Friday, February 29, 2008

Water runs dry

So I have all the kids, who would be in school and are in the country, at home with me today. Seth is sick and Pamela is out for - wait for it - a water main break! They closed the school (and evacuated it in panic mode) for a water main break. (I can hear all my Ghana friends LTAO, right now.) When they called me to tell me that I had to come get her yesterday because the school had no water, my response was "The school in Ghana didn't have water for 9 months out of the year and they never closed the school." They made me take her home anyway.

Now the funniest thing about this is that the water main break that affected the school, also affected my house and making Pamela leave the school just meant coming to a house with no water. The management of our housing complex was nice enough to put a tank in the neighborhood park for us to go fill containers from (which they made sure to point out was not potable - LOL!).

Pamela, being the comedianne that she is, insisted on walking through the neighborhood like this:

Toby made it through surgery and is doing quite well now. Dylan sent me an email saying "I don't mean to alarm you but your sick child has been replaced by a child that feels great and doesn't need sleep." So we're very happy and I thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Art of Noise

Thanks for your enthusiasm in sending Pamela some ATCs! She will really enjoy this. School, unfortunately, doesn't prepare you for the art world...I suppose math, science and language arts are pretty important:-P. But in remembering my own school days, I was always looking for the right answer and not so much what I thought about things. I'm learning that now, and art really helps with that. Again, I had art teachers who wanted the perfect work of art, not necessarily something that conveyed feeling, but that looked right.

Last night, I stayed up too late taking Pamela around and showing her our prints of paintings. My favorite artist is Marc Chagall. We have "I and the Village" hanging over Pamela's piano. I asked her "how does this make you feel?" and she was stumped. I said, you don't know how it makes you feel? So we worked on that. And that's the thing. It's all about how it makes you feel and not whether it's right or wrong. Math has right and wrong answers and there are rules to grammar and science, but to teach creative thinking...I think that's art (and philosophy, but I hate philosophy because I can't seem to take a stand on anything anyway, and philosophy just makes me more confused).

Here's the most recent ATC I made for Pamela. She wants to know why I keep using these girls. I just like them, plus they're in B&W so I can use my watercolor pencils and my new blender pen to give them some color, which I love doing. I was not happy about the way the glitter stuck all over the place on this card, but Pamela likes it.

We're all about the art in our house now. I see the difference in Seth's paintings and drawing from Pamela's when she was his age and I know a lot of it is my fault. What's funny is that for most things, Seth wants them perfect (i.e. he'd rather be naked than just a tiny bit dirty or wet, if the lego figures don't look exactly like the box he won't play with them) but when it comes to art, he goes wild. Here's a couple examples:
This one is currently on our easel. I guess it's a work in progress.This one was one he did at school. I love the use of color and the fact that he covers the whole page.

This is longer than I had intended, so I guess I'll cut off now:). I walked 5.25 miles yesterday! My motivation is lagging right now (I'm worried about Toby, I'll have to talk about that tomorrow) but I only read my textbooks while on the treadmill so I have to get on the treadmill:)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Won't you take me to Funkytown?

We're going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks on Sunday* and in honor of that Pamela bought the entire album on iTunes. Now, every day on the way to school Seth insists on listening to "Funkytown" by Alvin and the Chipmunks. It gets a little stuck in my head:). I'm sure it will soon surpass Jingle Bells (which finally made it to our #1 played!) on the top 25.

Here's an ATC that I made for Pamela:

Amy had a great suggestion that everyone could make her some to hang in her locker. She would LOVE that! If you're reading this and you want to make an ATC for Pamela, please send me a comment and I'll send you my mailing address to mail it to (and Pamela and I will make an ATC for you, they are trading cards:).

My ticker wasn't working last night, but when my friend was here and the kids were on break last week, I walked a total of 3 miles - in a week. That's sort of no where close to my 33 miles that I need to be doing a week. But this week I have walked 8 miles (which is still short of my goal but better!).

*While we have movie theaters here (which is AWESOME!) the kids movies are dubbed in Polish (adult movies - wait that doesn't sound right, how about non-kid movies? - are usually shown in the original language with Polish subtitles - unless the original language is Polish;). Sometimes the English speaking schools or embassies will arrange a special showing with no dubbing. That's how we know we're going on Sunday:).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hang me up to dry

I've spent a good portion of the morning scanning in money from all over the world, per yesterday's collage post. About halfway through, I started feeling like a counterfitter, then toward the end I started wondering if it's illegal to scan money into your own computer. Since I'm putting this out in cyberspace, I may know very soon:).

