Since The Swede's folks bought the summer cabin, we've spent Midsommar out in the country. The first year was absolutely perfect, but since then we've come to notice that tiny, flying insects that bite happen to hatch out there on that exact weekend. It took three years for us to realize that it was an unavoidable pattern, so we finally got smart and decided to stay in Kungsängen and celebrate at Mama and Papa Swede's. So the Segerstens came up and Gurra and Gunilla came over and we ate lots of food and played games and danced around the maypole and were just merry in general.
My team during the games. We were killing it till the last challenge when I let everybody down with my inability to count.
For me, though, the day will stand out in all my other days as the day that I got to wear a folk costume at Midsommar. 'Member back in January when I vowed that I would? Ingvor made my dreams come true when she dug out her grandmother's 100-YEAR-OLD, HAND STITCHED blouse, dress, apron, and embroidered sash. Let's just think about this for a minute, shall we? Five generations ago, a woman with no electricity or running water painstakingly created this outfit with her own hands, to be worn during all of the biggest events of her life and then passed down to her daughter and eventually her daughter's daughter, Ingvor. Can you even imagine what this garment has seen? My heart pounds just thinking about it. Ingvor and Roland had done some research and asked around and found an authentic scarf since that part was missing, then helped me put everything on correctly yesterday.
The Swede and I didn't have a real wedding, but I can imagine the pride I felt in this must be what a bride feels like. Sarianne took literally 129 photos of me around town in this getup. She was amazing and kept insisting on taking more until we got it right, since I've apparently been talking about this forever. It was, for sure, a once-in-a-lifetime outfit and I will be floating on clouds about it for a while.
The BCFS is back, baby! You probably forgot this was even a thing, right? Well I didn't. No, it's just taken me this long (seven months or so, by the looks of things) to gather five new outfits. That closet cleanse I did last year really got me wearing the same things over and over, which I'm totally fine with, but it does make for a boring fashion blog. Case in point, the outfit above and the one below, which I photographed back in December, I think. I wore the super comfy, probably not super flattering H&M number above a ton this past winter. I do love those boots.
This was my uniform this winter. Ask my husband. Ask my neighbors and colleagues. This is my favorite sweater I've ever had, it covers holiday-season butt just right and those charcoal jeans are so awesome in my book that I bought backups for when the lycra gives out from so much wear.
This outfit is taking a much-needed breather until fall, when I plan to fall in love with it all over again.
I'm on a bit of a military green kick right now. The jacket is still in heavy rotation, I got some khaki green shorts for when it gets even warmer, and I couldn't say no to these cotton slacks. I had this top and the heeled sandals in mind when I bought them and my instincts were right; this may be one my all-time favorite looks.
Did you hear about the Cavs? When we were in Cleveland in May, the championship was already in their sights so I picked up this t-shirt at the airport on the way home. The Swede later informed me that the phrase "Cleveland Rising" refers to the Republican National Convention and I was dubious, but a Google search doesn't really clear things up either way. Whatever, it's Cavs colors and I wore it to work the day after they won game six and look what happened two days later. Coincidence? Doubtful.
And this swingy thing is a dress I picked off the H&M sale rack just yesterday. It is the perfect excuse to wear my leopard heels, has pockets, cost less than my lunch, and requires zero support garments. Living the dream, I tell you!
Way back this winter, I started setting my alarm for five a.m. I'd hit snooze, then nine minutes later I'd wake up, take a shower and get ready for the day and then, with almost an hour to spare before I had to wake my family up, I'd drink a cup of coffee and watch an episode of Mad Men. I was re-watching the whole series at the time (a pursuit I strongly recommend and, in fact, regularly consider taking on yet again), but when I finished that endeavor I continued getting up shortly after five and came to enjoy having that time to myself. Also, I told myself that when it got warmer and light enough in the morning, I'd be so used to getting up that early that taking a walk first thing wouldn't be a problem. And I was kinda right! It by no means happens every day and it's been raining a lot lately, but I have been taking some morning walks and today I actually even looked forward to it. I mean, how could you not when you've got views like these?
