This past Saturday, after Jamie's gymnastics class, I dropped him off at Mama Swede's and hit the road toward Söderköping for Sarianne's Melodifestivalen party. It happened to be Sarianne's birthday, but since the first round of the competition was being televised on Saturday, Melodifestivalen was the clear choice in terms of theme. So of course there was a ton of confetti, glitter, and sequins up in there.
Since she's kind of a big deal in the blogosphere over here, Sarianne managed to get a lot of really fun details sponsored. There was a red carpet outside, for example, a movie theater popcorn machine, a slushy machine (which we obviously used for daquaris), and a bunch of delicious wine and snacks. I made jello shots, which turned out straight-up disgusting but looked super pretty. A couple of the guests were also big-deal bloggers who took photos the entire time, so you could say that the jello shots served their purpose.
We ate sushi and stir-fry, kind of watched the song competition but mostly just cackled, and danced till we dropped. There was so much confetti that when it was over that you couldn't see the floor. I think we spent almost as much time cleaning up the confetti as we did actually partying. Totally worth it, though; I can't overstate the impact of those tiny pieces of plastic on the merriment. Very, very good times indeed.
Last week, both Axel and Jamie came home talking about the Titanic and the warship Vasa, which sunk about four hundred years ago in Stockholm's harbor. Someone in their class must have heard about the ships at home and then brought it up at school and the teachers rolled with it and gave the fascinated kids some history, which they then repeated excitedly to us over dinner. Axel's mom and I decided to capitalize on the enthusiasm and took the afternoon off of work today to take the boys to the Vasa Museum in the city. We did a family tour with a guide who was perfect with the kids, telling them the story of the ship's two year construction and twenty minute voyage before it was blown over by a gust of wind and sank, and was then discovered and pulled up in 1961. They listened intently the entire time and even wanted to explore the museum more after the tour was over. I love this age; they're so curious and understand anything you're patient enough to explain to them and I can't wait to see what catches their interest next.
Jamie, from his room: Maaaaamaaaaa!!!
Me, crawling into his bed beside him: What is it, baby?
Jamie: I dreamed that Axel and I were in Andy's Dinosaur Adventures and I touched a spider and it turned into a zombie.
I comfort him, assure him it wasn't real, and we cuddle up to fall back asleep. After several minutes…
Jamie: I'm going to dream about Star Wars now.
Me: Ok, good one. I'm going to dream about a beach.
Jamie: The Sneetches on the beaches?
If you think I'm enthusiastic about Kalle Kamel on this blog, you should hear me in person. He's one of my very favorite topics of discussion after, like, eyebrows and television series. Imagine my delight, then, when he appeared on the front page of the local paper today! He's a GLOBAL CELEBRITY, apparently, with his own Facebook page and was even featured on Buzzfeed. So, listen, sorry if you're tired of hearing about him, but this new information is really only going to make me more obnoxious.
The Swede has been sick since Saturday night and I caught his bug earlier this week so we've both been at home for the past few days. Thankfully, we're both on the upswing and Jamie hasn't gotten sick yet, but we are experiencing a bit of boredom. Try to imagine my excitement, then, when I was channel surfing and discovered, in the same moment, that we get TCM and they were airing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, one of my all-time favorite musicals! I swear, my sister and I watched that film at least once a week my senior year of high school. So cool was I in the year 2001. The Swede is less tolerant than my sister, however, so it wasn't quite as enjoyable as back in the day when singing along was practically mandatory. Nevertheless, talk about sick day pick-me-up! Bless your beautiful hide, TCM!
Today, The Swede's fishing club's hosted their big annual competition and The Swede has been working hard to get everything ready for weeks. There's a big network of ice-fishermen on Facebook so he's been marketing the event like crazy, and it really paid off because there were about one hundred and twenty competitors who came from near and far to take part in what turned out to be the biggest competition of the year, behind only the Swedish Championship. Impressive stuff for a little club like their's and I'm proud to say that my husband was responsible for making it as big a deal as it was. I don't need to tell you that there have been butterflies over this event for days. So it was particularly upsetting when I woke up to The Swede leaning over me, telling me that he had a low-grade fever. He went out anyway, of course, to set everything up, and seemed kind of okay while Jamie and I were out there during the first hour or so, but things quickly took a turn. By the time Jambo and I were heading home after a leisurely hot dog break, The Swede had also packed up his gear and left for home with a 103-degree fever. He's a shivering mess now, and, poor thing, must be so disappointed with how the day went, but I'm still so, so proud of what he accomplished today.
I've been looking forward to today because my choir was starting rehearsals on Mozart's Requiem, which I've somehow never sung before. We got halfway into a sight-reading of the Kyrie and I was so tired and cold that I felt like I was getting sick. I packed up my notes and headed home early and now I've made myself a cup of tea and I'm watching a bit of Amadeus before heading to bed. Surely that counts as some sort of rehearsal too, right?
