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!

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!

Do you want to wax your mustache?????

Are you freaking KIDDING me?!

First I turn FORTY—as if that is NOT bad enough—and then I go to get my eyebrows waxed when the lady doesn’t seem to think that IT (turning 40) is FITTING enough–but now she must POINT OUT and ASK…

“ARE YOU ALSO HERE TO GET YOUR MUSTACHE WAXED????”

My laser eyes and deadly stare did NOTHING to hinder her from asking again, “AND YOUR MUSTACHE????”

I gasped as if I still have my 18-year-old glow and youth and not a STRAY whisker ANYWHERE on my face and answered her, “MY MUSTACHE????!!!!  I don’t have a mustache!!!!!”  And huffed loudly as I threw my awesome body (okay, lowered myself gently due to my aching back) onto the waxing lounge and pointed out that “I DO NOT, under any circumstances, WANT CRAZY TRENDY EYEBROWS!  JUST SIMPLE WAXING…please.”

Before I got off the chair, she, DAFT AS A…????  Well, who knows what—something daft… ASKED AGAIN, “Are you sure you don’t want the mustache waxed???”

Yes, LADY!  Very sure…

Right?

Or, I mean, do I have a mustache????

Go to mirror…

Peer closely…

Squint, really, since my eyes are not the best.

Still can’t see.  Turn glasses crooked on my nose so that I can see (all bi-focal style)…and re-peer.

Surely that is not a mustache, it’s simply glitter, right?!?!?!  A light glistening above my upper lip????

Right!

And, so with indignance, I walk PROUDLY out of that salon…

Mustache and all.

 

When sanity restoration begins and you already start crying…

I have been LONGING…literally LONGING for sanity for the last several years while my head has been spinning wildly in all directions except on.

And then it happened two days ago.  I took a shower—door unlocked, of course and open, while the two littles were awake and propped in front of the TV.

The thing is…I didn’t rush.  I washed my hair.  Shaved my legs…both don’t normally happen in the midst of my “ARE THE KIDS TURNING ON THE OVEN AND BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE AND RUNNING WITH SCISSORS” showers that normally take place.  One definitely has to go.  Mostly the shaving legs.  Good thing I live in Europe 😉

It was amazing.  And I didn’t feel stressed.  I occasionally would shout out, “ARE YOU OKAY????”  To which they would respond, “We’re OKAY!” And then I would enjoy the next moment of sanity…

And just as I was beginning to get nostalgic for the moments when I had to worry and live in paranoia with the “I CANT LIVE WITHOUT MOMMY” seconds that occupy my every waking moment, two littles come running in shouting, “I WANNA SHOWER WITH MOMMY!!!!!”

Clothes are stripped.  Diapers are stripped.  And I finish rinsing my hair just in time to hop out and throw two naked bottoms in—albeit crying naked bottoms—saying stuff like, “BUT I WANNA SHOWER WITH YOU, MOMMA!”

And as much as I enjoyed my freedom and sanity for those 5 minutes in the shower—I enjoyed hearing those words even more.  Because those were the longest 5 minutes of my life—knowing that my sanity was on its way to being restored—and freedom would soon again be mine.

The freedom I have been screaming for the last many years—is on the horizon—and now I’m so sad about it.

MOMMYHOOD.

Man it’s a crazy conundrum of nonsensical emotions that keeps me screaming, crying, laughing, hugging, or spinning.

AND I WANT THEM ALL TO STAY THE SAME…

Yet I want to shower in peace, too.

Sometimes there is clearly no winner in the mom game 😉

Let’s Make Polish Nalesniki and Kale Smoothies!

Well, wouldn’t you know…I must not know how to make pancakes—as no baking soda is needed.  And I forgot one key ingredient in the nalesniki batter when spouting out what it takes, milk!  But, in the end, it doesn’t really matter because I look at the recipe when making my batter so what is needed makes it and what isn’t to be there remains out.  PHEW!

How did this start…Well, I was in the kitchen making the nalesniki and my house was unusually quiet.  3 kids were upstairs playing school and my littlest, Josephine, was at the doctor with her daddy.  My dogs were outside, and I didn’t even have the radio on.  That’s when I decided to just hit record and start talking through my process.  Which is quite apparent due to my extremely ELEGANT appearance and fashionista stylin’ (big wowzer!!!!).

And, OOPS…the batter was already made.  But, don’t worry, here’s the link to the recipe I use:

Polish Nalesniki (it includes a savory recipe and a sweet recipe)

For this video, I was making the sweet recipe, and I had doubled it so it could feed 6.

Anyhow, enjoy!  Or, as they would say in Polish, Smacznego!

We sure did.

And, let me assure you…I am not pregnant.  This camera added about 6 months of pregnancy pounds.  I mean—I have weight to lose but not 6 months of baby (smile and wink)!

xo b

Kidnapping a Cat is a Gift from God???

Seriously.  My decade daughter kills me.  She is hilarious.  And always full of so much hope!

She was out exploring the other day.  We live in a village and they can still do things like take off into the wilds on their bikes and chase their dreams.  Get in a little trouble.  And seek out adventures.

So that is exactly what she and her BFF were doing…Out on bikes, exploring farmlands, soaring past forests, playing at the school playground, and then stopping at the local soda shop for a cold drink.

It’s like a storybook.

And she is living it.

As everyone knows—storybooks also have happy endings.

Unless you write Adelyne’s (my decade daughter).

Here’s what happened…

Ring-ring.

My phone rang.

“Hi, Adelyne!”  (I obviously know what number she has).

