Friday, July 27, 2012

the road house

Last weekend we took a quick trip in the motorhome that my in-laws recently purchased. In our family, we now call it the Roadhouse due to Miss S’s mis-translation of the Swedish name for it: “husbil” (literally, house-car).
M had to work, so it was just 5 of us . . . we headed north to the Finland-Sweden border. It rained during the whole drive up and was still raining when we arrived at the campground . . . so we ate dinner at the restaurant first.
Likes his dad’s hat?
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Outside the restaurant.
The sun came out, so the kids played a round of mini-golf.
These 5 little ones were intrigued and followed our guys around for awhile.
Our spot. S brought himself a tent to sleep in . . . he was afraid it would get too warm for his liking in the roadhouse.
Cozy for these 2!
The beach, and windmills.
Walking back to the roadhouse . . . it was too cold to swim at the beach and the pool wasn’t open yet.
Looking back towards the restaurant.
We stopped to look at this old helicopter on the way home.
J in the cockpit . . . Miss S wouldn’t get in because there was Russian writing on the helicopter . . .


Monday, July 16, 2012


This is what happens when an eleven year old tries to open a teeny-tiny can of paint for the first time by himself:
Did I mention it was oil-based paint?
In other news, M made pizza the other day . . . from scratch, including the dough for the crust:

Friday, July 6, 2012

she’s so brave

Miss S just got back from camp this afternoon.
Going to camp isn’t what makes her brave.
It was short. Only 2 days. Just 48 hours, to be precise.
It was close to home. Maybe 8 km away. Across the water you’ve seen in pictures outside our home.
What makes her brave is a bizarre situation that happened . . .
After checking her in, the camp leader had someone show us where S’s cabin was. She was very friendly and chatted with us along the way . . .about 100m from the cabin, she pointed it out and then she went back to the main area (the fact that she left us was not bizarre . . . don’t forget, we are in a very low-populated area . . . there were 51 campers – high by local standards, but probably small by the standards of many people reading this).
Climbing the stairs to the cabin door, I noticed we were clearly not the first ones to arrive. As we reached the door, I said hello to the moms and children inside and received some mumbled greetings in return. S and I stood there in the doorway surveying the scene. Every bed had someone sitting on it, there was  someone sitting on the stairs to the loft and there was talk among some of the girls about sleeping in the beds upstairs. I had no idea which kids were S’s cabin-mates , which ones were siblings . . . I suspected that the girl on the stairs was the cabin leader but thought it strange that she said nothing . . . We must have stood there for 5 minutes just looking around in silence until finally one mother pointed to the bed beside the door, said it was free and then told her child to get off it.
As I was setting up S’s things for her and explaining where I was putting everything, the cabin leader arrived and introduced herself. One of the moms told her there were no more beds, so then she went off to find a mattress for herself.
Eventually, the campers and their entourages started exiting the cabin. Some of the girls seemed to know each other already (I don’t know this for a fact) and were standing about talking. Some of the moms had already headed off. I asked S if she wanted to go back to the main area with me, but she said no.
I watched her as she stood with her hands in the pockets of her shorts, timidly and slowly edging herself closer to the other groups of girls. She was not brimming with confidence. Soon, she was close enough that one of the girls asked her a question and then they quickly fell into a conversation. At that moment I realized she would be okay . . . I walked over, asked if it was ok for me to leave, gave her a hug, and said goodbye.
I am not that brave. I would’ve stuck like glue to my mom and let her make friends for me.
In a completely unrelated area, we are also noticeably different. S does not adhere to the adage, “A place for everything and everything in  its place”.
I told her I was going to clean her desk while she was gone . . .  and mentioned that I expected to find the kitchen eraser* there. She confidently told me she didn’t have it. Well, I did find it, along with an army of other erasers :
I also found a pair of gloves (in separate drawers), lots of candy wrappers, a jar of dried out cranium clay, school library books, and dozens of scribbled notes . . . (It doesn’t sound so bad in writing, I should’ve taken more pictures – it was really quite the sight to see)
Anyways, the important thing is that she loved her time at camp and really wished it could’ve been longer so she could’ve spent more time with her new friends .
*in our kitchen we have a drawer with pens, pencils, tape, glue, etc . . . things that somebody needs to use on a regular basis in a central location . . . problem is that the erasers always go missing and need to be replaced. So, a while back, I wrote ”kitchen” on both sides of a new one so it would be easier to keep track of . . ..

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.