The other day when we went over to Mama and Papa Swede's we took some family photos and this one has got to be my favorite of the bunch. I have never seen such open, yet pure and humble pride as from Papa Swede with his son and his son's son.
This evening some of our friends pulled some food and drinks together for dinner at our place. Andreas and Sara brought their three-year-old son Theo and three-week-old son Sam and Emil and Sophie (who are having their baby in October) brought Malte the dog and fixings for pizza. The guys made the pizzas in the kitchen while we ladies fed our babies and talked newborns. It was great that everyone helped to make it an easy evening for us. Plus I finally had an good reason to clean the house.
Today we got to introduce Jamie to some folks who have been waiting a long time to meet him. Gurra and Gunilla and Ingvor and Roland joined us at Mama and Papa Swede's and came bearing gifts, including an American flag that Jamie took up and began waving proudly. He was obviously waving it so enthusiastically that he eventually got tuckered out and ended up falling asleep with the thing in his arms.
Jamie got his first birthday present in the mail today, from Jesper and Isa's son and Jamie's future homie August. It came addressed to him and everything, with a note attached that read, "To little Jamie from August who wants to meet you when you become a bit bigger." Adorable! Inside was a cute jacket that will be the perfect size for him when the weather gets cool enough to use it. What a great friend that August is already!
Well, I've been a mom for four days now and I don't want to jinx myself or anything, but I'm having a great time. Sure, I'm not sleeping as much as before and there really isn't time to do anything except take care of Jamie (and blog a bit, obvs) but I'm enjoying it so much more than I expected. Maybe I'm still hopped up on those childbirth hormones. And surely the fact that he's the sweetest thing I've ever laid eyes on helps. But the biggest thing making these first poopy, milk-drenched, sleepless days so pleasant is that my husband is amazing. He's a grocery-shopping, laundry-folding, food- and beverage-serving machine. I don't know how single moms do this and I am so, so appreciative that I have such a supportive man in my life. If Jamie has made us a family like never before, The Swede has made us a team like never before.
Last night, our first night home with Jamie, we learned that we needed a couple of things from Ikea. A MUCH bigger trash can, for one thing, and a changing table for our poor aching backs. And so it was that Jamie Andersson was initiated as a true, blue (and yellow) Swede. Now he just needs his own bag.
You guys! Please just look at what The Swede and I made! Obviously he's the most perfect thing I've ever seen and I'm totally in love. I guess you probably figured during my absence over the weekend that he was on his way, but geez, that took a long time, am I right? We went in to the hospital for the first time on Thursday evening but they sent us home after a couple of hours to make some more progress and we were back in at lunchtime on Friday. Almost twenty-four hours later at 11:16 on Saturday morning, Baby Swede - Jamie, that is - was born and I just couldn't believe he was real. He weighed eight pounds even and was twenty and a half inches long and came out screaming. Jamie had a little jaundice, so we stayed two nights at the hospital's neonatal hotel while he got better. Then, this morning, we had a visit with the doctor who confirmed our suspicions that he is the most perfect human being ever born and sent us home. And now all I can do is wonder just how we could possibly be so blessed. I'll be back with more soon, but for now I need to go cuddle my new family.
Two weeks ago when we went to our appointment with the midwife, she scheduled a new appointment for the week after our due date. "Pssht," we said, "we're never going to make it to that." Well guess what? This morning The Swede and I showed up at the midwife appointment that never should have been. She assured us that we would have a baby this weekend, that my belly was lovely and that the baby was positioned just right so that the labor would be quick and easy. I was encouraged, but we still think she says that to all the girls. Oh, and we got a new appointment for Monday afternoon. Pssht.
There's a major golf competition going on at the ultra-swanky Bro Hof Slott club in our municipality this weekend and since many of the big stars of the sport are already in town to practice, The Swede and I headed over to check it out.
Bro Hof has got to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, sitting right on the shore of the Mälaren and with a castle for a clubhouse. It was a gorgeous day and there was a great atmosphere with players, spectators, vendors and the media all gearing up for the competition.
We walked around for hours and only stopped to watch some big golf celebs practice their driving and to inhale a much-needed meatball sandwich.