“Hi, Momma!”  And then she continues.  By the mere tone in her voice, I definitely know Something.Is.Up!

“Momma!  We are at the noclegi and this itty bitty cat came up to us.  It’s about 5 weeks old, and it’s so skinny and it needs help!”

“Adelyne!  Stop touching the cat.  Does it have bugs all over it?  Fleas?”

Believe me…I have dealt with 3 dogs that had fleas.  It was not something I wanted my daughter coming home with.

“No, Momma…It doesn’t have fleas. It’s so sweet and all alone.  It needs our help!  Please, Momma!  Can I bring it home?!”

“Adelyne, we are NOT going to keep a cat…”

“Momma, we don’t have to keep it.  I can take care of it while making Lost Kitten posters, hanging them up everywhere…”

I am SUCH a sucker for ALL animals.

“Okay, Adelyne…but we are making posters for it and finding it a home.”

“Okay, Momma.”

Sure enough, before long, the girls show up with a kitten in their arms.

Except it wasn’t a kitten.

It was a full-grown cat.

Beautiful.

Black.

Sleek.

Fat.

And just cuddled up in their arms—completely tame.  Not a wild cat.

And purring.

“See, Mom?!  See the kitten?!”

I stare.

Blankly.

“Where’s the kitten?”

“This is it!”

“Adelyne—that’s not a kitten!  That’s a cat,” I begin stroking its head.

Adelyne and her BFF looking quizzically at the kitten/cat, “But see how skinny it is, Momma?!”

I poke at the belly of the cat and my finger bounces back.  Yep.  Plenty of fat.

“Adelyne, that cat is not skinny.  It’s clean.  It’s fat.  And it is super friendly.  This is probably some poor girl’s cat.  She’s probably at home right now wondering where her precious family pet went.”

And to exaggerate my point, I emphasized, “She’s probably CRYING!”

The two “decade” girls look at each other with WIDE eyes—astonished that their rescue is NOT a rescue but a kidnapping, and then they say,

“But we thought this cat was a gift from God!”

I burst out laughing…

A gift from God?

A kidnapped black cat.

Yes.  This is my life.

Needless to say, they walked the cat back towards the soda shack (noclegi) when I got another phone call, “Mom! Mom!”

“Yes…” I say wondering, “WHAT IN THE WORLD IS NEXT?!”

“The cat jumped out of our arms and climbed a TREE and now the branch is breaking!”

“Adelyne, YOU ARE NOT TO CLIMB THE TREE TO GET THE CAT!”

“But the branch is BREAKING!”

“ADELYNE MARGUERITE…”

Everyone knows it is NOT a good thing when your momma uses TWO NAMES.

“Um, yes, Momma?”

“A cat that can climb up—can climb down.  Get your bike (which they had to stash somewhere so that they could bring the kidnapped cat home) and come home.”

“But the poor cat…”

“Will survive!”  I finish.

A gift from God?

A kidnapped black cat.

From a local soda shop.

I am dying, my friends.

But aren’t we ALL like that sometimes—hopeful for something that crosses our paths, sometimes distorting the truth of what we think we see?

I know I am.

Therefore, I will end with this great reminder,

“Keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith…”  Hebrews 12:2

thekidnappedcat

 

When You Don’t Want Your Children To Grow Up

mymax.com

“Now, Maxie?” Josephine shouted.

“Not yet, GoGo!” Max responded.

They were sitting on two little roller coasters that you push with your feet, waiting one for the other to go down the little slope.

And, because her big hero brother said “Not yet” she waited and said, “Okay, Maxie…”

Then he would count, “One, two, three, GO!”

Their chubby little feet would paddle the ground and they would begin the slight decline down the coaster to soar onto the open floor.

Smiles and joy and squeals accompanying their little rides.

Then one would shout, without hesitation, “Let’s do it again!”

And off they’d push their cars to the top to begin again.

Friends—my two Littles are utterly exhausting.  I’m like super tired.  And they fight.  And they roll on the ground.  And they don’t like their food to touch—or when I cut their toast the wrong way.

My eyes are held open by VERY strong coffee…

But it’s ALL so worth it.

And my stomach is already nostalgic for the future loss of my Littles.

My decade daughter, as she calls herself, was once my Little…and I enjoyed every minute of it (let’s not relish in her own toddler tantrums that also split my hairs 😉 )…

She, in all of her innocent wonder, was my sunshine on any cloudy day.  And, believe me, in Poland there are a LOT of cloudy days.

Now she’s the epitome of beauty and grace.  She is tall and slender and lovely with a touch of awkward.  And growing.  She will, without any doubt in my mind, be a beautiful, successful, creative, and compassionate young lady—I already see that in her.

But it does not mean I don’t miss my Sweet Adelyne that used to skate on flour and make tea parties for her daddy with all of her dollies.

She has phased into young lady—that, very thankfully, still likes to occasionally play dolls, too!

And as my little miracle approaches his fourth birthday, I think.  No, I know that I am already missing him.

My toddler, naked bottom Max—without a care in the world.

Can I squish him into Little-ness forever?

Probably not—but I capture every moment of each of our days—the good and bad—on the reel of my on-going memory maker—the core of my heart…because I know that, as they grow, I will enjoy each new phase—but it will not mean that I will not miss the last one.

Josephine asked Maxie if he was ready—and he said “Not yet.”

Maxie—I am not ready, yet, either.

Please don’t grow.

But just like they paddled their feet and took off, I know what fate awaits me…

Their wild ride.

***

Photo credit:  Inga Rurek