Blogger Boss needs to decide what this is going to say about how crazy her life is & how she loves coffee & walks with her hubby.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Looking forward, with one eye in the rearview mirror...

So.  Summer is upon us.  This is our 2nd summer in Finland, and last year we experienced the warmest, actually HOTTEST, summer here in over 100 years.  I'm not counting on a rerun, but that's OK.  Looking back on the 14 summers I spent in Canada, I know there are some things I will not miss about real heat.  When the thermometer seem to get stuck at +35C, for weeks and weeks, and the nights remain hot and humid, and the loudest noise you hear is your A/C working relentlessly, while you toss and turn in bed, praying for a cool breeze....  5 times I was big and pregnant in the summer too, which meant extra sweat.  We were surrounded by huge lakes and a river, but when the heat peaked, so did the e-coli in the water, making those beautiful lakes dangerous to swim in.  So sad.  We had many, many days with smog warning,  extreme UV warnings, and at times there would be like a lid with thick humid smog covering our area, making it dangerous to be outside at all.  So then we'd stay inside, where the air was stale and dry from running the A/C non stop. 

Will I miss all that??  Nope.  Of course there were many days spent in our backyard pool.  And backyard BBQ's with wonderful family and friends, that I'll miss.  Sometimes when it wasn't too humid, but just warm, and dark in the middle of the night...  That I'll miss too.  And the HUGE thunderstorms, when the trees would be bent over sideways...  Yeah, I'll miss that as well.  I am looking forward to some things thou.  Cool nights when it's still light outside for example.  Last night we were working on the house, and I realized it was past 10!  And it was totally light outside.  I could hear tons and tons of birds chirping, and the air was so fresh and smelled increadibly good from all the wildflowers, pinetrees, birch trees and lilocs.  Mmmm.....  You could hear the birds down at the pond (it's more like a small lake actually), but otherwise quiet.  The lakes here don't get so hot, but many people will have a sauna right at the lake side, where you warm up, and then you dash in to the cool, clean water.  In the woods we'll be picking blueberries, lingonberries and wild strawberries, as well as tons of wild flowers.  And even if the day has been hot, it usually cools off at night, so you can open the window and let the breeze in.  No A/C needed. 

I feel fortunate to be able to experience living in different contries, with different climates and cultures. 
It will be fun to go to the market in the summer and buy fresh fruits, berries and veggies from the locals, just like I loved to stop at the roadside market stands back in Canada.  Buying fresh melons and corn on the cob... yummmm..... 
I guess you can make the best out of every situation, and I'm looking forward to another summer here!  And I'm sure there'll be times I miss all those great summers in Canada ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some random pictures..

Here are some pictures of the youngest 3, reflecting our everyday life...

Sometimes the girls yakking puts me right to sleep... Winnie joined me!

My little helpers, the one to the right has a fashion style of her own...

Little Guy has been watching the sisters measuring each other to see how tall they are, and here I cought him doing the same!

Litte Guy was VERY impressed with the wagon attached to his car!  Winnie went for a ride...

My 3 youngest lined up on the hallway organizer....

Winnie didn't have a carseat, but since "wearing" your baby is "in", we just stuffed him inside the t-shirt!

#5 is quite pumped about the tower she built with the help of an older sister

Just hanging out.... 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What a mess!!!

This is the follow up to my last blog.  Last night I went to this little Bed and Breakfast, where they also offer a "mud sauna treatment".  I didn't bring my camera (I forgot) and I don't know how we'd been able to take pictures anyway, since we were deeeep in the dirt! 

This experience might sound a bit "different" to anyone who did not grow up with a traditional sauna culture.
We were a group of 5 ladies, I knew one of them from before.  This was not held at some posh resort type of SPA, but in a house that consisted of a big room with a few couches (changing room), a bathroom, shower room and a woodburning sauna.  On the coffee table there were pitchers of water and a little jar with seasalt (we all took a few pieces and let them dissolve under our tounges to help get fluids out of our systems), then we drank a lot of water.  Before entering the sauna, everybody only in their birthdaysuits of course, we poured seawater all over ourselves, and then went in to the sauna to get warmed up.  After about 5 minutes, we went back into the shower room where we all had our own bowl with mud.  This we smeared allover ourselves (except the eyes, nose and mouth), even in the hair!  When we were done we all went back in the sauna and let the mud do its trick.  It's supposed to help cleans your body and get rid of extra fluids, and it smoothens your skin.

