Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween in Poland

Well, they don't celebrate it. It's considered a very pagan American holiday (which is pretty much what it is, except I think it originated in England). Still, you can find a few Halloween decorations and costumes in large stores and probably some teens "celebrate" it in bigger cities.

We always do something at home, since there's no trick-or-treating. A couple of years ago the kids had a party and invited friends from school. They were all so confused when they saw Evie dressed as a ballerina. Ballerinas aren't scary! They thought you have to be something frightening.

As I say, I always try to do something Halloweenish. This year we did the usual stuff, but the kids made almost all the preparations.

"We" carved a pumpkin: Greg (who hates Halloween) did the artistic part, the kids scooped out the "monster teeth" (all while I took a nap). Note the little hanging decorations the kids made a few days ago for the stairs.

We played Halloween Bingo by candle light: the kids drew the pictures on the cards (spiders, witches hats, eyeballs etc.).

We played with slime: I just put the potato flour and water and bowls on the table and let them make it for themselves (no green food coloring or anything).

As usual I hid the candy around the living room and they searched for it by candle light.

Then we watched The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and ate dirt dessert with worms.

And there you have a lazy mother's Halloween.

As a heavily (95%) Catholic country, they celebrate All Saints day on November 1st and the Day of the Dead (not sure if that's what you call it in English) on the second. This is a very lovely holiday when everyone visits the graves of their loved ones. The cemeteries are amazing, all lit up with hundreds of candles. Even though we live far from the graves of any family members, we always visit a nearby cemetery just to walk around. It's magical. Here's proof (from a few years ago):

It's also a big drinking holiday (any excuse will do in Poland :), and as it falls on a Sunday this year we'll be staying off the roads, meaning no going to church. This is one of those holidays that they give statistics on the news every night about how many drunk drivers were stopped etc.

But those cemeteries are gorgeous.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Such Rebels

In doing research for articles I often look through online reviews for stores, products or services.

I just want to say that I really sort of love people who "defiantly recommend" things. And an alarming number of people do defiantly recommend things.

And I think they're darling.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lookin' Good

I just finished my English lesson, said good bye to my students and went to the bathroom. On looking in the mirror I noticed that my collar had been sticking up at the corner. Oops. I pressed it down and looked for another second in the mirror, mentally replacing the vision of me sitting in front of my students with my collar looking retarded for the past hour with one of it behaving the whole time.

I do this sort of often. I'll come back from shopping or church or doing anything in public, really, and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see that one of my curls is flipped the wrong way or that I forgot to wipe off the bit of mascara that got brushed on my eyelid.

And always I wipe off the mascara, or flip the hair down or whatever, look for a second at the fixed me and convince myself that that's what I actually looked like. Or maybe it's more of a "that's what I meant to look like". Or something. And then I'm fine with the fact that dozens of people just saw me looking the wrong way. Almost as if turning down my collar after the fact has some sort of retro-active power, making it so that it really WAS the right way the whole time.

And I wonder, do other people do this?

4th Time's a Charm?

I don't have issues with my stomach after having babies (except for the inevitable inability to get it quite as flat as I'd like). No stretch marks. No loose skin. As long as I get down to an okay weight I really have no complaints about it (and when I'm actually thin, I sort of love it)*.

But this time around I'm not feeling so certain. Here I am at 32 weeks and my belly is as big as it's ever been in any of my other pregnancies. As I always carry straight out in front (basketball style), I would be very surprised if my skin holds up this time around, since I will obviously be ENORMOUS by the time this little boy comes (did I mention he's a boy? Oh, he is). And my weight gain is just the same as in all my other pregnancies (I always gain 26-32 pounds. That's lbs., not Ł).

I wonder if you can get stretch marks for the first time in your fourth pregnancy?

*I feel okay saying this as NOBODY EVER SEES MY STOMACH so this is an almost useless advantage. Also, if I don't say it, nobody will ever know, and what's the point of an unseen asset? :) Rest assured that I have my pregnancy scars in FAR more conspicuous places. For example I'll probably never really wear shorts or even skirts without opaque tights because of the veins. NOW complain about your stretch marks! HA! I SO have you beat. Plus, I'll likely have the stretch marks in a few weeks, anyway!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Growing Up

In the last month David turned eight, Evie turned 10 and Aaron is exactly 2 1/2 today. That's why I'm posting some stuff they've said recently.

I really hope that during these months when all I want to do is curl up on my bed and be alone, but am forced to do a Very Large number of things that are NOT that, that I'm able to balance out all my grouchiness and excessive yelling with enough of fun and love that my kids will remember that I DO love them! Normally I consider a "balance" to be maybe 3/4 good with 1/4 bad (at most) (this is probably WAY too much bad, but I have to be realistic). These days if those statistics are switched I think I've done very well. Ugh.


I was explaining how to drive while taking the kids to school one day. "Now I'm slowly taking my left foot off the clutch and slowly pushing on the gas with my right. Now I'm taking my right foot off the gas, pushing down on the clutch with my left and changing gears. . . etc. etc." The whole way. They were shocked to find out how hard it was. I explained that it's especially tricky because there are three pedals that you use constantly, but you only have two feet so you have to do a lot of going back and forth.

Evie said, "Woah! Hey mom, did you ever get your two feet tied in a braid while you were driving?"


We were extremely low on food and I went into the kitchen to find David standing in front of the baking supply cupboard. I jokingly said, "Oh! I guess we really don't have anything to eat if you're sneaking baking soda and cinnamon!" But I realized my baking chocolate is in there too, so I asked what he was eating. He held out his hand. It had a blotch of cinnamon on it. Which he'd been licking. Plain.

After watching Top Gear together one night we went upstairs for the boys' showers. While I was washing his hair David asked, "Why in England do they always say 'it costs' instead of 'it weighs'" I didn't know what he meant so asked him to clarify, but it kept coming down to the British saying that something cost how much it weighed. I finally realized that he was talking about when they are giving specs on a car and they say that it costs xxxx pounds. How confusing!


I've only written one set of articles in the last month (love that). When I did I was pressed for time so I set little goals. I was supposed to have the first two done by 2:30. After helping David with some homework I came in to get started when Aaron asked me SO cutely to read him a book, so I sat down with him, beginning my reading with a little, "Oh, Aaron! At this rate mommy's never gonna reach her goal!" He looked up at me, raised both of his hands above his head and said, "GOOOAAAAAL!!!" which he and his brother are constantly screaming when they play soccer in the hallway.

They can also be found lying on the floor with their heads together looking at a book. All the time. Anywhere in the house. I caught them in the play room one morning looking at David's little scout book.