December 30, 2013

Twenty years !

Our twentieth wedding anniversary was on the second day of Christmas in Polish calendar and on January December 26th for the rest. The days last week were full of preparation to Christmas then full of celebration and finally full of work; putting my Christmas and anniversary gift together:)
I also did not want to write a post on our special day. I preferred to spend it with Andrzej rather than in front of the computer; except for announcing it on fb page and changing the picture into the vintage one:)

We had spent our day just relaxing, remembering the events from 20 years ago, going through the pictures, treating each other with a rare dinner date, just the two of us, and dancing to our song "Listen to your heart" by Roxette...

Twenty years, almost quarter of a century. I started to believe those more experience by life, folks, long time ago. They said that time speeds up with age . I could say that the slowest were the first five years of our marriage. The fastest, the five last ones! And maybe that's good. They were the most challenging ones.

It is hard to summarize those twenty years. So much happened.

The first five years...
We had graduated from college in 1995 and then moved to another country, another language and different culture, different weather climate. Being away from family and friends was the hardest part to bear!
We were so young, so full of plans! We got to learn, and know each other. And there were just two of us...

The next five years were filled with heart breaking sadness, graduation, joy of welcoming Kiki into the world, then difficult depression, changing jobs, moving to another state and buying our first house. So much has happened, it was not always easy. We had disagreements, different opinions, quiet days, but learn to compromise.

The next five years we spent on settling down with job, at our new house, and then welcoming Zuzia into our family. The task of caring for a colicky child made difficult to care for our own marriage. We did have time for each other, but our minds were preoccupied with being parents.

The last five years I have to say were hardest on us. We went through some pretty serious problems, and we made it through! We had our joy of welcoming our boy into our family. I think the best thing that happened in those years. This past year was extra challenging, due to my severe anxiety and depression. But Andrzej took care me, and tried to be as much help and support as he could.

We laughed together, we cried together, we traveled together, with fought together and we stuck together.

When I look back at our wedding pictures I see young, almost kids like, couple getting ready to the adventure called marriage. It is a bumpy but good one!

As I look into the future I know that we will be with each other no matter what. We took our vows seriously when we said for good and for bad in richness and in poor in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live... Those are not empty words, our life together is the fulfillment of those vows and commitment that we made to each other with God and family and friends as our witnesses.


...twenty years later!

December 20, 2013

{ this moment } :)

It made me smile today; this moment:)
I was looking for baby Jesus to put in the manger, after I have to put it together yet again. Someone ( Kubus ) takes the stable apart few times a day! But today baby was missing.

So I asked my boy if he saw baby Jesus, and he told me where I can find Him...
The truckers need Jesus too!

(Joining Amanda for Friday's theme.)


December 19, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

As the Advent draws to the end, and Christmas is approaching, I look back and see so many things that I have failed to do... Why is it always that we concentrate on the things that are undone, and forget the things that are accomplished?

Yet I will try to be optimistic and happy about this Advent. There is always something that we can look back at and remember that it was memorable after all.
 I will try to look at it through the { pretty, happy, funny, real } edition, as I try to capture the context of contentment in my Advent life, and join Like Mother, Like Daughter this Thursday.

My own Advent readings seem to be skipping a day or two recently, yet, the Advent wreath is present on our family table to remind me, that this is a season of expecting and waiting and coming.
With the Gaudete Sunday the time for decorating the house came. Unfortunately the outside looks plain, no lights at night, no ornaments hanging from the branches. Just a wreath on the door... On the other hand the tree got decorated, and few other Christmas toys were pulled out of the storage and are being discovered by the youngest member of our family:) 

While I have not succeeded yet with cleaning my house, or baking cookies, the pantry and fridge is stocked with food, St. Nicholas is making arrangements concerning the Christmas lists, the Christmas cards are sent, and the teachers and classmates are taken care of.
The kids don't complain. They keep themselves entertained:)
Our Jesse tree is short on ornaments as of today. Somehow I can't find time very night for our daily Bible reading, ornament hanging and and Christmas themed book being read.
But the good news is that only two are missing so far, the girls enjoy every book that I read to them as they gather around me, and when I can't read to them is because I go to choir rehearsal to practice carols. I do enjoy it tremendously.

December 13, 2013

Saint Lucia Day

Our yearly tradition of serving St. Lucia breakfast in the dawn hours of December thirteen, almost did not happened.
I made the sweet, filled with ricotta cheese, bread for this occasion yesterday, but when the morning came, I had no energy to get up earlier than usual, awake sleepy kids and even sleepier husband.
I can blame it on the fact that we are not early risers, and adding the school commute for Kateri in the morning, around 35-40 minutes, makes the mornings even more dreadful.

So I have announced to my waking up slowly family that we will move the breakfast to Saturday.
Minutes later I heard bare footsteps on the stairs. Zuzia came running into the kitchen asking when do we start the breakfast. When I told her about the change of plans, this poor little girl almost drown herself with tears and went upstairs to cry on her daddy's shoulder. The latter one being fully awake at that point asked if we could go with it, so we did.

