Sunday, February 28, 2010

El Amor de un Abuelo

"See the the blue sky up above?"

"My love goes beyond that."

My daughter with her abuelito paterno.
What special memories do you have of your grandfather?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Will You Be My Friend?

Do you ever wonder what they are thinking?

I think they are discussing how glad they are to see each other.

What can be better than a morning spent with good friends?

This post is linked to Friday ~Finding Beauty, a weekly event on Claudia's blog Dipity Road.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thoughts of a 30-something woman

How do you cope with all your roles, but still maintain a sense of individuality? The question came up when my sister returned from her NYC trip where she celebrated her 35th birthday with best friend Nando. I invite you to stop by and visit her blog. She has thought provoking questions that every Mother, every Woman, every Person, asks one time or another.

To answer her question: I'm a 33- year old, Mother of one, Wife of one, Sister of two, the Middle-daughter. So where does that leave ME? Well, I definitely want my daughter to know me not only as her mother but also as a passionate woman, someone who followed her dreams, pursed her ambitions of becoming a Pharmacist despite the obstacles encountered along the way. More importantly I want to be known as a person who is fearless of new challenges and has no regrets.
.....Skydiving, ( would do it a second time, in a heartbeat),
.....Snorkeling in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (challenging as I'm not a swimmer, but I did it),
.....Photography (working on it),
.....Traveling (does living in a new country, Croatia, with hubby and daughter count?)
..... Learning about Motherhood (a continuous lesson).
I won't deny there are struggles, feelings of ineptitude, but all in all, I'm happy. Yes, I could be doing more. But doesn't everybody want more?

And like my sister, I too leave you with this question, "what are you doing to follow your passion?”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coloring on the walls

Mama, dai shoes, Mama? Mama!!..MAMA!!!!!! huh? what? I mumbled as I opened my eyes. Oh, it's Beli, waking up early, as usual. She climbed out of her bed, jumped into ours then grabbed my shoes and placed them in my face, as if saying, I need you, please wake up. I walk to the kitchen, half asleep, fill the kettle with water to prepare coffee for Hubby and I, for her, a cup of strawberry-vanilla tea. I walk over to the balcony, open the windows and take a peek outside. "It's raining" I inform Beli, who seems lost in her world of toys and books and ignores me.

This is our morning routine, with a few surprises now and then, because with a 22 month old in the house it's unpredictable what they will do. This morning for example, as I prepared coffee, still half asleep, I turned my back for a few minutes to find this on the wall.

Looking at it very close, it's actually artistic. What do you think?

Around the corner another scribble.

Beli, ne usta! Don't put that crayon in your mouth!

Hiding from Mama.

I tried distracting her, Wow!! Beli look, it's elmo! speaking in a loud and enthusiastic voice. Kids like that right? She scribbles in her coloring book, then looks up at me, grins then she takes off running! And there I go, chasing after her!
And here she is, working on another masterpiece. Oh, there is never a dull moment in our home. How do you spend your mornings? Do you have a certain routine you follow?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Rule about Diapers

We have an unspoken rule that so far has worked out well. It's about changing dirty diapers. The rule is: who ever smells the poop first, gets to take care of it. Now, I don't know how many of you are thrilled about this task, but it's something that you signed up to do when you decided to have children. But I didn't always think this way. When my first nephew was born I was more than happy to babysit and I enjoyed the endless hours I spent with him. Oh such adorable chubby legs and arms, but I had one rule: I will not change poopee diapers, only pee-pee. My sister used to laugh at me saying, "just wait until you have your own kids, then you won't mind." My reply was, "oh didn't I tell you, I'm going to have a nanny and she will do the dirty diapers." She roared in laughter and left me wandering "what's so funny?"

And she was right, having Isabela changed all that. I no longer cared about the smelly stinky diapers. It's part of parenthood remember? But last night was one of those days when well, I didn't follow the RULE. I was in our bedroom trying to fall asleep and Beli was contently playing with her toys and counting out loud: pet, sest, sedam, osam, devet, DESET! she screamed. Then the first wave of smell hit me. She just pooped, I thought.Then just so quietly I whispered, "Beli, go to Daddy." She gets out of bed and opens the door and walks out to the living room where Daddy is working. I stay behind in the room, listening to their conversation.

Daddy, "Beli, go back to bed, you should be sleeping."

Beli, "Daddy, vidi medo (see my bear).

Daddy, "Beli you pooped?"

I started giggling, quietly then my giggles turn into laughter.

My hubby asked "what's so funny?"

I squealed" I just passed you the poop!!!!!"

Hubby was confused, "what do you mean?"

