Thursday, March 18, 2004

I have left this blog inactive for too long and I do need to stop and smell the roses!

Things to be grateful for:

1. At least the temperature got to be over 40 degrees today! And the sun peeked through a couple of times.
2. Having lunch with three dear friends
3. Cuddles from Saskia
4. Rick's undying support and love
5. Life!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The 14th already! Saskia's birthday on the 11th was great, with a party at Build a Bear with 13 girls in all. Everyone made a black bear. After the party everyone got ice cream at Haagen Dasz and then we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe at the mall as a family, with my dad and one of Saskia's friends.

Yesterday we went out to Middleburg to cut our Christmas tree. It was a fun drive and, although the selection was bad, we did find a tree. A Scotch pine with long needles, not what Kai, Saskia and I had hoped for, but it looks nice and smells great.

Things to be grateful for:
1. Eating dinner at an upscale restaurant tonight (Serbian Crown) and have a great time with all 3 kids. Saskia tried French onion soup and liked it and Kai tried smoked salmon. We had a genuinely nice time talking with the kids and enjoying each other.
2. Going out with Rick for his office's Christmas party last night in full ornate: full length silver dress and he wore a tux. The party was nice, but the walk around the National Christmas tree was (like in the commercial ;)) priceless! What a sight I must have made with my red ski jacket over a silver full length skirt!
3. Kai and Katja team babysitting for friends last night. I'm so proud of my kids I'm just about bursting :).
4. The Christmas season and the family togetherness it brings. Saskia and I were exhausted from all the business of the weekend this afternoon and took a nap together. Having that little body asleep in my arms is heaven, I realize just how short the time is she'll be little anymore.
5. The cats swatting at the ornaments in the tree. They are an endless source of entertainment and they don't know what to make of all the glitter and in Sushi's case, the eggnog tastes great when it's not supervised :-O!

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Man, the days fly by! I'm preparing for our St. Nicolas celebration tomorrow night, though I hope we'll be able to have it, as there is snow in the forecast! I can't believe it, two years in a row, the first snowfall on the 5th of December! Last year we had to postpone, I hope that won't be necessary this time.

Our friends Chuck, Christine and Mallory are coming, Mallory was sick with strep today, but started her antibiotics this morning, so she should be fine tomorrow night. My dad is coming too. We're giving everyone one gift with a poem and I ordered a bunch of special St. Nicolas candy.

Today and the past few days, I primarily worked on decorating the house for Christmas and writing and sending out Christmas cards. I finished both of those things today. The house looks great, if I say so myself!

Five things I'm grateful for today:
1. Saskia's supercute little voice, telling the girl that lost her arm to a shark attack surfed again today (her jazz teacher told her)
2. Ok, this is a selfish one, I realize, but Katja came home with menstrual cramps so I allowed her to cancel her math tutoring, allowing for a break for both of us (usually Thursdays are crazy with tutoring at 3:30 and dance at 4:30)
3. Kai's popularity with the boys in the neighborhood! I can't imagine I was ever worried about his social skills! He has at least one friend over every day, but usually more than one.
4. Rick and his always sunny disposition.
5. Brynna, happily asleep at my feet, keeping them warm in the cold.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Since I've been keeping a Dutch blog as well, it's been difficult to keep up with both, but today I feel I kind of miss blogging on a more personal level. The other blog is more meant to tell Dutch speaking people about our lives here. I'd like to use this blog a little more for personal thoughts, like my 5 things to be grateful for.

So, I'm starting right now:
1. the SUN! I'm so glad to be living in a climate, where cloud cover hardly ever lasts longer than a day.
2. The month of December, for some reason I am *really* looking forward to the holidays this year.
3. Our fortune, the kids took Angels off the Salvation Army tree this weekend and we're going to shop for them this afternoon. Seeing the simple wishes of those kids makes me realize how much we have to be grateful for.
4. Spending 4 fun days together with the family over Thanksgiving made it hard to start the school/workweek again, but also made me realize what a fun family we have, just the 5 of us.
5. The realization at Thanksgiving dinner that our lives are darn near perfect (the pessimist in me keeps worrying something is going to happen that will wipe the happiness away in one sweep, though :().

