Life in Ruins…

There is literally nothing more humbling than seeing the greatest in ruins.

Life is very short, my friends.

Live, treasure, love well!

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

#thankfulforeternity #faithendures #lovegod #lovebig #lovepeople #andthesethreeremain #faith #hope #love #olympia #greece

Bucket List? Become a Musher!

Mushing Nungessers

Okay.  So, technically, I had to look up the word Musher.  And really figure out what it meant.  I mean, we went dog sledding.  That one is obvious.  Musher.  I mean, I am a mommy, I am a “Professional Musher” of mashed potatoes, right?  That sounds like a musher.  You know, like smashing a lot of potatoes so they are mushy and buttery and delicious.

Or I love my children so much my daughter sighs, rolls her eyes, and proclaims, “Oh, Mommy, you are SO MUSHY!”  Making me a Musher Mommy, right?

Well, according to the real dictionaries my Mommy-ition of Mushers is all wrong.  Apparently a Musher is a driver of a dog sled.

So, I am happy to report that as of nearly 1 week ago, I have become officially (for an hour) a real-live Musher.

Also joining the “Musher Nungesser Crew” are:  Richard (the dad), Adelyne (the decade plus two eye roller), Maxwell (the Half-Musher as he helped the Main Musher French Fred), and Me (Brookie—the Mommy Musher).  Josephine was not a Musher.  She was a Musher’s company—meaning that she was plopped into her daddy’s front part of his sled and got to enjoy the VERY bumpy ride.  Good thing Daddy Musher did not tip, eh?!

Anyhow, dog sledding was an absolute and lovely blast that I highly recommend for all!

You first have to arrive where all of the dogs are chained up (just like in Iron Will) and then prepare with the instructions of driving your sled.  Let me tell you, I nearly wanted to be a passenger after the mini-Mushing-class (kid you not timid smile and nervous laugh inserted here).

Our instructor, Elizabeth got out a sled and said, “OKAY!  Here is your brake.  It is VERY important.”

Yes, Elizabeth—you were SO right!  Holy COW!!!!  Know how to use your brake!

Then she said, “ALWAYS hold onto your sled.  IF YOU LET GO, THEY WILL LEAVE YOU AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO RUN AFTER THEM…In the mountains.  In the snow. ”

BRRRRR.  And, NO THANK YOU.  I don’t even run after my own children, much less DOGS!

Finally she said, “BE THE BOSS!”

Yeah, right!

Easy for a lady that WAS the boss of the dogs.

But, in the end.  She was right.  You had to be the boss or those crazy huskies would roll around on the snow and want to go whichever way the butterfly traveled.

Okay—so there weren’t really butterflies considering it was like 19F, but, whatever.  Those dogs were hilarious.

Therefore, not only did you have to be “The Boss” (Sorry, Springsteen) of the dogs, you HAD to…Like a MUST…know the lead dog’s name.  Without that name, the dogs following were like, “La-di-da-da-da!”

With the lead dog’s name and a rowdy, “Let’s go, Chaussettes (Socks),” the others would pop up and follow your Socks (literally, the name of my dog in French was Socks). Which would then give you an opportunity to “Woo-hoo” while holding on tight—at times, bending the knees for the little “pop” over the crazy hill so you could feel like you were a true Musher and sway with the sled (lest you fall off and then are dragged while HANGING on so your dogs don’t run away for like…ever).

And there you have it.  You have officially become a Musher. For an hour.

And the hour goes FAR TOO QUICKLY.  And you wish you had the whole day. And you loved every minute although you and your family laughingly recall the moments you almost went over the railing of the bridge or smashed into the tree or tilted to the extreme sideways as your dogs did not stay on the path but crossed the icy hill ahead of you to take a shortcut.  Those lazy dogs (smile and wink for the feistiness of the husky).

Yes.  All things that pretty much happened in your hour as a professional Musher.  Or your professional Bucket List kicker!

Which is, after all, what you just did!  Filled and kicked that Bucket List right up with an awesome experience that your GoPro actually recorded so you have evidence of every “Woo Hoo” and “WATCH OUT FOR THE BRIDGE” moment.

Life with children can sometimes be mundane.  Messy. Tiring. And well…a million other things.

But life with a Bucket List and littles keeps life #fresh and #exciting and #exhilarating.

And Mushing.  Yes, I recommend putting that one on your list.

As long as you #hangontight!

The beats of my heart!

Life can be lived in the simple moments of family and nature, enjoying two of God’s priceless gifts.

I reflect, and often, on how my life was once full of sorrow at the hope destroyed of a baby we lost, bitterness at a marriage struggling, fear of a son dying, and exhaustion that it all never seemed to end. Seasons that seemed to toil forever.

Then I see these perfect mountains and I count 3 perfect children and I see a man I admire most on this earth and I realize that time can pull you through all things.

And God was there, steadfast, through it all.

Silence and struggle does not erase quiet, infinite care.

God bless you and yours, our friends, in your seasons of life.

