WELCOME!!

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.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

From Me with Love

Hey!  I'm not sure what happened, but all of a sudden Christmas is like HERE!!
I have not done a whole lot to prep for the big holiday since we won't be at home.
Tomorrow morning we'll be stuffing our gang into our Suburban and drive.
And drive, and drive and drive.
Along dark, snow covered roads.
Watching out for reindeer as we get closer to our destination.
We'll be passing the Arctic Circle and then keep driving a few more hours.
When we finally "get there", my youngest sister and her hubby and 3, impatiently waiting, boys will greet us!

We are all looking forward to this break from everything.
Our last year has been busy.
If I wanted to I could recall many heavy moments, but I way rather cherish the moments we lived that we loved.
And there were many of those!!
Although most of the minutes of each days are "fine", meaning we have everything we need at that moment, we rarely actually appreaciate them.
We take for granted that we have a home to live in, food to eat and reasonable health to keep us going.
But THOSE are the things we SHOULD be thankful for.
Every day.
We have instead the luxury of choosing what moments and days that were MORE than that.
And somehow we measure our happiness in the number of moments we had that were AWESOME!
Or if we are a bit down, we might dwell on all the times that were sad and heavy.
And that's ok.
Real joy and happiness would not exist if we didn't know what hurt, pain and sadness felt like.
To get stuck in the sadness is what we need to be looking out for.

Looking back thou, I need to say that I am so very, very fortunate.
I have had everything I need, every day.
Our kids have been mostly happy and healthy.
There has been work, plenty of work!, and that is sure a blessing.
We have had time to savour great moments, but also spent time dreaming and wondering what our future might bring.
We have prayed for God's guidance in all those matters that we just can't figure out ourselves.
And many times we've been humbled by the things we thought we knew, but God knew different.
Sometimes for what felt the worse, but also for the better.

Lately we've heard of some major tragedies in the news, but also among people we know.
Young people have left this world for a better place.
Terrible sadness and hurt have shaken us to the core.
I can not imagine how those families are holding up, but I know that God will be there for them, if they want him to.
I was thinking that when we get too pushed down and saddened by darkness, all we can do is turn to the light.  I am thankful that I know to do that.
Some people might think I'm foolish, but I know in my heart what that light does for me.
It helps me focus on a greater goal.

I also think a lot about love.
Real love.
Out of all the things here on earth, love is THE only thing we can bring with us when we die.
Hope and Faith won't be needed anymore.
Only love.  Eternally.
I want to teach my kids to love.  Like Jesus did.  I want them to remember why we celebrate Christmas.
Because Love came to earth.
So many people hate and won't forgive.  It's like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die from it!
You only wreck yourself!!
Jesus tought us different.  He tought us forgiveness and love.
To pray for those who hate you.
So, Let your New Year be full of love and a thankful heart.
And I pray for the same for myself and my family.

                                                                  Merry Christmas and Happy Blessed New Year





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My job

Today I am here to tell you about my job.
My job is my life.
I simply live for the job I hold.
It doesn't come with any really good perks, but I keep showing up, on time, every day.
I can't say I have any scheduled vacations, but on the other hand, I take as many breaks as I want.
Some days it feels like my right hand is attached to a cup of coffee.
I totally don't worry about getting fired for it - there's no one to replace me!

The people I am in charge of are of various ages.
They come and go through the day.
Some are with me all day long.
Sometimes they even follow me to the bathroom.
Not much privacy with this profession!!
But that's ok, because I can be totally free around them.
If I burp, fart or sneeze, I say excuse me, but nobody really cares either way.
If I get really mad and even yell at them, they listen, but get over my outbursts really fast.
We hug and say sorry, and never bring it up again.

Some days I feel like a REALLY bad boss.
I tell them that I feel like taking early retirement or quit!  I can't handle this any more!
Funny how they never seem to remember that the next day!
Sometimes they tell me I'm the best boss in the world, and they say they love me, give me as many hugs and kisses as I want and need.
If I cry they get really worried and concerned.
Sometimes they give me beautiful cards to make me feel better.

Every day my boss is with me too.
Actually, he watches me 24/7.
When I feel like I hit the bottom of the pit, he helps me up every time, and gives me the strength I need for every single day.  He has PROMISED to never, ever leave me.
Some times when I'm frustrated and  feel like nobody cares, nobody sees my effort or how hard I work, I remember that my boss does.
And knowing that gives me strength to continue.

I deal with teenagers and listen to their day to day struggles, fun stories and worries.
I nag at them to clean their rooms, hug them when they are sad and frustrated, and encourage them to be the best they can.
I ask them to set the goals in their lives, and remind them that their lives are theirs to live, not mine.
So learn to take responsability for your actions!
Only when you can admit that you were wrong can you learn from your experience and hopefully not make the same mistake again.

