Monday, July 27, 2009


I've always taken a picture of the kids on their first day of school. It's like a tradition. It's sad fun to see how they've changed over the years.

Here's Danni on her first day of 8th grade, 2005.

Today is the first day of her senior year. And I'm not there to take a picture today. But she was here visiting last week, which is when I took this picture. So I figured that was close enough. I will refer to this as her first day of school pic, senior year. Even though it was on Saturday.

Of course, Kylie had to get in on the action. Even though her first day of school isn't for another month. God help me.

When Danni started 7th grade, my mother said,

"I remember when you started 7th grade. I turned around, and you were graduating from high school. It goes that fast."

You know what? She was right.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spongebob Lego Pants

Does anyone want to buy a 14 year-old with an attitude? I'm selling her cheap. I've heard rumors that she's nice to people that aren't me. She'll even clean when she's in the mood (read: bored.) But she's unreasonable, ungrateful, and just a general pain in the ass. She's cute though. And as I mentioned, I've heard she's nice to people not named Me. Takers? Anyone?

Yesterday we went shopping. Kylie needed a new backpack and lunchbox for school, which doesn't start for another month, and the two older girls needed wanted some clothes. I gave each of them a set amount of money to spend and sent them off.

Meanwhile, Kylie and I visited Payless for some shoes, then the Lego store.

Spongebob made of Legos! Kylie is 44" tall, so that gives you an idea of how big Spongebob was. They are having a contest where you guess how many Legos it took to build this thing. I have no idea what the prize is, but I thought it would be fun to guess anyway.

I counted the number of Legos in one row across the front of his head, across the side of his head, the from the top of the head down to the bottom of the shorts. LxWxH, right? Did the math on the back of the entry form. Then Kylie mentioned the legs. Crap! So I added some more...and I wrote down 42,168. Think I'll win?

As for the clothes, neither one of them found anything they liked, but at least Danni tried stuff on. The other one just stood around, rolled her eyes and gave me death glares when I dared make a suggestion. For example, she likes skinny jeans. Wet Seal had some skinny jeans for $10. But they "looked weird." Eyeroll. Even though they're the same kind of jeans she always wears. Is there some sort of unwritten rule that if it's on sale, they will automatically turn their noses up at it, no matter what it is? I took the money back from her when we got home. Little shit. I mean, don't you want her for your very own?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Rabbits, And A Visitor!

Was my post about our baby bunny a little over-the-top, a little emotional, a little...hormonal, maybe? Well, I was upset at the time, and...well, you know.

On the rabbit front, we've adopted a pair from the Humane Society. These two were dropped off because of a divorce, and they are "coupled." As in, they've been together for most of their lives, they like each other, and they snuggle together and it's kinda cute. Oh, and they are also "fixed," so we won't be having any baby bunnies. The Humane Society won't adopt them out unless they are spayed or neutered.

I wanted to come up with names of famous couples, like Fred and Ginger, Ralph and Alice, Lucy and Ricky, Brad and Angelina. Ok, not really Brad and Angelina. I even suggested Max and Ruby, even though I can't stand that show. But it is about two rabbits, even if they are brother and sister. At one point, I wanted Daisy and Cooter. You know, to go with Bo and Luke, the dogs.

In the end, Shannon decided she was going to let two of her friends back home name the rabbits.

Her friend, Jesus (as in Hey-sus, not Christ), named the male rabbit. His name? Jesus. Not kidding. We call him Zeus for short, which I like better. This is Zeus. I know it's a bad picture, but all I had was my phone. He's really big. Like probably 8 lbs.

So then I tried to get her to use a goddess name for the female, like Hera (Zeus's wife), Aphrodite or Venus. But no...her friend Ciara got to name the other one. You would think her name is Ciara, right? No...

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This is Raeya. Pronounced Raya. I have no idea why, it just is. So we have Zeus and Raeya. Raeya is quite a bit smaller than Zeus, although they are both about a year old. It's a good thing we had that large hutch, because Zeus is a big boy. They are settling in and getting used to Shannon.

And as for the visitor...Danni is going to be here tomorrow! Yay! She is flying in tomorrow morning and will be here until Saturday. Then she gets one day to get herself together before she starts school. We still have another month of summer break here. Unfortunately.

I hope we have a fun week, doing stuff here and showing her around, and letting her revel in our 80 degree temperatures. Because that sounds better than three fighting sisters for a week. Kylie is pretty excited about her visit, so hopefully that will override the whole fighting thing. I can't wait for her to get here. I've missed her more than I realized.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Just One More Reason Why I Love Jimmy Carter

Yes, I love Jimmy Carter. I know many people think he wasn't a very good or effective president, and maybe he wasn't. I was nine years old when he took office, and I must admit, I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the global political climate at the time. All I remember is waiting in some long-ass lines for gas in the back of my mom's station wagon.

