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.

100_5308   100_5309

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.


07/20/2013 Xoe and Electronics

Ever since Xoe was old enough to crawl she has been breaking the electronic equipment in the house.  By the time she was 2 years old she had broken 2 DVD players, 2 laptop computers, and a phone.

In May 2012, I bought a bright shiny new red Dell Laptop.  Given Xoe’s history of breaking anything electronic, I decided to buy the Accidental Drop and Spill protection.  The coverage was for 3 years, and I checked online and I am covered.  It’s a good thing I am covered because tonight Xoe threw the mouse at the laptop and the screen shattered.

Xoe was tired and had a little meltdown and the computer was her target, she’s not a bad kid, she’s a three year old having a temper tantrum.  This is the first time she has broken something while having a temper tantrum.  One DVD broke when she stuffed a sandwich inside and the other DVD broke when she was trying to find out what was inside of it.  The first laptop she tore all the keys off and I was able to use it with an external keyboard until she spilled a drink on it, the second laptop the same thing happened.

Xoe was so upset that she broke the computer, she cried herself to sleep. I wasn’t as upset by it as she was, I don’t know if it’s because I am used to her breaking my stuff, or that I had an excellent warranty that will refund to me the money I paid or it.

It’s still going to cost me about $300-400 dollars in addition to the refund they will send me to get something comparable because I bought the computer on sale for only $529.00.  I am going to start looking around, I would like to replace it with a touch screen computer with Windows 8.  I have just bought myself a new Dell in May of 2013, with touch screen and Windows 8 and I really like it.

Whatever I get, I am getting the accidental drops and spills warranty.


07/17/2013 Registering Xoe for Swim Lessons

Registering Xoe for swim lessons went fairly well today. I drove to the Richmond, CA Recreation Center and they just have parallel parking.  I can’t parallel park but I gave it a whirl and did it.  The parking spot was huge so I am sure that’s why I made it into the space.  Here is a picture of my first attempt at parallel parking.  1374086541427  There was a lot of space there for me to use, lol.

Anyway, I got to the rec center and signed up and paid for Xoe’s swim lessons.  They cost $77, but are worth it when you consider how much Xoe likes to swim..  We got the last available slot so it’s a good thing I went in today early.

Xoe’s swim lessons start July 22,2103 and end on August 13, 2013, so it’s going to be about 3 weeks of lessons. The lessons will take place at the Richmond Plunge, and start at 4:10pm and end at 4:40pm.

I will come back and post some pictures of the pool and Xoe in her swimsuit. Nana got her a really cute swimsuit, that Nana’s mom picked out for Xoe.  I thought that was so nice of them to do.


07/17/2013 Meet Hamster

Last year when Xoe was two I bought her a Teddy Bear hamster at Petco which we named Hamster.  I got the hamster as a starter pet.  Since then I have come to love this hamster and it would be a big deal if we lost her.  We will eventually lose her because their average lifespan is only 2-3 years, and we have had this hamster for about a year.  I never thought I would love a little hamster like I love this one.

When we first got Hamster I was kind of afraid of her.  I read that a hamster bite could be fairly painful so Xoe and I never picked her up.  That changed when the neighbor kids from upstairs came down and asked to hold the hamster.  I said sure, but she might bite and cautioned them if she did bite to put her back into her cage gently.   Hamster not only didn’t bite, she also seemed to like being held.  From that point on I started getting attached to Hamster.

The hamster has red hair and is larger than the average hamster, she’s really the size of a very small guinea pig.  She is also about the most mellow hamster I have ever seen, she lets Xoe carry her around, and play with her.  Xoe has taken the hamster for rides in her little shopping cart, wrapped her in a blanket like a baby, and walked around the house with her.  Xoe is very gentle with the hamster, and the hamster is very gentle with Xoe.  Hamsters can bite, but Hamster has never bitten anyone.

Recently, I read an article that said hamsters should not be used as started pets for a couple of reasons, because they could bite younger children who may not know how to handle them properly and they are nocturnal.  Hamster is nocturnal, she sleeps all day and runs on her wheel all night, we keep her in the room that I share with Xoe at grandpa and Nana’s house. The sound of that wheel has never bothered me, but some people find it so annoying they can’t sleep.  With the Hamster sleeping most the day, Xoe doesn’t get to play with her that much.  I have to agree with the article, hamsters really aren’t the best pets for smaller children because the children don’t get a lot of play time with them because they sleep all day, and they could bite.  We got lucky with our hamster, she plays a little during the day and doesn’t bite.  On the other hand, hamsters are perfect for places that don’t allow pets like cats and dogs, and a child could learn a lot about caring for an animal with a hamster. 

Watching Xoe play with the hamster, and having such a sweet hamster, has made me grow very fond of Hamster.  When we moved I had several friends of mine who asked if they could have her.  I had planned from the beginning to take Hamster with us from North Carolina to California and she was great on the trip.  I put her cage in the front passenger seat of the car while we were driving, and brought her into the hotel we were staying in at night.  It was so hot we couldn’t stop anywhere for too long because Hamster would become overheated, we didn’t even stop for meals because of this.

Hamster has been a joy to be around, a great little pet.  I am glad we got Hamster, and consider her to be a part of our family.  The following is a picture of Xoe pushing Hamster around in her shopping cart, and where it says Hamster & Xoe, that’s a video of Xoe with her hamster.  At the time I was thinking I was taking a picture but it was video.

