While we were gone Part 1

Little Munchkin learned a ton of new words, and how to interact with other kids of all ages. We stayed at my brother’s house. There were five other kids there. Five cousins to cuddle with, tease, yell at, and mostly learn lots of new things from.

But first, I must say she was a stellar travel buddy, All except for the part when she peed on me on the first flight from Belgrade to Frankfurt. 😉

At an airport somewhere in the U.S.

The entire trip was great. The time with family, especially the cousins was Brilliant for her and them. She learned lots of English, and even taught them a little Serbian too!

We did so much!

She lifted weights with the oldest cousin.

Most of the time she asserted herself and said the  that big N-O word with the youngest cousin “R”. But they learned to get along by the end of our trip.

Like I said she learned a lots of new English words. Her new words are: horse, shy, shoes, up, pucky (belly button), baby, knock knock, done- with and an emphasis on the “n”, stuck,  pee and poop. She also says “go” when when she wants to leave or you to go where she wants you. I can’t remember the rest just now. She also learned new names. Most of the cousins. The cat Kay Kay, and even a family friend. But for her Aunt Lissa she just called her “Mom”. Classic!

Her favorite food was Oscar Meyer’s cheese filled hot dogs. I cannot lie they are good! I gained 5 kilos or 10 lbs eating all the good stuff I can’t get here. I don’t regret that a bit!

One of the biggest changes Munchkin made was going from being absolutely opposed to holding hands to loving it! That is making life a bit easier.

The above pic was taken on our way in to the auditorium where a Christmas music presentation was held. My middle niece “K” sang and we all enjoyed it.

We attended a few wrestling matches and got to see two of my nephews on the mats. That was wonderful.

I got to go to my old church and see several old friends. I also reunited with a very good friend from middle school.  🙂

This little road trip had a diamond in the rough awaiting us….

A patriotic fellow sporting the Confederate and national flag via his shirt and a decorative plate bumper for his bicycle.  When I leaned out of the passenger side window to take a pic of the view from the front he let a rebel yell and flashed all three of his teeth. He is quite a catch ladies, but no word on if he is single or not! 😉

More to come.

Dobar dan Y’all!

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Back in the Balkans

We arrived back in Serbia about a week ago. After a few days of relaxing and recovering slightly in Beograd (Belgrade), the drive home and back to our real life was welcome. Having the in-laws waiting for us was a little more than overwhelming. I thought I was ready for it but I wasn’t. Needless to say, I was less than cordial. Not proud of that.

I was really missing my family, wishing I was still with them. Munchkin’s reaction was another story, she has been thrilled to have her Mommy and Daddy, and seeing Baba was icing!

Returning to Serbia has been bitter sweet,  accent on the bitter. Little Munchkin got a serious cold the next day, making getting back on schedule and beating the jet-lag impossible. The silver lining has been two all night movie nights! Fun!

I am in better spirits now and the Munchkin’s health is improving. yea! We will get back to our normal lives soon. I will be able to write about our awesome trip home and share some stories. 🙂

For now, I will leave you with my favorite pic from the trip.

Cousins!

No Means No

No Means “NO”. Unless you are a toddler age 1 1/2 possibly through the teen years. Right now, I can ask almost anything, and the answer is no. Sometimes definitive. But mostly not.

Me: “Are you hungry?”

Munchkin: “No”, but nods her head yes. Sometimes I think she is Bulgarian!*

I then give her a little bite of what ever and after the second attempt, she eats.

Me: “Do you need to poop?”  Or “Are you pooping”

Munchkin: “No.”

Yet I can see it in her eyes, and more importantly, my nose tells me otherwise. When I check.. she has the fudge factory working overtime.

Sometimes I can tell she doesn’t understand the question all together and she just stares at me like, “Stop speaking French! It’s either English or Serbian! Choose ONE!”

Then there is the question I ask her all the time… “What are you doing?” To which she always replies, “Naing” (nothing)

Holding hands is always a NO NO! She does not want to hold hands. Period! If you are a child or an adult, don’t even try. She will let you know. She pulls her arm away, and if you invade her space, just being friendly as some kids do, a slight head but may be the reply.  Personal space is very important to her.

That’s all on the Munchkin update. Must go be a mom.

*In Bulgaria, it is a nod of the head up and down that means “no”, and shaking your head back and forth that means “yes”. It’s like driving on the wrong side of the road kind of strange to me!

Munckin Monday~Past and Present

One of my fellow blogger friends recently posted some childhood pics of herself in her  blog and I decided to do the same with a twist. I am sharing a view of myself and my little one to see how the genes were spliced.  😉

This is me about 40 years ago!

I think I loved the water as much as my little one does!

And for a little look at the similarities….

Or the lack thereof! She is much more of a miniature of her Daddy.

Maybe she will grow to look a little more like me in time?