But now, as an adult, I think he is an amazing man and human being. He is one of the few people in the public eye that I would say practices exactly what he preaches. A Christian who is not a hypocrite. I think there are precious few of those these days.

I have admired him for his work with Habitat for Humanity and civil rights. And I love his cute accent, which has nothing to do with anything. Now, he has left his church of 60 years in protest over religion's treatment of women, which he says perpetuates violence against and subjugation of women. You can read his essay here:

Losing My Religion For Equality

It seems like most of what we read about church leaders today involves sex scandals. It's nice, for once, to hear someone who will stand by his principles to the point where he will leave his church, telling them that they are wrong.

You know what I love most about Jimmy Carter? He makes me want to be a better person.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Heartbreak, Again

See that cute little bunny in that last post down there? I'm glad I got that picture, because she died last night, and I'm mad.

I'm mad at myself, because I should have known better than to buy an animal from a pet store in the mall. I would never buy a puppy from one of those stores, why did we think a rabbit would be ok?

I'm mad because the store said to save my receipt, in case...if she didn't survive a seven-day period, we could get a refund. We would, of course, have to bring in the body. Allie lived for 11 days after we bought her.

I'm mad because almost everything the store told us was wrong. After talking to the doctor at the pet emergency hospital last night, and the rabbit expert at the Humane Society, and reading everything I can find online, I know a lot more now.

The woman who sold us the rabbit told us that for the first year, the diet should be entirely rabbit pellets. The ER doctor, the rabbit expert, and countless others all say, wrong. A rabbit's diet should be about 70% Timothy hay, 20% leafy greens, like kale, and 10% store-bought pellets.

She also told us that rabbits were best in a cage by themselves. I guess that's why in the pet store, they have about a dozen of them in the same pen. According to the experts, rabbits are social animals. They like companionship.

But none of that is why Allie died.

Last night, while we were making dinner, Shannon said there seemed to be something wrong with Allie. She had been sitting in the same spot for a while. Her eyes were open and she was breathing, but she hadn't moved.

I told her to take the rabbit out of the cage and put her on the floor, and see what she did. My hope was that she would start hopping around, and everything would be fine. Unfortunately, what she did was flop over onto her side.

We called around and found a place to take her. It was almost 7pm by now. Allie laid in Shannon's arms the whole way, still, but breathing.

When we got there, we found out that her body temperature was only 92 degrees. Normal for a rabbit is about 101. She was pretty much comatose. She was only 13 weeks old.

The doctor told us that they could try and save her, but she was so far gone that it would be a long, and very expensive road, and even then, there was less than a 10% chance she would make it. She was very thin and dehydrated. She had been thin since we bought her, 11 days prior. I thought it was normal, since she was only 12 weeks old. I know Shannon had refilled the large water bottle at least once, so we didn't know she was dehydrated. We didn't know anything was wrong, until last night.

The doctor said that was very common, that it's often hard to tell with rabbits. They're furry, so you can't tell if they're underweight, unless you're very familiar with rabbits. Which we are not. Tuesday, she seemed fine. I held her. She crawled up my shoulder, and I petted her. I put her on the ground, and she hopped around some.

But now that I think about it, she was always extremely mellow. That picture of Shannon holding her on her back, like a baby? She wasn't mellow...she was sick. According to the vet last night, it's most likely that she was sick when we bought her. But we had no way of knowing that.

I'm mad that I had to watch my daughter break down as she walked to the back to say goodbye to her bunny. I asked her if she wanted me to go with her. She said no. I'm mad that she had to go through this.

We agreed to have her put down. But before they could, she died on her own. Had we waited about an hour longer, she would have died at home. Had we noticed a few hours earlier, maybe they could have saved her. At great cost, I'm sure. Or maybe not.

I'm mad that I had to pay $165 for the privilege of watching my daughter's heart break. $95 for the office visit, $70 for the ... um... disposal of the body. But I'm not mad at the hospital for that. They were only doing their jobs. They were very compassionate and wonderful, and I'm grateful for that.

I'm mad, because it's easier than crying. And I can't talk about this without crying. There are a lot of things that are tough about this whole parenting gig, but watching your child hurt is at the top of the list of the hardest things. Whether it's over a boy, or a girl, a fractured friendship, a lost pet, or mean's hard. When they hurt, you hurt for them.

