Sunday, May 21, 2017

Chicken Littles


New favorites: Richard and Patricia Scarry
     I have a rare moment of peace and quiet as Rosy soaks in the bathtub, and I'm hoping she'll stay true to form and be in there a loooooong time. I find this quality so endearing for some reason, maybe because I can hold out in the tub for all of about three minutes. By the time the tub fills up I'm ready to get out. The ''other two'' are in church, and Rosy is home with me with a face full of chicken pox. A face, a back, a neck, between her toes, in her ears, scalp, they. are. everywhere. Lily had it (them?) before her and as Murphy's Law dictates, it had to run its full course before Rosy's spots revealed themselves, which was literally the evening before we were going to send Lily back to pre-school. So, a full month quarantined at home for me (and Rosy too since she had to stay home when Lily had it too), and teaching on top of it. But you know what, aside from the hectic-ness of having to coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs and who's gonna watch whom when I'm where and how can I keep the TV usage to a minimum? and do we have any food in the house? stuff, there have been many things to be thankful for. Just when I was internally whining about having to dry out the Barbies so they don't mold and clean out the tub and the nylon full of ground oatmeal again, it hit me right between the eyes, we have a tub. And hot water. And I get to bathe my babies as often as their itchiness dictates because of these things. Thank You, Lord. And for all the times I feel like I'm gonna darn-near lose my mind if I'm asked for one more stinkin' thing, there are equally, no, more than, as many times of love lavished on me through drawings and kisses and proclamations of Mama, you are the squishiest, softest Mama s. (haha). And although I feel like this time has brought out the absolute worst in me, in many ways I feel like I've gotten to witness the best in them. Lily didn't have terribly many spots, but she had them in her eye, on her tongue, on her gums and other highly unpleasant places. And her fever/weakness/not-herself phase lasted a full three days and she suffered it just as sweetly as you could imagine. And during that time Rosy kept announcing that she was gonna take care of Lily. And she would sit with her outside the bath and do silly things she thought were nursely. And although, on the third day, Rosy awoke with a thousand spots scattered all over her little body, she busted through the fever phase in a day. Well, actually she had a fever for two or so, but you wouldn't have known it but for the first day. She was so cheery and playful and funny. I had been worried about how Rosy would handle this illness because for every ounce of bravery and selflessness and absence-of-whinery that Lily exudes in the midst of pain and illness and suffering, Rosy takes that and raises it 100-fold with whining and self-pity and want of special treatment. And although I have not been wrong about that, (she has declared herself ''the chooser, because I-I-I-I'm sick'' and whenever there is any choice to be made, she gives herself full advantage.) I have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised at how well she is dealing with it all.
  Well, she's out of the tub now, rendering it next-to-impossible to continue writing, so I'll leave you with three things that made me smile and some pictures of the last while...

1. I find it a little tough to extend my sympathy (and not laugh) whenever Rosy exclaims, ''She bonked my chicken pock!''

2. Tomáš: Lily, do you promise?
     Lily: Yes I promise.
     Me: What do you promise?
     Lily: Not to call Rosy Chicken pock face. (hehe)

3. Lily tasted Tomáš' beer foam and then said, ''I hope I don't grow a beer-d over night.''

Maxin' and relaxin' 

Football with her daddy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Apple of my Eye

     Lily asked for an apple party for her sixth birthday. I was giddy with excitement at the thought of crab apple garland and hollowed-out apple tea lights and homemade apple cider and gorgeous apple tarts. None of which ended up materializing. In fact, the party ended up kind of summing up my life in no uncertain terms. Plenty of good intentions, very little follow-through. I even went out and gathered a bag full of wild apples, made sure we had tea lights and all the mulling spices. Had a tart pan and everything.  Still, somehow, like every other party I've ever thrown in my entire life, it was a rush to the end just to make the place presentable and pretend like yeah, we always have our bookshelf dusted, are you kidding me? And no, I didn't just clean the gunk off the bottom of the windowsill, it's always like that. 
     The next day at church a friend asked how the party went and I told her my cake turned out poorly and Lily heard me. ''Mama, bola to vyborna,'' (Mama, it was excellent) she said, looking almost a little hurt. And just like that my world refocused. I had had a breakdown after the party due to feelings of failure and inadequacy, and Tomáš chastised me a little bit, ''Why-y-y-y do you try to please [people]? It's like trying to stay dry in the rain. It is impossible. You come in from the rain and you're upset that your shoes are wet.'' And of course he was right. Again. And the truth is, it was actually a really nice party. The girls had a ball. Lily ate enough cheese to keep her bound up for a week, but she was happy. Really happy. And this, this is going to be my focus. I have another chance in three weeks to get it right. Rosy's fourth birthday party. There is a phrase in slovak, kašli na to, which means literally ''cough on it.'' It means something like don't worry about it, or more closely don't care about it.  And this is going to be my goal. Not to not care, but to care about the right things. Because the price of caring about the wrong things is far too high. I recall again the great words of my friend Ad'a who once said of her mom, ''I would rather have a roll and a glass of wine in peace on Christmas than 100 kinds of cookies and a stressed-out mom.'' And it's so true. For as the balloon says (below) You are the apple of my eye. My love bug. 

