Saturday, June 15, 2002

Here I am, mom of a 7th grader, 5th grader and first grader. Sniff!! They're growing up too fast! Yesterday, Rick, Saskia, my mom and I were at the school at 9am to witness the 6th grade commencement. It was an emotional 2 hours, several kids got awards, they all got special mentions (Katja got her award on Thursday, for being a member of the elementary/middle and high school coalition, that works to improve communication between the different schools and the community).

Then, after all the speeches by the teachers, a group of girls got up on the stage and sang the song "One Candle". Katja started it out in a duet with a classmate. They sang beautifully! Katja can sing really well and she now regrets not choosing choir for an elective in 7th grade. She chose band instead.

At 11:10am, school was dismissed for the summer. It was raining so I ran to get the kids with several umbrellas. We looked at the report cards, which were excellent for both kids. Katja suddenly got a little bit of a sad spell, as she was realizing, that she had just said goodbye to her familiar school and also to some of her schoolfriends, who are going to a different middle school.

So, we reminisced about her babyhood and I made her laugh, by recalling how she once had such an explosive poop, that she pooped on the lampshade across the room! And how her dad was once flying her over his head, singing "Babies in space" and he got the whole last feeding in his face!

That brightened our moods and she called her friend Meghan to go to the ice cream party at the pool (even though it was raining, the kids still loved going and there is something special about swimming in the rain (all according to them, of course, I chatted under the overhanging with my neighbor)).

After the ice cream party, we went home until Rick came home and then we went off to dinner at Chili's. They have the great boneless chicken wings!! Very spicy, but all the kids liked them, I was amazed!

Next on the agenda was the Scooby Doo movie. Wow, what a change, after watching the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood the night before! This was definitely a kid's movie! I'm glad it lasted just an hour and a half, as it was super silly and couldn't exactly hold me interest. The kids loved it though, and that was the aim. Rowan Atkinson talks quite a lot in the movie, which was interesting to me, as I always watched him as the taciturn Mr. Bean.

Katja and Meghan had a sleepover last night, to end a wonderful day.

This morning at 8am, Brynna started peeping to go out. I was so thankful to Rick for getting up! I really wanted to sleep in, selfishly. But at 8:15, I heard a little voice next to me ask "Mommy?". And as I groaned, she said: "Oh good, I wanted to see if you were still there" 5 minutes later "Mommy?" "" "Where is Daddy?" "He's downstairs". And off she went downstairs. The older kids didn't get up until 10!

After a very healthy (ahem) breakfast of Dunkin Donuts at the request of the graduates (yes, they're milking it for all it's worth!), Saskia and I went off to the gym. I did a HIT training again, 20 minutes high heart rate on the stair stepper, then lower body weights, then another 20 minutes high heart rate on the stairmaster, then upper body, 10 minutes high intensity on the cross trainer, abs and done.

We quickly ate lunch at home and then the kids and I took off for the mall, to shop for Father's Day and graduation gifts. Katja selected a pretty silver locket for her graduation gift. I like that, as it will remind her of when she got it for years to come. I also selected my sister's birthday gift, but I'm not writing here what it is, as she reads this blog ;). I'm excited about it though!

For my dad, I selected a 6 in 1 tool from Brookstone's. The same for Rick, hopefully he'll like it. The kids will give him an X-Box game and a Star Wars II audiobook, that they can all listen to on their way to Michigan in 2 weeks. For a treat for the kids, I got Dippin' Dots ice cream for them. It's really cool, little balls of ice cream in different flavors.

Three hours later, we came home with lots of bags. I also got Rick his favorite breakfast for tomorrow: Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Yummy!!!

Things that made me (very) happy:

1. Without a doubt: When Katja said to me in the car "Mommy, don't tell Leah, but she's not my best friend", surprised I said "Oh? Then who is?" and she answered "You"!
2. The other two children chiming in, Saskia that not only I am her best friend, but also her Daddy :). And Kai saying, that I'm definitely his favorite female person :).
3. Giving Rick an afternoon without the kids for a change. He usually "takes" them, to give me some time alone and now he had it
4. Simply looking at the kids, as they were with me at the mall and marveling at their beautiful little faces and wonderful characters.
5. Feeling so connected, not just with the kids and Rick, but also with my sister and brother(s) and friends

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Ok, as final deed of the night, the update of my blog. My eye still hurts, but the drops seem to be working, it's no longer red. Still I'm spooked by the thought a cornea eating bacteria lurks in there !

