(Edited at bottom)
...THAT WASN'T THE ONE WE'VE LIVED IN FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS!
Last night I surprised Chris by arranging for a taxi to pick him up from work (he was at work at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night) and drop him off at the Marriot Renaissance Hotel in northern Moscow. (That's the Olympic Arena complex you see in the pictures; we were last there for Disney Princesses on Ice. Viewing the domes from our room was much more enjoyable!) The housekeeper stayed with the kids for the night, and it actually went fairly well--well enough that we can do this again in the future. (Perhaps for White Nights in Saint Petersburg?)
Those of you who have had to spend the obligatory expensive visits in Moscow when adopting probably can't fathom choosing to spend a night at an overpriced hotel in this city... But it was GREAT. No one crawled into my bed other than my husband--wait, make that, no kid crawled into our bed, and I was then too tired to deal with evicting her, so I just gave up and slept on an IKEA twin bed in the kids' room. Didn't happen last night. The sheets had the highest cotton count I've ever felt. The bed was HUGE. We got coffee brought to us by room service in the morning. The fitness center was amazing and the pool was beautiful. The dinner we had in the hotel's German restaurant was surprisingly delicious, as were breakfast and lunch today. The bath towels were lusciously thick and luxurious. Next time we go, we'll plan on taking in an English-language movie at the theater adjacent to the hotel. I'll also remember to bring my swimsuit. (And yes... there WILL be a next time).
For those of you regular Muscovites, the hotel offers a "Lovers' Special" for a total (all fees/taxes included) for 9,300 rubles ($396): champagne/fresh fruit waiting in room, a suite, access to health club and pool, one night's stay on a Friday or Saturday. I know that price sounds crazy compared to hotel prices in the US, but it's a BARGAIN for Moscow. Heck, the Ritz would've been $1,600!!!!
As I write this, I realize that Chris and I hadn't been alone since when I was eight months pregnant with Natalia. That's over five years ago. WE WERE LONG OVERDUE FOR A SINGLE NIGHT.
I even got in TWO C25K workouts--one once I arrived yesterday, before Chris did, and then one this morning with Chris. Today I jogged 5 kilometers for the first time! I walked briskly at intervals in between, but I DID IT! (I must confess, however, that I am TIRED right now. Soooooooo tired. Much more tired than I can afford to be. Maybe there's a reason I wasn't supposed to have exerted myself that much at this point of the training plan... But I'm not sore, and I felt able to do it at the time). Chris even did workout number one with me! I sure hope he continues! I bet he will; who wants to see his wife kicking his butt on the adjacent treadmill??!
On a blogosphere "Isn't the world small?" note, I met an adoptive family from Kentucky when I was checking in... I wish I remembered their names, but they had just arrived from Ivanovo and their adorable 20-month-old little boy is Elijah (Ilya Alexandrovich). She knew who you guys are, Tami and Annie! She's read your blogs :-)
If we were still living in the USA, we'd have the option of somehow having the kids spend a night or a few days with their various grandparents--here, that's just not possible. When we do go back to the USA, Chris and I only overlap for at most two weeks in Colorado--and he wants to spend that time with his parents. It would also be too hard for them to watch both girls on their own--and we'd still end up having to pay for a hotel in order to get away. We know some people here who have had a nanny for long enough that they feel comfortable having the kids spend some time at the nanny's dacha (simple house in the countryside); they're the luckiest! (Both the kids and the parents!)
Another factor in really needing a break is that we have been living in small apartments ever since we got married. Our current apartment is the largest we've ever had, and it's only 347 square feet! When you add into consideration that we have no storage or yard, the place feels even smaller; you can never have the kids play in the backyard while you steal five minutes together. We're always all together, kind of on top of one other, for better and for worse. There's NO privacy. Come to think of it, a main factor in how relaxing the hotel room was is that there wasn't stuff covering every single space of the room. No vertical storage. No bicycles hanging all up the walls when you walked in the room. No winter tires being stored until next fall. No Christmas decorations and suitcases stacked on shelves in the entryway. Hee hee... I just thought of how you could really punish a criminal who follows Fen-Shui: make him live in our apartment! He'd BEG for a less cruel sentence!