Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?

Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it

Marley & Me April 19, 2009

Filed under: Critters,Family,Kids,Life,Work — Steph @ 7:51 am

We watched Marley and Me last night.  Good movie, the book is better.  Not a good book/movie to read/watch after you’ve lost your oldest dogs in a fire.  Couldn’t watch the end, had to leave the room, but did finish the book through the sobs.

I’m watching it and thinking the puppy my kids and husband so lovingly bestowed upon me after the fire to cheer me up could easily be Marley!  Actually her name is Molly and she’s about 100 lbs. lighter but the wave of destruction mirrors Marley’s I swear!  I love her more than anything so I can surely understand their keeping “The World’s Worst Dog” but I’d totally dispute their claim!  🙂  I’ll edit and post a picture later after I wash the mud off of her, she’s been digging in the yard!

Elizabeth has been sick all week.  Oh how I loathe daycare with every fiber of my being.  She went last Friday, then Monday and she’s really sick and miserable.  She spent most of the week with her Nana.  😦

I’m LOVING work, wow I can’t even tell you how much I love it!  There’s not enough space on the blog!  I think I found the best possible job for me, truly.  I picked it up really quickly and just really enjoy it.

That’s about it for us.  I will get caught up on all my blog reading here shortly, just been working so much it’s not been possible!  Today I have to do laundry and clean up the house, because Molly has it just trashed!

Love to all!


Look at those pearly whites February 2, 2009

Filed under: Critters,Family,Kids — Steph @ 9:46 am

I think I have the only 2 year old ever to throw tantrums over WANTING to brush her teeth!  She loves it, she would brush them all day long.  She’s been that way for about a year.  Too bad her brother is the exact opposite!

I am an epic failure at potty training.  My puppy won’t potty train.  She does OK during the day because I let her out every 20 minutes, but she has an accident every single night.  She’s a serious mama’s girl so I don’t dare kennel her, no one would ever get any sleep!  But I can’t break her of the occasional accident.  I miss my doggie door!

Elizabeth won’t potty train either.  I set her on her potty chair over and over, I take her in there with me when I go and set her on the chair.  She doesn’t get it.  Joey was the exact same way.  I had visions of him going to kindergarten in diapers I swear.  Elizabeth is even more determined to NOT potty train than Joey was.  At her age Joey would at least attempt to go.  She flat won’t.  She hates when her diapers are soiled but she won’t go potty.  Pull Ups and underwear don’t cut it either, she’ll just come tell you after she’s gone.

It’s another Monday and I have a zillion things I should be doing, I should probably go do at least one of them. I think I’ll clean Elizabeth’s room today, you can’t walk through there and she has no clue what toys she even has.  The only time she cares about her toys is if the puppy chews on one.

PS/I wasn’t going to write about this, but it’s Hedgehog Day.  Happy Hedgehog day to everyone!  Those of you with hedgehogs please snuggle them for me!  Today I am very sad, it’s the first Hedgehog Day in 6 years I am spending without my hedgehogs.  The history of “Hedgehog Day” for those that are interested: http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/hedgehogday.shtml