This morning, I talked to my dad about my mom and we had a good talk. Then I talked to Christine and then realized, that I still had a very quiet 6 year old sitting in the room, who had to go to school. So I got her to school way late, at 9:20! It was good though, as I got to talk to her teacher and found out she will not be in the same group as her best friend for summer camp :(. Initially, I was upset about that, but the teacher explained about the group dynamics and that she had placed Saskia with her other best friend. The other girl will still join them in the afternoons. Next year, they'll be in different schools, but they live close by, so I hope their friendship will last, just like Kai's and Austin's friendships lasted 5 years beyond Appletree already.

At 9:30, I checked into Katja and Kai's school for the awards assembly. This was the first time (I know, shame on me), that I attended an awards assembly. I was up for an award myself, for the art teaching I did this year and both kids had told me I should come to claim it. So I did. And boy, was I glad! My little boy got awarded a certificate because he won a math contest!!! And my big girl got awarded a certificate because of her participation in a coalition between the elementary, middle and high schools in the area. Their proud faces made my mother heart soar!

After the assembly, I went to the gym, where I met Christine and we did a HIT training (High Intensity Training) and some weights. My mom was there too and we discussed Katja's graduation. I'd better get my emotions in check, as I had some trouble today at the assembly already, containing my tears. Kids are so wonderful!

Christine and I treated ourselves to a nice lunch at Artie's after the workout (we ate at 2pm!). Today was the first rainy day in weeks, if not months. I hope it alleviated the drought somewhat, the torrential rains this afternoon certainly alluded to that!

I felt like a bad parent, when I had planned to pick Katja and Kai up from school to prevent them getting soaked in the rain. But time got away from me and they came home walking. Thank goodness it's a warm rain and actually pretty exciting to walk through, after weeks of sunshine, heat and drought.

At 6pm, my friend Jaimie came to pick me up for our girls night out. We first had some appetizers at the Blue Iguana and then made our way to the theatre, to watch "The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood". Wah, it's a tearjerker! But a very good movie. Now I still need to read the book.

My happiness moments today:
1. My son walking up proudly to accept his math award
2. Katja sticking up her thumb at me, when my name was called
3. Katja's name being called, my sweet girl standing there proudly
4. Reading Saskia's report card and the comments by her teacher, the teacher wrote "she makes my every day". It brings tears to my eyes!
5. Rick's smiling face when he opened the door when I came home tonight.

I feel blessed!

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Ack, I really meant to post last night, but I've been so tired, I haven't had the energy. Yesterday, after my workout, I suddenly felt I wasn't paying enough attention to Kai (I get that way sometimes, as he's just so sweet and very quiet and the girls seem to take all the attention). So I made my way over to the school and joined him for lunch. We discussed things we wanted to do together this summer, like going to the Air and Space Museum, as Katja doesn't like that museum much.

After lunch (well, I snacked some of his chicken nuggets (which were great and not greasy, I was very surprised!)), I took down the art from the artshow last week and put it back in everyone's folders and handed the folders to the teachers, so the kids could take them home. Phew! All of Artsmart is done for the year.

I just had about a half hour to eat a real lunch, before I had to pick Saskia up from school to take her for her checkup at the pediatrician. I had found out beforehand, that she didn't need any shots, as she always wants to be prepared. We saw my favorite female doctor there (well, actually, she's a nurse practitioner, but absolutely great!).

Saskia is doing great, her eyes and ears are fine, she has a large vocabulary for her age (according to the NP) and she is petite (44 1/3 inch, 15%), but dense (48 lbs, 55% for weight), which is all muscle as you'd judge her to be at least 10 lbs lighter by looking at her.

On the way home, I remembered I had signed up to make dinner for the family of one of Katja's classmates, whose mother is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. I decided to make my crockpot taco soup, with vegetarian beef and cheese and tortillas. So we stopped at Safeway for groceries.

The weather has been scorching hot, heat advisories for both yesterday and today and yesterday there was a Code Red ozone alert. Today it was orange.

But it was so hot and Saskia really wanted to swim, so we ignored the warning and she had a nice swim with some friends, while I was sweating on the side, as I didn't want to get wet. I had to go chaperone Katja's 6th grade party at 6pm and didn't have time to get wet and then get myself all dry again.

