Friday, January 24, 2003

Hey, look at that! I'm back already, only one day later. I'm waiting for Rick to come home, I feel like a puppy waiting for its master. I'm tracking his flight progress on the website. They have a flight tracker with graphics, you can see how fast the plane is flying, what the altitude is and where in the country they are. He's currently flying over South Dakota, about to enter Minnesota. It's 6pm and he's due to arrive in 2 hours exactly.

This morning I allowed Katja to miss her first hour of school. The wind chill (for those outside of the US and Canada, that's the outside temperature the way it feels when you factor in the windspeed) factor was 0 to -5 (-15 or so Celsius) and I didn't want her to have to stand in that windy cold waiting for her bus. Plus it was nice to not have to get up at 6am for one morning!

After I took all 3 kids to school, I quickly did a 45 minute workout upstairs. I talked on the phone with my sister in the meantime, so that made the time go much faster. I love talking on the phone during my workouts, the people I usually talk are already aware they may get a panting me on the phone and they know it's not because of them ;).

Then I had to pick Saskia up for her final dental appointment. The poor girl had 8 cavities and today the last few got filled. She went to a pediatric dentist, who is great with the kids. She wasn't even nervous by now and already knew she was going to choose a strawberry "nose" (the nose they put on her to administer the nitrous oxide gas). She did have some pain during the procedure this time, so we went to McDonald's for lunch and then to the mall for her to select some goodies.

She was quite aware that I was feeling sorry for her little pale face with the fat feeling lip, so I would say yes to many things she asked and she milked it for what it was worth ;). She didn't last long, though, all the medication made her feel queasy. So we went home and I finished the household chores, while she quietly played on the computer.

After school, three kids came to play, one of whom is staying for dinner. I haven't decided what to get yet. Katja and I are watching "Exotic Islands" on the Travel Channel right now, with the fireplace on and candles burning. It's a cozy atmosphere, the only thing missing is Rick, who is now over Iowa!

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Argh! I'm really neglecting my blog :(. Every night I think about it, but I'm too exhausted to get anything coherent out of my fingers. It's been a roller coaster these past few weeks! Today I even forgot what day of the week it was, I've been so busy!

I guess I'll start on Saturday as last week is all a blur and I completely forget what happened! On Saturday, the whole family went to watch Katja play basketball. It's her very first season ever and it's hard for her, as her teammates have mostly played for years. But she's doing well and ignoring the nasty comments of one of her teammates about how she "sucks". Well, Saturday she made a basket! And the teaser didn't. So there ;). It was fun to watch her, it was her 4th game and I hadn't be able to go to the others, because of commitments the other kids had.

After the game, we decided to get something to drink at 7 Eleven (Rick's favorite store, I'm not too fond of it). Everyone left the car, but I guess Rick expected me to stay in and I expected him to take the key out of the ignition. So I locked the door as I got out, not realizing the car was still running! Boom, all doors locked and we were locked out in the freezing cold. Then I heard from the parking lot: "Petra, do you have a problem?". It turned out to be our neighbor across the street, Linda! She was able to give me a ride home to get the spare key and drop me back off. How's that for divine intervention??

That night, we went to Christine's 40th birthday party which was a lot of fun. There were about 25 adults and 11 kids and everyone had a great time! Some a little too great, but thankfully those were neighbors and they could just walk home.

On Sunday, Rick took Saskia to a swimming pool birthday party, while I went to workout. We met back at home just long enough to say goodbye, as I had to take Katja to her tutoring session and he had to take off for the airport to go to Seattle, where he'll be until late tomorrow night.

To not be alone that night, the kids and I went to eat pizza at our neighbors two doors down, which was a nice way to spend an otherwise blah Sunday night as we're all always a little down after Rick leaves for the week.

Monday was Martin Luther King's birthday, so the kids were off from school. Christine and Mallory came over and we worked out upstairs. Then we got the kids ready and went swimming at the gym. It was a relaxing afternoon and just the right way to spend a day off from school. For dinner we ordered Chinese, one of our traditions when Dad is out (I have given up on cooking then, as no one will eat what I fix and it frustrates me more than it's worth). We have a very good Chinese restaurant that delivers, no MSG, only natural ingredients and generally very low fat. Rick does not like Chinese food, hence the tradition when he's out of town.

Katja reached a major milestone on Tuesday, as her braces came off! She has gorgeous white teeth now, very straight, it's really an amazing difference! Now she gets to watch Kai and Saskia go through the same experience. Too bad none of them inherited Rick's naturally straight teeth!
We celebrated by getting a manicure, so Katja looks sophisticated all the way :).
After Saskia's skating lesson, we went to eat at Glory Days Grill. I'm not thrilled about their food, but the kids love it, as they have special drinks (basically seven up with food coloring and toy in it) and they like their cheese fries (so do I, and I can't resist the temptation, so the calorie count for the day was out the window!).

Yesterday, I quickly worked out at home and then Denise and I went downtown Washington by Metro to go see the Edouard Vuillard exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.
It was a huge exhibit and he was such a versatile artist, even a photographer, so you got a fun glimpse of what his life was like. Very interesting. We had a nice lunch at the cafe in the museum afterwards.

Then we had some time leftover and decided to brave the windy freezing weather to walk to the American History museum to get a look at Julia Child's kitchen. We had to work our way through a huge Pro Life demonstration that had gathered on the street in front of the museums. Denise and I are both quite Pro Choice, so we were a little uncomfortable among so many unlikeminded people. But the march was peaceful, so we made it into the American History in one piece.
The kitchen is fun to see, I wish I had a well equipped kitchen like that, though I have to admit, I can hardly be called a cook, let alone a chef ;).

We made it back just in time to get the kids from school and it was a fun outing! At 5pm my dad came to get us to go and eat Gourmet at his house. This is something that's popular in Holland, but that I've never seen here. It's kind of like fondue, in that you cook your own meal at the table. Except you don't fry in oil or cook in bouillon, but you grill and broil. It was very good and the kids loved it too, so my dad's going to do it with them again on Valentine's Day when they're coming to stay with him.

Today was a very emotional day, though thankfully they're good emotions now. My friend C. who's been going through a very difficult divorce had to appear for a custody hearing this morning. Her ex was trying to get 50% custody (he wanted full at first, but I guess he figured that wouldn't be feasible *at all*) by trying to prove her an unfit mother. The nasty and very difficult part is, that *her* parents and sister are in *his* camp (long history of bad relationships). So her lawyers had her call all her friends to testify for her, as we could all be great characterwitnesses for her, as she truly is one of the most caring mothers I know.

Luckily, the sheer number of friends she was able to get together apparently scared her ex off and they came to a settlement without even entering the court room, he'll have the kids Wednesday nights and some weekends. Until April 1st, when the final hearing will be and I might be called up again. So, relief in our camp, as her ex is a real piece of work and so are her parents and sister! The tension was palpable and it's such a weird situation, I'm very happy for her to have such a strong and caring group of friends!

I do too, because my friends Christine, Chuck and Mallory are coming over tonight with dinner, because she knew it would be a hard day, not only because of the court case, but I haven't been able to exercise and the weather is so cold (18 degrees with wind chills in the single digits) that all my muscles are playing up :(. Thank goodness for great friendships! I'm celebrating friendships today, they truly are the family you *choose*!

Tomorrow, Saskia has to go for (hopefully her final) dental fillings again. She's become a real trooper about it, already knows what flavor nitrous oxide mask she'll choose this time.

I do know that I'll hug Rick all night on Friday night! I truly do not know how single parents do it! But I guess one always adapts to one's situation. I'm hoping to be more faithful to my blog again from now on!