Yes, it is!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Around Coronado

Last evening, Tim offered to leave the rental car for me to be able to take the kids somewhere outside of Coronado. Tim planned to take the ferry from the island over to San Diego for his class. Awesome, I thought. I immediately thought of some things that I could do with the kids. Well, as luck would usually have it, Tim's plans were an epic fail. Again. He went over to the ferry, waited a few minutes, then walked back to Aunt Glen's house and woke me (too freakin' early) to let me know that he would have to take the car because apparently he went to the wrong place to catch the ferry. Oh, well, I figured I would just take the kids for another walk around the island. I really didn't mind except that I wanted to go to the commissary at North Island to get stuff to grill tonight. So off Tim went with the car. Later Tim called me to tell me that he indeed did go to the right place for the ferry but that the arrival time for the ferry was 15 minutes later than he thought. He planned to come back here at lunch time and that he would just take the ferry back to San Diego before his lunch time was over. That ended up not working out, either.
Upon waking up for good this morning, I was disappointed to look outside and see that it was more overcast than it was yesterday. Since I didn't have the car, I figured we would be stuck inside all day. With a little boy who is determined to destroy my sanity, I knew we were in for trouble. But, thankfully, the sun started to peek out a little bit and I decided it would be nice to take the kids to a McDonald's then back to the little beach on the bay. I looked up the closest McDonald's and was happy to see that it was just a half mile away. Good. So, I get Ben in the stroller and grab Jackie's hand and head toward the address as shown by mapquest. Mapquest lied and come to find out, there was no McDonald's on the island except on the base at North Island. Since North Island is a straight shot just a mile and half up the road, I decide that we're going there and then we would make a stop for a couple of things at the commissary and then at the BX to find Jackie a long sleeve shirt or light jacket.
We started our path toward North Island when I passed by a sign indicating a bus stop. Whoa! Why didn't I know about this before? Why didn't Tim tell me about it? But since I had never taken public transportation other than the Metrolink light-rail in St. Louis, I really had no clue how this works. So we continued to walk toward the base when I noticed another bus stop ahead. Hmm, Jackie was starting to cry and complain that her leg was bothering her. And I needed my sweet tea fix from McDonald's. So we sat on the bench and waited. And waited. I had just about given up hope that a bus would ever stop again when one eventually stopped and let us on. Now I can laugh about it, but at the time I was somewhat embarrassed because as soon as I got onto the bus, I sort of panicked because I was not sure how to pay or where the bus would go. Thankfully, the bus driver was very kind when I explained to her that I've never taken a public bus before and that I was not from this area. I paid for a full-day fare for myself and the kids were free. The bus made a stop at the gate to North Island and the kids and I got off and headed to McDonald's.
I was so happy to get my sweet tea at McDonald's. The kids and I finished eating and then headed over to the BX and then the commissary. I stopped at the Travel Office and picked up some information about some of the parks and other events. Then Ben fell asleep in the stroller while I grabbed a few items at the commissary. Whew! That was one beast down.
After finishing up those errands, we headed back to the bus stop just outside the gate and made it just in time for the next bus and made our way back to Aunt Glen's house.
I must say that the public bus was not anything like what I had expected. I always had this idea that public buses were dirty and that there would be a lot of undesirables or homeless people riding on them. I don't know about anywhere else but the bus system here is really nice. The buses were clean and the people were very helpful. Just remember to have exact change with you when riding the buses. I'm ready to ride again!

Senseless Crime

I just learned of the tragic murders of two police officers from back home in Tampa. The officers didn't even have a chance to react. It all started because the suspects' car tag was not visible and when Officer stopped the car and asked for back-up because the passenger was wanted for a worthless check charge. A WORTHLESS CHECK charge! Why murder for that?! I just don't get it. Instead of facing probation or worse, a few days in jail for the worthless check, now the killer is facing death. I just don't get it.
Now two families have lost their husbands, brothers, sons, fathers. A community has lost a protector, a hero. All because somebody did not want to pay the consequence for a worthless check.
Officer Kocab and his wife were expecting their first child at any moment and word is that moment could be today as Officer Kocab's wife is now in labor. This really grieves me that Officer Kocab never got the chance to meet his new baby and now the baby is left fatherless and will only have the memories that his family will share one day. And Officer Curtis' 4 very young children will grow up with only the memories of their father. I find it unfortunately ironic that a new life will possibly be born on the very day that his father was taken away. No child should have to share a birthday with the anniversary of a parent's tragic death. That just seems so cruel.
RIP Officer Jeffrey Kocab and Officer David Curtis.
The latest article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/article1105674.ece

Loving Coronado

I was never sold on California until now. I am absolutely loving Coronado Island and San Diego. I have been to the west coast one other time. I don't remember being too impressed about Los Angeles but I do remember enjoying the drives through the hills. But Coronado Island? Wow, this is absolutely beautiful and I can totally understand why people flock here. Where we are currently staying at Aunt Glen's house, we are so close to so much. The Pacific beaches are a few blocks west of us with San Diego bay just a couple of blocks to the east. I can see myself living here for sure.Yesterday was a beautiful day and Tim drove us around San Diego. Then in the early evening, I walked with the kids to the local concert in the park where the kids played in the very nice play area.Today was another nice day although it was a bit overcast. We had a few sprinkles this morning but nothing more. I walked with the kids to the beach just a couple of blocks away where we ate lunch at Taco Bell. Then we walked around some of the shops before we stopped to play in the sand. Ben kept chasing after the pigeons. After playing for awhile, we walked over to Burger King for an Icee before heading back to the house.After Daddy arrived from his training class, we headed back to the beach where we caught the ferry to San Diego. We walked around the bay for awhile before stopping for dinner. Then we walked back to the ferry for the ride back to Aunt Glen's house. It was a very nice day for all of us and I hope it continues. Now I hope the sun comes out tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amtrak Lies

