Oops..

I wish I had waited until only the last minute..but nope, this girl waited until the last second (basically). I don’t know why, but the pressure just wasn’t there until today, when my lunch break rolled around and I figured “hey, I should probably grab some costumes..”.

Preface: In my adult life, I have dressed up once. It was the first Halloween J and I were together and I was a bumble bee. It was cute, but slightly revealing. I know, I know….halloween has become a massive skank-fest of half-naked girls, but I wanted to play too, and I felt good rocking it. This year, I was hoping to do something equally as ‘cute’. J loves it when I dress a bit more revealing, and I can assure you it doesn’t happen often.

So, J’s friend’s from out of town are coming over tonight. I have met them only a few times..they are older (than me), and seem light-years ahead of the game. When we all decided to do something for Halloween together, it was due to her and I mutually agreeing (over a few too many drinks) we wanted to dress up for halloween this year. Last week I really started thinking about the get-together. We are adults now, that means I need to buy snacks, right? Then I realized, I bet this couple wasn’t headed to the costume store to buy pre-packaged costumes. Nope, these are the kind of people who make their costumes. A quick text revealed I was right: she was going to be a gum ball machine, and she was just about done putting her costume together from scratch.  Oh no. I am screwed.

Well, with that, the thought of answering the door dressed as a slutty red-riding hood (first thought), and having to stand next to a gum-ball machine flashed upon me. I decided I needed to tone it down a notch… It’s horrible to say, but the idea of having to be inventive, and having to dress as something unique, rather than sexy, really ruined it for me. I pushed the thought of Halloween aside. Can I blame society for the way I feel about this holiday, please? 😉

And that brings us to today.. J’s only costume request was “I don’t know,” and “something that doesn’t suck” or something along those lines.. Great, thanks for your help, BABE.

As I shopped, thoughts of panic flashed through my mind. I couldn’t decide what I was doing in there with the other crazies.. who waits until Halloween to buy their Halloween costume?!

  1. I’m not spending 100$ on two costumes.
  2. Well, I guess we’re not dressing up afterall.
  3. That’s mean, now she will be a gum-ball machine and I will be an Ashley…
  4. Okay, it’s going to be fine. Let’s just find the cheap costume section…
  5. I need to hurry. Everyone is buying everything. Fast, Ashley, look fast!
  6. There are no cheap costumes…I guess 100$ is the penalty for being a procrastinator..
  7. I’m being little red riding hood..what will J be?
  8. Big Bad Wolf is $80..so no I am not..
  9. Oh and Little Red Riding Hood is only available in XXL.
  10. No costumes for us!
  11. Wahhhhhh…..

Just then, I found the Duck Dynasty section. J would be thrilled, I would be that much closer to being done shopping, and this took away the pressure of me trying to do couple’s costumes (that’s silly anyways, right?). Hopefully Gum-ball machine’s husband doesn’t show up as a gum ball, or I’ve failed.

Now for me, what’s something that’s sexy enough to make me smile (again, blame society..), but not slutty, and still looks inventive and like I’ve tried, thought about it, and didn’t go to the store 4 hours prior? A Greek Goddess…duhhhhh.. 30 bucks, 15 minutes wait in line for the change room, one compliment, and I was sold.

Halloween mission: ACCOMPLISHED..

Now hopefully we get lots of trick-or-treaters and they love my costume as much as I do. 🙂 Happy Halloween Everyone!!!!!

Much Love,

A

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Thankful Wednesday

Dun, dun, dunnnnnn…

I am estatic to say, I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR MY FIRST EVER BLOG AWARD! I am so grateful for this nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,  Weight2lose2013, I am so glad you enjoy my random ramblings. 🙂

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As I’ve read, here are the rules (copied from Weight2lose2013, copied from Sarcastic Beholder):

The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  2. Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  3. Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

Seven facts about myself:

  1. I love dogs. I got my first dog when I was 23 years old and I hope to never live without them again. I would have 10 if I could.
  2. I have a birth mark in the center of my back that turns bright white when I am in the sun. People always ask me what the heck it is..
  3. I am a Project Manager by day, and a foster puppy hoarder/rescuer/lover by night
  4. I am the eldest child in my family, with step- and half- siblings ranging from age 6 to 21.
  5. I have more grey hair than most 50 year olds..seriously. I have to dye my hair every 4-6 weeks.
  6. I am married to the man of my dreams: literally. The first time I met him it was like someone climbed inside my heart and was tickling it..hehe. I am so lucky.
  7. I have my Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. I went to university for five years, and it has proven: useless.