I care for a diabetic child.  I remind her to take care of herself every day.
I cheer her on and try to teach her how to take care of herself.
I get sad on her behalf and sometimes discouraged, but I remind her that she's the toughest and bravest 11 year old I know.

I have younger kids to take care of as well.
They come to me with all their issues, and I try to help them trough various conflicts they encounter each day.  If they are hurt I cheer them up.  If they are happy I share in their joy.
I hug them a lot.  I laugh with them even more.

I love my job.  It's maybe the best job in the world.
I don't get paid for what I do.  You can't put a value on it, so I don't think there would be a "right" salary.
I make sure to keep everyone fed, clothed, clean and happy.
The reward I get is their love and appreaciation in return.
Many, many women look down on this job.
They think we should "expand" ourselves.
This isn't "good enough".
That's ok.  I don't mind others choosing different.

"You are just a mom!"
Yeah.  I am "just" a mom.
I don't have an education.
I don't get promotions or taps on the back.
I don't have any diplomas on my walls.
But being "just" a mom is the most rewarding job you can have.
The love you get in return, the smiles, the hugs....
I might be "just" a mom, but after all these years I have learned to appreaciate the luxury of being "just" a mom.  I don't have any stylish co-workers waiting for me.  I can bum around in boring mom clothes and forget to make my hair for a few days. 

Am I letting myself go??  I don't feel it that way.
I can choose what I eat and when I eat it, meaning I usually eat quite healthy.
I don't sit stuck in traffic knowing that I am late picking my kids up - less stress!
If there are Dr's appointments, I can always bring them without taking time off.
I KNOW the kids that I gave birth to.
I don't need to rely on a daycare lady to share my kids milestones.
I feel like a true winner in this rat race.
One day I might go back to school and "become" something when I grow up.
But for now I'm fine living this wonderful life, filled with hilarious moments, all natural and real.

Anyway... I have dishes to do, but first I think I'll have another cup of coffee :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For the good things

I just read through some of my old blog posts.
Often when I write them I have a strong feeling about one or another thing.
Good or bad.
But within a few days of posting it, I often forget what I even wrote about so passionately!
Maybe because when I write I "dump" my brain and heart out through my fingers and on to the keybord.
Words and scentences pop up on the screen and form little glimpses from my life.

Words are so powerful.
To write can hurt or help, heal or damage.
You choose what you write, and hope that your message gets across the way you intended.
These days with so many ways to express ourselves, many people seem to totally lose all their tact.
Some use really rude or corse language on FB or similar sites.  Women who normally would never talk like that in real life!!  It's kind of disturbing and I think it's a really good way to make people lose respect for them.

Well.  Today is however not going to be a "how to write" class, just had to put in my 2 cents regarding that.

Today I want to remember the "being Thankful" thing.
Especially since many of my friends and family celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend over in the USA.
I think trying to be a grateful person, who is able to appreaciate what they have in their life and the gifts God has given them, will help anyone in their everyday life.
The saying "A bitter heart can not be thankful, and a thankful heart can not be bitter" is one of my favourites.
I use a lot of "sayings" in my everyday life, and our kids already know about many, and we can often laugh at me because I'm becoming quite predictable with them.
"You can only change yourself!"
"Don't expect anyone to do anything for you, do it yourself!"
"Be kind to each other, and help each other!"
"Remember to appreaciate what you have, because you never know what tomorrow brings!".
"Love each other, one day something might happen to one of you, and you'll really regret anything bad you did"
"Be responsible for your actions, don't blame others!"

The list goes on....

But, today I'm trying to be thankful.
Lately I've struggled with a lot of feelings, stress and emotions.
I have to remind myself that I quite likely am still feeling the effects of the msicarriage.
I really feel that I need TIME.  Time for me.
Time to just figure out what I feel about all sorts of stuff.
But when my emotions and hormones have been on a rollercoaster that lost its fun-factor several turns ago, I just want to get off of it and give my head a chance to stop spinning.
I'm not going to go in to details right now, and most likely I wouldn't be able to explain everything that's going on without sounding confusing or whiny or both.
To combat all the yukky stuff I'm going through, I try to focus on the good.

This morning I got a text from my cousin.  He and his wife and their kids are happy to announce the birth of a little girl.  A new baby sister to love and care for.
How wonderful, and how thankful I am that all went well for mom and baby.
This last year has been hard for many people I know.
Money and health problems are so common these days.
But when I see how people love and care for each other, it makes me happy and thankful.