My grandparents have this gorgeous Japanese maple in front of their house that I've been in love with for years. I think everyone who has ever laid eyes on it is in love with it, actually. You can't not be because it's just a crimson goddess, to be honest. That tree is a significant slice in the pie chart that maps my love for the home it gilds, not to mention the people inside of it. Simply put, it's a very special tree.
Considering that particular Japanese maple's standing, it never, ever occurred to me that I, too, could have my very own crimson goddess. Sure, you can buy plants and flowers, but trees just are, in my mind. But no! You CAN buy tress! Passing a Japanese maple in my local nursery clued me in to that fact. So I bought one and I planted it precisely according to the Internet's instructions. And, if sunlight and water and my goodwill toward this sapling are enough, maybe someday I'll have grandchildren who will have to duck to walk by it and will look up to delight in the countless scarlet nuances against the sky.
Yesterday was Sweden's national day, as well as the first day in forever that none of us had anything planned. When we were all showered and dressed, The Swede told me I had five minutes to find us something to do, so I did a quick Google search and came up with a big celebration at a castle about a half hour away.
A ton of other people had the same idea, but the crowd was by no means overwhelming and we thought the whole thing was pretty cozy. We ate hot dogs and took a tour of a 13th century church, but skipped the tour of the castle because it cost money and we're cheap, hah! We walked around the grounds for a bit and admired the view of the lake and a collection of classic Ford Mustangs.
It was still pretty early when we left and the lake was so still that we decided to take Papa Swede's boat out for a spin. The Swede packed his fishing gear, natch, and Jambo ended up catching two fish all on his own! I don't know which Swede was more thrilled, but it made our collective day, for sure. So I got my church and The Swede got his fishing and Jamie got all the glory. Perfect!
Axel's mom and I took the boys to Gröna Lund, an amusement park in the city, for the first time yesterday. The last time I was there was six years ago and my own kid is older than Julia was at the time. Yeah, I have a kid. Wild. But moving on…
I mentioned a few days ago that the weather has been hot and sunny, but yesterday was a bit cooler, which was perfect. In fact everything was perfect. We rode the train, subway, and ferry to get there and back and it all couldn't have gone more smoothly. The kids were in great moods all day, didn't get cranky even though they were totally pooped after seven hours, and we all got our money's worth on the kiddie rides. I'm almost afraid to ever go again because it would be hard to top.
You guys, it is SO summer here! It's shave-your-legs-every-day weather, sticky-SPF'ed-little-boy weather, ice-cream-at-the-harbor-after-work weather, kid-won't-go-to-bed-cause-it's-still-light-out weather. Birds-singing-too-loud-to-open-the-window-at-night-but-it's-too-hot-to-close-it weather, watermelon-every-meal weather. GOTTA-BE-OUTSIDE weather. Spontaneous-plans weather, early-morning-walk weather, cold-glass-'o-white weather. The smell of a garden hose, the constant sound of kids playing, the faint feeling of disbelief that we finally made it here, the stirring in your chest - this is just the beginning! - and the hope that it will be like this the whole time. Hopeful weather.
Jambo and I dropped The Swede off at the football match then hit up the Lego tour at Mall of Scandinavia this afternoon. This kid is obsessed with Legos and cannot wait to go to Legoland in Denmark this summer, so this preview was much appreciated.
They had a bunch of statues all over the place, plus stations with huge bins of Legos where you could build whatever you wanted. Even I got into it and made Jamie stay at one of the stations longer than he wanted to so I could finish the two-story house I was building. Two stories, guys.
Building something at each station got you a stamp on a card, which you could then take to the Lego store and collect a free kit, in this case a Star Wars space ship. This gave Jambo something to do while I took my sweet time eating a salad.
When Jamie dismounted from this deer I turned around to find a little girl from his school and her parents standing behind us. "You can't climb on those," she said, and her parents pointed at a sign at the base. I looked at the queue of kids waiting their turn to climb aboard and noted the sign. It was in Danish. I understood (it was way too close to Swedish not to) but insisted I didn't. Then we all had a good laugh about what an awesome parent I am.