Saturday, August 24, 2013

Before and After!

Bit by bit we are making our house more our home! We still have about 100 things on our to do list, but everything was put on halt when we had to replaced our central air.. eeep. I wanted to share all of the things we have done so far! :)

Our biggest project yet...
Kitchen... BEFORE!

The Kitchen.. AFTER!

So much has been done, but all that is left is to replace the fridge! The rest of the appliances have been replaced. The floor has new tile. New countertops. The old vinyl backsplash was ripped out and tiled with stone and accent pieces. Quarter round trim was added to the base trim to give it more of a dimensional look. The cabinets have been moved up a FOOT to give us more space. They have also been refinished and new hardware added. The old trim at the top of the cabinets has been removed and crown has been added! I am so in love with my kitchen!

Next was one of our other big projects.. Roey's playroom. I don't have complete shots since everything has been finished, so I will have to update even more later.

Playroom AFTER!

Since Rosalie's playroom is actually the master bedroom of the house, she also has a walk in closet.


Kevin's Mancave. We started it.. but it's not anywhere close to being finished!
Before... this was literally the morning we moved in..
In Progress...
The Mancave bathroom before..
And After!
Rosalie's Closet.. The shelves that were in there when we moved in were nice... but it was hard to hang her clothes in front.. everything was mostly behind the doors.
We did the same thing to our closet.. except the walls are painted dark brown and the organizers are all solid brown!
We have temporarily flipped the downstairs bathroom. We eventually want to replace EVERYTHING.. but to make it a bit prettier until then..
The last project.. our pool. Sigh, as much as we LOVED our pool, the deck was in bad shape.. and the pool itself was rusted at the bottom. Even with a brand new liner, the rust  spots were rubbing it putting in little holes, causing water to leak. We constantly had to add water and the walls felt weak, so we felt it was best to take it down. I'm sure in a few years we will get another.. but not nearly as big since there are just the three of us!
We used the level ground and covered it with rubber mulch and made a play area! We moved the trampoline where the deck was because it had completely killed the grass where it was before. On another note, that dead grass area is now all pretty :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Are you slowly killing your sweet furbaby?

Let me start by introducing my sweet furbabies.
The baby of the three... but now the largest of them all.. Sweet Miss Sadie.
 The first furry addition to the Hollis family... Buddy.. AKA Budders.
 And our Alabama rescue dog.. Marmaduke.. AKA Duke. Duke came to us at merely 6 weeks old.. extremely sick. He was saved by a local rescue that found Duke and his brothers and sisters abandoned in some hedges by an apartment complex. Now look at the handsome young guy! He is filled with so much life and love!
Now... lets talk about the purpose of you meeting my furry children. Budders came to us when he was one. When he came to us, his previous owner had told us that the military vet said he had dry skin, but she thought it was something more. We decided to get a second opinion and took him to a local vet in Italy where he diagnosed him with allergies. The allergies were controlled with prednisone, which is a steroid. We didn't have to give them to him on a regular basis, but just as needed. Upon moving to Alabama, his allergies spiraled out of control. We became desperate and tried everything. He got no relief. Our options were to let him dig his legs raw, or keep him on steroids daily and slowly let them destroy his vital organs. I felt hopeless. His allergies are seasonal, not food related, so we were at a loss.
I began researching. With google at my fingertips, I learned some new insight. I learned that allergies in dogs can be caused by their diet. This does not mean they are allergic to what is in the food, but rather their body is lacking something in their diet from the food they are eating thus causing the allergies. I thought surely this fix cannot be that simple. Dry dog food is cooked at such a high temperature that any nutrients in the food is cooked out. Chicken in dog food can also make those allergies worse. Omega acids are key to helping skin conditions in pets. I began a hunt to find a dog food that had no chicken, added Omega acids, and was preferably raw meat.  My researching went even further after reading that. I needed to know what I needed in my furry kids' diet.
This is why I'm here. I feel as though I NEED to share with everyone what I have found. We give our kids kibbles n bits. It's not cheap, but it's not the $100 food. I always assumed it was a good, hearty food. WRONG. Completely freaken wrong Mandee. After the knowledge I have found, I feel as though CPS for dogs should come take my furry kids away cause I have been a terrible mom for not educating myself! lol!
One of the major fillers in dry dog food is corn.  Not the sweet corn we eat... but feed corn. It may not even be complete feed corn.. but rather corn dust! This corn could be completely contaminated with pesticides or is corn that was condemned for human consumption.
Next you may see a lot of "by-products". Or it may just read "animal meat". I never understood what the term meant. I'm so glad I know now. By-products in dog food are basically the leftover parts after animals have been slaughtered and then some. This can be ANYTHING.. feathers.. hooves..heads.. but by-products go further than that. Other things used for by-products are ROADKILL, euthanized cattle, spoiled grocery meat, diseased and dying livestock, dead zoo animals, restaurant grease, and the list goes on. Dead pets are often thrown right into the grinder with their flea collars still intact. Cattle will still have ID tags on. Even the green waste bags from vets that contain the euthanized pets all get thrown right into the grinder and get processed into the foods you are feeding your sweet furbaby.
Not grossed out yet? So your dog food says it has grain in it. That's healthy, right? WRONG. They are not getting the healthy grains we get.. but usually it's just the SWEEPINGS off of the floors of mills!
If this stuff is "unfit for human consumption", then why can it be given to our "children"?  If you are like me, right now you are feeling blown away, misled, and deceived into thinking you have been feeding your pup properly. After work today, I went to the gym and then went straight to Pet Smart and picked up a bag of Blue Buffalo. Upon doing my research, it is one of the best. They have NO BY-PRODUCTS, NO "GRAIN",  NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS! Blue Buffalo is all natural and has added omega acids! The meat in Blue Buffalo is REAL meat! After these findings, I informed Kevin that nothing will come into our house without me reading the label now that I have the knowledge of what our pups are eating. All of the treats in our house have been replaced with Blue Buffalo too.
I hope everyone now has some insight as to what your dog is ingesting. If the ingredients in your pets food say by-product, animal meat, or grain, then you are basically feeding your pup McDonalds every day for their entire life. Would you go out on the road and pick up a week old, diseased and decaying deer infested with maggots and put it in your pup's dish? Of course not!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

