We just got back from the cabin where, among other outdoor activities, The Swede and the kids built a fort at the edge of the woods on our property. Julia had been talking about it for months, but Elin and Jamie got into it most of all. They set up chairs and a bed made from stumps and scrap wood and even got a bucket of water and mopped all the surfaces. I can't wait to see how it comes together and watch their imaginations turn it into all kinds of places. The fort my family built in the forest when I was a kid (seen below in an unfortunately double-exposed photo from circa 1992) was the site of many hours of creative play. Ours was pretty badass in comparison to the one at Molsta, but to be fair my parents had the very practical experience of having actually lived in the woods at one point, so it's really no contest.
The Swede has been at a conference this week and I've been driving his car while he's gone 'cause, well, look: it has a sunroof. And to be honest, a couple of extra horses, which I oughtn't care about, but boy do those horses make it fun to drive. At any rate, I went ahead and detailed the inside with my own two hands on my lunch break yesterday and today, after I picked Jambo up from school, we took a trip through the carwash. Jamie wasn't into it at all until we actually got into the carwash and then, as you can see, it was the funnest. So even though I typically think a professional carwash is a big waste of money, I'm hoping The Swede will appreciate his like-new ride and at the very least I've discovered something to do with Jamie if he's feeling grumpy.
We and our neighbors can't seem to get enough of each other and even after a week together on a desert island, when invited to pick apples in the country with Axel and Marie-Louise, we jumped at the chance.
Marie-Louise works at a conference center a few miles outside of town and the apple trees on the property were dripping with fruit. It was a little too late for most of them, but I got a couple pounds of nice-looking ones.
We wandered the grounds a bit and since we were so far away from anywhere, really, the kids could scream and run around to their hearts' content. It was so, so pretty out there and it was an absolutely perfect early-fall day so we took a ton of pictures. One thing that was a little weird, though, was that the nearby military base was firing machine gun shots the entire time. It looked like paradise and sounded like a war zone.
When we got home, I peeled and sliced all the apples and was too bored by the end to bake anything so I just doused them in sugar and cinnamon and fried them up, Cracker Barrel-style. So good. I can't wait till breakfast so I can eat them again.
Gran Canaria! The Swede, Jamie and I were fortunate enough to spend the past week on this Spanish island off the west coast of Africa with Jamie's best friend and his mom. It was bliss. Constant sunshine, lots of swimming, shows and dancing for the kids, sangria, sangria, ice cream, sangria. The days all blended into each other as our skin became darker and the number of cannon balls into the pool grew larger. Aside from a few Instagrams, I've been blessedly offline. I never cracked open a laptap and tried not to look at my phone, except to take a few pictures so these boys can tell their own kids about their first vacation together. The result is the usual Daily Jamies, several pictures of palms, and some swimwear shots of The Swede and I that the internet never need lay eyes upon. As of yesterday it was back to reality and I'm so grateful to say that reality is just as good, if significantly less warm.
Our neighbor mentioned this bedtime book she'd heard about, "The Rabbit That Really Wanted to Fall Asleep" last week and I ordered it right away. It's written by a behavioralist and the text and the way in which you read it were designed to help children fall asleep quickly. We have marathon bedtime sessions around here and the one putting Jamie to bed often falls asleep before he does, killing the evening for The Swede and me, so testing the book was never a question. It arrived in the mail yesterday and it was The Swede's night to put Jamie to bed. When I came home from choir rehearsal, The Swede, looking a little freaked out, declared that he had hypnotized Jamie and the kid had fallen asleep on the second page. He woke up well-rested and in a better mood than I'd seen on an early school morning in a while. Tonight, my night, went slightly less well as we made it all the way to page four. Maybe it's the accent, heh. But The Swede was right, it was straight-up hypnotism and a little bit creepy how well it worked. And now, excuse me while I go tell every parent I know about this miracle.
Let us just breeze past the fact that I've been absent from the blog for a week, shall we? I don't have any excuse and I'm feeling pretty guilty about it, which is silly, I know, but it's that dang title! Daily Damara. Couldn't I have had the foresight to imagine that some days I just wouldn't feel like it? Rest assured, though, that I am alive, just not recording as much of said life here and I do apologize for that.
Anyhoo, The Swede and I put a date night on our calendar several weeks ago, booked a hotel room and a babysitter and then, at the last minute, he got sick. I couldn't cancel the room so I decided to take my other favorite dude and let The Swede heal at home, alone. So Jambo and I had a cozy dinner in our old neighborhood and then watched some Disney and ate candy in bed at the hotel. On Saturday, we had a great time checking out a few of the playgrounds in the neighborhood. Thankfully, The Swede was feeling better by Saturday afternoon because I had to leave Jamie with him to go sing in a folk music concert with my choir. I wish I'd taken some pictures or recordings of that, because it was magical.
Yesterday, Jamie and I took the train into the city to visit a new American food store. My purchases, if you please: Buffalo sauce, Funfetti pancake mix, Lucky Charms, graham crackers, a can of grape soda, Hawaiian Punch Hubba Bubba, Lipton's onion soup mix, Cheetos. The dude also threw in a real New York bagel and a couple of Tootsie Rolls for Jamie, who loved them because I gave him no choice. Is it worth mentioning that I can't remember ever purchasing any of these items for myself when I actually lived in America? Just so you're not totally disgusted by me, you know?