Saturday, June 30, 2012

SAVE money, Less Diaper Rash- Baby 101

So over here is Eastern Europe the way to have a clean baby's bottom, save money, AND cut down on diaper rash is this. Wash that baby's bottom!An American friend and I were talking through this the other day- as she had noticed that is how it is done here. She asked me how I learned how to do it (being married to a Latvian man is the way we usually clean our baby and toddler bottoms). So here is a quick run down. 

  1. Remove baby's dirty diaper. 
  2. Fold clothes up and out of the way in the back. 
  3. Lay baby on your arm, tummy down with his head resting near the crook of your arm.
  4. Carry baby to sink and adjust water. 
  5. Rinse and wash baby's bottom with your other hand. 
  6. Dry with a towel and let baby air dry a bit. 
  7. Clean diaper on and on you are ready to go!  
You save lots of money not wasting so many wipes. And baby has a little freshening up, and airing out. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Other Than an iPOD

I want an iPOD- the reasons are numerous. But my top reasons are: 
  • to record my baby's monthly achievements and be able to show him later in life.
  • use Skype to talk family an ocean away. 
  • listen to music
However, my husband thinks I don't need one and that I should get something better IF I were to get one- because iPODs don't support flash, etc. Besides, can we really afford it?

Needless to say I have been brewing over this, as days and cute moments pass unrecorded for future enjoyment. Today I was suddenly reminded of the things I can do WITHOUT an iPOD. 
  • I can write more in my baby's journal- recording his sounds, emotions, and attitudes. 
  • I can become a better writer by learning to capture all of these special moments with words rather than with a video camera. 
  • I can learn to observe more deeply and with my heart. Recording these precious moments where they will never dissapear- in my thoughts and mind. 
  • I can write letters to my loved ones and use snail mail, who doesn't love a real letter? (Not much time for this hobby though). 
  • I can write e-mails. It seems FB is replacing good old-fashioned e-mail.
  • I can use the radio. 
  • I can think and pray in silence or sing :) 
  • I can learn to be content with what I have (even when wanting something new, modern and perhaps even necessary).
How about you? How do you to deal with all your wants and unmet desires? What is your key to contentment?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Things a Mother Should Know and Do

Being a mother is one of those things we all fantasize. We want to be the best one out there, kind, patient, always having the answer to every difficulty. But the fact is none of have it all together, we all mess up and we all could use some improvement. Right?!?

The past 4 years of motherhood have certainly had their ups and downs for me. And during these years I have learned a few things that I feel are essential for every Mom to keep in mind and have IF possible.
  1. Granny/Nanny: Every mother needs a helper. Whether that be a grandparent or a now and then baby sitter, or a nanny. If you don't have a relative near by who can help you out for free than find a baby sitter or nanny-NOW!  At times we think we can make it on our own and try to cut corners (as in save money)- save your sanity and yourself by making this a priority! I have a girl who comes once or twice a week and then I can run errands on my own, with my infant and leave the toddlers at home (Even if it is only grocery shopping). I come home refreshed from having had a time of silence  and we are all better off this way. You know the old saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  
  2. Don't Do It All:  For some reason we modern women often try to do things entirely on our own. We end up feel frustrated, frazzled and fed up! I don't know why it is so hard for us to accept help- whether paid or unpaid. But I advise you- put your pride aside and hire someone for that job that is never getting done at your house. For us this is someone to weed the garden- we love the idea of a garden and fresh produce. We can keep up with some of the yard work. BUT when it come to having a well weeded garden we just don't have the time. So, we have a girl who comes once or twice a week and weeds. She is happy to earn a little money and we are thrilled to have a perfectly weeded garden at least part of the time.
  3. You're Not the Only One: When we live secluded in our home bubbles, caught up in the fusses and fueds of a house full of kids we start getting some negative thoughts. You are not the only one who calls your Mom on some days just to tell her how your kids are driving you crazy and you could use some help. You are not the only one who on occasion just wants to hide in the bathroom while the children scream and fight. You are not the only one frustrated to tears at times about the selfishness and stubborness of your little ones. Take a moment, pray, remember that you can do "Everything through him who gives  you strength, " and then re-enter this battle. Raising kids is tough- but you are not alone. 
That's all for today my lovely ladies.