I managed to do another card for the Deck of Me challenge last night when I was bathing the boys. This one was what junk you need to get rid of and we had to use junk mail as our embellishments:

I cheated (unintentionally) because I used a piece of ephemera on the front of the card in addition to junk mail. I didn't realize it until I had finished the card.

Pamela is loving these cards (ATC sized) and has asked me to make her several to hang in her locker. I told her I would work on those as soon as I am caught up on the Deck of Me.

Toby is scheduled for surgery on Thursday and will then have to stay for at least a week to be monitored. Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes!

It's surprisingly quiet in my house with only 3 children. Dylan and I have discussed that before and it amazing how you can take away 1 (ANY one) and the house seems SO much quieter. Seth is missing Toby a bit, and we're trying to transition Blaise to a big boy bed, so when I came to check on them last night this is what I found:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Things I learned on the sleeper train to Germany (from Dylan)

Got this funny email from Dylan. He's on his way to Germany with Toby (hopefully he will have surgery and return better, but we don't know yet). Because my initial post today was not particularly funny, I thought I would share Dylan's perspective again:

-Three-year-old boys can sleep 7 hours on a sleeper train without any problems

- I am not a three-year-old boy.

- Airlines and Rail Services all get their pillows from the same place.

-You REALLY do not want to share a sleeping compartment with a stranger. In theory you could fit three but Toby was claustrophobic the minute he got in the "middle" bunk. I could not fit my head in this bunk (seriously).

-You will develop a deep sense of paranoia that you are missing your stop. My paranoia kept me from sleeping, and when I did sleep, I dreamed about missing my stop - which caused me to wake up again.

- I am no longer 16 and cannot jump onto the top bunk with one short hop... I need to use the ladder like any other old person.

-Do not place your three-year-old on the top bunk, you'll just end up sleeping even less and eventually (after that third or fourth abrupt stop) you're going to trade places anyway because your wife will kill you if you injure your son while taking him to the hospital.

-European train conductors are more paranoid than I am. The lady was very nice when she took my tickets ( first time they have ever taken my tickets, I got them back in the morning so it was as if she was just holding them for me) and gave me a three minute lecture (all in Polish of course) about how I need to lock both the chain and the deadbolt of my door... Then the paranoia goes up as I imagine the gangs that must rove through these cars that will knock down the door with a chain and tie up everyone inside, but who will steer clear of those who use the chain and the dead bolt. The doors are paper thin, why don't the just cut through with a plastic knife from the galley if they really want in?

- 15 starts and stops at various stations across Poland and Germany will not wake a sleeping three-year-old; the mere thought of cracking open the window so I can see the stop so we don't miss it will however get him right out of bed.

-Having your kid dressed in pajamas at 11:30 at night is adorable - same kid dressed in the same pajamas in a train station at 1:00 the following afternoon is apparently child neglect.

-The free water they serve in "first class" is soda water, this is important to know because when you take that first drink expecting flat water, you may inadvertently think someone is trying to poison you.

-8 minutes is not nearly enough time to learn the German S-Bahn rail system, even though the people who sell the tickets seem to think it is.

-If you sit in First Class on the German trains with one kid who is semi-quiet, apparently no one will ever question you.

(Scroll down for today's post from Kylie:).

A Place in the Sun

I have only a few things for you today. First, here's my week 5 Deck of Me (we're on week 8, but I'm way behind).:This one was advice to yourself at 18. My advice (on the back, not shown) was "Don't worry these are nowhere near the best years of your life" which is a line from the Brad Paisley song "Letter to me". I thought that was the best advice to give a teenager.

Through Crafted By Us, I learned of this collage image group on Flickr. When I was a teenager, I LOVED making collages. It's only been recently that I learned that this is a whole art form, so now this has taken over my life;).

Also, over the weekend, I ran into a friend at the park (we had gorgeous weather this weekend, it's springtime!) and she asked about our trip back in December. I told her that I need to show her my scrapbook of it and she said "You scrapbook? I've been wanting to learn how. I bought lots of paper and glue and albums but I never did them!" So, at least until she never actually calls, I have a local scrapbooking friend (did I mention that she asked me yesterday about my trip in December? I doubt we'll actually be getting together to scrapbook).

