Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Yesterday we spent the day trapped in a nightmare scenario in this building.  Or so The Swede expected.  I had signed us up for a first-time parent’s class at the local medical building with five other couples from our area who are due around the same time and The Swede couldn’t have been less excited.  In fact, he was dreading it and stressed out for the rest of the weekend once he remembered early Sunday morning that that was how we’d be spending our Monday.  Sitting in a circle and talking about our thoughts and feelings about the upcoming birth and parenthood is basically the worst thing he can imagine.  Which I get.  Kind of.  I mean, it’s not anything that would bother me (indeed, I was looking forward to it) but I could totally see where he was coming from.  Except it just wasn’t that bad.  It was kind of fun, actually, and on the way home The Swede began a dialog about how he never thinks he’s going to enjoy meeting new people but he always does.  We discussed why that may be and the fact that we probably would have never gotten together if he didn’t actually like meeting new people.  This went on for a while.  Then, just as I was beginning to tell him how glad I was to hear this revelation since we just moved to a new neighborhood and it would be nice to get to know some other young families he turns to me and shouts, Borat style, “NOT!”

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Beach Promenade

We are fortunate enough to have a lake just a few hundred feet from our home and even more fortunate that there is boardwalk alongside part of it.  It is the perfect spot to take a summer evening walk, which is exactly what we did today.  I anticipate that it will get a lot more action from our four feet and later our four feet plus four wheels.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Marathon On The Menu

I went into the city this morning and it turns out I totally picked the right day to make the trip.  I had known the Stockholm marathon would be going on, though I didn't know the route and didn't count on seeing any runners, but I didn't realize that there was an international street market set up in Sergels Torg.  There were vendors selling, among other things, sausages and cheeses from Italy, crépes from France, bratwurst from Germany, olives from Greece, pancakes from Holland, kangaroo burgers from Australia and, my choice, paella from Spain.  There was a produce stand with artichokes the size of my head and purple garlic as big as my fist.  The food was so beautiful and smelled so good I could have cried.  I walked around, popping into stores, shopping up all the neutral newborn clothes I could find until I had just enough energy left to make the trip home.  And on the way back to the train station I managed to cross the path of the marathon runners and imagined my own sweet husband running that same route a few years ago.  Yes, it was a very good day to be in the city.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just A Little Windmill Action Before Bed

This windmill is on the side of the road on our commute to work and has been begging to be photographed.  So, yeah, I took a picture.  I'm indulgent like that.  But I don't really have anything else to say about it and since blogging is my last task before the bedtime I've been waiting for pretty much since the moment I woke up this morning, I'm keeping it short.  Good night, then!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Week Thirty-Four

How cute is pregnant Linda???
 It's crazy that I haven't mentioned it until now (except for this little hint back in January) because it's been such an important part of my pregnancy experience, but Linda is also having a baby!  She found out that she and her husband were expecting just about exactly four weeks before The Swede and I found out that we were and now she's super close to meeting her little one.  She has just two weeks to go and with that in mind, she's taking some time off to relax and get ready to be a mama of two so today was her last day at work.  Linda's already having been through this before has been HUGE for me.  I've had about half a dozen friends in the States become first-time moms within the past few months, so I've been able to do my share of relating and commiserating with them, but having Linda at the next desk over and going through the same thing, yet with experience and understanding that I and my other friends lack, has meant so much to me.  I'm really going to miss seeing her every day at the office these last six weeks, but it's very cool to know that the next time we meet she'll have a new baby with her, a baby that I've been eager to meet for a very long time.
I hadn't given it much thought before I saw this picture, but considering that Linda's legs are about twice as long as mine, I must be carrying pretty high indeed. 
My aching ribs can also vouch for that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meet The Sleep Sheep

After Baby Swede arrives, I imagine we will discover that there are certain things we've purchased for it that he or she will either love or hate.  There will surely be items that will become superfluous when we find that the baby has no interest or it doesn't accomplish what it's supposed to.  This will not be one of them.  The Sleep Sheep has a secret:  a box inside with a sound machine on a timer.  It has four different, soothing sound settings including rainstorm and babbling brook to help your baby fall asleep and it gets stellar ratings on Amazon.com.  And from me.  See, after I moved to Sweden I found it really difficult to fall asleep because it is so quiet here and I had become used to the traffic right outside my apartment in Nashville and the Mob Hits that were constantly blasted from the restaurants and art galleries that were my neighbors in Little Italy, Cleveland.  So we've had a small fan in our bedroom here, which runs all night and is a bit of a nuisance because it dries out the ol' sinuses big time.  But I really and truly need some sort of noise to fall asleep, so the Sleep Sheep is getting a little training in before its real boss arrives.  Even The Swede likes it, though he did say that it was a shame it didn't have a gunshots and police sirens setting since I miss the sounds of America so much.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cart Captain

He acts like he hates Ikea.  It's nearly impossible to convince him to go.  He doesn't crack a smile the entire time we're in there.  And yet, when I see him gliding through the aisles like a proud pirate sailing the high seas on a shopping cart, I can't help but believe he loves it as much as I do.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rocking The Suburbs

