Saturday, February 24, 2018

Marley. Caring for a dog who has special needs.

This post is all about our precious fur baby, Marley. So let's get into the introductions.




We adopted Marley when she was 11 weeks old from a petshop. Now before anyone gets judgmental over this decision, we didn't know about any different options years ago. We like to think we rescued her from that place as she was one of the older pups and needed a home.We were only married a couple months before we got her and didn't really know what kind of commitment we were really making when we got her. We picked this breed due to the fact they're hypoallergenic. I'm basically allergic to anything with fur so a hypo dog is really my only option.



Marley is a Mini Schnauzer, we call her our little bearded lady. She's one of the sweetest pups you'll ever meet. Some of her favorite things include toys she can snuggle with, this includes a floppy raccoon that she takes to bed with every night. His name is Rigby. She also loves to lay in the sun and everything that comes with being cozy. At first she didn't sleep with us in our bed, she would sleep in her kennel at night. But due to my husbands job taking him away for lengths of time I needed the company, so I brought her into our bed when she was around 5 years old. She's been sleeping with us ever since. Speaking of bedtime, it's her absolute favorite time of day. She knows when it's bedtime and gets very excited and bounces around until we put her on our bed. She has her own blanket and of course Rigby comes too.





Marley didn't always have health problems.
When she was around 4 or 5 we started noticing she was having digestive issues. She'd randomly have times of diarrhea and would also throw up. At first we thought it was a bug or her food that was causing the issues so to the vet we'd go. They would put her on some kind of antibiotic and suggest we change her food. We did all that and she'd improve. So we went on like this for years, occasionally switching out her food and eventually we took her down the grain free route. We loved brands like Blue Buffalo because they offered so many great options for a dog with a sensitive system. We eventually found that she was becoming sensitive to certain proteins as well, such as chicken. So no chicken and no grains, great super manageable. This brings us to 2013-2014 where things took a horrible turn. Marley again out of the blue developed really scary symptoms almost overnight. By this time we had moved to California and had to find a new vet, which was really difficult in itself. Marley started throwing up and having bloody stools almost immediately after she'd eat. I'm talking 10 min after eating and she'd panic and need to get outside. I couldn't leave her alone because she needed to be taken outside every few minutes. We found a vet and took her in. They checked her out and gave her an antibiotic and suggested a bland diet for a few days. We did this whole song and dance over several weeks with the vet. Trying different antibiotics and bland food only to have it work for a about a week and then her symptoms would return but worse than before. They finally did an X-Ray on her stomach but saw nothing. I also need to say that the stress of taking her to the vet almost weekly was horrible, for her and for me. At the worst point Marley was refusing food all together. I was terrified that we were going to lose her. Frustrated to no end with the vet, after 3 months and hundreds of dollars later they finally suggested we see a specialist. The specialist did an ultrasound and ran loads of tests but still wasn't 100% sure what was going on with her. They gave her new meds and suggested she eat rice, pumpkin and cottage cheese for a while. It was like a miracle had happened. All the new things seemed to work and her symptoms cleared up.



At this point we moved back across country, long story for another time, and I went to live with my family for a short time. Marley had been symptom free for a couple years when her symptoms returned in full force. This time I took her straight to a specialist and they suggested doing a scope and biopsy to see what was really going on. Knowing that it would cost a lot of money was tough but it didn't matter because we needed answers, solid answers as to what had been going on. We scheduled her proceeder. After it was over we finally had solid answers as to what was going on. Our little baby had Irritable Bowel Disease and a pretty severe case of it too. I'm sure you're wondering why couldn't you just keep her on meds and the bland food diet? Well, because she'd become immune and it would all stop working so new things had to keep being tried. The new specialist gave her exactly the meds she needed and along with her new food diet they worked like a dream. Since this time she's been on a diet of pure pumpkin, white rice, and cottage cheese. She's a meat free dog.




