Monday, June 17, 2013

a bit of news around here

May is always busy.
The second weekend I went to Esbo with Joel and Sofia for a music festival (put on every 3 years for the Swedish-speaking elementary schools in Finland).
The 3rd weekend was the annual relay race in Helsinki that the three of us went to again:
Sofia running 400 metres.
Joel counting out his running mark.
But then June has also proved busy this year. Sam graduated from upper level secondary!
Receiving his diploma from the principal.
Receiving his cap from one of the teachers.
At the celebration tea-party (before the guests arrived).
It is traditional for graduates to receive roses from family and friends.
One of his official portraits.
Another portrait.
And now, within a number of hours, we are headed to the airport to spend the summer “back home”.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

this week

We have had visitors from Canada:
The first flowers have opened in my garden:
And “Kitty” had her tubes tied (can you say that about a cat??):
She did not fully wake up before it was time for us all to go to bed. Boy was she hungry this morning!

Friday, April 26, 2013

time flies when you’re busy

 February and March were really rough around here. Little S seemed to have something going on and we couldn’t figure out what it was. Not a day went by that there wasn’t a major blow up, and usually about insignificant things. However, for some unknown reason, behaviour has turned a corner. It’s been about 2 weeks now of, dare I say it, rainbows and unicorns . . .

Here’s some photos from the last month:
the first 5 are from Good Friday (we went to Stefan’s parents summer cottage)
from the cottage across the water to the lighthouse

they found coal from an old fire on the ice
March 29 – lots of snow and ice still
Joel – 12 years old
20130330-015 this is Joel and his friend dressed up to get candy on Easter Saturday
Floorball Year end awards – Joel and his teammates usually look happier – trust me
Sofia’s team won silver in their league playoffs
April 25 – what a change in weather! Most of the snow is gone, it was 10C on the deck and time for shorts (even though you can still see the ice on the bay)

2 huge birch trees cut down, so the backyard is a mess right now!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

hello out there

Now that that's out of the way . . . we had an interesting sports break last week. Sam stayed home to look after the pets and the rest of us went on a ski holiday to Åre, Sweden. Sofia couldn't ski because of her fractured collarbone, so she and I spent most of our time in the pool or walking around the hotel or village. Stefan, Mattias and Joel skied for 2½ days.

The view from our hotel room.
Also from the balcony, looking more to the west.
Joel and Mattias, VM8.
Mattias and Joel, Björnlandet.
One of the chairlifts.
Mattias and Joel, Åre byn.
Mattias and Joel, Åre byn.
The Holms out in the village for dinner.
The trip wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. Between not being able to ski and lingering travel anxiety (which I think is because somewhere deep down she worries we will leave her someplace), Sofia was very difficult at times. So, there were some hard times and some tears.

There was also frustration with equipment (which has resulted in tears of laughter when telling the story afterwards): Stefan has 2 pairs of ski boots so he wore 1 pair (at least 25 years old) and Mattias wore the other pair (about 18 years old). Stefan's skiis are about 25-30 years old . . .  long and straight:) At one point during the first day, he felt something strange, looked down and the plastic on one of his boots had completely cracked open. All he could do was use Joel's belt to wrap around it so it would hold on his foot. Later, when they stopped for a warm drink, he felt a strange sensation as he removed his skiis - the other boot cracked open! He said that he got many strange looks from people for not only his pathetic boots, but his old-fashioned skiis as well!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

birthday week 2013

I’m a couple weeks late posting of this year’s birthday week (M and J have their b-days 2 days apart).
First up was M who turned 15:
Then J who turned 12:
Two days later we had J’s party. We decided to do a car rally in town; one team with Stefan and one team with me. Each team got a bag with a digital camera, a list of tasks to perform and some money.


The rally took about an hour and then we met up for pizza. Back home, J opened his gifts, they played x-box, looked at each others’ rally pictures on the computer and had cake and snacks.
The next day Stefan’s family came over to celebrate both boys’ birthdays. One more cake . . .
And, a week + one day after his birthday, M got his moped drivers’ license!

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.