And, I rode the motorcycle for the first time (in my skirt, got a lot of neighborhood stares for that one). It was actually quite fun, but I get freaked out at going 30mph.

They're fixing my roof today so I'm stuck at home. I thought roofs were supposed to last longer than 5 years (and I didn't know there was anything wrong with it).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Welcome giant freaks!

So I have some blog business to attend to today. First, EONS ago, Amy gave me this:

And because I am a slacker of gigantic proportions, I never posted it. But I appreciate it (and I’m posting it now), so thanks Amy!

I’d like to award:

RobinDiane – I just like her

Jenny The Bloggess – She just cracks me up and makes me feel inferior:)

Lisa ScrappyCatz – Her projects are so pretty

And if you’re reading my blog (and you also have a blog) you are also awarded. I just love new readers too!

And my other little funny thing for today. Pamela went to turn on the light in her bedroom. As she flipped the switch, there was a flash and a “pow”, something shot across the room and the power went out upstairs. She went to see what had shot out and it was this:

Yes, that’s right, the LIGHT BULB shot across the room. I don’t think that has ever happened to me in my 33 years of life (in all fairness, I don't remember those early years, it could have happened then). Step aside Serbia, Poland is still dangerous!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Train of thought

First some gratuitous hilarity (just to let you know as you read the rest of my post that I have not done gone and lost my mind):

You know how you have those moments where someone says something and then you say something that seems totally unrelated to what they said, but have to explain how your train of thought got you there. Kind of like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Well, that's kind of what happened with my blog surfing today.

First, I went to visit Amy. Then, RobinDiane, then Lisa, then Lain (who hasn't posted anything new in over a week, I might add;). Then I remembered a blog I stumbled upon last night, The Bloggess, where this post just had me cracking up all evening and I've never even HEARD the song. Because I couldn't remember the name of the blog, I had to go back to where I linked from and read MamaDrama, where I found Jenny and The Bloggess. As I was reading her blog I discovered the Midwest Teen Sex Show*, where I watched their episode "Porn" which is why I was watching porn this morning:). So see, it was actually totally innocent. (They make fun of scrapbookers in it for just a tiny bit which cracked me up.)

*Disclaimer: I would not condone the Midwest Teen Sex Show for anyone under the age of 18 and I have only watched that one episode. Please do not inundate me with comments about how it's morally wrong, because I TOTALLY agree, but the porn episode was funny.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Travelling Poland

I've put a ticker to measure my walking at the bottom of the page (thank you Robin!).

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend came from Pakistan for a short visit this weekend. (She has requested to remain anonymous:). Here's what she brought for us:
Look at all those gorgeous Pashminas! My favorite is that red one:)

When you have a visitor (which is quite rare for us) you determine the amount of time that they have to see things and plan accordingly. Warsaw, while I love it, is not the prettiest city. It's becoming a very modern city, but it doesn't have much in the way of old buildings (it was 85% destroyed during World War II and the entire old town was flattened). Now, as a part of its history, there are many communist era buildings which, having not lived through communism, can be very interesting - but not pretty - to see. So, Saturday we took her to the Palace of Culture where you can see the city of Warsaw from above. They currently have a great kids exhibit going on inside called "Playing with Einstein" "Zabawy z Einsteinem" (showing until the 15th of September for my Warsaw bloggy friends). The exhibit has a children's museum feel to it.

Blaise was confused by the hologram balls.View of the Old Town from the Palace of Culture

Then, after having talked to my Polish friends, we headed down to Krakow. Krakow is a beautiful old city and THE place to come to see the old Polish architecture. It remained virtually intact during WWII.
The Cloth hall in Krakow's Rynek.

Now, this was the most bitter cold weekend we've had the entire winter, so we didn't actually spend that much time outside. We did a lot of coffee shop stopping to get warm:).

Of course, visitors to Poland all want to see Auschwitz (Oświęcim). This was Dylan's and my second time, but he wound up taking the boys for McDonald's and to play elsewhere. Pamela had never been before.
The end of the railroad tracks at Birkenau Concentration Camp.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Walking update

I totally forgot to update on my walking. It's like I need a ticker or something:)

5.11 miles yesterday, but I didn't walk on Wednesday - my excuse was preparation for Valentine's Day and I just couldn't get up at 5:30 that morning. So there's 1682.73 to go. Really, I'll be looking for that ticker.

