First Words in English – CzuCzu Product Review

If you’re looking for something that will keep your baby both entertained and educated, here’s something for you!

Ladies & Gentlemen:

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I got these for Little Man when he was about 8 months old and he keeps coming back to them nearly every day! Amazing! As a teacher of English I simply cannot walk pass such „gadgets” like cards or books with first words and not get them (: and that’s why I got them for Little Man at such an early stage of his life but he loved them from the moment he got them! He first used to play with the cards trying to munch on them and looked at the pictures. A couple of months later he used to put it in our hands so that we could show the pictures and read the words to him. Now, we show him the pictures and read the words out loud and he points at wherever the object is in the house („lamp” for example, his favourite by the way ❤ ) or if it’s not he comments something in his own language. These cards are just great and I wanted to share my thoughts on them with you the moment I bought them but once excitement dropped I thought it would be better to first actually test them on Little Man and so I did.

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The cards are called „ANGIELSKI karty obrazkowe na sznureczku” and they are a product of a Polish publishing company called CzuCzu which specializes in educational projects and materials for children of all ages.

The package contains 16 double-sided flash cards tied with a string. The pictures are colourful and very easy to recognise. They are of great quality, firm and kid-proof – Little Man spilt water all over them and they survived in quite good condition. All we had to change was the string as it kind of dissolved in the water…. but that’s not a problem really taking into consideration that some of the games you might play with these cards involve unknotting it anyway.

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What I love about these cards most is that they can be used in various ways, the pictures are pretty straightforward ( no Picasso- like pictures making your little one wonder what the heck is the thing mommy’s talking about ) and they can be used at home, in the car, on a plane, they’re small so you can take them everywhere with you.

How to play with the cards:

  • You can  show them one by one and read the words
  • Your baby /toddler can choose the pictures he or she wants to know the name of
  • You can use them to teach words in any language you wish  ( I say them in Polish and English)
  • You can place them all on the floor and ask your toddler to point at a given word/ picture
  • You can ask your toddler to show where the thing is in the house or outside
  • You can make stories with these cards

There’s plenty of other ways I could use the cards for learning or playing and that’s the fun thing about them – they leave space for imagination and creativity, both your little ones and yours.

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I’m afraid that there’s not much to choose from when it comes to English language but there are many products that could just as well be bi-lingual so don’t make the names scare you away (;  Lovely puzzles, memory games and other cards are among a lot of other products just waiting to be loved by your children (:

All CzuCzu products are available on-line ( CzuCzu Shop ) or stationary in shops like Rossmann, Smyk or Askot.

*I have not been paid or asked to write this review. Its my private opinion and as we like great quality products, I wanted to share this finding with you (:

„First Time Parent” Issues

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The moment you’ve announced you’re having a baby, you’ll start hearing many tips and wise hints from everyone around.

“You better get some sleep now mate…sleepless nights ahead!”

“Lol, your house will never be this tidy again”

“Everything will change!” (very helpful by the way)

“Make sure you get…” (and here comes a list of very many things you just have to buy because others found it extremely useful)

“Don’t let him sleep in your bed, ever!”

„Don’t carry your baby all the time, don’t rock your baby to sleep…”

And these are only a few examples of what you might hear…

Of course, we found many of those tips interesting and worth considering but looking back to what it was like when Little Man was born, there were a few things nobody told us about (like as if it was some kind of Tabu because no one ever says this to young parents) which I would prefer to have known about before we greeted our happiness on this side of my belly.

And this is what I’d like to write about today, to remember and to make other parents (especially moms) aware as I am pretty sure that the sole knowledge of this itself already will be of much help to you on many occasions at the beginning of your journey called mother and fatherhood.

  • WHEN YOUR BABY CRIES:

a) Hungry?

b) Check nappy

c) Hot/Cold?

d) Fever?

e) Must be colic then….

No! Wait! There actually is an f) Something I didn’t know right from the start– YOUR BABY MIGHT SIMPLY NEED A CUDDLE AND SOME LOVE, WARMTH AND ATTENTION, SOMETIMES A LULLABY (though Little Man seemed to cry more every time I started singing……)

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It’s not always about all those prosaic things. Empathy is the answer. Your baby is a living little human being just like anyone of us and can really cry only because it feels a bit lonely left alone in its cot for a while nearly right after it had spent a continuous 9 months in your belly, 24/7 with you and your heartbeat ❤

  •  DON’T PANIC! 

Easy to say hard to do but this was a lesson learnt and that’s why I’m so wise about it now (;

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For the first couple of weeks Little Man absolutely hated being bathed. He used to cry so loud I was scared someone would finally send some social assistance over to us one day. When thinking of it now – I’m not surprised he cried at all. For the first two weeks when bath time was coming close, we used to start panicking, our levels of stress hormones used to raise because we were approaching bath time as a task that has to be completed without taking Little Man’s being into consideration much. My husband used to quickly go and pour water into Little Man’s tub (the temperature must be between this and that.dot.) while I was rushing around the house collecting tiny little onesies and nursing accessories, balms and such. Then we used to quickly (!) undress Little Man, quickly (!) wash him and quickly do all the necessary baby-care duties around him. All quickly, quickly before Little Man gets annoyed, sleepy, hungry, angry or simply starts crying! We thought we were doing our best just because we were following instructions from birth school while nope, the best we could actually do was put ourselves into Little Man’s tiny little shoes and focus on Little Man’s needs and himself instead of all the duties around bath – time. Before we understood that, we read some articles in the internet and from that breaking point in time, Little Man actually started ENJOYING bath time. „Quickly” was replaced by „take your time”. What we did was we began preparing Little Man for his bath a while before we actually put him in the tub, we played baroque music to him to let him relax a bit, we played with him a bit and only then we undressed him and put him into warm water, not lukewarm water but nearly reaching the highest acceptable temperature for babies as that is what Little Man preferred. We were taking it slow and bath time finally became a very happy time for all three of us!