Groundhogs are a knock off…


So much to say, so little time November 17, 2008

Filed under: Critters,Family,Kids,Life,Other Stuff — Steph @ 7:01 pm


So I know I am so not good at keeping up so I’m just gonna run it down here 🙂

1. Thanks to all who voted, or are voting for my cousin!  She so deserves it!

2. The doll above is my new baby Molly.  I have wanted a Westie for almost 9 years.  One year at Christmas a breeder had some she was selling at a mall in Rapid City, SD and I just fell in love but we weren’t in a place where we could add a dog.  Then we decided to add a dog and I looked everywhere and couldn’t find one so I got Gizzy my Lhaso Apso instead.  Gizzy was so my heart in every way and I am so happy it worked out that way.  Hind sight is such a funny thing.  But lately I have had such a hard time with the loss of Gizzy and Sugar (my 15 year old Border Collie) it just kills me.  Yesterday I was cleaning windows of little 2 year old fingerprints and I just burst in to tears!  So stupid I know, but Sugar HATED spray bottles of any kind and any time I’d dust or clean the windows she’d freak.  I have dusted and cleaned glass in this house 100 times since we’ve been here but for some reason it just hit me.  Anyway, a local breeder has had Westie puppies off and on for almost a year but with 4 dogs there was just no way I was adding a puppy.  I’ve been through the puppy stage and was well past it.  But Joe decided to surprise me with Molly and I can’t tell you how much I needed her!  Could do without the puppy stage!  Especially considering she’s a terrier puppy!  But she’s such a love and so much fun, it was just what I needed.

3. I am officially diagnosed with PTSD which is not a surprise.  I am having more and more good days, but there are days like yesterday I am just inexplicably sad.  They raised my Effexor dosage and gave me more Klonopin (who knew I’d been spelling it wrong all this time?!).  The Klonopin really helps when I am having a really bad day and I can’t live without it at night.  I have such horrific nightmares, the Klonopin keeps those at bay and helps me sleep.  I am working through it but it’s such a battle.

4. Just because I didn’t mention it, congratulations to America on the historic election.  It’s not a secret I’m not an Obama fan, but I respect the democratic process and hope he can truly bring about the change he promised.  I’m also big enough to be just insanely proud of our country that’s come so far as to have an African American president, a female presidential cantidate, and a female VP cantidate.  It’s staggering how we continue to grow as a country!  It was a tough election for me because I am NOT an Obama supporter.  For a time I thought I could be, but there are some things I just do not agree with.  On the other hand, I didn’t like McCain’s healthcare and tax plans and I am just not a conservative Republican.  Republican – yes, but conservative, no.  I think I fall more in the “moderate” category.  Anyway, even though it wasn’t my choice I respect our democratic process and congratulate America on this milestone.

5. I finally broke down and went to the doctor for my foot problem.  I’ve been ignoring it for 2 years because I know they are going to want to stick a needle in my foot.  My mom had the same problem, I know what they do to fix it.  But it’s so bad now it’s barely tolerable so I broke down and went to a podiatrist.  He’s awesome and never broke out a needle 🙂

He does think I have Plantar Fasciitis which is exactly what my mom had.  Hers eventually required surgery, I am hoping mine won’t but he told me today my procrastinating might well cause me to have to have surgery. 😦

He taped it up today and I am supposed to stay off of it as much as possible, leave the tape on 24/7 (not get my foot wet), and take an anti-inflammatory he prescribed me.  I am praying something here works, whether it’s the anti-inflammatory or surgery or whatever else it might take because it’s become absolutely un-bearable and hurts literally 24/7.  Last night after cleaning my carpets yesterday it hurt so bad it made me sick to my stomach.  When I got out of bed this morning I had to sit back down on the side of the bed and I just cried, I couldn’t even control it, it hurt so bad it just instantly made me cry.  So I broke down and made the appointment today and we’ll see where we go from there.

Otherwise everything is status quo, Joey is living and breathing hockey.  Elizabeth is fully embracing the “terrible two’s” and is determined to be the worst “terrible two” E.V.E.R. and Joe is just working and living and breathing hockey with Joey 🙂


