Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lazy, Lazy Man

One of the many, many things I love about English is that instead of using an adverb such as very, super, extremely etc. you can just use your adjective twice in a row. That's one of the wonderful, wonderful things about my native tongue.

This post is to explain the new video that's appearing in my sidebar. Some of you may know that Blogger is not completely user friendly. One of the ways that I know this is because it was a major ordeal for me to sort the you tube videos to only display those that Greg has made. The only way that I could do it was to sort by his user name. Therefore, anything that he uploads onto you tube shall surely appear on my blog. I'm glad, though. Now it's given me something to post about today (not that I don't have half a dozen other boring posts started that I could finish and post)! And I'm sure you're all wondering why I never mention my husband in any of my posts. It's fairly clear I don't think much of the guy, so now I'll explain why.

Greg is the "Financial Manager" of the Kirkham Motorsports factory in Mielec, Poland. You see the quotation marks because that's his official title, but he's really more of a General Manager (looks better in caps ), but they prefer not to have any employees with that title. He is the main go-between for the owners in Utah and the factory here. He has helped to implement the Toyota system (not making the cars into Toyotas, but just using the lean philosophy).

He is renting a kiosk (like a newsstand that also sells cleaning/hygiene products and candy) to get some experience being in charge of his own small business--although it is part of a chain. He stocks it himself and does everything except sit behind the counter and sell.

He is working his fingers off trying to get this English school started. He has been making a web page for it and planning lessons and how to divide the courses etc. We just need to get advertising and we should be ready to start here very soon.

His church responsibilities require him to attend meetings (oh, the meetings) in three different branches 2, 3, and 5 hours away from home once a month each. He has all sorts of interesting problems to solve and trainings to give and meetings to attend. Oh, and he also attends many meetings.

He has three child sized children and one grown-up one at home that look to him for love and support and discipline. And jokes. Especially good jokes. We can do without the support and discipline, as long as there are jokes. OH and there are. And we STILL get all the other stuff, too!

So basically, he is an idle, idle man, and and I really,really resent that about him.

Oh, I should mention about the short video. When his boss and the boss's friend were here a couple of weeks ago, the friend suggested that they include a video of the cars being made in the factory on their website. Greg whipped this one up to present to his bosses and we are waiting to hear if they want to use it. As you know, you can't just send a file of this size by email, so he put it on you tube and emailed them the address so they can take a look. Now that it's on there, you guys can too!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Baby Einstein

No idea anyone is watching him watch Baby Einstein "Oh. Some one's here."
"Da da da da da da!" (Polish for: "Look, Daddy! It's a cow!")
We're not as backward about Baby Einstein as we are about Breakfast at Tiffany's! We love it, just like everyone else.

And don't forget to notice those cute feet. He's always rubbing his feet together or at least resting the toes of one foot in between the big toe and second toe of his other foot, like in these pictures. He got that from his dad. From me he got his posture. Ug.

As I say, we're Baby Einstein fans. My dear sister sent us a bunch of hers after Aaron was born. They're great. I don't use them properly, though. According to the instructions for use (as recorded by Julie Clark*in her honey sweet voice) you're supposed to:

use the videos "as multimedia blackboards. Point to objects and actions on the screen and name them for your child. As you watch the music videos, play musical instruments together or clap your babies hands together. Dance, sing and have fun!"

I figure, if I have a solid half an hour to spend with my baby, I'll use it to read him books or play with his own toys with him, or tickle him or chase him up the stairs or something.

Of course we don't have so many awesome toys like the ones you see on the videos, but we have more than our share, plus lots of other exciting objects around the house. For example, socks. Almost daily Greg pulls off one of Aaron's socks and sticks his fingers in there somehow and makes it talk to Aaron. This is very likely the reason Aaron pulls them off himself, numerous times a day, and chews on them (maybe his way of responding to the sock puppet's comments?) Either that or he wipes the coffee table with them. Very thoroughly. Then there are tissues. I'm sure all parents are aware of the joy a box of tissues brings to a one year old. But besides the pulling them out one at a time (which we don't actually allow, but he sometimes sneaks it like a cookie), and the ripping them into the tiniest imaginable shreds, Aaron loves to use them to wipe the kitchen floor. (Oh, this is good! Maybe you guys are thinking that he does this to mimic me, and that I therefore must have a clean kitchen floor. I won't undeceive you). Or a cell phone that can be put to one's neck and shouted at. Apparently all of Aaron's friends and acquaintances are hard of hearing, because he never shouts as loud as when he's on the phone.

