I was Mt. Vesuvius and The McDonald’s Worker Told Me No.

So, I haven’t written lately. Truly a shame. Perhaps not as much for you (maybe for you, too), but definitely for me.

But just in case you thought I disappeared, here I am:

photo 2

No way!  You proclaim.  That can’t be you.  I remember you—you used to look like that woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted poster (see post here: http://and2makescrazy.com/2013/09/22/confessional-sunday-i-am-not-gisele-bundchen-say-what/ ).

Why, yes!  I was that woman.  She still exists.  Except, nowadays I am also this woman.  No longer fat, pregnant, and have enough energy to get up in the morning, get dressed, and walk 3 flights of stairs to go to work.

My hot husband and baby daddy approves 😉

On top of that, I have been busy doing something that I NEVER thought I would really get around to doing in my entire life…Planning.

Menu planning.

Grocery planning.

And rice milk making.

What does rice milk have to do with planning?

Well, when your son’s milk costs $3.00 per 1 liter, you better start figuring out how to make it or start planning how to file bankruptcy.   Yowzers.  Having a Nutty Kid will really kick you in the toosh called your grocery pocket.

That’s all fine and good, Brooke, but what does all of this have to do with Mt. Vesuvius or the lady at McDonald’s.

Oh, yes…

Well, I have been a volcano lately.  Literally, the other day I erupted.  It was a terrible sight in our home.  It was tragic and sad, and Mommy (me) went all crazy eyes ballistic on my husband and oldest child.  The 2 year old and 10 month old were spared as they were too young to understand.

I ranted.  I raged.  I stomped the halls.  My hands flailed wildly.


My poor family.

It was one of my least fine moments in my life, and I am very sorry that I got to the point where my top blew.  I really think that self-control should be a big net around my body.  God, however, gives us the ability to practice self control.  And I did not heed his gift of free will in the best of ways.  I demolished my daughter and husband in one, big, bubbling, lava flow.


Well…That’s not all.  The lady at McDonald’s.  No, don’t worry.  I was not unkind to her.  Sometimes, it’s extremely sad, but we reserve our worst behavior for those we love the most.

The McDonald’s lady.  This has to do with being perhaps an Expat living in a foreign country.  But it was Wednesday a week ago.  On Wednesday evenings, my daughter has French lessons.  After French, we go through the McDonald’s drive thru for dinner, and then we all head to daddy’s office///Adelyne’s stationary library, and we pick daddy up for the evening as well as allow Adelyne to check out her books for the week.

Well, I got all the way to the window where you pick up the food at McDonald’s.  This is a miracle, because often they call us to the window where you pay to get your food since they can’t ever understand our Polish nor accent over the intercom.  But this visit was turning into a huge success.

I had been understood.  My order had been received.  I had paid at the first window, and then I pulled up to the second window.

And that’s when it hit me.  I forgot to order Adelyne’s ice cream that I told her I would get for getting a 5 on her spelling test (in Polish—this is a VERY big deal).  So, I politely said, “Oh, I am sorry Ma’am.  I forgot to order my daughter’s ice cream.  So, please also a large ice cream with chocolate sauce.”

“No!”  She replied.

Say what?


“No!”  She said again.  “You must go around again!”

Say what?


“No!  You must go through the drive thru again!”

Oh please!  Sometimes I want to blow my cap.  That was the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard, and then it reminded me of something I read Madonna saying once…What she missed living outside of the United States.  Customer service was her reply!

I could not believe the absurdity of the lady.  Go around again.  I am sorry—but JUST SOMETIMES!

Now, for those of you that live here and think, “What is wrong with that?”

Pretty much everything!  First of all, it was an accident.  Secondly…Customer Service.  Simply help a mom out.  And, really?!  How long does it REALLY take to make an ice cream.

Whoop.  Fill the cup.  Add hot chocolate.  Let lady pay while doing so.  And voile.  You are done.  30 seconds.

Me.  I was Vesuvius with my family.

The McDonald’s lady—she became my nemesis.

All in all, however, we are surviving.  Doing well.  Loving life.  And having fun.

It’s just that sometimes it is not always fun.

And I am not always nice.

And sometimes my daughter does not get the ice cream I told her I would get.

But, folks, I’m planning.  And making rice milk, and tonight is cauliflower soup.

Yep.  I am alive.  But I am not always the best example of Jesus.

Let’s end with a hashtag, shall we.  #thankfulforforgiveness

Have a great upcoming weekend folks, I now hear both of my babies.  Nap time is obviously over for this momma.



*Well, nap time ended and obviously dinner ended.  And bedtime has ensued.  And Daddy is finishinghomework with the 8-year-old and I am just now getting ready to post this.  Life with kids. Oops.  Baby is now crying wildly.  Must post fast!

#wouldnthaveitanyotherway #superlonghashtag

xo again and again.  b

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater…Oops!

So, I saw this article on Facebook yesterday: http://www.greenlifestylechanges.com/bathe-your-children-less-often

And it made me think of my life in Poland.

Part of the article states that when an infant or child is small, they technically don’t get too dirty-therefore, “Go Green—er and bathe less!”

I had to honestly giggle.

Not because of the Go Green theme.  I mean, it’s great to do what we can to preserve our environment.

