Today is Ossian's second birthday! Erin is on parental leave, of course, and Svante took the day off, and they were nice enough to invite Jamie and me to join them at an awesome play land on the south side to celebrate. There was everything two toddlers could have wanted and more and while the boys mostly played by themselves or with us grown-ups, they did have some nice chats with each other during lunch and the fika. Plus I got to hold the new baby, a soft and cuddly delight who didn't make a single peep the entire time we were there. I sure hope Ossian enjoyed his birthday as much as we did.
I typically avoid giveaways because I HATE clutter, but if it's a good one I'll get just as excited as the next guy. Such was the case with this free plastic lamb that came with paint pots and a brush when I purchased a pack of Lambi toilet paper. I needed the TP anyway and Jamie needed something to do so it was the perfect giveaway. On a side note, I'm getting much better at sitting on my hands when Jamie's gettin' artsy. My eye only twitched a little bit as I supervised this scene.
This was the final competition in a successful ice-fishing season for The Swede. Final because, as you can see, even the puddles aren't frozen anymore. It's been above freezing for weeks, but these dudes keep pushing it, insisting that a jet could land on an eighth of an inch of ice but forgetting to reason about the jet being in motion and the distribution of weight. I think the old-timer who stepped through the ice and soaked his leg today might have signaled that it's time to pack up the fish stank till next year.
Another item crossed off the bucket list this week: sing with a choir again. I haven't done it since college and I've missed it so, so much. Every few months since I arrived in Sweden I've googled around, trying to find a local choir to join, but never feeling confident enough to actually contact any for an audition. Then, a few weeks ago, Mama Swede put me in touch with a friend of the family who has been singing in the local choir for year and she, in turn, put me in touch with the director. After a couple of chats over the phone, he invited me to come and listen to a rehearsal and audition afterwards. It was the scariest thing I've done in a long, long time, but when they handed me a score and let me join in I was pleased to find that I could still read music and still loved the feeling of singing with a group. The audition afterwards went well and they gave me a spot! Now I get to live one of my dreams every Wednesday!
Since I'll be doing some international traveling this year, I decided to take advantage of that new dual citizenship thing and get a Swedish passport. It should make flying back to Sweden go a tad smoother, plus I feel fancy with my new EU passport and all of its awesome security features including a window in one page that makes the stuff on each facing page dance around when you move it. It was kinda surreal, though, when I picked it up and checked to make sure all the info was correct and almost went back into the police station to tell them that they had mistakenly listed my nationality as Swedish. I guess it's just semantics, but citizenship seems like less of a big deal than nationality. Also surreal: it only took three days to get it. That's when it's good to be a Swede.
Last July when The Swede and I spent eight hours on a boat on the Göta Canal we made a bucket list, that is, a list of a bunch of things we want to do. I guess you could say before we kick the bucket, but that sounds grim, so we'll just think of it as a lifetime to-do list. Since we share a lot of the same hopes and dreams and also share a life together, we made a shared list. There were, however, a few things that were more personal. I am not particularly interested in attending the Ryder Cup, for example, and The Swede was not super into the tandem bike idea (though he will have to give in someday as his participation is required). I've been trying to really take the bull by the horns with this list and was able to cross an item off last night when I went into the city after work and got a professional makeup consultation. As anyone who knows me or has been around the blog for awhile knows, I am a big time makeup enthusiast but not especially skilled at using it. I got some great tips last night and the artist did a day and party look on me, so that I could see her techniques in action. I did feel craaaaazy made-up afterwords and had to take a baby wipe to the collar of my coat when I got home, but I had so much fun and loved having finally done something I've dreamed of.
"Don't mind me, just taking about a thousand selfies here at the bus stop."
Valentine's Day still isn't a big deal here, but we thought it might be nice to spend yesterday evening with some folks we love. To that end, we met up with The Swede's folks and Ingvor and Roland at our favorite local restaurant and had a lovely candlelit dinner. Mama and Pappa Swede had come with a Valentine in the form of box of candies and a teddy bear for Jamie, both of which went over very well. We even continued the love fest back at their place with heart-shaped chocolates and balloons and a little FaceTime action with cousin Julia. A happy Valentine's Day indeed.
Things have been pretty slow around here, as evidenced by my recent lack of posting and this picture of my lunch. I am scraping the bottom of the blog barrel here in the name of regularity and the result is quantity over quality. But anyway. The Swede and I have been watching Breaking Bad… finally. I have no valid excuse to offer for the delay but we have now gotten the memo and the memo says that it's nothing short of magnificent. I have never seen such well-developed characters and that's coming from a Mad Men lover. But I digress. In one scene, the main character, Walter White, is making himself a sandwich to take to work for lunch and The Swede commented how weird Americans are that we can just eat a sandwich and call it lunch. A sandwich is breakfast or a snack here. And danged if I didn't suddenly love the idea of eating sandwiches for lunch. So I bought a loaf of bread and some avocados and lunchmeat and even found French's mustard, threw a pickle on the side, and called it the best lunch I've had in a while. Because, Swedish citizenship aside, I am still a weird American.
So, Elin has, I think, five different Instagram accounts, one of which is called makeup_tiiips and has, as of today, five hundred and sixty-six followers. That's a heck of a lot of tweens who like makeup, or at least the makeup tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiips of other Instagram-lovin' tweens. She shares the account with a friend and several weeks ago they decided to ask their audience to apply for three open roles as administrators with posting rights. Sarianne basically forced me to apply and I imagine the competition was fierce so I was secretly thrilled that they selected me and pretended that Sarianne didn't also force them. I've posted three makeup tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiips, the latest of which was this Essie Fiji and L'Oreal Gold Leaf nail polish combo, and I am a total psycho about it, checking in on how many likes I've gotten several times a day. My name is Mara and I am a tween.
Sarianne and Elin came up to Stockholm today, the former for some sort of conference for famous bloggers and the latter to go shopping with yours truly. And, you know, to hang with her uncle and cousin. Since The Swede was sick at home and Jamie was in a great mood so we took advantage of our freedom and indulged ourselves with a couple of treats I'm quite sure wouldn't have been appreciated by my husband. First, a frozen yogurt bar where we could pick as many flavors and toppings as we wanted. Jamie inhaled his and insisted I buy him another and because I'm an awesome mom/pushover, I did. Then, after some intense makeup shopping in Sephora, we were thirsty so I suggested we try bubble tea. I've had it before and loved it but this version was not great and I felt pretty bad for Elin, trying to be polite and choking it down. She had a great attitude, though, and admitted that at least it was a new experience. And something for the blog, of course.
It happens every time I'm home for an extended period of time, in this case last week when Jamie was sick: I just gotta do something about that caulk. Or the arrangement of my bedroom furniture. Or the chipping paint on the trim. Or getting Jamie's room set up with a big boy bed. The seeds of home improvement projects, big and small, have a way of sprouting when I have time on my hands to really eyeball the terrible job I did last time I caulked the bathroom, for example. So yesterday, after a hard day of helping the customer win at the office, I scraped out the old caulk and prepped the bathroom for today's job of laying down the new stuff. It was not glamorous, but because I researched the task heavily this time it went a lot smoother and I did not hate every second of it. You know, the way I usually do when I'm doing anything un-glamorous. I have a short list of other things I'd like to do before Selah and Andy's visit it May and thanks to Jamie's cold, plenty of motivation to tackle them.
Jamie wisely planned a late nap so that he would be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the beginning of this year's Melodifestivalen song contest at eight o'clock tonight. And it's a good thing he made sure he was well-rested as he needed all kinds of energy for all of the dancing he did throughout.