Archive for the ‘misadventures’ Category

It seems like lately the Smith house just can not catch a break.

Last week, Gideon had a check up on Wednesday and got a clean bill of health. This was good.

Pullo, the mastiff, had a checkup on Wednesday and also got a clean bill of health, minus the usual allergies. He is a 140 pound delicate flower.

Puck, the sugar glider, had a veterinarian appointment because he had some weird scab things on the tips of his ears. The vet said that he might have a blood infection that was causing necropsy in his extremities, at the moment just his tail and ears. He is on an antibiotic and has a cream. Apply and administer twice daily.

I left for a high school retreat on Friday. I am one of the leaders for the 10th graders. On Saturday, Ries told me Gideon had a 104 fever and was acting very sick. I threw my stuff in my bag and hitched a ride home. Luckily, the retreat was in Galveston, only about 40 minutes from my house.

By the time I got home, Gideon’s fever was down, but he was coughing. We went to an after hours peds clinic down the road. They were very nice. We decided to monitor him at home and keep him on a regimen of tylenol and motrin to keep his fever in check. After a visit to the regular peds doc today, we found out Gideon has bronchitis. He is on breathing treatments and a steroid, which made him throw up after dinner. Awesome.

The good news is that we had about 4 hours with no fever this afternoon, though it came back just in time for bed.

Having a sick kid is pretty awful. There is not much you can do to help them and they are so sad and miserable. We watched Wild America all day on the couch. After being sick, kids are pretty spoiled which is also fairly awful. Unless, I suppose, your kid is spoiled all the time and then you have no idea what I am talking about.

Needless to say, very little has gotten done around this joint except boy duty. Hopefully, he will start to feel better soon and things will get back to what passes as normal around here.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by the stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” -Jeremiah 17:7-8


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In honor of the recent Passover, I will describe our camping trip by listing the plagues that accompanied it.

  • Gnats: The first and most persistent plague was the flying and biting gnats.  They were EVERYWHERE and all the time.  And I don’t just mean a few, I mean hundreds flying all around your face.  Going in your eyes, your ears, your mouth.  I’m not sure what kind they were but I think there was a mix.  About 1 out of 100 of them would bite you.  Since there were about 200 or more around you at any given time it meant you were likely being bitten by about 2 gnats all the time.  Insect repellent had absolutely no effect on them whatsoever.  It is too bad about the bugs, because the weather was otherwise perfect.
  • Ants:  Gideon and Caleb Norwood were loving the outdoors.  The sites at the campsite were spacious and they loved running around and between (and away) from them.  During one of their initial tromp sessions, just after we get there, we hear Gideon saying “stomp on the hill.”  Michelle looks over to see Gideon then wiping at his legs.  He realizes that on the top of the “hill” that he was stomping on, was a big fire ant hill.  So, of course, Gideon got bitten all around his hands and legs by fire ants.  To his credit he didn’t even make a scream or a complaint about it.  He just went about his business.
  • Worts:  I don’t get worts, but it looks like I started to develop one, right at the tip of my ring finger.  Very annoying as any little scrape on the finger is [slightly] painful.  More annoyance than anything.  Figures that as I get home, it seems the wort is already going away.  Must have simply been part of the curse of the camping trip.
  • Seizures:  This was probably the big one.  At noon on Friday (had only been camping for 18 of the planned 44 hours) we were sitting at the picnic table getting ready to play a board game.  Gideon had awoken from a nap and was munching a little bit on food but mostly playing with game pieces.  From out of nowhere, he begins to fall off the picnic table bench.  I pick him up and he begins to have a seizure.  He did this when he had a cold a few months ago, so we knew what to do.  After the seizure was over we put him in the car and drove to hospital in Livingston, which was ~6 miles away.  When we got to the ER, we did realize that he was pretty hot so Michelle took off his shirt. to let him cool down.  They took his temperature (104° F), took some blood work (Gideon did not like that), and determined that it was a slight ear infection.  After an antibiotic drip and they got his fever down, we packed up camp and left.  We didn’t think it was wise to stick around with a sick kid and an impending storm.  Although it turned out the storm never came.  We made the hour trip to Michelle’s parent’s house instead of going home.  We were planning to go there the next day anyway.  The first seizure he had back in the winter was scarier because we had not experienced that before.  But the implications of this one is more worrisome.  I thought we could keep it under control if we just monitored his fever when he was sick.  But this time, we didn’t even know that Gideon was sick.  He didn’t act sick.  He was having a great time camping and his behavior was well within the norm.  He didn’t even mess with his ear.  This tells us that this is going to happen again and there is nothing we can do about it.
  • Poison Ivy:  This one, I’m not sure about yet.  I am highly allergic to poison ivy.  Michelle was concerned that there was poison ivy near our campsite but it didn’t look like it to me.  However, when we left the campsite we started to itch a lot.  Michelle’s are clearly the effect of those biting gnats.  The gnats played a role in my marks too.  But there are a few that look like they could be poison ivy.  If it is, then it is a minor case, but the jury is still out on this one.