We've been on the phone with the Humane Society today. They have several Lops that all came in together, rescued from a "breeding house." They're all about 6-7 months old, all neutered and spayed, and all thoroughly checked out by a vet. We're told that they like to place them in pairs, because rabbits really like having a friend. In fact, some of them are already in pairs. The best match, according to them, is a spayed female and a neutered male. Like a married couple, but without the possibility of babies.

Steve and Shannon went down there when Steve got home from work. I have a feeling I know what will be coming home with them. And I hope, for Shannon's sake, that we get it right this time.

P.S. This was never meant to be an ad for the Humane Society. But please...if you are going to adopt a pet, please look into shelters and rescues, instead of pet stores. I wish I would have. And the thing is, I knew better. Or at least I should have.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

What Are We Going To Do TODAY?

Hello, I'm Julie McCoy, your cruise director. It's my job to see that every moment of your life is filled with fun and expensive exciting activities! I would be remiss in my duties if there is one second in your day where there is not something to DO.

I hope Julie was well compensated paid. As for compensation...well, we all knew about the affair with Captain Stubing.

Point is, being a cruise director is a difficult job. Especially when your clientele is whiny and demanding.

So you may, or may not, have noticed that I haven't posted in over a week. That's because I've been trying to find STUFF TO DO. Because kids, they always have to have STUFF TO DO. Do you remember your mom planning out your summer with tons of stuff to do? Me either. I remember whining that I was bored. And I remember my mom offering to find something for me to do if I couldn't entertain myself. Somehow, my brother and I always found something to do. Even if it was trying to drown each other in the swimming pool.

Alas, the days of, "Just go out and play!" are gone. The kids, I don't know, but surely something really bad might happen if they went outside and just played. You know, like we used to do.

Actually, I shouldn't complain right now. Kylie is outside riding her scooter in the cul-de-sac with the neighbor kids. She was over there at 8:30 asking if they could play. Normally I would feel bad about that, but this family, who just moved in, her two younger kids are usually out there on their bikes by 8am yelling outside my bedroom window. Which is fine...they're actually nice. From Utah. And of course, she's skinny. Although, fyi...there ARE fat people in Colorado. Like at the amusement park and the grocery store. Just not in my neighborhood.

This woman, Erin, has a six year-old daughter, an eight year-old son, and another girl who is older. When I first saw this girl, I thought, "Great! Another girl who is going to be new at Shannon's high school. Maybe they can get to know each other and wouldn't that be cool."

Well, since this girl is bigger, taller, and more well-developed than Shannon, and spends a good deal of her time walking around in her backyard talking on her cell phone, I just assumed she was going to be going to the high school. But no...she's ELEVEN. As in, 11 years old.

Anyway, I'm off track here. This post was supposed to be about how we're trying to find things to DO.

So I give you a pictorial look at the past couple of weeks:

Yesterday, Steve and I took Kylie to Belleview Park. Shannon couldn't seem to get her lazy teenage ass out of bed, so we went, just the three of us.

Belleview Park has a petting zoo, with sheep and goats.

And a very large turkey, who according to the girls that work there, does not care to be petted.

They also had a very cute calf. There was a big pig sleeping in the mud that I couldn't get Kylie to pet. I petted the pig. Kylie took a picture, but it was very blurry so I had to delete it. Besides, the pig was skinnier than I am, and I don't care for that.

There is also a train, which you can ride around the park for only $1.

The best part of the park is the long wading creek that runs through it. There are sandbars for the kids to play on, or you can just walk in it. There is sand on the bottom. However, it's not that nice soft beach sand, but more like playground sand with rocks in it, so the barefoot thing hurt. Well, it hurt me, not Kylie so much. I waded around in my tennis shoes. That's ok, they needed washing anyway.

Next, we have Elitch Gardens. Elitch's is Denver's big amusement park. It also has a waterpark inside it, which is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Apparently after that, it snows, and no one really wants to be in the water park. However, Elitch's is open until Nov. 1st.

We have season passes, so we can go for free (well, not free, we paid for the passes) anytime we want. It's like the zoo though...after three or four times, it gets kind of old. What really gets old is that if you're hot, there's not much to do at the water park, because your wimpy Arizona kids are complaining about how cold the water is, and can't we come back when the water is warmer? Well, kids, I hate to break this to you, but it's the middle of July. The water isn't going to get any warmer, especially when it gets down to 58-60 degrees every night. The water in the water park here, or in the swimming pools, isn't ever going to be the 88 degrees that you're used to. Deal with it.