What are some things you can't live without as a Mom? Any advice for the rest of us? 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When I Was Twelve

Right now I have two of my nieces visiting. They are sweet, fun, beautiful girls. One is 12 and the other 14. 

As I spend time with them, and chat with them and just observe them many things come to my mind. For one things they seem so very young, yet capable of many things. Easily entertained, yet easily bored too. Helpful, yet easily burnt out by too many tasks.

I think back to when I was 12 and remember how grown up I felt. Even when I look at pictures of myself at 12 and see how young I was- I still remember feeling grown up. Funny. 

When I was 12. . . 
  • I loved horses, and was scared of them too- having never been around them much.
  • Was sure I would have a BIG family- like 12+ children. (Silly me, I had no idea what labor was like). 
  • Liked boys (secretly-blush)
  • Enjoyed reading. 
  • Loved crafts- sewing little things, etc. 
  • Was involved in Bible quizzing and memorizing long scripture passages. 
How long ago this seems- nearly 20 years have passed. 

What were you into when you were 12? 


Nothing seems to happen quite like you planned it when summer is here.

The time of guests, long and short and ones that pop in at any time.

A time of laid back lazy days and quiet moments spent in the sun and by the water.

Grilled meat, fresh salads, the smell of charred food and marinades.

Long afternoons spent in the kitchen-pickling, canning, preserving and freezing.

Evenings in the woods- gathering mushrooms and berries.

The sweet sticky pot merrily boiling as the jam thickens and bubbles.

Too little time in the workroom, no sales and a list a mile long of other things to do.

This is summer.

I love it, and even as I love it I long for order and the plans of a scheduled life style.

But this is summer and the warm days are few, the rainy days in abundance at present and the evenings ever so long.

I will enjoy it, every minute of it and use this time to eat the freshest bounty of my garden and earth.

This is summer.

Treasure the moments.

Every moment with my children, every burst of sun through the clouds.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What would you do?

What would you do if you lived half way across the world from your family? 
What would you do if your children were young and their only living grandparents lived on the other side of the ocean and their cousins were seen only every few years? 
What would you do if you dreamed of making another trip to your home country BUT you didn't have enough income to save any?
What would you do?

Would you?

1. Give up and just accept the fact that phone calls through Skype must suffice?

2. Make a fund for people to donate to for a visit- but that seems weird.

3. Try selling more of your creations or making a deal that for every $100 dollars given the giver gets one scarf or tie- then the givers are gifted for their kindness?

4. Go get a job- what about the 3 young ones at home?

5. Sell your car? But how would you get the groceries?

What would YOU do?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Real Life- Company

I love company, I really do. I love having guests, and visiting and serving them.

But I am human and I get worn out.

Today I was exhausted, this is the third day of celebrating in our family. Today is Daniel's 4th birthday.

Friday I spent preparing the cake, attending a birthday cookout and grocery shopping at two stores.

Saturday I spent decorating the cake- with 3 failed attempts and one final success on the lion cake. As well as the other party food. At 16:30 the guests started arriving and including babies we had apx. 30 guests. It was a great time having a kids part (more to follow soon on this).

Sunday Karlis Benjamins was dedicated and a prayer was said for him, us, and his chosen godparents. Then we had a nice lunch with them. As they were leaving Janis' sister came with two of her girls.

When everyone was gone I wanted to get some exercise, so I rode my bike to the store. I was trying to choose a cake for Daniel (we always take a cake to the person in the morning, to sing and wake them up). I was sick of cake, and decided he would be more happy about watermelon. So I carried a 10 lb. watermelon home in my backpack. Whew!

