Saturday, August 24, 2002

Yesterday my dad took Katja and Kai to a peach and apple orchard in the Shenandoah Valley. They had a blast! They found an orchard owned by a retired army sergeant, who showed them around, let them taste the fruits and they came home with a couple of bags full of wonderful fruit!

Then they went back home with my dad and worked on a toy log cabin with him. Katja did not want to stay there another night, as she was missing her cat Sushi, but Kai did.

I, meanwhile, got Saskia from summercamp and had a delicious school clothes shopping session with her. I have very girly girls, that's for sure and Saskia has a shoe fetish. So we got her 2 pairs of shoes, one with plateau heels and she's very proud of them. We also got some cute outfits, she has good taste! And then we got some Dippin' Dots and she bought a Diva Starz doll from her own saved money. A very nice shopping date with my youngest!

When we were done at the mall, we went to my dad's to pick Katja up. While we were there, Kai convinced Saskia to stay at my dad's as well. I was a little concerned at that, as the past few times she had stayed with my parents, she had cried in the night (and she was concerned about this herself). But the thrill of going to her favorite Mexican restaurant and a walk in the dark with Opa won out anyway. And she did great! Kai shook their bunk bed and kept her a little awake, but otherwise she slept till 8 am when my dad had to wake both of them up, because the cleaning ladies had arrived.

Meanwhile, we took our oldest out to dinner. Katja, Rick and I ate at a nice local restaurant. Katja has a great sense of humor, so we laughed a lot.

This morning, my dad dropped the younger two here around 11am. Christine called to say her daughter has strep, so keeping my fingers crossed my 3 won't get that, as they played with her on Wednesday night. She came over around noon and we went for a 1 hour and 40 minute walk, the weather was humid but nowhere near as hot as it has been.

When we came home, Katja was excited as she finally got her school papers and her supply list. So we went shopping for those, first at Target, which was just about empty and then on to Walmart, where we hit the jackpot, but also the bees' nest of people shopping! We took Katja's friend Meghan along and Saskia played with Meghan's sister in the meantime.

My dad came over for dinner and now we just watched Bedazzled, great movie! Bedtime! (as one of the cats is eating my toes!)

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Wow, two days in a row, I'm getting good at this ;)! We had a nice evening with Christine and Chuck last night, despite their recent terrible losses (Chuck lost his mother and Christine her dad within 7 days). Rick and I got them dinner at Chicken Out and the kids enjoyed themselves and we had dinner and wine (I think I had a smidgeon too much, though!).

Rick disabled all the smokedetectors before we left, so we wouldn't be awakened by them again. I managed to call the manufacturer and the lady asked when was the last time I vacuumed the detectors. Huh? Who thinks of vacuuming their smoke detectors? Certainly not me! I'm not a good housekeeper anyway and that never crossed my mind. So, Rick vacuumed them today and put them back, hopefully they're fine now.

Last night though, we turned in late anyway, all of us, as we got home late and then Saskia had a nightmare around 4:30am and wanted to sleep in our bed (she always sleeps next to me on the floor in a sleeping bag). However, I have a special pillow to help the fibromyalgia pains and Rick likes to sleep on his back, so there is *very* little space in our queen sized bed (we're hoping to upgrade to a king soon). So, the moment Saskia entered the bed, sleep was impossible.

We did get up normal time, but I felt like a truck had run me over! Achy, muscles twitching, headache etc. So, after an hour up and feeding Kai and Saskia breakfast, I went back to bed for an hour and a half. Saskia decided she wanted to stay home from summercamp, fine with me, as I had no energy to take her there. Yuck!

They all played with neighborhood kids while I napped. When I got up, I managed a mini-workout of half an hour on the elliptical machine and then took a shower. Still not feeling much better (and annoyingly nauseous).

Katja got up around noon (it will be tough to get her on the very early middle school schedule next week!) and I made both of us some soup for l(br)unch.

Then Saskia was invited to go to the pool with our friends, thankfully, as she was getting restless. And Katja had an eye doctor appointment (her eyes got much worse in 6 months! Scary! According to the doctor that happens when they have a growth spurt. Katja has had it happen several times already).

Kai is into this strategy game from England, Warhammer 40000 and we went on a wild goose chase for a small game shop that sold just the pieces he needed to go on. The shop was manned by a very obese man in a wheelchair, somewhat grumpy. He was able to walk some with a cane and tapped the cost of Kai's purchase in with it. It was kind of an unusual experience, frankly, hard to describe in words. He had a tape playing which described in very graphic detail the killing of Mussolini. I wasn't particularly interested in hearing that, but the volume was up so loud, there was no choice. And he never turned it down to talk to us. Just an unsettling experience.