Anyway, the following pictures are a compilation of I believe three trips to Elitch's.

Kylie and Steve on the kiddie monster trucks.

Kylie and me on the Ferris Wheel. Yes, I know you can't see me. I was taking the picture.

Kiddie bumper cars...

Kylie's favorite, the kiddie-sized roller coaster.

Little teacups that are made to look like little rolls of film. Cute, aren't they? No, I have no idea who that boy is. He just jumped in there with her.

And then it rained.

Next time, we took Shannon, and we did some of the bigger rides. This one is called Disaster Canyon. If you've been to Seaworld and been on Shipwreck Rapids? Same thing. This is actually a "family ride" which Kylie is big enough for, if she's with someone bigger. The family rides require a 42" height. Kylie is 44". Yay.

Kylie and I went on Shipwreck Falls, which is a just a splashdown ride where everyone gets very, very wet. Shannon didn't want to go, but she thoughtfully took this picture.

This is Shannon on a roller coaster called Mr. Twister. We thought it would be good for Kylie to try out a real rollercoaster, as this one had no huge drops, and no loops. Kylie was ready, and excited. Then they wouldn't let her on, because she wasn't big enough. Kylie was very upset. I tried to explain that it was a safety issue, because the restraints might not fit her correctly. She was not very understanding. By the way, at the beginning of this ride, and all the way through the maze of sidewalks to get there, and even on the platform, there was not ONE single sign that specified a height requirement. Because I looked.

Then Shannon took Kylie on the Flying Dragon, which she was big enough to go on.

They went up really high and then spun around. No thanks, says Shelley.

Then they went on The Spider. Isn't it nice to have older sisters to take younger kids on rides that would make Mommy lose her $12 lunch?

Spinning and twirling and up and down. Again, no thanks. And just in case anyone thinks I'm a complete wimp...I really love roller coasters. I just can't do the spinney-twisty things. And it's not just age. Even when I was a kid, I didn't like those kinds of rides. When I was seven, I got sick on a Tilt-A-Whirl. Aren't you glad you know that about me?

Then we went to the waterpark part of the park. I have no pictures of that, because they didn't stay in the water long enough for me to get my camera out. But there is a wave pool, kids' play area, and a whole bunch of big water slides. And a lazy river. We did go on the lazy river. And then Kylie turned into an ice cube. Surprisingly, after they froze to death, they wanted a snow cone. This is Elitch's idea of a snow cone. It could have fed six people.

Two days ago, on Saturday, Kylie was invited to a birthday party for the little girl two doors down from us. She was turning three. They had a bouncy house, and a lot of people.

Naturally, I didn't know most of the people, but I recognized a few of them because they had also been there for the 4th of July.

I love the wooden deck in the backyard. I also love how these people have a kids' birthday party at 10:30 in the morning, and they crack open the beers. The host, Jenny, who is a very nice lady, even if she is skinny, asked me if I wanted one. I told her thank you, but I really didn't care for the taste of beer. Then she said, "Oh, well, I have those Bacardi Mojitos in a bottle too. Would you like one of those?" Well, thanks Jenny...I'd love four one. Actually I did end up having three. Or maybe four. Which makes a three year-old's party with people you don't really know a lot more interesting.

One lady told me she had a friend who lived in Phoenix, and asked me if I had ever heard of the "strange" custom of ice-blocking. Heard of it? Lady, you are talking to the ice-blocking queen. In fact, Danni has some pictures on her MySpace right now of her and her friends ice-blocking at Freestone Park one night. I should steal a few of them. The pictures, I mean. So I guess the concept of riding down a grassy hill at night sitting on a block of ice is foreign to these people. Then again...they have sledding.

One day last week, I took the kids up to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. A lot of really famous people have played here, like Rob Thomas and John Mayer. Ok, if you want to get picky, there's also been Sting, U2, Led Zepplin, Van Halen, and just about every other group you can think of. Blues Traveler plays here every 4th of July.

Kylie wanted to go all the way to the bottom, down where the stage is. Shannon and I were, no, because then there's that whole walking back up thing. Once again, Kylie is pissed. That's ok. She spends most of her life pissed, because of the things we won't let her do.

In the visitor's center, there's this music museum thing. There's this wall with a lot of old concert posters, which is very cool. They also have a huge wall engraving listing every band that's ever played there, by date and year. John Mayer was there May 15th and 16th of 2007. Aren't you glad you know that? That's also how I know that Blues Travler is there every 4th of July. We'll be going back here soon, because Steve wants to see the museum part. Apparently, he's only ever been there for concerts, and not as a tourist.

