Monday, June 23, 2014

Do As He Does (because he might never tell you in words)

For Polish Father's day I want to share one of the things I love about Greg as a dad, a husband, and member of society in general.  :)

He is good.

I saw a video recently of an experiment done in France where a man, dressed as a homeless person, fell, coughing to the ground in a busy pedestrian area.  He laid there and whimpered, "help!" from time to time as people simply walked by for a full five minutes.  I cried for the usual reasons, i.e. witnessing potential helpless desperation, many people available, and none of them willing to help.
But I cried even harder when I thought about what Greg would have done.  And I am quite certain of what he would have done.

If they've been paying attention, our kids would know as well.  I can think of a handful of situations, just off the top of my head, such as when:

*He stopped to talk to/help a homeless/drunk person in a park in our town.

*He stopped the car on a highway far from home to warn a drunk man stumbling on the side of the road and to lead him to a safer place for walking.  (plus lots of other times he's called and asked the police to come and help a drunk on a busy road).

*We stopped in a city  in our travels to get a snack and on our way back to our car, walking across the street and down the block, I noticed that some of us had fallen behind.  Evie caught up to me, leaned in and whispered that Dad was walking a blind man across the street.  I had just passed the same man, and when I looked back I saw Greg carrying Spencer and walking near the man and away from us, as he re-crossed the street.  Evie said, "the guy doesn't even know".

*The time when he was a teenager and he helped a man dying at a bus stop. (this story in another post)

*(sort of related) He empties out all the car seats when he travels alone so he can take hitchhikers, then comes home and tells stories of the interesting people he meets, who sometimes end up joining the church.  :)

All of these instances came flooding back to me after watching that video, and I was so thankful that I had to call and let him know about it.  When I did he first told me I was cute, and then said, "Well, that's because I grew up in Łódż where there were a looooot of drunks."

No, honey.  I'm pretty sure that's not why.  I'm pretty sure it's because you're just a great person, and an excellent example to your kids of doing good things without hoping for any recognition or anything in return.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Think He's Gonna Like it There

(Please read the title to the tune of the song from Annie.)

On the second day of school I asked Aaron how his new teacher is.  He told me a bunch of things his teacher had said, in Polish, but with the addition of his own grammatical errors (which can't be translated because Polish grammar is far too wacky):

"'No, sweetie, you have to sit over there.'  She says 'sweetie' a lot".
"Don't run because you might fall down and get hurt."
"She can't whistle very well." me: "Does she try to whistle?" Aaron: "No, never.  But when we were being too noisy my other teacher whistled so loud it hurt my ears."

Last year's teacher, though presumably nice, was a bit of a screamer.  She barked orders.  She didn't seem mad, it was just the way she did things.  So the fact that he has a teacher that uses terms of endearment and explains why kids should/shouldn't do things and doesn't break his ears when she's whistling for them to shut up just makes me so happy.

During orientation she explained about how the kids would play and play until they learned everything they need to know.  She told us it's hard for her to see kids come to school with 7 Days (packaged danish) that expire in 2016.  She asked us to please just send our children with sandwiches and if we wanted them to have chocolate or sweets, send enough for the whole class.

She may be a tiny bit Bloomberg-esque, but I like her.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

End of an Era (for us)

When Greg was at BYU he always planned to come to Poland “to help build the church”.  2 1/2 years into our marriage and soon after his graduation, he quite suddenly and unexpectedly got a job in his homeland. Nine days later, we moved to the other side of the world.

There was no branch of the church anywhere near our little city but it was kind of fun catching the early morning bus for the 3 hour drive to church in Cracow every Sunday.  Attending our little branch was such a different experience than I'd ever had in the church.  A missionary was the branch president and there were very few priesthood holders of any other sort. 

For probably 7 months we went.  Same routine, every Sunday.  It was a great experience.  Greg didn't get a calling.  Just about the time I started thinking that this seemed like quite a waste of resources (yes, I like to call my husband a resource), he was called as the branch president.