100_4800   Hamster & Xoe


07/16/2013 My Security Deposit Refund Arrived Today

My security deposit refund arrived today, so did a debit for something I completely forgot about so I am broke again till the 1st.  At least I have enough money to send Xoe to swim lessons, which is what I needed that money for, that and gas to get to me to the VA clinic so that I can refill my prescriptions.  The swim lessons cost $75 and I have $88 in the bank, I am barely going to make it this month.

I hate it when I forget about a charge that’s going to come off of my account.  I am on a fixed income and I only get paid once a month so these kinds of charges can really mess me up financially.  I keep a tight budget but forgot completely about this bill.  I wrote myself a budget and had it bound into book form and it really helps me keep track of all of my bills. I forgot to mark this debit on my budget because I was travelling across country when it came in and I mailed my budget to California so it didn’t even cross my mind.  If it doesn’t go in my budget, it usually doesn’t get paid.  This was an automatic debit so it got paid.

One of the things I was going to do was take Xoe to see my San Francisco friend, Noelene and her great granddaughter this weekend,we were going to have a nice day together, but now I can’t because I don’t have the spare gas and I can’t pay the toll to get into the city.  I just sent her an email, she is a great lady and I know she will understand, but I am still pretty sad about not being able to get together with her this weekend.  We met on Facebook while playing bingo and we formed an instant bond with each-other.  We haven’t met in person yet, so I am doubly sad about this new development.  I guess we will have to wait till I get paid on the 1st before we can meet up.

The reason I am so short on cash is because I went over budget on my trip out here, but the trip was fun!  We drove 6-8 hours each day then stayed in a hotel with a pool and internet.  After a long day on the road, we would check-in to our hotel, go out for dinner, then swim or play on the internet depending on the weather, we did this for 6 days.  Hotels are expensive, I spent almost as much on the hotel as I did on the gas, which was even more expensive.                                             100_4887 a picture of Xoe in the pool in Wyoming

Another reason I am short is because of all of the boxes of clothes and toys I mailed out here.  I mailed 13 boxes of stuff at the US Post Office, it cost $469.00 to mail everything.  Of those 13 boxes of stuff, 8 of the boxes were ripped open and damaged by the post office.  My plastic file boxes were broken, cans were dented, and stuff was missing, I even ended up with someone else’s coffee in one of my boxes.  I didn’t insure the boxes because I didn’t think the post office was going to destroy so much, but they did.  100_5196 one of the eight damaged boxes

Luckily, I am staying with relatives who have been feeding me and Xoe.  I wouldn’t have been able to afford the move out here without them letting me stay with them.  I am staying with grandpa and Nana for about 6 months while I get my feet on the ground and can afford my own place.  California is a lot more expensive than North Carolina, not the food, but pretty much everything else.

As I write this I am actually starting to panic a little bit, haha.  I am almost out of coffee and won’t be able to buy any till the 1st. I am sure grandpa and Nana wouldn’t mind if I drank their coffee, but it’s not going to be as good as my Sumatran coffee.  I am super picky about my coffee and may even have to give coffee up for a while until I can afford my coffee.  Sumatran coffee costs the same as other coffee, it’s just a more bold coffee which I am very fond of.  I have a Keurig coffee maker that I love so much I carried it in the car with me and into the hotels each night on the trip over here.


California, a New Beginning

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”
― C. JoyBell C.

We moved from Asheville North Carolina, where we were extremely happy.  We left North Carolina to be closer to family, my ex husband (grandpa) and his wife (Nana) , Xoe’s maternal grandparents.  We left North Carolina on July 1st and the trip took us six days, we arrived in California on the 6th.  The trip from North Carolina to California could not have gone better, we were able to stick to an Itinerary, Xoe was well behaved the entire trip, and we had enough money on hand to stay in hotels, and eat well throughout the trip. We brought Xoe’s hamster, named Hamster and on July 6, 2013, Xoe, Hamster, and I started our new book of life in California.

We are staying with my ex-husband and his wife for about 6 months so that I can get my feet on the ground, and be able to rent a decent apartment.  I got rid of everything I own in North Carolina because it was cheaper to get rid of everything and buy used stuff when I got here.  The only things I kept were some of Xoe’s toys and clothes, my clothes, and our computers.

We have been here one week and this week has flown by.  Xoe formed an instant bond with the grandparents, she’s especially close with Nana.  Xoe first met Nana and grandpa when she was just a few months old when they visited us in Asheville North Carolina, and again when Xoe was about two years old when Xoe and I visited the grandparents in California.  Although Xoe was pretty young the first two times they all met, I am sure she remembers the grandparents.

Xoe already has a friend.  There is a 7 year old girl who lives across the street and she and Xoe met last night at a dinner party hosted by Nana and grandpa.  The dinner party was held so that Xoe and I could meet the neighbors across the street.  The girls started playing after dinner and got along very well.  They laughed and played for about 2 hours, I was surprised at how well they got along considering Xoe is 3 and the girl is 7, the age difference didn’t seem to matter at all.

If this week is a barometer of things to come, California is going to be a good move, a new beginning, a new book yet to be written.