I remember the very first time I ever ate Rice Krispies. One day my mom came home with a grocery bag and announced that she bought a cereal that talks. My siblings and I were incredulous, naturally, but were proven wrong when my mom poured us each our own bowl and we all listened, astonished, as the cereal said to us, "SNAP! CRACKLE! POP!" Today, more than twenty-five years later, I got to have that experience from the other side and I was equally overcome. Parenthood is the most challenging thing I've done (learning Swedish is a surprisingly comparable, very close second) but the moment Jamie tipped his ear toward that cereal bowl alone makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for making a big deal out of little things like this, Mom.
Cary and Rich got the professional pictures from their wedding back from their incredibly talented photographer Nick Edmundson and I've looked at them - several hundred of them! - again and again. There are so many that are so beautiful but here are just a few of some of the ones that captured the fun of that glorious day.
I mean, really, have you ever seen a more fun couple? I'm still so, so
happy for them and so pleased to have been the one to do the honors.
Almost exactly four years ago, The Swede and I took a day trip to Norrtälje, about an hour north of Stockholm, where we discovered an awesome antique shop that we promised ourselves we would go back to just as soon as we needed a piece of furniture. Fast forward to today. We moved three years ago and have since replaced precisely EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF FURNITURE we owned at that time with the exception of our sofa. (Side note: when I moved to this country The Swede told me, and I'm quoting here, "that sofa is worth more than your life". To this day I hope something got lost in translation.) Do you want to guess how many of the new items we bought from that awesome antique shop? Did you guess zero? That's correct. Now, though, I'm craving a better solution to the mess that is our hallway, especially since cold weather is coming and that area becomes a real disaster when you add outerwear to the mix. So Jambo and I drove up to Norrtälje today and they turned the location into a dang paintball arena. The good news is, Norrtälje is charming as can be and we enjoyed our afternoon there anyhow. And I guess I'll just have to head to Ikea about that hall situation per my usual.
It took three years, but Jamie is finally old enough to drop off at the playland at Ikea so I can shop in peace for an entire hour. And listen, if it sounds like I'm being a jerk you should know that he's been begging to go in there every time we've gone to Ikea for the past year and was thrilled the first time he was allowed to slip on that yellow vest. This is very much a win-win. The first time I left him I stuck around for a few minutes to make sure he would be okay in there but he never even looked back and made, like, a thousand friends during that hour. Security is super tight and they have your cell number in case your kid starts freaking out or gets hurt so you can literally go test out the new Nornäs for sixty minutes if you want. I suspect we will spend many an afternoon here as the weather gets cooler and they only downside is the potential damage to my pocketbook.
Well, you've seen a lot of what I've been up to this summer outside of work, so here's a little bit of what I've been up to at the office, namely, selfies. It's been a hot, hot summer and my section of the office doesn't have air conditioning so I've been trying to keep thing semi-professional without melting inside my business cas. These flowy pants are all the rage in Sweden right now and that is awesome because they give the ol' gams a little breathing room on a warm summer day. Plus they have an elastic waistband. I mean, does it get any better than that for workwear? I recommend putting some lace and a fancy necklace on top to feel less like you're wearing pajamas.
I got this top and jeans at American Eagle when I was in the States in June. I really like the way their jeans fit and feel, especially these since this particular pair are technically jeggings. I say "technically" because, even though they say jegging on the label, they are thick enough to hide all kinds of topography, if you will, the way jeans do. Also, I would never wear jeggings so American Eagle has clearly misbranded this product.
This was the last day before management got back from summer vacation. Obviously I was trying to squeeze the last bit of casual dressing out of the season. I may have been the only one at work sporting a drawstring waistband, but I promise there were others wearing t-shirts.
And now that business is back in session I'm a bit more dressed up, here in pieces you've seen before but in a new combination. I was very productive in this outfit. At least that's the vibe I'm trying to send my boss.
We had a busy, fun weekend that included Mama Swede's birthday dinner, an afternoon and evening with The Swede's buddies and their wives, a drive in the country, a couple of naps, and AIK football club's family day at the national arena.