Then there's my neighbour lady across the street, who in my eyes seem to live the "perfect life". Their yard is always neat, and they have 2 boys, 5 years apart, and things always seem to be in its proper place.  I get a bit of a complex living in this unfinished house, with kids running all over, toys scattred like a bomb went off.  It usually looks like no grown-ups are living in our house!!
The neighbour guy's garage is cleaner than my kitchen, while our garage is... hmmm... how do I put it??
Messy would be a nice compliment.  So let's leave it at that.

Anyway.  In a round about way I heard how this neighbour lady told someone that:
"I feel so overwhelmed with my 2 boys, and sometimes I don't know what to do, and then I look at the lady across the street coming home with her 7 kids, arms loaded with grocery bags, and she's always smiling!, I don't know how she does it!"
Hearing this brought tears to my eyes.
Often I feel so insignificant and "not enough".  There are so many things I can't do with our kids because it costs too much.
There are many things I don't have energy for, because, well, I'm just me and there are 7 of them.
I often feel like I have a bit of a complex about my life looking so "messy" and unorganized.
Our kids clothes are not matching and neat.  Our yard is all sand and construction stuff and toys.
Our house isn't finished and our cars are loud and old.

But.
When my hubby told me about what the neighbour lady said, his eyes were sparkling.
He hugged me and was so proud of me.
He said hearing those things makes him love me even more.
Our kids were so pumped too.
And even if that's just her observation about me, and she sure doesn't know the whole picture, well, I only have my observation of her, and I don't know HER whole picture either.
It's a comforting thought for us all.
We all have the little things in our lives that annoy us, and when the neighbour's grass seem greener, well, maybe ours isn't so bad after all.
I am so very thankful to have the gang I have to share my life with.
It's when you take away all the superficial layers in life, and look at what is really left, that you see the true value of what you have.
Those things can vary because our goals are different.
For me being loved for who I am is something that matters a lot.
And when all is said and done, I am.  I truly am.
And feeling so loved and appreaciated, makes it so easy to love the people around me, for who they are!
And a smile is the poor mans jewel. 
A smile is the most beautiful make-up you can wear!  It comes in a perfect size for you face, and it matches every outfit you own.

This makes me think of another saying that I really like that goes something like this:
"The smile on my face doesn't mean that my life is perfect, it means that I am thankful for what I have and that I know that God provides for me what I need every day!"
No need to worry.
Just smile and be thankful.  There are so many reasons to do that.
Even if your house isn't finished and is full of sand :)

And like our wise 13 year-old told me a while back
"Mamma, we are rich.  We really are!"
Yes honey, we really, really are...






Thursday, November 8, 2012

Picture this!!



Here's a "picture perfect" post.
A little bit of everything...
Enjoy!




Above the clouds the sun is always shining!
On our way to Norway, flying from Helsinki to Rovaniemi.

My oldest (the Lapp Lady) and my sisters youngest (the reindeer)

The moms had to try it too!!  My nephew is watching us with a smile
on his face...

Beautiful Lapland.  This is in the very northern part of Finland.


Such peaceful beauty!





Cousins hanging out!  Such a sweet little boy :)
Our sweet boy turned 3 and asked for a "Tank cake"!
Well, he wasn't disappointed. 
Dad arranged one with the help of oldest daughter.
Not bad, huh?
In the morning we woke him up with a small cake and presents in bed.
Well, he wasn't too impressed with the bright candles.
"It's too sunny!!", he said.
So I blew them out for him so he could uncover his eyes :)
On October 26th we got our first snow this winter.
The following morning the "snow panthers" were busy outside!


In sharp contrast to the tank cake, stand this "Shoe Cake".
Our oldest daughter made this sweet treat for her younger sister
when she turned 11.

Happy Birthday to a You!
Her candles weren't too "sunny" btw



Happy Halloween!
A white cat, a ghost and a fairy.
We celebrated Halloween at home and I arranged a treasure hunt for
the kids after eating "Halloween shaped" nuggets and fries for dinner.

Well, that's all for now.
Pictures are so much fun to share, but I am bad at taking pictures and worse at posting them.
I always seem to mess up somehow in the process, so I avoid it, so each time I get it done I feel like
I've accomplished something huge!  My blog never look very prefessional.
It doesn't have anything "cute" or fancy about it.
So never mind the unevenly spaced pictures.  If I try to correct them I'll probably delete them.
I've never claimed to be computer savy, at least the kids in the pictures make up for the lame layout :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

11 years ago...

11 years ago today we welcomed our 3rd daughter.
Our little Pumpkin.
I remember putting a tiny orange jacket on her and a pumpkin hat on her peach-fyzzy head.
A small bundle for us to love and care for.

