Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I have a couple of confessions to make.
I haven’t really decorated for Christmas – which is something that I usually love to do. You see, we’re going to go to Canada for Christmas this year.
We leave on Sunday. That’s in 4 days!
I couldn’t bear the thought of having to deal with undecorating the house when we get back in mid-January, so I have only put out a few things, for at least a bit of a festive feel . . .
In the foyer. The metal item in the middle is a candle holder from an old design . . . in the 19th century the women would put these lanterns under their skirts to keep warm in church during the winter. You can see the kids’ class pictures in the background . . .
The kitchen table. Advent candles on the table, and an electric advent candelabra in the window (although I have no idea why those ones always have 7 candles instead of 4).
More of the same in the other kitchen window. Sam made the wooden advent candle holder in school.
Living room planter box. I had one string of clear lights in large plant close by, but Bruno chewed the cord apart . . .
That’s it . . . not much . . . just a little light in the dark . . .
The other confession – I’m not sending Christmas cards out this year. Difficult decision for me to make, because I love getting cards and sending them out, but with our travel plans and how busy everything has been, I just couldn’t do it. I hope no one drops me from their list because of it . . .
In other news . . . remember when I built this:
to keep the dogs out of trouble and in the mud room?
Well, somebody decided she wasn’t going to let gates define where she could be:
She jumped it repeatedly, so that we had to keep the door closed. Well, then it just got all stinky and humid in there.
So, I built an addition:
So far, it’s kept her in. We’ll see how long that lasts . . .
PS Another confession? The blue apron hanging on the kitchen wall was sewn by Stefan in high school.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy 94th Birthday Finland!

Today, Finland celebrates its Independence Day. As I’m typing this, I’m listening to the TV in the background, with coverage from the Ball at the castle, hosted by Finland’s President.
For us, it’s been a day off, and a chance to catch up on things around here. Which means, I get a chance to post something here.
I’ve been avoiding blogging lately, for a variety of reasons . . . too busy, wondering if I was putting too much info out on the ‘net, couldn’t think what to post about, etc., etc.
Well, in usual form, I’ll post a bunch of pictures and try to sum up what’s been happening with us.
The puppies take up a huge amount of time and energy. I couldn’t resist taking this picture because they were laying in almost identical positions. Bella has become a jumper . . . she jumps the gate I built awhile back, so when she is inside we have to close the door to the pantry.
Bruno was feeling festive one day.
Our yard was covered in a flock of birds one day. It was very strange. You can’t tell by the photos just how many there were.
Then they took off to the neighbour’s yard.
A very popular concept around here is the Advent Calendar. I didn’t buy any this year, because we will travel before the 24th and I don’t want to haul them around with us. But, another equally popular tradition is the “Julkalender” -  The Advent calendar is an annual Swedish Christmas calendar television series broadcast by Sweden's national television broadcasting company  since 1960 and has developed into a living part of contemporary Swedish yuletide tradition.  Every series consists of 24 episodes, broadcast daily 1–24 December. Joel and Sofia really look forward to watching each episode every day. This year, they have decided to also do their own version of it and are reading a chapter from a Christmas book every day.
Sam’s school had a Ball last Friday evening. The school holds the ball every three years. They have spent a lot of time preparing: learning about etiquette, and formal dances, like the “Weiner” Waltz, as well.
There’s a huge height difference between my oldest and youngest!
Yesterday, we had our first snow. Only about a centimetre, but it hung around all day . .. and then we got more today. Last year, we had our first snowfall on October 15th!
There’s more, but that’s all I can come up with for now. Hope I don’t stay away from blogger for so long again!
PS Tomorrow marks 3 years since we took Sofia out of Children’s Home #4 in St. Petersburg!

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.