To new mothers, I have news for you: You will not receive the Mom Award

stress-419085_1280

I was told last night at dinner by Josephine that she was not going to give me a “Mom Award” if I made her eat her dinner…

I looked at her with eyes of Superman steel, pointed to her seat, told her to get back in it, and that with or without that “Mom Award” I would survive just fine.

She sat back in her chair and told me that she “Doesn’t love Mommy and I wouldn’t get a cookie,” to which I replied, “I will also survive.”

She knew she was not winning any battle with her words, so she sat.

Mom Award?  That’s right, I’ll give it to myself.

The three year old sat, ate, and even climbed in my lap for books, where she promptly snuggled up and went to sleep.

In Mom’s arms.

Josephine may not have awarded me the Mom Award last night, but, you see, we did not become moms for awards.  We became moms to raise little people right.  To be their moms.  Not their buddies.  Not their friends.  Not the coolest person on the block.

Now, mind you, our block only has 3 houses, so I just may be the coolest person on the block (smile and wink in exaggeration, of course).  But you get the point.

So, if your children do not award you the “Mom Award,” don’t run to your room crying.

Don’t beg them for it.

Don’t bring them the paper to make you the Gold Star to go on top.

Just accept it.

They’ll cuddle into your arms later, no matter what.

Because, even award-less, you are still their safest place.

And that is award enough for me.

***

Free hint: When I am not using personal photos or photos my husband took, I use the site Pixabay where you will find copyright-free images.  Check it out.  I hope it will prove to be a useful site to you, too.

Advertisements

Your windowsill is important in Poland

parapetowka

Photo source

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.

***

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!

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

valentine-614515_1280

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!

5 tips to help your child feel at home in a foreign country

14379797_10154702193039050_5102717046323087319_o

We have 3 children: Adelyne, 11 years; Maxwell, 5 years; and Josephine 3 years. All of them are American Passport holders but Polish residents.

This is what we, Richard and Brooke Nungesser, as foreigners abroad, have learned about living and raising children in a country that is outside of our passport country.

1.  Make sure that your child speaks the language

We were told that the best way for our children to learn the language is enroll them in the public schools. We did that with Adelyne. She entered kindergarten with limited Polish and made friends the first day of school. And, so, with our children we apply the method of full immersion.

Today, Adelyne is fluent in Polish, is starting the 6th grade, and last year (in 5th grade) was the class president. She is never at home because she is daily with the friends in her neighborhood and community. Best of all, she has no hesitancy to go anywhere in Poland (For example: shop, cinema, park, post office) because Poland is her home through life and language.

2.  Be your child’s advocate for social hour

We were extremely active in soliciting play dates and building community around Adelyne. We wanted to make sure that, even if  language was difficult, she would feel loved and accepted by the people that she spent the majority of her life with here in Poland.

Our oldest has an entire community of friends and parents that are her extended family.  Although her aunts and uncles may be in the United States, she has an entire village of aunts and uncles in Poland (ciotki i wujkowie). It is a gift, giving your child family in a faraway land.

3.  Teach your child to have pride in country of residence

One of the most important things you can do is teach your children about the country where you reside. It is one of the most vital parts of helping your child understand and care about your country of residence:  knowing the country. What are important dates, events, traditions, foods, festivals?

Not only is it important but fun.

Therefore, go ahead and participate in the parades and traditions of the country. As an added bonus, dress them in the country’s colors, of course!

4.  Be adventurous

Absolutely teach your child to explore! It is a vital part of life: exploration. And, being in a foreign country gives you an opportunity to do something so few have the privilege of doing: exploring while “close” to home. Your home abroad, of course.

Find out what places, cities, national monuments or mountains are in your country of residence.

Once you have compiled a list of places you would like to visit, make sure to take time with your family putting them in order of importance to you. Then take a look at your calendar and mark the dates for your explorations.

Lastly, if you do not have to take car to get there, find the local bus, streetcar, or trains that travel to those destinations and relax on your journey. After all, the train is always more fun!

5.  Open your home

Just as important it is for your child to explore other cultures, invite your local village to come into your home and life and explore the life of your culture, too. Make your customary foods and invite them to help you celebrate your home country’s holidays.

Bring diversity to your village, teaching your child that while it is important to celebrate the country of residence, it’s also important to celebrate heritage! And everyone will be better because of it.

In fact, we have made it a point to open our home to our daughter’s classmates and the community, including the parents. We host annual parties and barbecues at our home, and the children wait for these events each year.

Doing this has really expanded not only our daughter’s community but ours, as well, and has made us feel completely at home.

Which is what this is all about, a home away from home!

 

 

Not Naughty…I knew it (or did I?)

pissed-off-1859913_1280.jpg

I love reading about the development of my children because it makes me feel SO MUCH MORE LESS INSANE!

Plus, I simply just love learning.  Therefore, when I saw this post, I knew that it was researched, written, and put into the cyber world just for me.

But then I thought—well, that’s selfish.  You may like this read, too!

