Tuesday, August 25, 2009

gosh, i'm knackered

Between the 6000 loads of laundry I'm working my way through, changing Pepsi's diaper (I forgot to mention in the previous post that she's in heat right now . . . probably wasn't the best time to introduce a new puppy to the house with her fragile, hormonal state . . .), picking up puppy poop and pee puddles (I've come to the conclusion that God made puppies so darn cute because otherwise we wouldn't put up with their messes), trying to puppy-proof the house, coordinating meals and homework, refereeing sibling arguments, chauffeuring children to different events, trying to teach a child, who has never been around a big-dog puppy, how to behave with and what to expect from said-puppy (said-child having a bit of a know-it-all attitude in this matter and difficult to teach), and trying to squeeze in some exercise and water consumption in an effort to have a healthier lifestyle . . . I'm completely knackered (exhausted) at the end of each day.

I know that was a run-on sentence.

I'm too tired to fix it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

introducing our newest family member . . .

Meet Max.

He's a 9 week-old mixed breed dog. His father is Shepherd and "Beardog"? His mother is Pointer and something else.

We saw an ad in the online classifieds that was posted at 11:37 today. We called just after 12 and picked him up at 1pm. He lounged across Joel, Sofia and Mattias in the backseat.

When we stopped to look at some property, Mattias had to carry him because he wasn't familiar with a collar and leash. He totally enjoyed the pampering.

Last summer we had to put down our beloved border collie, Mercy. He certainly reminds me of her as a puppy. In the Fall, Lucas (Stefan's sister's black lab) had to be put down. Since then, we've been looking around for another dog suitable to go to the farm daily with Stefan. We think Max will fit the bill!

Pepsi is not too thrilled!

Monday, August 17, 2009

first day of school

Today marks the day that my oldest child, Sam, starts his last year of high school. This year he will make decisions about his future and choose which career path he wants to follow. This year he will have opportunities to go on work practicums (I know, that's not the correct plural form). They grow up so fast (insert dramatic sigh here).

Mattias had his first day in the oldest class in his school. He started Fifth Class (in Canada he would be in Grade 6, but they start a year later here). Joel started Second Class and Sofia officially started school in First Class (the "kindergarten" year, called Preschool here, does not count as "school"). Joel and Sofia are in the same class. I think their teacher will have her work cut out for her . . .

Of course, one has to have that special photo to go along with this day . . . I didn't actually want to post it because . . .

of many reasons . . . As you can see, the weather was totally uncooperative! Yesterday the newspaper forecast decent weather, and that was what we used to base the clothing decisions on . . . shame on us! Needless to say, Joel and Mattias ended up changing their clothes, and then putting on rubber pants and boots. Sofia put an extra sweater in her backpack and went with running shoes instead of sandals with her leggings . . . Sam, of course, was still too cool for a jacket. The photo really gives you no idea how really HARD it is raining and how fast the wind is blowing - it was crazy. Of course, the sun is shining right now, at 8pm . . . go figure. I'm also disappointed with the photo's quality - not sure if the reflector patches messed up the focus . . . Maybe we'll try again tomorrow . . .

To make a great day even better, after school I had to take Mattias to the dentist to have a tooth extracted - his second permanent-tooth-extraction, and they've promised it's the last. It did not go well. Mattias HATES needles, so he was very panicked all afternoon; hyperventilating in the chair, etc. The dentist was patient with him and after she put on the local anesthesia, said for him to let her know when he was ready for the freezing . . . Well, it DID come out and everyone was quite surprised by the size and strength of the root. What do you think?

Mattias said it REALLY hurt when she pulled it out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

we're in . . .

. . . Helsinki!!

I came here for a little holiday with Kate (From Russia, With Love). I can't link you up with her blog though, because she's between her adoption trips right now and her blog has gone private.

Anyways, we're having a great time . . . walking around the city . . . visiting lots of shops and malls. Good times. Good times. Today we went to a day spa for massages and a facial (Kate)/pedicure (me). Although the pampering was nice, neither of us think it's the best spa experience we've ever had . . . earlier today we spent about an hour walking up and down the streets looking for the place (I had left the map and address at the hotel). When we were done and walked back to the hotel, we realized it was just 5 minutes away . . . oh well.

We're staying at a lovely 4 star hotel we found through a website called otel.com (that's right, no "H"). We secured an excellent rate on a "secret" hotel - they don't tell you the name until payment is made. Turns out we're at the Radisson and it's quite nice. The only problems we had were the room was too warm so we had trouble sleeping and the wireless signal was weak so I couldn't get online. Today we're in a new room, which seems to be much cooler and I, obviously, have internet access. . .

Here's us earlier today in the rain:

Monday, August 10, 2009

off to . . .?

It's been a busy weekend around here. Saturday I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in quite late . . . which came back to bite me when we had to rush around to be in the city on time . . . Stefan's sister invited us to their summer house. It's on an island, so we had to meet for boat pick-up. Sofia loved the boat ride over. (Henrik, you've got a nice boat!) We had a lovely day and it was bedtime by the time we got home.

