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!

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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.

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

Slow Down…Today’s lessons from the storks.

slowdownblogpost

My two year old delight is walking around with pretzels in a Boleslawiec pottery bowl.  She is in yesterday’s dress, a dirty face, grubby fingers, and static hair.

She has huge eyes and is divine.

Her brother is flying Batman around the house and has told me on a number of occasions today that he is NOT hungry—he just needs chocolate chips, ice cream, and chips.

Apparently, those are NOT food items 😉

I offered to put my kids in the shower.  Because, when you are a mom, you know your shower is not your shower.  It is sprinkled with bath crayons, rubber toys, cups, and other assortments of water-proof items that make the perfect island escape.

Or Alcatraz.

Depends who is looking at it.

Island escape:  Kids.

Alcatraz:  Moms.

But, you see, the thing is today, outside my kitchen window, I saw a stork soaring over my home.  In circles.  It was so peaceful.  And lovely.  I watched it for about 5 minutes.

I was awestruck at the pace it soared, at the heights it went.  At its perseverance to go around and around and around.

It was lovely and serene.  It was divine.  And it reminded me that I have a job to do that does not require rush.

It requires:

Strength

Perseverance

Patience

Time

And finally…Devotion

We have two extremely large stork nests just hundreds of yards from our home.  I get to watch the divine birth of new stork babies summer in and summer out.  And, yet, I still have so much to learn from them.

One:  Storks are devoted to their mates.  They are willing to travel the world to find the other and build a family together.

Two:  Storks build their homes together.  Piece by piece.  They don’t get everything they want overnight.  It takes hard work and time.  They gather and hunt and place and piece together their home === stick by stick.  This takes time.

Three:  Storks are patient.  The gentle circling to climb higher and higher was peaceful and encouraging in the same breath.  Oftentimes, we want to summit in a sprint.  To truly summit a mountain, however, takes patience.  My husband climbed Mt. Elbrus on the Russian/Georgian border.  It took extreme patience and step-by-step determination to reach the top.  But they made it.  In good shape.   One of the highest peaks in the world.  They did it!  But, had they rushed, their bodies would have given out and they would have gotten sick or worse.

Patience…that’s what I saw this morning when watching my neighboring stork.

Four:  Storks may travel up to 20,000km to go from home to home.  Which means they persevere.  Through it all.  To get where they need to go.  Enough said.

Five:  Lastly, I have seen a stork up close.  It is large and majestic.  It walks without fear and flies unafraid of the neighboring hawk in the sky.  It knows it is brave.  It knows it is strong.  And it knows that it has one job to do:  raise its family right.

Today’s soaring stork reminded me that I don’t need to rush my children into perfection.  That I need to guide them into little people who will, one day, leave the nest when they are ready.  In the meantime, I should enjoy the task at hand.

Now, if you don’t mind…My Littles are running in circles, holding hands, and dancing in the kitchen.  And I was just invited to join them!

I think I shall…

They can definitely HAVE THIS DANCE!

 

The Original Michelangelo David Versus MY DAVID!

Look, I completely recommend seeing the original David.  There is absolutely nothing like it in the world.

Here is what you need to know:

It is located at the university—who knows where?  On some side street with no line, whatsoever, to get in.  And you will get very lost trying to walk to it.  But you can make it (we did!).  And it was worth every wrong turn.

And, as utterly amazing the sculpture is, I am not quite sure that it is as well mastered or divine as my very own David—my David that appeared out of nowhere to me yesterday while I was taking one of only TWO potty breaks that I actually had from the entire day.  Seriously, folks…one of two!

And here my David comes sauntering in (because of course I MUST take my potty breaks with the door open since I have two toddlers at home), completely naked.  (He can go from dressed to naked in about 3 seconds flat) And full of becoming his very own masterpiece.  Because, of course, as ALL LIFE WITH TODDLERS HAS IT, he was coloring with markers (washable, don’t worry), while I was finally sitting on the porcelain throne for ONLY the second time for the entire day.

My DAVID!  My Masterpiece!

And, I must admit, as divine as I believe the original Michelangelo to be, I think my David may be just as super awesome!

So, of course, after I got off the potty—you know—time’s up for dear ol’ mom, I decided to do my own photoshoot taking similar pictures like I took of the original David in Florence.