Don't ever believe those travel magazines that show Amtrak vacations are the way to go. They most definitely are NOT the way to go. The trip was a nightmare from the very beginning.
Tim and I had talked for a long time about taking a cross country train trip and since he had a business trip in San Diego, we decided to use that opportunity to take the long dreamed about train trip. With train reservations made, we planned our trip to coincide with Tim's business trip. Tim came out to San Diego a week ahead of me and the kids. The kids and I got our tickets to depart St. Louis on Thursday afternoon and arrive in San Diego on Saturday morning. I was really looking forward to it and to being able to see other parts of the country for the next couple of days. We reserved a roomette which included all of our meals. I got us to the St. Louis Amtrak station and the nightmare began right away.
Before I go any further, I have taken Amtrak previously with Jackie when she was 2 years old. We traveled to Dallas, TX and it was a very pleasant experience with Amtrak. Baggage check-in was available, the food was fantastic, the service was excellent, fellow passengers were very friendly. Most of the trip was overnight and it was made easier because we had a roomette. This made me look forward to another trip on Amtrak.
Okay, so we got to the Amtrak station on Thursday only to find that there was no baggage check-in for some reason. When I inquired at the ticket counter if there would be any help with baggage, I was told to just get in line to get ready to load onto the train. I went into a panic right away. I had 2 suitcases, 2 car seats, and a stroller that I had expected to check-in. Then the kids and I each had a small carry-on which together contained enough clothing for the next couple of days, some toys, the DVD player, my laptop, and other necessities. I could not believe that this man saw me with 2 small children and expected me to handle all of this baggage by myself. I was really counting on the baggage check-in. That was the first red-flag. If their baggage check-in equipment was not working, then Amtrak should have made accommodations for certain situations, one of which I was in. Thankfully, there were a couple of fellow passenger gentlemen who helped me take my luggage to the train. So, we got loaded and got on our way to Kansas City, MO for the Southwestern Chief where we had our roomette reserved for the next couple of days. This was supposed to be our only transfer before we arrived in Los Angeles. Little did I know of what was to come.
We arrived in Kansas City, MO on time and I was immediately greeted with a cart to help with all of our baggage. The kind lady, Linda, was so sweet to me and my children and she secured our belongings and took us up to the waiting area to wait until the Southwestern Chief arrived. It was during this time that Linda mentioned that we were going to be getting off of the train early the next morning in La Junta, CO to take a bus to Albuquerque, NM because a couple of rail bridges were washed out. What?! I could not believe what I was hearing. I was going to be responsible for transferring my baggage when we arrived in La Junta? On top of that, the train was running late that evening. I was ready to collapse from frustration and exhaustion while we waited in the terminal in Kansas City. I was at the point that I didn't care where the kids ran off to. Ben was climbing on the seats, climbing up the walls, rolling on the dirty floor, eating his dropped snacks off the floor, and I didn't care. I'm sure those sitting around me thought I was a bad mom and then I actually saw others laughing about Ben. At least, Ben was humoring them with his monkey antics.
The Chief finally arrived and we got onto the train sometime after 11:30 pm. I had to wait in the narrow hallway because our roomette was not ready and the attendant was just beginning to clean it and get it ready for us. The attendant got the bed laid out and as soon as she gave us the go ahead, I got the kids teeth brushed and laid them down. As soon as the train started rolling around midnight, the kids thankfully fell asleep. The attendant informed me that because we were going to be transferring to buses early in the morning, breakfast was to be served very early, too. She gave me a time of 6:30 am. So, at 6:30 am, I woke the kids and hustled them to the dining car where I was promptly told that the diner was full and that my name would go on a wait list. Fine. So, we went back to our sleeper car and waited for our name to be called. In the meantime, the attendant informed me that she could take my order and it would be delivered to our room. Really? Wow, why didn't she tell me that the night before when she informed me that breakfast would be at 6:30? I gave her our order which included french toast for me and for Jackie, a yogurt for Jackie, cereal for Ben, and juice for each of us. A few minutes after she took our order, I heard my name being called to proceed to the dining car for breakfast. Hmm, I figured I would take the kids over there and hopefully run into our attendant to let her know that I would rather feed my kids in the dining car. Upon arrival at the diner, I was greeted by a fiery red-head who rudely asked my name. I explained to her how our attendant took our order and that I could see that she was in the process of getting it together and that I would rather eat there in the diner. How difficult could it be to ask my attendant to just place our food at one of the tables? Instead, the fiery red-headed lady rudely asked me questions and other patrons started staring. I just told her to forget it and I immediately turned my kids back around and headed back to our room. A few minutes later, our breakfast arrived. I got Jackie settled with her french toast and yogurt and Ben with his cereal. I had also gotten an order of half grapefruit and as I was eating that, the attendant showed up and asked if I had received 2 orders of french toast. I told her that I received everything I ordered but she had this perplexed look on her face and I could tell that she must have messed up somewhere. Ugghh, I just handed her my order of french toast because she was obviously in distress that she messed up somebody else's order. I told her to please bring my juice that she had forgotten and that I would like some french toast. I never saw her again. Our trip wasn't even 1/3 of the way through and already I was hitting more snafus than I ever imagined.
With the short amount of time left before arriving in La Junta for the buses, Jackie met a little friend across the hall who was the same age as herself. Hannah and her mom, Kim, were heading back to California from New York. They had taken a round trip vacation on Amtrak and Kim said that the trip home was the worst Amtrak experience. Our kids enjoyed playing together until we arrived in La Junta where we had to load the buses.
Once we arrived in La Junta early Friday morning, Kim and I helped each other keep an eye on each other's luggage as we unloaded them from the train. Initially, we were able to get onto the same bus and get seats near each other. Everything seemed to work out okay until this old lady got on and started looking around and complaining that somebody took her seat. She looked at me and instead of defending myself, I just decided it wasn't worth fighting. So I grabbed the kids and got off of the bus. If we couldn't get on any of the other buses, I had pretty much decided that we were going to just head back home to St. Louis. I was beyond fed up at this point. Thankfully, one of the other bus drivers took pity on me and the kids and helped us move our luggage to his bus and get us a front seat. Thanks, Al! Once everyone was loaded onto the buses, we continued to wait and wait and some wondered aloud what the hold-up was. Finally, it became clear what was holding us up from departing for Albuquerque. Amtrak was kind of enough to order lunches from Subway and as soon as the boxed Subway lunches arrived and were passed out, we got on the road for the 6-hour ride to our next destination. Thankfully, I was seated near some very kind people who helped to entertain and watch out for my kids. Less than an hour down the road, Ben finally fell asleep and napped for 2 hours. Soon after he fell asleep, all of the buses started pulling over out in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, a lady on one of the buses was in distress and needed her medication which was packed in her luggage. (Common sense should tell you never to pack your medication in your luggage whenever you won't have immediate access to said luggage). Somebody tried to find her luggage but apparently it was buried on one of the other buses and could not be immediately located. There was a nurse on another bus who tended to the sick lady while several people tried to call 911. There was no cell phone reception so all the buses got back on the road to drive further down until reception was detected. Finally, 911 was contacted and the sick lady's bus was instructed to pull over and an ambulance was sent out. I found out later that the ambulance transported the lady to the local prison's medical facility. I really hope everything turned out okay for her, though. A couple of hours later, the buses pulled over at a rest stop somewhere in New Mexico. It was a nice time to stretch out and for the kids to burn off some energy for a little bit. We finally arrived in Albuquerque where we had to quickly grab our belongings off the buses and head toward the train. Initially, I had no help with our belongings and there were no carts or even Red Caps available to help me. Another friendly passenger finally saw me struggling and helped me out. We finally got onto the train and caught up with Kim and Hannah. We made dinner reservations together and enjoyed a nice meal. After dinner, we took the kids to the observation car for a bit before we took them back to our rooms where the kids enjoyed watching a DVD for awhile before falling asleep. It sounds crazy but I thought the bus ride was the best part of the day. The kids and I had a front row seat where we had a nice panoramic view of the scenery outside.
The kids slept surprisingly well that night. The attendant informed me the night before that the diner car would open for breakfast at 5:30 and close before 7:00. He was kind enough to take my breakfast order that evening to bring to my room at 6:00. It was around that time the kids started to wake up. The train arrived in Los Angeles around 7:30 (Pacific time) where we had to transfer to another train. This was originally supposed to be our last transfer but once again, we were forced to take another charter bus in Irvine because Amtrak decided to do rail work somewhere between Irvine and San Diego. Thankfully, I had a redcap help me unload in Los Angeles and then help me load onto the train to Irvine. Once in Irvine, I had no help whatsoever but the kids were so good and stayed in one spot where I could watch them while I unloaded everything from the train and then loaded onto the bus. The bus ride ended up being 2 hours instead of the promised 1 hour. I was really starting to lose it because I was exhausted from lack of sleep, from all the transfers, from dealing with the kids, everything. I was fed up! I'm pretty certain that those around me on the bus thought that I was short a fuse but I just did not care at this point. When we finally arrived in San Diego, once again, I had no help unloading my belongings off the bus. I finally just took the car seats and put them with the trash can in front of the bus loading/unloading area. I just could not take anymore and decided that I would take my chances without car seats even with the very strict California laws. The law enforcement officer that witnessed all this finally took pity on me and helped me by bringing the car seats inside the terminal where I waited for Tim. By this time, I was in such a state of exhaustion that I actually started to hyperventilate. Tim finally showed up and got us situated in the rental car and took us to Aunt Glen's house in Coronado.
After I emerged from a 3 hour coma, Glen had a nice meal prepared after which Tim and I took the kids for a walk to one of the beaches. It was a beautiful evening and it was neat to see all the lights around the bay. There was a really long (and high) bridge that looked so pretty lit up at night. I remarked about it to Tim and he said "yeah, I was surprised you didn't freak out about it when we drove over it earlier today." Gee, I must have been really out of it if I didn't remember going over it already. I usually direct Tim to keep his eyes on the road as we go over such bridges.
So after this ordeal, we will never, ever do an Amtrak vacation again. Do not believe the travel magazines that tout Amtrak vacations. They lie.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for my story about my nightmarish trip. We will be arriving in San Diego tomorrow and if I don't stay in a coma too long, I'll update before the weekend is over.
In the meantime, say a few prayers for me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yes! I Made It To Three

