Thursday, June 20, 2002

Never came back here yesterday, we got home too late from a wonderful dinner at Chuck and Christine's. They were showing us their new grill and boy, did it turn out some wonderful steaks!

This morning we had to get up "early" (ok, before 8, bummer!) because the airconditioning guy came. Rick stayed home to work here and I went off to the gym.

It was kind of an uneventful day (yay!), though I still felt I was on the go all the time. I got snacks for tomorrow's drive at Shopper's Food Warehouse. I'm one day going to take my camera and take a picture of just the cereal aisle there. I can't believe how many different kinds of cereal exist in this world!! I'll bet one could eat a different cereal for two months and still not have run out of choices.

I got in touch with my massage therapist and the reason she didn't come yesterday *was* a scary one, strange, I had a feeling that it would be. Her mother tried to commit suicide and is in Intensive Care now. Yuck! That's so scary!

After I got home, Rick and I took his car to Maaco, since he wants it repainted before he sells it. Then we went on a wild goose chase for Kai, to find Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, which are so popular, they're sold out everywhere. We went to 3 CVS's and one Seven Eleven. Then to Blockbuster's to get video's for the trip to Massachusetts tomorrow. We got 12 videos! That should keep everyone entertained. I myself can't wait to watch "The Gods Must Be Crazy" again.

In the times that I was home today, I created 4 new photo albums on Webshots. One about Washington DC, and another about Washington DC, a third about other US and Canadian cities and one with nature pictures, all these pictures were taken by me (just in case anyone doubts that ;)).

Finally, we went to the swimming pool with the Fitzpatricks and ordered pizza there. A fun end to a relatively quiet day.

For a chance, things that made Kai happy today (he's sitting next to me while I'm writing this blog):
1. I got a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards
2. Playing with my friend Martin almost the entire day

He can't think of any more, so I'll fill up the other 3:
1. Having a nice warm boy body sitting here next to me (well, it's warm outside too, but still, nice)
2. Feeling the hot sun on me this morning when I first stepped outside and looking at the colors that were so clear and crisp
3. All the smiles, friendly hi's and have a nice day wishes I heard today

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

I have to make a mid day entry today, as I'm sure I'll forget what I wanted to write later.

I'm starting with my very bizarre dream (nightmare, really). It was one of those dreams that kept continuing, even after going to the bathroom and waking up for a short time. I had spent most of last night reading up on email messages and read several about people who were having trouble with their moms (like me!). So I think partly this dream was caused by that, as I'm having a really difficult time accepting that my mom has just simply decided to leave us all and move back to Holland. And I'm also still feeling resentment about giving up my Dutch citizenship to make sure my parents could stay here and not 2 years later, she's leaving.

Anyway, the dream started with us living in a war. I have no idea with whom we were at war, it never became clear. But all non-US citizens were being called up to be put to death by lethal injection. The dream started on Tuesday and my mom was scheduled to die on Thursday. All very weird. I kept on wondering why my parents and not me. And then it came to me, I was a US citizen en they weren't. I dreamed all the way through Thursday, so my mom was put to death, or so I assumed in my dream. But I didn't want to go look (for some weird reason, the bodies were kept in kind of locker rooms). I kept telling myself I'd be fine without my parents, because what could I do to prevent all this? Nothing. I had the same powerless feeling I have now sometimes, when I think of her spending the rest of her life that far away from us. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well last night.

On to a more cheerful topic: my conversation with Kai this morning. Kai sometimes doesn't like to talk, especially not in the morning. So I was trying to talk to him about going to the gym or staying home (he doesn't like either, really). He got annoyed at my insistence to talk, but then answered my questions.
I asked him why he was so ornery. He had a sleepover with his friend Martin last night and he gloomily told me, that Martin had awakened at 7am this morning and had started chatting with Kai. Kai told me, very disgruntled, that Martin was born with talking genes and that Kai just wasn't going to have another sleepover with him, as Kai was not ready for talking genes at 7am. I had to do everything to keep from bursting out with laughter. The way he said that!

One last thing I want to write about this afternoon. I have some time as for some reason my massage therapist didn't show up, she was supposed to be here at 12n. I worry now as last week she was complaining of chest pains and it's so not like her to just not show. I worry something serious is wrong with her and I wouldn't even know who to contact to find out, as she lives alone. Hopefully she'll call later and she'll just have misscheduled or something.

Ok, to the topic: I have started re-reading "Giving the Love that Heals" by Harville Hendrix. Since things have deteriorated with my mom, I need the reassurance of the "intentional dialogue" described in the book, to communicate well with the kids. I *do not* want to communicate like my mom and I know there is always a real risk of that.

The book's description of intentional dialogue is very appealing to me and it gives many good examples. Intentional dialogue (what the authors call conscious parenting) requires 3 actions on the part of the parent (and later also the child).

1. Mirroring: listening well and periodically checking if the message is understood
2. Validating: showing respect for the other's feelings, showing them you understand why they might feel this way (note: this does not mean agreeing with them, but it does mean showing they're allowed to have their feelings and thoughts, even if they differ drastically from yours)
3. Empathizing: showing you understand their feelings

Having these 3 elements in my discussions with the kids has really helped me. Sometimes I slack off and then I have to re-read as I'm doing now. The reason I'm writing it down here is so I can quickly grab back to it when needed.

This method, by the way, is also good to use with partners and others in our lives. The therapy is called Imago Therapy.

More later.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

It is really nice to not have to rush out of bed to get kids off to school! We lounged until 8am this morning (except for poor Rick, who did need to go to work). Katja and Leah had a sleepover and they stayed in bed longer. Kai did get up with us, but refused to go to the gym with me, choosing instead to stay with the girls.