The Swede was ice-fishing today, his usual Sunday activity this time of year, so Jamie and I had planned on going to visit Erin and the boys, but when we woke up the news said that the roads were going to be bad. Disappointed, we decided that it was better to be safe than sorry and put off our visit until next weekend. A few hours later, we realized that the snow and freezing rain that had been predicted was never going to happen, but it was too late to change our minds so Jambo and I headed out into the cold. I pulled him on his snow racer down to the lake behind our house where we tested his skates on a patch of ice off of which one of our awesome neighbors had brushed the snow. It went well while it lasted, no frustration like we experienced (but failed to report) last year. But there were more fun things to be done, so we left the rink quickly and headed to a good sledding hill instead. We went up and down a bunch of times, played on a snowy playground, and ate some fresh snow when we got thirsty. And I wondered, how much are you supposed to love your kid? Because I totally think I'm going over the limit.
Sometimes I feel like I do, or at least have done, all the typical Swedish traditions so when I get a chance to try something new, I get pretty pumped. Especially if that something new includes Swedes dressed up in folk costumes and singing and dancing around some vertical object. The Julgransplundring Jamie and some of our neighbors and I attended today was really just an indoor variation on Midsommar where we danced around a Christmas tree instead of a maypole, but it was super fun nevertheless. Mostly because of the costumes, I'm not gonna lie. I'm officially OBSESSED and making plans to make one a reality in my life. Stay tuned. And if I don't follow through, give me hell because I NEED to be wearing this at Midsommar, agreed?
This was one of the first things I saw this morning. It was accompanied by a not guilty plea, which I managed to mold into a remorseful confession with my awesome legal skillz (thanks for the tips, Manitowoc County criminal investigators). The day got better when The Swede came home and we all headed outside to take a walk in the woods and do a little ice-fishing. Then my fingertips got frostnipped for sure (thanks for putting that idea into my head Everest: Beyond the Limit). Then I went out to get some groceries and drove over a berm and punctured a tire beyond repair. Then the repair shop reminded me that there's a bank holiday on Wednesday so I won't be getting a new tire until Friday at the earliest. Then I sliced off the tip of my finger while peeling carrots. Good thing it was still numb from the frostnip. The day is not over. Wish me luck.
Somehow we're at the end of another year. Inconceivable! I love putting together these end-of-year posts because it's such a good reminder of so many moments that I've somehow forgotten about. And, of course, it's so bittersweet to see how much Jamie has changed over the course of one year. So here it is, the highlights of 2015, sandwiched between lots of work, school, laughter, routine, and, most of all, love.
In January, to The Swede's delight, winter came and the lakes froze over, welcoming ice-fishing season. He was out every Sunday, during which time Jambo and I usually went to the movies.
February wasn't particularly exciting, apparently, because the most interesting thing I blogged about was how awesome sledding was. I mean, it was pretty amazing.
In March, Jamie got to go to his first live Melodifestivalen show. I promise he was just as enthused about it as his parents, just not the part where we were taking selfies.
My life's dream - which I didn't even know was a dream until it came true - was fulfilled in April when my choir performed a concert consisting entirely of Simon & Garfunkel songs. It was magic.
In May, these cool cats and I went to the Big Apple and tore up the town. Or the soles of our shoes, at least.
In June, we kicked off the summer with a long weekend in the medieval city of Visby.
I also got the chance to cook-a-long with a famous chef during Taste of Stockholm with my best gals.
July began with The Swede's and my work trip to Hamburg.
Then, a few days later, I flew up into the clouds with Gurra in his glider. Unforgettable!
Later, during our annual summer visit to Dalarna, we met up with Erin, Svante and the kids for a day of fun at Leksands Sommarland.
And, of course, what would July in Sweden be without a weekend at the beach?
We were back up in Dalarna with Mama and Papa Swede and the Segerstens in August because none of us were quite ready to get back to work.
Turns our we weren't back to work long, though. In September, we took a last-minute trip to Gran Canaria with our neighbors.
In October, Jamie and I had a blast going all out on our Halloween decorations and passing out candy to what seemed like the whole neighborhood. A tradition was born!
The Swede and I went on a date in the city to celebrate my birthday in November. We stayed overnight at a cozy hotel and saw a truly wonderful musical.
So, you see, 2015 was a good one. And not just for me. I'm so, so grateful about the fact that, at the close of this year, the people I love are safe and healthy and happy, a blessing I hope continues into 2016. Now, if you'll please excuse me, we're going to light some candles, pour some bubbly, set off some fireworks, and fight to stay awake until midnight.