That's right, folks. I made to 3 miles today. I decided this afternoon to try out the downtown Belleville YMCA. I have never been to that one. I mostly go to the O'Fallon Y with the occasional visit to the East Belleville facility. The downtown facility is okay. The track, though, is long and narrow with just 2 lanes instead of the 3 lanes that O'Fallon has. Fourteen and three quarter laps equal a mile. My goal was to run 2 miles just as I did last yesterday. But, since I was feeling okay and not out of breath, I decided to go a little further. I just decided to see if I could go another 5 laps which would equal about a third of a mile. I finished that and decided to see if I could go yet another 5 laps. I was starting to feel some fatigue but figured since I was so close to that last 1/3, to go for it and I did it. It felt so good to have accomplished that. I never even thought I would ever run a mile. I don't particularly enjoy running although I did alot of it during my youth and a little bit of running in my late 20s. Maybe, just maybe, I can do that 5k in San Diego. Now, I may be slow but right now, I am trying to build up my endurance. Then later, I will work on my speed. I am doing so much better with my breathing and pacing.
After I accomplished that, I got the kids from the play center. Jackie decided that she wanted pizza for dinner. Fine with me as it meant that I didn't have to cook. So, I picked up a cheap Little Caesar's pizza. I called McAlister's to place an order for something healthier for me. I should have known from the beginning that it was a mistake after being transferred to the carry-out order cashier during which nobody answered for at least 5 minutes. So, I hung up and called back and tried again. But all was well at the end, the very end. I was given about 10 minutes for my order to be ready and I figured by the time I got there and got the kids out of the car, the 10 minutes will have passed. So, I enter McAlister's with my kids and head to the carry-out counter. I waited for a good while for somebody to finally help me. That employee, who seemed to be a little unhappy, asked for my name and she immediately found my order. She brought it over, placed it on the counter, and proceeded to turn around and do something else. When she came back by the counter, I told her that I needed to pay and she rudely said that she needed to get somebody else to do it. Okay. So, I waited, and waited, and my kids were starting to jump off of the bench and run down the hall where the bathrooms are. Ben, especially, was trying to climb on everything like a monkey. This is one of the main reasons that I do not often attempt to go in public places with Ben. Then Jackie said she had to go to the bathroom and bad. So, I watched her as she went in the bathroom and came back out all the while still waiting for somebody to come and take my payment. Finally, after at least 15 minutes of waiting just to pay, I was trying to decide whether to take my order and leave, get in the really long line in the regular line, or just grab the kids and just leave orderless. I decided on the latter. I just have too much of a conscience to just take something without paying but gee, where was the service?! I was not happy at all.
I got the kids in the car and in just a couple of minutes, we got home where I proceeded to feed the kids their pizza. While I was doing that, my cell phone rang. I recognized the number from McAlister's so I picked it up and the person on the other end asked for me. It was the manager, Todd, and he immediately apologized profusely for what happened. Apparently, by the time Todd realized what happened, I had just left. I explained to him what happened and how long I waited after being greeted by a rude employee. He asked me who it was and when I told Todd that I didn't know the employee's name, Todd asked if she was chunky and wearing a pony-tail. Well, I didn't take notice of the girl's build but I did remember the pony tail and I told Todd so. I got the impression that he thought I was offended that I described the girl as chunky because he apologized again for that. Whatever. I explained her attitude and the wait and that I could not wait any longer because of my children and that I had somewhere to be within another hour. Apparently, there have been problems with this employee from the comment Todd made. So, Todd then asked if I had time to come back by and order something but I just didn't have the time and my kids were already sitting to eat. Todd then extended an offer for me and the kids to come back anytime for all of us to order whatever we wanted at no charge. Wow, he is really worried about losing my business, which actually was a very strong possibility. So, I guess the kids and I will be eating a free meal tomorrow evening. Woohoo. Todd has won back my business.
After that ordeal, the kids finished eating and we took off for the Y where I went to Zumba. I LOVE Zumba. And tonight was no exception. Tonight's instructor, Kim, was really on fire tonight with an awesome workout. It was a great work-out until the last quarter of the class when the temperature and humidity in the room changed. It started out nice and cool but about halfway through the class, it started to feel a little warm but not too bad. Then about 10-15 minutes after that, I was noticing the mirror start to fog up and then several people were starting to slip. Then, I slipped a little during one of the steps. Then I noticed the mirror was really fogged up by now where you couldn't see anything clearly at all. The humidity really affects the floor and makes it more slippery. It was a good thing that I had to leave a little early to get the kids out of the playcenter. (I usually don't bring them at night but Tim is out of town). The heat was starting to become a little unbearable by that time. That's okay, I just missed out on the last number and the cool-down. Tomorrow night is Aqua-Zumba. Unless I can get to a YMCA in San Diego, this will be my last class for 2 weeks. I will really miss Zumba and the instructors during the next 2 weeks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two Mile Club

