Monday, May 31, 2010

They Did Not Die in Vain - Harley's Final Story

As pretty much everyone knows, I hate our dog Harley. I knew we had to get rid of him before I have the baby in October but we didn't really have a good enough reason to besides: He is too big for our house and yard, he destroys our yard, we can't let him out there with the turtle because he might turn him over (he did once), he will find any tiny speck of mud in the yard and step in it, then run in the house and get mud all over, his hair is everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, he stinks, he drools like a water faucet, he is always in the way, he doesn't obey, he knocks Claire down frequently and just the overall choas he causes is ridiculous . All we ever did is yell at him to "lay down!" in his corner - I felt sorry for the guy, he had a terrible and boring life.

Anyway, enough about how worthless he was. On Thursday, Josh left for his 2 week mission trip in Mozambique so I promptly loaded up the whole crew (Claire, Harley and Jonas - the turtle is old enough to stay home alone) and went to my parents' house.

Friday morning, I went to work, came home and took Claire out to play in the pool. Harley and my mom's dog Cali were upset that we wouldn't let them in the pool area. We went inside the house for 20 minutes until my dad came home from work and then he took Claire out to play again.

He said "Why is there a chicken in pool?" We went out to see, figuring that the dogs scared them. (they will pop through the pool fence if they are scared) We suddenly realized that we saw no other chickens moving about and we looked out to the yard to see a battlefield of dead chickens. ( I wish I had taken a picture of the wrangled bodies and piles of feathers but I didn't think to at the time)

We were all screaming "Oh no! Harley killed the chickens!" and similar phrases. (even Claire) We did spot a few live ones hiding around the horse property but he ended up killing a total of five. (it is important to note that the dogs and chickens had been out together all day and my mom had just said "Isn't it nice that we don't have to worry about the dogs bothering the chickens?" )

So, needless to say we were all ticked off at Harley. He does that sort of thing when he is mad at us, he'll punish us. If we lock him out of our room, he'll do a protest poop right outside the door, if we leave him for a whole day he will chew on Claire's toys. We know he just did it to be a jerk because we wouldn't let him swim.

My parents said Harley isn't welcome back at the house ever so I tried to find someone to take him for just the two weeks that I am here and possibly forever but considering we couldn't find anyone to watch him for us when we went out of town for 3 days last year, there was little hope that someone would for 2 weeks.

Then I thought, do I trust him around a new baby? What if he decides to "punish" us by chewing Will up when we aren't looking? What are we going to do with him for the next two weeks, not to mention the other weeks I will be at my parents when Josh is gone, and who would watch him in August when we go to the beach house? So, this really was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I e-mailed Josh right away and asked final permission to sell him on Craigslist. Josh agreed he needed to go but he didn't want to deal with possible lawsuits over Harley hurting someone or something. (apparently dogs are labeled "dangerous" if they kill chickens) Plus, Harley has a microchip so he could always be tracked back to us. So after much debate I decided the best thing to do would be to take him to the Humane Society and let them deal with it. (they do a health and behavioural evaluation so if he is "dangerous" they would find out)

The next day I loaded him up and we drove up to the location on Dunlap and 13th to "surrender" him. When I got there, the line was out of the door but I decided I needed to get it done. So I took a number and they gave me form to fill out about why we were giving him up as I began to fill it out, I started to cry! "What on earth?" I thought "I can't stand this dog! Why am I crying?!" Of course Harley was being as cute as ever and it didn't help that everyone was saying how beautiful he was and how calm he was (if they only knew). Needless to say, the sight of a weeping pregnant girl wth an AKC golden retriever attracted some sympathetic attention. I waited for an hour and 45 minutes until it was finally our turn. The people working were so kind, it made me feel better. I have no doubt that he will be adopted the same day they make him available. ( While I was there, I had a guy who was visibly stoned try to buy him from me but I obviously declined!) I put on the form that he needs someone with a large backyard and plenty of time to give him the attention he needs. (it didn't ask if he had ever killed anything so I didn't disclose it) I know from our experience of getting Jonas from there that they do a careful screening of potential owners.

I walked out of there a little sad but I feel like a huge, HUGE weight and hastle has been lifted off my shoulders. I am so excited to get home and clean up the slobber on the sliding glass door for the last time, and the hair and the muddy paw prints he made while I was trying to get out the door Thursday morning. All for the last time.

We are now a dog free family and I have never been happier. Maybe one day in the very distant future we will get another dog but it would have to be smaller and less hairy. Of course that is only if we are in a bigger house and our youngest child needs to be about 10 years old.

So long Harley, I hope you find a good home soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Swim Class - "Is Fun!"

This morning, we had Claire's second swim class (out of 5) The classes are at Swim Kids USA in Chandler. The only reason we decided to do it is because there was a great groupon offer - one month for $25 (regular price is $75)

I signed us up right away for the parent/tot class. When we got to the first lesson and I saw that the other kids were all under 9 months old, I thought maybe I should have signed her up for the next class up - but wow, am I glad I didn't. She is by far the worst one in the class. After last week, which was full of screaming "No!" and "All Done!", I was worried she would freak out as soon as she saw where we were going. This morning at breakfast I told her:

"Claire, you get to go to swimming class today at the pool."

"Is fun! - and Mama?"

"Yes, Mama is going with you, we will swim together"

She starts standing up in her chair and pulls at my shirt and says "off!" This was a good sign.

This swim class was special because Dadda was able to come with us to watch and take pictures. Claire was really excited. We got there a little early so we spent a few minutes in the warm up pool. She loved it even though she kept getting her chin in the water.
She jumped to me from the step and I would let her sink just a little before I caught her.

