Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mannekin Pis goes Latvian!

This weekend the city of Brussels hosts the Festival of Folklore, Folklorissimo. During the festival there will be several events occurring in Vismet and on the square containing Manneken-Pis, the landmark bronze sculpture depicting a little naked boy urinating into a fountain's basin. We visited the famous statue in 2012 during our tour of the Netherlands and Belgium, but it wasn’t outfitted in such familiar clothes while we were there!

Source: Liga R, here
Source: here

The country chosen as the guest of honor this year at Folklorissimo is Latvia! Some of the events taking place over the weekend will be Latvian folk dance demonstrations, a Latvian crafts show and a sampling of Latvian food and culture. Little Manneken-Pis (the symbol of Brussels folklore) wears a costume at big events, and so in honor of Latvia being the guest of honor at Folklorissimo he will be wearing a new Latvian folk costume. There will also be a tasting of Latvian beer, served in a most unusual manner; on special occasions such as this one the fountain is attached to a keg and Manneken-Pis pees beer…

Source: here

Monday, September 15, 2014

Holy Hipster.


This was an eventful weekend here in Greenville, our top picks being Touch-a-Truck at the Westside Park on Saturday and Indie Craft Parade which ran Saturday through Sunday. Held at the historic Huguenot Mill at the Peace Center on West Broad Street, the fair is a showcase of local artists, a “celebration of handmade art.” We did a drive-by on Saturday and saw the line down the block and decided to return Sunday. The line was no shorter the following morning, but it moved quickly and before we knew it we were inside Huguenot Mill and browsing this year’s selected artists’ work. When Vilis started protesting I had a flashback to the first ever Indie Craft Parade back in 2010, which I also attended with an infant (Lauris) and my mother… After some yummy snacks and some final purchases I took little Vilis home, returning an hour later to pick up my mother who had wanted a longer look around. The line of people waiting to get in stretched even farther than that morning, and the people-watching available inspired the title of this post!


Saturday Roberts accompanied the boys and my mother to Greenville County Rec department’s Touch a Truck at Westside Park. We went to the City of Greenville’s Touch a Truck at the downtown market this past June and the boys really enjoyed themselves, and the event at Westside was no different (although maybe a tad louder?).



In addition to the usual fire truck and Greenville County vehicles, highlights included a cement truck with the extra-long hose (which was extended), a repair/recovery/tow truck adorned with Despicable Me characters and the brand new Greenville trolley. Although the helicopter wasn’t available, the boys didn’t miss it and had plenty of vehicles to explore. A big thank you to my mother & husband for getting the boys out of the house Saturday morning, and credit for the photos goes to my mom. It’s my understanding that we’ll be bringing ear plugs to next year’s event… 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The baby brought the stork!

The stork is an important bird in Latvian folklore, bringing health and wealth to homes with its presence. Having a stork’s nest in one’s homestead brings luck and supposedly even protects buildings from fire, and just the sight of a stork sitting on your roof means there will be good fortune in the coming year. That same stork bill-clattering (that is making a knocking sound by rapidly opening and closing its beak) on the roof means a girl will be getting married that fall. And here I have to add that I never thought I would be googling “what does the stork say?”...


But by far the most common association is between storks and babies. If a stork is seen sitting on your roof you’ll soon have a christening in your home, and if one lands on your roof or flies over the house, a child will be born. Storks have been associated with babies and family for centuries: in Greek mythology they were associated with stealing babies, in Egyptian mythology the soul of a person was represented by a stork, and in Norse mythology the stork represented family values and commitment to one another. Storks can also be a symbol of fidelity and monogamous marriage because storks are believed to mate for life; in reality that's not quite the case, but they do often return to the same nests every year and usually will mate with the same partner.


The link between storks and newborns is believed to have started in Germany, but the explanation could account for the roots of stork folklore in Latvia as well. White storks are migratory birds that fly south in the fall not too long after Jāņi, the midsummer celebration of summer solstice and fertility. Nine months later they return to Europe to nest, and around this time the babies conceived during the Midsummer’s Eve festivities would be born. Obviously the stork brought the baby! (The story could possibly have spread as an attempt to put off answering curious children’s questions for a few more years?)


And so it came about that a stork came to visit us… after Vilis was born. We arrived home to find an eight foot stork announcing his arrival to the world, and the new art in the yard proved a conversation piece for all the neighbors throughout the week. Until Roberts revealed the mastermind behind the gift I suspected several family members (who will not be named) based on the perfect spelling of his middle name Mārtiņš - complete with Latvian long marks, but finally Roberts revealed the storkers' identities. Thanks to our friends for the excellent surprise from Storks and Flamingos! Those of you in the Upstate looking for a baby announcement or birthday surprise for your yard, this is the way to go. In addition to the stork option they also have flamingos to celebrate birthdays, graduations or other occasions. For more information visit www.storksandflamingos.com, and you can like their facebook page here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Trains, trains & more trains

My mother took the boys to Mauldin today, for opening day of “Trains, Trains & More Trains” at the Mauldin Cultural Center. According to the Greenville News this display of model trains features the largest push button-operated interactive layout on the East Coast, with American flyer trains from the 1940s and 1950s in addition to operating accessories. The show is put on by the Atlantic Coast S Gauge model train club, but the local Piedmont ‘N Southern Model Railroad Club has joined the fun with additional displays. Tracks fill the large room, with buttons every few feet that operate miniature saw mills, log loaders, demolition crews and all sorts of lights and noises. There is also a Thomas the Tank Engine train that can be operated by little hands from Thomas’s Cab, and another station with two trains that can be raced. Big brother proudly announced that his train beat little brother's every single time. 

The boys only wished they had a stepstool...

Admission is free and the hours are today from 10am-6pm, 1-4pm tomorrow (September 7th), 12-9pm September 12th and 10am-8:30pm September 13th. The Mauldin Cultural Center is located at 101 E. Butler Rd. For more information visit the Mauldin Chamber of Commerce website here or The Greenville News article “Free model train show steams into Mauldin.” 



While the boys were trainspotting in Mauldin with their grandmother, Vilis had his one-week well visit. Not only is he back up to birth weight, but he has grown an inch. In six days. I’m predicting we’ll need an extra refrigerator come teen years for these three boys… 


* If you can’t make it all the way to Mauldin for the train show but need your model train fix, remember there’s always the Miniature World of Trains in downtown Greenville…

Monday, September 1, 2014

Trīs lietas labas lietas!

Vēlos Jūs iepazīstināt
Vilis Mārtiņš


Piedzima 2014. g. 30. augustā, 2:39 pēcpusdienā Grīnvilē, SC. Viņš svēra 10 mārciņas, 14 unces un ir 22,5 collas gaŗš.

Born August 30th at 2:39pm in Greenville, SC, Vilis weighed 10lbs 14oz and is 22.5 inches tall.



Lauris un Mikus priecājās!
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