Very Happy Janel……


Last night Janel and I had a talk. I already knew her problems (the children).  She had to understand for this vacation, that the children and her were a package deal. She had to play the part of a big sister and not an added headache. However, I do understand her very well. What young person does not want things their way, always?  I often ask for her input. For every country, I’ve asked her for one or two particular sights she would like to see and what she would like to do. She does not always have an opinion. Also the sights, that I’ve picked are often popular for children, teenagers and adults alike. if it were up to her, we would sight see evenings and nights. Then she would sleep during the day. No way!!! That schedule does not work for younger children. She has to unfortunately go with the flow. Every so often Christopher and I will do something  just for her. That ‘s not always easy to do. That usually meant that I would be missing out. That was okay with me. I wanted her to have the best experience.  I don’t doubt that she will come back on her own to these countries. The problem being a teenager (where it is all about ME), the moment is forgotten just as quickly and she is ready to be catered to once again. We can’t possibly just accommodate Janel. You know that would not work.

Originally, we were planning to take the children to the London Zoo  today. After my talk with her last night, N’diaye and I decided to make today about her. I was not able to tell her the plans last night before she fell asleep. She went to bed very early in a funky mood. This morning once I heard her moving in the room, I gave her the news. TODAY WAS ALL ABOUT JANEL. Yes, I know she was behaving like a brat yesterday, but come on…..we’ve all been there as teenagers wanting everything to be about us. She is no different. I always wanted my way. (I did not get my way, but that did not stop me from wanting it). I told her she was going out all day today with N’diaye, Halimah and Hadja on a shopping spree. Her eyes lit up and her body tense wanting to hear more. The ladies were going to cater to her. The children were staying home. This was her time. She asked, “What about you?” I replied, “What about me?” I needed to stay home with both N’diaye’s and  my children in order to give her the day. Christopher and I stayed home with the children. I kid you not….instantly her mood changed. She was all smiles. She moved with purpose. She had energy. My teenager was no longer feeling the affect of a bad cold. Imagine that!!!  She had breakfast. She got dressed quickly. Her strides had flair.  They took a bunch of smiling pictures before leaving. I guarantee you, she will not remember today come tomorrow. You see, in order to make the day about her, I don’t get a chance to window shop. I don’t get to admired all of the things that I can’t afford. Of course, I wanted to go as well. Christopher, blessed his soft heart, insisted that I go also. But I declined. I did not think it was fair to leave him our four children. He would gladly do it. He and I are a team. We do it all together or we don’t do it all.

Around 1:30 pm, we took children to a nearby park with lots of snacks for about two hours. On the way to the park, Noe stepped on a huge pile of dog poop. YUK!!!!!! We were walking and then all of a sudden the smell came out of nowhere. Jibril noticed the poop first. It was not funny at the time. I started to clean his shoe, but then realized it was all over his socks. I always carry baby wipes with me. I would have done it, but you know my loving husband stepped in and patiently cleaned the poop. 25 minutes later, socks in the garbage (had to keep the shoes….lol), we continue our walk to the park. It was just what the doctor ordered…..two hours of complete freeplay. Christopher (the big kid that he is) joined in the fun.

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Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

We’re trying not to make sightseeing for the children an exhausting chore. When they’re too tired, it’s no longer fun and exciting. They’re just whining, are very cranky and have no desire to walk anywhere. So this day (Sunday), we left the apt. around 2 p.m. We ventured out into Barcelona for about 4 hours and walked at our leisure. We had lunch at McDonald’s. Of course we came all the way to Europe for McDonald’s. If that’s what it takes to give me peace with the babies, they will eat that everyday. The rest of us will try the local dishes. I’ve learned over the years to pick my battles. I will not constantly fight Jordan over food. He will eventually learn to appreciate good food……until then, pizza and french fries will do.  We came back home by 6:30 to bathe and rest. There was a big show at the Magic Fountain at night which only happens on Thursday through Sunday. If we missed today, we might not get another chance to see it since we will be leaving on Friday. I will be packing Thursday for our departure early Friday morning. The show started at 9 p.m. and ended at 11. Once again, it was going to be a late night for my children. But it is what it is. You can’t come to Barcelona without seeing the Magic Fountain. It is spectacular!!! You just have to be very careful in the crowd.

