Okay, so since Halloween is officially a thing this year and we have been expecting actual trick-or-treaters, Jamie and I decided to go all-out on the decorations. We made giant spiders out of balls and pipe cleaners, spread spider web all over our bushes, cut a jack-o-lantern, turned an old pillowcase into a ghost, and made the front door into a monster. Jamie doesn't dare knock on our neighbors' doors and say "bus-eller-godis" (the tragically alliteration-free direct translation of trick-or-treat) so we're staying in and trying to spook the neighbor kids. We've already had a few visitors and it's not even five o'clock yet! And of course, between rings from the doorbell, we're participating in the classic tradition of making ourselves sick by dipping into the candy bowl.
This week is fall break for students so Sarianne and Magnus sent their girls up to spend the week with Mama and Papa Swede. Before they invaded my in-laws', though, we got them all to ourselves Saturday night and this morning. Jamie was in heaven. They built forts, played video games, cuddled, and even made me breakfast in bed!
Elin is thirteen now and has grown into such a lady. She has incredible manners and was so helpful with the kids and cleaning up after breakfast and whatnot. She's also the first to look over and roll her eyes when one of the smaller kids says or does something ridiculous, which I love. Last night, when we were putting Jamie and Julia to bed, Jamie said that he wanted to lay between two grown-ups. I said that The Swede was putting Julia to bed so he couldn't come and Jambo answered that he meant me and Elin. It's true, she's much more adult than kid now and, even though I didn't have anything to do with it, I'm so proud of the woman she's becoming.
A couple of gourds have been the extent of my Halloween decorating in years past, but the holiday is becoming a bit of a thing over here so Jambo and I decided to kick it up a notch this year. We picked out a pumpkin together at a farm, decorated it with glitter, and set it outside by the mailbox so all of our neighbors can see how glitzy we are in this family. We saved the big project for the inside, though. Over the past three evenings, we've painted, decorated, and hung nine toilet-paper-roll bats. We got a little creative with the colors, did a special certain-football-team-themed bat for papa, and hung them upside-down despite my aesthetic sensibilities because, well, as Jamie reminded me, "bats hang upside-down". I didn't think Jamie was that into crafts, but this one took a great deal of commitment from the little guy and we had a lot of fun, so who knows? It may become a bit of a thing over here.
I stumbled across excellent blog post on Facebook the other day. If you've been following along here for the past six years (SIX YEARS!!!) you've read about almost all of this already, but this post is a great summary of what life is like for a young family living in Sweden. So read it, get hankering to visit, then do it. We'll light the candles, put the cinnamon buns in the oven, and wait for you.
A few weeks ago I bought a package of Lipton French onion soup mix at the American food store. There are plenty of chip dips here in Sweden (more than I'm aware of in America I'd even venture to say) but nothing that tastes just like Lipton dip. I typically only ever ate it at my grandparents' so buying some here when I was able to find it felt like a really good six dollar investment in nostalgia. I made The Swede his own dip for tonight's fredagsmys so he wouldn't eat up all of mine, but I did insist he test it. As luck would have it, Lipton dip is apparently the only American food that isn't totally awesome so I get to keep it all to myself. In fact, The Swede disliked it so much that he covered and marked the bowls before putting them in the fridge.
We just got back from the cabin where, among other outdoor activities, The Swede and the kids built a fort at the edge of the woods on our property. Julia had been talking about it for months, but Elin and Jamie got into it most of all. They set up chairs and a bed made from stumps and scrap wood and even got a bucket of water and mopped all the surfaces. I can't wait to see how it comes together and watch their imaginations turn it into all kinds of places. The fort my family built in the forest when I was a kid (seen below in an unfortunately double-exposed photo from circa 1992) was the site of many hours of creative play. Ours was pretty badass in comparison to the one at Molsta, but to be fair my parents had the very practical experience of having actually lived in the woods at one point, so it's really no contest.