Kaiva’s new slippers

WOW!  Time does fly.  Our oldest daughter Kaiva started Kindergarten and our second oldest daughter Lilija will be in 4K.  Even though I am very excited for my children to start school, I am a little bit sad because all my babies are growing up way too quickly.  Even our little baby Z is not a baby anymore as we are celebrating Z’s first birthday today.

On the other hand, I am hoping to have more “free” time to sew now that two of our children will be in school.  My first “back to school” project took place just a few days ago.

Kaiva has been begging me to make her a pair of slippers since last spring.   I did make her a pair of slippers once before but since they were strictly made out of fabric, they felt apart a month later.  This time I used a piece of hide for the bottoms of the slippers.

Not only am I hoping that the slippers will hold longer but I am also hoping they won’t be as slippery as the fabric slippers.  For the slipper’s body I used two different kinds of flannel pieces that my wonderful aunt-in-law Vicky (who is an AMAZING quilter) generously gave to me.  When I presented the slippers to Kaiva, she was very excited to have a new pair of slippers for the cold Wisconsin winter that will be here in no time.

Fatty Fat

After supper the kids and I went outside.   As the children were running around and getting their daily exercise, Z and I did some gardening.  I was pulling out weeds when Lilija noticed a brown, bumpy and slimy looking “friend”- a toad in my flowerbed.

The girls instantly claimed the toad as their new pet.  They named him Fatty Fat because according to Kaiva the toad is more “on the round side”.  I gave the girls a cardboard box and they filled it with grass and leaves.  The toad was carried and petted all night.

I’m not sure how I’m going to tell the girls, that our toad needs to be released.  Our children clearly need a permanent pet.  I might just let Fatty go later tonight and tell the girls that Fatty went home to his mommy.  Let’s hope that there are not too many tears in the morning.

Memorial Day Weekend

Yesterday we took our children to the State trail that goes near our little town.  We had so much fun hiking that today we decided to hike even farther away.

To make things more interesting and exciting, my husband dropped off our car at a “secret” spot and we had to find the car.

It took us a total of 4 ½ miles and 3 ½ hours to relocate the vehicle.  That might be nothing for adults, but for kids’ little feet that was a very long walk.

Evi's little feet were full of blisters. Good thing daddy had his"special magic" bandages in his pocket

During our search, we spotted a few Orioles, multiple butterflies, a dragonfly, a lost kitty and even a deer that jumped out behind us and scared us.

Kaiva and Lilija wanted to take these caterpillars home because they reminded them of our friends

The last half a mile was tough for everybody but as soon Kaiva and Lilija spotted our car, they forgot all about being tired and ran as fast as they could.

We had a very fun and relaxing time with our family and the children are definitely having a great night’s sleep tonight!

Looking Back at our Trip to Latvia.

A year ago around this time we were getting ready to leave for Latvia.  After five years of marriage and 3 and a half kids later, my darling husband decided that he couldn’t wait any longer to meet his in-laws.  We packed our three girls and were on our way.

If only we knew what was in store for us!  It all started with driving with an empty gas tank, a miserable and exhausting plane trip, and a hunt for new clothes for Lili in a foreign country.

Breakfast in Sweden after we bought the most expensive little girls dress ever

I was glad to finally land in Latvia after 17 long hours.  Our visit in Latvia was amazing.  I was able to show my husband and our kids the house and the town I grew up.  We visited my dad who lives only a mile away from the Russian border.

My parents with their granddaughters at the time

We took day trips to neighboring Estonia and Lithuania.

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Rundale castle, Latvia

The Baltic Sea

Bauska castle, Latvia

Turaida castle, Latvia

After many days of “tourist” trips, my husband was ready for “a real life Latvia experience”.   So my brother took us to some old Soviet underground tunnels that were built for a possible nuclear attack.

I was expecting to be attacked by a mutant

Dustin and I went to one of the biggest markets in Europe where we saw all kinds of goodies!

Mmm... tasty! (I am not joking)

One of Dustin’s greatest memories of Latvia was “a men’s” trip with my brothers to find and recover a WWII German soldier in western Latvia.

The guys made this cross for the fallen WWII German soldier

The most important part of the trip was to introduce our kids to their “other” family.  I am really grateful for my husband’s family and everything they do for us but there are so many times I feel like an orphan because we never get to spend any holidays with my family.  It makes me sad that our children are growing up without knowing their Latvian cousins.  The least I can do is to teach our kids the Latvian language so when we do go to Latvia, our kids can converse with their cousins.

Kaiva, Lilija and Emilija.

Cousins

Our trip to Latvia was full of memories that we’ll cherish forever.  I’m not sure when we’ll go back.  We keep talking about the best possible time.  I am hoping that it will happen rather sooner than later.  Until then we’ll keep teaching our children the importance of their heritage!

Lilija’s Butterfly Garden

For Lilija’s name day, my husband and I gave Lili one of the most fun and educating gifts ever.  It was a butterfly garden from amazon.com.  Once we received the butterfly garden, we ordered five painted lady caterpillars from www.insectlore.com   The caterpillars came in a cup with adequate food for the caterpillar’s development.  When the caterpillars arrived, they were very tiny.  In just a few days the caterpillats grew to be huge eating machines!  A week later the caterpillars climbed to the top of their cup and transformed themselves into chrysalides.  Approximately eight days later after the chrysalides formed, the butterflies started to emerge as adults.  It was so amazing to witness the birth of butterflies


Every morning the girls decorated the butterfly garden with fresh dandelions and lilac.  After watching our butterflies for a few days, we decided that it was time to release our little friends back to their natural environment.

The girls named their butterflies Ruby, Daisy, Rose, Heart and Scared.

This little fella wanted to give Kaiva one more last hug before leaving.

It was a little bit sad to see our friends go but we knew that the butterflies were ready to spread their wing and explore the world!