But I think we have the same eyes.

My cousin is chilling on the right. That’s me on the left with the elfish uniform.  I guess it is appropriate for Christmas pics… (Shrug) still rather embarrassing to be mistaken for an elf!

Grandpa Jones and his first two little girls are happy to celebrate their second Christmas  holiday together. Grandpa liked to spoil us! And still does. I love you Grandpa! He is 90 now, still going strong!

Here’s one of of just the two of us! I love this pic! This was my first Christmas.

And one of my Munchkin and her Serbian Grandpa.

Lots of love in both pics!

I really liked sharing these. I think I will have to do it again.

On the Munchkin front, I am starting to introduce potty training. I started using clothe diapers except at night. I am setting her on the potty. I am not in a rush, my goal is November. No stress, just want to stop paying for pampers!  If you have any advice, I am all ears!!! 🙂 Thanks!

FEVER! Munchkin Monday

Fever all through the night!

It is over now, but for two days the Munchkin had had a fever. Her first big sickness that had me scared mainly because it was one month after her MMR shot and it was just released publicly that the MMR causes autism. Something that has already hit my family hard. 😦

I am recovering now from the exhaustion of not sleeping well for only one night. I am such a wussy Mamma. Spoiled my a baby that loves to sleep like a hibernating bear. Thank You God!! She gets this from her father. Later, I am sure I will be annoyed it is so hard to wake her for school. I plan to turn her over to her Daddy at that point. (insert evil laugh here!) 😉

Our trip to the hospital on the first day was super fast this time and the meds kicked in lickaty split. I was pleased they have a quick fix for high fevers now. The downside is you stick it up the tiniest little butt hole. Fortunately, baby butt holes aren’t that gross, unless they have just had the stinkiest ever explosive diarrhea.  My little one protested loudly, letting us know that that door is meant to be EXIT ONLY!  Sorry.

The hardest part of the ordeal was getting her to down the yukky oral medicine. At first it wasn’t that hard, til she learned to protest like a pro. Finally I had to employ full on wrestling techniques that subdued her and left her vulnerable to the “mean mommy” making her take her medicine. No “spoon full of sugar” for her. I wouldn’t have worked.

I am glad it is over and my little monster is back to her normal self. Now back to our regularly scheduled summer frolicking.

Walking on a dirt road

I walked home from working with the hubby on clearing a field. There was nothing left for me to do. He and papa had to finish the rest with the tractor. Joyfully, I was able to walk home in silence. I found myself surrounded by so much beauty that I had to stop and take some pics.

A field of sour cherries not long for the picking.

so much color framed with mountains and fruit baring fields.

Wheat and barley fields sway in the wind like waves in the ocean.

 

The dusty path brought my uncle and cousin by. Just another pleasant surprise.

Almost home enjoying the shade in the forest.

Check out the Woodpeckers nesting tree!

A nice long walk is always a good mental break. This fence marks the beginning of the village. And the end of my quiet walk home. Back to the munchkin.

Here is a song for the road… Though I am not a country music girl. this song minus the dumb wrap seems just about perfect.

 

Munchkin Monday is back

The little monster has gotten over her first cold and terrorized us slightly. She has been wanting to stay up all night. We put the kibash on that and quick. After a few days of carefully planned naps and fun in the village with Grandma, Hvala Bogu (Thank God!) She is sleeping through the night again.

She is learning so much. She understands both English and Serbian. Her speech has kinda stopped. I think learning two languages at once has her a little confused.  She still babbles on like she is having a conversation and when she laughs my heart practically burst with joy.

Dancing is one of her favorite things to do. She gets so excited to hear music. The smile that lights up her face is as catching as a yawn.

Her temper is just as quick as her smile when she is tired. When she doesn’t want to be set down and needs a nap the tantrum sets in like a little storm. I carefully set her on the carpet and let her go to town while I make her milk. These storms pass quickly. (Now.) I  know later we are in for some slow moving hurricanes with this one! Scary.

When she is tired of being indoors, she brings us her shoes or ours. She loves going out to play, swing,

and cross the town bridge over and over. She walks back and forth with no regard for bicyclist or larger beings who are in her path. scooching her out of their way is a SIN and must be punished with slight flailing and looks that kill. The bridge has few of the locks of love that are so in fashion here in Europe. The munchkin loves to play with the chains and clank the locks.

I love the bridge too. Numerous frogs sing in chorus and rounds, and the view is nothing less than beautiful.

Sometimes when we are out on walks we get lucky and run into friends. That is nothing less than joyous for me and the Munchkin.

I could get a cavity watching her play with her friends. So Sweet!

Water is a source of joy for all children (and many pets) and I am learning to use that toy/tool as a source of a break from the craziness. The other day I put a basin on the linoleum with just enough water to splash in and she was happy to play alone for 15 minutes! Win!