For a dog with IBD they need consistency in their routines if they don't have that they(at least Mars) have setbacks. So what does this all mean and how do we care for her on the daily?
Marley lives with IBD and with consistency and knowing what signs to look for we can easily keep her healthy. Andrew(hubby) always comments on how in tune I am with her, I know when the slightest thing is off with her. It can be a change in the way she holds her ears, or how clingy she gets when she's about to have an episode. All her symptoms are easily managed with consistency in her routine, her food, no extras meaning no treats, and backups of her medication. The only treats she's allowed to have are ice cubes, which she LOVES. Her system has become so sensitive that even the slightest change in diet sets her off. I don't call her my little pumpkin beard for nothing, her beard is forever stained a light shade of orange, which is fun to try and explain to the groomer what's going on without going into her life story lol

You should know that not all schnauzers are like this, the breed is very healthy. Marley for whatever reason is the exception. Most of the time, I'd say 90% of the time, she's healthy and happy. It's the 10% that's scary for us and for her. No one likes being sick but she has little signals she gives when she's not feeling herself. She also tends to have separation anxiety and gets nervous when i'm away for too long. Which is why we've stopped taking her to a conventional groomer. We've opted to have a mobile groomer come in to ease her stress and anxiety.


She's also the greatest traveler. Due to her situation we find it hard to leave her with anyone except my family because of her situation. My mom knows what to do and how to handle her if she has a flare up at any point. So that being said we rarely go on vacations. It is hard, we can't just pick up and go, we have to plan big time.
Marley has been across country more than 10 times and does an amazing job in the car. She has a travel bed that's far too big for a dog her size but hey, I never said she wasn't spoiled. She always travels with Rigby and her favorite blanket. Once in the car all cozy she falls right to sleep and won't move until we stop and let her out to pee, she'd probably stay in her the bed the entire time if we didn't get her out.
On the trip we plan where to stop that's pet friendly and has carpet(she hates hard floors) Along with all her food prep. Because her diet is raw for the most part and needs to be cold at all times we travel with a cooler. I prep(cook) enough white rice for 3-4 days, make sure she has plenty of pure pumpkin and cottage cheese for the journey. It's a lot more work than you're average dog, but we love her so we don't mind. It's become normal for us.



Despite all the health scares and IBD flare ups Marley is one of the happiest dogs I've ever met. She's a little sweetheart and loves to give hugs and get cuddles. She's the best dog I've ever had. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting her she'll greet you with the typical schnauzer barking, along with lots of butt wiggling and over excitement followed but wanting all the pets and wanting to sit in your lap. Marley is a little fighter, she's brave, she's loyal. And despite everything we've been through with her we wouldn't trade her for anything. Check out my Instagram for more photos and videos of our little babe. @thedoveedit 



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Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy 1 year of being homeowners...The story of how we bought our home.

Last year, exactly 1 year ago we did the single most adult thing you can do, we bought a house! Living here in Southern California we never thought we'd be able to achieve this due to how crazy expensive it is to actually purchase a home here. But even knowing that we so badly wanted to set down our roots here, create a home base for us with all the chaos and last minute changes that always happen in my husband's job. He wanted me to have a safe place to land, a place all ours. We had been renting an apartment and I have to say it was hard leaving that space. 



  

I loved where we were renting, I loved the whole vibe of our apartment and the fact that it did feel like home to me made it hard to leave it. I knew with buying a home that there was so much responsibility that comes along with it and that scared me. If something went wrong we couldn't just call the manager and have them come fix it, nope, this was all ours, we owned it. And as so many people will tell you that buying a home is not only the single biggest purchase you'll ever make in your life, but it will also be the most stressful one too. Because we had never been homeowners before we thought they were just saying that to scare us into staying renters at our apartment, because buying a home is a huge responsibility, so we shrugged them off. 

In the end they were completely right! The stress we dealt with in trying to buy a house was ridiculous. And mind you I was the one doing all the work, going to all the open houses, and working with our realtor because my husband was usually out of town for work during all this. So it was up to me to find the house of our dreams, easy right?! No pressure, right?! 

