Saturday, July 4, 2015

Daily Jamie


It was a hot one again today. Jamie and I spent the morning in the yard splashing in the kiddie pool and freaking out over the snake our neighbor discovered living under her front porch. The Swede and his dad were out on the lake competing in a fishing contest so Jambo and I went to the clubhouse to meet up with them after it was over and Jamie was lucky enough to catch a ride back in Papa Swede's boat. Since we don't have much else planned for the coming three weeks of vacation, this may be a preview of how we'll spend July. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Daily Jamie

July 1st 
July 2nd


One sweltering summer day nine years ago, Cary and her mom Petra and I spent the afternoon on the terrace of a restaurant in the suburbs of Cleveland and had peaches soaked in wine. I will never, ever forget that afternoon, not because anything happened, but because nothing at all did, the hours stretched on forever, and it felt like we were on an island paradise even though we were just minutes from home. Afternoons like that are hard to come by in any case an nearly impossible as a parent. Case in point: today I was on actual vacation, at home alone with Jamie, it was sweltering, we didn't have any plans and yet it was nonstop action. I'm going to try to recreate the refreshments from that afternoon on the terrace, anyway, and after Jamie goes to bed I'll drink out of this jar and think of Cary and Petra.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Jamie

Business Cas: Accessories Edition

A few weeks back our company had a meeting during which I was to give an explanation of something  that was projected on a screen across the conference room from where I was sitting. I couldn't read a thing and said, "Just ignore the screen; it's not like anyone can see it anyway." People were like "Ehhh… yeah we can." I tested a colleague's glasses and could totally read the screen so during a break in the meeting, I booked an eye test. Turns out I have astigmatism and these new specs are going to help me see things better from far away when I'm driving or sitting in a meeting or what have you. Plus: NEW ACCESSORY!!! Minus: there doesn't seem to be any such thing as vision insurance in this country. These are by far my life's most expensive fashion statement. Not my newest though! Check out the five-year-Swagiversary pin that was delivered to my office this afternoon! I will wear it with pride.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 27th 
June 28th

When The Weather App Goes Rogue

That weather app I have on my phone was dead wrong, dudes. The rest of the weekend was gorgeous! It was a little overcast on Saturday morning, but that just made our walk along the shore and into town more comfortable.
We did some exploring in a different area within the wall and, again, the pictures cannot do it justice. So much of the beauty was in scenes too big to fit into a picture, but here are a couple of shots that kind of give you a feel for the place.

One of my favorite things about the properties within the wall was how, everywhere you looked, nature was taking over to some degree. The cluster of succulents on the fencepost below, for example, and vines crawling through stone walls and between cobblestones in the streets. Magic.
The vines weren't the only things climbing. 
We made our way to the harbor because we had to check out an ice cream shop that my boss, whose girlfriend lives in Visby, recommended. They currently have two-hundred-ninety flavors, making its name, literally "The Ice Cream Warehouse" much more fitting than "ice cream shop". There was much deliberation. Jamie got a scoop of Coca-Cola and one of Kinder Egg and I got a scoop of Hubba Bubba (oh, how I've missed bubble gum ice cream since childhood!) and blood orange sorbet. Here's The Swede saying "not bad" to chili licorice. He also got a scoop of beer flavor, 'cause sometimes you gotta do things in the name of science.

After our ice cream stop, Jamie played on a gigantic anchor statue by the harbor for a bit while The Swede went and bought a lottery ticket so that we could buy one of those boats (no luck, I'm afraid), then we went to a seaside lounge that served the best sushi I've had in Sweden. The sun was hot by the time we finished our lunch so we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the pool for the rest of the afternoon.
On the way back, though, Jambo and I decided to climb up one of the towers along the wall and enjoy an amazing view of the sea and city below. And we took a groupie.
You wouldn't have thought it could get any better, but there was a wedding at our hotel on Saturday night and as soon as the sun had disappeared into the sea, they set off celebratory fireworks from the dock right outside. Who really needs a sailboat anyway?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 25th
June 26th