On the other had her love of water can be a little interruptive? Just the other day I was giving my self a mini pedicure. The foot bath I had going was so cool, I got a visitor. and was ousted! I had to give up and strip the munchkin down… But who could be mad at this little face?

In conclusion. I must say I am crazy about this little water creature.

Dobar Dan!

Foreigner Follies~ I have great neighbors

A few days ago…

Munchkin and I are sick. We took a nap to escape the crap we are feeling and woke up to find daddy had gone out for a bit.

When we awoke (she woke me up!) from the wonderful nap. Reluctantly.  I crawled out of bed. I need to pee like a race horse and to change the munchkin’s diaper that was threatening to seep out onto the sheets and eventually my lap. In the living room beginning the unending diaper duty, I heard a ticking or tapping? I left the grouchy little one to investigate and found a long crack in the ceiling in the foyer dripping water from the apt above. Instant stress!

Then the phone rings. I hope it is the hubby so I can ask him to come home. It wasn’t him.

Elevating Stress.

Making things a bit more difficult, it was Deda Tole asking if we would like a visit. Baby is crying. I am freaking out inside about the leaking and speaking to him in Serbian on the phone becomes almost impossible. I tell him water is falling but I don’t know the word for ceiling… I end up telling him to call back or something. I am not even sure.? I step outside into the hall way to get help. I don’t know what to do and I need some advice ASAP! oh, and I need to call the hubby. But first help from the neighbors! any neighbors!

I open my apt door. There is a man ascending the stairs and someone who has just gone down. My brain blanks on all Serbian and Finally after what is only a second or so but feels so much longer, I manage to say I NEED HELP.  Please. The gentleman turns and descends the stairs. The lady who cleans the stairwell came up the stairs to my rescue as well. I told them what was happening and showed them the leak. The gentleman went up immediately to see if anyone was home. No one was there. He asked if I had their phone number… I did not. 😦 He left, and my hustling continued.

The lady told me to get something to catch the H20 dripping freely from above. Scrambling to stand on the edge or the tub (It is about 2 and a half feet high), I transform my short self in to a monkey to reach the basins perched high atop the bathroom cabinet.  After a little maneuvering with a chair the basins are aptly placed under the drips.

This elementary bit of work was something I would have done on my own, but  I am daft as a doughnut with this head cold.  Plus, I was fearful of how the ceilings here handle flooding. would large bits of it crumble and fall on our heads? I was freaking out. Here is why:
Long ago, in the U.S. I lived in a condo and my upstairs neighbors pipes broke. My entire apartment was filled with drips and eventually a section of ceiling 3 feet wide,  6 feet long and about a foot thick and so heavy with water fell.  I was standing a foot behind it. I had just walked under it.

Now I was fearful for my self and my child. Though, I was mostly sure the concrete would hold… still? Sadly, I haven’t the capability of asking this sort of thing from the neighbors.

So many words yet to memorize! Ceiling= Blafon sounds like blahphone. I think I got that one now.

I finally call my man and ask him to come home after rambling about the disaster.  I am so nervous and anxious not knowing how bad the leak is and what may happen to the cracking ceiling. At this point the crack in the ceiling gets longer and more water is dripping above the light fixture and beyond. The crack is 3 feet long and growing. And I still need to pee really bad!

All the while, my sick little love is intermittently crying out of frustration and coming to the hall to see what is going on with the mum who has abandoned her. I return her to the couch and out of my way as I fumble around the drips nimbly jumping the water basins… going to get the baby tub to catch the growing steady trickle and turn of the light to keep from having some water induced electrical problems. The newly stretched ceiling crack goes directly over top the light fixture.

The kind neighbor man returns after looking for the tenants from above and he had luck! The water is switched off. My upstairs English-speaking neighbor/friend comes up the stairs. I start to explain. and the missing husband (Superman) arrives just after this. The  situation is instantly over. Relief

After Dobrila (sounds like Godzilla), the upstairs neighbor comes to apologize and our door is shut. The leaks have diminished. calm descends.

Thank God for Good Great neighbors!

Now, all we need to do is patch the ceiling and repaint!

Holy hallelujah  I can pee now. I leave the bathroom door open as there is no point in closing it with a persistent toddler who insists on entry. I am mentally (and physically) relieved. Out of the blue the hubby comes to infringe on my well deserved “break-time”. He only wants to inform me he shut the door to the back room to starve a fly. What? Bwahah haha! The comedic relief I need to recover from the stressful situation I just experienced. I love my honey.

Side note, if the hubby wrote this blog it would be MUCH funnier! I am much more of a “just the facts” type. Such a pity. I would so love to make people laugh, like some of my favorite bloggers. I am talking about you   Multifarious Meanderings and  Englishman in Italy, you never disappoint!