So many homes we had loved and put offers on fell through and I felt very discouraged. After a year of looking, putting in offer after offer, I had all but given up hope when our realtor called with a house she wanted us to see. She told us that it was not yet listed but that it would be going on the market that afternoon and she wanted us to be the first to see it. She had an in with the sellers realtor so she pulled some strings for us. After all the disappointments we figured what would it hurt going to see this last house because we didn't have much hope that it would be the house for us. 
As we pulled up the first thing I noticed was the beautiful front yard, green grass. Now for all of you that don't know this, I grew up in the midwest and I'm used to having a huge green yard. I never thought we'd ever get that out here, people don't have grass. But that was on my dream list. Now, you'll hear me say "Dream List" throughout this post because I had made a list of things I would love to have in a house but didn't necessarily need. And a yard with grass was on it. It may seem silly to some of you to want grass, but like I said people don't really have grass out here because of the drought. So when we pulled up and saw the front yard was real grass, my heart skipped. 

The house was everything I'd wanted and more. Perfection. 

The house was old, late 1950's but had been flipped so it was updated and beautiful. It was a clean color pallet of greys and white, for this neutral loving girl it was heavenly. There was also a nice surprise of an addition on the back of the house so that mean't we'd have both a family rom and a living room, that was also on my dream list (because I grew up with both) The family room (the addition) had so much natural light from the skylights in both family room and kitchen. The natural light that filled the house was what Andrew noticed first and was one big factor in him falling in love with the house. 

The Living Room/ Entry Way.  
These are all the BEFORE photos. 
(all these images are from the realtor website) 






I am a lover of all things Mid-Century. It's due to the fact my grandparents house was full of danish mid-century furniture that was so beautiful to look at. The 60's is my all time favorite time period for everything from interior decor, to design, architecture, and music. So the thought of owning a mid-century home was always what I had wanted to have. 

This house was perfect in every way, the perfect clean pallet for me to design the space I knew I wanted and had dreamed of. So we put an offer on it. And 1 year later we are still in love with her, and everything that I had written down for my "Dream List" I got in this house. I have both a family room and a living room, a fireplace AND a wood burning stove, the large open kitchen perfect for entertaining and cooking, the subway tiles in both bathrooms, huge closet in Master Bedroom, the backyard we can design how we want it, and the front yard with the green grass. It's all ours and it's completely perfect down to every little detail. It's funny how God works, we had all but given up hope in finding our dream house but than the most perfect house got dropped in our lap. It's all about timing, and this house was perfect timing. 

The Family Room. 



The Kitchen. 




The Dining Space. 



Master Bedroom. 





Master Bathroom. 





The Backyard. 







My first project, painting the brick.
#DovesRenovate 

 




Our family room after we moved in. 




Setting up the gallery wall in the dining room. 
With the help of my parents and my Grammy. 


Marley immediately felt at home here. This is her favorite spot to sun. 







**I will be doing more updates on our house very soon as much has changed with the decorating. I'll be starting a series on this blog called #DovesRenovate so be sure to keep an eye out for that here and on my instagram. My IG handle is @LITTLEDOVE 









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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Super Bloom.

I've been hearing all about the Super Bloom and how this year was supposed to be one of the most epic blooms we've seen in over 10 years here in Southern California. So after seeing so many incredible posts on social media I knew I didn't want to miss this.


So last week Andrew and I decided to wake up at 3:30 in the morning, drive 2 hours through the mountains and down into the desert to be able to catch the Super Bloom at sunrise. It did not disappoint. Although the drive to the Anza-Borrego Desert was terrifying with driving in the pitch blackness, in the mountains, on one of the windiest roads. We stopped at one of the most remote Starbucks I've ever been to on the drive out. We needed caffeine if we were going to drive those crazy roads. So with finally being caffeinated we continued our drive to the desert.