So here is my sleepy, but happy "St. Lucia " this morning:

And here are the kids trying to stay awake and eat the early feast:) The darkness of this pictures is the proof of early hours of that event.
By the way, they requested St. Lucia breakfast tomorrow too! But I think we can handle it, it is Saturday after all:)

December 12, 2013

Theme Thursday: Dozen

Clever, very clever and easy! I am  linking up to Cari for her Theme Thursday.

Blessed Our Lady of Guadalupe Day to all of my Catholic Friends!

Besides prayers to our Blessed Mother, I wonder who is celebrating by cooking some Mexican food? I am trying, but it won't be too festive. I am working on St. Lucia breakfast for tomorrow:) Too many festivities to handle at the same time!

Any way...
For my "dozen" edition:

I have dozen Jesse Tree ornaments:
The Jacob ladder is called by Kubus, Kubus' ladder of course:)
( for those who don't realize, Kubus is Polish nickname for Jacob)

Building Christmas tree out of dozen blocks.
A dozen of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's from Trader Joe.

December 8, 2013

On the Second Sunday


And here we are, lighting the second candle on our Advent wreath already. The days go so fast, that I am thankful for the evenings, when we slow down for a couple of minutes and live our traditions.
There are Bible readings, the Jesse tree gets filled up with the ornaments and the favorite Christmas stories are being read.
I do cherish those readings. Even my twelve year old likes to snuggle next to me and listen to the story. Especially if it is long and beautiful; like  "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey".

I have discovered that book when Kiki was little, and I have to say it is my favorite Christmas story.
It is story of a woodcarver, whose loneliness and personal tragedy left him bitter and old; and of the love that kept on slowly coming into his sad life in the presence of a widow and her sweet little boy. This story makes my heart melt and my eyes tear, every time that I read it to my children. They sense the real miracle of Christmas too.

Our week would not be complete without a nightly visit from St. Nicholas. I could not catch him with a camera, but he has left few surprises for my children.
They are lucky. St. Nick visits them twice in December. It is good to have Polish parents:)
I honestly think that their childhood would be missing something without those visits. I as a child, waited for them anxiously:)


December 5, 2013

Theme Thursday: Lights

I am linking today to Cari, for the "Lights" theme.

I know it is December and it should be the Christmas lights. But I do not have the decorations on yet ( my earlier post, the Gaudete Sunday ). I could have taken a walk around the neighborhood, but I lacked the time.
My first idea was to take some pictures from the deck. The weather was foggy and misty, and the far away lights gave the dimmed light and nostalgic feeling. It looked good in the theory, but not in the camera.
So I improvised.
I had set the lantern on the table, put the candle in ( made in Poland, bought in Christmas Tree Store !), and took some pictures.
I needed that for a change:) I am quite pleased with my five minute unedited "art":)


December 2, 2013

The Advent

 The first purple candle is lit.
The first book for advent evening reading.
The first Jesse tree ornament - the Jesse Tree itself.
( pardon my lack of craftsmanship in this particular ornament )

It has always played a big part of my life; this season, advent.

The traditions of the religious part of the season, ( however there should be only religious part anyway ), were different than I have encountered and welcomed to our family here.

The advent that I grew up with, was a season of quieting inside and out. There were no parties to be held, no Christmas carols, no Christmas tree or any other holiday decorations; until the Christmas Eve.
The advent days were started with a early morning Mass, called "Roraty". It was dark, cold, rather freezing, slippery and often snowy. I should not even mention that I walked to the church!
There was no time for breakfast before the Mass, only after, right before school. I was tired at the end of the day...

But I would never have it any other way. It is because of those small offerings and sacrifices that the season was special and then the Christmas was more joyous and the memories of those times are so rich.

Here the advent is loud, shiny, bright, and red. The Christmas carols sound long before Thanksgiving, the decorations are on even before Halloween! The parties are held everywhere and everybody is in crazy pace of shopping. But we try.

I and my family, start with advent wreath. We have also welcomed the beautiful custom of Jesse tree, instead of Christmas tree in the beginning. We read the passages form the Bible, and for everyday we read a different Christmas story. Usually with a deeper meaning.

As the season draws closer to Christmas we celebrate St. Nicholas day, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Lucia day.

There is also secular side to this season. Kids delight themselves in chocolate version of advent calendar. We bake cookies, which disappear quite quickly, watch Christmas movies, we admire neighborhood  Christmas lights and start decorating the house and Christmas tree around Gaudete Sunday.

I try to make it  memorable for my children as it was for me, even though different. Mostly I want the kids to remember the religious aspect of the seasons of advent and Christmas.
I do know that if we continue those traditions, they will cherish the memories of them as I do mine:)


November 30, 2013

7 quick takes on Thanksgiving

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
It was our nineteenth Thanksgiving yesterday. I have tried to remember every single one of them. I remembered the very first one, on the rancho, in Texas. Very unique experience ! And I remembered the rest; where and with whom. Amazing, have many there have been already!
This one we spend at home, just by ourselves. It has been like that for the last few years. Our own family is far away ( and does not celebrate Thanksgiving ), and friends are spending it with their own families.