No, I am a breaker of the code of parental conduct while a Baby Einstein is playing. Sure I always sit by him and get excited with him when the Walt Disney logo appears, and then poke his tummy twice when the caterpillar blinks his eyes (with those cute noises). But after that, I'm racing to the kitchen to see how many dishes I can get washed or if I can get dinner in the oven in 31 minutes and 27 seconds. Besides the occasional check-up on him, with a "Look Aaron! It's a ducky! Quack, quack!" a few times during the show (or a "Get it, Aaron? The chickens kept saying 'Bach, Bach'!!"), he's On His Own. And he doesn't seem to mind.

I believe baby Einstein is heaven sent for parents of babies who are teething. Or parents who ever want to get stuff done. Whatever hypnotic techniques they use really work! Babies will just sit and stare (and possibly rub their feet together). Or stand and point and babble. Either way, they're occupied, and not covering your entire floor with tissues. The expensive kind with lotion. And you can get something done without a little elf yanking on your pants (and possibly pulling them down, if your underthings are made of the wrong material, and causing you to soak those pants with your sudsy, wet, dish washing hands, as you try to get them back up.)

So while these videos could easily be recreated by any average Joe with a video camera, some toys and a classical music CD, I think they deserve the acclaim they have earned. Not so much because of their brilliance, but because SHE did it first and sold the idea. And the rest of us are too lazy to make our own, and so fork out piles of cash to get them. (Or have really nice sister's who give them to us for free!) So, for all the clean dishes and dry pants, completed meals, saved tissues and saved sanity, I thank you, Julie. And I thank you, Su!

* Lee's: she is quite the opposite of the Julie Clark from two trailers down, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oldie = Goodie

I think I finally realize why Greg likes me: I'm from before 1980. Okay, his love of old things doesn't really carry over into the subject of humans. Okay again, it's mostly just movies, TV shows, music and comic books. But maybe just knowing that I was around when many of those things came to be carries some weight with him...

I've never made a big secret of the fact that I generally prefer shallow movies to deep. Well, I suppose I mean that I prefer comedy to drama. Oh, it's okay if they want to throw a message in there (as long as it's one I agree with and it's not done in a in-my-face or cheesy way--Hollywood isn't generally where I like to turn for morals/guidance); but mostly, just make me laugh, please. Greg likes comedies as well and is even willing to watch the romantic variety with me now and again. He also really likes science fiction, and I'm willing to watch those with HIM now and again (especially if they're sci-fi comedies).

But mostly, Greg likes old movies. When we first moved to Poland it seemed like every week there was ANOTHER of Greg's favorite TV series from the old days re-running. There are countless mini-series, and regular series from the 60's and 70's (I sure lost count a long time ago), most of them in black and white, that he has watched and fallen in love with again (about Polish/German spies during WWII, two boys who travel around Poland alone during the summer, a guy who is a driver and an awesome man and has interesting adventures, a man who has a car that turns into a boat and takes some kids treasure hunting, where they learn cool stuff about history, and at least a few just about families). He has since bought many (just counted-7) of them on DVD or VCD. He watches them over and over. He has taught our kids to love them (those geared to younger audiences) despite the fact that they are 1) black and white 2) slow moving 3) not interesting (or maybe just not shallow or funny?) enough for their mother to sit through an entire episode. I really love this about Greg.

He recently found a whole slew of Polish semi-musical comedies from the 60's that you can get cheap on DVD, and bought them. We've been watching them and they are mostly fun and a little silly.