We were still high up in the mountains and you could already smell the incredible scent of blooms in the air. The air was thick with the perfume of the Super Bloom and as we made our way down into the desert we saw the first blooms. Gold was the color that covered the sides of the mountains and down onto the desert floor. It was sight that's hard to describe because of how stunning it was, it was a flurry of sensory overload. The conditions weren't completely ideal while being out there that early in the morning. The wind was so strong that it was difficult to get shots of the blooms because nature never cooperates when you want it to (haha) The blooms bent and swayed in the breeze so i had to sit next to the flowers and wait for the moment when the wind would die down for just a second to try and get the shot. In the end even though it was frustrating, the experience of being out there with Andrew as the sun was rising, the smell of flowers in the air and the mountains as our backdrop, you you couldn't ask for a more perfect scene.

At the beginning of the year I wrote down my goals for 2017 and one of them being to go on more adventures and explore more of the areas around us. I couldn't pass up the chance to see the Super Bloom and how fun the trip to get out there would be with Andrew. He's my favorite person to adventure with. Here are some of the incredible shots we got while exploring the Super Bloom fields.















iPhone shots 
















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Friday, February 19, 2016

How to stay motivated.



I have to admit, staying motivated for me is super hard. Hi, I'm Samantha and I have a problem staying motivated and staying on task. Let's all say it together, Hi Samantha.

Let's break this down a bit shall we.

In the beginning of a project I'm super motivated, I get the ideas flowing and I'm excited. I have the type of personality that when I get an idea, I need to do it immediately. I usually don't sit there and think about it for long periods of time. Which is why it's bad when i want to get another tattoo, I think of the idea and I book the appointment. Boom, done. I don't suggest doing this by the way, it can lead to regrets in the end. Case in point, my first tattoo. But that's a completely different story for another day.

See! I can't even stay on topic. Wow, I need help.

Back to the topic at hand.

For me, I need to be doing something or I get board. I get board very easily. Which is why it's sometimes hard for me to keep up with my YouTube channel or this blog for example. I get super excited in the beginning and then nothing, blank. Does that happen to anyone else or am I alone in this?! Raise your hand if you ride the struggle bus with this!

For me to stay motivated I need to write things down. For some reason seeing it written down is what focuses me to stay on task. Which is why I never use the reminders app on my phone. So many people have these really cool apps that help them stay on task for the day and they make lists and so on. But for me, there's something completely satisfying about writing it down in my planner. I see it, I do it, I check it off at the end of the day and really feel like I've accomplished something.

I also find that keeping things on the calendar for future posts or videos or whatever task you need to do helps to keep you motivated. At the beginning of each month I spend time filling out my calendar for the whole month. I ink it in there so when it comes to the day I know what to expect. Another example for this is working out. I can't tell you how much I dislike to workout. I always feel like there's something else I could be doing, like the laundry or being outside. But if I take the time at the start of the month and get it on the calendar, I'm more likely to actually do it.

I recently took the plunge and ordered the Get To Work Book. If you have not heard of this, where have you been?! It was created by a fellow blogger who also lives here in Sunny SoCal. It's a game changer when it comes to keeping your life organized. I LOVE to organize and make sure everything is all together. It motivates me :) See what I did there? This book makes it so much fun to plan out your days and months. I won't go into too much detail because Elise has many videos on this book on her blog. Check it out here: gettoworkbook.com
But basically, you need this planner in your life immediately. In fact I won't get my feelings hurt if you click over there right now and order one of yourself. I highly encourage you to do so.

It's so easy to get caught up in everyday life and things we all need to accomplish, but just take it one bite at a time. Like my husband always says to me when i'm feeling really overwhelmed, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. " It's like that in all things, take on each task at a time and at the end of the day you get the satisfaction of checking that off your list.

So what motivates you? How do you stay on task? For me, it's all about writing it down. Set goals for yourself, both long term and short term. And lastly, just start! Get your butt in gear and start checking things off your lists. Hope this helps all my fellow procrastinators out there. You're not alone :) XO

XO
Sam.
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