Wednesday, December 26, 2012

holiday season 2012

Our celebrations began on Saturday when our oldest child turned 18!
He is now legally considered an adult in Finland, which means he can drive, vote, drink, enter military service and pay for his own bills!
On Christmas Eve we went to my in-laws for dinner. After dinner, we exchanged gifts with them.
When we got home, in keeping with Scandinavian custom, we opened our own gifts and those that had arrived in the mail. However, Mattias decided to only open 2 and save the rest for Christmas morning.
Drama King
Bruno was trying to attack Stefan’s new hat.
Joel looks happy!
Somebody got his own q-tips!!
Christmas morning, we got up and skyped with Dad and Steve . . . the kids opened their stockings and Mattias opened the rest of his gifts. Then I spent the rest of the day leisurely getting ready for our Christmas dinner. Stefan’s entire family came as well as a few of Sam’s friends (26 people in all).
Mattias wanted to carve the turkey. He thought I was taking too long . . .
Cousin M was a little shy at first . . .
Dessert . . .
And now Boxing day is almost over . . . Tomorrow Sam takes his written test for his driver’s license and I will try to get some exchanges done (plus have the ant-theft magnet removed from Sofia’s new coat!!).
Hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

the one about feet and pets

I cannot believe that the autumn school term is already finished. This year is just flying by so far.
It’s definitely winter here now. The snow has been around for a couple of weeks already and the temperature today was –18Celsius. Brrr.
I’m not sure if I have mentioned on this blog, but I have had a rough nine months with my feet (of all things). I developed plantar faciitis last winter. I didn’t know what was going on and tried to ignore it for a couple of months. In May I went to the doctor and got an official diagnosis (I had self-diagnosed via mr. google) and a cortisone shot in my foot. By August I was still suffering and went back to the doctor. This time, I got a referral for physio. I went to one place where they tried massage, ultrasound and electricity and still continued to get worse. They suggested another place with a physiotherapist who specializes in feet. I went to him three times for shockwave therapy (and he even tried kinesiology tape). Finally he set up an appointment with their visiting foot doctor who comes up one day a month from the south of Finland. He decided I needed cortisone injections in both feet (he said the one in May had been done in the wrong place, based on my description of symptoms). A couple of things heard in the examining room that don’t make a patient feel so good:
  • You have it in both feet. I’ve never seen that before.
  • This injection site (underside of the foot) is the ONLY one described as painful in the book.
Anyways, that was three weeks ago today. I am pleased to say that I am now free of pain from plantar faciitis! I have a couple of new issues that have arisen after months of walking incorrectly, but hopefully they will fix themselves.
This was how I spent the six days after the injections . . . on my feet as little as possible.
A goofy picture of Bruno!
Joel and Sofia had their school Christmas concert on Tuesday evening.
We have a new tree ornament! This little one has been with us since November 2.
We answered an ad for a boy kitten and took him home that day. We did not name him for a long time because it was really iffy if he was going to get along with the dogs. When we finally decided he was staying, we couldn’t decide on a name for a long time. Eventually, he was named Frodo. On Tuesday we took him to the vet for his first vaccinations and the vet declared that Frodo is a girl! So now we’re trying out new names again. Sofia and I like “Scout”. Sam suggested “Mrs. Claus”, which I think is funny and clever. Any suggestions?
Bruno and Pepsi are putting on a united front against the kitten! They would not normally lay down so near to each other . . . . Actually, Pepsi and the kitten get along well together. Bruno and Bella are hyper-curious and do a lot of rough sniffing of the kitten and even put their mouths around her but haven’t bitten. The kitten hated them at first and would growl and hiss when the dogs were near her. Now she just lets them sniff away. I think she should swipe ‘em across the nose so they’ll leave her alone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

quiet evening

They don’t happen so often around here!
I just finished dinner (warm sandwiches) with just 3 of us (me, M and Miss S). Husband is at the farm, J is at floorball practice and big S has a driving lesson. This is his second practical lesson.
So far, he has had 2 theory classes (2 hours each). Last Friday he had his first lesson in a car. He had it in our nearest little town (the population of the town itself is about 2800 and there are no traffic lights). The lesson was almost 2 hours and he was evaluated on about 10-12 things. His instructor rated him at excellent in one area and the rest were above average. The effect of this is that he now must have his practical lessons in a larger town (about 19000 people and 4 traffic lights) further away.
Of course, as luck would have it for him, we had our first snowfall late Wednesday night so he gets to learn on icy roads .
This was the morning after the first snowfall. More has come since then, and we seem to have the least snow around here – maybe because we are so close to the water . . .
Well, I should take advantage of the quiet and prep tomorrow’s religion lesson .

Sunday, October 21, 2012

autumn break

Ahhh . . . we’re just at the end of a 4-day long weekend thanks to autumn break.
We didn’t do anything extra special, but have kept ourselves busy with a few extra activities and errands.
M got new glasses 2 weeks ago . . . and is quite happy he can see clearly once again.
As usual, “the littles” always enjoy computer/tv time.
On Thursday, we took all  3 dogs to the vet at the same time for vaccinations. Bruno had disgusting breath, too. Once investigated, a piece of plastic was found stuck on one of his back teeth. It was removed and now he doesn’t smell so bad anymore.
J and M went to a Warhammer workshop on Friday and Saturday and spent many hours gluing and painting their pieces together.
S had floorball practice on Saturday morning and then went to a birthday party in the afternoon.
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving, a couple weeks late. I was a little concerned over the turkey, thinking that it smelled a bit funky . . . but my FB friends gave me advice regarding the signs of a turkey gone bad so I decided it was ok for us to eat.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a turkey dinner for such a small group!
And here we are, several hours post-turkey, and no one is sick !

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

bring on the advil

My head already goes, “donk, donk, donk” on a regular basis.
Partly due to:
But, yesterday, we added two more headache-inducers.
Welcome to our new reality:
Mattias bought his drum set.
Sam got his first car (driving lessons start in a few weeks and he’ll be eligible to test for his license on his birthday in December).
It’s going to be an interesting autumn, huh?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

end of summer

It’s official . . . the children have been back to school for 2 weeks already, and last night was “Villa Avslutning” – the night when this region celebrates the end of cottage season with fireworks.
Some highlights of the past 2 weeks (and, I noticed once the pics were up the blog, I need to make my watermark more transparent):
Some paragliders spent an evening flying above our neighbourhood.
Last weekend was beautiful so we went to the cottage for the day . . . Mattias was trying to avoid having his photo taken.
Gone! Joel was also out “boating”.
Sofia and her cousins were swimming off her aunt’s boat.

Then we were back at the cottage yesterday for villa avslutning. It wasn’t as warm as last weekend, but the kids still went in the water after dinner.
Sofia, Joel and 2 cousins.
The view.
A beautiful sunset to end the summer.

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.