A few months later David was born.  On our first trip to church after his birth when he was 4 weeks old, a kid sitting in front of us on the bus vomited all over.  I gave his mother a handful of wipes and a sympathetic look and vowed to myself to never take my infant on a bus again.  

So we got a car.

We'd only had the little red Fiat for about a month when the new Mission President asked if we could drive to Katowice to meet with him after he held a fireside there.  So we went.  

The drive felt like forever and ever.  It was winter and it was very dark and we were very inexperienced in driving in Poland.  We'd never been to Katowice.  We got lost.  Over and over.  What should have taken us 3 hours took us more like 5.  We missed the meeting but were still able to meet with the Mission president.  

That night Greg was called into the Mission Presidency.  He was to oversee the branches in southern Poland, 2, 3, and 5 hours away from where we live.  And he did.  And he loved the President and his fellow counselor.

About a year later a District was formed and he was released from the Mission Presidency and called as the Katowice District President.

That was nine years ago.  Today he was released.

That nine years (10 1/2 if you count the time in the mission presidency) feels like our whole life.  

We drove and drove and drove.  We stayed in lots and lots of hotels some very scary, some quite nice and most completely serviceable.  We ate lots and lots of plain rolls and cheese (and fast food).  

Our family grew.  Our testimonies grew.  The branches grew.  We spent lots of time with wonderful members of the church.  I spent hours every Sunday talking to the missionaries while Greg had meetings and the kids played on the keyboard in the chapel or wrote on the white boards.  

It was our life.  We loved it.  It changed a little as the family grew, but it was pretty much the same routine for all that time.  

And we were blessed.  David proved to be a baby and then toddler who just loved being in the car, even for long, long drives.  The other kids never minded much either.  Greg was blessed to work with some really wonderful men and I had the pleasure of spending time with their even-more-wonderful wives as we waited for them to finish their meetings.  

We learned a lot.  We overcame some of our weaknesses.  We discovered new weaknesses.  We worked to make everything fit (suitcases in the car, school and church trips in our schedule etc.).  We struggled and we thrived.

Our kids grew up that way.  It's all they've ever known.  

Now they'll have dad sitting by them at church (I don't believe there is a single branch in our district where there is a row of 6 chairs together in the sacrament meeting room.  Hmm.  We'll have to work something out).  They'll maybe even have a Primary teacher.

We'll have new adventures.  We'll learn what regular weekends are.  We'll sleep in our own beds.  We'll eat fewer plain rolls with cheese (and fast food – glory be!)

It will be wonderful.  And we will always, always be grateful for the blessing of these past 9 (or 10 1/2) years.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Home not-so-Sweet Home

I can't wait until tomorrow morning.  Oooooooh, how I can't wait.  I'm having chocolate for breakfast in the form of peanut butter chocolate chip scones.  Now, a week ago I would have given little thought to the pleasure of such a breakfast, but tonight, I can think of little else.

I prepped the ingredients so it'll be quick to throw together in the morning and as I chopped the chocolate I realized that -my gosh!- I'm out of practice!  I haven't chopped chocolate in over a week!

Under the inspiration of the Craig family, we've made the first week in January significantly less delicious than the other 51 weeks of the year by omitting sugar from it.  Some inspirations are, apparently, beyond the limits of my ability to follow very closely, because their family does it for a MONTH.  I can only assume that there is some genetic mutation of some sort going on in that family that makes that possible.  As our family does not carry this defect, we go sugar-free for a week.

Some of the surprising things that happened this week:

1) I didn't die.

2) I threw away a cupcake that was left-over from our New Year's celebration.  A delicious, cream-filled, chocolate topped hostess cupcake copycat (only waaaaaaaaay better).  It was on the table when I went into the kitchen in the morning and I picked it up and dumped it in the trash without even thinking.  I never, ever, ever throw baked things away. (remember, I prefer to let them go to waist?)

