08/11/2113 Xoe’s 4th Birthday Party

Yesterday was Xoe’s fourth birthday and we had a party for her at Miller Knox Park, in Richmond, California.  We kept the party small, there were only three girls invited, and one couldn’t make it.

Xoe and the girl across the street, one of the girls who was invited to the party, made cupcakes for the party.  The Theme was Butterflies and the colors were mainly pink.Image

Here is a video of Xoe blowing out the candles.

VIDEO Xoe Blowing Out The Candles  *Note* If you want to see the video of Xoe blowing out the candles, or any other video on this blog you have to be my Facebook friend.  See the About Me section to the right, last paragraph, on how to become a Facebook friend.

After we ate cake, it was time for Xoe to open her presents

VIDEO Xoe Opening Her Presents

Xoe gave each of her guests gift bags to take home.  The gift bags were filled with all kinds of goodies; a coloring book, crayons, paints, color wonder kits, a slinky, a Tiara, a whistle, a microphone, note pads, lip gloss, a puzzle, a lighted magic wand, and some other fun stuff that little girls like.  Each gift bag had 8 balloons attached to it.


We had a butterfly Pinata, and I took lots of videos, this is a picture taken by Nana with me shooting video of Xoe opening her presents. I am the one wearing green.  1011230_10152162545779896_639919761_n

Here is some vidoe of the girls hitting the pinata, in this video the pinata has not broken yet.

VIDEO  Hitting the Pinata

In this video of of the children’s parent’s finally cracks the pinata, lol.  It was just too well made for the kids to break on their own.

VIDEO Breaking the Pinata

All in all, it was a great little birthday party, Xoe enjoyed herself and so did her guests.  We had cheese and crackers as a snack, and Nana made that platter, and the cheeses were so good.  Xoe has been talking about her birthday party all day today and she already is looking forward to her 5th birthday party.


08/03/2013 Xoe’s First Diploma

Yesterday, was Xoe’s last swimming lesson.  She was awarded her first diploma after swim class.  She can’t quite swim on her own yet, but she made great progress.  This class was intended to make her more comfortable in the water, and to teach her the basics of swimming, kicking, and floating.Image

Xoe loves the water, I have taken her to the pool since she was about 6 months old, she has always loved the pool, and before the pool, it was the tub.


The swimming pool here is the perfect pool to teach young children, how to swim.  It starts off at about 2′ 3″, and slowly tapers up to about 3′ and after that it gets deeper up to about 8-10′ deep.  The pools stays shallow for a good distance too, the younger kids get about 20 feet of pool to swim in, so they have plenty of space.

I am excited about Xoe’s first diploma, and hope to see many more.


07/31/2013 Xoe Rides a Horse

Sunday Xoe and I went with grandpa and Nana to see their horses Toffee and Duchess at the stable.  Xoe got to watch grandpa and Nana brush and groom the horses in preparation for riding them.  She also got to watch them feed peppermint candy to the horses.  Xoe was terrified of the horses at first but slowly warmed up to them after she watched Nana and grandpa with the horses.

Nana and Grandpa rode the horses around the stable for about 30 minutes each.  After Nana finished her ride, she asked Xoe if she wanted to ride Toffee.  Xoe seemed to lose all fear and got up and rode the horse like she had been around horses all her life.

The first ride was with Nana riding with Xoe, and grandpa walking the horse Toffee.  Nana has been around horses all her life and does Dressage riding. Nana helped Xoe feel comfortable around the horses, so Xoe’s first ride was a lot of fun.

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VIDEO Xoe’s First Horseback Ride  This is a video of Xoe riding the horse on her own.

After the ride, Nana cleaned Toffee, and brushed out his mane and tail.  Then she feed Toffee some carrots and peppermints.

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VIDEO Xoe Feeding Toffee Some Carrots and Peppermints

Xoe’s first experience with the horses was a success. She started off terrified but by the end of the day she was riding on her own and feeding Toffee all by herself.  Xoe is lucky to have her grandparents who take her to the stable and let her ride the horse.  I think she learned a lot about horses that day and I look forward to going there again some day.