Randomness October 27, 2008

Filed under: Adoption,Critters,Faith,Fire,Other Stuff — Steph @ 8:55 am

If you make a ham and give your dogs a small plate full they will wake you up 5 times in the night to go outside.  Wow I miss my dog door! Elizabeth is in to Thomas the Train all the sudden.  I am relieved to watch something besides Cars.  She likes Lilo & Stitch but given the choice she picks Cars every time.  I bought her a Handy Manny DVD and a couple of Thomas DVD’s including the Thomas movie with Alec Baldwin.  She’d rather watch the Thomas episodes with the narrator and the fake people.  I like Handy Manny it’s cute, but secretly I wonder why she would rather watch tools, trains, and trucks than Strawberry Shortcake?!  She’s gonna be Abby Cadaby (sp?) for Halloween.  My one saving grace, she loves shoes and dresses!  🙂 We took my mom to the neuro surgeon last week and we went to the mall in Cheyenne (I didn’t know they had a mall!?!?!).  We were in Dillards and Elizabeth sees the Croclings and FLIPS.  She HAS to have the Cinderella Croclings?!  So I am like OK, they’re pink, they have a princess on them, RIGHT ON!  Then we get to the check out and guess what they have?!  Jibbitz with Mater and Lightning McQueen.  <sigh>  So she now has Cinderella Croclings with Mater on one and Lightning McQueen on the other.  <double sigh> Oh and did I mention she doesn’t sleep in the car?  She talks, the whole way (I know she gets that from me).  Guess what she talks about on the interstate?!  You guessed it, trucks and trains.  So she makes up this little diddy where she goes “trucks and trains and trucks and trains”.  And it’s SO flipping cute cuz she like sings it!  But…  it gets old after the 100th mile or so! Joey is just busy trying to keep up with his schedule for hockey and scouts.  He’s tired on the weekend.  For some reason he can’t sleep in on Sundays.  Silly internal clocks.  Niether kid does, but I sure wish he would because 6 PM practice on Friday and then 7 AM on Saturday makes for a tired kiddo.  He won’t nap, it’s against his 8 year old boy code, so I bought him some new books (Captain Underpants anyone?) and he spent a good part of Saturday afternoon just reading quietly.  Then we went and saw HSM3 which he’s been waiting a year to see.  I gotta say I thought of the 3 it had the best story line.  Not fond of the music so much.  The first had such great music and the 2nd had catchy music.  This one I just didn’t think the music was so great.  Of course Joey disagrees…  Definitely for kids, but I can stomach them because Joey loves them and they’re good wholesome fun for him.  I was disgusted with the woman behind us though.  She had about a 3 year old boy and a 4 or 5 year old girl.  She talked through the WHOLE movie!  Not the kids, the mom!!  I was so livid!  The 5 year old was asking questions and rather than whisper the answers to her she was really loud!  I’m not one of those people who gets irritated with kids in kid movies but this was a bit different, the little boy was totally dis-interested and spent the whole time messing around bumping in to Joe and Joey’s chairs.  The woman spent the whole time explaining the movie to the young girl.  At one point she goes “Stanford is one of the best schools in the country”.  <sigh>  Like her 4 year old cares?!  Explain it to her at home!  Then at one point they are dancing and the girl’s skirts flip up and she goes “oh my goodness!”  really loud!  I’m like “lady, it’s a musical and they dance, they have on bloomers for crying out loud!”  Then there was the kiss (one kiss in 2 and 3 btw) and she goes “oh, did you see that on the previews?” to her 4 year old?!  WTH?!  It’s not like they were getting down and dirty, it was a kiss!  Crimeny!  Can you tell I was annoyed?!  She literally didn’t shut up the WHOLE 2 hours!! Anyway, Joey is being tested for the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program and we’ll find out in a couple of weeks if he’s accepted.  He scored in the 91st percentile on the standardized test they did a few weeks ago.  It’s funny because Joey doesn’t test well, he has trouble sitting through tests and focusing on getting the test done in time.  During these tests I was worried, they were right after the fire and I was sure he would not do well on them.  So I asked them to let him do them later and they said they were just a “practice run” to see what they need to work on for the real Spring tests.  Turns out I was worried for nothing and he did well obviously.  I assume he’ll be admitted to GATE which I’ve been waiting for since kindergarten so that’s exciting!  He gets so bored in a regular classroom all day long, I have literally just been waiting for 3rd grade and the GATE program! I think I have PTSD.  Probably not a surprise.  I want to see a counselor but I don’t know of any good ones in town and I don’t want to spend the money right now.  The fire wiped us out, replacing a minimal amount of clothes, toys, books, shoes, coats, etc… adds up.  Not to mention having to stock a kitchen from scratch when you are used to a FULL freezer and pantry you’ve been filling for years!  So I am holding off even though I know I need to see someone at some point.  Hopefully soon as I think I probably need some therapy.  For now I am just trying to deal and my regular physician is helping me as is my family. I still have nightmares about my dogs and animals dying.  They don’t always die in a fire though, it’s always something different.  The other night I dreamt Sugar (my oldest dog) was locked in a room with rabid coyotes?!  WTH?!  The Clonopin keeps the nightmares at bay, and other than exhaustion when I don’t take the Clonopin and have the nightmares, I am holding up OK. The stupid insurance company is launching some investigation in to the fire of course.  They want ALL kinds of personal information I’m not giving them access to.  Like employment records, bank statements, etc…  I didn’t have to supply those things to BUY my house, I’m not giving them up now with all the identity theft.  Plus Joe just got a new job, how would it look if some insurance investigator was calling them to check on his character?! Apparently this is common practice in total loss fires.  I am just disgusted by it.  It’s like saying “this family lost EVERYTHING so in order to stall having to pay out we’ll just put them through even more Hell”.  I thought it might have something to do with our complaint to the insurance commissioner and I’m still not 100% sure it didn’t/doesn’t.  But I called them and she said they do this a majority of times in a fire and it really sucks.  It’s an electrical fire, ruled as such by the fire department so they have NO basis to put us through an “investigation” but of course whatever it takes to not have to pay out.  I told the one rep the other day it’s just insane.  People don’t set their homes on fire to go backward!  We lost a lot of un-insured animals (not insurable), cages, feed, etc…  plus we’re under insured on our home by quite a bit, so we don’t have enough in the policy max to re-build our home and are probably short a bit on a down payment on a new home.  Who in their right mind sets their home on fire to end up on the street?!  Not to mention the money we sunk in to the house to replace the plumbing, re-do the bathrooms, flooring, etc…  it’s just insane, we are SO not going to even come close to recouping those costs.  Needless to say I was not happy with the investigation and I said as much to the investigator.  You’d think while they’re shelling out a huge amount of rent a month on furniture, this house, etc… they would want to get us paid out and out of their hair?! Well I think that’s about it.  I didn’t blog much last week because I took my mom to Cheyenne for her appointment and that was an exhausting day with Elizabeth in tow, and I am trying to fight off a sinus infection so I really just didn’t feel up to it after wrangling Elizabeth all day.  😉 I promise to try to do better!  Thank you all for your comments and concerns, they made me feel better, somehow assured me I am not going crazy!