After all that, I still wouldn’t say it was a bad camping trip.  Okay, it was probably the worst camping trip I have ever been on.  But it still wasn’t a bad time.  I don’t think.  It’s hard to tell these days.

–Ries, let my people go!

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It must be wonderful to be young and to have every day filled with new and exciting discoveries. Every experience is unique and wonderful. Gideon made a truly astuonding discovery last Thursday. Here was the event as it unfolded:

Gideon was taking a bath and playing. I noticed he had his hand underneath his junk (his boy parts which we do call by their actual names but I figured would be better left off this post). I figured he was just playing with it or cleaning his “undercarriage” as the boys in this house call it. He looked up at me and said with wonder in his voice, “Bum… has a hole. Bum has a hole in it.” I realized he must have been reaching a bit farther back than I thought. With my lips twitching up I replied, “You are right. Your bum does have a hole in it.”

He kept feeling around and repeating, “Bum has a hole in it.”

I told him that was where the poop comes out. He thought about that for awhile, continuing to feel the area in discussion. I could see the wheels turning around in his head.

After a couple minutes of this conversation going in circles between the two of us, Gideon said, “Tell Daddy. Tell Daddy something.”

I was fairly certain I knew what Daddy was going to be told, but I yelled for Ries, who was doing the dinner dishes, “Daddy! Gideon has something to tell you.”

Ries dutifully appeared and I smiled at him, trying not to laugh.

“What, Gideon?” Ries asked.

In a very serious voice, Gideon announced, “Bum… has a hole in it.” Then he asked, “Daddy bum have a hole in it?”

To his credit, Ries, who had been hearing the exchange before entering said very solemnly, “Yes, my bum has a hole in it. That’s where the poop comes out.”

“Everyone’s bum has a hole in it,” I added for good measure. Gideon made the connection and said, “Mommy’s bum has a hole in it?”


The conversation continued in this vein for the rest of bath time.

Sunday night at bath time, I said something to my child I thought I would never say in my life, “Gideon, take your finger out of your bum. That is where the poop comes out. Yucky.”

It was really hard to ask him to do that with a straight face. I was laughing on the inside.

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A Small Scare

Gideon started developing a runny nose at the end of last week.  It turned into a slight fever on Sunday evening and then a good fever Monday night.  Last night he exploded into serious fever territory.  I gave him a bath but he was clearly cold as all he did was hunch over or lay down into the warm water.  When I took him out he was shivering.  Our immediate reaction was to cover him up and keep him warm.  In hindsight, that was a mistake.  We had him snuggled up in a blanket, gave him some tylenol, and sat on the couch to watch Lost.  Michelle checked his temperature (under the armpit) and it registered 104!  That was decided, he had to go to the doctor the next day.