3) The first day, I went downstairs a little while after David had come home from school to see that for lunch he'd eaten leftover banana pancakes and buttermilk syrup and had then made up some jello to drink warm.  He was shocked to know that that didn't fit in with our sugar-free week.

I didn't lose a single ounce.  This was not the goal, but I was planning on not getting angry if I happened to lose a pound or two.  Or one ounce.

Spencer didn't ask every 30 seconds for a piece of chocolate/cookie/brownie and then scream if he couldn't have it.  Instead, he never even mentioned sweets until,  on day 4, he happened upon one stray chocolate that I didn't catch in the sugar round-up-and-hide-away.  He brought it to me and asked if he could eat it.  I told him that we weren't eating chocolate that day, and that I was sorry.  He said--and I quote--"Aaaaah.  But it's really yummy." And then shrugged his shoulders and went off to play as I took it away and hid it.  It was one of my strangest parenting moments ever.

Some of the not-so-surprising things that happened this week:

For the first few days Aaron kept asking "why can't we eat sweets!?!  I need something sweet!"

Our honey consumption probably quadrupled.

While grocery shopping I picked up 20 kilos of sugar.

The plan starting tomorrow is to not eat chocolate or candy plain, and to bake only three times a week (2 desserts and one breakfast).  I'd also like to work harder and using natural sweetening choices besides refined sugar in my cooking and baking.

Life is sweet, but I think mine will be a little sweeter if I keep it a little less sweet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thpenther Turnth Fee

It wasn't easy, bringing him into the world three years ago today, but my gap-toothed, platinum blonde, dimple-cheeked little lithper, Thpenther, was worth it all, a billion times over.

He told me what gifts he'd like to receive.  "I like blue presents, mom," he said.  This took me back to Aaron's delight with his Yellow Birthday Party when he turned three.  Three is a great age for simple gifts, I find.  From his grandpa he got an Imaginext Batmobile, which he calls his "cool car" (which, while blue, is not so simple, but is also not from his immediate [cheap] family) .  He sometimes pushes it around on the floor, but mostly he carries it in his arms and calls it his baby, like he sometimes does with other random objects, not including dolls and stuffed animals.

I remember the first time I gave Spencer chocolate, in chocolate chip pancakes.  He ate it voraciously and begged for more.  He seriously shook as he anxiously put each bite into his mouth.  Over the years he has become slightly less obsessed, but is still a major fan of chocolate, which must be stored out of his sight.  He asked for brownies for his birthday cake and then said, "I like brownies and cake and pies and muffins and cookies."  Me too, Spencer.  Me too.

In his personal prayer tonight he thanked his heavenly father "that I could eat my mint brownieth and that I could be (unclasping hands and holding up three fingers) three (re-clasping), and that I could be a liiiiiiiiiittle bit bigger."

I'm grateful for those things too, but only in a sort of resigned way because the truth is that today I wish he could stay just like he is now forever.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stuck in a House Full of Weirdoes

Today felt like a long string of "whaaa?"s.  It was Day Two without Greg and here is why I felt like the only sane person in the house.


Spencer, like his brother, seems to believe that a prayer should consist of a list of things that have happened or will happen during the day.   In one family prayer, I believe it was meant to be the blessing on our cheese sandwiches, Spencer was thankful "that we could put on the mask...and not put on the mask" (i.e. take it off).  (This in reference to the foam superhero mask Evie made for him earlier in the day.)
I've taught all my kids that your brain is about the size of your fists held together (which also happens to look a little like a brain).  I'm not sure there is any great degree of truth in this, but I remember regularly checking on the size of my brain as I grew up by using this method of measuring and I'm not about to deprive my own children of the fun of it just because it might not be true.  Truth be darned.  I'm not googling it.

So, like I was saying, Aaron was explaining this to Spencer. "Spencer, look, this is how big my brain is!" he declared, holding up his hand-brain.  After getting little response he repeated himself and Spence finally came back with, "Yeah!  Do you like my bones?" while pointing to his shirt (presumably referring to the ribs beneath).


