Saturday, 22 March 2008

Family Concert

Saturday afternoon we went to Konserthuset at Hötorget and saw an hour long family concert called Vi äro musikanter or "We are musicians".
We initially had poor seats but snuck down to some empty seats overlooking the stage.
Two crazy clowns entertained the kids and the orchestra played great music. They brought out a balloon and sent it around the audience which resulted in a lot of laughter and audience involvement.

It is great to take the kids in to this beautiful building and have them listen to the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Such a pleasurable experience for both young and old.
We went and had "fika" afterwards at Vete-Katten.

Night out with the girls

We met Lynessa and Anne at Berns for a drink. It was great to catch up with Lynessa after her recent trip home to the US and I hadn't seen Anne in months.

After a beer we headed across the road to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner where we were served way more than we could eat.
Good food, great company and great wine - what more could you want - except a little less of a bill at the end of it - I guess I am all too used to the prices here in Stockholm....

Day 5 Ellandi at Lillgården with Kieran

Kieran's teacher Eija invited Ellandi to spend the day with them Friday.

We left her holding Kieran and another child's hands, walking in a line off to the forest. They spent a couple of hours there playing as they do every Friday. They came back and had their picnic lunch inside before lying down for a sleep. We picked them up at 2pm before they headed off outside to play.

Eija was a little worried that Ellandi had been bored but she assured us she had had a great time. And I imagine K loved having her with him. M on the other hand was very jealous.

Athena and I got a little time to ourselves. A went to see an osteopath and I went to a meeting before meeting up again for lunch. We were very grateful to Eija for giving us a precious few hours and Ellandi showed her appreciation by giving her a koala pin.

Day 4 in Stockholm

Makaila went and saw Pippi - again!! She loved it this time too. She Athena and Ellandi with her and despite not understanding a word of it they loved it too.

We now sing it on a daily basis - someone starts and everyone ends up getting it stuck in their heads. I think Pippi has definitely been the theme of this trip.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Day 3 in Stockholm

The kids went off to Lillgården this morning and Athena, Ellandi and I went in to town to explore. They have been waking up a 4am and wanting to go to bed early although on the whole I think E had been coping really well with the jet lag.

We got off at Odenplan and walked to Gamla Stan where we finally stopped for lunch.

It took me a while to find it but success was ours to be had. We headed down into a cafe in a vault - one that was a little more original than the first one we went in to. Cafe Art has a nice feel to it and much to our surprise the girl working there was a fellow Aussie!!

After lunch I went off to my afternoon-long meeting leaving A & E to explore Gamla Stan before heading out to pick up M & K.

My meeting went well and I am pleased to say that A & E managed to find the kids and even get them home safely on the train (not that I expected anything else of course, just thought I'd check with them JUST in case they needed any help... )

And it is always nice to come home and find dinner on the table. Mmmmm.... babysitting, meal cooking, I wonder how long I can keep them??

Another 1700s skåp

Not too sure how this happened actually, and I'm not so sure it was such a smart thing. All I did is put in one little bid on the net and he told me there were lots of people looking at it so we probably wouldn't get it and it would probably go up a lot.

It didn't, and we did.

After dropping Athena and the kids at home I headed in to town to meet Tyler and picked up the bottom part of it. Couldn't get the top section in the car so after dinner A and I went over to Kristi's and borrowed her car (turned our Kristi's Puegeot wagon was A's most desired car so I had to keep her from drooling all over the place) and went in and picked up the little number before heading back to K's to drop off, and unfortunately drop off the red beast. Quite the round trip around town.

And we ended up with quite the mess in the lounge room which is taking an eternity to sort out.

I have to confess it is a cute little piece - little in comparison with the other two and it fits in quite nicely. We managed to condense our stuff from the big modern piece in to this little one and it goes well with the green floral couch. Perhaps ONE day we will be able to put them together in some quaint little study or guest room (in another life perhaps......).

One thing is for sure is that we have been able to rearrange the lounge room and it now looks SO much better than it did. I HATED those three couches together! It feels so much roomier (ha ha!!) now.

Ahhh the trials and tribulations of life..... Remind me NOT to let him trick me in to bidding on a piece of furniture next time a family member arrives on my doorstep. I just know he is going to try and sneak a grandfather clock in here too!

Day 2 in Stockholm

I have two kids here who are very excited to have their cousin here. It is play, play and more play. Nothing more, nothing less.

The highlight of the day was going out for a walk around Traneberg. We headed down to Johannelund and up to the bench on Himmelfärdsberget looking across to Huvudsta gård where we ate lunch in the icy conditions (it was a mild 5°C but after leaving temperatures of 40° they were freezing). we continued around along the water to Tranebergssund and played in the park for an hour or so before heading home.