If a movie, Polish or American, comes on TV and it looks like it was made before 1985 (but the best are 60's and 70's), I can guarantee he will want to at least "give it a try." When he says this, I know he means "watch from beginning to end, barring too much foul language or nudity, and regardless of the level of stupidity or poorness of acting." In this way we have discovered many, many strange, interesting and sometimes awesome movies. We've also discovered a lot of very dumb, pointless ones. When I think they're too dumb (or I'm just not in the mood) I don't watch them, but Greg still likes to watch, for the same reason he likes to watch the good ones. They take him to another time and place, when life was simpler, problems were more easily solved and people wore astonishing clothing.

I don't know if it's like this in America, but here, at 9:00pm Cartoon Network turns into TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and this is where we see the majority of those old movies (the American ones, anyway). On this channel we have seen North by Northwest 59 times, Coma once, and then avoided it like the plague ever after, and lots of others I can't think of to name (great memory, eh?) Oh, but I do remember that I finally got to see the ever famous Breakfast at Tiffany's on this channel.

Speaking of which, are any of you Breakfast at Tiffany's fans? From what I gather, all of you should be. If you are, please explain to me why I'm supposed to love that movie. I feel very backward about it. It definitely would have fallen into the previously mentioned category of "too dumb" (not in the sense of intelligence so much as the weak acting, awkward pace/story line etc.)for me to watch all the way through, but I decided to "give it a try" Greg style. After all, it's Breakfast at Tiffany's! I thought. I'm baffled. And if it's about Audrey Hepburn? Give me My Fair Lady ANY day. (But don't be offended by my review! Convert me!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Evie is getting so big. It's so strange to have a child that has been baptized. It makes me feel my responsibility more than ever. Ewelina is getting more and more interested in learning about the gospel. She seems to remember even very little things she was told long ago and fit them into place in her deepening understanding of doctrine. I love it.

Last night we read something from Revelation in our family scripture study. Afterwards we talked a little about John and in the end I mentioned that it's entirely possible that he attends church on Sundays in a white shirt and tie, but people just don't know who he is. Greg said that he can't really tell people who he is. Evie smiled and stuck her hand out and pretended to give a handshake saying, "Hello, I'm John the Revelator!"

That reminded me a little of a few years ago. At Easter time we were talking about the Easter story. Ewelina was listening intently the whole time. When we came to the part about Mary Magdelene weeping outside the tomb when Christ appears to her. We explained that she was still crying because she didn't recognize Him at first. She thought maybe He was a gardener. Ewelina responded right away, "Woah! Shiny gardener!"

Last week she had to write a poem for school about Spring. She did such a great job, I thought I'd include it here (plus, she just loved how her cousin had a poem of hers posted by her mom, so I'll do the same for her):


to pora roku radosna.
To młoda, barwna dama,
co nigdy nie jest sama.
Bo z nią się budzą rośliny,
odwiedzają ptaki,
cieszą się dziewczyny
tak samo jak chłopaki.

Okay, I recognize that there is a CHANCE that some of you don't speak, or at least read Polish, so I'll translate, but it will lose the rhythm and rhyme, which is, of course, half the beauty of it.


is a joyful time of year.
It is a young, colorful lady,
who is never alone,
for the plants awake with her,
the birds visit her.
Girls rejoice,
as do boys.

Yes, it definitely lost something there. Especially the last two lines... Still pretty good, though, eh?
(I just revised the last two lines and they're a bit better--closer to the polish (thanks Greg for giving the word rejoice, I knew cieszyć się was stronger than to be happy...)--but still not the same)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Around the Corner

I almost feel like I shouldn't write about this because there's no way I can communicate the depth of feeling I have about this subject. This is something that makes me cry nearly every time I think about it.

A few years ago, in an English discussion group I was leading, we started talking about the history of Mielec. I learned that before the war, Mielec had been almost 50% Jewish. I was shocked! (these days I know there are a some J. W.s and an LDS family, but it seems everyone else is Catholic) I was told that there had been a Jewish cemetery where the current parking lot of the main post office is, and that if you walked by the river you could still find Jewish tombstones that had been thrown into the river by the Nazis when they destroyed the cemetery.