Today she's a happy, smily, athletic and smart girl.
She can be Miss Moody, but usually we figure out our differences quite fast.
She does NOT want to "ever" become a teenager, like her two older sisters!
Yukk!!
I asked what she wanted the most for her birthday, and after lots of thinking she came down with the answer.
A toolbox.  With tools in it.
:)
She loves helping her dad in the garage, and a few weeks ago she helped hang and assemble a bunch of shelves in there with him.  He gave her his old cordless drill for birthday.  She smiled BIG time!
In school she takes woodwork instead of textile.
She actually thinks doing construction when she grows up would be fun!
Or maybe become a diabetes nurse...
To help kids like her!

She sure doesn't look like a construction worker, she's very petite, but she is fast and loves to be active.
Besides woodwork she loves math.  Music is BOOO-ring!
Not your typical girl?
Well, at home with her sisters she still enjoys Barbie's and horses and "girl" stuff.
She and her younger sisters are pros at setting up "stuffed animal school".
The aftermath is a room covered in animals, papers, books, scissors, glue or tape or both and coloring stuff...
Sigh.
"I will miss it one day!" (I try to tell myself)

If she has the chance she also loves helping me in the kitchen.
"Can I make the gravy?"
"Can I please peel the potatoes?" (strangely enough, but some of our kids actually FIGHT about this chore!)
Making place-cards with our names written, in the worst case of chicken scratches, on them.
(her hand writing make my eyes bleed... it's getting better thou, maybe)

Over all she's a good kid.
A bit shy and careful at times, I try to help and guide her along the way.
She's making great progress in her new school, and for that I am very thankful.
Her finnish is getting better and better, and she dares to use it more.
She has found many new friends and she comes home smiling!
On Friday she's having a sleepover with a few friends to celebrate her birthday.
She's very excited!!  Plans are being made and I'm sure it won't be a quiet event :)

When her older sisters are away, she steps up and is a great helper.
She's patient and kind (mostly...) with her younger siblings.
One passion she shares with her two-year older sister is READING!
If I let her she escapes to her room and reads, and reads, and reads...
For hours!
Well... I sure am a very fortunate mom to this kiddo!
Keep it up girl, and maybe one day you'll build us a nice cottage :)
Love you forever.



A true cat lover!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He's 100% boy!

Happy early birthday to our little guy who turns 3 tomorrow!!
Wow.
I don't have a baby anymore!
I just can't get over the fact that he's so big already, and I don't have a baby that's newbornish, or at least pregnant!  Has never happened before after having our oldest daughter 14 1/2 years ago...
I have been pregnant twice after having him, but after 2 miscarriages, he'll remain our "baby" for the time being.  I can not imagine NOT having any more babies, but of course that COULD happen.
Makes me sad to think about.
I know we are incredibly blessed with our 7 healthy children, and it almost sounds greedy to wish for more, knowing so many who have no kids at all.
But it's just wierd to think that I MIGHT never have a small baby again.
That makes me wish I would have held them all a bit more.
Been a bit more patient, listened more.... well, I can still do those things with the kids we have, of course, but those first few years are so precious and short.

Sure they make you go nuts here and there, and often my life feels like a zoo.
But those babies...
No, I don't miss the night feedings and teething or colicky babies for hours on end.
I don't miss the endless diaper changes or spit-up clothes.
(our little guy is still in diapers, but doesn't need changes so often)
I do miss their "smallness".  All the "1st's".
Their baby smiles and giggles and snugs.
I am so thankful our little guy LOVES to hug and cuddle.
I just need to ask him for a hug and it gets delivered.
He's veeery weak for his mom ;)
If I ask for another one, he sometimes says
"You already got one!"
And I say
"Yeah....but I need another one..."
He can't resist.
So I enjoy those chubby arms around my neck.
The impish smile that reaches his sparkly eyes.
I love to listen to him talk.  He talks A LOT!
The other day I was explaining something for him (to help his father out), when he looks at me and says
"Mamma, I wasn't talking to you!"
Ooops!!

He's an army guy.  He builds gun after gun out of his lego.  When dad had to get going one day I asked if I could take his spot as army guy, and son tells me
"No mamma, you are nice!" (nice moms can't be army guys and shoot "bad guys")
Cuddling with mom is high on his priority list, but playing with dad is the best.
Wrestling, "beat boxing" (=boxing, he gets his words mixed up, and it's so cute we don't bother correcting him), cars, trains, trucks, fishing, building, legos, blocks, hockey....
That's what they do.
I never tire watching the two of them together.
I remember some years ago when Hubby was playing with the wooden trainset with one of our girls, and she liked it but wasn't "into it".  My Hubby got something dreamy in his eyes, and said
"What if we one day have a little boy..."
I almost felt guilty (not like I had any control!!), and felt tears burning in my eyes.
I prayed so hard for a boy... And God heard.
Of course all of our daughters are just as important and special, but there's something special for Hubby to have a "mini me" following him everywhere.