The 6th grade party was a beach party. Very fun! Lots of food for the kids, with pizza for the highlight. They played volleyball with a beach ball and basketball. One of the parents had filled a babybath with strong bubblesolution and a hula hoop and the kids could stand in it and have a big bubble pulled around them. And 2 older siblings played dj and did the Limbo. At 8:30, tired and sweaty kids (and parents!) went home.

This morning, I woke up with pain in my eye, even before I opened my eyes. When I looked in the mirror, my eye was half shut and bloodshot. Uh oh, eye infection! Since I wear contacts and have had a bad infection before, this was a huge red flag. So I called the ophthalmologist and made an appointment for 1pm.

I had a good workout with Mimi, I'm finally feeling my strength return again, thank goodness! I hate aching and tiredness, as I never know if I should worry about them or not. So now that it's going better, I'm relaxing a bit.

At 12pm I had an appointment for a house cleaning service guy to come and tell me how much it would cost to have the house cleaned. I just can't keep up with it myself and so now they'll come every other week. What luxury! I can't wait!

The eye doctor did indeed diagnose a bacterial infection and I'm glad I pushed for an appointment today, as she told me just waiting 24 hours would have been dangerous to my eye sight. Yikes! So I have antibiotic drops and have to come back in a week. It's an annoying infection, because the pain makes me feel like I have a sinus infection. Hopefully the drops will help soon.

While waiting for the drops to be ready, I bought the kids and Rick cute "I love you" cards, it was fun to give them and they liked getting them.

When Katja and Kai got home, we set off to deliver the meal for the Katja's classmate's family and then off to the mall. Katja needed neat clothes for her graduation ceremony on Friday and Kai's shoes were literally falling apart. Katja ended up buying a pretty skirt and shirt at Express (we should buy stock in that company!!!) and we bought a bunch of shoes at Payless (also swimshoes, as I worry they'll be sold out when we need them for the beach). Then Katja was thirsty, so we got a drink and some (delicious!) cookies at Mrs. Fields and Kai found a pack of his favorite trading cards at Dapy

Then it was finally time to go home.
And now the things that made me happy:
1. Hearing that my sister's best friend is going to have identical twin boys. How exciting!
2. Knowing that we'll see my sister and her family twice this summer, as we've decided to go celebrate her 30th birthday with them and they're coming the end of July.
3. Walking in the mall with my two oldest kids and just enjoying them tremendously.
4. Talking to Christine on the phone and just feeling wonderful at having found such a great friend.
5. To be alive!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Oops, I forgot the things that made me happy (I'll add new one's tonight, so these are for yesterday):
1. Seeing Saskia and her friend giggling and having a wonderful time at the pool.
2. Seeing Katja's huge smile as I complimented her on how well she was able to brake while skating, it's something she's been working on.
3. Chatting with Kai about his new collector's card game and seeing how he's totally into it.
4. Having a super supportive and loving husband.
5. Watching an oriole fly across the street and being awed together with the kids about its beauty.
Oh my, before I know it, it's Tuesday! We had a very nice weekend, my brother and sister in law, my 5 year old nephew and 18 months old niece from Ottawa came to visit my parents. It was my mom's 62nd birthday on Saturday.

On Saturday I worked out with Katja. It's so much fun to have a daughter old enough to do such things with! I was proud of her, as she ran at a pace of 6.5 miles an hour for quite a few minutes. And we laugh a lot as we're tossing the weighted balls at each other. And then we were trying to hold a ball against the wall, while the other tried to pry it loose, great game and good for the quads!

Then off to pick up the ice cream cake I'd ordered for my mom's birthday. It turned out really nice and the flavor, multi-colored sherbet, was great! We had it for dessert, after a nice barbeque chicken dinner my dad cooked.

On Sunday, my nephew Sandy came over to play with Saskia and I took the kids to the pool. Sandy loved it and he and Kai built a sand castle in the volleyball sand as well.
Around 3 the whole family came over and it was our turn to cook dinner. Nice steaks and fruit pies for dessert from Pie Gourmet .

Yesterday was a scorching day and it actually felt really nice to go to the ice arena for Katja's skating lesson. She is doing really well and is enjoying herself clearly.
After I picked Saskia up from school, we took a friend of hers with us to the pool, where everyone played and giggled, until the whistle went off. Everyone had to leave the pool, as there was "fecal matter" found in the main pool (poop, in other words). This apparently was the second time in a week this happened, so now the research needs to start as to who might be doing this. Yuck!!! When this happens, the pool needs to close for 2 hours for sanitation and so it was effectively closed for the night.

At least I didn't have to fight to get the kids to go home ;).