The team brought in a bunch of animals and set up games and
activities for their smallest fans, so we, being both animal and AIK
enthusiasts, spent almost the entire day there. There were calves, goats, sheep, turtles, puppies, birds, rats, guinea pigs, a lizard, frog, giant centipede and more and Jamie looked at and pet whatever he could at least three times each. He was especially taken by a tortoise who he kept feeding watermelon. So taken, in fact, that the two of them even shared a piece.
The pony-riding was also a big hit. I told Jamie he looked like a cowboy and I don't thing he's ever grinned so much. The day ended with an actual match, Jamie's first and my first since we won the league in 2009. I had forgotten how emotional the fans get and I think Jamie and I were both a little stunned by all the shouting, but it was cool to see and I definitely understand why The Swede likes it so much. Jamie, well, I think he'll sit out the next couple of seasons. But if there's a variety of animal poop to check out or any reptiles to feed, he'll be there.
My colleagues weren't the only ones shaking their heads when I purchased the Marshmallow Fluff (one of the dozens of totally rando items usually found in the American selection) at the supermarket on our lunch break last week. I wasn't quite sure what exactly I was going to do with it either, besides rock Jamie's world with a fluffernutter. I have yet to make the sandwich, but I did have the brilliant idea this morning to spread some fluff on a sesame seed and sea salt knäckebröd and ended up rocking my own world. If you live in Sweden and can get your hands on some Marshmallow Fluff and the knäckebröd, try this, I insist. And if you're in the States, you may choose to see this post as a reminder that Marshmallow Fluff is waiting at a grocer near you and is dying to be paired with something a little bit salty.
I think I just discovered my dream job. If spray painting is a job, that is. Is it? Seriously, if you know anyone who's hiring I'll send them my resumé post haste. And then, if I get the job, I will spray paint with more joy than you've ever seen. Because this here is my new favorite thing to do and there are now many, many items in my home now earmarked for a coating of bronze and I'm sure my husband would appreciate if I could earn a paycheck with my passion instead of just embellishing everything we own. So, yeah, get back to me.
My husband is the coolest. There we were, at work on a slow Friday afternoon debating what we should do with our weekend. The weather has continued to be incredible here for almost a month straight and, listen, if you live in the north you take advantage of the good weather when it comes, so we weren't about to waste it by hanging around at home. So The Swede got online and booked a cabin on a cruise to Helsinki leaving that evening.
Jamie was pumped to ride on the big boat, mostly because it was outfitted with two gigantic playrooms, both of which had amenities like magazines so that we could chillax while Jambo went buck wild with the PlayStation. They also had professional dance shows, which Jamie was totally enthralled by, and mini-discos in the evening.
We arrived in Helsinki on Saturday morning and spent about five hours wandering around the city, checking some of the sights that were near the harbor.
We didn't venture far, but what we did see was really beautiful and everyone we spoke with was very friendly. No offense, Swedes, but despite the Finns' reputation for being even more introverted, I found them to be much more smiley and helpful than I'm used to in Stockholm.
Tourism may not be Jamie's cup of tea as much as it is ours, but he found opportunities for play wherever he could.
Since The Swede has been on vacation and parental leave most of July, I can understand that he needed to ease back into reality with a weekend abroad. With a couple more international trips to look forward to next month, though, it could be a long transition.
My grandparents sent Jamie a package for his birthday and enclosed was this spread from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about LeBron James' return to Cleveland. The Swede was thrilled and devoured the entire four-page article immediately. I thought it was so thoughtful that they sent something that The Swede would so clearly appreciate until I looked at it a little more closely today and discovered that it was actually meant to be something for both of us: an awesome (and likely expensive - it's sharing a section with LeBron) ad for Swagelok! And it's thanking Swagelok associates - that's us! - for making Swagelok such a great place to work. Well thank YOU, Swagelok, as you are directly responsible for some of the best things in my life. And thanks, Grandma and Grandpa, for the article AND the ad!