Except this David is a Brooke and Richard Masterpiece of God, who battled his own Giant (not Goliath but yet his Goliath of impending death), and now resides not at  Galleria dell’Accademia in Italy but in #villagelife Poland.

You scroll through the photos and decide which David is the greater masterpiece (and, if you choose the original, perhaps don’t tell this momma).

Enjoy!

Let’s begin with the right hand of David that is holding the stone that is used to defeat the Giant Goliath:

davidshand

And now the marker that is held in the right hand of my very own David used to defeat the sanity of mom (notice how it is even a homemade Crayola marker):

mydavidsrock

Next up!  The torso of the original David and his glance and piercing eyes, lightly holding the sling that was used to fight Goliath casually slung over his left shoulder:

hiseyes

And now my Masterpiece David, with his young and youthful toddler belly body (full of like 5 bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup) and his left arm up—holding nothing but air (just because I told him to).  Notice my masterpiece is even glancing off to the left:

FullSizeRender-1

Lastly, or at least what I will display on my page, the feet of Michelangelo’s David.  Seriously.  This young sculptor was truly an amazing artist, as the feet were even carved to perfection (out of marble):

hisfeet

But, as perfectly as they are carved out of marble, I still think that I find my Masterpiece to be just as perfectly carved.  Here are his feet:

FullSizeRender

And, of course, while I am sitting at the table type-typing this away, two of my greatest Masterpieces given to me by God, are mere feet away, at the window, creating a cherry-tree robot and a meow-meow (in their vivid imaginations, of course) on what was just moments ago very clean windows.

But, hey!  Who needs windows when I have walking, living, talking, breathing, statue Masterpieces to fill my home?

Not me!

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  Psalm 139:14

 

Don’t Ever Help the Local Teens When You’re Traveling on a Foreign Bus

darbyholdingupthetower

Oh my.  I am seriously crying over here.  I was reminded yesterday that my sister, the MOST helpful woman you will ever meet, was inspired on our recent trip to Italy (#sisterchick style) to help the local teenage boys out…on the bus…at the top of her voice.

Here is how the story goes…

We were on the Pisa city bus just, very apparently, not making our way to the Leaning Tower…So there we were.  Hanging out.  Watching the city pass us by, while the locals hopped on and off.  Pushing stop buttons when wanting to exit and stamping tickets when boarding.

We knew we had to get back to the train station—so, you know, we had to basically ride the loop out.

This gave us OODLES of time to get really really really like super really bus savvy.  I mean, we were riding it for like an hour—so we did have it figured out.

Stop button meant people wanted off.  Tickets punched meant people would be riding.

The thing is…the bus was so busy that we were all scattered throughout.  From front to back—dragging our ridiculously heavy suitcases with us—carry-on luggage—and lots and lots of sweat from our over-stuffed train ride to get to Pisa from Florence (but that’s another story).

And in the midst of the bus chaos and complete separation we hear from somewhere in the middle a LOUD and TALL REDHEAD shouting in her best Italian #@$&%!

The bustling, overcrowded, LOUD bus comes to a complete moment of silence===and we, the traveling #sisterchicks, all look towards Darby (my sister) and stare.  Mouths open.

What did she just yell?????

Whatever it was, it brought Italy to a standstill.

No one…foreign or otherwise…knew what to do.

And then we hear her, “I am just trying to help stop the bus.”

All of us, however, came to the conclusion that whatever word the teenage boys were shouting on the bus was probably, very likely, absolutely without a doubt, we are sure of it…not the word STOP!

What word was it?

Well, considering it was teenage boys yelling it…let’s just say it was probably a very naughty word that my sister would most likely punish her own teenagers for saying 😉

Yes, here she was, in a foreign country, yelling it at the top of her lungs!

#$%!@##$#!

Needless to say—the bus did stop.

Talking that is.

Not in motion.

It kept rolling…

Much like our laughter to this day.

Oh, dear friends, wherever you go, if there are teenage boys shouting, keep this in mind…

Don’t repeat what they are saying…ESPECIALLY if it is in a foreign language.

And on a bus!

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photo credit:  Laura Hocknell; photo caption:  Perspective;  photo subject:  DARBY the bus yeller!!!!!

 

Italy…

I don’t have one sick kid.

I don’t have two sick kids.

I have three sick kids…

And…

As much as I love them—

My sis, sil, and girlfriends are coming in T-4 days.

And momma is going to Italy.

Good luck, Daddy????