Last Thursday, when I arrived at work, The Swede told me that he had a crazy idea. He thought that we should wrap up a couple of things at the office, go home and pack a weekend bag, pick up Jambo at preschool, then head up to the mountains. He had had a significant birthday earlier in the week, so saying no was out of the question. Six hours later we were in Sälen.
We stayed at a lodge in the same area I'd been with work just a few weeks earlier, close to restaurants, the water park, and the lifts. Jamie put on downhill skis for the first time in his life and was AWESOME! I expected a lot of falling and whining, but he was so cool, just gliding along like he'd been skiing all his life. The Swede is a good teacher, to be fair.
The Swede was also awesome, obviously, and rocked the dang slopes with his stylish outfit.
We skied both Friday and Saturday, but also squeezed in two trips to the water park, three after ski parties, a couple rounds of bowling, a visit to the lodge's playland, some gaming, lots of relaxation, and plenty of good food. Also, we slept a lot because we were all pooped at the end of three busy days.
Not only did Jamie kick my butt at skiing, he was a significantly better bowler. Good thing I hadn't much ego to speak of to begin with.
For the second year in a row, our husbands headed north for the Easter weekend ice-fishing trip, but Mama Swede and I weren't just hanging around at home this year. Back in January, she and I and Jamie booked tickets to visit Annemor and Matt at their home outside of London for the holiday. We arrived on Thursday night and left Sunday morning, but managed to pack a lot of fun into just two days.
Annemor and Matt live very close to Windsor, so we went to feed the Queen's swans and check out the castle.
The inside of Windsor Castle was closed to the public when we arrived, but we were able to walk the grounds to our hearts' content.
It wasn't super warm when we were there, but it had been for weeks so everything was green and blooming. I'd say they are a good two months ahead of us, weather-wise.
Obviously I was obsessed with St. George's Chapel with it's gorgeous architecture and intricate stained glass windows.
Annemor planned a tour on an amphibious bus that was a big hit. Picture Jamie and me waving like crazy at everyone we passed while Mama Swede pretended she didn't know us.
We did some shopping, of course, but mostly just relaxed around the house, which was perfect. Jamie became best friends with Annemor and Matt's cat, Poppet, and terrorized her the whole time we were there. She never ran away, though, and indeed seemed kind of into his petting her backwards and flashing a laser in her face.
It was such a cozy weekend, and while it went by quickly, it really felt like quality time and I'm so glad we went.
Last Thursday, our company took a trip up to Sälen! It was actually only 75% of the company because several people were unable to make it, including The Swede, who was busy terrorizing perch at the ice-fishing national championship. Aside from the major bummer of that very bad timing, though, it was an amazing weekend.
Despite growing up in the Rockies, I'd only put on skis one other time in my life, when I was in grade school. It was not a hit, but this time I was determined to give it a shot. I was not good, you guys. In fact, I won a prize for how terrible I was after I crashed into and did a somersault over a snowman-shaped slalom obstacle on the kiddie slope. After a few hours, though, I had gotten it down enough that I started to actually enjoy myself, and I'm kinda itching to try it again. Hopefully the feeling won't wear off during the eight months until skiiing will even be possible again.
We spent a lot of time partying it up and also taking it easy in cozy cabins. We all ate breakfast together, grilled hot dogs for lunch, went swimming at the indoor water park, had a beer tasting, danced, chillaxed, and even snuck in some business development brainstorming sessions.
On the last night, a bus came to pick us up about an hour before sundown and drove us to a snowmobile safari. We rode deep into the moutains (well, hills... remember the Rockies?) to a cabin without electricity and running water where we were served fondue by candlelight. Afterwards we all hopped into a big sleigh and a snowmobile pulled us back down to civilization. Because we were so far from anything, it was pitch black and the sky sparkled with stars. It was all pretty magical.
Nothing compared to the hug I got when I went to pick up Jamie from Mama Swede's on Sunday afternoon, though. The Swede came home from the championship late Sunday night having achieved a solid result during the first competition and fifth place during the second. Oh, and you can call me aunt of Sweden's Bronz Medalist in the young ladies category: Elin! Julia also competed and came in sixth and I'm so impressed that both girls even competed. This family is making waves in the ice-fishing community, guys.
Last Thursday, The Swede and I went out to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary! We ate a ten-course meal at an amazing restaurant thanks to a generous gift card from Kate and Scott, and stayed the night at the Hilton. We had taken Friday off of work, so we had time to kill in the morning and decided to take a walk through Gamla Stan, the oldest neighborhood in Stockholm. When we went past the royal palace, who should we see, but a chain gang in HOT PINK! This was my favorite of all the TeenyTiny Cons I've seen in Sweden so far.