news to share!

I have some exciting news to share! Some of you may know... some may only know bits and pieces.. but here's the whole story.

A year ago, I began seeing a new doctor upon arriving here in Alabama. Upon going through my medical chart I brought from Aviano, he discovered some shocking results. I had tests results, one after another, that revealed abnormal results. That was all I was ever told. I was told they were abnormal, but nothing to be concerned about and nothing needed done. The doctor said every test was more abnormal than the one before. He wanted to run some tests himself and see what my current status was. Since my doctor of three years made it sound like no big deal, I shrugged it off. This all started in August. By the first week of December, I received a call from my doctor's nurse, asking me to come in for a consult the next day. She said my test came back abnormal. Big shocker *insert sarcasm*.

 But then she dropped the bomb. She said I needed surgery. Puzzled, I asked her why. She informed me that my test wasn't just abnormal, but rather I had tested to have precancerous cells. A large amount of precancerous cells. In 4 years, the cells had really progressed. 2 weeks later, I was in surgery. He removed all of the cells in hopes that healthy new cells would return in their place.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I went back to get re-tested. While talking with the doctor, I asked what would happen next. He said he had high hopes that all healthy cells would have replaced the precancerous cells. If that was the case, in 6 months I would just have to come back and get re-tested. He said if they came back abnormal again, it would be a different story. He said in most cases that come back abnormal a second time, he can perform the surgery again. Most come back normal after the 2nd surgery. He said in my case, it was so severe and he had to remove too much tissue that a second surgery would not be an option this soon. He said in my case, he got clear margins and the test from the surgery proved that he got it all. If it came back abnormal again, it was cause for concern because that meant that precancerous cells were coming back and weren't just ones that were missed from the surgery. He then informed me that in the case of it coming back abnormal, I would have to go to an oncologist. How does a healthy 27 year old comprehend the word oncologist? I could not wrap my brain around it.

Fast forward to today. I came home from work, utterly exhausted. I worked later than normal and had to get groceries afterward. As I come into the house, Kevin says he has something to tell me. When I walk upstairs ready to collapse of exhaustion, he hands me a letter. A letter stating my test came back NORMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Precancerous cells are gone!!!! A year we have dealt with this. I'm so ready for our lives to get back to normal and not spend weekly/biweekly/monthly visits at the doctor! I'm pretty sure I should own part of Trinity Hospital in the amount of money Tricare has invested in me and the amount of money I've paid for that dang parking garage!