07/24/2013 Xoe’s Swim Lesson #2

Today, is day 2 of Xoe’s swim lessons, and I must say she did very well, when she was paying attention.  We arrived for the swim lessons a little early again today and it was all I could do to keep Xoe out of the water until it was her turn.  She was misbehaving though.  I didn’t get many pictures because I was almost constantly having to tell her to pay attention, stop jumping, stop running, and stay in the shallow end, during class.

100_5327  Xoe Going Into Lesson #2

100_5330  Xoe Goofing Off In Class

Xoe has been excited about going to her swim lesson, it was all she talked about all day.  We left a little early again today because she was so excited to go.  We got to watch the children in the classes before her’s and Xoe clapped and applauded the children on their swimming.  When it came time for her swim lessons she paid more attention to her friend than she did the instructor.

100_5331 Xoe Learning How to Kick

100_5334 Xoe Learning How to Swim on a Kick Board

100_5335 Xoe Playing

I had to be “that parent”, the one yelling from the sidelines, It was awful. I did more correcting her today than I thought I would have to.  She didn’t listen to her instructor when he told her to stay by the wall while he was teaching the other kids.  She and her friend kept jumping into the pool even after the instructor asked them about 5 times to stop.  Her little friend even said, “he told us not to jump, but I don’t care” and of course his mom was nowhere to be found, she just dropped him off.

I am disappointed in Xoe’s behavior today, that being said, she still did well when she was paying attention, which was about half the time she was there. The following is some video of Xoe learning how to swim:

VIDEO Xoe Learning How to Float

VIDEO Xoe Learning How to Float on Her Tummy

VIDEO Xoe Learning How to Use The Kick Board

I am looking forward to Friday’s class and hope it goes better than today.


07/23/2013 Xoe’s Swim Lesson #1

Xoe’s first swim lesson went great, I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor, and I didn’t have to get into the water.  I thought the classes would be where the instructor taught the parents how to teach the kids to swim, but I was wrong.  The instructor taught the children how to swim.  I was the only parent who showed up in a bathing suit ready to get into the water.

There were three children in the class, Xoe was the first to arrive and the youngest.  I thought Xoe was the most enthusiastic student, while the instructor was busy teaching another child, Xoe would practice what she was just taught.  The children were taught one on one by the instructor.  Xoe did everything he asked, and she participated well in the class.

She even made a new friend, a nice little boy.  They played and practiced their new swim moves while the instructor was teaching the third child how to swim.

VIDEO Xoe’s friend helps with Xoe’s goggles, & Xoe’s 1st swim

VIDEO Xoe and her friend playing between their turns at lessons

The pool is huge and it has a shallow side for small children, that’s where Xoe’s swim lessons were.


This is a picture of Xoe waiting for her lessons to start


This is a picture of Xoe meeting her instructor


Xoe was the first child to show up for her swim lessons. This is Xoe’s instructor showing her how to go under water.


VIDEO Xoe Learning How to go Underwater

VIDEO More of Xoe Learning to Go Under Water

Xoe’s swim instructor taught Xoe how to swim with a kick board.  This is a picture of Xoe swimming with her kick board and her instructor.

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Xoe swam with the kick board half way across the pool and back.

VIDEO Xoe learning how to kick her feet and use the kick board


The first lesson was essentially to get the children used to and comfortable with the water.  Xoe had a great time, and loved the water.  The water was pretty cold, what you can’t see in the pictures and video is Xoe shivering.  Xoe didn’t mind the cold water, she was having too much fun learning to swim to care about the cold.

VIDEO Xoe Throwing a Toy Then Going After It

I am so impressed with the swim lessons at The Plunge that I am going to enroll Xoe into all of the classes for swimming as they become available for her age group.  If she continues to progress like she did today she will be swimming in no time and I won’t have to worry about her not being able to swim.