Happy Sunday fun day y’all!

Munchkin Monday~15 months 31 inches

We went to the hospital for the first time for the Munchkin’s regular check up. Here it is called control. Any check up for the old or young is called called control. I find that a bit …strange, scarey, communistic sounding. But it is what it is.

No computers lined the desks. All the files are hand written. But it all worked the same as the computer run offices back home.

The one thing that did get to me was the lack of tissue paper for clean surfaces. But I guess that is just less waste for the world to stash in landfills, because paper recycling is hard to find here.

I have been wondering how much she had grown. She has gotten so much bigger since we arrived 6 months ago. She is walking and “talking” a good bit too.
Her measurements were taken at the hospital and of course, everything was in metric.  She is now 80 Centimeters and 11.5 kilos. I had to come home to translate the measurements in to  English or rather 31 1/2 inches and 25 lbs.

In the above picture is the Unicef measuring table for babies. Complete with a real tape measure. The baby scale is just out of sight. It was short for the munchkin, but it worked just fine. She didn’t like it though.

The Doctors (all female in this unit) and nurses had a bit of trouble reading the records we brought from home. The shots are in English, but not so different they weren’t able to translate. The dates are written here a bit different. Today is June 3, 2013.. in the U.S. that is 06-3-2013 in Europe that would be 03.06.2013. It can cause a little confusion.

The Doctor had a lot to tell us and kept looking at me naturally, as the mother tends to care for the babes. But in our case, the Hubby had to take in all the info. I barely understood a thing.

The munchkin got a shot, and only cried for a minute and was fine. She is such a trooper.

The first “Control” here was not so bad for me or the little one!

Dobar dan!

 

I have lost my groove

No, not my dancing groove. In fact, I dance now more than I used too. The Munchkin likes no LOVES to dance and so we do, Daily! IT is my blogging groove that is missing. I have been back and forth so much between the village and town, then with the PMS from hell and trying to balance my new summer life… I am all out of sorts.

This is a big holiday weekend back home, the kick off of summer and the big working season at the beach where I used to live for the last 20 years. (Enter Cha-ching cash register sound here!) I think that has a lot to do with my mental state.  I miss my job, friends and my old life in general.

At the same time, the work on the farm here has picked up. I have written about most of the work I have done, NOT MUCH.  I go with the intention of working. Millie throws a fit and all agree I should stay with her. 😦 It is frustrating. I am used to working for the family, providing, now I just babysit. though I guess it isn’t babysitting when it is your own child. But it leaves me feeling useless. unproductive. confined. IT Sucks!

People here in Serbia say it is the best job there is. I think I have even heard that at home too. but I would agree to disagree. I want a job that makes money.

On the other hand, people here ask me when I will put her in Preschool. and I think, “WHAT?!” she is only 15 months old and I don’t have a job. Why on Earth would I let someone else raise her?  What a juxtaposition of thoughts, huh?

Furthermore, Consternation in my marriage is dismaying. We had agreed we would work on the farm. My lack of work there is the problem for both of us really. and my desire not to go to the village is also a problem. But as I wrote above, often I end up staying with the munchkin in the cold village house. unable to help. This means more time with the blessed in-laws who I don’t dislike. It is just exhausting.. more than most in-laws because we don’t speak the same language. Even though I am not technically working, it is stressful and I get so tired. (So, why bother even going to the village?)

Compounding the difficulty of going to (not) work in the village, we don’t return home when the work is done, we STAY for dinner. The food is getting repetitive and not what I want, in spite of my mother in law trying her hardest to please me… It is also what the hubby has been missing for years. HE is in hog heaven, literally as most of the food is PORK!. for me it is just more time stuck in the cold village house. I think to myself, “What did I get myself into. How long can I do this?”

The time in the village is nice (imagine the italics is a sarcasm font). but when we have a day “off” in town. it is a day to work for me. laundry, cleaning, fitting in coffee with friends if I don’t just sit in the apt recuperating from over stimulation. I think it is all getting a bit too much. it is affecting my desire to write sadly. The writing is my life therapy. my link home. and I am slacking.

Am I complaining? or am I just a complaining? lol Maybe I just need a kick in the @$$. Mea culpa.  Adjusting to a new life takes so much time! Damn this Culture shock.

These are my consolation prizes (for my living here and your reading this rant). The vistas on the way to the village are pricele$$.

Now that spring has turned the hills all green and flowery, the entire drive is eye candy.

Lush greens, purples, and reds so vibrant you can taste them.

And fields of poppies that are like a painting providing the calm of opium.  (strictly metaphorically speaking obviously or I wouldn’t have had to write this post!)

Hopefully this will work as an enema to work all the crap out of my brain and get on with my life. Bring on the sunshine!

Happier posts to come soon.
Dobar Dan