#hisloveenduresforever #greatishisfaithfulness

Jet lag is like a fly

fly

Do you know that pesky fly?  The one that swirls around you?  It actually, even though an insect, begins to cause you self-doubt.  About hygiene.  Do you really smell that bad?  I mean, you know that you traveled for basically two days—but you thought you showered.

Or did you?

Or did you dream you showered?

Or were you DREAMING about a shower?

Or did you shower the kids but forget about yourself?

The fly won’t leave you alone and now you wonder if you need a shower!!!!!

#jetlag

It’s killing my sanity.

This is what my last 5 days have looked like:

Day 1:  Airplane (3 to be exact).  I slept approximately 1 hour on all 3.  At the airport, in Munich, I laid down on the benches after having my husband SWEAR on his very life and beard that he would WATCH our children with his 41 eyes and make sure no one stole my purse in the meantime, then I crashed.  For approximately 2 hours.

He has snoring video in public to prove it.

I don’t even care.

Night 1 in Poland:  The 3 and 5 year olds did not sleep.  Nearly at all.  The 5 year old eventually waned off as the sun was rising.  The 3 year old is more stubborn than a mule and beat the sun.  She finally seceded around noon.

The decade plus one daughter was already OUTTA the house and OFF to friends.  Goodbye, my firstborn.  WE LOVE YOU…REMEMBER US!

Yeah, right.  We haven’t hardly seen her since.  One night at Wiktoria’s house (Victoria in English), Oliwia’s a second night, and now Nikola’s.  Yep.  The decade plus 1 missed her little Polska wies (Polish village).

Nights 2 and 3 and 4 also lost to JOJO the GIANT!  She won hands down each and every time.  The sun has NOTHING on the spirit of our 3-year-old.

Night 5.  Ah, lovely Night 5.  My hopes were in you.

You were my precious.  I held you in my hand.  I cuddled you.  I made you feel important.  I knew you had a big job ahead of you.  And I knew you, Night 5, were the one to do it.

And, alas, you won.  At 1am, the 3-year-old fell asleep with me stroking and singing to her.  Yes, I sing in private.  Heck, I sing in public—you people just don’t appreciate it as much as my spawn (smile and wink)…

And with the delicate balance of tiptoeing and delicately stepping over EVERY TOY in Max and Josephine’s room which is currently out so that every single marble and doll will know it is loved even though there was a 6-week-absence, I made it out of the room without any crash.

Voile!

I crawled into bed.  THE FIRST NIGHT I would sleep in bed.  If one in the morning is still considered night—and I closed my eyes.

My respite was sweet.  And short.

Oh so short.

The 3 year old came and told me that she DID NOT WET THE BED but her PANTS were all wet.

Yes.  That is called “Not wetting the bed—it magically wet me” syndrome.  It occurs often with our third.  The other two have bladders that could win Olympic Golds.

So I took the daughter that was victim of the vicious bed to the toilet—hastily cleaned her off and threw her in bed with me.

That’s when my victory became my defeat.

She was NO LONGER TIRED.  She was wide awake.  She jumped, and crawled, and laid, and sprawled all over me.

Could she see my phone?

Could she watch a movie?

Could she hold my phone?

Could she see the lullabies playing?

Could she listen to my ear—after all, my ear was making the SAME noise as a volcano.

No, my dear…That’s MY HEAD!  And you are the cause of that.  (I thought to express this to her—but, come on, she’s three…She wouldn’t even care if I did).

To TOP IT OFF…My husband is on the other side of my daughter shouting in his sleep, “I’m going to get you!” Followed with actual karate chopping motion and sounds, “Katcha-katcha!”

I kid you not.

Somehow, miraculously in the midst of the karate chopping albeit sleeping husband and the “NOT TIRED” toddler, I managed to coax her to sleep—legs on top of my head and all.

By this time, it is now after 3am and DARN HER…Guess who is not tired now?

Me.

And so I sit.  With this pesky night fly swirling around my very head.  Touching my hand and invading all sorts of personal space (I LITERALLY CANNOT STAND FLIES—I have a bubble, flies, respect it!).  Typing. To you.  Because you care, don’t you?

And if you don’t, don’t worry.

I’m still here with my fly.

He doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Just like Josephine’s jet lag.

Sigh.

I wish I could be like Richard, my sleeping husband, and “Get you, Jet Lag, katcha-katcha!” (insert super karate chopping action here)

Good thing today is Sunday—I need the glorious grace of Jesus to get me through the day and his ultimate gift of forgiveness because I ALREADY know MY FAMILY IS ALL GOING TO NEED IT as this Momma is going on 0 hours of sleep.

Thanks to jet lag…my least friend.

Get busy trying…not dying.

ada on the paddleboard

Photo caption reads:  And she’s OFF!

So, unless something super funny pops into my life in the near future or something that just hits me where I super feel it, you won’t be seeing too much of me on this page for some amount of seconds, days, weeks, months…I’m getting my writing on…chapter book style!

Yep!

I am on chapter 2 of my first book for youth.   It’s a lot harder than one would imagine.  First of all, I gotta create a character those tweens want to read.