I gathered all the kids on the couch and read The Spirit of Christmas to them, talking about Christmas and helping them find the hidden "spirit" in each picture. The book came to its touching conclusion about how Christmas is about the birth of the savior and therefore the Spirit of Christmas is LOVE.

As I finished the last page there was a moment's pause while, I assumed, we all processed the message.  Aaron broke the silence saying, loudly, "Oh my gosh!  Jack has really long fingernails!" (He was talking about the cartoon Samurai Jack, which we haven't watched for weeks.)

DAVID (11)

I heard the front door open and went to see who had come or gone.  Nobody was there, but Evie stood in the hallway holding the phone that connects to the intercom from our front gate.  I heard David call from outside, "Now push the gunshots." whereupon Evie pushed a button on David's cell phone she held, which caused it to burst forth in rapid-fire gunshot sounds, the speaker placed on the mic end of the intercom.  David then called out, "Now the hair clipper one!", and Ev pushed a button that made the sound of a head of hair being buzzed.

This went on for a few minutes and then David presented himself back in the house in long johns and slippers, no coat.  He'd gone down the freezy slippery stairs attired thusly for his experiment.

Later I heard Aaron call from the playroom, "David!  Nobody is EVER coming!" Apparently he'd been assigned as lookout so David could rush to the phone to frighten any poor passersby with his intercom antics.  David graciously relieved him of duty.

EVIE (13)

After Spencer's aforementioned prayer I looked up and noticed he looked like a little chimney sweep.

I asked what happened to his face and she said, "Oh! I colored his mask with marker!" I put on my "COMPLETELY OBNOXIOUS MOTHER" cap and challenged her response.  Repeatedly.  I couldn't get her to understand that his nose was not black because she had colored a mask.  She insisted that that WAS why.  Come on, Ev!  My nose wasn't black despite the fact that she had colored the mask.  Finally I had to inform her that his face was dirty because he had been wearing the mask that she had colored with black marker.  (Sheesh!)

At the time I sort of thought this last anecdote could be used as evidence that she is slightly crazy (to fit in with the theme of the post, you see), but now I realize that it really only proves that I'm annoying.

Which I think we already knew.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten in Poland

Yesterday was Aaron's very first day of school.  Considering the fact that he has never been to preschool, doesn't speak Polish well yet, and his kindergarten class had already been meeting for a month (while we were in the states), we felt at least as anxious/excited about this first day as other parents do when sending their kindergartner off for their very first day of school (i.e. extremely).  Here's how the first 10 minutes of his day went, before we left him.

We got to his school a few minutes late and opened the door to his classroom where we saw all the children seated and working (coloring) in their workbooks.  His teacher, who strongly resembled a blond, short Tina Turner (husky voice included) said, "Oooooh!!  (to the class) This is the child I told you would be coming late!" then to Aaron, "Are you going to hang up your bag and coat in the locker room?  Are you?  Come, I'll show you how to do it."  She scooted past us and lead us out the door and down the hall to where the bags and coats go and showed us how it worked.

We returned to the classroom and Aaron just stood in the middle of the room looking around.  Greg came up behind him and said, "So this is Aaron, and he is going to be in your class, Aaron, these are your classmates!"  More standing.  The teacher made a few comments during this time, but sort of unimportant observations.  

Finally Greg asked if Aaron should sit down.  The teacher seemed to snap out of it and said, "Oh, yes.  There's a chair here for him... one with his name taped on it..."  she finally found it and offered it to Aaron, seating him at a table with 6 boys.  He sat.  We smiled at him.  The kids glanced at him and continued to work.  Pause, pause.  Greg again took the initiative and went up to the kid next to Aaron and asked his name and introduced him and Aaron to each other.  The kid smiled hugely at the attention and Aaron relaxed a little.

