Friday, July 26, 2002

Yesterday was definitely the clean up day, blech! Loads of laundry, put everything back in its spot (only to be taken out again next week, but never mind that ;)). The weather has been gloomy and dreary and rather chilly (ok, I know that for those reading in Europe, 21 degrees celsius (70 F) is not chilly at all, but if you've been used to 30 degrees plus, it's a change!). This has made me feel achy and tired, so low energy too.

Anyway, to break the cleaning cycle a bit, Kai and I took Brynna for a walk with my friend Claudia, her kids and her dog. There is a new dog park nearby, with hoops, ramps and jumping bars for dogs. Very fun!

Rick got home around 10 pm and we stayed up too late, despite my feeling so tired. I know, I know, I should have gone earlier.

This morning, my brother called at 8. He's an early bird, that one and I was trying hard not to let on that he woke me up. I think he didn't notice this time. We had a nice chat, though.

Then personal training at the gym and a massage here, highly necessary! My mom came over for a diet Pepsi and a chat. And then Katja and I got our nails painted. I had promised her this at graduation and it finally happened. She has a cute design on her big toes. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And we got to watch "Legally blonde", which is truly a fun movie!

And now we're vegging. I'm about to go to bed, as I'm pooped. One can probably tell by my blogs how tired I am, as I have no humor in me when I'm feeling so exhausted. I hate this feeling too! I hope the weather turns warmer again soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Home again! Last night was a tough one. Christine fell asleep very early (ok, compared to midnight!) and the kids all went to bed nicely. So I read a bit and went to sleep. Around 3 am, I had to go to the bathroom and Kai was tossing and turning. I asked him what the problem was and he answered he was cold (very good air conditioning at that hotel!) and didn't have enough covers (his sleeping bad is getting too small). So I gave him my covers (I still had my blanket, but that was kind of thin). Then I kept hearing this thumping and clicking and first I thought it was Katja, but she was fast asleep. Kai too. Then it dawned on me: it was the hermit crabs moving about. So, not able to sleep with that noise, I put the cages in the bathroom.

At 7:45 I woke up. Christine was all packed and ready by that point. My problem is, I wake up in the middle of the night and then I'm tired by the time morning rolls around. I finished up packing and cleaning and we went down for breakfast in the seaside restaurant next door.

I ordered poached eggs and a pancake and everyone else got their order in. Then the waitress alerted us to dolphins playing right off the coast! The kids (and Christine and I) got a great show of dolphins really nearby!! It was so cool!

After breakfast, we quickly loaded up the car and got on our way to Yorktown. We didn't see the camp this time, but had a nice walk through the historical town and one of the houses, where a character actor told the kids all about being a doctor at the time of the Yorktown battle. Very nice!

I wanted to go to the camp as well, but the kids were hungry and we didn't want to risk another meltdown. So, after a stop at the Whitley peanut factory, where I got peanuts, hot sauces, mustard and pretzels etc., we got on the road home.

It took us about 3 1/2 hours from Yorktown, via route 17. A beautiful, very little traveled road. Pretty green woods, large cornfields and quaint towns on the way to I-95. We encountered no traffic the whole way. At 5:30 we rolled into our street.

The kids were happy to see their friends again, Saskia and Mallory immediately ransacked Saskia's room (not too badly though) and Christine and I had a glass of wine and ordered pizza for the bunch. After dinner, we said goodbye to Christine and Mallory and I put in a load of laundry, which is now almost finished. What a wonderful trip we had and what a great way to spend the time our husbands are away from us. This will truly be one of those trips with many happy memories and something that really strengthened the friendship between Christine and me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Well, we left you last on Saturday and here it is Tuesday afternoon! How time flies when one is having fun! The weather greatly improved on Sunday and we spent almost the entire day at the beach and all got the necessary sunburns (though not too bad, considering we were out there from 10am to 4pm!). The water temperature was great and the waves just right. Everyone was very happy.