That's right. I am now in the 2-mile club. Actually, I ran just over 2 miles. I may be ready for the 5k in San Diego on July 4th after all. I can at least try. I really impressed myself, especially since I did not work out at all yesterday and I ran just under 1 1/2 mile on Saturday. It was a great stress reliever today after being a single parent since Saturday. And the latest saga with Tim's travel experience left me more stressed before I left for the Y.
Tim called this morning to let me know that he arrived in Los Angeles and was waiting for the train to leave for San Diego. He seemed to be in a good mood although he sounded tired. I told him to call me to let me know when he arrived in San Diego. He finally called me around 2:30 this afternoon to let me know that he arrived there but that his luggage was missing. Oh, gee, here we go again. This train experience was not a good one for him. I had a feeling that he should have gone ahead and taken the plane today instead of taking the train. But he wanted the adventure of riding the train without having to deal with the kids. It's been his dream for years to take a cross-country train ride. So, now Tim has no luggage and Amtrak can't tell him what happened with it. They said they will call him when they find it. As of 9:00 pm (CST), there was no word of it. Tim has to report to his training class tomorrow so he had no choice but to go to the BX to purchase a couple of outfits, socks, and a pair of shoes. Tim did have a carry-on with him in which he had a couple of tops and underwears, and the valuables. I certainly hope that his luggage is found soon so we won't have to spend several hundred dollars on new clothes and his hair clippers for the next 2 1/2 weeks.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

Wow, what a day this has been. It all started at 4:00 this morning. Actually, it started earlier than that with my insomnia. I had difficulty sleeping and it was made more difficult by Tim's snoring. I finally gave up trying to sleep in my bed again and went to the couch where I tossed and turned. Then we had a severe thunderstorm in the middle of the night.
Last night, Tim was all ready to leave very early this morning for his business trip. His plan was to drive his truck to the long-term parking area on the base and then walk the few blocks to the Metrolink station that would take him to St. Louis where he would board the Amtrak train. Well, the thunderstorm derailed that plan. At 4:00 AM, Tim loaded the luggage in my car then proceeded to load the kids into their seats. I had a feeling that I was in for a rough day with Ben. Once he is awake, he will not go back to sleep. It took less than 45 minutes from the moment we got the kids into the car, dropped Tim off, and then arrived back home. Ben was very talkative the entire time. Jackie was also awake but fairly quiet until we left Daddy at the Metrolink station after which she whimpered a bit and said that she misses Daddy.
After arriving back home, I put Ben back in his bed and then put Jackie in bed with me. It was barely 5:00 AM. Less than 5 minutes passed when I realized Ben was climbing into my bed. He laid next to me and caressed me and then the sibling rivalry began. I told Ben to go back to bed and when he left the room, I was quite impressed that he was obedient. At least, that is until I heard some commotion coming from the kitchen. I got up and found Ben sitting at the kitchen table with the box of ice-cream cones. Silly boy. I knew that he wasn't going to stay in bed so I gave him a banana, a sippy cup of Ovaltine milk, and I turned the TV on to the Sprout channel. I put a pillow on the couch and invited Ben to bring his sippy cup and watch TV. I then went and laid down on Jackie's bed since her room is closer to the living room than my room is. That way, I can lay down but still stay somewhat aware of Ben. Next thing I know, Jackie is joining me in her bed. She did eventually fall asleep sometime before 7:00 and I dozed on and off. When Jackie woke back up, I gave her her usual bowl of cereal and yogurt cup. I laid back down with the TV on my room and just laid there until around 10:00. Yeah, I know that's kind of late to be getting up but I was exhausted.
I had hoped that by having Ben lay on the couch with the TV on, he would go to sleep but fat chance. He was still going strong at noon when I fed the kids lunch.
I had a hair appointment and the neighbor was going to come over and watch the kids. Ben had a complete melt-down right before I was to leave. So much so, that I put him in his room and locked the door. Ben started kicking and banging on the door with such force that he knocked his shoe holder right off. He also pulled a framed print onto the floor. Boy, was he mad. I finally let him out and he was still a mess by the time the neighbor came over. I was gone less than 45 minutes and when I came back, Ben was completely out on the recliner. He was so out of it that he wasn't even stirred when Jackie placed a toy truck on his shoulder and a toy starfish on his head. I wish I got a picture of it. I put him in his bed where he slept until I woke him up around 5:15. That was 3 1/2 hours and he would have slept longer if I had left him alone.
About a half hour before I woke Ben up, Tim called me from the train. I could tell right away that something was wrong by the tone of his voice and when he asked me to look up something on the internet. I asked what was up and he said he wanted me to look up a flight from Kansas City, MO to San Diego. I asked Tim what was going on and he told me that when he switched trains in Chicago, he proceeded to his assigned seat. Well, some rude man complained and whined that he needed a window seat because he gets motion sickness. Tim happened to have the window seat that this man wanted. So, Tim was asked to give it up to this man and then was reassigned to another seat. Now he was seated next to another even more rude man who had a horrible odor emanating from him. Then this man proceeded to try to take over Tim's seat. Finally, Tim had enough and went to sit in the observation car. I told Tim to find an attendant and explain what was going on. In the meantime, I called Amtrak to find out if there were any available sleeper rooms that Tim could reserve now. Unfortunately, all the rooms are sold out. I then explained to the customer service representative what was going on with my husband and she gave me some suggestions and then suggested that we call the customer care line on Monday to give feedback. I did look up some flights for Tim since he sounded so desperate but the cost was prohibitive since it would be less than 24 hour notice. By the time I called Tim back, he had talked to an attendant who told him that there was not anything they could do. I don't know about you, but I find it reprehensible when a rude (and extremely smelly) passenger takes over another person's reserved seat. I WILL be calling Amtrak on Monday to file a complaint. A ticket was purchased for a reserved seat that Tim was not able to utilize due to rude people. That just does not fly with me. I hope that I do not have to experience such rudeness when I travel with the kids next week on Amtrak to meet Tim in San Diego. Thankfully, I reserved a sleeper room for us.