The teacher called out occasionally to the children, "We're working!" while she and Greg talked for a minute. We were ready to leave but Aaron looked really uncomfortable sitting there with nothing to do while the other children worked.  The teacher said, "Oh, yeah.  He can work in his books later."  We could only watch him sit there for a few excruciating minutes before Greg suggested that maybe it would actually be good for Aaron to do what the other kids were doing.  The teacher agreed and got out his book and colored pencils and showed him what assignment they were doing.  Aaron's face lit up and he got right to work.  

We told his teacher that we wanted this to be his orientation day and that we'd pick him up in about an hour.  She assured us that that he'd be fine, over and over.  I'm sure we seemed like real hover parents.

We walked away arm in arm and repeated to ourselves, "He'll be fine, he'll be fine."

The teacher hadn't introduced herself or anybody by name.  She asked no questions (apart from the cloakroom one), she actually didn't speak directly to Aaron apart from that one incident.  I think if Greg hadn't gotten him settled we would have come back an hour later and Aaron would have still been standing in the open area of the room and the class would have been going on with their day.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Like Royalty

My childhood was charmed.  The first eleven years of it were especially wonderful when we lived in Village Green.  Village green is the name of the trailer park we lived in.  It was all so much like a dream.  Or a reality TV show.  Maybe some of each.  But I loved it.  

I recently decided to look up our trailer park on Google Earth.  Okay, that feels weird.  We never called it the trailer park, we called it the trailer court, so let's just get that out in the open so I can stop trying to remember to keep from typing what is actually coming out of my brain after long years of usage (i.e. trailer court) and translating it into the-rest-of-the-world-ese.

So Village Green was the trailer court (sounds so much more regal and so much less "white trash"*) in which I grew up.  And I decided to find it on Google Earth.  

I entered the address: 222 N. 1200 W., Orem, UT, and here is where it took me:
 I stared and stared at the area directly above where the address is written and couldn't for the LIFE of me make sense of trying to wander through those streets.  Wait.  Where is the park?  Where are half the streets?  And what, pray tell, is that huge parking lot to the left of it?  I don't remember any business in the area large enough to require such a huge parking lot.

I seriously looked up and down the street and zoomed way out and back in again.  I made sure I was looking in the right area compared to Trafalga Family Fun Center, which was just down the street.  Yes. this was the place.  What in the world happened?  Where was the place I had grown up?

Then, after turning the map and thinking and thinking for far more minutes than I care to admit,  I took a closer look at the parking lot.
Yeah.  Duh.  Not duh ME, of course!  Duh, Google Earth, who wrote my address out under the adjacent neighborhood.  How was I to know that the parking lot, which happened to be located exactly where I remembered the trailer court being, actually WAS the trailer court when the address was written so far off?  Sheesh.  

Once I got over that (I feel like an idiot again just thinking about it), I starting wandering in my mind through that trailer court.  And it was all there.  All the places I rode my bike and the hill on which I'd wiped out on my roller skates countless times.  My best freind's house and the park.  Oh, but the pool.  Looks like the swimming pool is gone.  Other than that, it looked like home.  And then I found home.  

In the lower left hand corner, with a brown roof, was the double-wide I grew up in.  The one that started out as a single-wide and, as our family grew, was transformed into a double-wide by my dad, who can do anything. 

Oh the memories!  Thousands of them flying at me in the most random of orders.  And so I realized that I need to put them down.  And so I'm going to.

This is the first of a series I will be doing about life in the trailer court.  I can't wait to get it all out.
*For the record, I really hate the term "white trash", especially when used to describe a person for the same reason I despise the term "loser".

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back to Blogging Basics

Oh, how I miss blogging.  I miss reading the blogs of friends who have quit blogging, and I miss daily reading the blogs of those who still do , and I miss posting more than once a month.  It's like a whole social network that seems to have fizzled out for me (and a lot of others).

