Several weeks ago I overheard Mama Swede and Sarianne talking about buying organic groceries. A few days later, Sarianne blogged about her commitment to try purchasing organic more. Ever the conformist, I've also decided to buy organic products whenever possible. And why not? They typically cost just a few kronor more and it seems like every day there are more organic options. I feel good about this positive change in our consumption habits and even better about the fact that I've totally joined Sarianne and Mama Swede's cool kids' club.
The Swede was home sick from work today, which is sad, of course, but also meant that the car was available to me for the first time since I got my license last week. I don't think I need to tell you where Jamie and I went. Do I? Okay, it was Ikea. We cruised the aisles and had a coffee and banana break, trying to take our time so that papa could have some peace and quiet, but we also had real business there: babyproofing. Jamie is dragging himself all over the house and is just a skoch away from crawling on all fours and, while the rest of our house is quite safe for him and outlet covers are in place, the kitchen needs some work. So I'm going to outfit all the drawers and cabinets with latches and install window guards while I'm at it. The previous owners left their gates for the stairs so with a few adjustments we should be ready for Jamie to raise hell all over this place.
I've been accumulating tax documents over the past couple of months. They've been rolling in slowly, one by one. A 1098-E here, a kontrolluppgift there and finally, today, my inkomstdeklaration (I don't think I need to translate that) arrived in the mail and I had all of the pieces of my 2011 US income tax puzzle. I settled in with my stack of papers and fired up the IRS's free e-file site only to learn that I have to do it old-school-style with paper forms. Lame! The good news is, I can claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and won't have to pay anything, which is nice since I don't get to enjoy any of the fine service I would have been paying for. Even so, I think we can all agree that it's a little annoying that I have to file at all.
Remember how I mentioned when we got back from our ski weekend in February that The Swede wanted to visit Sälen again before the season was over? Well, we totally did and the Segerstens joined us! The trip started off on a particularly awesome note, in my book, with a stop at the dalahäst factory, where we saw thousands and thousands of the majestic beasts in various stages of completion, where the kids grumbled with boredom, and where I blew an embarassing amount of kronor on toy horses.
The weather in Sälen was incredible, so while the dads and Elin hit the slopes, Sarianne and the littlest ones and I indulged in an outdoor fika. It was as close to paradise as you can get surrounded by snow.
The girls loved skiing and became really good after two days of training with The Swede and Magnus.
We wrapped up the weekend by heading to the after-ski party in full ski gear, per tradition. And just because Jamie can't stand on his own yet and therefore can't actually ski doesn't mean he's exempt from the costume requirements. He didn't seem to mind, though.
Jamie and I were on our way to make a stop by Mama Swede's before Jamie's eight month check-up today when I spotted a flash of pink zipping across the square. "I'd recognize that flash of pink anywhere," I told Jamie. But what the heck? What could Julia be doing in Kungsi in the middle of the week? It turns out Magnus is in Stockholm for work and Julia decided to join him and was spending the day with Mama Swede and Gunilla and their daycare kids. Jamie was pretty pumped to see his favorite cousin, though I did note that his brow furrowed with concern when she took over driving the stroller.
I think I've mentioned before that some of the stories that make the papers here border on ridiculous, but this takes the cake. "The cloud became a horse," reads the headline. The "story" takes up nearly an entire page. Most absurd of all, though, is the quote from the photographer: "It was just there for a moment. After a minute the cloud had changed into something totally different." Ah, DUH! Geeze, I'm actually getting a little ticked off as I sit here writing about it. And, hello, please say it's not just me who thinks it doesn't even look that much like a horse!
Jamie is apparently part rooster and has taken to waking himself and, thusly, the rest of us up when the sun rises. It hasn't been a problem until recently when the sun started rising before 7:00. Today it rose at 6:01, fifty-nine minutes before our alarm was due to go off and only fifty-five minutes since the last time I was up with him. Not okay. So we went to Ikea today to get blackout blinds for his room. I'm not trying to wake up at 5:58 tomorrow. He was such a good boy while we were shopping that I decided to get him a toy. But which toy, of all the wonderful Ikea toys? Well, what does he like? Tags. Tags on blankets, clothes, and, above all, stuffed animals. So I picked this snake, which is actually much more of a tag handle than stuffed animal and therefore perfect for Jamie. But as perfect as it is, I must say, come now, Ikea. Is all that really necessary?
Somebody has an adorable pair of teeth popping out of his gummy little grin. They came through in the last week or two and they're getting longer every day. Oh, and they're super sharp, which makes me feel bad for what he must be going through. At any rate, it's time to add tooth brushing to the bedtime routine. Gotta take care of the choppers right from the beginning.
Naah n' n' n' nah nah, naah n' n' n' nah nah. At the blogging event they said they were going to use a beauty filter, but they obviously dusted off the awkward filter as well since I don't look nearly as uncomfortable in the photos as I felt during the session. Maybe, just maybe, I was, as the photographer said to me and only me and nobody else, "born for this."
