Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Daily Jamie

Two Thousand Fourteen

This year has been particularly eventful, I realized while putting the annual roundup together. Lots of travel, a bunch of weddings, tons of fun! It all started in January when it finally snowed and Jamie got a lot of use out of his new snow racer.
Then, Rio was born! Brand new humans are the most exciting thing, I think we can all agree.
In February, I made my dreams come true, first by getting a professional makeup consultation...
...and then when I joined a choir again.
In March, we enjoyed the annual Melodifestivalen festivities, complete with the live show and visit from friends and family from England. 
In April, this guy was the cutest thing ever...
...and we took advantage of the warming weather by geocaching around Molsta with the Segerstens. 
May was all about Selah and Andy's visit! We spent a whole week seeing all the best sights in and around Stockholm and really enjoying some quality face time. 
In June, we celebrated Sweden's national day with friends at a picnic and carnival. 
Then I flew to Ohio for a long weekend and married some of my best friends. Spending this time with the Cleveland girlfriends was beyond magical.
Oh, and hanging with this lady was pretty much the best, too. 
Back just in time for Sweden's warmest month, we set off on an awesome July vacation!  
First, we took a long weekend in Dalarna with lots of pool time, a classic car show, and a concert at Dalhalla.
Then we spent the rest of the week along the west coast, with friends in Göteborg and then on the beach in Tylösand. 
Also in July, Jamie turned three! We celebrated with a superhero birthday party and invited lots of friends. 
In August, Jamie reached an important milestone in his life when he attended his first AIK football match.

We also took a super fun, last minute cruise to Helsinki.
September was a big month for us. We flew to Montana for the first time in four years and got to spend time with far-flung family in a beautiful setting. Grandpa Ray was there... well as my sister Lukia and her daughter Hayden. We had a blast at Lukia's wedding to her new husband Don.
I got to see some of the most beautiful old spots, here with two of my favorites.
Plus I finally got to introduce Jambo to his Opa and Grandma Rainey!
As soon as we had recovered from the jet lag from the Montana trip, we were off again, this time to England to celebrate cousin Annemor and Matt's wedding.
By October we were ready to take it easy. Jamie, Linda, Sukai and I enjoyed a little theater and the opening of our community's new cultural center. 
And Jamie had his first official, big boy dentist appointment.
In November, we took a little road trip to Kalmar with a stop off in Söderköping...
...and had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends.
In December, we made the most of Sweden's coziest month by decorating the house more than ever for Christmas, including the lovely gingerbread houses we constructed with Linda and her girls.

It's not a competition or anything, but this year was surely one of my favorites. Top that, 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Daily Jamie

Porcelain Royalty

I got some great presents this Christmas and while I don't usually like to brag about my acquisitions, I find I need to mention these beauties in particular. They were a re-gift, actually, on a joke present that Papa Swede's brother had sent to him and Mama Swede a few weeks ago and that I insisted they give to me when they started talking about relegating them to the summer cabin where they loveliness would only be witnessed on occasion. No, I couldn't let that happen, so I asked for them for Christmas then promptly forgot about it, which allowed me to have a moment of great excitement when I opened that particular package on Christmas Eve. The actual value of these limited-edition plates to commemorate our king and queen's marriage in 1976 are of little interest to me; their contribution to my kitchen environment, however, is priceless.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Daily Jamie

Cuteness captured by The Swede

The Lunch Break Of All Lunch Breaks

Dudes, today I had the lunch break of my life! The office is practically deserted and my favorite lunch buddies are still on vacation so I knew I'd be lunching alone but hadn't decided what I'd do with my hour off until a text message came from the beauty chain from which I'd just happened to get a gift card for Christmas. "20% off EVERYTHING!" the text read. That settled it. So off I went, driving through a winter wonderland (please reference the Instagram picture at right) that reminded me of the morning I landed in Sweden for the first time almost exactly six years ago and that gave me loads of warm fuzzies. Then, get this: tons of cosmetics were already marked way down so I ended up with three high-end items that would have totaled about a hundred bucks that with the gift card cost me FOUR DOLLARS. Euphoria! Then... THEN!!!... I remembered that a Dunkin Donuts had just opened in that mall! Guys, I mean, I was outta my mind with glee. The poor kid behind the counter must have thought I was high as I kite; I couldn't stop smiling. And of course I got the Swedish flag donut because I am just the kind of... hmm, shall we say effervescent? Yes, just the kind of effervescent girl they invented Swedish flag donuts for. And I think we can all agree that a solo lunch break doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Daily Jamie

December 23rd
December 24th
December 25th
December 27th

Söderköping Christmas 2014

We got home yesterday after a few days at Sarianne's celebrating Christmas and all of its traditions. Our annual walk around old Söderköping was made more exciting this year by a gang of hungry ducks who kind of loved us and our sacks of bread.
We drank glögg during Kalle Anka and tried to take an attractive family portrait in front of the tree. And per tradition, it wasn't the best. 
The annual cousin picture, however, went well and Sarianne and I got several successful shots. This one is the most fun, I think.
Santa came after the smorgåsbord, followed by a marathon package-opening sesh, followed by Jambo forsaking most of his new toys for a shipping box. So thanks, Grandma Jan, for the awesome box! 
I have to say it may have been the most fun Christmas I've had here so far. That's out of SIX, people! Six Swedish Christmases, how can it be? Lots of love and thanks to the Segerstens for hosting and making us so comfortable, and to my in-laws for the amazing food and everyone for being so generous. And, of course, a merry belated Christmas to my family overseas. Six holidays later and I'm still missing you like crazy.