More Running

Last evening (Thursday), I went to the YMCA to run before Zumba class started. I just planned to try running up to 1 1/4 mile because my ankles were quite sore. I was not sure why they were sore. Was it from running in new shoes or from Aqua Zumba the night before. Or perhaps, it was residual pain from the Asics running shoes. At least my knee was not hurting much. So, I started out with this goal and toward the end, I figured why not go for another few laps. I ended up running nearly 1 2/3 mile.
Since there will be no Zumba class on Sunday afternoon and Tim will be gone to San Diego, I figured I better get a run in tonight (Friday). I ran 1.6 mile around my neighborhood. It was humid and a little warm and the occasional light breeze felt good. I think Tim is impressed that I've been keeping up on the running knowing my love, or lack thereof, for running.
Okay, now on to the kid front. I am in awe of Jackie's growing vocabulary. She is just growing up too quickly. Jackie is so excited for Kindergarten to start. I am going to bring some Early Elementary workbooks with us to San Diego next week to help keep her busy. Every day, Jackie asks what we're going to do that day. She always seems disappointed when I don't say anything about school. She begs to go to school. August can't come soon enough. Well, for her. As far as I'm concerned, it can take it's time only because that means that I'm getting older and I want time to slow down.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Running Update

Monday night after going to Zumba then coming home and tending to the kids and putting them in bed, I went for another run around the neighborhood. I was going to try to increase my distance. It was humid but not too unbearable. But, my shoes, which I have had for nearly 3 weeks, were hurting my feet. I had noticed that the tips of my toes felt like they were going numb and on Monday night, the sole of my right foot was bothering me. So, I ended up just doing the 1.2 mile.
Tuesday morning, I woke up to a very sore right knee. It really hurt. I was hoping that moving around would make it feel better but it continued to hurt throughout the day if I moved it in certain positions. I decided to break from running on that day because I was thinking that the new shoes were the culprit. Instead, I went to the YMCA about a half hour before Zumba started and I walked around the track until close to time for Zumba. I did okay in Zumba but I had to modify some of the moves. I could really feel the pain anytime I had to bend that knee or stand independently on it. But I got through the class.
Yesterday morning (Wednesday), I decided to go try on some other running shoes. But first, I went into this store called "Good Feet" to get some information about what to look for and what to avoid. This is a store that actually fits people for orthotics and provides information/education about proper footwear. One of the brands of running shoes the salesman recommended is the Brooks brand which are apparently difficult to find. Well, a neighboring store did carry that brand but they are VERY expensive. I then headed over to another shoe store where I tried on several different pairs. I found a pair that seems to fit better than my other new pair. I decided to try them out on the indoor track at the Y before the Aqua-Zumba class. They were comfortable but they felt somewhat different than the other pair around my ankles. And I was feeling even more tightness in my calves. But I was able to do just a bit over a mile and I didn't notice much pain in my knee. I then went downstairs to change my clothes for Aqua-Zumba. That felt really good for my knee. Oh and the best part? My best friend, Lisa, finally joined me at the class and she seemed to enjoy it. I think she's hooked.
After Aqua-Zumba, Lisa and I went walking for 2-3 miles and my knee had very little pain.
So, I shall see how my knee is feeling in the morning when I wake up. Hopefully, the problem lies with the other shoes and the pain will be resolved quickly. Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's Your Sexual IQ?

Caught your attention, huh? Well, maybe somebody can learn a lesson from this story. Hopefully, someone(he shall remain unnamed) in this household has learned a lesson. This evening, a certain somebody wanted to download music to his mp3 player. I sent him a link to a website that explains how to load music from a CD. Okay, simple, right? Well, apparently not to some. My first clue should have been when this person asked if he has texting on his phone. What? Texting? What would he need that for? He rarely carries the dang phone with him as it is. I have texting on my phone and my phone only. So, I told this person that if he needed anything texted to him, then have it texted to my phone. Simple, right? Again, not so simple to some. Next thing I know, this person is sitting at his computer typing something when I hear the familiar jimgle signaling a text but it was not coming from my phone. What the heck?! Then another text immediately followed. I asked this person about it and he said something about having to provide his cell phone number so some kind of directions can be texted to him. Now that was a huge red flag. I then told him what I had just told him before about no texting on his phone and to have any texts sent to mine. So, now we will be paying an outrageous fee for these text messages received on his phone. His phone that does not have a text plan.
Okay. So this person reads his text message and it reads "What's your sexual IQ?" This person then explains how he had to download a program and that it had asked for his cell number so he could receive a text. What program? Windows media.
Okay, now some thoughts. First, Windows media is already downloaded on his computer. Two, never, ever provide your phone number to an unfamiliar website in order to receive a text. Three, listen to your partner when she explains that you have no texting plan on your phone. Last and most important (and contrary to what I mentioned above), I am SOOO thankful that this person ignored my original instructions and did NOT provide my phone number in order to receive such a text message. Ha!

So, what is YOUR sexual IQ? Mwahahahahaha!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Outdoor Running

As most of you have probably read previously, I've been steadily building up my endurance for running. The track that I've been running on is an indoor track at the YMCA and it's air conditioned. So, since I've been thinking of surprising Tim by entering the 5k in San Diego on July 4th, I know that I need to practice running outdoors on different terrain and temperature/humidity. It gets quite humid here and it is difficult for me to handle that. Since it had rained earlier this evening, the air was nice and it was as humid so I thought that it would be a good idea to practice running outdoors. I actually tried a little over a week ago and was able to get less than a half mile before I had to stop due to the heat. But tonight, I was able to run over a mile, 1.2 mile to be exact. That's a good start, right? I definitely could tell a difference but it wasn't too bad.
Tomorrow is my Sunday afternoon Zumba class. I thought about going to the O'Fallon Y to run on the track before going to the East Belleville Y for the Zumba class but since I did fairly well tonight running outdoor, I may just wait until tomorrow evening to do another practice run.
As far as the 5k in San Diego is concerned, I understand that it is not as humid there although it does get hot. That should make it a little easier to handle running in the heat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Improvement on the Running Front

So today I ran 1 1/4 mile. I probably could have run further but I didn't want to overdo myself. I think I'll just try to add 1/4 mile each time I run now. My breathing is getting better and I am pacing myself better. Right now, I feel like I'm running a little slow but after I build up my endurance, then I will work on building up speed.
It's amazing how much better I am feeling since I began working out, both physically and mentally.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am Now in the Mile Club

Yep, I did it. I ran a little over a mile tonight. Woohoo! It's amazing what 4 little words can do; I can do it. I started out by walking around the track twice and once I started running, I just had to tell myself that "I can do it." Attitude really does count. After I finished running, I did a few exercises in the weight room. Then I went to the Zumba class. It was good workout but my knee is hurting a little bit now. I feel great otherwise, though.
Speaking of Zumba, I miss my workout partner as she has been gone this week. But I have met a couple of other people in Zumba, one of whom recognized my USF bag and shared that she was also a USF grad. Cool.