Gotta love the two photographer shots. 

Friday, October 14, 2016


At 3:50 this morning, this little muffin turned six years old. It couldn't have come fast enough for her, but I could have done with some slow-down. Don't grow up too fast, little one. Keep dancing your way through life.

I made her leggings out of a sweater I liked but never wore. My elbow patches = her knee patches. It looks much better on her : ) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Come, Fall: Pumpkin Cookies

In my extended family, pumpkin cookies have a long and glorious tradition. Perhaps this is true for many families. But I dare say no one does pumpkin cookies quite like us. I admit I was a little bit excited to go to the candy aisle and pick out bags and boxes of artificial colors and flavors with abandon, which is not (any longer) my habit. Excited, that is, until I saw the price tags. In Slovakia, unlike the U.S., brightly colored bags of HFCS goodies are still not the norm, people typically satisfy their sweet tooths with homemade koláče made with walnuts, poppy seed paste or fruit. I don't know if those M&Ms were shipped priority from the U.S. or what but I almost fell over when I saw the price, so I made due with one tiny box of the far-inferior Lentilky, and cheered myself up with two tiny bags of real Skittles.
Still, my family are novices when it comes to the art of pumpkin cookie decoration. I was reminded of this when we Skyped with my mom this last weekend and she showed us some pictures from pumpkin cookie past. Let's just say Obama made an appearance. In fact, with my brother and cousins it was usually an all-star lineup on our kitchen table. Yes, our girls have a long way to go before we see any Donald Trumps on their plates (who would eat that anyway?!), and I trust better candy will help with that, but they still had a ball. And it definitely scratched an autumn itch for me (ew).

Forget about making faces, Rosy just tried to fit as much candy as was humanly possible on hers. 

Even Tomáš got in on the fun with his...
...sad clown cookie. 

What are your autumn traditions?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Story-a-day - Day Thirty Nine

This post is part of a series of short stories and poems.

Day Thirty Nine

Well, I did it. This morning, a day before my 40th birthday, I shipped off my book to be published. Ok, ok maybe that's embellishing a little. I just wrote a children's book and created it on a photo book website, but still! It's in the works and I am so excited! And how funny that this post came on day thirty nine of my story-a-day series! So, in lieu of a story (because allllll of my time has been poured into this) here is one more little taste. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Story-a-day - Day Thirty Eight

This post is part of a series of short stories and poems.

Day Thirty eight

A peek at my book...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Story-a-day - Day Thirty Seven

This post is part of a series of short stories and poems.

Day Thirty Seven 

On Saturday we climbed a mountain with our close, dear friends
You’ll never guess just how this lovely fairytale ends
Now let me say the weather was the best it’s been in months
I did not turn down anything they offered me, not once
That means I ate black currant cake and beer and ice cream too
Fresh snap peas from the garden, bacon, what’s a girl to do?
And then the coffee, bread and veggies with my bacon lunch
Let’s not forget the wild strawberries on the hike I munched!
Now there were games and goats and sheep and a horse named Skarlet
But it was Balthazar who proved he was the worthy pet
A mouse and then a bird breathed their last breath on this dear earth
The bird he could have left, but with that mouse he proved his worth
Now I could have gone three more days without eating one thing
But when we got home I just had to have one more big fling
I downed a candy bar, and I just shoved it down the trap
And soon thereafter all I could think was why did I do that?
And with a bucket next to me, I went to bed, my friends
And that, dear ones, is how this lovely fairytale ends