Dudes. Humor me. Put on your imagination hat for a moment or two and picture me rolling around Sweden in this Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Imagine that I'd walk out my front door every morning for a week, unplug my wheels like a real environmentally-aware Swede, strap ol' Jamie boy in his car seat and just cruise the streets all day long. Not because I love cruising necessarily but because (brace yourselves) it would say "DAILYDAMARA.BLOGSPOT.COM" on the side. Yeah. Thanks to a contest sponsored by this little lady, the founder of the organization who hosted Saturday's blog event, I'm entered to win the i-MiEV with my blog address slapped on it for a week this spring. Perfect reward for all my hard work vis á vis my drivers license, eh? But really, I didn't enter the contest for me, I did it for YOU. See, this kind of advertising is going to draw a lot of traffic to my blog and how much of a trendsetter are going to feel like knowing that you were one of the first? One of the few, the proud, who followed Daily Damara when she was a nobody? See what I'm saying? Now cross your fingers.
What a weekend! It was schlager city, with two days of Melodifestivalen, visitors from London and a slumber party with the Segerstens at our place. I thought all the goings-on would be a decent excuse not to blog over the weekend, but I just stopped over at Sarianne's blog and there are, like, eight new posts from the weekend. And she has two kids. And goes to school full-time. And runs a business. Etcetera. At any rate, I'm grateful that she is such a talented and prolific blogger otherwise I may never have known about the glamorous and exclusive event for bloggers put on by Loppi.se, the site that hosts Hemma hos Segersten, which we attended together on Saturday afternoon.
It was at Café Opera, one of the swankiest event locations in Stockholm and where all the international celebs and royalty go to party when they're in town. I think it goes without saying that I fit right in there. We got our makeup done by professionals from The Body Shop, were photographed like the superstars we are, sat in on information sessions on photography and how to useWordpress (though my heart totally belongs to Blogger) and got a gigantic goody bag on the way out. Sarianne also took advantage of an on-site technical pro and got some help with her blog. Obviously I didn't need that. Heh.
The whole thing was grand. It felt great to get dressed up, to be in the city on such a gorgeous day, to feel pampered, and, above all, to have so much fun with Sarianne.
Tonight all the young'uns in the family (thirty-somethings, that is) are out on the town, at Globen, glitzing it up schlager style. All of them except for me. Womp, womp. I had a ticket, the plan was that I would also go out and Jamie would stay with his grandparents, but the child would have none of it. This has been one of the trickiest weeks we've had with him as he's teething and came down with a cold, and he's been really sensitive at nighttime, having trouble falling asleep and waking up, inconsolable, often during the night. I didn't doubt that Mama and Papa Swede could handle it, but I had a feeling that I ought to stay home with Jamie instead. And I'm really glad I did because today has been by far the hardest day in a week of hard days. All the tricks I've acquired over the past seven months ceased to work and I'm feeling very fortunate that I was able to get him to sleep at all tonight. Anyway, all this is to say that those babies, they don't give a crapola about your plans. Plus tonight was just the rehearsal and we'll ALL get to see the real deal on TV tomorrow night!
Back into the city this evening for my much anticipated, much dreaded written driving exam. I arrived a little early so I grabbed a cappuccino and looked over my street sign booklet one last time. And apparently it paid off because I TOTALLY PASSED! And I feel so incredibly relieved that it's over with and I never have to study driving theory again. Now I just have to put it into practice with the driving test next week and that license, and all the freedom and Ikea trips it embodies, are mine.
That Selah must read my blog! She surely took note of the fact that I missed out on my favorite birthday cake last November because today I got the fixin's for Funfetti in the mail! I was so ready to bake that puppy up right on the spot, but didn't have any eggs at home and poor Jamie has come down with a cold so I didn't want to go out to get any. You don't need any eggs for the frosting, though, heh, heh, heh.
Jamie and I popped in at Mama Swede's daycare this afternoon and hung with the big boys. Mama Swede had done some spring cleaning on the kids' playroom and had set aside some sweet toys for Jamie to take home, but he was good enough to share with the daycare kids while we were there. Meanwhile, I took advantage of the free childcare and spent some time studying for the driving test. As luck would have it, the boys have also been studying street signs so they quizzed me in their own special toddler way. The whole thing was pretty cute, if you must know.
GAH! I could just kick myself with those lousy summer shoes! Tempt fate much, Mara? Sheesh. So, yeah, of course I wrote about how awesomely warm it's been and the next day we wake up to a world totally (and, I admit, beautifully) covered in frost. The only thing to do was bundle the baby up and take a stroll out onto the lake while we still can. Because I still firmly believe that winter is coming to an end. Probably tomorrow or the next day. Please?
And check who we bumped into near the shore, tearin' up the fishies like it was his day job: Papa Swede! Jamie was fascinated as he watched his farfar ice fishing for the very first time. I mean, he didn't say so exactly, but I could tell. Also, Papa Swede said that the fish really started biting once we came around, so I think Jamie has a real future in the sport.