Your windowsill is important in Poland

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Your windows are your eyes to your world.  But a windowsill, in Poland, is so much more than that.

For example, when you move into a new home or apartment, in Poland, your windowsill becomes your welcoming table.

In fact, you throw a party BASED around your windowsill.  The party is even named after your windowsill.  It is called a parapetowka.  And this is what is involved:  welcoming drinks and snacks and more welcoming drinks.

What do I mean by welcoming drinks?  Well, in Poland, that generally means vodka.  I mean, it is Poland, right?!

If you are not big drinkers, no worries.  Set up juice on your windowsill and partner it with some salty sticks (or pretzels) and perhaps some cookies, too.

The entire point of the party is not the food, anyhow, it is the welcoming of your friends into your home.  Your new place where you will reside.

In fact, oftentimes, especially in the past, the parapetowka was when there wasn’t even a drop of furniture in the home.  Literally, no furniture.

You sat on the floor.  You had your snacks. You drank your drinks.  And you visited, with your friends, in your new home.

As uncomfortable as that may sound, when you are surrounded by friends, it completely makes up for the lack of cushions.

You are with those important to you in your home. Home is where the heart is. Hence your windowsills are the eyes to your heart, where, at your parapetowka, you see those most important to your heart and home.

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How important is your windowsill in your life?  Does it hold any special meaning to you?  What about any other traditions that may help make your move into a new place a home?  I look forward to hearing back from you!

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Is Duolingo the right fit for you while learning the Polish language?

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When learning a new language, you learn a few things:

  1. How to pull out your hair
  2. How to bury your head in the sand
  3. How to become mute
  4. How to increase headaches
  5. How to increase tears

Yes, my friends, learning a new language, especially when you are no longer a child, is a humbling experience.

Most people go into learning a language with confidence, after all, we are all relatively intelligent human beings.  Capable.  Motivated.

There is not a lot that we are unable to do.  Or is there?

And then there is the new language.

It gets you in the gut each and every time.

Polish is the Rocky of the language world.  Just when you think you are “knocking” it down with one swift learning moment followed by another, it hops back up and bears a right hook across your jaw.  You’re down, yet again!

Yes, my friends.  Learning Polish is that brutal.

Which brings us to today’s question: Is Duolingo the right fit for you?

I have completed Duolingo in Polish for foreigners.  It goes to Level 12, and it was a grueling road to get there.  For me.  A mom of three that lives daily in Poland.  But I persevered and made it to the end, making sure that I did not just score enough to pass.  Oh no!  I made sure that I scored perfection on each category before moving on to the next.

This made me realize two very important things:

  1. Polish is hard
  2. Polish is hard even with Duolingo

Would I recommend Duolingo as your method for learning Polish?  I would say that depends on your current understanding of the Polish language.  If you have zero to very little understand of the Polish language, Duolingo may not be the appropriate starting place for you, as there are not appropriate explanations for words, conjugations, or endings of any sort.  Plus the Polish cases.  Oh those cases (shakes head slowly and sadly).

This, therefore, is what I would rather recommend: If you are looking to learn Polish from the beginning, yet you do not have any classes offered near you, I would rather suggest starting with the costly but efficient Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur.  Both programs offer Polish for beginners and are quite renowned with languages.

If you have a base of Polish, however, and are not really wanting to spend money at the moment on learning a language, then I highly recommend stretching your brain to FULL capacity with the Polish language through the program of Duolingo.  You will feel like a rubber band ready to snap, but, hey!  When has a little humiliation and brain drain ever REALLY killed someone, right?  (smile, wink, and actually cry)

In any and every case, there are plenty of studies out there in the world that encourage language learning as a way to preserve your mental health.  Which, seems like an oxymoron to me:  losing your mind studying Polish to preserve your overall mental faculties.  Who am I to analyze this reasoning?

After all, I’m no psychologist.

Just a mom.  Living in a foreign country.  Telling you to go for it!

Learn Polish.  Even if Duolingo is your only route to get your there!

Good luck…

You’ll need it!