Tonight, Kai and Katja are staying with my dad and spending the day with him tomorrow. So we just have Saskia. Hopefully she won't be plagued by any nightmares tonight and we'll be able to sleep through as all 3 of us are exhausted!

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I'm updating quickly, just before I'm off to the mall with Katja for a second round of school clothes shopping. The first round she did with her friend and I'm not too happy about her choices. They're cute, but way to skimpy for school. She has a voluptuous figure and is only 12, so I don't see the need for "sexy" clothes. Neither does she, necessarily, but she buys what looks nice, without thought of 14 year old hormonal boys. On the other hand, they're nice feminine clothes, so we'll keep them for non-school purposes. For school we'll have to find a nun habit ;) ;).

Kai is at the mall as we speak, as he was with me on Monday afternoon and we found out, that the Game Keeper holds role playing games for boys his age on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 12 to 5. In order to participate, he has to paint miniature fantasy figures and he's loving it. I'm very curious to see if he enjoyed playing the game too.

Yesterday afternoon, I took Katja, Kai and Meghan, Katja's friend to downtown DC. We took Metro and went to the Natural History museum. Our goal was to see the T-Rex IMAX, but we were just too late. So, we saw Everest instead. Wow, that was an impressive movie! I don't know how people can continually risk their lives scaling those mountains! The kids were also duly impressed and we chatted about it the whole way home. While they were doing the expedition for the film, one man died, whose wife was 7 months pregnant. If Rick went to climb a mountain when I was 7 months pregnant, I would be quite upset! It really must be in these people's blood.

Of course there is plenty to see at the Museum and we had an hour before the movie. But the Immersion Theater production "Sharks" was intreguing us, so we got tickets. It was fun! It's an interactive game about the food chain in the oceans. Educative for the kids too.

We also saw the Dinotopia exhibit. How the series was made and lots of drawings and paintings by James Gurney, the creator. I love his art! It's so bright and colorful and full of fantasy.

Of course we missed a lot, I'd like to see the Viking exhibit next and the El Nino one. I may just have to go without the kids one time, as we always seem to end up in the same places: gems, insects and dinosaurs.

It was clear the tourist season is over, as it was not crowded at all! When we were on our way home, all 4 of us agreed, that an outing to Washington always makes us feel as if we're on a mini vacation. It's such a special and beautiful city and it feels exciting just to walk along the mall and see the monuments, the Capitol and the White House.

Yesterday was Rick and my 14th anniversary too and though I'd already given him a much coveted divers watch and he me a beautiful bangle in Turks and Caicos, we still exchanged a small gift and I got a very romantic one: a music box of Sleeping Beauty and her prince dancing and it plays Tschaikovski's Sleeping Beauty, which was the music of our first dance at our wedding 14 years ago!

Katja watched her siblings and we went out to dinner in Georgetown, a very nice French restaurant, the food was delicious and the service perfect. Afterwards Rick parked at the Washington Monument and we strolled on the Mall under an almost full moon. Truly a romantic evening!

Sunday, August 18, 2002

I put my story of our vacation in Turks and Caicos in a separate blog . And the pictures can be seen on my Webshots page, all the albums starting with "TCI". Yes, I did take *a lot* of pictures :).
Wow, what a nice and quiet weekend we're having! It's been a long time since that was the case! It's beautiful weather, hot, but not as humid as it has been (or so it seems, there is a heat advisory out every day though and the drought continues :().

Yesterday we slept late and then Saskia and I went to the pool. I swam 60 laps for my exercise (1500m) and then we played. It was wonderfully relaxing.

Then my dad came over and we had dinner at our neighbors' house, with much wine and Rick and Ross even had blue martini's! The kids played nicely and around ten were so tired we went home and straight to bed.

This morning same thing, long sleeping, McD's egg Mcmuffin breakfast (yum and only 290 calories ;)) and no exercise today for me. Strange how I can give myself the day off and then somehow feel like I'm cheating my body. I hope I won't get to regret it later on today, as I usually need the exercise to loosen up my muscles. But I did push ups, squats and sit ups to accomplish that a little.

Anyway, Rick just took the kids to Spykids 2 and I'm about to go to my dad's to see his new skylights in their house and I'll go and buy some cards to send to my friend Christine, who's having a very rough time right now.

Happiness is:

1. Having a purring cat lying against me while I'm typing this
2. Feeling so in love with my husband and kids I could hug them constantly
3. The sound of the cicada "concerts" outside
4. The prospect of entering a very hot car after being chilled here in the airconditioning
5. The sound of the clock ticking, signaling there is no loud cartoon music to drown it out!