Remember, no matter how loving you are, it does take a while before you learn how to meet your baby’s actual needs. Tough one but trust me, it really does come with time and I think that knowing about this before helps accelerate the process of understanding that your baby is a tiny human being with it’s own likes and dislikes, its own personality and moods.

  • CRYING

 Another panic factor. Let’s say you’re in the middle of a shopping center and your little blessing starts crying, out of the blue! The nearest mother & baby room is about a 10 minute walk from where you are, your husband/mom/friend is nowhere to be found. Your heart races, you stress, you start feeling anxious and you feel like crying yourself. People are looking at you as if you were some kind of uncaring monster and not a young mom which makes you panic even more. As odd as it may sound – try to keep calm. Honestly, that’s the best remedy, for both you and your baby. Ignore what others might be thinking (it’s most probably just your imagination anyway), try to kind of “switch off” everything and everyone around and focus on yourself and your baby. Moreover, if you don’t calm down, your baby will cry even louder because it will feel endangered knowing that its mommy feels insecure and if you keep panicking, you will surely not be able to tell what your baby is trying to tell you. Again, I know it’s easy to write, difficult to do but maybe if you read this before you give birth and you find yourself in a similar satiation, you will find it easier to actually STAY CALM.

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  • BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC

I must admit this is something nearly all first time moms I have met and spoken to were very much afraid of. Thus, I believe this relates to all first time moms who decide to breastfeed. This also somehow relates to the point above as whenever Little Man began to cry in the middle of nowhere and I knew it was because he was hungry I would stress and literally run to the nearest mother & baby room, even if it was a long, very long walk away so unfortunately I made him cry unnecessarily for quite a while a few times just because of my fear of breastfeeding in public. It’s hard to say why this is such an issue for all first time moms around but it wasn’t easy for me to overcome this either. For the first couple of weeks we stayed at home or close to it most of the time. It was Winter so I couldn’t feed outside anyway so whenever Little Man started crying during a walk I just ran back home. I also fed through nipple protectors which made things really difficult at times. I couldn’t just start feeding, I had to clean the protectors thoroughly, I had to stick them to my breasts, all this took time and was logistically tough (I’ve written a separate post about this) so I couldn’t even imagine myself breastfeeding in public. Until that one day when Little Man was about a couple months old, I went to buy something in one of the bigger shopping malls in Wroclaw. Even though fed just before we left home, Little Man started crying for milk. I asked someone where the nearest mother & baby room was and  I was directed to a restroom for disabled with a nappy changing table. I could either sit on the toilet and feed (gross) or stand so I stood there, placed Little Man against my breast and thought HELL NO! I would never eat in a toilet myself so why should I make my precious Little Man do that??? I walked out with my baby cuddled against my breast and sat on a bench nearby. People walked by and smiled at me and that’s the moment I overcame my fear! I must also add that I have always covered my breast so that it wasn’t visible to everyone around and Little Man covered with a thin muslin cloth seemed very calm too. I am one of those woman who do not like showing their breasts off to all people around when feeding my baby. I have no need of demonstrating or proving anything to anyone, I have no need of taking breastfeeding selfies with my breasts in the first plan of course and I actually believe that a baby is happier when being breastfed under a thin cloth, having that moment of closeness instead of being exposed to all that so unnecessary stimuli around – my body, my decision, hate me if you wish for this opinion but yeah, I’m won’t be bothered (: Since that time, I have breastfed Little Man pretty much everywhere and never ever have I experienced any assault or unpleasant behavior because of that. For some reason many people just give me a smile which is really nice and motivating.

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This is one of my first breastfeedings in public.

If you are just about to become a first time mom I wish you all the luck in overcoming this “issue” as quick as possible so that you can enjoy those precious moments instead. They’re definitely not worth bothering about what other people might think.

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No matter how long it takes you to understand or learn this , remember you are the best ever parent to your baby. You will make mistakes, you will face a few fails but all this is a process young parents have to go through not because they aren’t coping, it’s because of how much they actually love their baby…

Please, Just Don’t! – What to say to a Mother & Baby NOT.

From the moment I became a parent, I’ve discovered that many people we don’t know at all try to interfere in our life. Very often the interference is kind and comes from people who just want to say hello to Little Man, they want to make him laugh, they smile at him and wave goodbye. Though it can be annoying at times, I can’t blame those people because:

a) Little Man is really cute 😛

b) It’s usually nice

c) I do it myself .

I’m fine with it, as long as this someone treats me and my child with respect and keeps distance. Other than that – I’m ready to rage!

“All children are ours” sings a polish artist and there surely is a drop of truth to it, and I agree everyone should keep an eye on all children around because you never know when you could help one but for goodness sake, why can’t everyone just stick to common sense when it comes to this? To add to it, (un)fortunately I’m not the type of person that will immediately cut a stranger’s behavior if it irritates me but I guess I will slowly have to start doing it….

Here’s a list of interferences, interractions and behaviours that drive me ridiculously mad! (talking about random strangers):

  1. “What is your mommy doing to you poor thing”

Oh yeah, I take great pleasure from watching my baby crying its eyes out and catch every opportunity to make him do so!!!

When Little Man was born, for the first few months he would literally wake up crying when hungry not giving me even a slight chance to prepare myself for feeding. What more, there were a few times that he would start crying out of the blue when I had to walk into a shop and before I found a mother & baby room I was nearly crying with him. Later on I had overcome certain “first time mom issues” (like fear of breastfeeding in public places or panicing instead of trying to understand my baby) ) and fed Little Man pretty much anywhere as soon as he started crying but before that it wasn’t easy at all, I was all stressed out and so was my baby and people saying  “What is your mommy doing to you poor thing” really didn’t help a bit….