NOW! For my nominations! 🙂 I read these blogs daily and love, love, love seeing new posts. I know these are supposed to be ‘up and coming’ bloggers, but I still haven’t mastered the art of knowing how many followers people have… If I have nominated you, and you do not consider yourself ‘up and coming’, please don’t take offence ;). Also, I know I only have 7..so my ‘goal’ for this week is to start following more bloggers! 🙂 Stay tuned.

  1. Single Mom Dating : Because she’s awesome.
  2. Muscles and Mascara: I have searched and searched for a real-life blog about the fitness competition world. Here it is 🙂
  3. Finding My Strong: She runs half-marathons, and that is amazing..enough said.
  4. Chunkie to Cutie: She’s honest, awesome, and I can definitely relate 🙂
  5. Autoimmune Mama: Great information, supportive, and encouraging.
  6. Eternal Butterfly Kisses: Her own view of the world: beautifully written and captivating..and I love, love, love the name!
  7. Because I’m Fabulous: I just can’t stop reading this blog.

 

Love,

Ashley

Little Monsters make my life.

I had my first shift at the shelter last night. I’ve been there a few times for orientations, and to pick up our fosters, but this was my first day hanging out with the dogs in the shelter.

I’m in love.

Since it was my first shift, I had to stay with an experienced volunteer the entire night. We walked a very pregnant Momma, “Maggie”. She was tired. We had to entice her every step with treats. We finally made it outside to the grass and we weren’t sure we’d ever get her back inside.. it must have taken 45 minutes to go 200 meters. I wonder how many puppies she will have. Next, we did a bit of ‘doggy physio’ on a dog that was found with a badly broken leg. She had to have surgery to get her tail amputated and has about 20 staples up her leg. Her sad little eyes and underbite were magnified by the plastic cone around her head. Poor baby. We fed her treats, gave her lots of cuddles, and stretched her leg muscles out for her. She was unimpressed at first, but eventually realized that the pain in her leg was a fair trade-off for all the ear scratches. It’s amazing and beautiful to me how forgiving these animals can be, even after all they’ve been through. If only people could be more like dogs.

Now comes the part where I bring home another foster puppy (oops!). He was so sad, and all his brothers and sister’s were going to foster homes already. I couldn’t leave him all alone overnight in that scary kennel, could I? Nope. It was decided. I texted J and told him not to hate me..I think he knows what that means now. At the end of the night, little Sullivan and I packed a crate with all the supplies we will need for our short time together. We cruised home, with Sullivan whining periodically, and only stopping when I put my fingers through the tiny holes in the side of his crate. He is so, so small. Dont worry, little man, you’re safe now.

When we arrived home, J was sitting on the couch looking little more than unimpressed. I was prepared for him to be upset..but I had already decided that me and little man would do our absolute best to take care of ourselves, and wouldn’t ask J for any help (he loves puppies in moderation, and lately I’ve been giving him puppies in overload). I put the crate down and let the three current canine residents sniff him out for a bit while I walked over to the couch..he smiled at me. That same smile that I fell in love with, dimples and all. “Well, let’s see him,” he said, still smiling (although I could tell he was fighting it back ;)). God I love that man.

Welcome to your ‘for-now’ home, Sullivan! I can’t wait to meet your forever family.

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P.S. If you think fostering might be something you’d be interested in, I highly recommend looking into it. Taking one dog out of a kennel, or run at a shelter makes room for them to save another life. Often times (as in our case) you are provided free of charge with everything you need: food, crates, toys, collars and leashes, even food and water bowls. All you need is to provide a loving, safe environment for the dog until they find their new family. Google it to find a rescue in your area! 🙂

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Please no negative comments regarding this post. Advice is very welcomed, though.. in any form.