07/23/2103 Getting Ready for Swim Lessons, The Dogs, Losing Weight, and a Little Good Luck

This afternoon I am taking Xoe to her first swim lessons at Richmond’s The Plunge, also known as the Natatorium.  It’s a swim complex located in the Point Richmond area.  Xoe is looking forward to being able to swim without her swim vest.  I will try to get some pictures of Xoe at The Plunge but I won’t be able to get pictures of her during her swim lessons because I will be in the water with her and our camera is not waterproof.  If grandpa and Nana come to some of her swim lessons they can take some photos to post.

Speaking of them posting photos, this is a photo of Xoe asleep on the bed with the dogs.  ImageThe dogs and Xoe were all a little wary of each other when they first me, but now they get along very well, and are comfortable together.  The dogs have welcomed Xoe into their pack, and Xoe has taken to giving the dogs orders, like sit and stay.  She even gives the dogs treats on their walks around the block.

Speaking of walking around the block, I have finally been able to make the walk without feeling like I am going to die of exhaustion, lol.  I am getting into better shape by walking and climbing the stairs at the house. My muscles have stopped aching, and I am kind of enjoying the walks now.  I have never been one who has enjoyed exercise.  I feel like I have lost about 5-10 pounds but haven’t weighed myself so I am not sure how much weight it is.

Xoe enjoys the walks around the block, we keep a pretty good pace so for Xoe they are really runs around the block and she has to run to keep up with the dogs.  I wish I had half the energy Xoe has, she is running from the time she gets up till the time she goes to sleep.

I am looking forward to the swim lessons today, one thing I am dreading, and I always dread is getting into that cold pool.  On the trip out here it was one cold pool after another at the different hotels we stayed in.  When I lived in Asheville my gym had a heated pool, not that I miss the gym or anything, but I miss that warmish pool.

Xoe and I just got back from the store, where I was wondering if I should be spending so much on coffee considering it is eight days till payday.  At the checkout, I look down and on the floor next to the candy rack I saw a $20 bill just sitting there on the floor.  Yep, I picked it up and used it to pay for the groceries.  That find has made my day.

We are getting ready to go to Xoe’s swim lesson, I will post more when we get home.


07/21/2013 A Day With Xoe At The Hilltop Mall

Today, I took Xoe to the Hilltop Mall, it’s an average sized Mall with a carousel about midway through the mall.  I took Xoe to the mall so she could ride the horses on the carousel, and to see the Piercing Pagoda where I am taking her to get her ears pierced on the 1st when I get paid.

Xoe loves the carosel but she is still slightly afraid of the way the horses go up and down.  I took some pictures of Xoe on the carousel, the first one shows a little bit of the fear on her face, note how tightly she is clutching the bar that holds the horse up. Image The second photo is a better shot of Xoe on the horse she picked out to ride.  By the time I took the second photo she felt more comfortable on the horse and wasn’t scared anymore.ImageAfter the carousel ride we went to lunch at QQ Express where we ate lo mien, Mongolian chicken, sesame chicken and fried rice.  Xoe loved it all even the Mongolian chicken which was hot and spicy.Image


After lunch we went to the Piercing Pagoda where I am taking Xoe to get her ears pierced.  She picked out a very cute solitaire diamond set of earrings that had a nice sparkle to them but wasn’t too flashy.  I think she wanted this kind of earring because her grandpa has the same kind of solitaire diamond earring.

We had a great time at the mall, we walked around and I took a lot of pictures. I posted all of the pictures on my Facebook page. I enjoy our girl’s out dates, and am so lucky that I am able to do these things with Xoe.  As her grandmother, I value every minute I get to spend with her, as her mother I also value every minute with her but I also realize that I am older than the average mom and am very lucky to be fit and able to get around, even though I have not been living a healthy lifestyle.  I am overweight and out of shape, and that’s about to change.

Since I have moved to California I have been going on walks almost every day with Nana, grandpa, Xoe, and the dogs.  I am trying to become more fit, eat better, and exercise more so that I can be around longer and healthier than if I had just kept going on the way I was.  Ok, that Chinese food probably wasn’t the healthiest choice for lunch, but you have got to splurge every once in a while, lol.