7:00 am - I wake up, still pregnant. I used to be able to sleep until 11:00 easily on a day off of work, but during the last nine months I've woken up early every morning starving for a piece of fruit or a bowl of cereal. Or two.
8:00 am - After a couple of nectarines, I go back to sleep for a little while until The Swede wakes up and starts playing with his iPhone. Between wanting to be nearby when the baby decides to show its face and the beast of a headache he's had for the past couple of days (stress perhaps?), he's decided not to go in to work today.
9:00 am - We have a typical Swedish breakfast together. Bread with butter, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers.
10:00 am - I sit around, delaying the walk I know I should take and drink a cup of coffee while catching up on Facie and my favorite bloggers.
11:00 am - Finally I take that walk. It's hot and there are already a couple of families out swimming and fishing in the lake. I wish I had my swimming suit on so I could hop in too.
12:00 noon - Finally getting my face on after a cold shower. It's not so nice to be waiting around for something to happen, but I sure can't deny the appeal of a leisurely morning like this one.
So, The Swede and I decided to try the old spicy food thing again today and swung by the local Thai place for lunch. I ordered something that had three chilli peppers next to it on the menu, but when we got it home The Swede didn't think it "looked" spicy enough. Next thing I know, I've turned my head for a second and he's dousing my lunch in chilli powder he found in the spice cabinet. Still and yet, it did not work.
Just checking in. It's been a lazy Sunday with lots of Amazing Race Australia episodes in bed, a long nap, a bath, a walk and a sick husband to tend to. And now we're being bad sports fans and planning to watch a movie during the World Cup Match. Good night, then, and I'll catch you tomorrow!
This evening Gurra and Gunilla invited us, along with Mama and Papa Swede, to dinner at their place. It was a welcome distraction and a great excuse not to make dinner. After the meal, we all gathered on the sofa to watch Sweden win third place in the Women's World Cup. The Swede and I were a little disappointed that it wouldn't be USA vs. Sweden in the final tomorrow, but third place ain't too shabby and the Americans are clearly going to win the whole thing so I'm satisfied.
We hiked up a mountain today. Some may call it a hill, but not me. First we walked along the lakeshore then through the woods to a mountain at the top of which was a pool built into stone tiles packed with trilobites and other fossils. It was majestic. Plus we got in a little practice with the new camera, taking no fewer than ninety-five pictures between us. I'm obviously sparing you. But please, I insist you savor at least these four.
We have waited for this day for so, so long but with just four hours left of July 14th I'm thinking it's not going to happen today. Every day this week The Swede has walked in the door after work and looked at me with such disappointment, as though I might have gone ahead and had the baby while he was on the job and forgot to call him. I'm getting a bit impatient too, I must admit, but I actually feel really good and I want little Baby Swede to take as much time as he or she needs. The waiting is only a problem for me for the three small reasons that follow: 3) I'm starting to get pretty bored and the house and yard are super clean, 2) it's awfully hard to sleep when you go to bed hoping to wake up in labor and it's impossible to get comfortable, and 1) being this close to meeting our fully-cooked, ready-to-cuddle baby with no idea when we'll actually be introduced is torturous. Maybe tomorrow, though, right?
Two years ago today I stepped off a plane at Arlanda and became a resident of Sweden. In honor of my Swediversary, I'm posting some pictures from my first week living here.
On my first full day here, The Swede took me to my first football match at Råsunda, the national stadium, to see AIK cream Göteborg. This was the beginning of an upswing in the season that ended with a legendary final match against the same team.
I was introduced to Swedish pizza and the fact that everyone gets their own. There's no splitsky when the crust is that thin. I was simultaniously introduced to the Swedes' love affair with béarnaise sauce , which is apparently good on anything.
The whole family pitched in to introduce me to my new home. Sarianne and I took the train into Stockholm and wandered around the city while she tried to teach me how to pronounce the word "sju". Still not sure if I'm getting it.
Our friends Jesper and Isa from Göteborg were also exploring Stockholm on their vacation that week so the four of us checked out the animals, history and Stockholm skyline at Skansen.
Captain Swede took me out on the great Lake Mälaren with Papa Swede's boat. I distinctly remember sitting on that boat and wondering how my life could possibly be this glamorous and exciting. And nothing has changed in two years. I'm still in awe of the sheer awesomeness of my life.