Dzien Matki — Mother’s Day in Poland

I am pretty sure I just ate candy my son gave me from his grubby fingers—and I am not sure the last time he washed his hands.  Or went to the bathroom and forgot to wash his hands.  I am actually gagging a little bit right now.  Really.  My stomach is not feeling so well.  Hashtag “truemom”.  EATING NASTY GERMS FROM GRUBBY DIRTY FINGERS.  Sigh.

Therefore, let’s just say that I am VERY VERY VERY happy to be celebrating the upcoming day about ME in Poland.  Dzien Matki.  May 26th.  Mother’s Day.

In Poland, Mother’s Day is the same day year after year after year.  Kind-of like Women’s Day, Wigilia, your birthday, your anniversary, New Year’s … MOTHER’S DAY!  It is set in stone and NEVER GOES AWAY!

Kind of like our kids, eh????!!!! (smile and wink)

Anyhow, this upcoming Mother’s Day I think that I am going to set expectations for my kids:

  1.  I am going to expect for them to make me frustrated.
  2. I am going to expect for them to make a mess.
  3. I am going to expect for them to NOT leave me in peace when I have to pee OR merely pick up the phone—EVEN THOUGH, moments before, they had forgotten about the very existence of me.
  4. I am going to expect for them to cry over their hair styles or crust.  YES—the crust on their bread.
  5. I am going to expect for them to have a small accident in their underpants—just enough so that they will not want to wear the same pair and not enough to make a mess on the floor.  The in between stage of wet.  Enough, however, where they will then declare that they must STRIP NAKED and be.  For the rest of the day.
  6. I am going to expect for my toddler to wake me at 3am.  Or 5am.  Or 6am.  And not at all appreciate that they day is about ME!
  7. I am going to expect for the pre-teen (nastolatek) to give me grief.  I don’t know about what.  About the volume of my voice or the fact that SHE CANNOT WEAR MY SHOES.
  8. I am going to expect for them to fight and argue about the 1 block.  On the floor.  When there are 1 million and 12 other blocks right next to the 1 block.  And there are 500,000 of those 1 million and 12 blocks that are exactly the same as the 1 block that they are rowing over.
  9. I am going to expect them to stub their toes, blacken their eyes, break their teeth, or scrape their knees.  I know this because it will happen.  My three year old currently has a black eye and a huge forehead mark from tripping onto the training wheel bike tire and also falling on the side of the trampoline.  All in a day’s work.  So I am going to expect a trip to the hospital, a broken bone, or a bandaged knee.  It will happen.
  10. And, lastly, I am going to expect a gazillion times over for them to tell me that they “Love me the most!”  And fight over it.  And cuddle me.  And then fight over cuddling me.  And then fight once again about who loves Momma the most.  Because it will happen.  I expect it.

And number 10 makes up for 1-9.

As I expect it should.

So, you see, Mother’s Day in Poland is really no different than Mother’s Day anywhere else in the world.  If you come from a dirt floor or a mansion that touches the sky, being MOM is full of a million and one expectations that always start with DISASTER…But that one moment (#10) will make up for all of the tornadoes that will come in and hijack your day.

In the end, however, you don’t mind.  Because it’s a nice feeling.  Being mom.

But NOT eating the grubby food from their fingers.  Leave that behind on Dzien Matki.  I am pretty sure that is not a nice feeling.

Not at all.

Happy Mother’s Day from Poland to YOU!

Celebrating in Poland!

Okay.  I am not kidding.  Tonight was my rockstar moment.  Forget that I am a 4-0 mother of 3, two of those being toddlers, I mean…really…this just happened!

For my 40th, people, basically my family in this foreign land, joined us at a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness.  It is an awe-experience because you can’t even see your finger on your nose if you touch it—you get to feel your food, taste it in the extremes, and understand others lives as you experience only a sightless celebration.  It is a must try.

And, in the atmosphere of the dark, you also communicate with great fun as you “hear” your friends more keenly.

Anyhow, after your meal, you return to the semi-light in an outer room while the chef comes and shares what you ate.  Oh. Yeah.  You don’t know what you’re eating in the dark!  Plain cool.

After the chef shared and we all laughed through our obvious culinary know-nots, we gathered for a group photo where the girls—yes, the girls—hoisted me in the air, singing Sto Lat, and then throwing me up and down.