My Little Admirer

I should share an experience from this afternoon. Tim's annual company picnic was today. This morning, the employees were allowed to bring their kids to work for some breakfast and activities. Jackie was so excited. Then after she and Daddy came home to pick up chairs for the picnic, they headed to the park for the picnic. I met them there after Ben's occupational and speech therapy sessions were finished. We enjoyed lunch and a little later, Tim and I took the kids over to the play area. Tim and I enjoyed swinging on the lawn swing while the kids played on the playground equipment. Suddenly, I was handed a little flower (actually a weed) by a little boy. Cute. Tim and I resumed swinging. Five minutes later, this little boy handed me another "flower." I said "thank you" and he swung around and gestured his fingers, clicked his tongue, and winked. Whoa! I couldn't help but chuckle. Who is this little boy? What a ham. Then a few moments later, the little boy came back over with a couple of more "flowers" and made himself comfortable between me and Tim. Then he proceeded to put his hand on my thigh. Oh my! I was doing everything to stifle my laughter. I looked over at Tim and we just sort of raised our eyebrows at each other. Then Tim got up to go help Jackie on one of the climbers. The little boy seized upon the opportunity, with the additional room, to sort of snuggle next to me with his legs stretched out the opposite way. Oh my, where did he learn this stuff at? I just looked out at Tim and could not help but chuckle. Then the little boy put his hand back on my thigh and sat upright snuggling against me. By this time, I just could not contain my laughter and started looking around to see where the mother of this little boy could possibly be. He was quite the ladies' man. I finally started a conversation with him. His name was Nathan, he was 6 years old (for awhile now according to him), he went to kindergarten at the school across the street, he doesn't have brothers or sisters, and more. I pointed out my 2-year old boy, my 6-year old girl, and my big boy (Tim). When he found out that my big boy was older than me, his response "that's crazy." That whole episode was the highlight of my day. He was a very cute little guy and his daddy is obviously teaching him already to be a ladies' man. Finally, Nathan's mom realized what her son was up to and left her group of friends to make sure he wasn't causing trouble. Nathan is sure to be winner one day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Running, oh how I hate thee

Okay, it's no secret that I hate running. But since I began a workout program, starting with Zumba, I am determined to get into good physical shape. I started out by doing the basic treadmill and a Zumba class at the YMCA. After a couple of weeks, I added a couple more Zumba classes to my routine, then a few weeks later, I added some weight machines. And I made more changes to my food shopping routine. My poor kids probably really feel deprived now.
I was happy with the routine I had developed until I talked to one of the Zumba instructors who is also a personal training. We had recently received our tax refund and with a small portion from that check, I signed up with this instructor for 12 sessions of personal training. I never expected that running would be part of my personal training with Misti. I hate running, it's hard on my knees, and I just did not feel like I was in good enough shape to run. So, she had me start of doing 2 laps around the track after each cycle of exercises. The next session, Misti bumped the running up to 3 laps and by the third session, she had me run 4 laps after each cycle of exercises. Misti left for vacation this week for a couple of weeks and since she canceled our last session and neglected to leave me with a list of exercises that she wanted me to work on, I decided to just go ahead and work on some of the exercises on my own in addition to building up my endurance to run longer. I've been going to the Y early before Zumba classes to walk and run on the track. Last weekend, before Misti left for vacation, I was barely able to do 4 laps without having to catch my breath. But I had also been a little under the weather with rhinitis and sinus headache. But I didn't let that stop me from working out, albeit a modified routine. By Tuesday, my energy level was back up and I was able to run 6 laps before resorting to walking. I felt proud that I was able to do nearly a 1/2 mile. For you runners, I know that's a piece of cake but remember, I. hate. running. But as stated before, I am determined to build up my strength and endurance. Tonight I went back to the Y to walk/run the track before I went to aqua-zumba. I walked around the track twice before I transitioned into running. I expected to just run 6 laps, maybe 7, before I resorted to walking again, but... are you ready for this... I ran 11 laps, that's right, 11 laps before I went back to walking. That is nearly a mile! I was so proud of myself. I probably could have continued to run a little more but I didn't want to overdo it.
I am starting to get the hang of breathing and the right speed for me. I tend to be a mouth breather and coordinating the inhaling and exhaling properly is a struggle. I also realized that the reason I lost my breath so quickly previously was because I started out running too fast. So, I have been learning how to pace myself while also learning how to breathe correctly. As they say, practice makes perfect. It applies to running, too. Who knows, Tim might just get his wish and I just may join him in the marathon in San Diego in early July. But I can't promise that I'll run the entire thing.

Reckon He's Hungry?

I must not be feeding the boy enough. Ben can put food away but he especially loves sweet stuff and bread. Just a bit ago, his sneaky self quietly climbed up on the counter to reach the loaf of bread. A fresh loaf of bread, mind you. Here is the aftermath. Oh, and the dog was helping herself to the bag with the remaining slices, courtesy of Ben who tossed it onto the floor.

First Movie Experience

Thanks to Wehrenberg Theatres Family Summer Series of free movies, Ben was able to experience for the first time a visit to a movie theater. He did fairly good, although he did get a little too comfortable with a few nearby patrons. This was also my first time to experience this free movie series put on by Wehrenberg Theatres. Jackie had experienced it previously when she was going to a private home-based childcare provider. Jackie and her friend, Taylor, also joined me for the excursion this morning.
Today's scheduled movie was "Tooth Fairy". I had no clue what it was about and at 101 minutes, I thought it might be a little long for Ben but I figured since it was free, we could give it a whirl. Since it is first-come first-serve, we got to the theater a little early so we could get tickets. The wait before the movie began was a little challenging with Ben wanting to climb the stairs in the stadium seating area and then venturing down the stairs and running away from me. But thank goodness for gummy worms and Skittles. Ugh, I always swore that I would never get my kids hopped up on sugar. I am eating my words now. Thankfully, Ben didn't make a pig of himself with the candy and when the movie finally started, he sat still for a good while before he became antsy again. He would switch between sitting on my lap, sitting or laying on his seat, and climbing the steps right next to our seat. I had to go retrieve Ben from the very top of the steps just 2 times during the movie. Every now and again, I would hand over a gummy worm to Ben. About 15-20 minutes before the movie ended, Ben was starting to become even more active and more vocal and I was starting to worry that it would force us to leave the theater. But with distractions and talking quietly to Ben about the movie, we made it the remainder of the movie. Thankfully, I was not the only one there with a talkative toddler which made me less worried about disturbing the other movie goers. All in all, it was a good first experience for Ben. I look forward to taking him, and of course Jackie & Taylor, again soon. Oh, and the movie... it was really cute. A little cheesy but cute.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jackie, the Ice-Skater Girl