In the mid morning we decided to take Christmas pictures...outside. It was sunny, but cold with freezing wind. I made everyone take their coats off! The session went by very fast:)

 Children were thankful each in his/her own way:
Kubus was thankful for trucks.
Kiki wrote a thanksgiving poem.
"I am thankful for the stories
I read again and again
To the movies, plays, and voices
That sing and never end.
I am thankful for the food
Prepared with care and love
To the soil, the earth. the sun and rain
And things like mammals, beasts , and bugs.
But I am most thankful for
Is He who gave me life
And the family and friends who love me
And helped me to take flight"
Zuzia wrote her own thankful story:
"When they said: what are you thankful for? I say I truly don't know where to start! So then I stand up straight and tall and say I'm thankful for the city, the river and the waves, and I can't forget my friends and family, and the poor little creatures who live in this beautiful world with us. Then I finish it with saying and that's what I am thankful for!"
Andrzej said only one thing comes into his mind. He was thankful for his family.
Later in the day he was thankful for his two favorite football teams to win; the Cowboys and the Longhorns:)
 I, myself have to say I am thankful for my faith, my healthy kids: growing writers and the little, sweet truck lover; Andrzej who takes good care of us all; for warm, cozy home and good food on the table:)
Speaking of the food;
We started our own tradition this year. We forwent  the turkey and went for the things that everybody likes. There were ribs, roasted potatoes, sweet potato casserole, garlic flavored green beans and for dessert apple pie with vanilla ice cream. And you know what? Everybody was happy for a change.
I think we will keep it that way!
Few pictures from the event. Just because I like it!



November 19, 2013

The Apple Cake


It is hard to deny that the autumn days are getting fast toward the end. Yes, the colors are still somewhat on the trees and mostly under, and there is no snow on the ground, at least not for a long time. But the air is cold, the days are short and there is freeze at night. My evening walks are chilly, and in the darkness. I have to walk really fast to keep warm:)

In the spirit of ending autumn, and yet before we explore the books about Thanksgiving next week, I read to kids a lovely book "the Apple Cake" by Nienke van Hichtum. I found the recommendation on Elizabeth Foss blog. I do go there for literature and other uplifting readings. I am yet to be disappointed, and I doubt that it will ever going to happen:)

I read the book once, twice, and even Kubus was interested. Bear in mind that he mostly loves anything with wheels:)
The story is about giving and receiving and about the joy that they bring. It ends with a delicious apple cake and a recipe for it. I had to bake it.

A perfect way to start saying good bye!


November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Zuzia has accused me today of neglecting my blog. Between headaches and anxiety battles and trying to take care of the house and family, sometimes blogging is last on my list, even though I do like doing it.
My 7 quick takes today will reflect on the last week. It makes sense, 7 takes 7 days of the week:)
Last Friday.
Since last year Kateri decided that she really wanted to try fencing. We have dismissed the idea of signing her up for this unusual activity, due to the fact that when and where and for what cost of time and money would that make any sense. To our great surprise, Kateri's new school offered up fencing program. The kids get bussed to the fencing facility but it is up to parents to pick them up. I was hoping that she won't get particularly attached to this new activity, but I was wrong. So on Friday's crazy afternoon traffic, the one I would like to avoid, you can find me getting to the other part of state, picking her up.
 Another crazy schedule. It included Kateri's Girl Club meeting in Mass ( thanks to our kind friend to offer a ride ), Zuzia's swim meet, and Kateri's 2 basketball games!
 I, myself,  had managed to bake cinnamon rolls and bread.

 After our weekly dose of prayer, and singing ( on my part ) I was hoping to go to Ikea. I really wanted to update few things in the house. Andrzej said it is out of the question. He wanted to stay home and rest a little. I can't blame him, but on the other hand I can't go there by myself either. Blame this on my crazy dizziness.
Day off from school, as I have mentioned in the previous post. It did not started well. I decided to take care of my oldest daughter's health and throw away the remaining Halloween candy that were scattered on her desk together with the empty wrappers. I think, it was the mess that made me do that. Let's just say that I did not score any points with Kateri and she still holds me accountable of making her life bitter that day.
First snow. Chilly, unpleasant, brrr... Fortunately it did not lasted long.
But Kubus insisted on playing in the sandbox. I was freezing as I watched this happy boy playing with diggers and bulldozers and dumptrucks!

My previous Yarn along day. I am still working on my orange vest. It is slowly progressing, but nothing to show off yet.
In the afternoon, we hosted the Junior Girl Club meeting. Lovely girls, lovely time, delicious cupcakes!
Pilates class  - 10 miles.
Picking up Kateri from school - 25 miles.
 Basketball practice - 12 miles.
 Visit at the doctor - 20 miles.

So much for staying at home mom!!!