We then jumped in the car and headed off around Bromma for a drive. I wanted to show Athena where Lillgården was so that she and Ellandi could find their way there the next day to pick up the kids from daycare. They got the grand tour of the area - enough to confuse the life out of them and they were forced to suffer from information overload before we headed home - just wanted them to have a little look around.........

Monday, 10 March 2008

Athena & Ellandi are here

I left daycare at 8.30 (pretty good timing for us) and headed straight for the airport - I knew their flight landed at about 9am but I figured I would be there by the time they got out.

I contemplated dashing home and getting my forgotten coffee, I contemplated parking in the cheaper car park a little further away, I did neither and went straight past go without collecting 200 dollars.

I rushed in to the airport .... and whoops.... there they were standing waiting for me. They landed at 9.05 and it was 9.20. Talk about fast!

I dragged them to the grocery store (COOP forum!!) in the search for decaff coffee amongst other things. There were endless kinds of organic and fair trade coffee but not decaff. We got everything else, came home, had a grand tour of the palace, looked at some photos, unpacked, ate lunch and drank coffee - with caffine!

Caffine did nothing for Athena who snoozed while I did some work before taking the very awake Ellandi to get Makaila and Kieran. Ellandi had a tour of Lillgården while we waited for M to finish her snack before heading home.

Once at home I did some more work amidst the chaos of three children very excited to be playing together. K was very weary of the now awake Athena but happy to chat away to Ellandi.
They built a castle with blocks and a fort with blankets.

T came home and made dinner while I continued with my last minute assignment. The kids played and Athena zombied.

Dinner, bath and teeth brushing came and went. Stories were read and the light turned out. Didn't take long before three kids were fast asleep. Athena was long gone, on the couch.

Somewhere in all this we brought another 1700's skåp. Not sure where this one is going to go??

We'll see what the night brings......

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Sour dough

What else is a novice going to do other than take on the seemingly difficult task of making sour dough bread - from scratch. And it wasn't just seemingly difficult, it was complex too.

The sour stuff sat for 5 days, then he mixed 2 other kinds of doughs and put all three together and they sat for 18 hours. Tonight he baked the bread and it was yummy!!!

He bought me a Kitchen Aid, I bought him a bread book and he makes the bread (clever huh?!). So far I've used the Kitchen Aid once, he has used it countless times.

The bread has been delicious every time, which is great when you are on a diet..........

Makaila has lost another tooth

Each tooth has been an event, each tooth has its own story.
This is the first one she grew, and the first one she lost. It surfaced when she was just 4 months old, and left for the land of baby teeth when she was just 4 1/2.
She had been complaining towards the end of last summer that her tooth hurt and that she couldn't bite on it. Great, I thought, bad parents - she has a hole in her tooth.

When she told me that it was loose I was so shocked that she burst into tears and got scared. I was worried and I can tell you, I am not a worrier. I rang the advice line and they said, much to my disbelief - nope it's ok, she is in the right age range to be losing teeth. I am still in shock - you lose teeth when you are 7 - not 4 1/2!! They said it could take a couple of weeks.

A couple of days later T went away over night and M was sitting on her little bike when she kind of froze and then burst in to tears. She was quite distressed and held her hand at her mouth. She pulled it away and it had a tooth in it.

Her reaction was so, so sweet, so innocent that I had to stifle a chuckle. I reassured and comforted her. Actually I tell a lie - I did all of that and in the end she was laughing her head off - and was in shock at the same time. She was proud too. A few days later the tooth fairy brought her a bike (what can you do when your birthday is in winter??)

The next tooth brought with it a little anxiety and anticipation. It was the other of the two front ones. It was also an event and in some ways more traumatic than the first. It started with the taste of blood in her mouth. She ran in to the bathroom and spat in the basin. I remember the tears. The four of us ended up sitting on the couch trying to reassure and comfort her, but it didn't help. It was hanging by a mere thread....

Remember those ones? Everyone has a story to tell about those teeth.

So we just sat on the couch waiting for it to miraculously fall out on its own. Of course it didn't.

She wouldn't pull it out and she wouldn't let us touch it. I finally took Kieran and went to bed about 10.30. With M being so upset he hadn't been able to sleep. M and T got in to our bed and fell asleep about 11.30. She was so worried about swallowing it in her sleep.

The next morning I awoke to their chattering in the shower and heard that she had been awake on and off during the night worrying about it. When I asked her about it she realised it wasn't in her mouth and wondered where it was. I found it under her pillow. She was relieved, and proud. She had just turned 5 and lost a second tooth.