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  1. “He’s hungry!” “He must be hot/cold!” “I’m sure it’s baby colic!” “You have to change his nappy!”

Oh really? What would I have done without your help? I would have never thought of any of this!!! I have no idea how my baby survived up to this point without you in my life! But most of all – No shit Sherlock!

Some people are living models of tact when it comes to supporting young mums in need. If you’re not spending 24 hours a day with my baby and you’re not a pediatrician, please stop posing as its expert and start sharing constructive ideas instead or at least pretend to be understanding.

  1. “Can I touch that sweet little hand of yours?” And before anyone knows it, there he/she is holding my baby’s hand!

This is something I really hate! As long as someone is just speaking to Little Man or me, I can ignore it or just turn around and say “sorry, I have to go”. If someone touches Little Man’s hand, that’s it. My head gets attacked by thousands of ideas what that hand could have been touching right before that and I’m not even meaning anything gross but it could even be a handle-bar on the bus which has been touched by at least a few people with different infections before. I’m definitely not that kind of person that doesn’t let my baby get dirty in any way and I surely don’t have a sterile home but there are certain things I do take extra care of and that includes washing hands after leaving the toilet, after touching money or using the tram or bus and I really don’t think I’m being over the top here. These are basics for me and I know that many people don’t follow this at all, no matter whether they’re rich or poor, young or old. I work in a big corporate company and I have many times noticed someone leave the toilet without washing their hands…. . I know I will not be able to protect Little Man from this forever, especially when he starts crèche but it’s worth remembering a child’s immune system is much weaker for the first 2 years of life not to mention how fragile a newborn is for the first several weeks.  Anyway, call me mean, a weirdo or whatever, there were a few instances I actually walked a few steps away and cleaned Little Man’s hands with wet baby wipes… The world is evolving and so are different infections. It’s up to every parent but I personally hate it.

  1. “Will you go home with me?” „Come with me”

As creepy as it sounds, yes, Little Man hears that very often. It’s usually the elderly who tend to reach out their hand to him and try to convince him to go with them. I know that they don’t intend to do anything bad by saying this and that they wouldn’t really walk off home with him but they don’t even think about what they’re teaching the little earthling. At the moment I just calmly say “no, he won’t” looking at Little Man who just turns around and runs away. He was never one of those little people who smiles to everyone or gives his hand and walks away with anyone. Luckily he’s always been quite suspicious of strangers but if this keeps going on one day he’ll follow someone and think it’s ok to do so. Not to mention what I feel like standing next to him and hearing this especially when I’m trying to teach him to hold my hand when walking along the street… Argh! Again, I think I’ll have to become more  assertive here….

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5. “Isn’t he too big for breastfeeding? ” „Such a big boy and still drinking breastmilk…” ” Shouldn’t you stop breastfeeding?”

Just leave it, will you? This is a very sensitive topic left alone itself and really, LIKE REALLY doesn’t need any commenting, especially by people you have never met before and will probably never meet again. How many people – this many opinions about breastfeeding, so I won’t be digging deeper into this. It’s my choice for reasons I can keep for myself and nobody else in this world has nothing to do with it. All I can say is our path to breastfeeding certainly wasn’t a bed of roses and I have put an extremely lot of effort into making it work! It’s my conscious decision and I’m absolutely happy with it, not to mention Little Man himself. Next time you think someone has been breastfeeding for too long, recall the content of the link below and make sure you have a very solid purpose and solid arguments to contest such choice:

World Health Organization Guidelines

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I am a very tolerant person and I do understand that the elderly miss children in their life, that there’s quite a big bunch of lonely people out there and that most people have no intention of being a pain to anyone of us but that doesn’t explain anyone from not following the basic rules of common sense, understanding and a bit of empathy, and it will make me – English Mum in Wroclaw Town RAGE.

This is still a short list which I’m sure will be getting longer and bigger with every year of Little Man’s life but for now this is it and hopefully by the time I come back to add some more points I will have learned how to deal with the above more effectively…

I’d love to read  about what you would add to this list and whether you have came across any of the above mentioned before? How did you behave? Do you have any tips on how to deal with such behaviour in a nice and short manner?

Travelling With an Infant – Tips on How to Choose a Destination

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Summer holidays abroad – yaaaaay !!!

No!

Wait.

Rewind.

We have a baby so no Summer Holidays abroad for us this time….

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I am aware that many people have a different view on this topic and I respect it but personally, I am totally pro-travelling with a baby. It is possible, it is ok to do so and it is a lot of fun! What more, it’s been proven that a baby actually benefits from travelling because it becomes more open and happy – we’ve literally seen that happening to our Little Man.

One Condition – WISE TRAVELLING.

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This year we will be spending our holidays locally, at a lake, in the countryside, near Karkonosze Mountains but last year we visited the Greek Island of Rhodes with 8-months old Little Man and it was a perfect decision! Well, as first time parents we of course had a lot of doubts regarding travelling with an infant so we first discussed the topic with whoever we could in this world to make sure we wouldn’t do any harm to our tiny Tip-Toe. We consulted the idea with Little Man’s pediatrician, with our favourite travel agency and finally some more experienced friends of ours. The conclusion was – GO!.

(Read more here: Holidays With a Baby – To Go or Not To Go)

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This time I’d like to share with you a few tips collected from all the above mentioned plus my own experience as to HOW TO PICK A DESTINATION if you have already made the decision to travel with  your baby in the first place of course. These tips are not written in any specific order of importance because all of them should probably be equally important.

  • KEEP THE JOURNEY AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE

Rather choose shorter flights if possible, up to a max. of 3-4 hours. Remember you also have to wait at the airport once you’ve checked in. All this, together with climate changes, air-conditioning, pressure changes etc. can be very tiring for your baby so just try to keep it short. I’m not talking about intercontinental long flights to visit  family or relocation and so on. Of course a baby will make it. We’re talking about holidays and making them nice to everyone…every single one (: And this also relates to travelling by car.