Today I work up early, eager to sing to Daniel.

I was tired and grouchy when my husband went to work, it is so much easier when he is home. I was snappish with my 2 year old- she is so messy sometimes. I was impatient with my fussy kids- who are also worn out from so many missed naps.

Finally I sat down in the bathroom and cried, and asked God to help me and change my tired, selfish attitude. I watched the cloth diapers swirling round and round in the wash- realizing how when I have this nasty attitude I am just as nasty as those dirty diapers. After a quiet time with God and the washing object lesson I was ready to continue facing my world.

Life is not easy as a Mom, but it is full of much joy. The problem is I get so overwhelmed with the piled up messes after a party and the normal work of everyday life that I just have the feeling I am going to flip. I have to remember to STOP, and let God be in control of the extras in my life.

As I meditated on Philippians 4 today, the verse that spoke so plainly to me was:

And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will GUARD your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Wow, do I need that kind of peace as a Mom that guards my heart and mind from the worries of my life. Thanks be to our God that he can provide that peace!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Scary Box

I have a box in my house, full of wonders, fun and terrors. This box is calm, this box is quiet, this box is nothing that would cause you pain- it seems.

But today I looked in this box, I was horrified by what I saw in it; they were creeps and guns, murders and sickness, horror untold- pain abounded.

I closed it fast, surely this is not MY box I thought to myself. It seemed to laugh its ugly head in my face and scoff in my face, "You thought I was so harmless, you thought I was quiet, just give me a chance. Mwaah!"

My mind revolted, how can I protect my children from this box, how can I let them see the good things in it while at the same time avoiding all these evil! And what will they find when I am not with them, will the find the bad or the good?

I grew cold just thinking of the hidden depths of this box, the evil seeming to clench me in its icy grasp. But then my positive thoughts kicked in and I remembered how this box helps me in so many ways, helps me keep in touch with far off family, helps me run my little business.

Oh deary me, what's a body to do?

I am very tempted to throw this box right out my window- just like my Grandma wants to always do in frustration!

BUT. . . would that solve the problem?

My children will find these boxes in other places, in their schools and in their friend's homes. What am I to do? How can I teach them to look at the good and run from the evil? How can I guard them!

Thankfully my kids are still young and everything that comes out of that box passes through my hands and eye of approval.

But, what about me? Am I keeping far enough off from this sly voice that woos me into its dark depths? "Just one more page, just one more minute, just one more note it softly croons in my ear."

Eek! I don't want to offer my life to this idol box, I don't want to sacrifice my time, my creativity, my relationships and myself to this creeping, scary box.

Then the warrior cries out in my heart, "Be free, take guard, run while you can!" And I stop, stand up, and take my leave.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Old Flames

There is something about old flames that seems to make it impossible to completely rid them from ones heart. 

You think they are gone for good. You don't even want them back. But a dream, or a word or a post and somehow that sparks a little flame. 

Not the flame of desire- but that of pain or remembrance and memories.

You think you have forgiven them. You think you have moved on. You have your life, your kids, your love. 

But something about the pain of rejection or betrayal never seems to completely die. 

You think you have left the past in the dust, completely covered in floods of unseen tears. And yet there is a place in your dark heart that wants that fool to know how he broke your heart. 

You don't want pain for another, and yet there is a longing that one who claimed so great a love and fled would come and ask pardon for what he did. 

Yes, its all been said, all the talks and notes and nights cried through. 

But does that jerk know he broke my heart? Does he know the nights I cried? Did he even care back then? An apology would sure be nice! 

Now the flickering can subside, now my piece is said again. Laid to rest neath the space of time.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cross-Cultural Marriage

I read a lot of blogs, well I don't have time to keep up with all of them. But a lot of them show up on my reading list and at times I read a lot of them. I love keeping up with people I know and people that interest me. There are so many amazing people on my reading list.

