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.
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.
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.
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.
My mom got a new dog and it hates me. It barked at me every time I made a move or opened my mouth. I do not approve. I do, however, approve of my stepdad's new recliner, so there's balance in their household.
Just a few days after we arrived home from Gran Canaria, I hopped on a plane to Cleveland for my friend Kate's wedding. The best time of year to be in the States, in my opinion, is fall, mostly because of the plethora of pumpkin spice products to be taken in. I usually forget about actual pumpkins, however. Not this time, though!
Mom wanted to get a couple of giant ones to put by her front door, so we went to Szalay's farmers market and it was just overwhelming. I'm such a loser, I didn't take any pictures of all of the wonderful time I spent with my mom and stepdad and grandparents (though I suppose that means I was enjoying myself too much to bother with my camera), but I dang well snapped two dozen shots of pumpkins. Sorry!
Woo, boy, you guys! I've been hopping all over hemispheres in the past couple of weeks and it has not been conducive to blogging, let me tell you. With my most sincere apologies, I'd like to get you caught up.
The traveling began in mid-September with a trip to Gran Canaria with Erin's family. We had been talking about our families doing a week-long vacay together for years and this year it just seemed right. We went back to the same resort we stayed at last year, where Erin and her boys had also been last January, so we both knew that it would be perfect.
And it was. We had long, lazy days of perfect weather by the pool, followed by wild, stressful dinners with three preschoolers...
...followed by beers and sangria.
The little boys got along great and spent a ton of time in the pool and at the outdoor gym. Jamie even learned how to swim!
Erin and I are already thick as thieves, obviously, but it was awesome to see The Swede and Svante bond, over, among other things, their total geekiness. Here they are using engineering and statistics to figure out how to win a prize from a machine:
The days blended into each other and it all passed so quickly and seemed like we were back on the plane home as soon as we had arrived. It was unforgettable and definitely something I hope we'll repeat again and again.