When Jackie graduated from preschool a couple of weeks ago, you might recall the DVD slide show of the students during which each student was asked what s/he wanted to be when s/he grew up. Jackie's response was "ice-skater girl". Well, Jackie finally got her chance at ice-skating today at a birthday party for her friend, Abby. Once I got the skates on Jackie, she got right up, albeit a little wobbly, and started going for the rink. She had no fear. I, on the other hand, was very nervous about Jackie falling and hitting her head. Thankfully, there were walkers available for the beginner skaters and I made Jackie use one. Jackie did fantastic going around that rink. Yeah, you could really tell on the skates that her gait is affected by her CP, but she did not let that hold her back. Even when her weak leg started to drag, Jackie was not ready to give up. I'm so proud of my little girl. Jackie is so excited to go ice-skating again.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Session 4 Canceled Today

Personal training session 4 was canceled today. Misti is probably overwhelmed with vacation plans. So now I will be on my own for 2 weeks until she gets back from vacation. But, she is emailing me with a list of the exercises I should work on. I was fine with her canceling on me because I was still feeling a little bit of a sinus headache. However, I did go to Zumba class later in the day. Susan was the instructor today. I really like the variety of the different instructors as it keeps the routines from becoming boring. As much as I enjoy Zumba, I was having a difficult time keeping up today. Unfortunately, I think it's because I feel like a UTI is starting. I hope I'm wrong about that.
Tomorrow, I am taking the day off from any exercise. Jackie has a birthday party to attend at an ice skating rink. She is so excited about it and I'm excited to see Jackie try ice-skating.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Personal Training Session 3

I made it through another session yesterday afternoon. Misty had me do a mixture of exercises. The most brutal one was the burpee. If you don't know what that is, google it. It was torture. But I'm not giving up. The exercises from yesterday's session included the burpees, push-ups, continuous squats for a whole minute, lunges with a weighted ball, squats with hand weights, backward pushups, weights, and I'm not sure what the next one is called but I like it because it feels good on my back. It involves getting on this machine so that your legs are held secure and then you fold the upper body downward. I did those with my first session but this time, Misty added hand weights. It wasn't too bad. Then at the end of each cycle, I had to run 4 laps around the track. Other than the burpees, I was pleased with how well I did. I expected to be very sore again this morning but surprisingly, I was just a little sore. However, I did wake up with a sinus headache. It was so difficult to get out of bed because I just did not feel well. But I had to get up because Ben had an occupational therapy appointment at 8:30. Thankfully, the OT comes to the house so I didn't have to scramble to get everyone ready to go out the door. Ben was also difficult to wake this morning and he is usually an early riser. Finally, Ben sauntered out of his room around 8:15 and by the time the OT arrived, I was still getting Ben dressed for the day.
After Ben's OT, we headed to St. Louis Children's for Jackie's OT appointment. The neighbor's 12-year old daughter tagged along with which was very nice because it gave me a chance to participate in Jackie's OT for a short time while Ally watched Ben in the waiting area.
After Jackie's appointment, we headed back to our side of the river for a play date with a friend's children, T & S. T is just 4 days older than Jackie and they play well together. When we arrived at McDonald's, it was very busy and LOUD! Jackie was immediately greeted by T & S and off they went to play in the play area. Their mom, B and I enjoyed a nice conversation while the kids played. Jackie was ecstatic to see her "boyfriend".
Tonight was Zumba class again with Misty. Before that though, I went to the Y to walk and run the track. I didn't do as well with the running as I did yesterday. And Zumba was no better. I was really feeling wiped during Zumba tonight. My energy level today was lower compared to yesterday possibly due to the sinus headache I've been experiencing all day. But I really need to stay in this routine. I'm a woman on a mission. Tomorrow is another training session before Misty goes on vacation for a couple of weeks. I really hope that I am feeling better by tomorrow and my energy returns.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rant Post as promised

Okay, now for the rant. I work hard. So does Tim. I appreciate that Tim works hard and that he's finishing his MBA on top of that. Last week Tim started to stain and seal the back deck. I had planned to help him but other things kept coming up. Now, I'm not afraid to do hard work, in fact, I even mow, trim, and edge the lawn. I do as much as I can to help Tim with other chores in addition to taking care of everything else. Unfortunately, I never got around to helping Tim with the deck because I was busy with other household stuff and working out/training in between.
After spending the entire day painting Jackie's room yesterday while Tim worked on the deck, I finished putting Jackie's room back together this morning. I also did a lot of other household work, including laundry. In addition to all of this, I am tending to Ben, my very active little boy. It did help that I didn't have to tend to Jackie until nearly 1:00. After she came home, we had to go to the store to pick up a few items for recipe for tonight's dinner. Unfortunately, Walmart did not have fresh green beans so we had to go to yet another store to get those. Ben was being a fusspot during both store visits. After arriving back home, I had to take care of a couple of phone calls before I started to prepare dinner. I tended to the kids while preparing dinner because Daddy was relaxing after being at work all day. I got dinner done, everybody fed, loaded dirty dishes into the dishwasher, washed items that don't go into dishwasher, and then cleaned the kitchen. After Tim finished eating, he went outside to finish up sealing the deck. While he finished that up, I got ready to go walk/run before I went to Zumba.
Again, I realize staining and sealing the deck is hard and messy work. But should that negate the idea that he should make sure the kids get their toys picked up and put away, get ready for bed, and brush their teeth? Before I get home around 9:00 pm? How difficult is that? The Zumba class on Tuesdays and Thursdays do not finish until 8:30. I have yet to come home to kids who are ready for bed and toys picked up/put away on my Zumba nights. Tonight, I went to the Y early so that I could walk/run the track before Zumba. I came home, at 9:00, to the kids glued to the TV, toys strewn around the family room, the kids still in their play clothes. Daddy was sitting on the bed playing on his laptop. At 9:00 pm with kids who are nowhere near ready for bed. Grrrr. I must have said something because Tim gave an excuse that staining and sealing the deck was hard work. Well, so is taking care of kids and a house 24/7. I work hard. I also contribute to the hard work outside when I am able to. And I appreciate that Tim works hard. But gee, could he not take 15 minutes to get the kids to pick up/put away toys, get dressed for bed, and get their teeth brushed? I guess I'll just have to make sure it's all done before I go to Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Then all Daddy will have to do is make sure that the kids are safe.
I am mean, Tim will even tell you. Well, I have to be mean to make sure that my house is not completely destroyed. These kids will wreak havoc without me around as evidenced by this evening. Lately what works when the kids won't pick up their toys is the thread of vacuuming them up. But tonight, I just did not feel like playing that game and after turning off the TV and telling the kids twice to pick up their toys, with Ben just looking at me and smiling and Jackie giving the excuse that she was too tired, well I just had it and picked everything up, put it in a bag, and threw them out onto the front porch with the promise that the toys will never be seen again because I was either going to throw them away or give them away. Ben was very upset and started sobbing hard but if I give in to him, how else is he going to learn that when I say first time obedience, I mean just that. Too tired Jackie moved into action very quickly when she saw me throwing toys into a bag. Apparently, Ben didn't get the memo until it was too late. I love my kids but I am not about to let my children turn my house into a pigsty.
You know, I finally feel motivated and am determined to get back into good physical shape. I really let myself go in this last year and I have never felt good about myself. Now that I have been enjoying Zumba for the past few months and then recently started physical training, I am feeling much better physically and mentally and I am feeling more confident. This has been my outlet, as much as it is hard work. Tim works hard and is studying for his MBA. He also has an outlet, actually more than one. He mostly does his dirt bike thing but he also enjoys fishing and going to some of the shows around here. He knows what he enjoys and he pursues it and I don't stop him. I, on the other hand, have not had a hobby or outlet for several years since we've had our kids. I am primarily a stay-at-home mother, taking care of the kids 24/7, taking care of the household matters, taking the kids (especially Jackie) to their various appointments. I am a busy person but during my down time, I had no particular outlet. So now that I am in a fitness routine, the least I expect is that Tim would take 15-20 minutes to just get the kids ready for bed and get them to pick up after themselves. That's all I ask. Is it really too much? Do I expect too much? There is no way I am going to quit my goal of getting into and staying in good shape on account of that.
Okay, rant over. Now if only Tim would get the memo that getting the kids all riled up while I'm getting the kids ready for bed (on my nights of no Zumba), then maybe, just maybe I won't be so mean in the future. Yes, he will occasionally decide that it's time to play just as I'm getting the kids into bed.