I replied, "I smelled the poop first but I wanted YOU to change her and I sent her into the living room."

Hubby, "you broke the rule!"

I replied, lost in laughter, Yes......I did!!!!!!!!

What about you, do you have a rule about changing diapers and do you ever break that rule?

A flock of peacocks and the history of shipmaking

Want to be serenaded by a wild flock of peacocks? If so, you can go to the Gripe fortress near the Maritime Museum, where they roam freely. It seems this is the only spot in Split other than the zoo, where they like to gather. And while you are there, do stop and take a look inside the Museum, we did and learned a thing or two about the history of ship making.

For several days the rain has forced us to spent all of our time cocooned indoors but today sunny and dry we visited the Maritime Museum located on the hill of Gripe, only 10 minutes from the Diocletian Palace.

Outside the museum you will find the Bakar, a famous ship standing proud and tall.

All aboard. Hey wait for me!

After our little adventure skipping around puddles of water we went inside the museum for a dose of history. The attendant took our money, 10 kunas ($2 dollars) and a tour guide kept us company which is obligatory as the artifacts can actually be touched. The museum is divided in two parts: we began the tour learning about Croatia's military history and ended the tour with the civil maritime history.

Here is a collection of model ships through the ages, ranging from Venetian galleys to twentieth-century cruise liners. I will admit, I missed much of the explanation as Mommy had to keep an eye on Beli. ( Daddy tried helping but she only wanted MAMA). Hubby later explained about some of the most interesting points the tour guide pointed out like the world's oldest torpedo collection!

A replica while the original is located on the island of Hvar.

I walked away with a new appreciation for the history of ship making. And now, where are those peacocks?

Entrance to the Hrvatski Pomorski Muzey
Glagoljaša 18,Tvrđava Gripe

Friday, February 19, 2010

My days in Iowa

Before we left the States for our journey overseas we spent a few weeks with my parents, sisters and their boys in Iowa. These pictures were taken almost a year ago, that's how long I haven't seen my 4 beautiful nephews. (Well now it's five since my younger sister had her third boy and I'm anxious to meet him!)

Spending quality time con la familia. She is spoiled by Grandpa as she is the only granddaughter. She can get away with anything!

I miss them terribly but it does bring me happiness to know we will see them soon. Until then, pictures and memories will do.

This post is linked to Claudia's Dipity Road. I hope you too enjoy your Friday~Finding Beauty moment.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Mistress of Spices and Celery

This morning as I was washing dishes a grin appeared on my face. You might think I'm crazy, but let me explain. When we had recently moved to Croatia from Colorado I complained constantly to my husband because our apartment didn't include a dishwasher. I know, I was spoiled. He said it was a commodity and most homes didn't have one and I would eventually get used to the idea. Ten months later, he was right, we really don't need it but then again he does most of the dishes most of the time!

Back to the grin on my face, I was feeling happy and content with our current lifestyle, in spite of being unemployed (but that's another post to be written later) and as I pruned some of the yellow leaves from the celery plant sitting on the kitchen counter I was inspired to take this photo.I decided to pair it up with the current book I'm reading, The Mistress of Spices by Chitra B. Divakaruni since the colors blended well together.

My mother-in-law purchased the celery root to use it in soups but it was so pretty with its stalks blooming from its bulb that instead I placed it inside a small container with water and I'm hoping it grows more roots so I can transplant it outdoors. So far it hasn't wilted. I will add that having a toddler makes it difficult but not impossible to keep plants indoors. The one large plant I do have has been tortured by Beli and sits in a corner lopsided, yet it continues to thrive.

As I was doing some research about growing celery I came across a study that said having indoor plants improves concentration and reduces stress. What do you think, do you have plants in your home, and if so, do you agree with these findings? I personally have to agree, remember my grin? I mean who smiles when they are washing dishes?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What happened after the crib escape........

There I was, sitting in the corner of our bed rocking my daughter and her 8 stuffed animals to sleep for over an hour. Ever since we converted her crib into a toddler bed her afternoon naps are becoming shorter or non-existent. Before I would let her cry it out and eventually she would doze off, but now with no barriers to prevent her from jumping out, she constantly gets out of the bed.

Take today for instance, we returned from her play date at Carobni Grad where she jumped and ran and after two hours I thought, "great, she will be tired and have a nice nap." Driving home she was rubbing her eyes, an indication she was sleepy.

But she had other plans. She ate lunch and I put her pajamas on and told her it was time for mee-mee (nap time) and her reply was NO!

I took her into the bedroom and began singing 1 lullaby and another one and a third one because after I started each one she would say, "No, twinkle sta...No rocka-baby....No hush-baby. OK, I tried humming. rocking her. nothing seemed to do the trick.