Sunny Days...sweeping the clouds away!

It's a beautiful sunny day here today. Unfortunately it is also 25 degrees F.

So I have a few things for you today. Mostly because I will probably not be blogging for the next few days. Next week is what the Poles call "Biały Tydzien" or "White Week". Meaning that the entire country takes off to go skiing. Well we don't ski (Dylan and I both grew up in Houston, do you know how far you have to travel to ski?), so our friend is coming to visit and we'll travel Poland and show her the sights. So next week, past Wednesday, I should have loads of pictures and stories for y'all.

I wanted to start with the story of this cup:

This was my 13th anniversary present. Our Stateside mail (anything mailed to us from the States) goes to the embassy and therefore to Dylan's office before it makes it home. So he had this in the office and he was telling our friend Sarah that this was my anniversary present. She laughed at him. "That's your A game?" she said.

(Now, we have this running thing because Dylan and I LOVE The Office and My Name Is Earl. If you know the shows, you're familiar with the "World's Best" thing. If you don't, you really should, they're hilarious! I bought Dylan an iPod shuffle that is engraved with "World's Best Husband" so this was my "World's Best" gift. I got the "World's Best Mom" for Mother's Day the following week:)

Then there's this:

Over the weekend I was making baked goods for church (something that I got suckered into because the woman who was asking knew that I made these great muffins and raved about them to the people around when she asked me, not that I'm bitter;), and I found out that my old Sunbeam mixer had broken (I suspect it was dropped on a tile floor). For the first 8 or 9 years of our marriage, everything I baked I mixed totally by hand, then one day I was at Walmart and the Sunbeam mixer was an impulse buy. I couldn't believe that I had done without it for so long. So of course, when I learned that my Sunbeam one had broken, I was devastated. How was I supposed to make baked goods for church and Valentines' goodies for schools without my mixer? I decided to pick one up locally (since we've lived overseas so long it's ridiculous for us to have 110v appliances anyway). This one was the cheapest (at $30 not exactly cheap!). But look at those wussy little European blades. I was really irritated by those wussy little blades. Now I must apologize to all of Europe. Those wussy little blades are the greatest thing EVER! They cut through EVERYTHING like a cheese slicer and they're so easy to clean! And the power! This thing is a 200w! It's like Tim Taylor came in and gave it "More power!" Now how did I live all those years with my wussy Sunbeam mixer?

And this was Seth's haul from Valentine's Day:

You know what I like most about this? There's only 2 store bought cards (and those were from American kids:).

That's all I have for today! "See" y'all Wednesday!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all my bloggy friends!

Yesterday, Seth and I made these for his class:

and he and Pamela made these:

I frosted them. My intent was to make them like big conversation hearts and put "Be Mine" and "U R Cool" on them, but my frosting was too runny so they're splatter hearts:).

Toby dressed himself this morning.

(Yes, my camera strap is in the way...apparently I am totally new at taking photos). I think it was the first time ever. I had to explain to his teacher that he dressed himself (his underwear is on backwards too and he's wearing Sunday socks on Thursday...little things that drive me mad, but I have to let them go).

Now you may be wondering why we made cards for Seth's school and not Toby's. Toby goes to a Polish preschool and Seth goes to an American preschool. Poles, like many Europeans, see Valentine's day as a romantic holiday and there is no reason to give gifts to children. I waver between the two. I don't think that it's bad as a day to remind the people that you love that you love them (children or adults). And even with the knowledge that it's a romantic holiday, I took candy for the kids to Toby's school...always a reason for candy;)...when we arrived, one of the little Polish girls was giving out apples that say

Kocham Cię - I love you.

Hope yours is a happy one!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My 2 cents

Any idea where that phrase came from? Just curious... And this today's 2nd post.

But because (scroll down) I had a guest blogger today, I just wanted to jump in with my walking update. Yesterday I walked 6.25 miles, so now I am at 1687.84 to go (and 13.75 miles for just this week alone!).

And, because I am getting a lot of congratulations on my walking, I have to admit to something. I have been walking/running 4 miles a day for the past few years. So having to go a little bit further isn't that big of an issue (the 4.7 miles that I have to walk per day to get to Lisbon). However, 2-3 more miles a day than that, is actually a lot. I was kind of surprised. I can do it, but I'm always starving and I fall asleep SO easily (while driving but that doesn't make me any worse than any other driver on the road:). It pays to shake up your routine:).