There seems to be less to say.  I have fewer things that I feel like documenting.  I have the same, old feeling that nobody wants to read it, and if I don't really want to write it all that much, it's doubly pointless.  And, usually, I don't really want to write it all that much.  But I miss posting.  There was something therapeutic about typing out words that came from my brain.  But that all just seemed to fizzle out, somehow.

Remember the days of memes?  Everybody did them, one or two at least, until some people got bored of reading them (not me!) and other people got bored of writing them and they just sort of fizzled out?

And what about blog awards?  Not the real, many-people-have-to-vote-for-you awards that are still around,  but the ones that didn't actually mean anything very BIG?  Except they felt like something BIG because they meant someone read your blog and cared, and they made you love blogging and your fellow bloggers?  And even though, like the memes, they were a little childish, you still quite loved them?  And then they just sort of fizzled out?

Well, for a long time I have wanted to really sort of get back into a blogging mode (yes, really, sort of) and then, providentially, I received a blog award.  Did you read that!?!  A blog award!!!  It has been years!  But last week, Amy at How to be Superwoman awarded me the Liebster award!  And, even though it's a many-people-did-NOT-have-to-vote-for-me award, it still feels BIG.  And it brought back some of my old blogging feelings.  Thank you, Amy!

So with that introduction, I am going to pass along this award.  It's meant to go to blogs with under 200 followers.  I quite love that many of the blogs that I have read almost from their beginngings have grown to the point that they don't qualify for the award, based on this one criteria.  You guys are awesome!  And you're not getting this award!  :)  But here are the blogs that do!

The Craig Report  Funniest male blogger.  Father of seven, bishop, weirdo.
What do Worms Smell Like  Great photography and lovely thoughts to go with it.  Laura served her mission in Poland and then went home and married a friend of my family!  :)
Dreams of Quill and Ink  L.t. creates things using nothing but ordinary words.  Very, very beautiful things.  (plus she's about the nicest person ever).
The Days and Nights of Robierto  For the life of me I can't remember how I found his blog, but he's hilarious.  Case in point: go read his Blind Dates post.  Go!
because I really can't get enough of myself  Melissa is one of those very funny people with millions of challenges in life and the ability to make us laugh about them while also being a stay at home mother with a hundred creative online projects going.  I quite adore her.  And her blog.

This was just the motivation I needed.  I think.  To get me back to blogging, I mean.  Hope to see you all around more often!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Missed Her Sister

There once was a woman whose sister visited her in Poland with her four children.  They played and had fun for two weeks, after which the visiting sister left.  Her absence left the woman asking the question, "who's going to wash the dishes now?"

Having pondered this question without finding a satisfactory answer, the woman walked away from the sinkful of dishes and headed to the computer, where she decided to write down a few memories from the family-filled two weeks.

She recounted the sweetness of her nieces and nephew.  She remembered watching them play with her own four children and delighting in the quality cousin time, on this, the first time they had ever had cousins visit in their home.  She recalled the billions of hugs she had been given.  As a non-hugger, she was surprised at how much she loved all the love.

She documented memories of her sister washing the dishes, helping with the cooking, taking care of all the children and constantly looking for ways to be of help.

She thought back to a conversation:
Woman: I know it's weird that we eat in the living room, in front of the TV.  We're so Simpson-esque.
Sister:  Yeah... Wait, did they eat in front of the TV... No, they ate around the kitchen table!  You're WORSE than the Simpsons!!

She was amazed at how, after a week of eating things like cake, pie, cookies and muffins, her sister announced that she only had a few weeks left until her 40th birthday, and she wanted to be at her target weight.  The sister immediately started in on the Dukan diet (the one the woman's husband had used to lose 35 pounds in 6 weeks). She completely ignored the woman's next week of dinners and treats in favor of lots of yogurt, eggs, tuna, and oat bran.

The woman had lovely memories of a power outage, a patriotic holiday, castles, underground tunnels, old town squares, ornate churches and lots of ice cream shared with family.  She relived attending church in her own little branch--meeting in the missionaries' apartment--as it overflowed with children who all attended the one-class "Primary" in the living room.  