Big party up in Kungsi this weekend.  The whole center of town was packed with folks out enjoying the live bands, arts and crafts vendors and beer tent under the warm May sun.  It seemed like everyone who lives in Kungsängen was there and The Swede ran in to loads of old classmates and football teammates who he hadn't seen in years. This is just the kind of thing I think I'm really going like about living in a small town.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Going Places

Today we picked up all of the transportation gear we had ordered for Baby Swede: a stroller with a pram piece for when the baby is too small to sit up and a seat for when it's bigger, the car seat and it's base unit and a baffling number of adapters and accessories.  It's a good thing we don't need to use them all at the same time because not only did we have to collapse the stroller to make it fit, we had to collapse the interior of the car.  Obviously all the cramming was worth it because please look how good The Swede looks behind the wheel of that pram!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Week Thirty-Three

It's another breezy Thursday, but hey, it's about the bump not the hair, right?  And what a bump it is.  I'm totally loving it, despite the discomfort it nearly constantly causes.  In fact, if not for the few occasions when I've seen a cute dress at the mall and missed my waist, my big belly has made me more satisfied with my figure than ever before.  Not everyone is so thrilled with it, though.  Over the weekend in Söderköping, little Julia kept asking me to pull up my shirt and show her the baby.  She was poking at my flattened belly button (which I think hasn't popped because the baby's back is facing my back so there's not too much pressure on it) so I asked her to show me her belly button.  She indulged me, but then followed up with a little unnecessary commentary.  "Min navel är fin men din är ful," she said.  Apparently Julia's belly button is pretty but mine is ugly.  Kids say the darndest, most erroneous things.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Beginnings of the Baby's Suite

Project nursery is in full swing, people.  The Swede has painted, the crib and bedding have been purchased, lots of Etsy.com art has been framed, but as you can see there's still much more to do.  Not the least of which is actually putting the crib together.  I was going to try to do it myself, but the instructions clearly state that two people are required and I've always thought of building a crib together as a couple's right of passage into parenthood anyhow.  I'm not too worried, though, as our marriage survived the construction of our own bed, which was a four-hour, stone-cold-silent-because-we're-so-frustrated-we-can't-even-speak event.  One little old crib ought to be a breeze.

Two Lovely Things

The best thing about May?  Lilacs.  The other best thing?  My mom's birthday.  Happy birthday, Mommy!  I love you!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Full Circle

Back when I was a baby my Grandma Joyce and Grandpa Bob in Ohio sent a series of children's books to my big brother and me in Montana.  They had simple titles about their simple subjects such as Sam's Lamp and Sam's Potty and nobody, including my grandparents, could imagine that we'd find the books particularly fascinating.  Kids' taste is unpredictable, though, and my brother and I, and later my sister, were fascinated indeed.  More precisely, we loved the books and have never forgotten them, though they surely don't exist within our family anymore.  I recently put my mom in charge of our baby's English library and mentioned a couple of books that I remembered from my childhood, but left out the Sam series because I had already Googled and only found them for around $100 apiece.  One hundred dollars for a five-page, fifteen-word, 6-inch by 6-inch children's book.  Obviously they're hard to come by in the US and, I gather, a bit of a collectors' item.  Well, over the weekend, Sarianne gave me a couple bags of baby gear, including blankets, clothes and some books, among other things.  She showed me everything that she was giving me, or so I thought, because when I got home and unpacked it all I was shocked to find this book, Max Nalle, Max's Teddy Bear, at the bottom of one of the bags.  Max, you guys, is the Swedish Sam!  Or rather, Sam is the American Max as this series originated here in Sweden, a fact which I never knew before today.  Can you imagine?  My American Swedish baby will read the same book as I did, a whole generation later, in the land where it came from and totally by chance.       

Monday, May 16, 2011

When The River Meets The Sea

Quite a while ago, I told you about the Göta Canal, which passes through Söderköping on it's path between the North Sea on the west coast and the Baltic Sea on the east coast.  On the way home on Sunday morning, Mama and Papa Swede took us on a detour to see the very last lock where the canal meets the Baltic.  I would have given anything to see a boat come through so I could watch it lower into the sea as the canal water spilled out of the lock, but it was too early in the day and the season.  Still, I remain impressed by the whole thing, especially on a day when the sky looks like this.  Also, please note that you can find the soundtrack to this post here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eurovision Weekend in Söderköping

We took our first trip down to Söderköping since Christmas this weekend to do a little work on the house and celebrate Eurovision, which, by the way, was a roaring success for this country because our entry came in third and the winning song from Azerbaijan was written by a couple of Swedes.  Before the big show on Saturday night, though, the non-preggos hammered and sawed away at the stairwell and bedroom door while the non-adults found a sprinkler and some mud to play with.  And I relaxed with the last of the Millenium trilogy.  Not a bad weekend at all, I'd say.   