Then there was the day when I got lost and ended up here. Well, ok....I get lost almost every day, but there are times, like this one, when it turns out ok. Tiny Town is a park filled with miniature buildings, and a train that goes around everything. I'm glad we happened upon this before Shannon got here, because she would have been thoroughly bored. Kylie loved it though. In Shannon's defense, it is pretty much for little kids.

We rode the train around the park, which is really cool because there are some models that are across the creek you're not allowed to cross, so there are things you can only see from the train. Which I'm not going to show you right now, because I am really sick of uploading pictures. Probably almost as sick as you are of looking at them.

Here's Kylie next to the Tiny Town Library.

Then there was this place. You wouldn't believe what was going on inside.

Oh yeah...drunken debauchery of the highest order, by Barbie and Ken, and all their friends, dressed up in old west costumes.

I think Kylie learned a little more than she needed to about the old west that day. See the disapproving look on her face?

And finally, we have Kylie and her friend Megan riding their scooters at Clement Park. Megan is a friend of Kylie's from kindergarten. At the end of the school year, Megan's mom told me they were going to be in Colorado visiting friends and relatives at the beginning of July. So I gave her my cell phone number and my email address, and she said she would let me know when they were here. And she did. Kylie was really happy to see an old friend.

I was going to end this post with Kylie whining, yet again, "But what are we doing TODAY?" Except I don't have to, because she's next door, bugging the crap out of someone else's mom right now. Thank goodness. Julie needs a break!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

First of all, Shannon is here, and she is doing pretty well. She is tired, because the plane was delayed last night. There were thunderstorms right over the Denver airport, so they weren't even allowed to leave Phoenix until about 90 minutes after they were supposed to.

Then she stayed up really late, texting with/talking to friends. And she was up at about 7:30 this morning, which really surprised me. I figured I'd have to drag her out of bed so she wouldn't miss the big 4th of July parade this morning. And when I say the big parade, I mean about 20 kids in our neighborhood, on decorated bikes and scooters.

We went and bought some streamers and a couple of small flags at Target yesterday, and we already had a red, white and blue pinwheel, so Kylie was all set.

This kind of event takes lots of planning, people. Lots of planning...and cookies.

This is Kearny. Kierney. Kierny. I have no idea how you spell it, but could she be any cuter? She and her sister Sydney (age almost 6, Kylie's new best friend) live next door to us. When I asked her how old she was, she said she was 20. I thought that was cute. Turns out she is 20 months old. That was freaky, that she knew that.

Just when I thought Kylie couldn't be any more red, white and blue, someone handed out the star-shaped sunglasses.

Getting ready to start the parade...

And there they go! They go down the street to where it crosses, up the other cul-de-sac, then turn around and come back down. It takes about 10 minutes. But what I couldn't believe is that there were people out on their porches, clapping. And you thought I was kidding when I said this was a big event.

After it was over, there were cookies and more cookies and some juice boxes. Then we all sat around on someone's lawn and chatted.

The kid that lives three doors down from us has a mother-effing SNAKE. The kid in the orange Texas shirt, it's his snake. Kylie was all, "Hey, take it over there and show my mom!"

And I screeched, "No! Keep that thing away from me!" Because I have a little sort of snake-phobia. As I write this, Kylie is playing over at the house where the snake lives. Better her than me.

When I asked Steve to get Kylie's scooter out of the street, this isn't exactly what I meant. But at least he's patriotic about it. See the red shirt?

Tonight we're going to grill some burgers, then we're going over to the neighbor's house for drinks and fireworks. You know how in AZ people go to Mexico to get fireworks that are illegal in AZ? Well, here there are a lot more fireworks that you can buy legally. So what people do here to really ramp it up, is they drive up to Wyoming and get stuff that's illegal in CO.

I was told there's going to be a pretty good show in our neighborhood tonight. Hopefully there are no arrests. I think the main show is being put on by an 18 year-old kid that just graduated from the high school that Shannon will be attending. He seems pretty cool. So does everyone else around here. I'm sure it will be fun, but I miss my friends. Jen, who reads my blog, and Kati, who says she does, but she totally doesn't. I wish you guys were here.

Oh, remember when I was talking about the sweet (FREE) deal we got on the cage for Shannon's future guinea pig that I said she could have? Well, this is the cage. But that's not a guinea pig.

We went to the pet store today, and she fell in love with a 12 week-old Holland lop bunny.

She doesn't have a name yet, but Shannon's thinking of calling her Beast. Perfect, no?