We just installed the car seat and I surely hope no one was watching because we probably looked like the two biggest fumbling, neurotic halfwits this side of the Atlantic. Guys, they make it seem simple by color-coding elements and using distinct clicking sounds so that you know when things are properly in place, but then they also let you know a couple thousand times in the product literature that your baby's life is in danger if you mess up a single thing in the installation, so the pressure is really on. After we were confident that the base was secure we practiced setting the carrier in it and taking it out (The Swede upped the ante by shouting out possible real-life scenarios: "The baby's screaming! I'm in a panic because I have to go to the bathroom!") and I am here to tell you that it is impossible to do singlehandedly. Needless to say, we are going to be a very tight-knit family who goes everywhere and does everything together. Because that's what our car seat demands of us.
I said, "Hey, babe, you know how I'm pregnant? And how I'm not going to be pregnant for much longer? And how, who knows if I'll ever be pregnant again? And you know how I love Serrano? And how happy you would make me if you took me there even though it's far away and the parking is super inconvenient? You do? Okay, just checking."
Today is Mama and Papa Swede's 35th wedding anniversary! I feel so grateful and priviledged to be part of the family that their love created and to be a witness to this couple who, after all these years, are still clearly having a blast together.
We were in real vacation mode today, my husband and I. The Swede woke up at 7:00 am and headed out to the golf course with a couple of his buddies while I luxuriated in bed for a couple, okay, make that a few more hours with the air conditioner a'blowin'. I stayed in my jammies and caught up on my Facebooking for a good long while after that and took my time getting showered and putting my face on and whatnot so that I was barely ready when The Swede came home in the early afternoon and suggested we head over to the fishing cabin and take a dip in the lake. I was all over it, wanting desperately both a break from the heat and the sensation of being weightless and it was just as nice as I had hoped. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the sun, The Swede helping his folks cut down some overgrown branches and me dozing on a towel while my swimming suit dried out, and finished the day with a pizza dinner picked up from a nearby restaurant. And now we're sprawled out on the couch, totally worn out from too much time in the sun and with no plans for tomorrow except to wait.
Well, it's the first day of the supposed last week of this pregnancy and there isn't much left to say. On one hand it feels like I've been waiting forever to meet this baby and on the other it seems the last 39 weeks have flown by. Either way I look at it, though, I'm just glad that this baby and I made it all this way together so that it's big and strong when it's ready to come out. Hopefully this time next week I'll be posing with our baby in my arms instead. And then my husband, the photographer, can really go wild with the artistic angles and whatnot.
Swedes in general aren't a very prideful bunch, but they know when they've got something good going on. That's why you'd never buy nor be served a strawberry that came from any other country. Swedish strawberries really are the best and they're ridiculously easy to come by this time of year, with roadside stands selling pints for about the equivalent of $4. I don't know what a pint of strawberries is currently going for in the States, but I do remember that whatever I've ever paid there always felt like too much once I got them home and found that half of them were bruised or moldy or just totally rotten. I have never found a single bad Swedish strawberry in the many pints that I've purchased so far this summer, and therein lies the value. Also, the Swedish word for strawberry is jordgubbe, which means little old earth man and that's super cute, right?
Last night The Swede took me out for what will probably be our last date as non-parents. What a crazy, terrifying, exciting thought. We went all out with appetizers and after-dinner cappuccino and lingered there a nice long while before heading home to watch 127 Hours. We enjoyed our uninterrupted evening the way only non-parents can: no doubt totally underappreciating it's value.
I finally got to meet Linda's beautiful new baby Sukai today and oh my goodness, what a sweetie! Linda looks well-rested and fantastic, really better than ever, especially when she's holding this little doll. Makes me even more anxious to meet my own.
This morning I posted a status update on Facebook asking for suggestions for how to induce labor so that I could do my part to get that Independence Day baby we've been hoping for. As a result, I've spent my day walking up and down the stairs and around the grocery store and our hilly neighborhood (at least as much as I had the energy for) and I'm having spicy beef teriyaky and pineapple for dinner. I haven't done any yard work, however, nor do I dare try castor oil, which is apparently super effective but also super gross. I won't be too upset if none of this works, though, as there are still eleven days till my due date and I figure little Baby Swede will decide when he or she is done cooking. And I like pineapple anyway.