And, so, without further ado, I give to you a brilliant post by Dr. Erin Leyba the post shared on Psychology Today that is categorized under “Joyful Parenting” and Titled “Not Naughty:  Ten Ways Kids Appear to Be Acting Bad But Aren’t” with the note underneath reading: Many of kids so-called “naughty” behaviors are developmental and human!

I mean—WOW, right?  Just from the title and note—I just KNEW this article was for me as I continue to guide and love and discipline and raise three:  Adelyne, Maxwell, and Josephine.

It already requires (takes/steals, whatever === smile and wink) all of my good looks and sanity and so many prayers—so I love when I can get a little perspective from professionals that don’t know me, my kids, or my messy kitchen and they write posts that remind me that I am doing a-okay because my kids ARE as awesome as they appear EVEN IF they are currently on the floor in a melt-down fit.  THEY ARE OKAY!

It’s time I let you get back to reading the article while I run outside to my balcony and shout out loud for all my village neighbors to hear that my kids AREN’T NAUGHTY!  They’re HUMAN!  And I’m doing an a-okay, bang-up job…

May these 10 perspectives really help shape your understanding, like it did mine.

And feel free to SHARE!  I know there are plenty out there that need this, just like you.  Just like me!

xo from here to there,

B

“Not Naughty:  Ten Ways Kids Appear to Be Acting Bad But Aren’t”

Forgiveness simply takes time


A story in our home…

Daddy to 3-year-old Josephine, “Josephine, I’m sorry I broke your toy.  Will you forgive me?”

Josephine, “No.  But tomorrow I will forgive you.”

Daddy, “Tomorrow you will forgive me?  Thanks, Josephine.”

Friends, this is an innocent and cute conversation about forgiveness involving something important to a three year old—her toys.  But life and forgiveness usually run so much deeper than broken toys.

Hurts exist from words and wounds.  Actions that caused someone great pain.

Yesterday my husband preached, “Trusting God and His design for us is better than our designs for self…”

Forgiveness is part of that design.  Forgiveness does not mean you acknowledge the other person was right or his/her actions okay.  But forgiveness allows you to be free to go in peace. 

You do not have to approach the person to forgive him or her—but you do not have to remain locked away in bitterness and pain because of your hurt.  

Freedom comes through flight.  And flight comes when you are out in the world, the vast expanse of the sky above you.  It comes when the world becomes limitless.  

Forgiveness will help take you to the sky.

I pray for you.  If you are locked into a world of bitterness because of great hurt, let that world no longer rule your life.  The hurt, the bitterness, it’s already robbed you of YOU.  

Choose forgiveness, freedom, and flight. 

And, if you need help getting there, find a support group or counselor near you to help you place the pieces of your life back together, making the complexity of who you are from fragments or pieces into a completed puzzle.  A masterpiece.

Then go forward and live.  Free.

Boy and girl share a bedroom…How?

When we returned to Poland after having our 3rd baby in the US, we returned to a boy room and a girl room and a parent room.  Problem:  girl room belonged to girl 8 years older than infant.  Therefore, the adorable boy room had to go and become combo room.  He was only 2, and didn’t know any better—so it made my job easier.  

Over the time we’ve since been returned to Poland, I have slowly begun the transition into cute yet manly all at the same time.  

Most of the time, the combination of frills and macho overlap, but, in the end, the identities of both stand out.  

The key was going with a main theme.  I love Paris.  Hence:  Theme Paris.  I also love vintage.  So we went with the theme of vintage bikes and Paris.  Red bike for Maxwell.  Green bike for Josephine.  

When they were smaller—both in cribs, they each had a half of the room.  The half of the room that was decorated for them.  Now that they are bigger, however, they share a bunk bed —- and, although their halves are divided, life meshes everything together into one adorable whole.  As it should.  

Here are some fun photos showing how to make a bedroom for your boy and girl work as parts of a whole.  Enjoy!


First up…their names and bikes.  I should add, for their beds I went with a black (mainly) theme since there wasn’t a lot of red and green comforters I liked.  Obviously this is Josephine’s name, bike, and bed.

Here are photos of Max’s name and bike—but now that he and Josephine are out of cribs, his bed is the bottom bunk (or is it?):



Next, I chose one more decoration per room side.  Max, however, also ended up with the photo board on his side.  I’m sure you’ll be able to see which is Josephine’s and then the others are Max’s:




The door was fun, too.  When Max was born, our then 6-year-old made him a humongous poster that we have never taken down.  So front-side of door belongs to Max.  Back to Josephine.  Hers is an Elsa Anna poster (I didn’t take a photo because we all know Frozen—smile and wink).  Here is Max’s side of the door:

In the end, however, their two lives mesh into one.

Barbie and Robot stand united:


Mrs. Potato head becomes Star Wars warrior…defender of pink kitchenette:


Masked Minion and Princess Kitty guard the window:


And my favorite photo of them all…

Two hearts that still beat as one.  Even as they sleep!  

And while I know they won’t share a bed or a room forever, these precious moments and years that they do, I pray connect them as best friends for a lifetime!