Merry Christmas 2017

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2017, it’s hard to believe you’re almost gone. Only a few days left to celebrate the holiday spirit, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about that. Celebration isn’t a word I would use to describe the past few weeks. We didn’t get the tree up and decorated until a week before Christmas. And that little heart wreath we usually put on the door? It’s still in a box somewhere. The Elf must have felt sympathy for us, because it didn’t show up this year, either. Our kids are convinced he couldn’t find our new home because we moved.

Yeah. That’s what happened.

It’s not that we hate Christmas. We are just so so tired. Read more

The Long Swedish Summer

Summer in Sweden
My son, always in motion

As long as there’s no ice outside, we’re calling it summer. That’s what we’ve decided at my day job. And it fits, too, in a strange logical way. Although September is coming up fast, in Sweden the summer feels wonderfully long because of the amount of time everyone gets to enjoy it. Many who live here take advantage of that time. Expats return home to various countries, or perhaps visit a popular vacation spot. Swedes almost always travel to a warm sunny place. After a while, Stockholm begins to feel deserted. It’s not uncommon to walk past darkened storefronts and see the ‘summer notice’ posted on the door, and, for once, you’re able to find parking spaces.    Read more

We’ve Moved!

20170319_132230_resizedAs some of you may have seen on my Instagram or Facebook posts, we’ve moved! I’m so excited. And a little tired. Okay, maybe more than a little tired. But I’m still mostly excited!

We had, in my eyes anyway, a tiny apartment. Our son was basically sleeping in what was labeled as a closet on the floor plan, which worked well when he was a baby. But that was six years ago. In short, we needed a bigger place. My husband, who is amazing at finding things, found us one. Read more

Our 52 Stories Project

Yesterday, I mentioned one of my goals for March was to begin documenting a story the kids and I create together each week. Today was electronic-free day in our house, so I figured it was the perfect time to start. When we were finished, the kids were laughing so hard, I couldn’t understand anything they said, so in full disclosure, these stories might have continued much longer than their official ending. Considering how they couldn’t get past the giggles, they finally agreed to the endings, and then they begged me to put it up on the blog, so here I am =). We ended up with two stories, but since I’m calling this Our 52 Stories Project and we’re a few weeks behind with documenting them, it works out. Read more

Hello, March! I’m So Glad to See you.

20160301_112901I asked for a February do-over, but I don’t think anyone heard me. You know what? It doesn’t matter now, because February is gone. Good riddance! And take your germs and viruses with you!  I better not get too excited or that meme I saw the other day with sunny skies on Tuesday and a blizzard on Wednesday might come true just to spite me.

Seriously, I am so looking forward to the Spring with all its sunshine, warm weather (hopefully), and a wonderful season of writing. Over the weekend, we rearranged the bedroom and I set up a cute little writing corner, complete with an inspiration board. I love walking in there and sitting at the desk now, my photo with Margaret Atwood looking down on me, encouraging me. They say to write as if you’re writing to someone great, and she’s the person I try to write to. I imagine her shaking her head and saying things like, ‘You know you can do better with this line.’ And now I can’t escape from her. Read more

2015 – Did it!

I keep a ‘Did it!’ list to remind me of my accomplishments throughout the year, because I tend to forget them. Despite all of my good intentions, I’m an emotional creature and the events that happen throughout the year that pull on my emotions stick with me way longer than anything else.

2015 was a tough year for us as a family. Our children began the year at a school we can only describe as atrocious. We finally got them into a new school, but had to overcome the transitional challenges. In the process, we discovered our daughter had autism. We’re still fighting our way through the system to get help and support. Last year, my husband also started a new job that required him to put in a tremendous amount of effort, from late nights to little or no vacation. We’re exhausted because all of these things took up, and continue to take up, most of our physical and emotional energy. Many of my own personal goals were pushed to the side and as 2016 dawned, I really, really, really looked forward to a new year.

But when I went back over my ‘Did it!’ list, I realized I did a lot this year.
Read more

God Fortsättning

Swedes say ‘God Jul’ for Christmas.

For New Year’s, they say ‘Gott Nytt År’.

For the days in between, they say ‘God fortsättning,’ which literally translated means ‘good continuation,’ and as you’ve probably figured out by now there isn’t really an equivalent in English. I love this phrase, though. It’s a way to say, ‘I hope you continue to enjoy these moments, the holiday season, and the time with your family.’

We’ve had a wonderful Christmas. Nice and mostly calm (I’m focusing on the positive here), with only a few germs hanging around making us sniffle and our heads all stuffy. The elf packed up. Santa came, dropped off some presents, ate some milk and cookies and even left a note. We watched Frosty and read some Christmas stories. The kids played, and played, and fought just a little, only to turn around and play some more. Somewhere in all this craziness we celebrated my son’s birthday, complete with ice cream oreos and giant red lightsabers.

We’re almost ready for the new year. We’re still thinking about this year, though, in addition to the one right around the corner. The decorations are still up, the kids LOVE the snow that arrived two days ago and I’m enjoying this time in between. I hope your holidays have been nice and whether you’re jumping ahead to the new year, or don’t want to let this one go, I want to wish you a god fortsättning. I’ll see you next year =).

The Elf Wants to Retire

20151214_093129Our elf’s name is Wackack and he’s been with our family for about five years now. As I’ve mentioned before, the elf is a special tradition our family enjoys every year. He means a lot to us. Christmas is still magical for the children and that elf is one of the main reasons, not to mention it was given to us by a very special person. I honestly thought he’d be with us forever.

But this is the year our oldest daughter starts hearing from her friends about the sham. On the playground they’ll roll their eyes and share all the secrets they’ve uncovered about Christmas. The Santa mask they found in the back of their dad’s sock drawer. The presents they discovered already wrapped under the bed. I’m not sure what we’ll say when she comes asking questions (other than, ‘Why are you digging around in your father’s sock drawer?‘). I haven’t thought this far in advance and I should have. Read more

My First Passive-Aggressive Note

PA noteOne of the first things my husband told me drove him crazy about Americans was our fascination with small talk. To him, small talk is fake. And pointless. I disagree. I miss small talk. I miss walking into a store and knowing you could speak to the guy next to you if you wanted to. Small talk allows you to connect with a real person and I rate it higher than Facebook, which is more like a mask for our lives than anything else. But I can understand how some people would think it’s fake. Who hasn’t taken part in a conversation that just drips with insincere phrases like, ‘Let’s do lunch!’, ‘You’re right! We should set up the largest snow-cone machine Colorado has ever seen!’, or, my favorite, ‘Call me anytime.’ (Although most of my friends actually do mean that last one. I have heard first-time acquaintances utter those words and wondered why. Do they have a shed full of axes? Are they trying to unload all their Kikkoman sauce on me? Oh God, they’re trying to sell me blocks for the Great Pyramids, aren’t they? Maybe I have a sinister mind, though). Read more