She didn't write much detail, but just the act of typing it up was nice.  And a little sad.  She missed her sister. And still didn't know who was going to wash the dishes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

About Kuba

I've known Kuba, Greg's best friend since elementary school, for just about as long as I've known Greg, although I didn't actually meet him until we'd been married for almost two years (meet Kuba, not Greg.  I both heard about AND met Greg before we got married.).

Back in the early days when I was just getting to know Greg, he would tell stories about his exciting life back in Poland.  Because he'd only been a member of the church for a year before going to the states (for his mission and then school), most of his memories were from before he joined the church.

Buddhism, poetry, , tai chi, hitchhiking, and wandering the Polish countryside with nothing but a little food and some cigarettes.  It was such an exotic life, and so different from my own youth.  I ate up every detail (except the cigarettes.  I spat those out), and asked lots of questions.  I couldn't get enough.  My very favorite stories were those of his adventures with Kuba. In some of our more peaceful and happy moments before and while dating, I would request "Kuba stories".  

Stories of teasing the girls and various pranks in school, eating sandwiches together after school, adventures with their Syrian friend, and many, many adventures (and misadventures) in foreign countries (most notably Berlin) while hitchhiking.  Kuba was like a brother to Greg growing up, so I kind of thought of him that way, too.  

Greg was with Kuba when he met the missionaries in Vienna.  Later Kuba invited Greg to his baptism, which was the real catalyst for Greg investigating the church.  Which lead to him joining it.  Which eventually lead to him marrying me.  I sort of owe Kuba a lot.

When I was heavily pregnant with Ewelina, this mystical, magical personage left Poland and came to Utah to attend BYU.  We picked him up at the airport.  He even looked like Greg's brother..  They were very happy to see each other.  They laughed a lot.  I enjoyed it.

It was a little hard for me to believe that this kind of quiet, thoughtful, though usually smiling, person was the prankster I had heard so much about, but the more time we spent with him and the better I got to know his sense of humor I realized that he was probably capable of all I had heard.  :)  

It was wonderful for Greg to have his best friend back for the next year or so before we moved back to Poland.  I was happy to get to know him on a more personal level, to add to my "Kuba story"-based understanding of him.

After he finished school at BYU he moved back to Poland and we have seen him now and again while visiting Greg's parents in Łódż.  He and Greg have had a few more adventures wandering and hiking (this time with fewer cigarettes and less alcohol--although good Kuba never smoked)   

And now, we are having the worst adventure of all.  Kuba went back to Utah for a visit last month and, after being there for a couple of weeks visiting with friends, he just disappeared.  No trace.  His things were left at the home he was staying in, but no other trace of him has been found since last month.  We are searching.  Greg is still hoping that this is just his biggest prank yet.  We want him found.  

It seems to me that the more people hear about this, the greater the chance that he WILL be found.  

If anyone would "like" or share the following links it would help his story to be spread.

I don't have a picture of Kuba, though there is one in the above links, but here is a picture that he took years ago of us with his parents one time when we visited.

His dad passed away last year, but his mother surely wants him found, too.  I'm constantly praying it will happen soon.

UPDATE!  A friend has created a website to organize efforts to find him.  Find it HERE.  A search party is being organized to meet on Saturday, June 23rd at the north end of Rock Canyon, behind the temple at 8:45.  All volunteers welcome!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clean Up! Niech Żyje Nam!

The other day we were all in the living room watching TV together, or so I thought.  When I got up to go to the kitchen I heard a tiny voice coming from the playroom.  I went to see what was going on and here is what I found.  In the (very messy) playroom Spencer was cleaning up of his own volition and singing his very own version of the clean-up song.  note: He was mostly naked because I'd taken off his clothes before he ate spaghetti for dinner.