I understand that many people will have differing view points on what I am doing, saying, thinking, dealing with, but please, no judgement. I am trying to do what is best for everyone and everything.. and unfortunately I do not have an infinite supply of money or resources. I love my dog, and I hate to see her, or anyone else suffer.

I will also note that if I thought she, in any way, displayed ANY signs of aggression towards humans, this would be a different story.. just makes it even harder.

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Rein is 5 years old. When we adopted her at the age of 3, her little butt wiggled as she wagged her tail as hard as she could.. I swore that if she ever hit it against something, it would break right open. She was the most powerful thing that I had ever loved. She was my responsibility and I was ready.

Rein is my first dog. I have a special bond with her that I cannot begin to explain. She’s been with me through tough times, sad times, silly times, and a few of the happiest times of my life.

She is so well behaved. She will fetch, return, sit, lay down, shake, high-10, roll over, crawl, and give lots of kisses. She has never chewed a thing, or peed in the house. She doesn’t bark, and she is so gentle with everyone from elderly to babies.  She loves puppies. And I love her.

Rein is aggressive towards other dogs. As my first dog, I learned this the hard way. I was ignorant, and I had no idea what I was doing. Why not take her to the dog park? Her paperwork upon adoption (from a legitimate rescue organization) said she is “great with other dogs and frequents the dog park”. I still don’t know whether they were lieing to me, to themselves, or something changed in her during that four months she was behind bars, waiting for someone, for us….to rescue her. She bit a dog that day, but she did not draw blood. She was so, so sorry. She rolled onto her back and looked at me with her big brown eyes..she didn’t mean to. The other dog was fine, but looking back I wonder if it would have been if we weren’t right next to her when it occurred.

Since then, Rein has gotten worse. At first, there were select, large, male dogs that she could be friends with and play, although dominantly. Now, she is okay with Ben (our other dog, who was adopted as a puppy), and she is okay with puppies. She is not okay with other dogs: male, female, small, large.

We put her through $400 group training, it did nothing. We hired a private trainer. He told me I was being crazy, it was “all in my head’, she was “so well behaved,” and I needed to “learn to trust [my] dog”. She fools everyone. She is such a beautiful soul. On our last session, he felt she was ‘ready’. I knew she wasn’t. He brought his dog, and forced me to introduce her to him. “Trust her, you’re being silly,” he kept saying. I know she can feed off my energy, so I did everything I could and I calmed myself. I trust you, Rein..you are ready for this. She wasn’t ready. This time she drew blood. He said it was his fault, and he was sorry. It wasn’t his fault, it was my fault.

After pulling her off this dog with tears in my eyes, something clicked inside of me. I don’t trust her, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Once, when Ben was just a puppy, house training, and needed to be rushed outside. I had left the door open a crack. I made a mistake and I saw it happen as I looked over my shoulder and up the front steps. It is a feeling I can never explain in words. She ran at a small dog.. It was too much for me to handle. I cried and cried, and J held me and told me it would be okay. Neither of us knew how to handle this. She laid on her bed all night, she wouldn’t even look at us. She knew it was wrong. The dog was fine, but the next day we were given a paper to go to court. We lost, of course, and had to pay the $500 fine. I would pay all the money in the world to have Rein be okay..

It is exhausting. We cannot leave the door open for even one second,  cant unload groceries the way you usually would,  can’t open the doors when it gets hot out–I don’t even trust the screen to keep her in..it’s too risky. We have to cross the road when we see another dog, and I have to be aware when turning corners..always. No one else can walk her– I don’t even trust J. I am so afraid of what will happen.. We can’t take her on walks in busy places, and have to avoid popular hiking trails because we might pass by another dog — it is that bad. I have to walk Ben separately, so he continues to interact properly. I keep telling myself she is worth it..but I just wish she could be normal.

