All posts by Vicki

This is a Post About my Dog who had Diarrhea

Consider the title a warning.  Graphic content below.  Also a few swears.

When Conrad was approached with the opportunity to travel to Cambodia for nearly 3 weeks, I was very excited for him.  He loves to travel and I knew this trip would be an amazing one.  “Honey, go. The girls and I will be fine.  We can make it for 3 weeks, we really can.”

So he went.  One small detail that I neglected to take into account when I so enthusiastically endorsed this trip:  We have a puppy. 

Now, I feel a need to let you all know how much we love our puppy.  She was regally named Junia Phillipa, Junia is after the woman apostle named in Romans 16:7, and Phillipa because we liked the sound of it.  We call her Junie Pip, Junie Bug, June, Junie, Snuggle Bug, Cutie Pie, and whatever other sentiments we’re feeling at the moment.  Also, she is perfect.  Her personality is sweet, and she hasn’t had an accident in the house in months.

Conrad left for the airport on a Friday morning around 5:00.  I got the kids up and off to school, then with glee I got out my sewing machine and art supplies, spread the table out as far as it would go, and got busy on some projects I had been looking forward to working on while Conrad was gone.

About 9:00 a.m. I noticed our sweet puppy was acting a little funny.  Lethargic, not quite herself. 

By that afternoon, she still wasn’t quite herself, but she perked up when the girls got home from school.

Then, night fell.  I heard her whining in her kennel.  Around midnight, I hollered down the stairs for her to be quiet and settle in.  She did.  Ah, my perfect, sweet Junia.

When I woke up the next morning, there was shit everywhere. 

I feel a need here to apologize for using the word shit. It’s so unladylike, I know. The problem is, this was not poo.  It was not even crap.  It was shit, and there is no other way to describe it.

She had diarrhea overnight in her kennel, then slept in it because I told her to shush.  Her fluffy white puppy fur was covered, caked, and matted with this substance which was producing an other-worldy smell. 

Only 24 hours into Conrad being gone, I was still feeling strong in my independence and ability to be an adult.  I was not happy about this situation, but I cleaned her up and spoke soothingly to my sweet, sick puppy.  I assumed she got into some garbage or something that upset her belly.  I watched her closely for the day and she seemed to improve.

Next morning.  I got her out of her freshly clean and sanitized kennel and took her outside.  A few minutes later, the girls were eating breakfast when I saw Bryn startle and gasp, “Mom!  What is this?”  I looked at my dining room carpet to discover what can only be described as shit that looked like chocolate pudding.  And several piles of it.  I was undone. 

This is getting long, so I’ll cut to the chase:  Junia was not improving and in fact, the episodes were becoming more frequent and I was beginning to worry.  I called the vet and described what was happening.  “Yes,” they told me, “She should probably be seen, and also, could you bring a stool sample?”  Blink.Blink.

Turns out it’s hard to get a stool sample of something that leaves your dog’s hind quarters and soaks directly into the earth.

Sampleless and shame-faced I headed to the vet. After a thorough exam, the vet had these words for me:   “Honestly, I’m a little baffled.  I can’t find anything wrong with her.  I think it’s probably anxiety over her master leaving.”  Right.  Anxiety.  Master Conrad had left her presence.

The vet prescribed some pills to calm Junia’s nerves.  I asked if she could prescribe some for me too.  She looked at me funny but did not comment.

So, with strict dietary restrictions, some pills, and an enormous vet bill in my hands, we headed back home to see if we could get this poor puppy’s anxiety under control.  I fed her oatmeal and water for several days and her belly got better.  She still acted a little depressed, but at least she was making it to the backyard before she had more accidents.

In the middle of all of this, a friend asked me if I had told Conrad about it.  I think she was thinking,  “A good wife would not tell her husband about this very stressful situation when he is thousands of miles away and completely helpless.” But maybe I am just projecting that. 

“Um, YES.”  He was given a very graphic description of what was happening on the home front, complete with ALL OF MY EMOTIONS that went along with it.  And if you think I was going to somehow protect him from this stress, then you have overestimated my spiritual depth and emotional maturity.

Junia steadily improved and after the first week, her belly was back to normal.  She still didn’t act quite right, but at least I wasn’t waking up in the night to clean up after her. 

Three weeks went by and the girls and I survived to tell the tale.  By the time Conrad got home, the dog was back to normal, but the microwave was broken, the dishwasher smelled like sour milk, the back gate wasn’t closing right, the kitchen fan only worked on high speed, and the air in my driver side tire was perilously low despite the fact that friends helped me fill it up.

Needless to say, we were happy when he got home.  But nobody was as happy as Junia and her anxiety prone intestines.  I may never let Conrad go anywhere ever again.

You'll notice this is the only photo in this blog post.  You're welcome.
You’ll notice this is the only photo in this blog post. You’re welcome.



More Before and After Pics, and a Fun Announcement!

While we were in the middle of fixing up our house this summer, I ended up doing a ton of work to various furniture pieces that we had acquired one way or another.  We were in need of several furniture pieces when we moved in, and we were able to get them at a reasonable cost, but many of them were, well, ugly.

Exhibit A:

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This was a beat up credenza that was falling apart and definitely had a 1970’s vibe to it.  A guy at a local secondhand furniture place told me I would be doing him a favor if I took it off his hands.  So I did.  I couldn’t figure out why it had been sitting in his store for so long.  I guess no one thought of painting it coral:

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It fits perfectly in our entryway and is a great storage piece for games and art supplies. 

Here’s a few more transformed projects:

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Amazing what a little paint and a lot of patience will do!  I actually love our new bedroom furniture and it makes me happy to know I had a hand in recreating an ugly, outdated piece.