One of the guys in my class brought in a book of the history of Mielec and showed me some pictures of the deportation of the Jews from Mielec (you have to scroll down below the page heading to see these). They were taken in the main square. In many of the photos you can see soldiers herding the people like sheep (guns displayed prominently).Here you can see lots of their bundles being piled up. It seems unlikely that they ever saw their things again. And they marched to an unknown fate.

Shortly after we moved into this house 4 months ago, in the course of a walk around the neighborhood, we found this around the corner from where we live.

"An Eternal Memorial for the hundreds of Jewish men and women from the town of Mielec killed by the Nazis on March 9, 1942 and buried in this mass grave."

Of the thousands of Jews to be deported that day, many hundreds (close to a thousand) were killed instead of being put on the train. They were mostly the elderly, children and prominent members of the Jewish community. Men like these almost surely did not leave Mielec. Here they lie.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

They Grow Up So Fast

I really love David. He's very funny and smart and kind and self-confident (if sometimes shy). He has a pleasant way of mixing Polish and English (usually an English sentence sprinkled with a Polish word or two), and if you ask him to say the whole sentence in English it takes him about 10 seconds to translate the Polish words into English. Plus the whole literal translation thing is sometimes funny. For example, today in the tub he had wet his hair and then spiked it all up. Fryzura means hairstyle. He asked me, "Can this fryzura be?" Doesn't really translate very
directly. He meant, "is this hairstyle okay?" But usually he's just funny on purpose, and sometimes all in English. Like once I asked Evie to fix her behaviour and David started walking out of the room saying,"I'll go get the tools fo
r you." Or like tonight I was sitting on the kitchen floor feeding Aaron his hot cereal (as you do) and asked David to get the jam out of the fridge for me (I wanted to add some to the cereal). He pulled it out of the fridge and set it on the table. Way out of my reach. I said, "Um, I can't really use the jam when it's over there and I'm over here." As he picks it back up to bring to me he says, "Oooh! I'm sorry! I thought you were Elastigirl!"

Su (sister) recently posted about how she has her children tell her three things about their day each day after school . I love that idea. Fortunately my kids are still excited to tell me things on their own, but I'm saving Su's idea for the inevitable day when they won't be. I really don't have to pry anything out of them at this point. There are even some things I almost wish they didn't tell me. For example, David is in love.

He has been telling us for the last few days/weeks that he is in love with Marcelina in his kindergarten class. He always talks about what a nice smile she has and how she wears such cute clothes (!). He told me that in the morning, whenever someone walks into the classroom he looks up to see if it's her and if it is he tells whoever's nearby, "Here's my sweetheart." YIKES! And then he comes home and tells us that. I believe we should be glad that he's not trying to hide it from us but.....YIKES. Yesterday we had Greg's boss and his (Mexican) friend over for dinner (at which point I realized that I can still understand some Spanish, but I can't remember a single word of it to speak) and after they left, David showed us what he had been working on while we were chatting. Prepare yourselves:

Above is the inside of the "card" he made for Marcela. Above the flowers that represent each of them is written "maybe a kiss?" (thus the kissy lips).

This is the front and back. For some reason my children think it looks nice if they scribble all over a page. As long as it's not white, they think it looks nice and colorful. I've tried to convince them that it just looks messy, but to no avail. On the back it says, "You are sweeeeeeeeet, and awesome, ya know, and rich." Then we have all the money symbols and a big bag of money with her name on it. Underneath it says, "Shut up and accept it." I think that's kind of a Polish saying used when someone tries to decline something that is offered to them, so I understand that I'm not supposed to be mad about the "shut up" part of it. But
HELP!! We don't want to make a big deal out of it, so we're just letting it be, of course explaining that he's too young to really have a girlfriend and that he should make sure she likes him, too, so he doesn't bother her etc. He knows all this, and mostly just thinks it's fun. He's very cute. And I'm very scared!