“It’s all about the owner,”  or

“Don’t blame the dog, blame the owner.”

Do you know how many times I’ve heard that? I believe it, too, and I hate myself for it.. Perhaps in this case, it’s all about the owner she had before us..for the first three years of her beautiful little life. Or maybe I just don’t know how to help her.

Last night, our neighbour saw me walking her and told me to give her to him. We know him quite well, and have spent many nights eating many dinners in their home. I told him no, she was fine, and we were headed home. He insisted, telling me she would “never get better if I didn’t train her properly.” He did a few things, made a few Caesar Milan sounds, and next thing you knew, Rein was laying calmly at his feet, succuming to him. He was the boss. Again, if you met Rein in the absense of other dogs, you would think she was one of the most well behaved dogs ever– this fools people. Next thing you knew, he was going to introduce her to his dog. I objected, again, but he insisted it was fine — it was his dog, and he knew how to handle things. I just wanted to believe him. I wanted everything to be fine. Things weren’t fine. Neighbour apologized and went home. He said it was his fault. It wasn’t. It was mine.

I called J at work, crying my eyes out, telling him we had to figure something out. Rightfully, he was frustrated and overwhelmed..who wants to deal with that call at work? I am desperate.

I don’t know what to do. I feel like it is unfair for her to be in these situations. I don’t want to hurt her anymore. I don’t want her to hurt anything else, ever again. Logically, is it reasonable for me to assume I will never let anything like this happen again? For the next 9+ years of her life? She’s always on high-alert, her ears back, sniffing around for other dogs, and when she see’s one, there’s no reasoning with her. She cannot be calmed. She leaves her sweet, calm self, and she transforms into something I never want to see again. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens.. It’s horrible to say, but I just don’t know. Are we going to wait until we have a $10, 000 fine (that’s actually the amount for the next offence), court appearances, and someone’s best friend is dead? It’s harsh, but it is a possibility. And what if a kid gets in the middle of it?

We aren’t allowed to rehome her, as the Humane Society had us sign a form saying if we ever got rid of her we would bring her back there… I just can’t do that. Why pawn the problem off on someone else? If there was a way to deal with it.. I would be. I know they will just put her down, after a few (at best) months of trying to rehome her themselves. What is our other option? Do we put her down ourselves? I can’t bear the thought. I just can’t even think of it.

I wish we could move away, somewhere far away and live on a farm with a million acres and nothing nearby. I wish we could save you, Rein. I wish you were old, and could just pass away peacefully in your dreams. I wish that was a reality..but it’s not.

I love you so much, but I have no idea what we are going to do.

 

 

And two makes….six?

I’ve been back to work since Monday. I’ve gone through the natural progressions, as expected upon return to work after a full month off:

  1. Denial – “I’m not going back to work. It’s simply not possible. It must be some kind of misunderstanding. “
  2. Hope – “Maybe there will be a mass power outage and I’ll get just one. more. day. off.”
  3. Panic – “I have to work tomorrow. This was my vacation and the house still isn’t spotless! I should have scrubbed the baseboards.” (pet peeve..I need a house cleaner)
  4. Acceptance – Usually occurs on the actual drive to work.. “I can do this. Only 5 more days until the weekend”
  5. Panic – I re-visited this stage on Day 2. I am just not destined for this “full time employment” thing.
  6. Acceptance – “I can do this”
  7. Panic – “NO I CAN’T! I want to be a stay at home dog Momma and take in strays and save the world, one snuggly baby puppy at a time.”
  8. Well, you get the jist….

Day 4 and I’m still alive. I haven’t quit, or walked out, or had a mental break down, things are okay.  So, on to the point!

Yesterday, I’m sitting at work, pondering life (litearlly, I need a career change, but that’s another story), and I get an e-mail from the animal rescue I volunteer with. Well, what’da you know..they desperately need foster homes for some dogs. Can I take one?

Okay, call husband.

“Look, babe, these dogs desperately need fosters.”

Nope, we can’t get another dog.

