We spent the weekend at the cabin, the first Molsta weekend of the year, and it was really, really nice. Spring is here (I hope) and even though it's just the bulbs and the tiniest buds on the bushes that seem to be growing, there are butterflies, bees and lots of sunshine keeping us outside. The other thing keeping me from the keyboard and, therefore, the blog, is a great book that my mom recommended: Me Before You. I'm not a big reader (aside from blogs, that is) but when I do happen to pick up a good book I can't put it down and that's been the case with this one for sure. I have about a third of the book left and have to finish before Friday because I'm flying to Cleveland and can't finish it on the plane as it is apparently a huge tearjerker. Any recommendations for some good travel reads to replace this one? Current best-sellers are the easiest to find in English here. Anyway, that's what we've been up to. Hope life - and spring - is treating you all well, too!
Tuesday was Waffle Day (the name of this religious holiday kinda... not really but KINDA... sounds like waffle in Swedish) but I had planned a different dinner so we ate 'em yesterday instead. Everybody pitched in, which made them even tastier. Almost five years here and I still can't get enough of the baked-goods holidays!
It's finally light enough to go outside after dinner and we've been doing so the past couple of days at Jamie's insistence even though it's not quite warm enough to be particularly enjoyable for those of us who don't have a full winter overall. Last night we went and played some football, or rather The Swede showed off his skills while Jamie begged for the ball. As you can see he eventually got it, although not exactly in the way he may have hoped. Also, I'm beginning to see a pattern.
Jamie and I had planned to meet up with Erin and her guys at a flea market for children's items while The Swede helped a buddy move today, but Jamie slept too late for us to make it. I didn't sleep in, unfortunately, but I must admit it was nice having a few hours to clean up around the house and catch up on some stuff without the toddler underfoot. When Jamie did finally get up and I could convince him to put some pants on, we headed out into a gorgeous day and played in the park for a bit before going to The Butterfly House. It's an indoor rainforest with butterflies, turtles, fish and sharks located on the edge of a huge park where the crown princess's residential castle happens to be located. There were a ton of people there, but not so many that Jamie and I couldn't enjoy a fika and a long stroll around and around and around the steaming hot butterfly rainforest and back and forth again and again in front of a giant tank of sharks where Jamie made friends with another, slightly-older shark enthusiast. It was exhausting, but a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.
On Wednesday evening I took a four-hour train ride to Göteborg and checked into a hotel, just for the night, because I had a course on effective tradeshow exibits the next morning. The course was great and I'm glad I pushed to attend, but traveling and staying in hotels is just no fun if you're alone. I am not as adventurous as I once thought I was and I just don't require that kind of alone time. Every quiet moment doing whatever I wanted at my own pace was just another moment closer to being with The Swede and Jamie.
We usually go to the mall and run errands on our lunch break, but today Linda and I popped in at the thrift store next door instead and let me tell you, I'm never going back to the mall again. They had the best stuff there! Slap a coat of paint on anything in the place and it's Pinterest-worthy. The best thing is, these Swedes don't seem to know how awesome their junk is. They're donating old crapola that would be considered valuable antiques by American standards, and very well-priced antiques at that. I had to hold my hands in my pockets to keep from buying up a whole lotta stuff we probably don't need and promised to do an inventory at home before coming back to buy a couple of items which I will then slap some paint on and brag about on the Internet.
Yesterday was Ossian's second birthday party, a low-key affair, or so one might expect given that only two families were invited. Thing is, with those families came three boys to add to the two that already live there and the result was a lot of craziness. I missed it, but Erin snapped this picture of what I can imagine was just a few short seconds of peace when all of the mobile boys came together around what is obviously The Best Toy In The World. When I look at this picture I see a lot of very expensive grocery bills in all of our futures.
It was just Jambo and I last night so we decided to have a movie party, stay up late (that's nine o'clock, for you non-parents) and pig out on pepperoni rolls and candy. We missed The Swede, but had a pretty cozy time just the two of us.
