girls are 8 and 8.5 and can't swim. In fact, at the end of the school year, the girls had a trip to the municipal pool as a reward and it was terrifying to send two almost-swimmers in amongst the hordes.Two summers ago, Dixie could swim from me to the edge and Melody was almost there. I knew we were one summer away from little froggies ....more

My Gymnasts are Not so Tiny Anymore

Melody's events are:BeamBarsVault FloorBeam was definitely her best, for you skimmers ....more

Thoughts from Charlie's Head

"Im starting to see my dream. The pictures flash like when someone takes a picture with a camera. But there's no person, and no camera. Flash, flash, flash. It's harder to see the pictures when the sun is up." Charlie likes to sleep in complete darkness, no easy feat when he goes to bed long before the sun goes down. His shades are pretty good, but the four large windows allow it to creep in around the corners. Once, last ...more