Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Little End-of-November Update

Oh boy, you guys, I am really sorry. The blogging is bad, but life is good. Jamie is in a particularly harmonious period and it's a treat to be around him. He's smart and funny and The Swede and I find ourselves shaking our heads over how wonderful he is and how proud and lucky we are that he's ours. Speaking of The Swede, my heart still skips a beat when I see him. He still surprises me with brilliant and hilarious comments; it's no wonder his son is becoming such a clever, entertaining person. Our home is all decorated for Christmas already, so even though it's dark by three in the afternoon, paper star lanterns and candles and strings of lights are illuminating our little house. There's a dusting of snow on the ground and the ice will be forming on the lakes soon, so it's the most hopeful time of year for my husband. We had a beautiful First Advent service at church on Sunday, complete with a children's choir and singers from several other choirs in our community, including yours truly. The Swede and Jamie came and listened and I'm hoping it was a first step toward getting Jamie to sing in the children's choir when he gets older. Oh, and Jamie has enthusiastically watched The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and Berenstain Bears Christmas  with me! Next up: Charlie Brown, Sesame Street, GarfieldClaymation, Muppets, and best (yet hardest to sell) of all, Emmet Otter. Indeed, it is a hopeful time of your for us all.

Daily Jamie

November 22nd
November 25th
November 27th
November 17th
November 18th
November 19th
November 20th
November 21st 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Daily Jamie

November 15th

Emelie's Salon

I had booked a trim with my hairdresser for next week, but cancelled it yesterday when I looked at my bank account and realized I'm broke as a joke. Good thing I have a brave colleague who volunteered to bring in her hair scissors and trim my split ends! She did it in five minutes during our lunch break and had so much fun that she literally giggled the whole time. Poor Andreas will never take a scissor to my head again.

Monday, November 14, 2016

One For The Books

Oh, you guys. The Swede and I just enjoyed a weekend at our favorite hotel in Dalarna and I cannot even tell you how amazing it was. But I'll try. 
We dropped Jambo off with Mama and Papa Swede and cousin Anne and took the afternoon off of work on Friday so that we would arrive before it got dark (it's about a three-hour drive and the sun is setting before three thirty these days). We checked in, threw our bags in our room, and headed to the spa. It was packed, but still amazing to just relax and go by our own schedule.
On Saturday morning, it was six degrees Fahrenheit but the sun was shining so we took a walk around Tällberg. It was the first time I'd ever seen it in winter, besides just passing through, and it took my breath away, just like it always does in the summertime. We spent the rest of the day at the spa, reading magazines and relaxing in the hot tubs and sauna. The Swede and his parents had booked a facial/full-body treatment/massage for my birthday and it was beyond words. I felt very spoiled.
The whole weekend had us both feeling spoiled, in fact. We ate really good food and held uninterrupted conversations and slept late and it was kind of one of the best things we've ever done. 
By Sunday morning we were really missing Jambo, though, so we hit the road earlier than we expected and surprised him. He hugged us so tight when he saw us that it just made the whole weekend that much better. I feel so lucky, my friends. So very, very lucky.

Daily Jamie

November 13th

Friday, November 11, 2016

Daily Jamie

November 9th
November 10th

My Life Flows On In Endless Song, Above Earth's Lamentations

On Wednesday morning when I woke up and turned on the TV (we discovered this week that we get CNN) things were looking grim. I went on with my routine and when I finally opened the curtains there was well over a foot of snow on the ground and it was still coming down. It was breathtaking in its beauty, but wildly inconvenient for traffic. My twenty-minute commute turned into an hour, at the end of which Swedish public radio announced that America's next president had been chosen. That night I had choir practice and I was remembering 9/11, when I was at Marietta College and all classes had been cancelled - except choir practice. The conductor said that this is when we need to sing most of all. I'll never forget that. The weather prevented all but a handful from attending practice on Wednesday, but I was there. I needed to sing.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Daily Jamie

November 2nd
November 3rd
November 5th
November 6th

Grease Monkeys

One thing that's kind of a pain about Sweden is that they don't have all-weather tires and you have to, by law, change to studded tires between the first of December and end of March and up to a month longer on either end if the weather requires it. With a forecast of snow and below-freezing temperatures this past week, we had to get on top of things and change the tires on both of our cars. Thankfully we had help.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fall At Steninge Slott

Oh my gosh, we had the best weekend! Saturday was full of Halloween fun in addition to Jamie's usual morning gymnastics class, and I also spent a few hours rehearsing with my choir in preparation for Sunday's concert.
Before the concert, though, The Swede and Jamie and I drove out to Steninge Slott, a beautiful little Baroque palace with lovely grounds made even lovelier by the fall colors and the gradually sinking sun shining through the trees. It was a perfect, crisp fall day and we were all glad to be outside, particularly after the cloudy month that was October. 
There was a lot of exploring, and we played tag, and, of course, a little Pokémon Go. 