TIP: When choosing a destination, remember the journey also includes bus transfer from the airport to your hotel. Transfer times range from 15 minutes (our transfer was this long in Rhodes) to 6 hours or more (Croatia for example, which also includes ferry transfer and then bus again…).

  • RATHER FLY THAN TRAVEL BY CAR, AVOID BUS!

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Most buses don’t allow infants anyway. It’s not that their being mean (agencies not buses (; ), it’s for safety reasons. Buses are simply not suitable for infants. Again, we’re talking about long distances where a bus or car trip would take more than lets say 10 hours. If you still decide to travel by car with a baby though, make stops as often as possible, preferably book a hotel / motel or two on your way and make sure someone is seated at the back with your baby to keep checking up on it.

Out of all these, flying is actually the best option.

More about flying with a baby here: Baby On Board

  • STAY AWAY FROM PLACES THAT COULD POTENTIALLY CUASE SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES

Egypt and Tunisia out of the most popular destinations from Poland (cheap and relatively close) aren’t safe for an infant – there’s a different bacterial flora in these places compared to European countries thus many tourist suffer from severe (!) diarrhoea for a few days. You shouldn’t drink tap water and anything that had contact with tap water should be avoided – ice in drinks (avoid), washed fruit (skin should always be peeled off) etc.  In Egypt there’s even a name for this and it’s “Pharao’s Curse” .Whatever the name, as long as adults are usually able to cope with it, in the worst case spending a few days in the hotel room, stuck to the toilet, crying over spilt milk (however I do know a few cases when hospitalization was needed), just imagine what this could do to your baby. Of course there are people who take their newborns away for holiday to Egypt and they come back all fine and healthy but this surely is not recommended and for me – not worth risking. This type of diarrhoea could even kill your baby, it causes really quick dehydration. Furthermore, try avoiding typical tropical heats or heats with not even a spell of wind, this causes breathing and heart problems to an adult, not to mention an infant. Common sense is always the answer.

  • MAKE SURE UMBRELLAS AND SHADED SPOTS ARE AVAILABLE AROUND THE HOTEL AND BEACH

Infants’, and especially newborns’ bodies don’t have the ability of temperature control so it’s better to keep them in the shade throughout the day.

  • IF YOU PLAN ANY SIGHTSEEING, CHOOSE A PLACE THAT OFFERS CAR RENTAL SO YOU CAN TRAVEL BY CAR AT YOUR OWN PACE

Well, that’s just an extra condition but worth giving a thought because, no offence, a whole group of tourists might not really want to wait for you to change your baby’s nappy or feed until its happy…

  • CHOOSE A SAFE PLACE OF COURSE

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Not even relating to the last events in Tunisia as it’s always been known that visiting a Muslim country might carry some risks along (again, no disrespect or offence).

  • MAKE SURE THE HOTEL YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO TO HAS CHILDREN AMENITIES  (high chairs, lifts, cots )

It depends on the age of the infant but it’s always good to have these around. Also, make sure the hotel prepares a cot before you reach the hotel, just ask the travel agency to send such a request to the hotel.

  • CHOOSE A HOTEL THAT IS NOT FAR FROM THE BEACH (unless you only plan to stay inside the hotel or near the swimming pool area)

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Be careful with this because many hotels in Greece for example are placed a few kilometres away from the beach. If you also need to return to the hotel for meals this is a massive disadvantage when travelling with an infant. I would say impossible to overcome because those few kilometres usually lead along a road without any shade on the way, in full heat and without any pavements unless you’re lucky, very lucky. Furthermore, it’s good to stay near the hotel wherever you go because you never know what else you might need from your room or your baby might simply not want to stay outside for some reason.

  • THINK BROADLY OF THE PLACE YOU WANT TO GO TO

Are there any pavements and walking paths around (pram/stroller), what is their condition? any taxi services?, shops and restaurants in short walking distance? how far is the nearest hospital? Any culture difference issues – breastfeeding might be an issue, it might offend someone, you might need to cover yourself up etc.

  • TRY TO PICK A PLACE THAT IS TYPICALLY DEDICATED TO FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN – Ibiza is rather a no no (;

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You’ll avoid the “I kill you” look when your baby starts crying and you won’t need to watch all those drunk people around nor listen to them until early morning. No offence again because holidays are meant to be fun and everyone understands that in their own way but when you have a baby, you need to think about avoiding such „attractions” as well as crowds or any other potential baby- stress factors.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Rather avoid using baby-sitting services unless you are 100% sure everything is fine. On the other hand we’re talking about infants here so this shouldn’t really refer to you as you shouldn’t be leaving your baby in a new place on its own with a stranger anyway. Moreover, do not ever leave your baby fast asleep alone in the hotel room! I know, some of you will think “No shit Sherlock” but as with leaving babies in a boiling hot car – sadly these things really keep happening.
  • This space is for your advice that I’ll be waiting for in the comments below. Feel free and welcome to share any tips you might have, please (:

Most of all, remember, you’re the baby’s parent and you know what’s best for it. Follow your common sense and instincts and if those say, choose a different place, do this or do that, or don’t go anywhere then that’s fine too. All in all a happy parent is a happy baby so even if you choose to spend your holiday at home, as long as you’re happy with it – just do so and enjoy (:

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„A Summer’s Day” – Letter to Mommy and Daddy

Hi Mommy Hi Daddy,

It’s very hot today!

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Do you remember the moment I was born?
You both cried tears of happiness
And swore you’d do everything to protect me!
I didn’t know it yet but I felt so secure.
You brought me home, you put me in my own cot,
You ran to me every time I cried,
You changed my nappies,
You comforted me,
You hugged me,
You sang lullabies to me,
You made me feel secure.