Little Guy has told me to go and build houses so pappa can stay home and play!
"Mamma, you go with uncle T and uncle T to work and pappa can stay at home and play with me!"
Weeeeell.  I think the uncles would be quite disappointed with the trade...

My guys have planned the birthday cake. 
A tank.
I'm curious to see how it turns out!!
So, to my not so little guy, Happy Birthday.
You don't even realize how special you are.
I love how you blend in with your sisters and make them a bit tougher.
They love to wrestle with you, build with you and help you out in your "boy stuff".
You sometimes take part in their games too.
Tea-parties and animal games with your best friend, and somewhat bigger, 5-year old sister.
I love how you love each other.  Often I catch you hugging each other with huge smiles on your faces.
Grow up now little man.  You have a good heart and a stong will.  I'll try to be brave on the sidelines as my baby grows into a big guy!
Smooches.

He's our Super-Spiderman

"Beat"-boxing with dad
Wearing mitts is a must!!
He goes and gets them and says, "let's beat-box!"

"Scoooore!"
He always wins...

Busy at work....  His big sisters built him a sand city!


BFF's 
They were laying like this holding hands...
I had to capture the moment!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hello October!!

Wow!  We are past half way, and things are just going on!
We have temperatures that drop close to freezing at night (no frost yet!).
The trees are looking bare.
It rains a lot...
I am (ALMOST) looking forward to *s*n*o*w*!
I got my first "Ladies Christmas" invite!! (for American and Canadian ladies residing in Finland)
Our house has been worked on (YAY!!)
Kids are falling in to the school routine, and I stress about things I have no control over...
Like, getting the homework done, or "are they outside enough?", or "do they spend too much time on the computer?", "should they help out more...or less??", "do they get enough sleep?" and the big one: "Who invented candy anyway?"
But then I catch my breath, and take a few deep ones, and realize...
"They are fine"

Their grades are good, their Finnish is improving all the time, they get candy on Saturdays (and sometimes on other days, but NOT every day).  They get most of the homework done.  They are actually outside a lot, and they usually stick to their alotted time on the computer.
We have a routine in place and they seem healthy and happy.
But as a mom... I guess it's hard to not stress here and there.

I had some real fun btw!
Our oldest girl (14) and I went on a trip.
Just the 2 of us.
We flew up to Rovaniemi, (located right at the arctic cirlcle) where one of my sisters picked us up, and together we traveled by car to another sister who lives waaaaaaaaaay up north in Norway!
We stayed there for 4 nights.  Gabbing, laughing, eating yummy foods, snacks and sweets.
Lots of old memories, "mom" talk, future plans etc
What a great time and lots of fun!
Thanks "Sis" for having us :)
And thanks Hubby for taking such good care of the kids and house!

Before the trip my in-laws were in Finland for a few weeks.
Always nice to see them again.
We had time to have a sauna at their house. They have an old woodburning sauna outside, with no running water, so you "scoop and pour" to wash yourself! (there's a woodburning water heater as well, and you mix some of the boiling water with ice-cold in a big bowl).  LOVELY!!  The best is when the 3 youngest kids come with us and they sit in a row on the top bench, cheeks red from the heat, hair sweaty and huge smiles!
It's really dark in there too, so everything seem more intense.  The fire in the stove, the heat from the rocks, the steam when you toss water on them.  The smell and sounds.... I love it.  Little guy really loves it too, and kept splashing cold water on himself, saying "Aaah! It feels gooood!"
Yes, it does!

There you go.  A few tidbits of the latest here in Finland.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And we are back...

Of course I need to share with you how our little getaway went!
It was good, great, really nice ... I mean, AWESOME!!!
We both behaved ourselves really well.
We didn't argue or bicker even a tiny bit.
We did not ONLY talk about the kids.
The kids did NOT call or text us every hour.  Only a few times actually!
The Hotel was superb.  The food excellent.
For some random reason the hotel restaurant did not charge me for my expensive dinner I had there Friday night.
Have no clue why.  My item was on the bill, with 0.00 next to it.
Fine with me!! 

Helsinki treated us to beautiful fall weather on Saturday, so we enjoyed the day down-town, mostly walking around, people watching, talking... Very, very enjoyable.
I bought a few things but nothing too exciting.
Let's just say Finns are not good with clearence racks.
And my wallet is not good with full priced items.
Instead we enjoyed a lot of food...  A huge sandwich that we shared for lunch, follwed by a stop at "Ben and Jerry's".  Later we had a cozy dinner at a French-style place.
My cousin and his wife met us there, and we all enjoyed a tasty meal.
Back at the hotel we relaxed with a sauna and swim before calling it a day.


