Can you even believe that another year has come and gone? It's been a really, really good one, with thousands of moments when I couldn't believe my luck that I'm living this life and loving these people.
In January we got outside and took advantage of the cold by walking on the frozen lake in our backyard.
In February we celebrated Ossian's first birthday and shook our heads over how quickly time had passed.
In March Sarianne invited me along on a weekend event for bloggers much more popular than I am and we enjoyed some major fun, relaxation, and goodie bags.
In April it started to warm up, which meant we got to go outside and enjoy the summer cabin at Molsta.
In May we went to Kolmården zoo and stayed at the hotel there with Erin, Svante, and Ossian. It was a blast and we hope to make it an annual tradition.
In June we celebrated a warm and beautiful Midsummer at Molsta, complete with all the traditional trimmings.
In July Jamie turned two and we celebrated by taking the whole month off of work and school!
We spent the month traveling around Sweden, taking it easy and even went to the States where we spent lots of time with Cleveland friends and family.
In August Jamie got to hang with HIS friends back at school and on the weekends.
In September I went back to Cleveland for a conference and stayed an extra day to hang with Mom and Ray and my grandparents.
Jamie's Christmas present from his mama was this handmade teepee from Etsy shop LoveLimeKids. He's in a big hiding phase, so I thought it would be a hit. Also, if his stuff is going to be taking up my whole living room, I'mma need some of it to be attractive.
We're back home after a wonderful Christmas at The Segerstens. We did all the traditional stuff: rice porridge for breakfast, a walk around Söderköping complete with some last-minute grocery shopping and a chat with the local ducks...
…there were family portraits taken that will never hang on the wall after an outstanding Julbord courtesy of Mama Swede...
...Santa came and terrified/enthralled we four youngest, and many, many presents were opened and tested. I called my mom later that night and even got a rare and much appreciated Skype call from my brother on Christmas day, plus messages from my dad and sister. It was a great Christmas, full of fun, free of stress and I am so thankful for my Swedish family for this holiday and for the rest of my family for the ways you showed your love from far away.
We arrived in Söderköping yesterday and got started with the fun and coziness straight away. The kids decorated the tree and lay out all the presents, Sarianne and I did some last minute shopping, and we ate pizza and played games. Jamie also indulged in a heck of a lot of chocolate resulting in a tearful eleven o'clock bedtime. Today we slept in, ate lunch at the local hamburger joint, tested our patience with the kids at the dollar store, took naps, rolled meatballs, ate Mama Swede's awesome annual turkey, and now we're getting ready to play some more games. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and will be even more fun-filled. So far it's been a great Christmas vacation.
We went to the mall first thing this morning to get Jamie's hair cut before our trip to Söderköping tomorrow. I think it may have been the first time Jamie had been to a mall since he's been big enough to walk, so being stroller-free was pretty exciting. He was like Buddy the Elf except MORE enthusiastic. When we ushered him into the car-shaped barber chair, however, things took a turn for the dramatic. He was very, very sad to sit there, guys. The barber worked incredibly fast, though, and we were outta there with a new style and a dab of cool-dude gel within five minutes, free to explore the mall even further.
My criteria for whether or not I should post music on the blog is very specific. First, can I imagine my mom playing it over and over again for the next several weeks while dancing around the house and second, would my grandma not be totally turned off by it. (I knew Grandma Joyce had great taste when she fell as hard for MmmBop as I did back in '97, but she is still of another generation. Obviously, or her name wouldn't be Grandma.) I've had some success with this method and I LOVE getting an email from Mom thanking me for introducing her to a great tune or from Grandma letting me know that it made her smile. This one I'm not quite sure about. I've been loving the song for a couple of months but only got around to watching the video, which I happen to really like, today. I have no idea how these two feel about hiphop, the genre that makes ME smile the most, but this is so near pop on the hiphop spectrum that I'm giving it a shot. And I hope the rest of you like it, too!
I picked up our Christmas package from Mom and Ray today and was so excited that I ripped it open in the parking lot of the post office. They usually pack some candy so I was on a mission to find something tasty. I did - meringues!!! - but my present had also managed to break free from its wrapping paper (I SWEAR THIS IS THE TRUTH) and so I felt obliged to take it out of the package and start using it right away. It's my favorite lotion to use around Christmastime so I was very happy that the USPS manhandled the shipment enough to shake it free for me in advance of the actual holiday. I smelled like a cupcake (and let's be honest, probably meringues) all day long.
I fell asleep for three hours just now while putting Jamie to bed. My biological clock woke me, however, with two messages: first) don't even THINK about going to sleep for the night without washing your face, and second) you'd probably ought to write something on that blog of yours. So dedicated is my subconscious to my beauty routine and my loving readers. Now, freshly-scrubbed and with a cop-out of a post published, I will go finish what I started.
What a quiet, lovely weekend we just had! It started with an early morning workout for The Swede, during which I baked scones for the first time ever, with much success, if I do say so myself. I was inspired by Erin, who bakes them every Saturday morning and I'm so glad I decided to copy her because I mess up baking less often than cooking and that is good for my self esteem.
When The Swede got home we hopped into the car then parked far away from the AIK team shop so that we were forced to take a long, cozy walk next to the lake in our old neighborhood to get to AIK's family day. Jamie picked out a couple of t-shirts all by himself, which made The Swede very proud, then we flirted with the cuddly mascot until we actually got close to him and then one of us got super duper shy and clingy. The picture says it all. Later we wrapped Christmas presents and all crammed into our bed for the night at eight thirty. Bliss, in other words.
Then today Linda brought her girls over to do crafts and drink glögg and eat gingerbread cookies with blue cheese (it sounds crazy, Americans, I know, but trust me on this one). It was so fun to have them over and for Jamie to have friends to jump on the furniture with. We even managed to make some great-looking smällkarameller and paper wreaths. It's been so nice just to be at home and not have anywhere else to be and it's really making me look forward to this year's long Christmas break. Just one more week of work and we're off until January!
Victoria's Secret is super popular over here. It doesn't exist here, except for a small shop in the international terminal at the airport, but it is a sought-out destination for the Swedish ladies traveling abroad. In fact, I've even seen chicks bearing Victoria's Secret bags as their carry-on on flights from Chicago or New York back to Stockholm. And while VS is by no means cheap by my old American standards, by Swedish standards their products are not only exotic, but reasonably priced. All of this explains why the panties-and-perfumed-lotion sales event I went to last Friday with Mama Swede and Gunilla at the local beauty salon was so heavily attended. A lady with an American husband had apparently brought back what I estimate as a ten-thousand-dollar investment in Victoria's Secret products for resale over here (at about a 150% markup, naturally) and it was a hit. The small shop was a cloud of perfume and Swedish babes sipping champagne. But who was the expert, I ask you? This dork, who had tested-driven it all on American soil and found it worthy of my Friday night and my Swedish kronor.