Just random thoughts October 8, 2008

Filed under: Critters,Fire,Kids,Life — Steph @ 8:01 am

I am bored, the quiet life is not suiting me.  I miss all 4 dogs under my feet, cages to clean, animals to feed, babies to snuggle and everything my life encompassed.  I know it’s crazy but it’s true.  That does not mean I have the heart to re-build my herds, but I am seriously missing all of the work.

Yesterday was my anniversary, 9 years.  It seems really un-real to me!  We celebrated by spending the early part of the day at the doctor, then watching a couple  things I had on my DVR and then Joe going to the parent’s hockey meeting and me getting the kids fed and to bed.  Fun, fun!

Joey is sick today and felt crummy enough to stay home from school until I told him no DS, TV, etc…  He’s still sick and needs to stay home I think, but now he’s mad about it.  <sigh>

This year’s hockey schedule is insane.  7 AM Saturday practices for almost 2 hours.  Plus Wednesday and Friday evenings for the rec program.  He’s playing both rec center and Gillette Hockey Association which we didn’t know at sign up.  Apparently that’s what they do at this level.  They did cut down on travel, only one day away games instead of weekend long tournaments so that’s a plus.  Although we will probably find the games are at something like 9 AM on Saturday mornings and since you have to be there 45 minutes before game time to get them suited up, we’re gonna end up having to spend a night anyway.  The new rink opens here in the next month or so and they are hoping to get better ice time once that happens, but right now the rec center program is getting the good ice time which leaves the GHA kids practicing early Saturday mornings.  Did I mention how much I am NOT a morning person?  Joey isn’t much of one either and the kids are going to be fully worn out after having a Friday evening practice as well.  Hopefully after the first couple of practices the coaches will push the rec center to give us better ice time. I just can’t imagine any 8 year old being able to keep up with that schedule.