Then I asked, "did you poo-poo Isabela?" No, no poo-poo she replied. But I checked her diaper and she had poo-poo. I changed her diaper hoping that was the problem.

An hour passed by (maybe less, I don't know) finally I thought, "ok , I will let her alone and see if she will fall asleep on her own". I left the room and closed the door, a few minutes later there was silence. Ahh yes it worked! Then I hear a....giggle then another. I slowly opened the door and there she was, taking every single piece of clothing from her closet!

I thought, "I give up!"

What methods have you tried with your kids to get them to take an afternoon nap? I don't know about you, but I need my one hour of quietness to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee so I can resume the rest of the afternoon with a cheerful smile!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lost and in search of the bookstore

A few days ago my friend mentioned that she had recently discovered a used bookshop in Split and told me it was worth a visit. Many of the bookstores in the city including the library have a limited selection of books in English so I was curious to see what this shop had to offer.

This morning I strapped Beli on her stroller and off we went to find the bookstore. The directions as told by my friend, "Walk past the Tonik Juice bar and continue walking until you see on your left a music shop and across the street is a courtyard, you can't miss it." I thought, how hard can it be to find it right? Wrong!

Let's just say that I don't have a good sense of direction. After a few minutes of walking I realized that maybe, just maybe I was lost because the street I was walking on began going uphill and Beli and I were heading towards Marjan Hill, away from the downtown area.

Beli surprisingly didn't complain about her bumpy ride as I went down the cobblestone steps. I asked a few people for directions only to be told to go to the Diocletian Palace where all the bookstores where located. But I was looking for the used bookstore, I tried to explain in Croatian, except I only knew the words for book and shop. We finally turned around and stopped at the juice bar and the girl said, "oh yes, I know that shop, it's only a few minutes away!"

The shop Antiquariat, is tucked away at the end of the courtyard with an orange tree near the entrance. I stepped inside and literally, my mouth dropped. I couldn't believe the size of this shop. Books decorated the front wall! A beautiful staircase on the left corner of the room. I felt like a kid inside a candy shop, didn't know where to start! I asked the owner if she had Engleski knige and she replied with a grin on her face, "yes we have English books."

I scanned the shelves while Beli patiently waited.

I walked away with three books for 90 kunas!($18 dollars) and the owner said that when I finish reading the books I can return them for a partial store credit.

I have a feeling I will be spending many hours inside this lovely shop!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Meditando y un poco mas............

Mi mente me esta dando y dando vueltas y finalmente decide poner en escrito estos pensamientos que me estan agoviando. Es un momento personal y un poco dificil. No se si es tristesa, la nueva cultura, nueva lengua, o si es solo falta de sueno. Llevo unos dias que me siento muy sentimental. Me encanta mi nuevo pais pero... siempre ay un pero..Eh llegado a pensar que si en verdad soy una persona feliz. Si estoy en los Estado Unidos estoy descontenda y ahora estoy aqui, en casa, con mi nina, sin estres porque no trabajo, vivo cerca del mar, y aun me siento triste. Porque esta naturaleza humana... quizas nunca voy a ser feliz? Que me hace falta? Voy a meditar y hacer una oracion porque me siento perdida en mis miles pensamientos.

Update: After some more thinking, I thought if posting this was appropriate so I took it down, I mean who wants to read about my low points. you might say kind of personal. But this blog was initially for that purpose, to post of my daily struggles (ie: new culture, new discoveries, my ups and downs). Then I received a wonderful message from my new friend Mihaela and she offered words of encouragement that I had to be truthful with who I am.

..Just when I was trying to send you a cheer message to your last post (the meditation...), it disappeared!Even if I don't know spanish, I understood something of your feelings.In a nutshell due to this wonderful Internet, people that are alike can meet each other no mather the place where they live.Keep your cheen up!We speak different languages, we live in different places, but we, the good people, are in being!Keep going! The invisible strings of good thoughts are working!I hope that my-not-so-good-english didn't block the meaning of my message. .Mihaela

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's time for medicine

It's not too often I'm able to capture these quiet times when she is contently entertained by simple things, such as a medicine dropper.

Beli has been recovering from a mild cold and she knows all too well when I say, it's time for your medicine. But today it's her baby blue doll getting the "medeezee."

Her feet were never quite this size but it does remind me of when she was an infant.

Now time to check for a fever.
Have a wonderful weekend and a Feliz Dia de San Valentin!
This post is linked to Friday ~Finding Beauty, a weekly event on Claudia's Dipity Road.
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