Tuesday, May 3, 2011

starting May busy

I think I posted not long ago that Monday was my favorite day of the week, because of no outside activities?

Today: to begin with, I was quite pleased with myself for remembering at 11:30 this morning that since the children were starting swimming lessons in the afternoon, it would be good to check if they all have swimsuits that fit. Jacob has two that fit, Lukas about five, Katie and Helen between them a dozen or so (almost all of them fit both of them), and I'm sure at least a couple of the dozen or so that are too small for Katie and Helen will fit Elisabeth, but she's not taking swimming lessons, and when we go to the beach, I don't care if she wears a swimsuit or not, so we didn't try any on her. (Helen isn't taking lessons, either, but no way was she going to miss out on the fun of trying on clothes. Strange child.)

Marie's, however, didn't fit, which wasn't exactly surprising, as it didn't really fit her last year, either. I called a friend to ask where one buys a swimsuit, as we bought this one two years ago at the thrift store after looking at a bunch of other stores and not finding anything she liked. My friend recommended Marks & Spencers, where I'd never been, but I was desperate. I left Katie home with Jacob and took all the others and off we went. And she found a swimsuit that she liked and that fit!! €25 first seemed like a lot, but when I realized that there were others for €40 and for €65, my attitude changed to one of, "Wow--that's so cool that the one she likes best is also the cheapest!" On the way home we stopped and bought a fourth bathing cap, also pleased that I could still locate all three from when the older three took swimming lessons last year.

Home again, lunch, then five children into the car. (Katie couldn't go to the swimming lesson today because she has extra rehearsals this week for her play on the weekend.) I filled out all four forms, able to put in the children's names and birthdates and address (I wrote the address in Greek, but their names in Latin letters), but I left "school" blank and more or less made up their grade-levels. And then I signed and dated the forms, wondering just what I had signed, as it had a page and a half of text, all in Greek. I did glance over it, and some was about paying and some was about the days and hours, but mostly, I haven't the foggiest idea what it was about.

My friend Heather was busy signing up seven of her eight children as I arrived, and then her husband called to say that the baby was awake. Her second-youngest, who might or might not end up participating but didn't want to today, also didn't want to go home with her, so I offered to keep her. So with Elisabeth in the sling and Helen and Joanna on each hand, I went to make sure that all nine children had found their classes (they all had), and then we hung out in the shade for awhile.

In the meantime, Jörn had taken Katie to Antidote (the theater) for her rehearsal, and stayed outside waiting, as she'd been pretty hyper today and has acted up during her class in the past. After swimming I stopped by the house, as Lukas had forgotten a change of clothes (and left Marie at home so she could sweep and mop the kitchen in peace), and then took Lukas to Discoveries (it used to be on Wednesdays, but as of today, is Mondays) and Jacob to his extra rehearsal for his play in a few weeks. Katie was finished not long after I arrived, so I hung out with Jörn while waiting, then Jörn and Katie went shopping and Helen and Elisabeth and I went home to try to straighten up the living room before guests arrived in the evening.

About five minutes after we arrived home, a friend who owns a canning factory dropped by to give us four kilos of strawberries. They had been rather squashed and weren't going to last long, so instead of tidying the living room I started cleaning strawberries. When Jörn got home I put Elisabeth back in the car and we went to pick up Lukas. Came back home, finished the strawberries, then called a friend to get a phone number I needed. (Four kilos ended up being only about 1.2 after getting rid of all of the moldy ones and green parts and all the snacking that everyone did everytime they walked through the kitchen, but that's just about exactly right to make a batch of jam. I put them in the freezer, though, as I don't foresee time to make jam in the next couple of days.) While on the phone I texted Jacob (he bought himself a cell phone a couple of days ago...we're now a family with FIVE phone numbers...) to ask if he wanted to walk home or if I should pick him up. He wanted to be picked up, so I put about five minutes into straightening the living room and then as I was going out the door to get Jacob (about ten minutes late), the first guests arrived. (Two couples and one more lady--Jörn's colleagues. We generally have a shared meal every other week, but it used to be Fridays, then Tuesdays, now Mondays, and hasn't happened regularly in the last few months at all because of different people traveling or being ill, so it didn't "feel" like a regular activity.)

Dinner went pretty well, Helen went to bed immediately afterwards (Jörn was gone putting her to bed for about 90 seconds, and two-thirds of that time was just waiting to be sure she was really asleep), Lukas and Katie went to bed an hour and a half late, and Elisabeth fell asleep just as everyone was leaving. (And incidentally, after dinner we just stayed at the kitchen table, so I'm glad I hadn't taken the time I didn't have anyway to clear off the piano and coffee table and dust, since that will have to be done for sure by Saturday anyway, and if done today, would STILL have to be done on Saturday.)

Then as I sat down at the computer, Marie asked me if I wanted to play a game, so we played six or seven rounds of Triominos, but without keeping score. She won the first three games, neither of us went out on the fourth, and then I won one and she won another one or two.

And I just looked at the clock and realized that it's four minutes into Tuesday. I'm finding it difficult to keep track of the days of the week. I didn't go to church OR the playground yesterday and we had all sorts of outside activities today, which isn't a "normal" Monday (but it will be from now on--Discoveries and swimming lessons will continue through June, swimming through July, Jacob's extra rehearsal just for a few weeks). Tomorrow won't be a normal Tuesday (no get-together with Sue, as she's in England at the moment, and Katie DOESN'T have Antidote tomorrow, but will have a make-up swimming lesson, and I have Greek in the evening, and Jörn's going to skip his prayer meeting to stay home with the children this time); Wednesday Katie has an extra rehearsal and the boys DON'T have Discoveries anymore; Thursday I'll go to Tots in the morning, all four children have swimming lessons in the afternoon, Jacob's Antidote class starts an hour earlier than usual, Katie has a rehearsal, and I have Greek in the evening; and Friday...I think Friday will be almost normal, with just Jacob's guitar lesson and Marie youth group, just no house group.

Then Saturday is Jörn's birthday. Marie will have her violin lesson as usual and the living room WILL get straightened up, and at 5:00, as our first guests are arriving, I will take Katie to her dress rehearsal. At some point during dinner, I guess, I'll go pick her up. Her play is Sunday, and after that she'll go back to just once-a-week Antidote classes.

Whew. It almost--not quite, but almost--makes me look forward to August, when ALL outside activities stop. Well, almost. No Greek, no swimming lessons, no drama class, no music lessons, no Discoveries. Marie will probably still have Youth group (and Marie and Jacob will both go to Youth camp for a week, then in September Jacob starts Youth), there will probably be a holiday club (VBS) or two, we hope to go up to the mountains as a family for a few days or even a week, our friends will be home so we'll hopefully be seeing lots of them, and we'll be going to the beach out of sheer necessity whenever possible.

In the meantime, I guess I'd better go to bed, as it's now half an hour into Tuesday! And sometime during the course of the day, I ought to do my Greek homework. It was only assigned last Thursday, so of course, I haven't even started it...