We picknicked at the beach for lunch and in the evening had a very mediocre dinner at a Mexican restaurant. After that, Christine took the older kids to the mirror maze and Kai got another dragon tattoo on his arm. The girls chose hair wraps, which can stay in for 3 to 6 months!! Right there were some really nice street performers, singing 20's and 30's songs, very fun!

When we got back to the room, we read that there would be fireworks over the ocean at 10pm and we had a great view of them, right from our balcony! It's fun that the city of Virginia Beach puts all that entertainment on. Every month they have a different theme.

Yesterday was another fine, sunny day, but we were so burned from Sunday, that we decided to spend a little less time out on the beach. So, after breakfast, we went to the Virginia Marine Science Museum. There, we petted sting rays, saw penguins being fed and heard a talk about shark and their teeth, they have a huge aquarium with sharks and other big fish. We touched a seastar and a sea urchin and watched the seals play. Lots of fun!

Then we went off the strip to finally find a decent restaurant for lunch and we did find one, the Cobalt Grille!! The moods had turned down again, as everyone was hungry, but the service was great and the food wonderful and those of us who came in grumbling literally left giggling. I have to admit to having had to dig deep into my patience reserves this trip. Especially Saskia can be, um, challenging.

But, happy after a good lunch, we got ready for the beach again and jumped and boogie boarded (Katja and Kai had about an hour's worth of giggling one night, as they were calling them "booger boards") and built sand castles until about 5 pm.

After our showers, we returned to Giovanni's, the restaurant we visited the first night and had another relatively nice dinner there. The kids weren't too hungry and we brought their left over mozzarella sticks and bread to feed to the seagulls on the beach. Those birds are cool! They'll hover and catch bites and some will even fly over and take a piece from our hands.

The tattoo man was there again and this time all of us got a tattoo, I have a pretty little fairy. These "tattoos" are done with henna and supposedly last several weeks, we'll see.

Christine and I stayed up talking till well after midnight, so we got up a little later this morning.

We decided to first go and feed the seagulls our leftovers from last night and then go shopping. BAD decision! That's when the hermit crab adventure started and it ended with 4 hermit crabs in 4 little cages as our travel companions. My kids had been asking about getting one even before we came here, but I tried and tried to bring up excuses: we have 5 pets already, Daddy will get mad at me (he never wants any extra animals) etc. Then, this morning, Kai said he would pay for one with his own money. But I felt badly about that, as he is the one who hasn't been whining for stuff here. So we struck a compromise before going out this morning (or so I thought): we would get 3 hermit crabs, but only one cage. Once at the store though, the question arose: where will it stand so all 3 of us can enjoy them. Visions of stinky hermit crabs in my family room or worse yet, living room, made me decide to get 3 cages anyway (hermit crabs were free with each cage).

Then, of course, Mallory wanted one too, so poor Christine gave in as well. I felt badly about that, as I know she *really* didn't want one. But it is awfully cute how the kids are playing and giggling with their crabs. A lady warned us not to leave them in the hot car, so I guess they'll come and visit Yorktown with us tomorrow.

Next we wiggled the car loose from the very narrow parking lot, where an Aerostar van was parked in a non-spot and therefore I had to maneuver and bent and turn to get out. But I'm proud to say, we departed without a scratch on any vehicle. And that was a true feat!!

After a KFC lunch (coveted by the kids since yesterday afternoon), we went to the beach for about 1 1/2 hours, when the wind sent sand like needles against our skin and the sky became ominously dark. After some deliberation in the room, we decided to get an ice cream at Dairy Queen and then rent one of the family bikes again. This time the six person one was available.

We went the whole length of the boardwalk with it, about 3 miles each way, or so. Very cool! And we scoped out a restaurant for tonight's dinner. Then it's packing for tomorrow. This beach adventure has gone way too quickly! But it sure helped pass the time that Rick's away on his trip. We'll only have about 24 hours before we see him again after we get home. Virginia Beach is close to my favorite beach town on the East Coast. As a matter of fact, at this point, I can't think of a town I like better: the beach is wide and clean, the surf is gentle enough for the kids, the boardwalk is nice and wide and the shopping strip is fun. That and the free nightly entertainment everywhere, makes this a great place to spend a beach week!