See pictures below:

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Placa de Catalunya

We did not just play with the pigeons for the entire afternoon (Sunday).We also visited Placa de Catalunya. We walked all over. We stopped often for the children to play to keep them distracted. They did not get a chance to notice just how far we walked, before taking the metro back. Plaça de Catalunya is a large square in central Barcelona that is generally considered to be both its city centre and the place where the old city and the 19th century-built Eixample meet.

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Bioparco Zoo……..

I was up all night (Thursday) packing for our next move to Barcelona (I’m not done). I finally closed my eyes around 5:50 a.m Friday, only to wake up at 9 am to get children ready for the zoo. As usual, I was very tired. But who goes on vacation to sleep? Today was the children’s day. They’ve been looking forward to the zoo all week. So we had to go. I didn’t mind. I love to see them get excited about things. Ohhhh Boy, did they ever have a good time!!!!! Bioparco Zoo was awesome. It had more than 1000 animals to keep all of our interests. The zoo was not crowded at all, surprisingly. They were able to explore at their leisure. They wanted to touch and see everything. You know they had to chase peacocks, ducks, chicken, butterflies etc…….. Of course we had pizza and ice cream for lunch.  We took a ride on a four wheeled bike from zoo to metro (about 15 minutes). The children were ecstatic. Janel could not stop smiling. She kept saying, “This is really cool!” “Wow!” The bike was just an unexpected surprise. The walk from the zoo to metro was going to be over 50 minutes with three tired children. Christopher and I were tired as well. Between the two of us, we would have to carry the little ones most of the way. So the bike passed by right on time. As parents, you then try to act as if that was the plan all along… NOT!! Today was simply marvelous…..easy ! We still had to have dinner and I needed to organize for our departure.  I tried my hardest to get children in bed by 10:30 p.m. We were flying out to Barcelona the next morning (Saturday).

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Sights to see…….

Hot Day (Tuesday)! Even Hotter Week!!!!  I love the heat. This is just a bit much. We only have a few days to see many sights. That’s not so easy with young children. They have no appreciation for walking in the hot sun. They have even less patience for standing in long lines to see things that they could not comprehend. So we try to shorten the length of our stay in one venue. We also search for grass, shades and a play area to distract them. Christopher is very good at keeping them busy while Janel and I stand in the long lines to explore further. We ate a lot of ice cream once again today. I am not complaining. My recipe for Rome  is lots of ice cream and plenty of water (except if you’re Jordan…..then pizza is a most also).

We had a fantastic day even with the hot sun. Christopher made it clear the night before that his children were not going to be exhausted, cranky and miserable at the end of everyday because I chose to drag them everywhere. I had better pick one or two places at the most to visit per day. We will simply have to come back to Rome (Europe) on our own when the children were in college to explore in depth. He felt that I pushed them too far (in terms of seeing this and that) and kept them out too late on Monday. Both children fell asleep on the bus and we did not bring a stroller for Alex. He reminded me that this vacation was for his babies. He wanted them to enjoy it at their pace. I took several deep breaths and exhale.  I agreed with him.  I don’t want the only memories they take from this beautiful city is the feeling of being tired and miserable.  I erased quite a few things from my Rome to do list.

So…… on the children’s pace, we made it to the Mouth of Truth. That is after we had a leisure breakfast. They played outside. We strolled to catch the bus. No more rushing here and there! (They did not move that much faster anyway) I’ve given up on the idea of needing to see many sights. It was not going to happen. I’m content knowing that we will come back.

We then had a two hour lunch before heading to the Trevi Fountain. That’s a beautiful fountain. Wow! Even with so many visitors, your mind and body felt a sense of tranquility. My children were so excited about the Fountain until they realized they could not touch or play in the water. They had to be satisfied with just looking at it from a distance.


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