Guest Blogger

This is will be the first post of the day, as I have a little more to say about other stupid stuff. Dylan has requested to be guest blogger for today as he would like to share his trip to Germany with Toby with everyone. So here's Dylan:

Europeans do not like Children. There, I’ve said it – Most likely it will get any flaming responses by anyone who is googling for anti-European comments declarations, so I will elaborate. Of course it’s a blanket statement, and for the most part untrue, but the fact that much of Europe has a negative population growth suggests they’re not producing a whole lot of new kids. That or they’re killing off their old people at an alarming rate. For discussion’s sake, let’s go with the former.

I lived in Germany for three years, and while we only had one child at the time, the two-week “Intro to Germany” class that I took at the base, taught by an American officer’s wife, suggested that if you take your kids to the restaurant, please do so early so that less patrons would have to put up with your kids. Also, we were briefed that dogs were widely accepted at all restaurants, but kids were a little more touchy – because (yes she really said this) “Most people can control their dog, but not their children”.

Having just spent a very action-filled two days in Germany for my middle son, and being exclusively in the company of fellow Europeans (I’ve lived more of my adult life in Europe than in the U.S. – do I get partial credit here?) I have changed my position a little bit. Europeans do like children – but usually from a distance and some – a very great distance.

Over the last two days I’ve been traveling with my three-year-old to try and find a Pediatric ENT surgeon – I’m beginning to wonder if such a specialty actually exists. On the way to Germany I sat in a train car with three business men on their way to a large city in Poland, and my three-year-old. Toby was his usual self. A hearing problem makes him unconsciously loud and he has a tendency to sing – a lot, and loudly. Despite this, on the way to Poznan and onto Berlin, there was not a single fellow mate in our compartment that even grimaced. I felt a little bad when Toby went into his usual loud rendition of Jingle Bells, but it didn’t merit even a heavy sigh from anyone else. Despite my thinking that it made them uncomfortable, there was no drama that ensued.

Compare that with the return ride home. This time Toby and I were accompanied by two women (I will assume German) in a compartment for six persons. Almost immediately the one woman put on a show about how she was going to have to deal with a “screaming kid” for the trip. She began to throw baggage, she dug through her bag with great fanfare to find her MP3 player and she very loudly plopped herself in the seat… At this point we had been on board for three minutes and had not moved an inch. By the first station, only 7 minutes away, both the nasty woman and another, very professionally dressed woman, had left the compartment. The thing that I found most interesting in hindsight – The women traveling from Germany could not last 10 minutes in the same car with a child, and the child was not making a lot of noise, but just sitting there eating his happy meal. The men in the car from Warsaw to Poznan (presumably polish) easily put up with Toby’s off-key singing for hours…

This got me to thinking about the rest of the trip. The Polish gentleman in the dining car on the way to Berlin cleared a table for us to ensure that Toby did not have to sit on my lap during breakfast. The Polish lady who sold me the ticket said that the three-year-old didn’t need a ticket because he could sit on my lap for the almost 6 hour trip. Very nice and helpful – but Toby is kind of a big kid.

Every German Taxi driver (all men) went out of their way to bring out a child’s seat for Toby whenever we traveled (although this was probably for legal reasons over chivalry), but the German ladies at the restaurant for breakfast seemed to think that a child was going to destroy the restaurant.

And for the most part everyone has been very friendly, but I do get a different sense of traveling with children in Germany than Poland. I need to search the statistics of course, but I’m guessing that the population growth in Poland is higher than Germany – And for the most part, I base this on nothing more than the attitudes that I’ve seen over the past few days. Poles seem to like kids a little more than Germans – maybe that translates to they have a few more than Germans?? Not saying anything negative of course either way, but if you get the chance to travel across Europe with a kid or two – take a minute to see if you feel the attitudes change as you cross the borders. I think it’s very interesting.

Now if you’ll excuse me – I have a three-year-old hanging from the curtains of the train compartment – and I see a mean German woman walking down the isle.