Elizabeth is feeling better and no new spots so that’s awesome and she seems to be in a better mood.  She has not thrown anything at anyone, yelled, screamed, or cried and she’s been up since 6 AM.  So almost 3 hours without her trying to hit one of us with a sippy cup or toy!  YAY!

Today is Joe’s birthday.  Happy birthday honey!  We’re having a get together on Saturday for his birthday.  Nothing fancy just a couple of friends and the family for dinner.  He’s  excited about getting to use the empty rec room in the house!

Did I mention how great this house is?!  It’s HUGE and it has the best lay out!  I can’t even describe it, but the backyard is HUGE and the house is amazing.  We are truly in love with it!  Not to mention the neighborhood!  Our neighbors are all phenomenal and there has been absolutely no neighborhood drama!  Dogs who get out of the yard are simply escorted home, cats visit other houses, no one calls animal control?!  What will we do with that?!

We want to buy this house, our landlord is seriously considering selling it to us he says!  YAY!!  It needs some work, it is so sad to see, but the houses were built on a clay bed and all of them on this side of the street shifted which caused the foundations to shift and some walls to crack, etc…  It’s not a cheap fix, but it is fixable and we are hoping we can buy it for a decent price and then fix it at our own pace.  Terra’s hopefully coming to visit on Friday so she can tell you all how great the house is and how much we just NEED to be able to buy it!

We did get the final appraisal in and it came in well over our maximum insurance amount so we are hoping they’ll be quick about cutting the check and we can pay it off, tear it down, and sell the lot.  I can’t even tell you how much I want to be rid of that thing.  Paying the mortgage on it just reminds me of all the bad that happened there.  I so just want to be rid of it!!  I haven’t been back to the house since like 3 days after the fire and I have no intention of ever going back.  The only exception will be when the demolition crew comes, I want to be the first to hit it with a sledge hammer.  I think it will be therapuetic for me to be able to be a part of tearing down the bane of my existence.


Yesterday was a low day September 20, 2008

Filed under: Critters,Fire — Steph @ 8:21 am

For some reason I was terribly depressed yesterday, more than I have been in two weeks.  My dogs went to the crematorium yesterday and it weighed heavily on my mind all day.  Suki is still missing and presumed either dead or permanently settled in to some new home somewhere.  😦

I know the dogs are gone, have been gone for 2 weeks, it’s just their bodies but I could NOT get it out of my mind all day.

On the positive side a little yelling at the insurance claims rep and going over his head to his manager got our rental status approved so we get to sign our lease and get the keys today.  Still going to be Friday before we can move in, but we have the keys as of 11 AM today.  I am tempted to go there and just sit on the floor in “MY house”.

For some reason I feel better when I get to yell at the insurance guy.  He’s such a pain in my ass, it just lifts my spirits to jump him on something.  How petty is that?

I have a post I have to write today for me, I am debating making it private because I know it’s such a whine fest, but I haven’t decided yet.  I just have to get it off my chest so it’s on my list for after the lease, the dog’s new “extra” rabies shots since their records burned, and nap time.  <sigh>

I’ve also had two calls for hedgehogs this week so I have got to do something about my website.  It breaks my heart a little more each time to tell people “I’m sorry I have no hedgehog to place with you because they all died in a fire”.