On my way to the Hotel restaurant.
A tunnel connects the different buildings!

We took the tram to down-town

A decent size sandwich!
Compare to Hubby's hand...

A church, Kamppi Chapel, in the center of Helsinki,
very beautiful made out of alder and other woods.
The church was built to create a quiet space
 in the middle of one of the busiest parts of the city.

Sunday woke us up with rain.  A really dreary and gray fall morning.
I am not ready for that kind of stuff, but what can you do??
We stretched out the huge breakfast (this hotel has an amazing one!!) and checked out at noon.
One thing I love here, you can almost always check out at 12.00!
So nice to have a few extra hours when you're not in a rush.
Since the weather was not on our side, we cruised over to Jumbo, a big mall in the outskirts of Helsinki.
Again we walked and talked and just "were"!
I enjoyed the best Caeser salad since moving to Finland, teamed up with chicken strips and garlic dip and goatcheese-topped bread (you could choose 3 items to "make your own meal" kind of thing), and Hubby had one of the best burgers he's ever had.  Like in his LIFE!!  Not even kidding!
Gotta go to that place again!  Very awesome.

We ended our trip by stopping by at IKEA.  I think there's a law that you HAVE to stop there before leaving the metro Helsinki area...  Got a few things for the kids and a gift for our babysitter, otherwise I totally behaved myself in that place full of temptations.  Good thing we got there only an hour before closing or things might have easily gotten out of hand!
After IKEA we headed home.  We only stopped for coffee and ONE MORE treat on the way.
I had waaay to many of those this weekend...but it was worth it!! :)

We came home to a clean house and happy kids.
So nice to to see them all again!!
Now I hope this boost of rest and relaxation carries me for a while.
Only 3 more months till Christmas, almost time to roll up the sleeves for that!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aaaaaah!!!

Aaaaaah.  Yes, that's the word.
This afternoon Hubby and I will hop in his car and set the GPS for Helsinki.
We'll enjoy a few hours drive, undisturbed!!, as we drive to our Hotel.
Nobody bickering in the backseat.  Nobody kicking our seats.  Nobody nagging, whining, arguing...
(as long as we get along ourselves of course :)
Got a good deal at a Hilton by the ocean... :), and it's only a 15 min tram ride to down-town!
So for 2 days we'll just chill, relax, enjoy big breakfasts, saunas, maybe a swim in the pool and a workout a the gym.
Also mixed in to the fun will be slowly walking through the capitol (hand in hand of course...) browsing, people watching, deal hunting, chit-chatting, coffee-sipping....
Sit down at some restaurant and enjoy a good meal.
All of this uninterrupted!!  Yo-hoooo!!!
We are really looking forward to our getaway, it'll be very needed and well enjoyed after a busy summer followed by the sad miscarriage a few weeks back.
Helsinki is kind of special to the two of us as well, since that's the city we spent our first day dating in!
So... many sweet memories...

I pray that all goes well here at home, it's always a bit hard for Momma Duck to depart from her ducklings...
But I have faith in my oldest kids help, and we have a wonderful little family coming to spend their weekend here with our kids, so I know they'll be in good hands.
I also pray for a safe trip, and I'm already looking forward to Sunday evening.
Why??  Because the best part of being gone is coming back home, greeted by hugs and kisses and
"We missed you!"
That's why we go away sometimes.  To recharge our batteries, to spend some alone time as grown-ups, but most importantly, to be reminded of what matters the most and realize how much you love your life!

Have a happy and safe weekend!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trust In God

Here's the latest.

We have now lived in Finland for 2 years and almost 3 months.
It sounds like a while, but time sure has gone fast and it really seems strange it's already been that long!
A lot has happened in that time thou, enough things to cover more than just 2 years!!
Although I have my moments of despair (mostly language realated), I also have many, many good ones.
Last night I sat in our livingroom with a fire going in the fireplace, the house was quiet, and it felt good to catch my breath after a busy weekend.
I looked across the room at our little guy sitting on the couch, still awake since he took a late nap.
I told him
"We have it pretty good, don't we?"
And he goes
"Yeah, we have it pretty good!" :)

This last week we celebrated our September babies birthdays.
Our 2nd oldest is now joining her oldest sister in the "teen world", and our youngest girl turned a "whole hand"!  I can not believe it!!  We no longer have any "little" girls!
Although they all seem small to me...

On Saturday I brought our newest teen and some of her friends to an indoor pool.
It has slides and other things to do, so they had a great time and I had time to swim and relax in the bubbles.
In the evening we had a houseful of people to celebrate both birthday girls with cakes and good food.
Nice evening for everyone!