We've been guessing for a while now which one will be next. She reported a couple of days ago that she bit in to a carrot at daycare and suddenly the one on the other side of her first lost tooth was loose and got looser and looser as the day progressed (wonder how that happened??).
She showed her teacher the next morning along with my prediction that it would be that day or the next.

When I picked her up that afternoon (Tuesday) she had a surprise for me - a little tooth wrapped up in a package. She had taken a bite of an apple and felt something hard in her mouth so she spat it out - it was a tooth.

This third tooth was not nearly as traumatic as the first two, but the fear and anticipation was there. She didn't sleep well Monday night, worrying again about swallowing it, and I could see that it filled her with tension - the not knowing how it would end.

When I picked her up she burst in to tears. The tooth was out, the anxiety had come to an end and she was proud again - and excited about the tooth fairy's visit (just doll house furniture this time).

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Kieran's Birthday Party Sunday

We started the day with ice-skating. Can't believe I managed to get T out of the house the same day others were expected, but we managed. Skating with our neighbours is almost becoming a Sunday morning tradition - just hope they don't close the rink for public skating anytime soon.

We came home and frantically cleaned up, vacumed and I iced the cake I had baked that morning. As I was going to bed Saturday night I realised that I had doubled all the liquid ingredients for the banana cake but not the dry ones - so very clever of me. So I quickly whipped up another, simpler one and put the two together. Lucky K woke up early this morning (I think it was is as early as 6.30?)

As I was busy icing and the kids were passified with a movie, T went off in to town with Christian to look at an auction. And I mean why not? He bought our big piece just days after K was born so it seemed fitting he should go buy another the day we were celebrating his 3rd birthday. However a new piece was not to be had - I guess he decided it got too expensive.

The cake was in the fridge and I was fussing around doing a few things when Sandee and Leo arrived. Poor Josh was at home sick. T and C arrived back, picked up the rest of the gang and had not long been in the door when the phone rang. It was Mel & Ondi - could they come and get Sasha? Sure, cake and coffee are ready in 30 minutes. They came back from Oz on Friday and their call couldn't have been timed better - I had wanted to invite them but hadn't been sure when they were due back.
We had to wait a while for Luca but it was worth it. Sandee was in charge of entertaining the kids and helped them build the new puzzle from Noa and Zach.

Once Luca had arrived (or was it once they had cake?) we had 6 crazy kids running (literally) around in our palace, and five adults struggling to hear what the person beside them was saying. But it was fun and the birthday boy had a great time!!

They had mostly been waiting for cake and it was finally produced and the kids all sat up at the table ready for their sugar kick.

Kieran really has the hang of this birthday business and he loves it when we sing Happy Birthday - and he is right there with us singing in both English and Swedish.
He was thrilled with his car and while he initially decided it should be yellow like Patrik's, he changed his mind and wanted green. I'm glad he didn't change his mind again - any other colour might have been a little hard to produce!

It seemed criminal to cut it but.... easy come, easy go. Actually it wasn't all that difficult to make - thanks to the Women's Weekly Party Cake Book. It took no more than an hour to cut and decorate.
The licorice details helped a lot, but were less than popular with the kids - don't kids like licorice any more?? The adults still do.......

All in all it didn't taste too bad - even with the heavy banana cake on the bottom and the lighter one on top. The icing is a favorite of mine - cream cheese and icing sugar with melted white chocolate mixed into make it a little more firm. Yum...
And so we could hear ourselves and actually talk to each other we went with another child pacifying trick - I think it was "Cars" which is why M is not in the photo - she simply REFUSED to watch it AGAIN!!

It was a crazy, fun Sunday. It was, as usual, lovely to bring people together, to be social and to celebrate. What more is there to life?

Monday, 3 March 2008

Pippi Longstocking

Makaila, Kristi and I met for lunch on Saturday at The Culture House and then went to see Pippi Longstocking (Långstrump in Swedish). It was fantastic. I'm not sure what I preferred - watching M or watching the production. She was delighted and so were we! It was so much fun that I want to go back again.
Mind you nothing will ever beat watching her watch live theatre for the first time.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Our visit to the Fire Station Thursday

Being the school holidays the fire stations were all open to the public. We went to a fairly new one in Vällingby and the kids LOVED it!!

We were there for an hour and a half - much longer than anyone else there that afternoon.

The kids climbed all over the 3 vehicles, looked at the gym, kitchen etc and watched a movie on fire fighting and rescue. They drank cordial and ate pepparkakor. K even accidently leant on the horn and frightened the life out of himself and others.

The fire fighters were all there on stand-by to answer any questions that the kids or parents had.

We had a great time and I would love to go to a different one, perhaps a city one and take a look around there too.

And it didn't cost us a cent! (or a öre) Can definitely recommend a trip to the local fire station on the next school holidays - we'll be going again.