I took Saskia to camp, which she loves so much, she went back yesterday after the doctor's! It is really fun, she is in a group called the "Lions" and they play all day, but with themes. They also still practice their numbers and letters in playful ways, so they won't have forgotten much after the summer.

Then I went to the gym, of course. I'm missing Christine this week, as her daughter has swimming lessons. So I brought some reading material and then Ann and Meghan came and we had a nice chat, which always makes the time go by faster.

After a quick shower, I went home and picked up Katja and Kai to take them to lunch at Subway. They have a great low fat menu! (Sorry, Emily, for talking about food again ;), it's a major part of our lives though and I'm not a good cook, unfortunately).

At 2pm, Katja was picked up by my friend Jaimie to go babysit for her little boy. I took the cue and started cleaning the house. I confess, until last week, I had a guy come to clean the house every week. He didn't do a great job, but still, it was better than me having to do it!!! It took me 3 hours to just clean the bathrooms, kitchen and vacuum only the high traffic areas. Of course, when I clean, I do it well, but it was exhausting!

When I was done, I picked up Saskia and we did facepainting in the driveway. Half the neighborhood is walking around with my creations on their faces and hands tonight. I should start charging for it ;).

Kai is having a sleepover with his friend Martin tonight, they're supercute together!

The car is still in the shop, but I'm liking the little Contour we have on loan.

And now it's thundering and lightning outside, yippee! I love thunderstorms!

And I'm happy, because:
1. The house is clean ;)
2. When I looked around the cul de sac this afternoon, I realized how many of our friends live so very close by!
3. I have one husband, 3 kids, 1 dog and 4 cats who are all the very best on the planet!
4. I saw the first Monarch butterfly today
5. The weather here! In Holland they had a short heat wave, but it's cooled off already. Here we're pretty much guaranteed temperatures of 80 and higher. Great!!!

Monday, June 17, 2002

Things that made me happy today:
1. Sitting on the sidewalk in the late afternoon sunshine with Katja, while waiting for Rick to pick us back up
2. Seeing the splinter *out* of Saskia's leg
3. Having Kai say that if he would be stranded on an uninhabited island, he would want me and his dad around most of all
4. Lifting 90 pounds on the leg extension machine and having it feel light!
5. Have Rick tell me I'm a delectable wife :)
Father's Day, yesterday. We're starting a new tradition (or rather, we started it last year) of going to a theme park on Father's Day. Rick is a total theme park fan, so this is a great way to give him a great day. This year, we chose to go to Six Flags America.

But first, we had breakfast in bed: Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and tea and coffee. Plus we gave his presents, which he loved.

At 10, we were in the car to Largo, Maryland. We got to the park at opening and the weather was great, part sunny, part overcast and in the low 80's. We immediately made our way to the back, to the big rollercoasters. Apparently, most people didn't come until after lunch and by 12noon, Kai, Katja and Rick had been in 3 of the 5 rollercoasters. Saskia and I entertained ourselves with some games (and she won a necklace, though she really wanted a stuffed animal, of course).

After a quick lunch, I took Saskia and Kai to a play house, where you could throw foamplastic balls all over and at each other, while Rick and Katja took in yet another roller coaster. I stayed away from the coasters, as I woke up with a painful neck and a headache and I didn't want to aggravate anything.

At 3pm, after the last roller coaster, we drove back home. There I noticed a splinter in Saskia's leg and spent about 1/2 hour to try and get it out. Unfortunately, I didn't succeed, but the nurse at the emergency medical center told me I could wait a day before seeking treatment.

So, off to my parents we went. Gave my dad his gift (a six-in-one tool, which he clearly loved) and then drove to the Melting Pot where we had a great dinner. My mom and I shared the Pacific Rim dinner, with shrimp, steak, duck and potstickers. Very, very tasty. I truly like that restaurant, as it's a nice long, relaxed dinner and the food is great.
This morning I had trouble waking up. My bed was just so nice! The weather has been less hot and that means cooler nights and more comfortable sleep. Well, too comfortable this morning! But at 8, I dragged myself out. I made an appointment for Saskia to be seen by the pediatrician at 11:30.

Then took her to school and went off to the gym. Since last summer, Katja and Kai have been staying home, while I went to the gym, but I still feel ambivalent about it. I call them at least 3 times, much to their dismay ;). Luckily, we live in a street where many people are home during the day, so they know where to go in case of emergency. Still, I always rush through it all and rush back home.

I spent 5 minutes home after working out and then had to pick Saskia up for her doctor's appointment. Unfortunately for her, the splinter was deeply embedded and she needed a numbing shot and then the doctor cut it out. She was a very courageous girl, it really hurt and she cried quite a bit :(, I had her think of something she really wanted, which was a Bratz doll. So, afterwards, I took her to Toys R Us.

Then, rush, rush, back home, feed Saskia and the others lunch (and myself) and then rush off to take Saskia back to summer camp at her own request and Rick and I had to go to a law office to sign the settlement papers for the sale of our first house to the renter we had. It feels good to just own one home, instead of being landlords as well. We hated that job! And she was so excited to own her first home! I feel we really did a good deed on that one!

Quickly back home, pick up Katja for her skating lesson. Rick dropped the two of us off and he went on to the car dealership to drop the van off for service and repair of the recall we recently received.

Then time to pick up Saskia again and phew, the day was over. And I wondered today, when I would experience a "boring" day again. You know, one of those days where you just stay in pajamas and hang around the house and don't have to go anywhere. When? Not in the next 2 weeks!