We spent about 20 minutes in there, before showering it all off.  I still have some stuck under my nails and my hair feels a bit funny.  We didn't use any shampoo or soap at all.  After sitting with only towles wrapped around us, cooling off on the couches, we got dressed and went to the main house for a nice evening snack, consisting of herbal tea, steamed veggies, rye and spelt breadrolls (made at the BnB), covered in garlicspread.... Yummmm....
No entertainment, no loud anything.  Just the 5 of us quietly visiting, in this old loghouse.... Very laidback very relaxing.  I don't really care what the mud did or did not do, I just truly enjoyed this evening out!  And yes, I did feel very rejuvenated and very very tired....  Coming home I laid down on the couch, and Little Guy joined me and fell asleep on my stomach.... mmmmm..... Life is good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A messy reward

The last week, month, year has been a true whirlwind of events.  A year ago I was neck deep in moving boxes, and what seemed like a thousand things that needed to get done in time for the move.  Our house was technically sold, but we were waiting for all the nitty gritty details to get ironed out, before we could put that magic "SOLD" sign in front of the house.  I was still asking myself at times "what in the world are we doing?".
But as you know we made it here, and now it's been almost 11 months since we touched down in Helsinki.  Our house is at the last stages of construction before we can move in.  So, soon I have to pack up this apartment (piece of cake compared to last years move), and the circle will come to an end for now...

I have been at the house as often as possible, I really enjoy helping out there.  It's the perfect date for me and Big Guy.  We get stuff done together, on something that benefits the whole family, it doesn't cost anything (well, the house isn't free, but no "dating" costs) and we can talk uninterrupted with no audience.  The big girls have been of great help, and they are keeping a tally on hours worked, smiling about the upcoming reward.  Speaking of which.  I'm getting a reward too!!

I have felt that I have been running on spare for a while now.  When I leave the house it's to pick up kids from school, go to the groceriestore, or to K-Rauta (Home Depot), w. Big Guy for yet more house stuff.  That can be fun, but at times it's nothing too exhilirating.  (plumbling and balconyposts is not THAT exciting, while picking out the tile and flooring is of course fun).  Other than that I rarely venture out for any "me" time.  So on Tuesday evening when I was helping hubby to clean out a bunch of garbage in the garage and breezeway at the house (we are hoping the get the floor poured there soon), I got a call from one of my local friends!  She carefully explained how she is looking for someone who might be interested in going for a mudpack-sauna-spa this Friday.  (she tried to make it sound less messy than it is, in case I would get a bit grossed out), when I practically yelled "Sandy" I LOVE playing in mud!"  That made my day!  I hadn't had a very good one, but the thought of that Northern Finnish muddy stuff, generously spread out all over me, sounded like a perfect thing to brighten up my day!  (no added anything to that stuff, the real thing only, so I guess I'll go a few skin shades darker for a while after...)  When the treatment is over, we'll enjoy some healthy tea and goodies.  I can hardly wait!

Sandy asked me to do a cleansing before the mudpack to help me get the full effect from the mess.  So I'm doing a 1 ½ day cleansing, meaning I'm ONLY eating frutis and veggies.  And some mineralsalt spiked water.  I'm aiming to get the pipes cleaned as well as my skin rejuvenated from all that mud!  I'll let you know how it goes... If I'm daring enough I might bring my camera for some action shots.........   I feel that I need and deserve this night out.  In a woodburning sauna, all covered in mud, somewhere in Finland... very close to the Russian border :)  Sounds like the perfect night out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ta-Daaa!!!!!!!!!!! A couple of pictures....

On one of the first really warm days in April, we stopped by at the house and enjoyed the first ice-cream outside of the year!  Still huge piles of snow everywhere, still snowgear, but ice-cream it is!
Here are the girls lined up on some random pile of material, and Big Guy and Little Guy hanging out on the left!

At the toystore Little Guy found a cool ride!

Upstairs at our house! The halfwall will follow the stairway, (stairs coming up on the side you see)
and then to the right of the stairs will be an opening cut out (where all the construcion stuff is laying in the picture).  Joining the halfwall in a 90 degree angle, coming towards you, will be a glass railing.

View from the other side.  Looking down the hallway, the opening will be to your left.

I'll try to keep the pictures coming, but sometimes we'll take pictures, and by the time I remember to download them, the house is at a new stage...
The fireplace is almost done, so I'll get some shots of that and post them soon.........

Friday, May 13, 2011

I can't wait!!!

Have you ever felt this way?  You just can't wait for... "___" fill in the blank.
Well, I have this little calender that gives you a thoughtful phrase each day, and this one really made me think

"Long foretold, long last; short notice, soon past"

I think this really goes hand in hand with todays instant gratification thinking. If you look back at the moments in your life that really stand out, were they things that you planned and longed for during a while, or was it the spur of the moment events?  I definitely know that it's all the things I longed, waited and hoped for that stand out. 