So hot…

Then came first doctor visits,
More and more people started touching me,
I was scared of dogs’ barking
And everything around me seemed so BIG
While I felt so small
But I still felt safe because you were always there
You made me feel secure with every hug and “hush now” you gave me then.

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Hot, hot , hot…oh,look, I’ve got funny water drops all over my hands and legs  (:

Mum and Dad, do you remember
When I started moving around the house
And suddenly all furniture began to attack me,
The floor kept looking at me with that “waiting for your forehead” look
And you kept playing around with me because whenever I wanted to grasp something
You took it away just in time for me not to (:
I wasn’t scared of anything then.
I felt safe and secure.
The world was mine!
Thanks to you Mum and Dad.

Ok, it’s not funny anymore, it’s too hot and I can’t breathe well,

Mommy, Daddy, where are you?

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My first days at creche
I was sad, I was very sad.
You walked me to the door
Handed me over to a stranger
Waved goodbye and disappeared.
Never in my life was I that sad and scared.
My security broke into pieces.
But don’t worry Mum and Dad,
Those were only the first few days
My security built back with double the strength
Because I realized that you always come back to fetch me
Besides, it’s so much fun there (:

Mommy….Daddy….! ): It’s really hot in this car and I can’t stand it anymore!

I know that you are too busy to play with me sometimes
And I know you are too tired to have fun with me whenever I want to
I know there are things to be done so you can’t follow every single step of mine
And I know I sometimes have to play on my own.
It sometimes frustrates me and I get upset
But I still love you with all my heart
I know that you give me all the strength, attention and love you only can.

But where are you now??? I can’t stand the heat anymore…Mommy, Daddy….
I’ll wait, you probably have something important to do.
I know you’ll be back soon., I know you’ll be back soon…
I know you’ll soon open the car surprising me with a big smile like you always do…
I’ll close my eyes for a moment and when I open them you’ll be here…

Peek-a-boo (: …Peek-a-boo ):

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I’ll cry, that always worked, you’ll surely come running like you always did….

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(Crying) Mommy , Daddy,  I really need you, please come back, I can’t breathe, I can’t move, it’s so hot, it hurts, it hurts so much. My tummy hurts, my head hurts, my eyes hurt, everything hurts! You never allow anything to hurt me (sobbing ) , I’m scared!

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Mommy, Daddy,

I can’t move my hands, I can’t feel my legs, I can’t breathe….I’m tired….I’ll close my eyes for a bit longer, I’ll have a nap and when I wake up you’ll be here, I know it…..you’re always there when I wake up…..

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PLEASE DON’T LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN IN THE CAR IN FULL HEAT

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Only several minutes in a closed heated car can kill a child or an elderly person. The temperature in such a car rises rapidly while oxygen levels dramatically fall. A child trapped in a car dies slowly in unbelievably horrible pain. Infants can die within minutes in such a car, even a standard „couple of minutes” can kill an infant or a toddler or in the best case – they can suffer severe health damage.

I am not judging anyone, please just share this with your friends, you never know whom this might help and if you know that you’re overloaded with work and other tasks and you’ve been absent-minded and forgetful recently, leave a toy next to you on the front seat of the car or ask someone to call and check-up on you every now and then….

As for parents who leave babies in a car „just for a couple of minutes” because they need to quickly get something from the shop or get something sorted – there’s no explanation for you!

If you ever see a child trapped in a car in full heat, don’t think twice just break the window and do whatever you can to help the baby/child. You’re covered by Polish law.

120km to a Fairy-Tale…. Moszna Castle / Pałac w Mosznej

Going through some old photos of ours, I came across another place I highly recommend for a one-day (family) trip. Someone recommended it to us saying that “it’s simply fabulous!” so we went there and yes, it surely is!

It’s called Pałac w Mosznej/ Moszna Castle and with its famous 99 towers (!!!) it’s absolutely beautiful!

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Moszna Castle is placed in Opole voivodeship in the Western Part of Upper Silesia, approximately 120km away from Wroclaw. This picturesque castle is one of Upper Silesia’s main monuments which you can see in Opole region’s TV spot. It’s located in a small village called Moszna and its history reaches back to the 17th century though at the beginning of the 20th century,  a group of investigators claimed upon their findings that the castle has cellars that might be remnants of a Templar castle. Unfortunately, this theory hasn’t been proved since and remains a supposition but certainly does add a pinch of mysteriousness to this place…

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Moszna Castle’s website isn’t translated so I took some time to translate the rich history of the castle for you on my own so that you can read a bit about it before you actually go there.

Here we go then:

Moszna is located on the communication route connecting Prudnik and Krapkowice. The name of the village most probably comes from the surname Moschin, a family who moved to Lacznik parish  in the XIV century. As the legends say,in the middle ages, Moszna belonged to The Knights of the Temple of Solomon (Templar Monastery).

In year 1679, Moszna was owned by a family called von Skall. When the owner of Moszna – Urszula Maria von Skall – died in 1723, the village was taken over by her cousin, the Great Marshal of Fryderyk the Great’s court – George Wilhelm von Reisewitz. From this period of time comes the palace – the central, baroque part of today’s castle. In year 1771 the family of von Reisewitz lost Moszna and the estate was bought at an auction by Heinrich Leopold von Seherr-Thoss whose family also owned another castle and properties in nearby Dobra village. In 1853 Karl Gotthard Seherr-Thoss sold Moszna to a Heinrich von Erdmannsdorf, who next sold it to Hubert von Tiele-Winckler from Miechowice in 1866. His son Franz Hubert was the initiator and builder of the castle built after the palace was partially destroyed in a fire in 1896.