[I typed this up a few days ago and yesterday David told me that he still really likes Marcelina, but not as much as before. The obsession is fading! Yay!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Aspiration; or What I'll Never Be

You see, there's a problem with having to come up with a title for each post. That is that some bloggers are kind of dorky and will come up with a series of post titles like, "Sophistication", "Justification", and "Aspiration". Or they just can't decide between two super clever titles, so they use them both. Today we've hit a low. I've done both in one post title. But you know what? I'll just bet I keep rolling out these awesome titles anyway. Oh well. They should offer a class, "naming blog posts 101".

But today's title isn't referring to my aspirations to some day be able to make good post titles! Oh no! I'm referring to the fact that we're having company this week and I don't know how to be a hostess. We have visitors SO rarely that I can only imagine what kind of hostess I'll be. Now we live in a house(ish) and have an entire apartment downstairs for visitors (and English classes when there are no visitors)! [Here's the part where you take a hint and decide to come visit us. But if you're going to, don't read on.] We are hoping people will come and stay with us more often. A few weekends ago we had our first visitor...but more about that later.

I have had the opportunity to stay with soooo many people and see all different styles of hostessing. There was a certain family living in Krakow who let us (me, Greg and 1 year old Ewelina)stay with them nearly every weekend and made us feel so at home. There's a family on the East coast who we visit all the time because I have never once felt in the way there, even when the house was full of 4-6 adults and 7-9 children for weeks at a time. Then there are those living on the other side of the country who go out of their way to make sure everything is as easy as possible for me and the kids, and who are willing to plan my entire vacations for me. I also remember staying with people who have a list of rules and are sure to let you know if you aren't following them. That's not very fun. BUT I'M AFRAID I'M ONE OF THOSE KIND!

So our visitor came (travelling MANY hours (12 each way, I think) across the entire country to spend about 24 hours with us and then go back!) on a Saturday evening. We had been sick all week and I hadn't been doing housework, plus the downstairs apartment hadn't been cleaned since we've never used it, so I had to clean that as well. Needless to say I was up to my ears in work. Then I start organizing the toys in the playroom and accidentally start to REALLY organize them (like weekend-long-project organize). By the time I finally finish that, I have about 1/2-1 hour to vacuum the entire house, do laundry, make dinner and clean the kitchen. He arrives while I'm vacuuming and the kitchen has stacks of dishes and the dinner isn't started. Then Greg starts showing him around the house and I realize (too late) that the kids beds weren't made and their pajamas were on the floor (which would have been remedied in 30 seconds if I had done the vacuuming upstairs like I meant to) In the end I ever-so-graciously suggest, wouldn't it be fun to have a late dinner? But you know what? We had a great time with him! We ate dinner (even though it had broccoli and he wasn't a fan) and had lots of fun looking at pictures of his family and video from the days he and Greg were roommates at BYU and were huge dorks. I thought later, that was so fun! Why was I so stressed earlier in the day trying to make everything exactly how I wanted it?

Why do I cringe at the thought of having house guests without everything having been vacuumed and scrubbed the very day they come? If I had tried to make sure everything was just at least tidy when he came, it would have been tons better. Why do I need people to think that I have a sparkly house? Why am I afraid of dirt? Why do I stick so stubbornly to my ideas of how something should be when it just stresses me out and makes me yell at my kids for no real reason?

I hope one day to get it together. My house looks clean enough, and I am able to sit down with the company and visit. I don't apologize over and over that the food didn't turn out or that I meant to do something or whatever. Just leave things as they are and enjoy the company!! Greg's parents and sister will be coming and staying for a few days. I'm writing this posts to encourage myself to be a little more like some of you guys. Thanks for your examples and hospitality!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Watch Out!!