Beasts they are!

You go, Ladies!!!!


It definitely made for a rockstar ending to a fantastic 40th birthday celebration night.

Here’s to 40+ more!

Sto Lat to me 😉

Momma Beast Mode


This is called 250 pounds of coal post coffee this morning.

What a Momma will do for her family, eh?

#mommabeastmode #heatedhouse #warmbabies

But let’s not stop there…then I obviously needed to shower—so my littlest asked to join me.

Why not?  I’m a good momma…

As my littlest then proceeds to poop in my shower.

You saw my photo, right?  If anyone needed a shower—it was me.

But now there is poop.

Just as it gets cleaned up, my middle then decides to jump in.

Momma beast mode went away—momma desperate for clean mode just wanted to come out to play 😉

In the end, I got clean.  Kids got clean.  Shower got clean.

And we have heat.

Chalk one up for a good #mommabeastmode day.

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In case you missed the video earlier, here is the #mommabeastmode at work.  Enjoy!

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Had I Known…

Had I known that my husband’s knees would go out on him this year, I would not be living in this house.

Had I known this fact, in advance, there is no way I would have even considered living in this house—nor be in the process of purchasing it.

I mean—this house is a second marriage to start.  It requires endless renovations.  And it’s okay—but we knew that going in.  So THAT (the need of endless renovations) was upfront with us and quite visible.

As was the coal furnace.  But I am married to a man that takes care of the coal for me.

But then life hit us and sat my husband down.

Which has left me lifting 200pounds of coal every couple days.

This morning, my hair did not feel like hair.  It felt like ashes.  It smelled like coal.  And my nose still blows black.  Wonder what the doctors would make of that?

You see, though—This thing “HAD I KNOWN” is just what we don’t know.

And, therefore, we enter life with a whole bunch of unknowns.

Perhaps you have so many HAD I KNOWN moments in your life:

Had I known my marriage would not work…

Had I known my loved one would not be here this year…

Had I known my health would not always be with me…

Had I known my job would not be secure…

Had I known…Had I known…Had I known…

My friends. We don’t know.  And that’s a certainty we can be sure of.

Sure, in some situations in life, we can be aware that something may go in a certain direction…But in many HAD I KNOWN situations in life, we just don’t know before it happens.

So the question is—What are you doing about it?  What are you going to do about it?  What will you keep doing about it?

You are here.  In this place of HAD I KNOWN and now it’s your turn to realize that you can’t look back and change the past…You are here.

What are you going to do about where you are?

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Mud Boots


There was a time in my life—barely six months ago—when I couldn’t get out of my car without first changing my shoes.

You see.  We live where it is VERY muddy.  Mud mud mud.  Everywhere.  All day.  Everyday.

And we didn’t have any sidewalk.  Therefore, I had to put on my mud boots to exit outside, while carrying my shoes for the day.

I traipsed back and forth from the house to the car, loading all 3 kids, so they wouldn’t get stuck in the mud…

And then, before putting my muddy boots in the car, I would sit in my seat and slip on my every-day shoes.

After that, I would have to figure out what to do with those muddy boots, eventually placing them somewhere in the car, usually getting mud all over everything.

Mud muddy boots.

But you see—I had to do this.

I had to wear mud boots.  I had to carry my children.  I had to then change shoes again.

I didn’t have a choice.

If I didn’t have my mud boots on, I would get stuck in the mud.  Our other shoes would get destroyed.  And there would be endless mud everywhere.

We lived like this for five years.

Five years of changing in and out of our mud boots.

But this past summer changed EVERYTHING for us.

We got a sidewalk around our house.  And a gate that opened, leading to our front door.

And our life, although muddy, became a little less so.

Friends, in life, sometimes we feel like we are deep down stuck in the mud.  And it does not seem to get any easier.  Nor does it seem to go away.

You feel as if you are trudging, daily, through the mud—not just for yourself but also for your loved ones.

And you probably are.

It is messy.  You must be strong.  And it is daily.  Daily.  Daily.

But, I am here to tell you, be patient.  Be persistent.  And trudge through that mud.  Because a day will come when you no longer will need to slip on and off those mud boots.

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