So far, my biggest of all my brood is my judge.  I look to her, as she reads it, for her laughter or tears (ah-just kidding…no tears.  yet!) and I especially hone in those moments when she raises her eyebrows in confusion.

The thing driving me crazy about an 11-year-old critic…she doesn’t understand that writing is writing and editing comes NEXT.  She is over there correcting so many mistakes I wonder if she is even reading anything at all 😉

But—good news in the 11-year-old world—she sat next to me this evening and asked if I had written any more.

Whoop-whoop.  Chalk that one up for the mom score!

When do I write this said book?

When my two littlest are at Polish preschool on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I have 2 hours of me time.  Okay—that’s stretching it a bit far.  It’s more like, take away the 50 interruptions, I have about 1 hour and 10 minutes to write.

I never knew my brain could work so fast.

Then, on occasions, when the brain isn’t in the fuzz-bucket, I try and write a bit when the stars come out and the snoring commences around the house.

Unfortunately for me, I am not a sharp-witted night owl anymore.  Those days left me once I had #3.

My goal????  You may ask.  Even if you don’t, I’ll let you know…

1 Chapter a week.

I have already scoured the net for all of those newbies looking for new authors, and found most are not interested in my super cute children’s books that I have written—but many are interested in chapter books for middle-agers.

We’ll see how this goes.

One of the sagest pieces of advice I read while checking out all of the peeps out there looking for writers:

Your first book is just that.  Your first book.  Keep writing.  Edit.  And write some more.

This wisdom brings me back to what my good ol’ ma and pa always said, “Try and then try some more.”  Or “Try again”

In any and every case, you gotta begin somewhere.  Today I choose to begin.

Therefore, unless life throws me a major hilarious curveball that just is a MUST for this blog, or I find some piece of psychological wisdom that is a MUST share for the sanity of parents … or if there is just too good to pass up cultural experience that lands in my lap—or I just feels (yes, I wrote feels as it was how I said it in my head) as if I must write to bring the lot to tears…

I hope to not see ya from here too much in this present day.  No offense and hopefully none taken.

Here’s to words.  Brain power.  Creativity.  And bringing imaginations to soaring heights…Or just simply entertaining kids because I love both of those things:  kids; entertainment.

Best of all—through written words.  Where they have to close their eyes to soar into their world of imaginations…

Which, as we all know, is the best way to fly!

Here’s to up,

b

***

If you’re not already following this blog, I hope that you’ll hit the follow button and join my journey—even if it will be randomly sporadic!

Writing about Life Abroad with Max…

nungesser-3

Hey my friends.  Here’s a link to the article that I wrote about my child’s food allergies.  The Mighty picked it up (I write about Max’s allergies at www.allergymax.org).

I hope you’ll enjoy the read.  Click here to access it:  https://themighty.com/2017/02/managing-child-food-allergies-abroad/

I’m super stoked I made it that far…Remember to Like and Share it with your friends, too!  Thank you so much.

XO from here to there,

B

 

 

When your 10-yr-old daughter is surrounded by machine guns and stands her ground…

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We went through two metal detectors before we could enter the areas of the Western Wall (under Jewish control) and then the Temple Mount (under Muslim control) in Israel.  It wasn’t too bad—except we forgot we had a knife for making sandwiches.  Big oops.  Gracious security warded off angry men security and allowed us to keep our sandwich making materials—including the knife.

As soon as we entered the Temple Mount, bought by King David to build the Temple upon thousands of years ago, I was accosted.  I had read it was conservative, so I wore a dress and scarf and tights and boots for the day. Apparently if you can see the boots and the dress, you are a harlot.  Forget the fact that all of the other touring women are in trendy skinny  bun-hugging jeans…my boot showing dress was enough to stop the entire Mount.

So, there I was, on my way to becoming a harlot on the Mount…getting accosted for my boots showing, having to cover and hobble the rest of the tour while having a scarf tied around my boots.

Can you say troublesome?  I can.

But I entered the Temple Mount area and, therefore, chose to abide respectfully by the rules brought to us by the machine-gun wielding security there.


We toured the area and began our ascent to leave.  That is when it happened.

What you need to know is that the Mount is only open 2 different hours throughout the day because it is the Muslim holy ground and has extremely strict rules.  So, as the hour was ending when we needed to leave, we were doing just that.  Leaving.

On our way out, however, one young gentleman asked my 10-year-old to take his photo.  She obliged politely and waited for him to get in position when two machine-gun wielding men rushed her and the 2nd tourist.  A lot of loud yelling took place.  I am helpless mom on the other side of chaos while my 10-year-old and the random tourist are surrounded by guns.

A few moments pass, the security move, Adelyne takes the photo, the random tourist is hauled off with the machine guns, and we grab Adelyne and practically run out into the nearest hallway, where Rich is then given the task to get rid of the world’s worst tour guide—oh the gut-wrenching laughter stories I’ll tell later about him—and we sit for Turkish coffee and delights in a darkened hallway surrounded by non-machine gun wielding men and telling Adelyne how brave she is to stand her ground…

Even amongst the chaos of adventure!