P.S. After completing this – about four hours later we pulled into the train station in Poznan. In our previously private cabin we were joined by a nice young man (thirties) who is dressed very professionally and seems to be very polite. He took up a seat by the window (which has just got to still be wet from the bottle of 7-up that Toby spilled, or the 7-up still dripping from the rack above where I didn’t’ clean off the backpack before I put it up to dry out) and just smiled. Toby, because he is tired, went into a very lovely rendition of the “I don’t want to sit down” song. For those not familiar with the I don’t’ want to sit down song, the lyrics are very simple – Simply sing “I don’t want to sit down” at the top of your lungs for five straight minutes. I thought for sure this guy was going to bolt. He did not – this very nice Polish man just sat in the cabin and ate his KFC, not once threatening to change cabins. His reward? After we pulled out of the station Toby fell asleep – and he’ll probably stay that way until Warsaw. I think that’s Karma.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Walking and more on Toby

So I'll start with, I walked 7.5 miles yesterday! So now I've only got 1694.09 to go! Dylan said that if they stay gone the whole week that I'll get caught up:). And it was all on the treadmill, as the temps have dipped below freezing here and I don't like taking Blaise out in below freezing temps...not for 2 hours anyway.

But because I was on the treadmill and I have never been on the treadmill for that long continuously, at about minute 86 I started to wonder what would happen when it reached 99:59. So, I actually got off the treadmill (in case it stopped suddenly or blew up;) when it got to 99:54 to let it turn over without me on it. It just starts back over at 00:01, in case you were curious.

And because I didn't say WHY Toby had to go to Berlin, I'll touch on that. If you read everyday, you will remember when Toby was very sick (this post). Because that turned in to a rant on the healthcare that we have to deal with, I never really went back and posted any updates.

So it turns out that Toby has a secondary ear infection and an infected adenoid - which means that his adenoid is causing fluid to get trapped in his inner ear and all kinds of other problems, including some hearing loss which will hopefully return after he has the adenoid removed. He needs to have it removed, but TRICARE/ISOS wouldn't approve the surgery for Poland so we've had to work on getting him out. They sent him to Berlin to see another doctor, who agreed that he needs to have it removed and now they are waiting to see when and where they can go for the surgery (they is Dylan and Toby - we didn't just put Toby on a train and say "Now remember, get off when they say 'Berlin'":).

(I will not rant....I will not rant....I will not rant).

Oh, but I have a kind of funny thing...yesterday morning when Dylan woke me up to take him and Toby to Warszawa Centralna (the train station), he told me in a very sad voice "E.D. (our cat) is dying. She's lying on the floor, not moving. You'll need to take her to the vet and when the kids wake up make sure to let them say goodbye to her." So we tell Toby to say goodbye to E.D. and he does and we go. I come back and wake everyone for school and tell Seth and Pamela "Say goodbye to E.D. just because she is not well and is probably dying." I take everyone to school and then take E.D. to the vet. Turns out she was just DEHYDRATED! They gave her an IV and she was back to relative normal. Pamela called me later in the day (we've had E.D. since before Pamela was born) and asked about E.D. I was like, "Yeah, there's not really anything wrong with her." So I will NEVER do that to the children again. When the cat dies, it's just gonna be a surprise.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Crafts and Motorcycles

On Friday, I got a Joann’s package containing (among other things) this:

This is too cool! Why did no one tell me about this sooner? (This is, of course, a joke as everyone has raved about this since it came out.) I made this for Toby for Valentine’s Day: (which was Amy's project a while back). Since I don’t know if he’ll be back before then, I packed it in his backpack. As an aside, I made the paper small enough to fit through my Xyron machine because I’m trying to use up the adhesive. Apparently the adhesive will go bad if not used for some time? Or maybe it was moving from high humidity to a relatively low humidity?

And this (because I am WAY behind on those Christmas ornaments for the godparents):Front


Yes, my Christmas tree is still up in mid February *blush*.

And everyone in the house was LOVING cutting through the CDs (I now have one CD that has about 15 little holes in it…its like buttah!) Seth can do it himself and Toby needs help, but it’s just awesome!

And because I opened my big…blog…I now have this:

So at some point I will be expected to…wait for it…RIDE on the motorcycle. I would just like to note that I never actually told my husband that if he bought me the dragon helmet that I would ride the motorcycle. That was supposed to be just between you and me…how the heck did he get my blog address anyway?;)

And here’s one of Pamela and Daddy going out for their Sunday morning ride (from which they always return with frozen fingers and legs and for some reason continue to do it).

Now, I didn’t manage to walk AT ALL over the weekend. I now have the dreaded pink eye and a throat infection of some kind. AND because we found out on Friday night that Toby has to be in Berlin on Monday, we were running around trying to get everything done that he needs before then.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Blustery Day

Yes, Winnie the Pooh is one of my favorite Disney films:). And no, I normally don't blog on Sundays because they are a ridiculously busy day...but today was unexpectedly freed up - keep reading.