Mattias had a soccer tournament on Sunday, in a town about 2 hours away. The team went by coach bus. Joel and Sofia came along (we had discussed it in the car Saturday night - they could stay with Stefan or come along . . . Sofia asked, "Will you have snacks?" When I answered affirmatively she decided to come. Joel made his decision at bedtime). It was a long day. We left the house at 7:15am and got home at 8:30pm. Here are some photos:

Joel and Sofia, set up with their snacks and activities because, let's face it, they're not watching the games.

Mattias and Joel.

It was a beautiful day; 29 degrees Celsius. I had another picture of one of the games, but it was from behind the soccer moms and they were all wearing their bikini tops so I don't think they'd appreciate that. Speaking of which, I've been here 4 years and I still don't fit in - I'm still the only one who shows up to games with a travel mug of coffee and a chair (which I usually leave in the car because I'm the only one) AND I didn't know it was okay for the moms to wear bikini tops at the games (I had decided against a spaghetti strap tank because I thought that was too risqué).

Tomorrow I'm off for a few daysof R'n'R - a bit of "me" time. I'm very excited because I'm going to meet one of my blogging friends IRL for the first time. Here's a sneak peek at where I'm headed:

Can you figure out where I'm going?

Lastly, am I a bad parent because this is what's going on in my house while I'm blogging?:

Sofia is vacuuming the kitchen.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

lazy days of summer

We've had fabulous weather here this week, and have spent a few days at the summer house (it belongs to Stefan's parents and it's a 10 minute drive from our place so, when we go, we're there for several hours and then go back home to sleep). I have been forgetting to take my camera, but I'll share some I took there last week:

Mattias and Sam taking Pepsi out for a ride.

Sofia, enjoying some sunny weather.

Sofia, Joel and their cousin. This angle shows the view looking south. (the property is on a peninsula)

The property has 2 cabins - the red one and a new one that is visible in the trees to the left of the red one; it was just put up 2 weeks ago. I think I am facing east . . .

The kids swimming in the bay.

Joel, getting ready to go out on his boogie board.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

sofia's 7th birthday

Yesterday was the first time Sofia celebrated a birthday with us. Overall, it was a great day. Here's how it went down:

We woke her up with breakfast in bed, singing Happy Birthday.
The boys gave her their gifts and she got a card from us. I think she was a little disappointed we didn't give her anything:-)

I told her to get up and follow the ribbon that was outside her door - it led her around the house a bit and then outside and all around the backyard until it finally went to the balcony where her new bike was waiting . . . pink, with a bell and a basket, just like she wanted!

She spent the morning riding her bike while I was getting things ready for the parties (a garden/butterfly theme). There were actually some behaviour issues to deal with too - the anticipation of the day was probably a little much for her!

The Hairdo

From 2-4pm we had a party with her classmates - 3 were on holiday and unable to come. We had set up the screen house outside so they could do some crafts and play with Playdough there. There was also sidewalk chalk, bubbles, the playhouse and the trampoline. Sofia "Spun the Bottle" to decide in which order to open the gifts.. They had cake, chips and drinks inside. They played "Musical Butterflies" outside.

After the children left, Sofia looked at me and said, "That was a good Happy Birthday, Mom."

At 6 we had the family party, which included Stefan's immediate family, his aunts some of his cousins and their families as well as some family friends.

Sofia was absolutely thrilled with the day. At bedtime, she was so thankful for everything - not just the gifts, but that she got to have a special day and people came over to celebrate her. She has told us that in Russia they celebrated her birthday in the group - her great grandmother would come and bring her a gift and the social worker would give her chocolate - but it was nothing like this.

It won't be so elaborate every year . . . but this was her first birthday with us. And, besides, it was rather fun to plan a summer party . . . all 3 boys have their birthdays in the middle of winter so this was a nice change:-)

The following is supposed to be a link to the rest of the photos on my Picasa site . . . I don't know if it will actually work . . .

Sunday, August 2, 2009


First, I can't believe it's been a week since I've posted anything . . . It's been a bit hectic around here; something every day. So hectic, in fact, that I haven't even had enough time to keep up with all the other blogs I read, let alone leave many comments - AND it just so happened that Lynette featured me on Getting to Know You and I only realized it by way of some new visitors coming by my blog and leaving nice comments. (how's that for a run-on sentence?!) So, thank you to Lynette and all my new friends out there in Bloggerland - I'm trying to catch up and visit all these new blogs!!

Second, it's my birthday today . . . so Happy Birthday To Me. I'm officially now forty-something-or-other. The family sang and brought me breakfast in bed with my gifts (luckily they waited, and let me sleep-in, too!). We went to a buffet lunch at a hotel in the afternoon. It's traditional Scandinavian food, and there's not much I usually like, but I LOVE the cake they make for dessert, so that's why we went. Then we did some grocery shopping and didn't get home until after 6pm. We had eaten so much at lunch, we didn't have dinner, but a few of the troop ate bagels. This evening I've been baking cupcakes and a cake which I will decorate tomorrow to have ready for Sofia's birthday on Tuesday.

Here's Mattias, Pepsi and me marking this special day!

The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.