Shoot.  In junior high, I was Miss Passionate about Saving the World!  So much so that a friend and I marched ourselves one mile down the road to our local McDonald’s and demanded that they stop using Styrofoam boxes for the Big Macs we wanted to purchase.

Sure enough, within that same week, they started serving the Big Macs wrapped in paper.  I guess paper later became boxes.  And, to be honest, the Big Macs have never stayed as hot, eh?  Bummer.

But this article about bathing your infant less.

It really made me giggle.

You see, in Poland, we heat with coal.  Not only is our house heated with coal-but our water is heated with coal.

That means we get 5-minute intervals of hot water approximately every hour and a half.

Which means—luxury and long showers.  Well, they are non-existent.  Believe me.  When that 5 minutes is up, your pleasantly steaming shower experience turns Arctic real fast!  Brrrrr…completely ruining your previous minute.

My daughter, where we live in our village in Poland, has never been able to fill her bathtub up all the way.  It gets about a quarter full before the hot water runs out.  When it’s REALLY cold in the winter, we make her more hot water on the stove-we boil it in a big soup pot and our tea pot.  And then we add more water (yep, the cold water) and then we pour the hot water (nope-she’s not in there when we’re trying to prepare for her bath), and, eventually, voile!  She has a decent-sized bath with approximately the right amount of warm water.

And she can splash and play…Well, that is, until it’s our turn to take our baths.

You see…If we don’t go all cowboy and old fashioned, then we have to wait ourselves another hour and a half for the hot water tank to refill to take a 5-minute bath.

Therefore, in our home, in our village, in Poland, we have learned quite well the expression of the idiom, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

But, don’t worry, Maxwell, once he came along, always got his bath first.  We used just enough water to get him wet.  After he was done, we added a bit more for Adelyne.  Then it was my turn.  Lastly Rich.

So I guess the idiom in our house was more like, “Don’t throw daddy out with the bath water!”

I know.  All of this, if you live in the United States, especially, sounds odd.  Or if you live in a part of the world with large hot water tanks or a place where your hot water is heated via your radiator or gas.

But that’s not where we live.  And we have learned to Go Green—but not on purpose.

And not only have we had to learn—but any house guests we have had receive instructions upon arrival.

When my sister brought her family to Poland for our foundation’s 10-year-anniversary, they all crashed at our house.  Boy it was a fun and full house.  But when you get 5 minutes of hot water every hour and half, that means that the shower situation with 12 people in our house got a little tricky.

My sister, you see, has the cleanest kids in America.

If you don’t believe me, here’s their picture:



Which means that in Poland she desperately tried to keep her tradition of “clean” alive.  And, I must say, impressively so!

She had those kids hopping in and out of a quick shower like they were a bunch of little Speedy Gonzales’ === shower style!

Which means—each day, her kids started fresh while mine.  Well, let’s just say, that I learned long ago that mine just get to be…Not fresh.  Real.

And it’s a big family joke.  Now that we’re in the States for a while, my sister and sister-in-law will laugh when they hear this conversation between me and Adelyne, “Adelyne, go take your shower.”

Adelyne to me, “But, Mom!  I just took a shower yesterday!”

And I shrug my shoulders.  Good point.  She can’t be THAT dirty in a day, right?

And Darby and Jenny (my sister and sister-in-law) die.  And their children walk squeaky clean out to see what the fuss is all about—Adelyne’s daily shower.  Or not!

It’s not because my mom didn’t raise me to shower my babies.  Please.  When we went camping.  Camping…my mom still bathed us EVERY NIGHT!   We were probably the cleanest campers around.  And we didn’t even have port-a-potties nearby.  It was real camping, folks.  And yet we were still clean each and every night before bed.

How is it, then, that I have such a squeaky clean family and such a nonchalant spirit about my own?


I tell you, when you begin to stoke your own coal furnace day in and day out, 50 pound bags, 3 at a time until it’s time to stoke again.  Well, you begin to realize that 5 minutes of hot water every hour and a half is quite the luxury.

And sometimes you curse the coal.

Believe me.  When that coal furnace went out on me in the middle of winter while my husband was in sunny Arizona, I cursed not only the furnace and the coal, I’m pretty sure I was cursing my husband too.  I tried burning furniture.  But then when it got down to the fact that I would have to burn my kitchen chairs next, I decided that instead of going completely rouge like that, I better stop burning and just exit the house.  So I grabbed Adelyne and we went to, surprise, McDonald’s for the rest of the day.  Perhaps even 8 hours.

Eventually, we did have to return.  To a home.  Where it was -15F outside and inside…Well, let’s just say, probably close to 30F.

I found a little space heater, tucked Adelyne and myself in a room, and we huddled together.

Turns out, there was a chunk of coal that got lodged in the feeder.  But the problem was, there was 300 pounds of coal on top of that feeder.  And I, after putting 300 pounds of coal in, was not about to shovel 300 pounds of coal out to find the problem.  And, truthfully, I didn’t know what to look for anyhow.  I just knew the coal stopped burning.  The furniture only went so far.  And we were cold.

So you can imagine that if we didn’t have heat in the house, we DEFINITELY didn’t have hot water.

Just another day not to take a shower, eh?

Ah…Life is full of adventures.

And sometimes we are clean for them.

And sometimes we are not.

Regardless, we always remember to check the bathwater before we throw anyone out!

Enjoy a few photos of my daily coal living in Poland.