You might be wondering how it's going for our girl who had a hard time in school?
Well, I am more than thankful to say that she's doing really, really good this year.
I see my "old girl" returning bit by bit.
She is making friends with everyone, just the way she used to, her Finn is getting better and better and she LIKES to go to school now.
A HUGE difference from last year.
It makes me so happy I can't even explain it!
She even told me she wouldn't mind so much if we stayed here another 2 years...
:)

So, where does that put me??
Seeing our kids happy matter so, so much.
I sometimes feel that this move has been a sacrifice for ME in many ways.
I really have had to put myself and my needs and interests on the backburner.
There are so many things I can't do, so many situations that frustrates me.
To also go through 2 miscarriages in less than a year, right after moving in to a house that still has work to be done... and then try to find the time to adjust and get comfortable in a new coutry, well, it's not a walk in the park!!  With Hubby running his own business too, along with his brothers, is an additional stress, although educational and interesting as well.
I try to look ahead and picture myself here in the future, and it's really hard.
When I'm at home with the kids I don't learn any Finnish.
There are times I want to visit with some ladies so badly, and I don't even know how to start the conversation!!  And that is so not me!
If I'd try to get a job it would be very hard.  I'm sure there's something I could do without needing much Finnish, but I'd be very limited.

But... as usual I try to look at the bright side.
I am very thankful that we have this opportunity.
I have learned a lot about myself and my family.
I know I can handle a lot of stress, as well as big changes and I am pretty darn good at staying organized in the middle of the chaos!!
It's also been very, very humbling.
I like to speak what's on my mind, and I've never been stopped before.
Here I'm often clueless to what people are talking about in the first place, and if I happen to know what they are talking about, I don't have the words to add my own 2 cents.
This has tought me the valuable lesson of staying quiet.
And many times just "being".

The kids and I talk a lot.  I feel that I "need" them more than I used to!!
We talk about everything, and we learn so much from each other.
Maybe some things we wouldn't have learned if we would have stayed in Canada??

I have seen my husband grow and learn as well.
Through much frustration and cluelessness at times...
But is it ever a good opportunity!
I keep telling him "If you could do what you have done in a new country, moving your family, building a house and starting a business, all in one breath!!, you can do ANYTHING in Canada if we move back!!"
I don't mean that in a boastful way, but in a "I've been on the ground scratching with my bare hands, so anything will seem easy compared to this" sort of way.
Things work different in different coutries, and many things you have to learn the hard way.
Even if he knows the language OK, there are many times he gets stuck on a word.
And he's a guy who has excellent communications skills - in English!
So, also for him this has been humbling and educational.

Before we moved here I tried to look at our move like this:
"If we have the opportunity and don't take it, I might look back in 20 years and think: We could have done it, and we didn't!, then I rather say: We did it...and this is how it went!"
You need to be naive enough to dare, and you need TONS of faith in God.
We had NO clue how things were going to turn out, but we figured that God would lead the way.
There was no job security.
No steady income.  No promises of anything!!
I'm sure many looked at us and wondered how we dared, and if we were crazy (yes, we got the diagnosis a while back!!), and even wondered WHY we did it.  I can't answer that. But I do know this.
It IS a great experience.
It has NOT been easy.
But it has been worth it.

The older kids will have learned so much too, and hopefully they'll have a second language for life.
I know I will not regret doing this, although at times I scratch my head and wonder
"What were we thinking?"
But so far God has provided and taken care of us, just like in the past.
And just like I said last night to our little guy
"We have it pretty good!" 
We really, really do.  This was meant to be.  We were meant to move here for a while.
How long that is, only God knows.
In the end we'll have gained many new and wonderful friends.
We'll have learned lots about a new coutry, a new language, a different way to live your life.
And most importantly, that God takes care of you, no matter where you are.
That makes everything so easy, because we don't have to worry one tiny bit, as long as we put it all in His hands.  And looking back I know that putting trust in Him will have been the biggest lesson of all.
There's no way we'd made it any other way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Smile...

Guess what??
Fall is here.
Not technically I guess, I think it starts on Sept 21st, but if you could see what I see when you look outside you get what I mean.
The trees are slowly starting to shift colours again.
How does it honestly happen so fast?
The woods are full of mushrooms and the kids are enjoying walks in the forest.