As I have tried to discover my niche in this blogging world. I have been pondering what makes each of the blogs that I most enjoy reading unique. I have decided that there is a part of that person's life that makes them unique. Something they are an expert at or something they are wading through. Something that they can share with the rest of us- whether that be parenting, home school, jewelry, fashion, or something else.

I have been wondering what makes me and my life unique. There are many things I could choose, but the things I think would be most interesting to share and to learn about from others are: What life is like in another country for an American. And the quirks and tips in and for international marriages.

For anyone living in an international marriage or relationship you have your whole slew of stories and advice. I would love to hear from you on this topic. I love marriage advice when it helps lead to more happy moments together.

Of course the biggest obstacle in any relationship where you come from two different cultures is the language and the numerous misunderstandings that can and DO occur. We could write whole books on that.

Then you throw in the obstacle of living in the other person's culture and not your own. With this we get all kind of cultural differences, misunderstanding and funny stories.

My earliest silly story of life as a bride in a foreign country has to do with cooking. My husband likes all kinds of roots; beets, black radishes, celery root, etc. He had purchased a variety of these and so I, being the the good housewife decided to boil some beets for salad. I had eaten beets on occasion growing up in the states- but they are not particularly popular in my family. I boiled that beet for at least an hour and it would not get tender!  I began to wonder if this was going to be worth the time and electricity to get that beet cooked!

When my husband got home he "tested" it for me and began to laugh. He informed me that I was boiling a black radish and not a beet at all! Black radishes are not cooked, they are grated in salads and they don't get tender (I guess). I was embarrassed not to  have known the difference and accounted that to never having seen a black radish in my entire life. Of course I just assumed it was a beet. Ha, ha!

And so begins my tales of my life and love in a country other than my own- which I now call home.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"And there is pansies, that's for thoughts"-Shakespeare

In our continual quest to make our yard more beautiful we have expanded our gardens. We have a flower bed spot we are working on developing. It is a long term goal. I am trying to learn more about perennials so that I know what I want.

One of the other things I wanted included in my garden was an herb garden. We made one in a wheel shape, with 8 spokes. I am so happy to have so many herbs now growing in my garden. I love cooking with them, using them in teas, etc. I also want to learn about all their health benefits so we can use them as alternative medicine.

My quest for the perfect perennials is painfully slow and so my garden is rather empty. I was at a nursery the other day and they had pansies on sale for 20 cents each. So I picked out 35 in shades of dark purple and white tinted with purple. Lovely. It took me 3 times to get them planted in a layout I was happy with. Then I realized I needed more to make my design even more luscious.

So the next day my three young ones and I headed out on a walk to the nursery- which is about a 10 minute walk from our house. My two bigger kids (ages 4 and 2) walked and baby K was in the pram. We filled up the basket under the pram with pansies. It was a bower of blooms and looked so picturesque as we moseyed home.

Now I have 55 pansies nodding their pretty faces in my garden. I love their gentle movements as the cool summer breeze swirls gently around them and sends them nodding on in pleasant agreement. The bees too have decided to come and dwell with us and summer is even a bit more delightful than before.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


We just had a wonderful visit with my parents. They come here from the States once a year. When they come it is like Christmas. They bring so many things we can't get here. They spoil us rotten. 

We had a lovely time while they were. We went to this lovely garden.
Went to the zoo.
Went fishing with Grandpa.

 And had fun just  BEING together and having the kids get to know their grandparents. How I wish we lived closer to one another.

Needless to say I am worn out and not much painting is being accomplished.
Who has time for crafts when there is a new baby to attend to, a garden to plant and weed, two toddlers and a life to live?

In the Lion's Den

Daniel will be four June 18. He wants a lion cake, and lions are the theme of the party. I only later realized that perhaps this was because of the story from the Bible.

Yesterday we were inviting our nanny for the celebration and Daniel proceeded to tell her that when he was big he was in the lions den.

We then both laughed realizing that he thinks that man in the Bible stories is him- when he was big.

Cute-the way kids think.