For example; getting my 1st place of my own.  I can still clearly remember the 1st night spent in my 1st apartment.  Was everything "just right" and perfect?  No.  But this was something I had waited for and looked forward to for some years (I was 19 when I moved away from home)  As I laid in the tiny student apartment, surrounded by boxes filled with my childhood and future... I was in awe of the feeling of being "on my own!". 

3 years later I had another one of those moments, standing in front of that old stone church, lovingly looking at the tall and handsome guy at my side, thinking "So this is who I dreamed of all my life!"  (I'm sure most little girls hold pretend weddings getting married to Mr.Right)  Will I ever forget these moments???  No.  Why? Because I had time to long for, wait, pray, dream and hope before they happened.

The same goes for the births of all our children.  Those 9 months sure gives you time for all those feelings too...  And you'll never ever forget the birth of a child, no matter how many you have!  All I have to do is to think of any of them, and I can recall their labours and births no problem.  Looking back to my childhood I can recall a few of my most treasured toys, and guess what?  They are all items I had time to wish and long for.

Sadly, often today it is quite different for kids as well as grownups.  Credit cards have helped erase the opportunity to wish for things.  "Just swipe the card mom!"  (then I can get what I want...)  Big trips, new furniture, electronical gadgets, and the latest toys, all become "musts" at THIS moment.
How sad!!
I think you rob yourself and your kids from the true experience of recieving and appreciating if we don't allow ourselves to say "Wait!", "If it's special enough you'll be able to wait until christmas, your birthday, when you have saved up enough money..., and then when you finally get it! Oh boy will it be special!"  Or maybe not.  Maybe the novelty wore off faster than it took to walk to the car... in which case you have saved not only a dent on your bankaccount, but also the risk of spoiling yourself or your kid.

Building our house tests me in many areas... It's so easy to get carried away with "I wants!"  I really try to limit the things I'm standing firm on.  Like the 2sided fireplace.  It will be almost 2 years since we 1st designed our house, and the idea popped into my mind "Hey, wouldn't it be neat to have a fireplace where I can see the fire from the livingroom and kitchen?"  We were building one no matter what, and with my cousin building it for us, we are saving on costs, so in the end I'll get my 2sided one for a really good deal.  Will I enjoy it??  You bet.  Same goes for the idea of having laundry abilities on both floors.  I debated if it made sense to have our laundry up or downstairs... when I realized that we could do both!!  Again, the only extra cost is another washer, which in the big scheme of things is a rather humble amount, but what convenience it will be to have that extra machine on a daily basis! 

When we move in I will have to be good at waiting again.  Of course I will want to get everything "just right" as soon as possible, but I know it will take time and money to achieve this.  I will be a frequent visitor to all the 2nd hand shops, looking unusually maniac like, digging for gold...
And maybe one day I will stand in our house and look around and say
"Wow!  It's done!  The journey was long, but man was it worth it, and will I ever enjoy it!"
Then we'll decide to sell it and start over... ;)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Barney got it right!

"A Thankful heart is a happy heart, be glad for what you have - it's an easy way to start!"

This familiar kid's song comes to my mind on a regular basis, because it's so true!!
If you really are thankful for what you DO have, it sure saves us from a lot of aggrevation wishing for what we don't
It's so easy to "compare up the ladder", meaning, we compare what we have (or don't) to those that seeminly have MORE!  I like to "compare down"...  and again and again realize how much I have! 
I have a pretty impatient nature, and I'm not too keen on waiting on anything.  Take a clean house for example.  Well, in a family of 9 that is a continous struggle. so when I feel stressed and frustrated about the chaos, and wish that I had a magic wand that would make all the kids disappear (just for like an hour or so), so that I could clean undisturbed.... I have to stop and ask myself "Why is it so important?  IF everything really was in it's right place, all projects taken care of, closets organized etc etc... then WHAT??"  What is it that I want to accomplish?  What goal am I reaching for? And why?  To have a clean house really does matter to me, so I know that in the end, I will feel happier from that, although I have to learn to sit down and ignore the mess and just BE sometimes... My dear Hubby is good at reminding me about this. "Just relax!, then we can all clean up, and it doesn't take that long anyway!"  He's of course right... but I can be stubborn...

So how does this relate to being happy with what you have?
Well, if you are always struggling to get to the next step up, and never stop and look behind and enjoy the view - so far!, what's the point of the climb?
I used to care a lot more about what "others might think".
What a waste of time!!!  As long as I am not rude, ignorant or impolite to others, what do I owe them??
What if my standards are not the same as theirs?  What if they are happy with less?  How can somebody else dictate what's best for anybody else than themselves?