Daily Jamie

October 30th
November 1st

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Daily Jamie

October 26th
October 27th
October 29th

Goal: Reached

I don't want to say that I was single-handedly responsible; I suppose social media played a part. But Halloween is HUGE now in Sweden. There's a lot of confusion about when it falls, but otherwise they're starting to get a hang of it. In fact, Jamie was invited to a classmate's house for a party today and it was impeccable. The place was decorated to the nines and the kid's mom made some seriously amazing cakes and cookies. One thing I noticed (and prayed Jamie didn't) was that all of the other kids were wearing scary costumes like vampires and skeletons while he was a Charizard Pokémon (painstaking and costly costume courtesy of Mama Swede and me), so that's a big difference from the American tradition. After the party, all hopped up on sugar, we decided that we may as well trick-or-treat this evening since our neighborhood Facebook group hasn't been able to agree on when it should happen. So after dark we headed out with Axel and his cousin and their moms and hit up their classmates' houses and got quite a load of candy. Tomorrow morning I'm going to Jimmy Kimmel him and I CAN'T WAIT. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pride And Joy

They switched to new portraits on the cubbies at Jamie's school, so I got to take the old one. I've plastered my cube with pictures of him already, but this one really tugs at the ol' heartstrings.

This morning I asked him who the coolest mom is. He got quiet for a second, got tears in his eyes, and answered earnestly, "All moms are created equal." I suppose that's the only answer better than the one I was fishing for.

Daily Jamie

October 14th
October 15th
October 16th

Coffee Game

Starbucks is regularly taunting me with stunning travel mugs. I suppose the only downside to a Starbucks opening near my office (I'm so thrilled that I don't even count my dwindling bank account as a downside) is that I've had to talk myself out of buying a new, gorgeous mug every week or so due to the fact that I already had one. It wasn't the greatest and leaked a bit sometimes, and it didn't keep my coffee warm for very long at all because it was plastic, but it got the job done. Then, right before I went to Cleveland, it broke! I was so excited! Finally I could justify a new one! But while I was in the States, I didn't find one I liked enough to invest in. I was disappointed, but figured I could wait until one really caught my eye back in Sweden. It didn't take long. Last week, only a couple of days after I got back, I saw this beaut practically singing my name from the shelf at my local coffee shop. And it's not just pretty, with it's copper finish and watercolor motif. It has fewer parts to wash and the metal keeps my coffee warm for upwards of THREE HOURS. Between this lovely thing and the jug of Coffeemate I brought back from Cleveland, I'd say my morning java's got game.

Daily Jamie

October 9th
October 11th

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Daily Jamie

Scott Gaines A Kate

This past weekend in Cleveland, one of my very best friends got married to her dream man and I felt so fortunate to not only be there for the wedding, but also to perform the ceremony. The event began on Friday morning with manicure and pedicures for the bridal party. We were all besides ourselves over seeing one another and laughed for hours while we got pampered.
The rehearsal went off without a hitch on Friday afternoon and afterward we had cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at a swanky Little Italy restaurant. It was an early evening, which was important since we needed plenty of sleep before the big day.
Preparations began at eight on Saturday morning. Kate had gotten matching robes for me and the two bridesmaids so we all felt pretty even before we got our hair done and put our faces on. Kate was super chill and we were able to take our time getting ready, just laughing and crying, eating pizza and drinking the bottle of Dom Perignon Kate's husband-to-be sent up to our suite.
A couple of hours before the ceremony, the photographer came and snapped some shot of us getting ready, then took the wedding party around to some of the most beautiful University Circle locations for the formal photos. Cary's husband Rich came along to carry extra shoes, bags, and flowers, and also to play Pokémon Go.
Don't I have the prettiest friends with the prettiest little sisters?
It had been raining all week but cleared up fifteen minutes before the ceremony, which was outside on the lawn at Glidden House, started. Kate walked down the aisle to a string quartet looking as stunning as I've ever seen her. "This is so much fun!" she said, as she walked toward Scott, on her dad's arm. The ceremony went well and felt almost like a conversation between Kate, Scott, their guests, and me. There was lots of laughter and a few tears and I got goosebumps over how perfect they are for each other. Afterwards, I breathed a sigh of relief that my part was over and grabbed an Autumn Bourbon, their signature cocktail from the bar.
Mom and I drove all over town to find a clutch, then Kate ended up lending me this stunner that had belonged to her grandma.
After the cocktail hour, we headed indoors to a gorgeous banquet. The food was amazing, the speeches were heartfelt, and the bluegrass band was kickin'.
Later in the evening, when the band had finished their set, most of the guests moved outside to the patio where the band and string quartet had gotten together and started jamming. I'm not sure if it was planned or not, but it was one of the coolest things I can imagine happening at a wedding and everybody loved it.
The last portion of the evening began at eleven when a shuttle came to pick up guests and take them to Happy Dog, a bar and music venue that happens to serve delicious hot dogs. There was a tater-tot and hot dog buffet that rocked my world, and a really laid-back atmosphere, and it was the perfect end to one of the best days of my life.