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Week Thirty-Two

This is my very favorite non-pregnancy dress and I'm really hoping the baby and I didn't ruin it today.  It wasn't the standing or walking, by any means, or even the sitting at my desk all day that may have stretched it all outta shape, but it could have been my daily afternoon back-stretching session in the conference room.  At any rate, this is the last time we'll be together, this dress and I, for awhile.  Which is fine, actually, because I have a few pairs of maternity pants that I'm pretty much in love with.  Not because they're so attractive or anything, but because they are so dang comfortable.  Maternity pants may be the best thing about pregnancy and I've already decided to keep them around for big holiday dinners.  Or at least the next time I eat a large jicama.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Show And Tell

Funniest Swedish sign ever, right?  Farthinder means speed bump, in case you couldn't figure it out based on the picture of the butt... I mean bumps.  This has got to be one of my favorite things about our new neighborhood.

Monday, May 9, 2011

There's Chaos Behind Those Blooms

It was just before dinner and I was plating up the quiche and asparagus while The Swede checked a couple of work emails at the kitchen table.  All of a sudden he said, "Quick, hide!  Someone's coming to our front door to sell flowers.  No, wait!  He already saw us!  You go to the door, I'll get the cat so he doesn't run out!"  Guys, there is no reason I should be the one to go to the door since he's the one who speaks Swedish fluently, am I right?  But I did it because I have cajones like that, plus The Swede had already run and hid and the kid with the flowers had most definitely seen us, so I had no choice.  THEN!  I open the door to find a teenager selling tulips for his football team's trip to Italy and behind him, snacking on grass, is the cat.  The Swede totally didn't hold up his end of the deal.  Thankfully, the kid and I understood each other and I bought the obligatory flowers, but it was sheer panic there for a few seconds.  The Swede so owes me one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Garden Snake

We got our own Kungsängslilja from some family friends as a housewarming gift.  It took a couple of weeks to bloom and I wasn't even sure that it would this year, but here it is in all its glory.  Mama and Papa Swede's Kungsängslilja looks like a checkerboard, but ours looks exactly like purple snakeskin, which is appropriate since its English name is Snake's Head Fritillary.  This is the only snake in the world I can get down with.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm Going To Take Away His Gameboy Next

My spouse and I made a bit of an error today.  It was a nice day, The Swede was out in the yard clipping dead branches from our hedges, and it seemed like it wouldn't be such a bad idea to let Nelson come out and sniff around a bit.  We've let him out for a couple of minutes a few times since we've lived here, so we knew he wouldn't stray too far from the yard and even if he did he's ridiculously easy to catch.  So little Nelsi wandered around for twenty minutes or so, ate some nutritious, delicious grass and then we brought him inside when The Swede was done with the yard work.  Cue the four hour meowing session.  Oh yeah, Nelson was ticked to be back inside and let us know it by wailing non-stop for the rest of the afternoon.  Granted, it was our own fault for giving him that taste of freedom, but I think he may have just lost his outdoor priviledges with that behavior. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Figure 1

The putting together of the furniture situtation is getting just a little bit old.  Between the TV stand, the shoe shelf, the bed, the kitchen table and each of the four chairs that go with it, we've collected a lifetime's worth of Ikea tools.  If I wasn't so turned off of building things, I'd construct a beautiful sculpture out of all of them.  A sculpture of my husband putting together furniture since the image has become so familiar.

Week Thirty-One

It's getting pretty exciting up in here!  The more we get settled into our new home, the more antsy I get to share it with our baby.  I think Baby Swede is totally feeling me on this one, too.  See, on Monday I went to my first appointment with our new midwife in Kungsängen (I say "I went" here because for the first time ever The Swede wasn't able to come with me.  He had to be home to accept a furniture delivery and was super disappointed he couldn't be there.).  The midwife told me that the baby is already lying head down, locked and loaded for the big show in July.  I asked if that meant that it might come early and she assured me that it did not, but seriously, look at me.  I actually scared a guy the other day; he thought I could go into labor at any moment.  As much as it feels like it should or could, though, I love having this baby inside me, feeling it rolling around to get comfortable as it gets bigger and bigger.  Much like its mommy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arts & Crafts

Look what I made for Baby Swede's room!  Just a map of Cuyahoga County with a red heart stitched around Cleveland, where the little one's parents met and where part of my heart still resides.  The Swede, who is typically very suspicious of my taste, being as I'm American and all, has uncharacteristically given me full decision making power in the decorating of the baby's room and I plan to go buck wild.  The pressure to prove myself is really on, though.  But hey, if it doesn't turn out well we'll just blame it on my heritage.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Outrage

When I woke up this morning the sky was gray with clouds, but it was still spring.  I even debated which sandals I should wear.  By the time we left for work it was winter again.  I could have decked somebody.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

By The Blaze

Yesterday was Valborg, which is essentially just a bonfire.  So we did what Swedes have been doing for hundreds of years and gathered around the flames at dusk with the rest of our community.  As warm as it's been during the day lately, it's still freezing cold at night and thankfully my family and friends had the perfect excuse (a.k.a. my belly) to head back home and out of the cold.  We spent the rest of the evening at the home of friends, where we watched the fireworks from their conveniently-placed balcony.