Friday, November 30, 2012

It's that piparkūku time of the year again!

I’ve been told that there will be days (weeks, months!) like these, days when nothing gets done except even bigger messes made, days when the boys don’t make it out of their pajamas, days when I don’t make it out of my pajamas… I’m not sure what has been the single most overwhelming thing this week, but the combination has been a doozy. I’ve made a to-do list for the holidays and don’t even know where to start. We’ve bought a used bookcase from craigslist and it barely emptied the boxes of books from the space it now stands. Mikus has found the various places in the house that are not childproof and insists on visiting every chance he gets. And sleep! I spend more hours a day trying to get both boys to sleep than they actually spend sleeping!

It might be the Christmas list that irks me most, as this will very possibly be the first Christmas Lauris remembers. It certainly is the first where a portion of the preparations will be more for him than for me. Discussions of Santa Claus, the elves, advent calendars and the meaning of Christmas dot our afternoons, and I find myself reading Ziemassvētki Rezgalē (an Astrid Lindgren book about Christmas translated into Latvian) at least twice a day.

So it is with great relief that I announce I have started the piparkūku dough! Currently in the refrigerator “resting” before the cookie cutting begins, it took almost an entire day to make. While Mikus was taking his first nap of the day Lauris helped me get started, pouring and sifting ingredients. Twenty minutes later Mikus joined us, pulling my pant leg while simultaneously shrieking for attention. One belt, lunch and diaper changes later we continued the process, only to break for another snack break (which means more diaper changes). And in the final stage I found myself elbow-deep in dough at the moment when Mikus decided he had had enough and wanted up, now! Needless to say the clean-up took even longer (and might still be unfinished as I’m pretty sure there is flour dusting the entire kitchen) and only because of Thanksgiving  and subsequent leftovers was there any dinner on the table (anyone else enjoy their turkey soup as much as we did?). And this was without all the added challenges that making them in France brought...

All the spices that go into the piparkūkas!
This morning I made it a point to get dressed and brush my teeth before starting on the boys; we have to go to the store and although we are in the US I doubt making the trip in my pajamas would be proper. We’ve gotten a good start to the morning, and I instead of dread when I look at the clock and see it’s only 9am, I’m a bit relieved, because it means I might actually get something done today.

* Today I am grateful for my two boys. Sleep-deprived, sanity-challenged and patience-deficient also, sure, but grateful.
** And during the process of trying to post this they’ve gotten into the kitchen cabinets. Mikus has broken something and Lauris smashed his pinkie finger in the door. Now we’re eating a second breakfast and reading about a dingo.  <Sigh>


  1. So glad I'm not alone. It's gotten a lot worse once the little one became mobile! Hope you are at least enjoying being back home!

  2. Fun baking with children but can be messy! I love to learn about different traditions - the cookies sound delicious with spices.

  3. It's not easy being a Mom of two little ones. Just don't be too hard on yourself. As for the Christmas list, do what you can, don't stress yourself about it. I am sure your boys will love Christmas no matter what. Is piparkuku kind of like gingerbread?

  4. Oh no. I'm trying not to giggle, but I so deeply relate to this experience. I feel like you could be writing about my week and that is just with one 2.5 year old running awry. Although we have another coming in May so I'm bracing myself for many, many more days like the ones you've described. This is the first year that Taran really understands what Christmas is too and I've been trying to rally from pregnancy exhaustion to create all these wonderful memories for him. I decided to go for a chocolate advent calendar this year and that might have been a mistake. He stands underneath the fireplace mantle all day long staring up at it and simultaneously saying and signing "more chocolate". It's funny, "more" is the only sign he still uses and he only uses it to emphasize when he really, really wants something yummy.
    I love the photo of the spices. Tomorrow we'll be making our first batch of Christmas cookies. I love cooking with the kiddo and I love that he loves it too, but I sometimes have to brace myself and breathe deeply as flour flies around and eggs crash to the floor and bowls get broken. It's so worth it though to create that warm, loving space in the kitchen - the heart of the home.

  5. Your cookies sound yummy!
    - Megan xx

    PS thank-you so much for your lovely comment on my blog <3


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