When class started, she was a little more tense. They do a lot of exercises with the kids on their backs. As you can see she is not a fan.
We practice blowing bubbles. She has yet to even put her mouth in the water.
We do little songs such and "motor boat" and "the babies in the pool go up and down" For some reason they put these floaty things on their arms but they don't even come close to helping them float so Claire just thinks it's torture.
The one thing Claire excels in is hanging on to the edge. She hangs on all by herself and we both count to 10. Then she scoots herself around the edge of the pool until she knocks down all the turtles. She likes this part.
She practices getting out at the steps. Little animals are there to greet her.
They also practice climbing out of the pool. Claire leaves the babies in the dust on this one.
The last few minutes of class they put this large floating mat in the pool and dump balls on it. The babies sit and play while we pour water on their heads. She did so much better this time. She still said "All done!" but at least she wasn't crying and screaming "No!"
When we get done with class, Claire loves to snuggle in her towel and is all smiles!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Water Worries

Last Tuesday, Claire and I were on the east side of town so we met up with Grandma Tracy at Espee Park in Chandler, where they have a spray pad.

I had never taken Claire to one of these before but assumed she would have a good time. We ate a picnic lunch and then went to check out the water. Hmmm.. thinking about it...
Claire has a phobia of water touching her anywhere on her head so she was not so sure. Just when the water turned off and she was ready to run in the puddles, a car alarm went off, spoiling the moment. (her other fear)What a wuss. This kid needs to toughen up.

Finally, she was ready to run around in the water - note that in the following pictures her hair is not wet and the water is not spraying.

I was really hoping it would turn on while she was running through there.

Jumping in puddles

Needless to say, we did not stay too long at the park since Claire was too afraid to play once the water came back on. We went back to Grandma's house and found Aunt Shelbe in the pool so Claire joined her.
They had great fun. Claire knew Shelbe wouldn't force her to do anything she didn't want to, (like put her face in the water) so she was all smiles the whole time.
They played until nap time. Claire slept at Grandma's house while I ran a few errands and priced out food that I need for the VBS snacks. It was a great treat to stand in Costco with my paper and calculator and be able to make logical estimations of the food we need to make 3000 snacks in one week - without Claire.

What a fun day! Thank you Grandma and Aunt Shelbe!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Schnepf Farm Peach Festival

This weekend, we made our 2nd annual trip out to Schnepf Farm for their peach festival. It was quite fun with Claire now being old enough to know what was going. We packed a lunch this time so we could splurge and let her ride on the train. She was so excited, she kept asking about the "choo choo" the whole time.
It was pretty hot in the sun so we got in line for a hay ride out to the peach orchard first thing. Claire got to hold a bag for the peaches we picked but she went around picking up ones that had fallen on the ground. She was pretty proud of herself though. There were a lot more people at the farm this time and peaches were not as ripe as they should be. Mental note: Next year, go on the later weekend.

Helping Dadda pick.They found one with a lady bug on it. It kept Claire fascinated for about 15 minutes.She thought that she could find more bugs. Unfortunately, she didn't.
She seemed to have more fun playing with the weeds.After our picnic lunch under some pine trees in the parking lot, (no food is allowed inside. Last time we spent nearly $20 on lunch that was terrible.) we went back to ride the train. We stopped by the flower fields to get some pictures.

She wasn't sure what we wanted her to do.
Being forced to smell a flower.Here is a picture of me with Claire and Will. I am slightly alarmed by the belly button thing going on already.
Finally, we got to the train. The whole day it had been blowing it's whistle and freaking Claire out. (she is very afraid of car horns, loud motorcycles and train whistles)
Here she is pointing out all of the letters that she knows. She knows about 2/3 of the alphabet. Those M's and N's are hard though!
She enjoyed the train but because it was nearly 2pm she was so tired and hot. Poor baby. After the ride it was time to go home. Bye Schnepf Farms! See you next year! (hopefully we will be capable of such outings with 2 children)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I've Never Seen That

I've never...

seen a person...

eat an ice cream sandwich...

like this before...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pets - My Love, Mostly Hate Relationship

We have acquired a new pet. I know, we need another pet like we need a hole in our heads but this one is not the typical pet.
We found this desert tortoise at my mom's house last week. It made it's first appearance on their porch days earlier but when I was there, it was in their garage. Knowing that Josh has wanted a turtle for as long as I've known him, I took it home. You would have thought we won the lottery he was so excited for it. "It" is a 20 year old girl but we haven't thought of a good name for her yet. Josh got to work building her a habitat in this worthless corner of our yard. She has free range of the entire yard and according to everything I can find to read about desert tortoises, she doesn't need any kind of food to supplement what is in our yard already.
She just walks around, eats grass, weeds, my garden and sleeps. She is by far my favorite pet. I think she is adorable.
Claire likes her too. We can tell she is used to humans because she doesn't mind being touched, picked up, or even having the dog sniff at her. So as our newest pet climbs to the top of my pet list, our oldest has hit rock bottom. I hate him. Everyone I talk to regularly knows I hate him. Just while I was taking the pictures of the tortoise he pooped 3 times. I mean, come on! 3 times? In 10 minutes? He is the reason our yard is covered in flies all the time, our grass is such a wreck because he paces along the back wall for hours, he doesn't listen, he doesn't obey, he is big, clumsy, hairy, smelly and just all around stupid.
The only positive thing he has going for him is that Claire likes to lay on him and play little games with him. So although I spend far more time cleaning up after him than I do Claire, he at least entertains her so that I can clean up. He is looking for a new home before the baby comes.
Let's not forget Jonas. Jonas Blackbeard. He is a sweet guy and very loving. He is a manly cat and prowls the neighborhood at night (he is fixed). He catches mice pretty regularly and has at least 2 neighbor-cat friends that come to the door looking for him. If only we could remove his meow box, he would right up there with the tortoise.