This afternoon, after I picked Jamie up from preschool, we took a walk around our neighborhood that led us into a magical, rocky, pinecone-y, wooded area that I'd never known existed but is literally right across the street from our house. I spent so much of my childhood outdoors that the kid in me immediately recognized this as a potential paradise. I was half excited for Jamie and his friends who I imagine will spend countless hours here in the future and half jealous that I didn't get to play here when I was younger.
It was the weekend of the Melodifestivalen song contest final and I was again reminded of why it's The Swede's favorite holiday.
Per tradition, cousin Annemor and her fiancé Matt and the usual group of friends came over from London to watch the live dress rehearsal on Friday night. There was a lot of catching up beforehand when we all met at the arena and, naturally, a lot of speculation about which song could win. The show itself was so much fun. I cannot overstate how enjoyable it is to see it live, even if it is just a rehearsal for the real thing on Saturday.
I'm glad we see the rehearsal, though, since that frees us up for a whole day and long evening at Mama and Papa Swede's to converse about the music in the comfort of their home. The atmosphere there may be even more exciting than at the stadium, especially since a great song won and everybody seemed satisfied with the result. Today we took advantage of the Londoners' rare presence again and spent the afternoon with the family. It all went by too fast and now we're even more excited for Annemor and Matt's wedding.
There was a time between being a kid and having a kid that I felt sorry for parents for all of the lame family movies and animated films they had to sit through. Not The Muppets, naturally, as everyone knows they're awesome and there haven't been any good ones to speak of since I was a kid anyway, but everything else. Then we watched Cars and it's awesome, Toy Story 3 and I cried my eyes out, and now Frozen, which I'm not even ashamed to admit I enjoy significantly more that my kid and I'm wondering what I've been missing out on in the past twenty years. Jamie is now rolling his eyes at my near-daily suggestion that we watch it. I also like to fill in the days that we don't watch it by listening to the soundtrack and belting some of the best Disney songs since Jasmine and Aladdin rocked my world back in fifth grade. Jamie knows more Frozen lyrics than actual conversational language, which I guess is payback for my being able to quote Curious George word for word. This one is our favorites to sing along to, though Jamie's version sounds more like "smuganuschmuguna snowman?" Anyway, if you haven't seen Frozen, see it, and please take note that these people are obviously Swedes, which just makes it that much better.
If you saw my post on Facebook yesterday, you know that our family spent some time this weekend making a transition. And by "some time" I mean hours and hours and hours, and by "transition" I mean out with the crib, in with the big boy bed. We thought long and hard about it and ended up going with the Brimnes daybed because it has built-in storage and could pull out into a queen when we have guests or when Jamie's having a sleepover with his buddies in a few years, and we figured it was a good investment since that also means it will grow with him. Anyway, it was a real son of a gun to put together, requiring over four hours between The Swede and I. By the way, my best marriage tip is to assemble Ikea furniture in shifts. Do not attempt to help one another by getting in there at the same time. We learned this a couple of years ago during an intense few hours spent on the brink of divorce over the wreckage of another Brimnes. Anyway, we finally got it done and now Jamie looks comically small in his bed instead of comically large as he has been in his crib lately. He kinda refused to go to sleep in it, though, and stayed up well past ten testing the new mattress and our patience, but we'll get there. He'd better like it eventually, anyway!
This morning my choir sang a mini concert at a service in our local chuch, which was built in the 1200's. Can you even imagine? There's not a straight line in the place but I still think it's miraculous what they were able to accomplish back then. Some of the other ladies from the choir and I were talking about how everyone pays taxes to the Church of Sweden unless they contact the tax agency and opt out, but if it means the upkeep of treasures like this, I'm happy to pay.
Yesterday The Swede and I, along with our colleague Emelie and her husband Patrik, took the afternoon off work to make the most of our Avicii concert date night. We had booked rooms at a hotel in the city and spent the late afternoon at the hotel bar, drinking vodka russians and mojitos and getting pumped for the concert. Everything leading up to Avicii turned out to be the best part of the evening as there were a heck of a lot of wild and crazy youths at the arena and we spent most of the concert queuing. It was totally worth it, though, if for no other reason than it was a great excuse for a date night and a chance to hang with these two.