So you know those days when your 5 year old draws on the wall, your husband feeds the 3 and 1 year old spaghetti without first removing their clothes (and then doesn't bother to clean their hands and faces when they get down from the table - see evidence), and you feel like all you do with your life is change poopy diapers, wash clothes and clean crayon off the wall? Yeah, that's today.

The swimming pool was cancelled due to the aforementioned drawing on the wall (something that I thought a 5 year old would have grown out of, but apparently hasn't yet). Seth has cleaned the wall probably 5 times this week and continues to draw on it - and for some reason we can't get all of the marks off no matter what. So no swimming today, to which there was a downpour of tears and lots of stomping around.

And that spaghetti mess? Yeah, that's what I'll be working on when I finish this particular post, after I change the poopy diaper, check on the spaghetti covered lunch clothes in the washer and get Seth working on erasing the most recent wall mural.

Hope your day is better!

Friday, February 08, 2008

I haven't had much blog fodder in the past couple of days, but I did do the LONG walk yesterday...

Well, sort of...I threw the double jogger in the back of the minivan and drove to the hotel down the road (where the sidewalk starts). I tossed Blaise in the double jogger and started walking. It was fairly warm for February (43 degrees F), so I bundled Blaise the way I normally do (tights, undershirt, pants, shirt, coat, hat and mittens), but I threw a blanket in "just in case". Well, it may have been warm, but that wind was blowing from the East and our walk takes us North - South so it was hitting us the WHOLE TIME. We wound up turning around halfway, so I only walked 3.5 miles yesterday.

Today I also only walked 3.5 miles (again with the waking up too early kids, talking to me while I'm on the treadmill). So I'm behind now. I figured that I have to walk 4.7 miles a day to get to Lisbon in a year. That's 33 miles a week.

But so far I've walked 14.41 miles and I have only 1701.59 to go! (So wish me luck this weekend in walking that extra 18.59 miles).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kids with no pants...

Yesterday, as is our custom on Fat Tuesday, we took the whole crew out to dinner (you have to fatten up before lent). When we got to Dylan's favorite pizza place, Non Solo Pizza, Toby stood up and dropped his pants in the middle of the restaurant. Pamela was mortified and the customers were amused (he's 3, come on!).

Non Solo is pretty cool because they have the big wood pizza ovens and they have the guys making the pizza behind a plexiglas "wall" in the middle of the restaurant. Occasionally they throw the pizza up in the air, which my kids just love. At one point the pizza maker threw his dough up in the air, and it went over the wall and next to Dylan. So Dylan grabbed it and stood up and was throwing it up in the air (Pamela's still just mortified) and having it land on his face. Then he passed it back to the pizza guys, who were laughing so hard they almost couldn't get the dough back. I think he made their night. Poles don't often act silly.

This morning, I went to Carrefour in Galeria Mokotow because it's closer and less hassle than going all the way out to Auchan. And there's no one there! It's fantastic! I can get in and out in less than an hour, including the time it takes to get the faktura (a form that we get to have our sales tax returned to us). On the way out I noticed that the coffee shop (kawiarnia) had very few sweets, reminding everyone that it's Lent, and I was reminded of the movie Chocolat, which is a very interesting insight into the social pressures that keep everyone doing what they're supposed to do.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Just normal day stuff...

Okay, I have to start with, I LOVE this song...

It reminds me of my husband:).

Also, I was misleading yesterday when I said that I had joined Amy's challenge. I will be joining Amy's challenge, but it hasn't actually started yet. I was more inspired by Amy's challenge and decided to start my virtual walk to Lisbon. But I have given myself a year to get there, so I am really adapting Amy's challenge to fit my own needs. And, Dylan and I have the deal if I walk 1716 miles in one year (by February 4th, 2009) that I get my trip to Lisbon!

That said, this morning I only went 3.25 miles (that's because 2 children woke up early and came and sat by the treadmill to talk to me while I was walking, which is something I cannot do). So now there are 1708.59 miles to go!

Dylan has suggested that I walk to and from Toby's school. While that's a fantastic idea, the sidewalk doesn't actually start for a mile and we're sure to get killed walking on the road. So perhaps I will park somewhere and walk with Blaise, and then with Blaise and Toby. But I'd been thinking about that and the weather has been nice. So that would be a 6-8 mile round trip. Maybe I'll start doing that when Amy's challenge actually starts (watch out competitors!).

