Sarah Smiley

Great Stuff: our last line of defense

Of all the household chores and repairs I’ve had to face on my own in Dustin’s absences, the one that I still feared the most, until last week, was using Great Stuff Foam.

Sarah Smiley: Are kids too busy for homework?

Have you heard about the “new” movement against assigning homework to children? I use the term “new” loosely because kids have been anti-homework since roughly the beginning of mankind, and parents balking at the nightly ritual is nothing new either. In fact, every decade or so, this issue gains momentum again after a new academic book or editorial is published.

When your kid is afraid to go near the water

Two of my sons have suffered from a fear of the water, both for good reasons. When Owen was 4, he fell in a neighbor’s pool during a birthday party. He lay face down in the deep end until an attentive grandmother jumped in to get him. It would be nearly five more years before Owen would go more than knee-deep into any kind of water, but I never stopped confronting him with the opportunity. Yes, “confronting” him. When your child is afraid of water, suggesting that he kayak, go fishing, or Heaven forbid, get in an inner tube at a water park, becomes an all-out confrontation.

Dustin hosts dinner on his own

In 2012, my three sons and I hosted 52 weekly dinners to fill Dustin’s empty seat at the dinner table while he was on a yearlong deployment. In 2013, our story came out as the book “Dinner with the Smileys” (SITE: www.dinnerwiththesmileys.com). Last week, it was released in paperback.

The Military: Sacrificing Personal Freedoms for You

Gives the Navy’s “a global force for good” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

Sarah Smiley: Encounter with the Amish at the copy machine

I did not expect to see any Amish people during a recent trip to the local office supply store. Partly this was because I didn’t see any buggies outside. Mostly, however, it was because I had some misguided notions about Amish – notions like they’d have no use for a store that at least in part caterers to users of technology.

Navy Wise: Santa didn’t get insurance on the iPhone

I'll begin at the end: By the time the boys returned to school after the holiday break, Dustin told them, "If your teachers ask you to draw what you did over vacation, draw a silver bowl and tell them, 'Take from this what you will'."

The hardest part about living with all boys

Fifteen years and three sons later, I am completely out-numbered, and, frankly, fighting a losing battle. Even the dog is a boy.

‘Thanking the troops’ didn’t happen for shunned Vietnam vets

Today’s military homecomings are grand events. They are celebrated in person and then again on videos shared on social media and the Internet. They receive positive attention on national television. Troops are greeted at airports with handshakes and, sometimes, prepaid calling cards to get in touch with loved ones.

At home or away… the grass isn’t greener

I’m making a list of things I’d like you to do around the house while I’m gone.

Sarah Smiley: In defense of not-so-smooth husbands

This weekend I danced in the local Dancing for the Stars charity event. My husband, who was in the audience with my three sons, didn't bring flowers, and it sort of made me fall in love with him all over again. No, you didn't read that incorrectly.

Oldest son shows who he is becoming

“I wonder if he’ll be an engineer like his dad?” I said. “He’s very systematic.”

Wait, baseball is dying?

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, from 2000-2009 the number of 7-17-year-old kids playing baseball dropped 24 percent.

Sarah Smiley: Thoughtful and conscientious son a teenage success story

Two years ago, my memoir, "Dinner with the Smileys," exposed with painful transparency my difficulty raising a pre-teen boy. I held nothing back when I wrote about Ford's attitude, his tendency to slam his bedroom door, and all the ways he broke my heart — over and over again.

Sarah Smiley: Have our kids learned meanness from us?

“I’m glad he’s dead.” “Good riddance.” “What a worthless human being; I’m glad he’s gone.”

Sarah Smiley: The Draft: Don’t worry, your daughters are still safe

If the words “Selective Service System” don’t ring a bell for you, it might be because you’re female. Maybe you have all daughters, too. For American boys and young men, however, “Selective Service” means “the draft,” and, yes, they still have to sign up for it.

Sarah Smiley: Sometimes it’s hard to watch your ‘little ones’ grow up

Begin with the end in mind. That's what the principal said at the orientation for next year's incoming high school freshmen.

Sarah Smiley: Star Wars Episode VII heralds new phase

My house does not have Barbies, nor does it have a doll house or little plastic ponies. For most of my experience as a parent so far (minus a few years), my house has been filled with toy creatures whose names I can't pronounce and that I don't particularly like to look at. Banthas, jawas, and tauntauns — these are the things that impale my bare foot in the middle of the night as I shuffle toward the bathroom.

Navy Wise | When the iPhone loses you, is there any hope?

I’m one of those people who has grown increasingly reliant on modern technology, and I’m worried (not really) that it’s altered my mind.

Sarah Smiley and her son Ford.

When the pursuit is the reward

I was not a straight-A student in high school. Maybe that’s why I can tell you this story. Society only seems to accept success stories from people who have failed first. Except, I never truly failed. I just didn’t try that hard to succeed.

Sarah Smiley and her son Ford.