Friday, October 24, 2003

Well, we had quite the evening Wednesday night! Katja talks a lot on Instant Messenger, especially AIM from AOL, for which we have set strict rules: only people you know personally and have met, no going to chatrooms etc and I regularly check her buddy lists. Unfortunately, yesterday, she broke those rules and added a guy who’s supposedly a friend of a friend to her list. And then proceeded to give him her password to her Yahoo login. Needless to say, she’s offline in her room now.

However, the guy decided to contact me on my account with an age/sex check and I thought it was Katja at first (though weird behavior for her). When we both realized who the other was or was not in my case, he proceeded to write threats of rape and a bullet through my head.
So, I called the police. They sent out an officer, who thankfully really made sure Katja was aware of how dangerous what she had done is. She created a case and said a detective would be on it. I don’t know how far they’ll take it, but I’m glad they took it seriously.

We also wrote the Yahoo abuse address, hopefully they’ll work on it too. I have to say that in six years daily Internet usage nothing like this has ever happened and it’s very scary when the words come across your screen!
Katja is definitely a child who needs to feel before she believes and it’s always worried me about her. I hope this sends a strong message to her, that all our warnings aren’t so ridiculous as she thinks.

I have to admit, I feel like all my time is being consumed parenting my daughters these days. It’s exhausting! I’m almost wishing I only had boys (my sister has similar trouble with her stepson, but somehow it feels less scary with a boy, is that sexist of me or what?).
The guy had been very sexually explicit with Katja too, so yesterday we basically talked about what is or is not appropriate to talk about with boys and how we need to be our bodies’ protectors etc. Sigh!

This morning a detective from the police department came by to pick up the chats between Katja and “Chris” and asked if he could come by to talk to us and Katja this evening.

When he arrived tonight, he first said that his hunch was, that this was someone Katja knew, but after talking to her, he was convinced it’s not. He talked to her for a long time and Katja said he was quite stern with her (yay!). He told her about some of his experiences with this that didn’t end so well.

He took her computer with him to be analyzed and is subpoena-ing AOL and Yahoo for information on that screenname. He says it can take a few months. If it is an adult posing as a teen, the FBI will get involved. If it’s indeed a 16 year old boy, the local police and his parents will be informed.

I also took Kai and Saskia to the eye doctor and Kai turns out to need glasses, about which he was quite upset. Saskia’s eyes are still fine, but he said the readings were thus, that she probably would need correction at some point as well. None of the kids inherited Rick’s excellent eye sight, unfortunately. I did find out that Kai is not colorblind like Rick, because that gene is passed on by the mother. The girls however have a 50 percent chance of passing the gene to an eventual son.

And with all that, we painted our bathroom peach and have started on the kids’ bathroom, a bright sea green, we’ll finish that tomorrow.
Phew, I’m exhausted!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I painted all day today and it looks great! I painted the area around the tv and fireplace in the family room dark blue. Saturday, if it works out, Rick and I will paint the rest of the walls there a lighter blue.

And Dina, our housekeeper, and I painted the powder room pueblo rose and aztec dawn (rosy brown and ochre yellow). Beautiful!

It's finally really fall here, cool and crisp. The leaves are turning nicely too. So I'm hoping to go for walks with Brynna and take pictures.

This afternoon, Saskia's teacher called. Saskia's been easily distracted and a little insolent in class. Her teacher is the sweetest lady! She was worried about Saskia and therefore called. We brainstormed and are going to try a snack in the morning, as Saskia is very susceptible to mood changes when she's hungry and she's not a big breakfast eater.

Tonight was the ice cream social at school and Rick went with the kids. It's too cold outside for me. I'm exhausted, I'm going to bed after this, yay!

I'm uploading some pics of our paintwork:

Saturday, October 18, 2003

This is becoming kind of a weekly update, I guess. The past week was nice, as it was rather "normal". I feel we finally got back into a schedule (makes me wonder when the next disruption will be ;)).

I got a boatload of things done, like getting the car cleaned inside and out, which was long, long overdue. I got my hair cut in a way that I really like. And all 3 kids are set for winterclothes.

I also selected paint for our family, which I'd like to paint blue with white trim.