Obviously I am in a bit lower place today, it comes and goes, one day I am OK and the next I am feeling low and sorry for myself.  <sigh>


Where I am now September 8, 2008

Filed under: Critters,Family,Fire,Kids,Life — Steph @ 9:22 pm

Apparently the News Record got a lot of hate mail for the photo and incorrect information in the article so they decided to write a follow up story (THANK YOU to all of you who sent those letters and e-mails in!!!).  It’s still inaccurate.  It says Joe was the licensed breeder but he wasn’t it was me, and they just apparently guessed at the spelling of Tenrec.  But it’s better than nothing.     http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/articles/2008/09/08/news/today/news04.txt

Also those of you asking for how you can help…  Joe got laid off on Thursday (I kept thinking Tuesday but my days are jumbled) it was actually Thursday.  So really to be 100% honest money to replace toys the kids lost, clothes, etc…  is the best possible way to help.  Of course I realize not everyone can do so and I totally understand that!!  The phone calls, letters, cards, etc… have all been just as wonderful lifting my spirits so thank you all so much!!  There is a link to e-mail my friend and neighbor who started a fund in our name.

I sent this to everyone on my contact list but I know some others are wondering and you are welcome to forward it on to anyone who would like to read it.

The video people have asked about…  My mom is the one crying, my dad is the one holding my one surviving dog.

The fire department and police did try to sneak the animals out from the back but apparently a photographer was hiding there and got that picture  L

Sunday’s story had more photos, anyone who wants a copy can e-mail them and get one.  There’s a photo of the firemen breaking through the roof in what was Joey’s room to vent the smoke, and one of my mom hugging Joe.

I truly am hanging in there as best I can and I know many have asked.  I did have a break down in Minneapolis and they medicated me.  They’ve dropped the dose so I can manage panic attacks but not be quite so out of it.

Tomorrow we are burying my dogs so that will be tough.  One cat is still roaming the neighborhood but we set a trap in our yard tonight so hopefully she’ll be in there in the morning.  We’ve been leaving food and water and it’s getting eaten so we put the trap near where she’s been going to eat that.  Please pray we find her tomorrow as our weather is starting to get cold and rainy and I will feel better when all are accounted for.

Joey went back to school today and his class is doing a toy drive for him which we were very touched by!!  He said a lot of kids asked questions, some of which made him cry, but he said they were all very sad for him and they loved him and that made him feel better.

Everything in the house is a total loss, all pictures, books, furniture, clothes, kitchen items, knick knacks, electronics, everything.

I am hanging on by  a thread, but I am thankful every day none of us were at home and my family is safe.  The dogs are settling in OK, Bitsy gets very upset if I leave the house but has bonded with my dad (and vice versa), one cat is totally un-phased, the other who was in a trap covered with soot and was treated at animal control for smoke inhalation, is very shaken up and sticks mostly to being under the bed in the room we are using at my mom’s house.

My grandma is here to hold us all together and I don’t know what we’d do without her.  Also Joe’s mom came home from a trip to Las Cruces, so between the two of them they are holding my mom and I up.

Elizabeth is totally un-phased for the most part, she thinks it’s just a visit to Nana and Papa’s, but she has asked about going home a few times.  Not sure how to tell a 2 year old we can’t go home.  Joey is doing quite well, he is sad at times, but he’s working through it.  He did walk through the house today so he could grieve the loss of his rabbits, hedgehogs, and chinchilla kits.

He is staying home tomorrow to go with us to bury the dogs, he asked and we feel if he asks it must be what he needs to grieve and deal.

The insurance company is working on finding us a more permanent place to stay until the house is re-built.  My mom’s house is thankfully large, but even a large house gets small quickly with two families, 4 dogs, and 3 cats.  The adjuster comes on Thursday and there are varying opinions on what he will say.  Most feel the house should be completely bulldozed and re-built so we’ll just wait and see what happens I guess.  Thankfully we had insurance, I can’t imagine if we didn’t!

So, that’s what’s going on here.

We are dealing with things one day at a time and doing as well as we possibly can, but the outpouring of love from our friends and family have really been what has gotten us through this so thank you all so much!!