But that’s when the scare came.  Michelle got up off the couch quickly and bent over, saying we were going to have to go somewhere.  She was blocking my view from Gideon and I thought, based on her movement that he was throwing up.  That wasn’t the case at all.  He was seizing.  I had heard of seizures in small children who have fevers that are too high.  But this was way too scary when you are watching your own kid do it and you don’t know what to do.  We unbundled him and just laid him on the floor.  Michelle told me to put on my shoes, but that wasn’t enough for me, I wanted to know what we needed to do.  I watched him then while Michelle looked for a number.  That is when I noticed his lips turning purple and we freaked out a little bit.  That is when Michelle called 911.  I’m glad she did.  We turned him over on his side so that he wouldn’t choke on his tongue.  Soon after that he stopped and just began breathing heavy and his eyelids were half open until he fell asleep.  A few minutes passed where we just knelt over our son and waited for the ambulance (Pullo had joined us by this time).  The ambulance came and told us he was okay.  All his signs were good but his fever was still up at 103 and we should probably take him into the hospital.

To wrap up a short-story-long (that’s the only way I know how to tell them), we went to the Pediatric Emergency Room and they looked at him to make sure he is fine.  There is nothing they can do for him.  They advised us to begin using Motrin along with Tylenol and keep him unclothed to make sure we keep the fever down.  The doctor informed us that these seizures are common and they do not hurt the brain.  That was a relief to me.  They waited for his fever to go down a little bit (it was still 104) and then they let us go.

The Lord speaks to me through my son more than any other way.  He knows me too well.  I was having a bad day due to recent events and other life pressures (plus the weather just called for a gloomy mood).  The message was received loud and clear.  Buck up!  It could be worse.  Thank you Lord for protecting me from the worst.

–Ries, powerless.

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First off, I want to say, that I am an idiot, but I will get to that later.

I described in an earlier post about how I was having trouble putting Windows 7 on my computer.  I bought Windows 7 Ultimate for $20 through UH, since I am a student there.  However, the disk was only an upgrade version and this was a brand spanking new computer with no operating system ever installed.  Therfore, I went ahead and ordered an OEM (Original Equipment Manufactur, basically it is for computer system builders like Dell, HP, smaller boutiques and others but you can buy it from some e-tailers) version of Windows 7 Home Premium for $110.  That was significantly more than I wanted to spend.

But I did some research.  I found this site, which gave great advice on how to use upgrade disks to do a clean install.  But here was the problem.  You always had to use a product key to validate the software and the disk said on the front “Requires Product Key”.  So, I didn’t have one.  I assumed that meant that if you were updating a version of Windows then you had to use the key from the Windows that you were upgrading.  Makes sense to me.  Since we were wiping Michelle’s computer and putting Ubuntu Linux on it (I’ll let Michelle write a future post on her Linux experience)  I figured it was legal to use that Windows XP key.  It would be like I removed it from there and installed on mine and then upgraded it to Windows 7.  I just skipped the part where I installed the XP on my machine since it would be a pointless step.  All sounds good and legal.  However, the key did not work.  I thought I might have to waste my OEM home edition version to get that key and I hope it didn’t downgrade my version.

So, I called Microsoft.  I hate calling people but I wasn’t giving up so easy.  They said that every Windows 7 has to have its own key and that the XP one would not work.  If I got it through my school then I need to contact them about getting a key.  If I still had problems call them back.  They were actually a pretty good support.  I was afraid they were going to try and accuse me of piracy.

If you have read this far, this is the point where Michelle wanted me to blog because she likes to laugh at me.  Remember how I said I was an idiot?  So I called up the UH software store, Cougar Byte, and told them I bought Windows 7 from them but I didn’t get a product key.  I had the disk with me and my receipt and I was prepared for a possible battle but expected it to be pretty easy.  They would just say, “Oh, here it is…”  But here’s how it really played out.  He asks me, “do you still have the sleeve the disk came in?”  I said, “Yes.”  I already know where this is going, he is going to ask me to look on the sleeve for the product key, but I am thinking okay I’ll humor you with this step because of course I looked on the sleeve.  That is where I would expect it to be, right on the back.  After all, I had just installed Office 2007 with software from them and that is exactly where the key was and exactly where I looked.  So he says to me, “Turn it over.”  I’m like, okay, whatever.   “Holy crap!”  I exclaimed on the phone.  There it was!  Plain as day, a bright yellow sticker on a black background with the product key.  He laughed.  I apologized for being an idiot.  He tried to comfort me by telling me it happens a lot.  I felt like the guy who was told to take his computer back to the store by a support tech because he was too dumb to own a computer when he called asking why his desktop wouldn’t turn on during a power outtage (I think the tech was right).