The Polish congratulatory song "Sto Lat" starts in almost the same way as "The Clean-up Song", so I can definitely see how this remix came to be.  I still think he's a little smarty(under)pants.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Like most normal beings of the human persuasion, I enjoy Spring.  I love the warm-but-not-hot weather, with plenty of rain and gloom mixed in with the sunshine (okay, maybe loving the gloom part is just me).  I delight in the color and shape of flowers.  Trees, one of my favorite things on this earth, have been known to make me cry (even when I wasn't pregnant!).

In the photo above you see one of my favorite Sights of Spring.  I love the old and the new.  What was and what will be.  The colors are beautiful together and I love how clearly you can see the growth of the tree.

Lately I've been feeling quite a lot like that.  Like I had a lot of the dark green.  Parts of me that had been.  Old parts.  And now there is a burst of the Spring green all over.  I can feel myself stretching out, growing and changing shape, while all of the old me remains as a base.

I'm not talking about weight gain.  Not in this post anyway.  Ha.  But I have been learning about food and health and new ways of living.  I've listened to people who have different opinions and beliefs about religion and politics.  It has changed me.  It has started new growth.

I view the world differently now.  I hold dearly to much of what has been.  The good things.  The things that were right.  But I can see them from a different angle, too.  I can understand another view.  It is fascinating and extremely thought provoking.

Life is just so awesome and interesting.  So much to be had and so many ways to grow.  So many shades of green.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

We Just Wake Up and then Get Out of There

I woke up to the sounds of a young child wiggling in his sleeping bag.  A tiny crack of light was coming in through the paper blinds so I knew it was getting to be morning, but my alarm hadn't gone off, so I also knew I could keep sleeping.

The sounds progressed from wiggling noises to loud sighs and finally to a declaration, whispered into the otherwise silent roomful of sleeping bodies:  "I don't like going to hotels.  We just go to bed, wake up and then get out of here."

While it was a very strange thing to hear first thing in the morning, he was right.  Our weekend adventures usually consist of a long drive, hours spent at a chapel where Greg or I have meetings and then, finally, arriving at the hotel in time to go through the bedtime routine, sleep, and wake up early to head off to church again.

He was right that our hotels stays aren't super vacation-y (although they can be fun and have been know to be adventuresome at times).  But he was wrong about not liking it.  He loves going to hotels.  He doesn't mind sleeping on the very hard floor in a sleeping bag.  He never complains about the drive, though it's between 3 and 6 hours one way, depending on the branch.

Yes, although it's generally all business, we all love traveling for the church.  I realized today that we have been taking these weekend trips from 1-4 weekends a month every month for the past 10 years, except for at the end of pregnancy.  It's been our life since Greg has been overseeing the southern part of Poland (first in the mission presidency and then (now) as district president).  Evie had just turned two when we started.  It's been a big part of my parenting experience and my children's life.  I just love it. I have a hard time imagining living a different way.  I'm not sure how long it will last, but in this church when one adventure ends, a new one always begins.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Most people looking at this picture would see a small plastic cup and spoon.  And that's what it is.  A racquetball probably would not fit in the cup.  It's small.  And it is plastic.  And there's a tiny spoon with it.

When we were in Italy I didn't buy any souvenirs.  An ornamented ceramic mask would not mean anything to me.  The pictures we took are much better (to me) than any postcard or painting or statuette.  What I did do was snatch my family's gelato cups out of their hands before they could throw them in the trash.

THAT.  That right there is a souvenir.  To me.  It takes me back.  I see delicious ice cream, savored during conversations with people I love in places I never thought I would be.  I see stacks of the different colored bowls turned upside-down on counter tops in gelato shops.  I remember dreaming of one filled with a smooth delicious treat as we wandered, stomachs growling but eyes feasting, through Venice in search of "Quanto Basta" pizzeria. I can almost feel the wet-wipe in my hand after cleaning off Spencer's hands and face in Murano and Budoia (how romantic!).

It's just a small plastic cup and spoon, but it happens to be my favorite little cup and spoon in the world.

I'll post a bit about our trip soon enough.