Greg's boss has been in Mielec for the past week so we haven't had him around the house much. But, as always when the boss is in town, we find out new and interesting things about Cobras and Cobra owners. (Greg is the financial manager of a factory which makes the aluminum body and chassis of the 60's sports car replicas) The latest news in Kirkham Cobras is that one of their cars was purchased for use on the set of "Iron Man." Apparently they wanted a Cobra but didn't want one that would shatter in pieces like the fiberglass ones made by our competitors. Greg pasted a picture of the scene from the movie over the poster:

That car was made in Mielec!! Seems like a waste of too many thousands of dollars to me, but from what I hear of how the movie's doing, I guess they're getting their money back (I mean, I hope lots of other movie makers buy Cobras to destroy on the set, therefore giving our company money without decreasing the value of the cars by having more in the market). We'll be watching this movie in 6 years when it comes to theaters in Poland.

Speaking of cool stuff, my sister-in-law to be is pretty cool, too! If, for any reason, you find yourself in a Del Taco, check out their new (or coming soon) "Smokin' Jalapeno Burger" which she named! Of course family who is reading this already knows about this, but what they might not have considered is how Heather is more mine than she is theirs. Besides the obvious connection, (our contest winning creativity--I'm just about to find and win some contest, too, I'm sure) she will be marrying my brother. She has chosen to marry my property, and that makes us more connected than she can ever be to my siblings. (In case you're wondering, Micah was given to me as a present on my fifth birthday). But don't worry, family, I'm sure she likes you guys, too. And maybe Mom can get a little recognition for the bearing and the birthing of the boy (they both barely made it through delivery, I believe) but, of course, this was all kind of overturned when she decided to have him on MY birthday, making him MINE! Okay, enough about that. But this is the same future sister-in-law, about whom, when I was telling my kids that she would be their Aunt soon David asked, "you mean the one who looks like a modelka?" (He's always mixing his Polish and English, but I'm sure you can guess what a "modelka" is). And she does! Hopefully this will neutralize any severe ugliness that Micah might have passed on to their children. :) They'll have gorgeous kids.

And One last important thing I learned while Greg's boss was here. Please try this: stick out your right foot and swirl it clockwise, like you're stirring soup with it. Then, in the air with your right hand draw a number six and keep your foot going clockwise. I dare you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Health Nut

I know that I'm WAAAAY too into baking and eating baked goods, but there are some foods that are good for you that I adore as well. Mostly green stuff. Spinach, broccoli, zucchini and asparagus (the green kind, not the white stuff which is all I ever see around here and which I have no idea what to do with). I recently started using whole grain pastas. I always try to get whole grain bread. I eat lots of yogurt (Oh, you poor Americans who live in the land where "yogurt" is sugar with a little yogurt mixed in, and some corn starch or something that makes it far too jelly-y! I think I know why greek-style yogurt is all the rage!) And fresh fruits that don't make my mouth itch so much that I think I'll go crazy. There seem to be fewer and fewer of those. And I'm big into nuts and dried fruits.

But mostly, I'm into baked stuff. I bake a few times a week and we eat that stuff for dessert every night. Then, during the day, I forget about the delicious polish yogurt, the dried fruit and nuts, and the possibly non-itch inducing fruit, and head straight for the cookie jar. Well, not really, because you can't keep brownies in a cookie jar, and also, my cookie jar currently resides at my mother's house in Utah. But what I mean is that I reach for cookies or brownies or whatever it is I have most recently baked. This means that possibly 1/2 the calories I take in in a day come from junk food. No, probably not half. Please don't let it be half.

Greg recently asked me if I couldn't try making some treats that are a little more healthy now and again. It sounded like a dumb idea to me, but I love him SO much that I decided to try. One week, besides the usual chocolatey, rich treats, I made a carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting. See?! Cheese and carrots! That's what you'd give your kids for a healthy snack, and we were eating it for dessert!) Last week I came up with an even healthier treat to bake. I had made it before, long ago, and remembered it and decided to make it again. I will share the recipe with you, in case you are a health nut like me. It has oatmeal, banana, hardly any fat, and I even substituted half the chocolate chips for dried cranberries, which elevated it from a low-fat cookie to pure health food. You can go to the original recipe (it's by Nic at Baking Bites) but I'll copy it here, too.