So, in the end, I had a valid key, I used method #2 described in the link above to get my Windows 7 Ultimate working, and I spent $110 on a copy of Windows that I didn’t need (by the way, since I bought the cheaper OEM version instead of the retail version I can not return it either).

–Ries, all that’s left is to overclock this bad boy!  (Idiot, idiot!)

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Botched Seams

A post in which I attempt to sew a few things.

I should start out by saying that I do know how to sew. I have, in the past, successfully sewn many things. Today, though…

Yesterday, I cut two yards of fabric into the parts for two pairs of pajama pants for Gideon. One print was a nice dog print and the other had frogs and lizards. Today, after Gideon went to sleep, I set up the sewing machine and sat down. It was then that I realized I had cut the panels on both yards wrong. If I were to sew them together, one side of the pants would be printed and the other side would be the unprinted underside. There is no way to salvage that, really, so that is two yards in the scrap pile.

I called my Mom to confirm my mistake.

Next I cut the fabric I bought to make Gideon some pants for his pirate costume. This time, I cut them correctly. Whew. I put the backs together and the fronts, respectively and sewed the inside seam together, which I vaguely recalled as being the next step.

Wrong. By sewing up the inside seam, and the ahrder to ri I sewed up what should have been two legs. I also used small straight stiches, the better to hold and the harder to rip out as well. I put those aside to rip the seams out later. At least those are salvageable.

Since I had botched all the pants, I decided to a try the vest next. This was to be an easy affair, with very little seams because I want it to look raggedy. I was only going to sew the sides and shoulders, leaving the arm holes and bottom unhemmed. I cut the vest using a shirt as a pattern. I think it turned out well. I proudly sewed up the sides and turned it right side in to admire my handiwork.

At this point I realized I had sewn the arm holes closed.


I cut behind the seams and made arm holes. I reinforced the seams so they would not come undone. Gideon, by this time, had woken from his regrettably short nap. I had him try on the vest. Made some adjustments and I think it looks pretty good.

While Gideon ate lunch, I ripped the seams from the sad pirate pants. I will attempt to sew those tonight after Gideon goes to bed. Hopefully, this time I will not make such a mess of it.

The worst part of this is that I feel, not mad or frustrated, but tired and defeated. I used very precious nap time resources on a mostly, useless endeavor.

Animal Atlas is over, and thus my computer time is as well.

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Today is Tuesday. Tuesday means Gideon and I head up to church. I go to a women’s Bible study and he goes to childcare for 3 hours. He loves playing with the other kids and is rarely sad to see me go. Today, he actually cried when I picked him up because he had to leave the slide behind.

That’s right. I now rank somewhere between a plastic slide and Goldfish. *sigh* Being a mother is thankless.

Gideon’s tell when his diaper is wet or dirty is to play with the velcro tabs. He does occasionally succeed in unhinging one side of his diaper but this mostly happens when he is sans pants.

Today, they took the kids for a walk outside during childcare. The ladies noticed that Gideon’s pants looked funny (he had on cotton shorts today). Suddenly, they saw little turds dropping from his diaper onto the ground! He had unhooked his diaper and was dispersing his poop outside.

Perhaps he was tired of having poop in his diaper. Perhaps he was marking his territory. Less likely is my other theory that he was leaving a trail to get back to the building.

Ries said that this reminds him of the scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy is dropping rocks and gravel into the yard from his tunneling efforts.

On a side excrement note, Gideon peed in the potty today! It was a time for great rejoicing and then he demanded we get back to book reading.

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