Visby Long Weekend

One of the advantages of living abroad is the frequent flyer miles one accrues. When I got my statement from Scandinavian Airlines a few months ago I noticed that I could book a long weekend in Visby, a medieval city on the island of Gotland off the east coast and only a forty-minute plane ride from Stockholm, practically free. So obviously I did.
Booking any kind of event during the Swedish summer is risky since the weather can disappoint, but I had high hopes that the end of June would deliver some sunshine.  I'm sad to say that this weekend has been and will likely continue to be chilly and mostly cloudy. That didn't stop Jamie, though, from insisting he and The Swede hop into the pool late last night when we arrived at the hotel.
This morning, the wind was blowing so hard from the Baltic that it was downright cold. Again, we weren't deterred and took a walk and did some training on the beach.

Don't worry, we held on tight and the water was only a foot deep.
We made our way toward the city and into another world. It's not possible to describe the beauty of Visby inside the wall except to say that everything that my eyes settled on made my heart feel too big inside of my chest. I had to stop and catch my breath a couple of times.
Almost immediately when you enter the wall from the north side, there is a gorgeous botanical garden with flowers and trees that I've never seen in my life.
We marveled at all the beautiful plants and talked about the job that the bees were doing there while we moved through the garden.
And the ruins! I'm going to try to get some more pictures tomorrow, but I'm really not doing them justice. I want to invite everyone I love here to see this place live.

Jamie's favorite part inside the wall was probably the water pump that he tested more times than his more environmentally-concious parents were comfortable with.  
After a quick tour through the city, we hopped on a bus to Kneippbyn, a little theme park where we rode kiddie rides, hopped, climbed, and played around for the rest of the day.   
Now it's almost bedtime and we're all pooped and plopped out in front of our screens eating Subway, grateful for a day of fun. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 23rd
June 24th

The Day The Customer Didn't Come First

Last Thursday our office was only open in the morning and since we were going to head to the cabin straight after work, it made more logistical sense to bring Jamie to work with us. That, and our coworkers just love wild children running around. We weren't the only ones to bestow the honor upon our colleagues, though, as Sukai and one of our salesman's four-year-old daughter also showed up. There was a fair deal of shrieking, my friends.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 18th
June 19th
June 20th
June 21st
June 22nd

Molsta Midsummer 2015

People talk about how crappy the weather usually is on midsummer's eve, but the five that I've experienced have been glorious. Until this year, that is, when more rain came down than I've ever seen here. It was constant, as well, and didn't stop the entire day. Annemor and Matt had come from London, the Segerstens arrived straight from a sunny vacation in Greece, plus our family and Mama and Papa Swede made eleven souls under one, five-hundred square foot roof. It wasn't my favorite midsummer. Somehow, though - maybe it's place as the highlight of the day or just my having acquired certain tastes - the food tasted especially amazing this year. Also, it's always a treat to have Annemor and Matt around. We were all together; maybe it wasn't a bust after all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 15th
June 16th


After summer vacation, Jamie will be moving on to the big kids' group at preschool, which means that he'll no longer have the same amazing teachers he's had for the past three years. Of course we'll still see them on the playground during drop-offs and pick-ups but they won't be the constant presence in our lives that they have been for so long. The entire time Jamie has been in preschool we've felt that these three women have been part of our team in raising him and literally every single day he shows us in some way or another all that they have contributed to who he is becoming. We typically give them each a small gift at Christmas and at the end of the school year to show our appreciation, but because it's the end of Jamie's time in their group I wanted to get them something a little more special. I've been racking my brain and Pinteresting feverishly trying to come up with the perfect gift, something that would remind them of that one kid and his family who loved them so much. Yesterday I walked into a bookstore looking for inspiration and walked out with three cookbooks: Jamie at Home, Jamie's Italy, and Jamie's 15-Minute Meals. Kinda perfect, right?