They're not the best cookies in the world, but for what they are, they taste very good. We all liked them, and David loved them, but wished I'd used only cranberries (no chocolate). What a wierdo. This recipe is perfect if you just have one black banana and not the 25 required to make banana bread. If you let the cookies get very brown they will be cakey or dry, but take them out as soon as they start to change from white to golden and they'll be lovely. I didn't take any pictures of mine because they aren't actually physically lovely. I was referring to the texture.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, very soft
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup mashed banana (1 small/medium)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking sodaand salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in egg and banana, followed by the vanilla extract. Gradually, on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture. Stir in the oats (either whole rolled oats or “quick cooking”) and chocolate chips.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes at 350F, until set and lightly browned.
Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan before transfering them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


**Warning, Anne: This is not a real post**

Yesterday I added a little visitor map to my blog (bottom of my sidebar) that I had seen on a friend's blog. I mostly really like the idea of having a cool map of the world on my blog with it's title/theme. It makes it easy to remember that I really am a world away. It is also so small (before you open it) that it makes it look like I'm very nearby! Which is just how blogging makes me feel!

So before I added this map, I looked at my friend's and saw that the dot on the map located in southeastern Poland is pretty monstrous, and as size indicates number of hits I started to feel a little stalkerish. So I decided to write this to give all my excuses to anyone who may have some sort of traking thing for their blog and sees that I visit their site 29 times each day. (I've already emailed some of you some of my excuses) Don't be afraid! This is why I do it!:
  1. I love all your blogs. I think you are great people (most of you, anyway. Just kidding!) This should be reason enough (but obviously I don't think it is, or I wouldn't be posting my excuses!).
  2. I still haven't caught up reading some of your old posts and it's kind of slow going between taking care of kids and I'm kind of doing one post at a time throughout the day.
  3. I like to read comments and revist to see who has left comments on posts I read recently.
  4. I'm not very organized and I use lots of your blogs as a jumping off point to visit other blogs that I love.
  5. Blogging really is my main contact with English speakers, so I have to make up for all the conversations I would have with friends and strangers every day if I lived in America. :)
  6. I'm pathetic.
Now you know, and hopefully aren't scared if you were before. At least I feel a little better now!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lucky 13

As in, we're so lucky to have this 13 month old (today!)boy, Aaron (aka kooker-pooks, aka boosker-loo)! Okay, maybe not so much lucky as blessed. I won't bore you with all the typical "he's such a good walker, he eats everything, he's saying so many words etc. etc." that you would normally get in a post like this. But that's less out of a desire to spare you than it is a result of my strict honesty. Okay, I HAVE lied before. But only once.

This baby is doin' his own thang. If you've met him, you no doubt noticed the wise look in his eye, his keen observation and his good social interaction. Some other things that distinguish him from his peers is that we're sure he's gonna cut his 3rd tooth any day now. Yes, his third tooth. Also, we're fairly sure he'll start walking sometime in the next 6 months. No, I exaggerate, but he's sure content with crawling and cruising at this point. But he's not on the slower end of the developmental charts in all categories, as you will already know if you've watched him singing at 7 months in the video in the sidebar. He's also wicked awesome at throwing a ball. I MUST get some video of that some day. (I think I just said "wicked awesome.")

We often walk into a room and see him looking at something he's forbidden to play with and shaking his head at it. Yesterday he went up to the kids glass chess set and just stood there staring at it and shaking his head slowly back and forth (sorry, Anne, no footage). Same goes with electronics/DVDs/CDs/water dispenser, etc. That's about 50% of the time, the other 50% he's pushing buttons/banging things together etc.

These pictures were taken in our kitchen. He had already been playing with, and talking to, that spoon for 15 minutes before Greg started taking pictures. Aren't you jealous that we have a forest in our kitchen, and you don't? Or do you?

Greg titled this group of pictures "earforceone". That's what we call a cute father.