And today is Fat Tuesday, so we're being pigs today! I sent Seth to school (actually, I totally forgot to make him a lunch today, so I had to make a stop at the embassy co op and pick up some junk food) with cheese crackers, Kudos M&M bar, Snapple, a cheese stick, and a box of raisins (you know, for health).

Monday, February 04, 2008

Makro and Motocykli

This weekend we went to the Motocykl Expo here in Warsaw (Dylan rides, I don’t…but if he gets me the helmet with the dragon on it – maybe;).

It’s interesting to see the people who come to this. Some are hardcore bikers – they look like the stereotypical bikers in the States (the one man with the long hair and lace up leather pants was SO sexy!). MOST of them are like Dylan and our friends, Paco and Ana - whom we met there - just normal people who are there to check out the bikes and the accessories that pack the hall full. And because motorcycling is quite prevalent in Europe, they’re really just the people who actually ride for transport. And then there are the ones I found so interesting. The very professional looking men (many of whom looked like my children’s doctor) who are there with their teenage sons and are out and about taking pictures of their sons with the scantily clad models – apparently this is something that Poles use to annoy their mothers as well. We happened to be next to a teenage boy who was shouting across the hall to his mother in Polish “Mom, you HAVE to look at this!” To which she looks to see he has had a photo taken of himself with the EXTREMELY scantily clad Suzuki girls, posing provocatively on the bike with him. She just sighed, like any mom would and went back to shopping for HER motorcycle jacket.

Here's a few pics. I didn't take my camera so I just got some taken with my phone camera. I left my camera charger in Houston so I'm not taking as many pics right now.

This last one is a terrible picture, but if you notice, the bike that Blaise is on has flames on it. We always take pictures of him with things that have flames, because we're just too odd. We figure that when he's a teenager he's going to demand that everyone call him "Drew" (For clarification, Andrew is his middle name).

Anyway, the professional men cracked me up. Because you would see them diligently taking photos of their sons and then later you would see them on the BIGGEST bike, the American Harley style bike (Harley didn’t have a showing there, but Suzuki and Honda both make bikes that rival Harley).

After the expo, we headed off to Makro – a Sam’s style warehouse club which we had never been to before. Makro differs from Sam’s in a few ways:

1. You actually have to be a business (Dylan’s office has cards for us to use) in order to have a membership.

2. They don’t allow children except on Sundays for “safety reasons” (we’ll come back to this one).

3. They don’t sell the large packages of the item, they just sell them in packs of 8 – 10. Like if you go to Sam’s and buy the 50 gallon drum of soy sauce, Makro has the exact same small bottles that any grocery store has you just have to buy 10 of them.

As we walked in the door, the very nice woman behind the counter told us (in Polish) that we couldn’t bring the children in. Dylan looks her dead straight in the eye and says, “Thank you. You have a nice day!” and keeps walking. She just sighed. We do that a lot.

And the safety concerns? Forklifts! Kids can't be there because they use forklifts. But Auchan and Geant do not ban children and they use forklifts and those pallet movers and the zamboni style floor cleaners that run people over ALL THE TIME. (For more on this check out this post.)

I'm still working on that driving video and I'm taking Amy's challenge to "Walk Across America" except that I'm going to walk/run (virtually) from Warsaw to Lisbon, which is 1716 miles. Today I went 4.16 so only 1711.84 to go! And, my reward at the end is an actual trip to Lisbon:).

Friday, February 01, 2008

Last day of LOAD

Yesterday was the last day of LOAD and while I absolutely LOVED the challenge, I'm so happy it's done. I need to get a ton of laundry finished and everything else that needs to happen.

But here's the LO:I'm also trying to get a driving video of Warsaw and get that up. While it seems quite normal to me, I know most people would be really amazed at driving in Warsaw.

Here's a picture for my dad, who reads my blog daily (at least I set it up as his homepage, so he should be reading it!):See how that extra door is RIGHT next to the refrigerator. It won't open enough to put anything in it (except toys, which melt great and leave the house smelling like a field of burning tires!).

And then here's a picture of my kitchen border for Amy. I've been meaning to post a pic for awhile. I thought Amy would get a kick out of it.
Hope everyone has a great day!