Okay, let’s try this again:

“But all they need is love, and understanding. And you only have to keep them until they get adopted. And they provide everything. It’s no cost to us!”

He informs me that, APPARENTLY, we already have two dogs.. (duhh)

“Okay, well that’s a great reason to foster! What difference will one more make?”

Apparently we also don’t have time for another dog. And who is going to clean up it’s poop?

“I will. And maybe it will get  the idea of having three dogs out of my mind. Maybe it will be a wake up call for me and I will learn my lesson without consequence. I will be happy with only our two.”

That did it! Gosh, that’s reverse psychology if I ever used it. It’s my new tactic (#crazywife?).

With a little “I’m going to be right” chuckle, he reluctantly agreed.

Woohoo! We will take one! But did we want a dog or a puppy? Who doesn’t want a cute little puppy? (someone who wants to sleep and have a clean floor…)

But an older dog could have house-training issues, too.

I let the coordinator decide: we would take whatever they needed us to.

Next thing you know I’m setting up a time (same day!) to pick up a puppy. I could have my ‘pick of the litter from Kennel 4’, and take any supplies I needed. Holy smokes, didn’t see that coming so fast.

We showed up at 7pm, and walked down the hall along the individual kennels towards Kennel 4. Little noses and longing eyes peered at us as we walked by: “are you gonna pat me?!”

Oh. My. Goodness. Kennel 4 where have you been all my life?!?! Cute little puppies snuggled eachother in every corner of the room. One was awake and walked up to the gate to greet us. Ahh!! After a solid 15 minutes of trying to pick, the coordinator stopped by:

Is there any way you can take two?

Jamie looked at me with eyes, in a way to say “You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you?”

Next thing you know, we’re loading up two puppies in a tiny crate, grabbing a second set of supplies from the shelves, and being told constantly “two is way easier than one..”. I’ll admit, I started to panic at this point. We now have four dogs.

These little monster’s have been great (granted, it hasn’t been 24 hours yet..). The shelter said we could name them for their time with us, but they would be listed on the website by their provided names, so they could keep track easier. James told me not to name them. He said I would get too attached… I think he’s right, but this little guy is definitely “Tiny Tank”:

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His brother, will remain nameless (or be called AJ, I suppose), until the mood strikes me:

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Good Day,

From the whole crew. 😉

Husband, husband, husband, wife, wife, wife…

Hehehee. We are married!!!

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Yeah, that’s us!! ^^

It’s been a crazy, crazy month. Things flew by! Roadtrip home, last-minute wedding stuff, wedding!, honeymoon, snuggles, home, back to work! Yikes. I can’t believe it’s all over!

The wedding went amazing. Perfect, actually. We had a few people show up who had RSVP’d ‘no’, and we didn’t actually have enough seats for dinner (lesson learned..), but we were able to fix it quick and everything was great!  It was a beautiful day, my “husband” made me feel like a princess, our vows went perfectly, the Canadian geese flew overhead during our ceremony (yes, this is ACTUALLY our picture!), and it will be a day we’ll never forget..

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All the tiny things didn’t matter at all once the big day arrived. I didn’t care about the flowers, or the napkin colors.. I barely ate any of the food. My shoes, which I obsessed over (but got on sale for $25 😉 ) were off immediately after the ceremony, and I was a barefoot bride all evening (don’t worry, my dress was too long for anyone to notice).  Oh, and guess what? Not ONCE did I think of how big, or how small, or how skinny, or how fat I looked. Not once. I was just beautiful!

Everyone tells you to enjoy the day, and that it will be over before you know it..but I didn’t realize how true that was!

The moment of getting out of the car and walking down the aisle towards James (who may have shed a tear or two) seemed to take forever. I wanted to run! I just wanted to hug him…and take a moment to calm. I knew it would make us both feel better. Other than that, the rest seemed like a daze. Cake cutting, garter tossing, first dancing, speeches…can we please go back and slow it down?!

 

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Shoes off, twirling in a field. Could this day be any more magical?!

P.S.  This was not a photo-op, I just figured (in my love-drunk state), what kind of princess doesn’t twirl?