Franz Hubert’s grandfather, Franz Winckler, at the age of 16 started working as a miner in silver-mine “Fryderyk” in Tarnowskie Mountains. He moved to Miechowice in 1830, working as an accountant for his master-employer Aresin, the owner of many calamine mines and zinc foundries. After the death of the magnate, Franz Winckler married his wife, a rich widow – Maria Aresin and in year 1840 he was knighted by a Prussian King. Franz Winckler’s heiress was his daughter Valeska, who in 1854 married the Hubert von Tiele who bought Moszna in 1866. Once married they, they used a combined surname Tiele-Winckler. Hubert died in year 1893 and in accordance to the right of primogeniture his wealth, estate and possessions were passed by inheritance to his eldest son, the mentioned above Franz Hubert.

In 1895 Franz Hubert joined the ranks of aristocracy thanks to his title of an earl granted by emperor Wilhelm. One year later, after the fire, he re-built and expanded his residence. In 1904, 1911 and 1912, the Earl was visited by the German ruler who came over for hunting and it was him for whom in years 1911-1913 the west wing of the castle was built.  Unfortunately Franz Hubert’s son, Claus-Peter, lost most of the ancestors’ fortune living a merry life during the period between the two World Wars. Dying childlessly, he adopted his cousin, whose own son was meant to be the next inheritor of the remaining wealth and the earl title. His family stayed in Moszna Castle until the end of war, when they fled to Germany away from the approaching Red Army.

After World War II, the fate of the castle was various but from 1972 up to 2013 the castle was used as a hospital. Moszna Castle, according to Franz Hubert’s fantasy has 365 rooms and 99 towers of which it is famous for. The unprecedented architecture of the Castle attracts a large number of tourists every year.

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Moszna Castle is great to go to with children as there is plenty of space for them to run around and explore. There’s a small 200 hectares park/ garden right behind the castle where you can spread a blanket and relax. There are benches you can sit on or you can go for a walk around the place. ( Watch out for mosquitos! ) There are also stables open to visitors where one can have a look at the horses.

On the premises of the residence, you can have a little picnic of your own or visit the restaurant inside the castle. The food is.. OK (: But because it’s just ok it’s also not expensive so pretty much anyone can afford some lunch in the lovely interiors of the castle. ( The restaurant does have baby seats).  Oh, and if you do get inside the restaurant – look up! The ceilings are something definitely worth hanging an eye on.

If you visit Moszna Castle during summer season, there’s also plenty of stalls outside the castle – with ice-cream, food, sweets, snacks and some souvenirs. They’re all placed along the road and path leading straight to the castle.

When we went to Moszna Castle, Little Man was only 6 months old so we didn’t visit the interiors but we spent the day outside, on the grass, watching the beautiful view of the architectural masterpiece. We had some food in the restaurant and even though there’s no mother and baby room in the castle ( I guess Franz Hubert must have forgotten…) and you have to carry your stroller down the stairs leading to the restaurant we felt it was a nice place to go to with a baby anyway, especially if you don’t mind changing a nappy on a blanky the bonus of which is plenty of fresh air and a 5* view (;

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In my modest opinion – Moszna Castle is a must see, regardless of whether you’re going there with children, on your own, with the whole familia or a bunch of friends.

Practical information:

CAR PARK – there’s plenty of parking spaces outside the entrance, along the road and a few car parks you have to pay for. You might need to walk a further distance from your car to the castle as the place can get really busy and you might actually need to spend some time on searching a free slot.

PRICE LIST:

Entrance to the park/palace premises (pricelist from April to October)

Regular ticket

6,00 zł

Students, pupils, pensioners

4,00 zł

Family ticket (parents + pupils)

15,00 zł

Guided tour of the castle interiors

Regular ticket

10,00 zł

Students, pupils, pensioners

7,00 zł

Family ticket (parents + pupils)

25,00 zł

 * If you wish to have an english speaking quide, pre-booking and additional cost of 30 zł is required.

General:

  • Children under the age of 3 – FREE
  • Visitors who have tickets for the guided tour are still required to buy additional tickets if they wish to visit the park
  • Sightseeing of the interiors:

Monday to Friday at 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00.

Saturday and Sunday at 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00.

  • For individuals who wish to connect to a bigger group and english speaking groups or visitors. pre-booking is required – min. of 7 days ahead, please contact reception desk (tel.: +48 77 466 96 79, e-mail: recepcja@moszna-zamek.pl).
  • The Castle also offers hotel rooms, conference rooms, SPA, special events etc. ( http://www.moszna-zamek.pl/index.php/o-zamku )
  • In case you’re planning to visit the interiors with an infant, strollers must be left at reception for the time of the tour
  • Dogs are allowed in the park but NOT inside the castle.

WEBSITE

http://www.moszna-zamek.pl/

HOW TO GET THERE?

http://www.moszna-zamek.pl/index.php/zwiedzanie/dojazd-do-zamku

Moszna Zamek GPS Address
Moszna ul. Zamkowa 1, 47-370 Zielina
Polska, woj. Opolskie, powiat Krapkowicki, gmina Strzeleczki

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PARENTS think – lets get a cute photo BABY thinks – leave me alone, will you!  (:

All I want for Christmas is….

Hi there everyone! I know it’s not even nowhere close to Christmas but what happened to my phone last weeked made me think about this great Christmas campaign from Ikea.

First of all, what happened to my phone?

This is my phone.

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I’m guessing the picture speaks for itself – LITTLE TIP FOR FUTURE PARENTS – do not fold your stroller without having checked where your phone is.

Am I heart-broken?

No.

Even more, I’m glad it happened and it even inspired me to write tonight’s short post.