If there were no guidelines around the world for what the "norm" is... Then how would the world look?  I think most of us would be happy with a lot less!  And rather spend the extra time with our loved ones, than chasing the opportunity of making an extra dollar.  But because media pushes us to believe that we indeed "need" the latest gadget, a bigger this and a smaller that... We think that we  have to live up to that expectation, and get cought up in the race. 
"The one who has the most stuff when he dies wins!" - attiude.
Makes me kind of sickish to think about actually.
I realize that different people also have very different views on what's "the basics" in life.  And many many grownups these days walk around with a "I deserve this" attitude.  Passing it along to their kids.
It has to be the latest and greatest and highest quality... and then when they have it, they somehow think that these items make them "more" than others!!! 

If you really had to face the option to lose either all your money and stuff or your loved ones... I sure hope this would be a very easy choice.  So why do so many people act  the opposite way?
"When I have made this much money, and got to this or that status level, THEN I'm gonna take my family on the vacation of their lifetime!"  Why???
Did you ask your kids if this is what they want?  What if you turn around one day and realize that "Oh! They are all grown up and I don't even know them..."

"Be glad for what you have, it's an easy way to start!"

PS: One more thing... Many people keep wishing that they were somebody else, or had somebody elses life, but when it really really comes down to it, most of us would end up choosing our own shoes after all...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

They got him!!!

So.  They got him.  Osama.  When I heard this, my 1st thought was, "Oh, that is a psycological closure I guess."  I'm not ignorant or cold, I just don't get all upbeat about somebody getting killed.  Instead I wonder about how the victims of his horrid actions feel about this.  I don't think it's the firefighter's widow, or the kids to the Twin Tower worker, or the parents of the kids in the planes that are out there celebrating.  I'm sure none of them got their loved one back.  When we start to rejoice in anyone getting killed, I think we have reached an extra dark corner of ourselves.  The guy they got is against Christian believes, and we are trying to defend our countries so that we can continue to believe freely....  Well.  Shouldn't we start by acting our part then?  Turn the other cheek and to pray for those who hate us never came easy... but think about how good it is for ourselves if we are able to do just so.  And even if you don't believe in this, what about taking the high road?  Obviously Osama had to be punished, just like any criminal walking this planet, but that's not my point.  It's how WE react to the information that will make the biggest difference. 
We are still here, we can make a difference... What difference do we want to make??

I shall repost what my sister-in-law posted on her blog, words by a wise man who spread love in his actions and words
‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
-Martin Luther King, Jr

Monday, May 2, 2011

April Sun brings May Snow???

Hm.  Interesting.  I'm used to April being the month with rain one moment sun the next and then wind and hail, but this April has been gorgeous, sunny and warm.  The snow melted, flowers bloomed and the trees got green, all in a matter of a few weeks.  Well.  Now it's May!  And we woke up to snow in the air!  It doesn't seem to stick to the ground, fine w. me!!, but still...  Ah well.  It's just weather, and I assume this is just the winter's last "Hurrah!" before summer comes...  ;) Right??

Last Saturday I spent working at our house alongside Big Guy!  Fun!!  Our oldest girls helped out watching the younger ones for the day, and we got in about 6½ hrs of work.  I did mostly cleaning, but I also helped with some actual construction stuff as well as carrying a bunch of bricks inside for our fireplace.  At the end of our workday we stopped by at McDonald's for a quick dinner on our way home.  I felt like "one of the guys" in my dusty clothes and scratched up hands!  (any guy who's reading this is probably rolling their eys, but I did enjoy myself, and it was a great time to just hang out w. my Hubby!!)

At home things had gone well.  Our 2nd oldest had organized a picnic lunch outside, and our oldest girl had been her buys self.  She had ironed "the pile", hung up laundry, reorganized the whole livingroom, reorganized and cleaned our bedroom as well as taking care of and putting our Little Guy to sleep...
Wow!  Pretty amazing I think!  We sure appreaciate their helpfulness.  I guess they want the house to get done as much as we do.... 
Today my cousin is starting to build the fireplace, the mudder and sander guy is in full swing, Big Guy is finishing up some drywall stuff downstairs... and yeah, it's getting done!!

And Oh!!  Our 2nd oldest, who'll find any animal anywhere (she's spotted lizards on our property already) cought a glimps of a Viper on the neighbours lot!!  Yikes....  I guess I'm gonna see if there are some plants we could grow that keep those suckers away!!  :(  Anyway... Off to another Monday, have a good one folks!  Yes, I'll see if I can get some more pictures on here soon....