I know this one doesn’t seem to have much potential.  But I picked it up at a yard sale for $1.00.  Crazy!  How could I not at least give it a shot?  A little paint, a new shelf to replace the broken drawer, some new hardware and cute baskets. . .

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And voila!  We have a pretty dresser that fits perfectly in Bryn’s room!

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Switching gears slightly, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite people on earth:

2-IMG_0861 This is my friend LaRonda.  We’ve known each other nearly 20 years.  She is Canadian, I am from Michigan, we both married Lancaster County Boys and ended up living just a few blocks from each other in Pennsylvania during our newlywed years.  Through a crazy, long, nearly unbelievable series of events, we moved to Ohio, then they moved to Ohio.  We settled in Urbana, they settled in Marysville.  We moved to Michigan, they came to visit.  We got a call to join a church in Marysville, we called Tim and LaRonda and started our conversation with, “You guys won’t even believe this. . .” When we told them we were moving to Marysville, we all started cracking up and saying, “What are the chances??”

SO.  Now I am living just 3 minutes from one of my best friends.  She is creative, smart, funny, and full of great ideas.  She likes to create.  I like to create.  I like big picture stuff; she likes details.  I think in big, bold colors; she is drawn toward sophisticated, understated design.  After much discussion, prayer, dreaming, budgeting, and just a teeny bit of anxiety, LaRonda and I have decided to jump into a business together.  Which brings me to my announcement:

LaRonda and I are now business partners and co-owners of Birch Tree Studio:

BTS small logo We are reclaiming furniture most people are overlooking and working hard to make it beautiful again.  Here’s a few of our favorite pieces:

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We have been working in my garage, which we have claimed as our studio:

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And, well, I’ve never had so much fun in my life.  We would be honored if you would click over to our facebook page and follow us!  I have just started posting some pictures over there and we will also keep you posted on upcoming sales and events where we will be setting up our goods.

So there you have it.  I’ve been a busy little beaver over the last few weeks as we’ve jumped in headfirst. I am super excited about this new stage of life and I hope you’ll join me on this fun adventure!

Aaaand We’re Home.

We moved to Marysville the second week of July, signed on the new house and got to work right away.  My summer was spent making trips to Lowe’s, getting very acquainted with the people at the paint desk, and painting until I thought my arms might fall off.  So today, I am sharing with you some of the before and after pictures of our new home.  We still have plenty to do, but oh the progress we’ve made!  I had fun looking through the “before” pictures just to see how far we’ve come in less than 2 months.

The first thing we did when we got the keys to the house was take up a corner of the (ugly, stinky, dog-stained) carpet.  As you can imagine, we were thrilled to find beautiful hardwood underneath!  We were less thrilled with the bazillion staples that held the carpet down!

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Trying to pull up all those staples was not a fun way to spend the day, but it had to be done!

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21-New House 042 The next item of business was choosing a paint color.  That was hard!  I knew I wanted something in the gray family, but there are lots and lots of greys!  We did a bit of trial and error until we were happy with one.

14-New House 032 My sister.  You guys.  She worked like an ox for days.  She was my faithful little painter and my much needed cheer and morale boost.  She put in a lot of hours!  Somehow, we found plenty to talk about while we worked. . .

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One of the more major projects we took on was a slight revision to the kitchen layout.  When we bought the house the fridge and pantry were in a weird position.  It might be tricky to tell from this picture, but when the fridge was opened, it nearly hit the counter top across from it. 

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It seemed to us that it would make a lot more sense if the fridge and the pantry could swap places.  We thought that would be easy.  BAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Thanks to the skilled (and free) labor of some very dear friends, the job got done.  But it was no easy task!

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We were so thrilled with the hardwood floor we discovered throughout the downstairs that we decided to see if our luck would hold out and reveal beautiful hardwood upstairs!  Um, NOPE.

24-New House 049 Instead of beautiful hardwood, we found some very nasty floors, and a very large hole:

25-New House 051 Once again, our friends came to the rescue and helped us patch and repair the floor then prep it for paint.

We did a lot of work, it’s true.  But, we had some fun while we were at it!  My in-laws were here for a day, my mom came and unpacked my kitchen, I caught up with some of my best friends over a can of paint, and before we knew it, the house started coming together and feeling like a home.  Enjoy the befores and afters!

Entryway Before:

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48-New House 090 45-New House 086 47-New House 089 Downstairs Bathroom Before:

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This sweet little cabinet was just waiting for me at a local antique shop! Perfect for extra storage in a smallish bathroom.


Living Room Before:

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And After:

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Dining Room Before:

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And After:

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I framed my grandma’s handwritten recipes. A sweet way to honor my heritage and our shared love for the kitchen!

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Another find from the antique store! This cabinet is perfect as a coffee bar. . .I store coffee supplies and mugs and a few other things. Plus, I like to have a place to display my handsome rooster.


Kitchen Before:

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And After:

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We finally got the refrigerator and the pantry swapped and the floor plan makes much more sense now!

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Some of my favorite transformations happened upstairs.  First Ellie’s room before:

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My mom is sewing some curtains to put on the top of the closet to disguise some of the mess!

Bryn and Lydia are sharing a room.  They weren’t very happy about that at first, but they are enjoying it now.  The before:

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I took one step into their room and this is what I found. I decided I didn’t want to go any further! HA!

And finally, the master bedroom.  It was so very ugly (so much sponge paint!  Also, remember the floor?) Here is the before:

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Art work waiting to be hung

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Whew!  That’s a lot of pictures!  Believe it or not, I edited out a bunch more.  I think I’ll do another post just on all the furniture that I painted. . .but that’s another story!  I think it’s safe to say I’ll be taking a break from the painting for a while.  Thanks for visiting our new home. . .the coffee is always on, so stop by sometime!