Usually when I forgot my phone at home or it ran out of battery I felt like I was missing something and nearly couldn’t function in a normal way. It’s horrible ! It’s a bit of a confession but yes, like most of today’s population, I’m kind of addicted to my phone!!! And this is what is actually most sad of all, not the broken screen. Whenever I would go to cuddle Little Man to sleep I would take my phone with me and while he was REMing away, I would lay there catching up on my e-mails, FB and such. Gosh, it’s even worse when I see this written down. Also, throughout the day, I’d be checking my phone millions of times, for no reason specific reason. I guess that’s what addiction is all about. Instead of reading a book on the way to work – social portals, instead of meeting up with people – quick catch up over the phone, need to get somewhere? – why ask if you can check it on your phone? I forgot what the name of something was – wait a minute, why think, let me check it on my phone….

STOP.

Rewind.

I broke the screen on my phone and I’m happy (: !!!

I might be mad but am I really mad?

Is it bad that I’m now really making the most of every moment? That instead of talking to my husband from behind my phone I actually sit down with him and have a proper eye-to-eye conversation? Now, when I cuddle Little Man to sleep I’m there for him 100%, and I read a book to him, I lay and stroke his hair then stare at him until I feel I am ready to go and do whatever I need to do around the house. No pressure, no distraction, just the NOW moment.

As I always say, everything happens for a reason plus better late than never. I’m really enjoying my broken screen. It actually looks quite funny….ok, it looks bad but it really keeps me amused and entertained every time I look at it. It brings a smile to my face as it’s one of those things that remind me of what’s really important in life!

Cherish every moment of your life! Remember you only live once, no extra lives as in Mario Bros or PacMan (yes, I’m part of that „older” generation 😛 )

Why Christmas?

„Christmas” here could actually just as well mean every other day in our life….

If you’re sobbing now – it’s good, it means you got the point….

If not, watch this:

Thanks for your attention!

Now go get a life and enjoy every second of it! (:

Placki Ziemniaczane – Traditional Potato Pancakes

Yes, yes…pancakes again (: ( It’s really not the only thing I can cook lol ! )

You just simply can’t live in Poland and not try a Placek Ziemniaczany!!!

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Let’s see what Wikipedia says about its tradition in Poland ( I won’t pretend to be smarter than Wikipedia ):

Potato pancakes, known in Polish as placki ziemniaczane, are often served in Poland topped with meat sauce, pork crisps or goulash, as well as sour cream, apple sauce, mushroom sauce, and cottage or sheep’s cheese or even fruit syrup. Placki ziemniaczane was a food staple at the 17th-century Polish monasteries according to written recipe from Stoczek Warmiński with one onion, two eggs and a spoonful of wheat flour per each kilogram of potatoes, served only with salt and pepper. In the 19th century, especially in times of economic difficulty during the foreign partitions of Poland, potato pancakes often replaced missing bread among the peasants. The lower-quality crops given to field laborers were sometimes turned by them quickly into pancakes to improve taste and prolong freshness. Also, their popularity is closely associated with the historic presence of one of the largest Jewish communities in the world flourishing in Poland.

What can I add….potato pancakes are very cheap in preparation indeed but at the same time they can be so tasty you won’t want anything else until you’ve had enough of them for a while. We, meaning my little family, usually have potato pancakes either with goulash (Placki po Węgiersku – Hungarian style) or with sugar and/ or with sour cream ( śmietana ).

They’re also great for children as they are quick and easy to make, easy to hold in a little hand when the little one is so busy they can’t even sit for a moment at the table and they’re tasty in all their simplicity. Healthy?….besides the vitamins and minerals you get from the potatoes, not really to be honest because of frying and flour but you don’t argue with tradition, do you?

This time I would like to share with you a recipe I’ve had for quite a while, one that I always use when preparing potato pancakes and they always come out the way they should.

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Ingredients ( for about 15 small sized pancakes) :

  • 1 kg of potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of wheat flour
  • salt and pepper
  • frying oil

Preparation steps:

  1. Peel potatoes and onions.
  2. Coarsely grate the potatoes ( you can also grate them finely if you prefer to do so but the bigger the pieces are, the more crunchy the pancakes will be once fried ).
  3. Add flour, eggs and chopped onion to the grated potatoes, mix well, add salt and pepper and mix again (Do you see the juice at the bottom of the bowl? It’s potato starch. Make sure you mix that thoroughly with all the ingredients.

WB2F1444Frying:

  1. Heat oil on a frying pan. The oil should cover the whole surface of the pan by 1-2mm. You’ll probably need to pour some more in every now and then during the frying process. It’s very important to fry the pancakes in an appropriate temperature as only then will they be crunchy (nearly on the highest level of frying) If the temperature will be too low, the pancakes will be all soaked with oil and floppy yuk (; Also, remember to place the dough on heated up oil, not cold oil.
  2. Fry pancakes for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side until they become a bit brownish, light brown. Once fried, place the pancakes on paper towels so that excessive oil soaks off into it.
  3. Eat directly after frying, ideally, as that’s when they taste best! Eat with preffered, desired or favourite flavourings and dressings.
  4. SMACZNEGO

If you have any other recipes  you think are better or you’d just like to recommend, feel free to do so in the comments field below.

Arboretum w Wojsławicach – ARBORETUM IN WOJSŁAWICE

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The 1st of June was Children’s Day in Poland. Most people buy their children loads of toys that day and spoil them as much as they can. We decided to make this day special in a different way ( at least until Little Man becomes more demanding (: ). Last year we took Little Man to one of our favourite parks in Wrocław – Ogród Staromiejski and took him for a ride on the merry-go-round. This was Little Man’s first Children’s Day last year:

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This year, to make the day special, we took a day off at work and we went for a little family trip near Wrocław. We picked the place according to Little Man’s needs – and the biggest need now is lots and lots of space to walk (: Of course he could walk around pretty much anywhere but a) the place has to be safe all over and b) he walks around our neighbourhood every day so it would be great to take him somewhere nice for a change. This time we decided to take Little Man to a beautiful place that is only about 50km from Wrocław. Personally, I think that this is one of Lower Silesia’s pearls and I thought I’d share it here so that more people find out about it. We actually went there last year too and here’s a picture from that day:

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Lovely place isn’t it?! This is a photo from this year’s Children’s Day visit:

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The magical place is called Arboretum w Wojsławicach which is a Branch of the Botanical Garden of Wrocław University. It’s 2km away from Niemcza, approximately 50km from Wrocław (this is the best route from Wrocław route ). The history of the garden reaches year 1811 and in 1988 it became a branch of Wrocław University’ Botanical Garden. It has always mainly been known of its amazingly big collection of rhododendrons. The gardens occupy an area of 70ha and include 1500 different species of trees, 470 different species of Rhododendrons; they function for research and educational purposes, at the same time being a great tourist attraction.

