Sunday, June 24, 2012

giddy about flowers and revisiting privacy

My rhododendrons are finally blooming! I planted them 2 years ago, a year after we had dug up everything around the house to put in new drainage. I think there was one flower the first year and absolutely nothing last year, so I’ve been so happy to see all 4 plants come to life:
Now I need to figure out what else to plant to get some more colour. Hopefully, things will look even better if we finally get the driveway repaved.


Monday, June 11, 2012

road trip

On Saturday afternoon, Stefan and I decided we would take the youngest two children on a road trip to an authentic Finnish amusement park – Moomin World – on Sunday.
While the Americans have Disney, the Swedes have Pippi and the Danes have Lego, here we have Moomin (Finland’s most beloved character).
Moomin Valley is a fictional place in a series of children’s books by Finnish author Tove Jansson. The books are centered on the Moomin family, a family of trolls (some sort of trolls, anyway – they looks more like white hippopotami that walk upright).
photo from wikipedia page
Twenty years ago, the Moomin World amusement park was built in a town just outside of Turku, based on Moomin Valley and the Moomin characters. There are no rides, just buildings to explore, shows to watch and characters to meet. Ironically, it was built on an island (the park makes up the entire island and is reached by walking across a bridge) and not in a valley.
some of the characters in Moomin Valley (Snufkin, Hemulen, Snork Maiden, Little My, Moomin, Momminpappa, Moominmamma and Sniff)
So, our day started early – we were on the road by 6am and arrived at the park just before 11.
Joel and Sofia at the police station.
Joel as Snufkin and Sofia as Little My.
J and S at the scenic lookout point.
Stefan and I at the same place.
Stefan and the kids on a suspension bridge.
A shot of the archipelago in the Turku region.
Edvard the Booble, the bathing hut and Stefan.
Sofia as a mermaid.
Stefan driving Moominpappa’s boat.
There are no pictures of the kids with any of the characters because they felt they were too old for that (we were one of the only families there without a stroller ) – I even tried to pay Joel, but he was afraid it would go up on the blog!
Even if our kids were a little too old, I’m glad we took them and they got a chance to see it. Joel didn’t want to go so we practically had to drag him . . . but halfway through the day, he said it was a little (emphasis on little) better than he thought it would be.
We had seen and done everything we wanted by 5pm so it was back in the van for the trip home, which we reached by 10:30. It was a long day.

Monday, June 4, 2012

this one’s for uncle steve

Once again, my dear brother has reminded me that I am behind on updates here at the blog. I had uploaded some pictures from the following events to FB, but had neglected to put them here. We have been busy these last couple of weeks, so there are several . . .
A couple weeks ago our school track team participated in a small relay competition. Here they are touring the track, the coaches are showing them where their marks are and which lanes they will run in.
Warming up (Sofia).
Warming up (Joel).
Sofia running her leg in the girls-only 5x80.
Joel running his leg for the first team in the mixed 5x80.
Sofia is the starter for team 3 in the mixed 5x80.
Here we are 3 days later in Helsinki for the BIG relay meet – RELAY CARNIVAL.
Relay Carnival, which annually takes place in May at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, is modeled on the world's oldest and largest relay race competition, Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

The Carnival was originally promoted in Finland by Swede Carl-Olaf Homén, who attended the Penn Relays in 1960 where he represented his university, University of Delaware. He was fascinated by the unique atmosphere and the excellent organization. In 1961 he became chairman of the Swedish Assembly of Finland School Sports Federation, and took the initiative to have the first Relay Carnival of Finnish-Swedish schools in spring 1961 at Djurgården sports field in Helsinki.

The first Relay Carnival had just over 600 runners. The following year, the number of participants grew to over 1000 and the third year to over 1 500. In the fourth year the event was moved to the Olympic Stadium, where the Carnival has been held since then (with the exception of four times when Kokkola and Vasa played host cities, as the Olympic Stadium has been closed due to renovations).

The number of participants has steadily risen, and with over 10 000 starts over the past few years, Relay Carnival has become Europe's largest annual school sports competition.
In addition to the race competitions, there is also a cheerleading competition in conjunction with the carnival.

In 2008, Relay Carnival was named at the Finnish Sports Gala (Urheilugaala) as the best sporting event in the country. (this information comes from Wikipedia in Swedish)
Sofia is starting for Team 3 in lane 2.
Joel is running the final leg for Team 1 in lane 5.
Sofia is using masking tape the mark the point on the track she needs to see her partner reach for her to start running. This is the girls-only 5x80.
A nice hand-off.
The mass relay. Each heat has approximately 32 teams. Each team has 6 boys and 6 girls. They run back and forth across the grass field. Joel is in lane 9 (from the left), black shirt and shorts.
A school trip to Relay Carnival always includes a trip to the amusement park (Borgbacken).
The only flowers in my garden so far this year are these azaleas. There are 7 tiny flowers are one shrub . . .
Last day of school concert. This is the whole school performing some songs about spring and summer. They were doing sign language during this song.
Sofia got her report card.
Joel got his report card.
Ahhh . .  time to relax!

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.