Jackie's New Room

Okay, so I finally painted Jackie's bedroom. Poor thing, she's been begging me to paint it pink for only the past 10 months. I just kept putting it off. It's not the actual painting that I don't like, it's the priming, the taping, preparing everything. So, after feeling guilty Sunday night because Ben got a new bedroom set, I woke up Monday morning determined to make it right by my daughter. I was sore as ever from the training session on Saturday but I had to make my daughter feel like she was special, too. As you might recall from the previous post, Jackie thought Ben's new room was so special.I gathered all the supplies and I set to work. Because I did not want to move everything out of the bedroom, I decided to do the painting in sections. After moving the dresser away from the wall, I got to work priming the first two of the four walls. The previous color was a dark olive green. Now that might sound not so pretty but it was actually a nice color. But Jackie wants a princess room. Because of the dark color already on the wall, it took 2 coats of primer and then 2 coats of paint to adequately cover up the dark paint. After finishing the first 2 walls, I enlisted Tim's help to help me move the bed over so that I could finish the 2 remaining walls.
Now one thing I highly discourage is having not only your own 2 kids but the neighbor kid over. I think it took me twice as long to finish painting Jackie's room because between all the bickering, catering to their needs, serving lunch, kicking them out of the room while I painted, I'm amazed that I even got anything done. Plus, I was still quite sore from my tortuous training session on Saturday. In the middle of all of the kid stuff, the neighbor girl, T, recognized Jackie's shorts as a pair that her mom had given Jackie because T grew out of them. T then somehow managed to wrangle the shorts from Jackie plus the shirt that Jackie was wearing and before I realized what had happened, T was running around in the backyard with Ben in these too small clothes that Jackie had been wearing and Jackie was inside crying and near naked because T took her clothes. I can laugh about it now but at the time, I was getting a bit irritated because this was just another setback to delay completing Jackie's room. Later on, the kids settled on the couch to watch some kid TV and Ben settled into T's lap. Suddenly I heard Ben squeal, much like he does when he's mad or irritated. As I came out of Jackie's room, I saw Ben stomp to his room whining and I watched as he walked to the edge of his bed and laid his head down on the bed. At first, I thought he was just having one of his little tantrums and that he would soon join Jackie and T again. But when I looked in on him a few minutes later, Ben was still in the same position and upon closer inspection, I discovered that he had fallen asleep. Ben put himself down for a nap, albeit half-standing.Later in the afternoon, Jackie was invited to spend the night with T which I thought was a great idea because then I could finally get everything done. It was glorious. But Jackie was so excited about her new room and kept telling T's mom, Cindy, how much she missed me. After I finished painting and I let the paint dry, I moved the furniture back in place. I moved the large armoire that had been in Ben's room (see previous post) into Jackie's room. It fit perfectly. I then worked a little on organizing keeper items and throwing away the junk. As soon as I woke up this morning, I got to work setting up the bookshelf again and putting the books back on it. I also reorganized the closet a bit. I do need to finish painting the closet trim and inside the closet but I'll get that done another time. I organized Jackie's games and puzzles inside the armoire. Just as with Ben's room, I am amazed at how well I was able to get everything to fit nicely in Jackie's room and the furniture is much larger than Ben's furniture. I still need to hang a couple of small white shelves on the walls. I also need to enlist Jackie's help in picking out a girly bedding set. The room is going to look really cute once I'm done with everything. Now on to my rant post next.

Ben's New Bedroom Set

Ben got a new bedroom set. Actually, it's a gently used set that I bought from a neighbor who was moving to a new house. The neighbor delivered it on Sunday evening and I immediately got to work setting it up. It's really cute and includes the bed, armoire, dresser, nightstand, bedding set, lamp, and all the decor. The theme is transportation which, as it turns out, was already the going theme in Ben's room. I got everything set up by myself. Are you proud? Thank goodness for those foam moving things that make it easier to move furniture. I even moved all the "old" furniture out by myself. I moved the smaller dresser into my bedroom and the large armoire into the foyer temporarily with plans to move it into Jackie's bedroom. Since I'm not quite ready to put Ben into a regular bed, my original plan was to store the new twin bed in the basement. But then I thought it would be nice to have the bed set up. That way, in case of company, Jackie can sleep on Ben's twin bed and then her bed can be used by guests since it is a queen size. I was very surprised at how well everything fit nicely in Ben's room. I put the nightstand in Ben's closet for now and I placed his toddler bed right next to the twin bed. The drawback to that is that Ben is using the twin bed to jump down onto his toddler bed. He loves to jump. And climb. I might be ready to move Ben out of the toddler bed by the end of summer.
Ben was so excited about all the new stuff but I think Jackie was even more excited. Jackie kept exclaiming, "I really like this room, it's so special." I quickly realized that Jackie must have been feeling somewhat left out. After all, I've been promising to paint her room pink for the past 10 months. I was feeling quite guilty. That's a story for the next post.