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Thanks to the fact that Arboretum is Wrocław University’s branch, everything is precisely described, the plants are nurtured on daily basis and the place is looked after extremely well! Each plant, flower and tree have a nameplate on it.

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You can rent virtual tour headphones or order a guide. There’s an onsight gallery with historical photos and documentation of the garden. The Arboretum also owns quite a big collections of farming utensils, garden tools and home devices used over the past couple of centuries and everything is kept outside for all visitors to see.

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The place is very big and everyone will find something interesting. At the entrance there’s a square, or rather circus to be precise, with plenty of tables and benches to sit and have some food. You can bring your own food or buy something there. However, truthfuly speaking, I’d recommend bringing your own food as there’s either a stall with fast-food type of munchies at the entrance area or a barbecue (braai 😉 place deeper in the garden. Next to the barbecue, there’s a little shop – kiosk with ice-cream and waffles. If you’re thinking of organizing an outing for your employees or something, there’s a massive wig-wam with a fireplace you can rent. The Arboretum also has a nice new playground for children and again, plenty of benches located all around the gardens.

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Arboretum in Wojsławice is disabled and children friendly. There’s a toilet for the disabled with space where you can change your baby’s nappy. There’s also a new path for weelchairs and strollers but unfortunately, it’s not long and it only reaches a very small part of the Arboretum.

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If you’re going with a typical small stroller, I’m afraid you’ll have to stick to this path wherever it leads to. Other than that you should either take an all terrain kind of pushchair with pumped wheels or a baby-carrier as the paths are quite problematic when it comes to wheels. Theres gravel and stairs but also some typical pavements or grass depending on which section of the garden you’re exploring at the moment.

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Little Man loved the place truly. He walked around carefuly, he climbed on a few benches, he walked over a little bridge and back about 50 times, he played on the grass and got all excited about an extremely cute family of ducks!

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Little Man has also found his favourite plant out of the whole variety around him (and mind me, he observed a lot of them carefully as he simply likes trees, plants and flowers…). The plant was as soft as baby hair. I couldn’t stop touching the plant and so did Little Man. He kept stroking the leaves and we couldn’t get him away from it!

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I’m 100% sure we’ll be visiting this Arboretum over and over again whenever we have time and possibilty to do so. We’re enchanted with the views, the smell of the garden, the whole place itself. We highly recommend everyone to go there! If you’re still thinking – just go! 😉 Without any doubt, you’ll enjoy it regardless of whether you’re a botanic lover or not!

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Practical information:

CAR PARK – there’s a huge car park right in front of the entrance.

PRICE LIST:

Tickets can be bought at the entrance between 9-18:00. The price includes car park, toilet, wi-fi, exhibitions and guided lectures held on a given day.

Regular ticket 15PLN (or 5 entries for the price of 4 – 60PLN)

Students, pupils, seniors beyond the age of 65, disabled and their carers – 10PLN (or 5 entries for the price of 4 – 40PLN)

Families with many children – 50PLN if you have the Big Family Card ( Karta Dużej Rodziny)

Season ticket – 250PLN

Children under the age of 4 – FREE

If you’re interested in renting the fireplace wig-wam, 2h – 100PLN (tel. 696137984)

OPENING HOURS

The Arboretum is open for visitors until the 25th of October this year (from the 19th of April), daily from 9-20:00 including bank holidays. If you hear a bell ring, it means you have 15minutes to leave the gardens before the gate closes for the night.

WEBSITE

http://arboretumwojslawice.pl/

OTHER

http://arboretumwojslawice.pl/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Angielski-folder-2015_J.J.-aktualny.pdf

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Mother’s Day 26th May

Each country across the world has it’s own date for Mother’s Day. In Poland it’s the 26th of May – ever since 1914 when it was first celebrated in Kraków / Cracow. Mothers in Poland usually receive cards, flowers and other gifts and most creches and pre-schools organize performances for this occasion.

This was my first Mother’s Day last year….

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Little Man was only 5 months old! ❤

Today, 12 months on, I received my first ever handmade Mother’s Day card from Little Man and I was absolutely moved! Dad helped a little, but only a little of course (;  (Personally though, I believe that Little Man thought Mother’s Day was yesterday because that’s when he gave me his very first kiss!)

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These are only a couple out of millions of little things that make motherhood so special. I’m absolutely honored to be a Mum of such a special Little Man and I’m happy there’s still so many beautiful moments ahead of us, while all that has already passed by is treasured in my heart forever! Each day as a mum brings me a new lesson to learn and I have a feeling that each and every day with my Little Man brings me more and more love for him every time I look at him or hold him in my arms! Being a mum is impossible to describe. It carries along so many ups and downs, many hopes and fears, many struggles and wins, loads of feelings and emotions yet it’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me!

And there are no words for how much I am grateful and thankful to my Mum for giving me life so that I could become a Mum myself one day. Thank you Maminka ❤

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Happy Mother’s Day fellow Mums in Wrocław (and not only) town! May you always remember how blessed you are to be a Mum (: