Friday, December 3, 2010

Tough Times for Snowy.

Three weeks ago, Snowy was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. The vet also said that he had fairly significant anemia, a couple of smallish/medium kidney stones, and some blood in his stools. She gave us an antibiotic and said to bring him back in three weeks to be re-checked.

We took him back today and got good news and bad news.

The good news is that he doesn’t have a urinary tract infection anymore.

The bad news is that he’s lost over a pound in three weeks (he only weighed six pounds to start with), and the stones in his kidneys have grown from medium-ish to “huge.” He also still has anemia and in addition, is now showing blood in his urine.

Is it just me, or does my darling doggie not look like he feels well?


The vet said she doesn’t have any idea what is going on and doesn’t know what would be causing those stones to grow so quickly. (You may remember we had a very bad experience with bladder stones around this time last year and almost lost Snowy after an emergency surgery.) She did tell us that, for Snowy at least, the kidney stones are even more serious than bladder stones.

Over the next few days, she’s going to contact the State Veterinarian University and talk to some of the doctors there to get their input on Snowy’s situation.

Obviously, we are worried. (In fact this afternoon, Sarah and I had a mother/daughter hugging and crying session.) Blood in the stools, blood in the urine, unexplained weight loss, and rapidly growing kidney stones don’t add up to real great news. And the thought of spending a couple thousand dollars on surgery doesn’t add up to real great news, either.

We have an appointment to take him back to the vet in two weeks. (We’ve been told to make some changes in his dog food in the meantime.) He’ll arrive first thing in the morning and be closely observed for eight hours; also while he’s there, urine and blood tests will be repeated, in addition to more x-ray’s. We should know something pretty definitive by that point.

While he was at the doctor’s office today, Snowy also got groomed. When he got home (with his new shorter hair) he seemed kind of shivery so we assigned Sarah the job of Putting The Coat on the Dog. (I have not yet been successful in accomplishing this task so I’m glad Sarah is so good at it.)

To cheer myself up after getting somewhat distressing doggie news today, I thought I would post a few fun pictures of The Coat Putting On Process.

Sarah starts it all off with a confident smile, which is much different than how I would look when faced with such a daunting task.


And the battle begins . . .







I absolutely LOVE this picture. Sarah’s expression is of a woman who has triumphed in her mission. Snowy’s expression is of a man who is saying, “I am macho doggie and I will NOT go down without a fight!” (Too bad the fight’s already over, Snowy!)




And sigh again.


Sarah has a little talk with Snowy to apologize for having to put the Big Old Bad Coat on him. (Although the pictures don’t really show it, he always loves it when he gets that warm, comfy coat on—especially right after he’s been groomed.)

Daughter and doggie—forever friends.


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Thursday, December 2, 2010

We Had Fun But We’re Glad It’s Done.

Finally--Sarah’s room is done!

This is the way her room looked when we first saw it a little over a year ago. (That’s our Realtor looking things over with Steve.)


We went through several permutations of furniture arrangement during the Old Paint Scheme Phase.


This picture was taken when Steve was in the process of painting our old brown cabinet white and we were moving stuff all around.


Snowy surveys his domain. Er, actually, his sister’s domain.


At long last, the renovation project began, headed up by this positively personable parson person . . .


. . . who was assisted in his work by the positively personable parson person’s personable personal progeny.



Immense messes were created along the way.




But messy or not, it was all worth it. Presenting the new and improved bedroom of our favorite daughter!



IMG_1033 IMG_1049

Amazing what a little paint, a bit of elbow grease and a touch of creativity can accomplish!

We had fun--but we’re glad it’s done!

Decorating Notes

For those of you who like to know the inside scoop of a decorating project, here are a few more details.

In choosing an overall paint color, we had two guidelines: 1) the color had to go with the blue/green carpet, which we couldn’t afford to replace. 2) it would have to be chosen according to whatever bedspread Sarah decided on.

Sarah had a tough time picking a bedspread; she didn’t want one that was too overtly girl-y and she also didn’t want one that looked like what a lot of other people already had. So . . . I went online to look at unique bedspreads and found that most of them started at about $300. That wasn’t going to happen!

I was poking around the clearance section of a discount department store one day and fell in love with this bedspread.


It was of very high quality and (oh happy day!) it was marked down 70%. There was only one bedspread and two matching pillow shams left and so I grabbed up all three items as fast as I could and sprinted (well, walked quickly) to the check out counter, rejoicing all the way.

After a long discussion among the three of us, we picked a blue color from the bedspread for the side walls and then decided to repeat the “square motif” from the bedspread on the one long wall.


Kudos to Steve for applying highly advanced mathematical calculations to design the wall. He estimates it took him about fifteen hours to get it all laid out and painted.




From stem to stern, the room is full of bargains. I got the daybed on Craigslist for $50, and found the pink cover online for 60% off. And I was absolutely thrilled to walk into a discount store one day and find these pillows (for next to nothing) that exactly matched the three main colors of the room.

I did a little happy dance right there in the pillow aisle.


I got all the wicker furniture in the room at a thrift store about 8 years ago and bought the headboard for Sarah’s bed on Craigslist.

The only thing better than creating a lovely room for ones daughter is knowing that the room is made up of a whole bunch of bargains! Because as we all know, bargains are beautiful!


From the Comments Area:

Lesley asked if Sarah was the only girl of the younger generation.

Sarah actually has several girl cousins, but they range in age from 18 to mid-twenties. So she is the only young-ish girl cousin on either side of the family.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finally. The Final and Finale’ Thanksgiving Post.

Why is this man holding this stick?


Well, here’s Steve’s Stick Scoop.

When the Thanksgiving Crew went out for a bike ride last week, that particular stick became inexplicably caught between Steve’s front tire and fender causing his bike to come to an instant and complete stop. The back of the bike came up about four feet off the ground and came very close to flipping him over the handle bars.

For those of us riding behind him, it was quite a dramatic (not to mention, scary) moment.  We’re so thankful he wasn’t seriously hurt!

Thankfully, that was all the scary drama we had to cope with; the rest of the bike ride was peacefully pedaled under this beautiful Carolina sky.


Of course, being the wonderful hosts that Steve and I are, we wanted to be sure that our guests felt needed and important in the overall grand and global scheme of things. And so we forced invited them to go with us on a long overdue recycling trip.  (Yes, I know.  You don’t have to say it.  We are such thoughtful hosts.)

mantik part 2

When we (and our intrepid guests) were not biking or recycling, there was always plenty of computer-esque stuff going on. I especially love the picture of Sarah showing her grandpa how her Nintendo DS worked.


In their spare time, Debbie and Randy took Caleb and Sarah on a balmy, sunny walk on the North Carolina beach.  Can’t you just feel the blissful balminess emitting from this picture?


Of course, a Thanksgiving get together is not complete without a Meal To End All Meals.


The fresh floral arrangement was made for us by a wonderful church member.


Another equally wonderful church member made us The Cake which we talked Vernie (Steve’s mom) into cutting, since she is the Smith Matriarch and we were all sort of intimated by the whole cutting challenge. (And yes, I think that was a run on sentence.)


Vernie rose to the occasion, as she always does.  This 15-layer cake is highly coveted and sought after by all; in fact, whenever anyone brings this home baked, rare delicacy to a church potluck dinner, there is inevitably a stampede toward the dessert table. And all the good church folks try to politely elbow all the other good church folks out of the way so that they can grab a piece before it all disappears.  (Don’t ask me how I know.)


Thankfully we didn’t eat all of the cake at Thanksgiving and (also) thankfully, it freezes well.  I have put a few pieces in the freezer and am using it as a bribe to get Nathan back home for Christmas.   He adores this cake.

Of course (in our house, at least), a Thanksgiving meal requires the folding of Thanksgiving napkins.  My sister, Debbie, did the folding while Vernie kept her cake-cutting hands in good condition  by doing some knitting.


So blessed to have these wonderful ladies in my life!


And . . . to give the men equal time, here’s Steve with his dad and two younger brothers. The Smith Men at their finest.


And speaking of men at their finest, my brother-in-law, Randy, volunteered to both cook and carve the turkey.  Can a brother-in-law possibly be any more wonderful than that? (He also mashed the potatoes.)


In addition to turkey, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake, there were a whole bunch of other yummy things on the menu.  Including dinner rolls.

Which, in case you’re wondering, are the mysterious items hiding under this towel in the dryer.

And why (you might be asking) are there dinner rolls in the dryer?

Well, here’s the deal.

I needed the rolls to rise in a warm place; I usually use the oven, set to it’s coolest temperature and then turned off.   Since the oven was otherwise occupied, I ran the dryer for about five minutes, then put the pan of rolls inside.

Worked like a charm.   Dyer-made rolls.  It’s what’s for dinner.


And our last picture of our Thanksgiving Feast-n-Fiesta?

It’s this guy.  Constantly on the lookout.  Constantly on the alert.  Glued to the feet of all the cooks in the most tenacious permutation of canine-ical glue-i-ness. 

And did anything (accidentally) fall to the floor?  What do you think?



Thanks to all your kind comments about our Kitchen Harmony song.

To Buff,

The parts were arranged as follows:  Randy, bass;  Steve, lead;  Debbie, low alto;  me, high alto.

To Jan,

We did make quite a few CD’s of the four of us but they’re mostly gone by now.  (It’s been about fifteen years since we traveled together.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why I Love (And Also Like) The College Dude.

I love Nathan because after Thanksgiving dinner was over, he just about tackled me in order to keep me in my chair and stop me from doing the dishes.


However, after I insisted just slightly, he did finally permit me to help out a little at the very end of the Dish Doing Process.


I love him because when he was showing me something on his computer, I noticed that “Mom” (meaning my Smithellaneous site) was right in the middle of his frequently visited sites. I felt so important, sharing space with Wachovia and ESPN!


I love him because he looks right at home, sitting at the dining room table in his old t-shirt and pondering his computer-esque ponderations.


I love him because he continually gives my sister a hard time and gets away with it; in fact, this particular smile on his face is vintage Nathan. He is the world’s biggest tease and he especially loves teasing his Aunt Debbie. Fortunately, she gives as good as she gets so they’re a pretty well matched pair. Or set. Or whatever.



I love him because he’s willing to enter into all the family fun and games in the backyard with Ye Olde (Wonderful) Relatives, instead of holing up in his room with Facebook.


I love him because he’s such a goof off.


I love him because he assists on Family Recycling Trips.


I love him because he’s always ready for any ol’ great adventure, including climbing Jockey’s Ridge with his dad, cousin and uncle. (Who was taking the picture.)


I love him because you never know . . .


. . . when he’s going to come bursting into the picture with a great burst of bursting-ness.


But mostly I love him because in my heart--he will always look like this.

nate baby