Seeking advice:
He (Aaron, not Greg) is lucky enough to get flaky skin around his nose and red patches on his cheeks when he eats milk products (some people may have written that "he's allergic to milk", but not me! I would hate to deprive you of details, and plus, we haven't talked to a doctor about it lately, so I've gotta get an official diagnosis). Also, he refuses to eat bits of soft fruits and only occasionally will if they're mashed up (but still will eat pureed from a jar- $-ug-$) What do I feed my one year old, if not milk, yogurt, cheese, bananas and pears, you ask? Uuum...way too many crackers, pretzels, cream of wheats and breads. And the aforementioned jars of fruit, plus scrambled eggs. This is also one of the main reasons I'm still nursing him 4 times a day, when his siblings were weaned at one year. He eats dinner great, when we just mash up whatever we're having, so he gets his meat, a good variety of veggies and starch. But I really am at a loss about what to do for lunches for him. Any ideas?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Someone was baptized

It was Ewelina! She was baptized December 23rd, 2007. Here is a picture of us all before the fact:

And here is a picture of her and Daddy RIGHT before the fact. The pool she was baptized in is actually a lap pool, so she couldn't really stand up in it, which is why she's clinging so closely to the Dad. That and 'cause they love each other. The pool's in the basement of the building that our chapel is in where there is a gym. We rent it by the hour for baptisms and are so grateful we don't even have to leave the building! Everyone just files on down the stairs to the health club!

We were a little sad that there was no family there who really understood what was going on, but it was a great experience. Evie has been learning a lot since then. She is a good girl and we're so grateful for her example to her siblings.

And now, just to console myself, and because this picture happened to be in the mix of pictures those of the baptism were in, here's one of us waaaaaaaaaay before the fact. We were all quite a bit smaller then. This is meant to balance out the great view you get of my arm in the first picture (actually, that picture is really bad quality so it makes it hard to tell that it's all muscle). We are in Łazienki Park in Warsaw and it must have been summer 2005. If you ever come to visit us, we can take you there! It's amazing.

Also, it's suddenly become very obvious that I will have to change my blog template, unless I want swirly lines going through all my pictures, which I don't. It makes your arms look fat.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Constitution Day!

One of the many, many evidences that Poland is the second awesomest country in the world is the fact that it (the then Polish-Lithuanian alliance) was the second country in history to adopt a constitution. After the United States of America. See how clear this makes it? America first, Poland second! (Numerous other countries following behind.)

It was signed May 3rd, 1791. Two of it's co-authors called it, "the last will and testiment of the expiring Fatherland." That's 'cause from 1795 till 1918 Poland did not exist (on the map), as it was partitioned (or chopped ruthlessly in pieces) and ruled by various other countries. But never fear! Poland reappeared. Of course it did! Poles are just like that. They can't be broken. I love them.

The church also adopted this day as Mary, Queen of Poland Day. For every secular holiday, the church comes up with a church one to match, to get people to go to church at every available opportunity. I don't feel compelled to share my feelings about Mary, Queen of Poland Day. It will be interesting the day the Poles meet their "monarch" and find out what she thought about this holiday!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Call Me a Liar

Well, it appears I'll be blogging about our humble dinners now and again, even though I promised not to.

This sounded like a strange combination of ingredients to me, but I decided to make it anyway (keep in mind, I'm on the very low end of the spectrum of level-of-experimentation-with-food). Oh but I'm glad I did! Again, super easy and the whole family loves it. Now I make it all the time. It came off a can of Brunswick tuna.

Does that look delicious? No, it does not. But that doesn't stop it from tasting good. And that's what we're shooting for when it comes to fast, easy meals.

Curried Tuna

2 cans tuna, drained (this sounded to me like too much, but it's not)
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 green onions (with tops) thinly sliced
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (I don't use this)

Cook and stir butter, curry powder and onions in 10 inch skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in everything else and cook and stir until tuna is hot. Now you can serve and eat it, but do not take a picture, because rice and tuna are not very pretty foods, or if you do, at least take it in the daylight.