I have been very tired, I guess all the stuff going on inside my body lately has thrown me for a loop.
I do feel OK thou, but find myself tearing up here and there.
Seeing pregnant bellies and newborn babies... Tear.
Hearing something sad. Tear.
Getting excited and happy about something.  Tear...
This morning when our two oldest were heading out the door to school they told me about this one boy at their school who's always standing by himself.
Nobody bothers him (thankfully), but he's "just" alone.
Just the thought of him actually made me cry!
I told my kids
"Imagine being him!"
"Imagine going to school every day, and feel that nobody ever sees you? Like you are invisible?"
This is one thing I am very passionate about.
Knowing how many lonely people are out there makes my insides feel ripped.
It makes me so upset.
Nobody ever ever deserves that!
I told my girls to make a point to always say Hi to him when they see him.
Just to know that "Somebody SAW me today!" MIGHT make a person feel just a little bit better about themselves.
Then my 2nd oldest said
"I already did that!, when I walked past him one day I said Hello!, and he looked up, very surprised, and said Hi back!"
His "pass time" at recess is to draw circles with his foot on the ground...
If that was my kid, and I knew that's how he or she spent the day...
I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

My biggest goal in raising our kids is to help them become compassionate humans.
To help them understand that life has nothing to do with how much money you have.
Happiness, health, love, joy... is priceless.
The poorest can have it all, and the riches can be without.
Showing love and care and compassion is free.
And so, so easy.
You just have to dare to give a little.
A smile.  A little Hello.  A helping hand.  A phonecall.

My goal for the next few weeks is to go through A BUNCH of stuff.
We have so many boxes and bags and things that need to go.
And as I go through all that stuff...I'll be thinking about that boy.
Praying for him and all the others like him.
I know I'm hopelessly naive at times.
I know I can't "save" everyone, but I can try my best, and I can teach our kids to care.
And even if it's "only" one kid that was smiled at, only one person that felt a few minutes of happiness, well, it's a start!
And the thought of that brings tears to my eyes and a smile on my face.

Monday, September 3, 2012

When time is right

Through the pain
Through the tears
In the tsunami and commotion inside my head.
Inside my heart.
I find strength a new.

By falling.
Again, and again.
By slowly picking myself up.
Letting the hurt out.
Letting the pain out.
Letting the anger out.
Through the tears I see.
I see my strength.
I feel my strength.
I allow myself to be weak, in order to find strength.
I can't feel better unless I first feel worse.

And my strength needs to be humble.
My strength needs to be full of love and courage.
It can not judge or be bitter.
It can only hold hope, faith and love.
It's the only way to move forward.
The only way to dare to get hurt again.
By keep having faith and trust in God.
Knowing that he knows what I don't.

Looking at our children.
Feeling that fierce love.
When you think it will not, can not, grow stronger... It does.
It slowly gives me wind beneath my wings.
A little seed inside my heart is starting to grow.
A seed of hope.
The strong urge to dare again.
To maybe one more time, one day, hold another baby in my arms.
Another life that grew under my heart.
A life that will be so loved and so appreaciated and so wanted.
When I look at our kids, I know I can do it again...
Time will heal the hurt.
Tears will erase the pain.
One day, maybe one day... God will let it work out.
To once again look a newborn child into the bottomless depths of their innocent eyes.
Letting me fall... allowing me to fall in love again.

Any pain is worth it, when love is the end result.
And would I never have the gift of a newborn again, I shall hold my head high, I shall look at the stars at night knowing that I allowed God to use my  body in his work.
In his work to fill his gardens with angels.
There will be no regrets.
I pray for strength to let Him plant a seed again...when time is right.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Moon and Star

The post I'm about to add is the hardest kind to write.
It's also the kind I NEED to write the most.
Like I've said in the past, writing to me is very therapeutical.
It does not make me think that what I write is going to sound professional, or interesting or educational.
It does not mean that I am asking for pity or a reaction.
I write becasue I need to.
Becasue it helps me reflect.
If you enjoy it, and if you learn something, that's nice.
And if it didn't make a difference in your life, well, we are all different.

Right now I need prayers thou.
Our little Star in heaven has now been joined by a little brother or sister.
We decided to call the baby Moon.
We don't even know if there ever was a baby, all I could see on the ultrasound this morning was an empty sac.  So I guess we can call this "pregnancy" Moon.
It doesn't really make a difference.
The outcome is still the same.
The baby we had been excited about to meet in March, is not coming any more.
I was only 10 weeks along, but there's still pain and hurt.

I feel empty.  Sad.  Worried. 
It's hard to understand God's ways.
But it keeps me humble.  And more understanding. 
And hopefully more forgiving and more loving.
It definitely makes me appreaciate and love our kids even more.
When I laid on the couch this afternoon, our little guy asked me
"Mamma, do you want some tea?"
He's not even three yet.
He has no clue of what's going on.
But the kid has a loving heart and a soft spot for his mom.
I said "Yes, I'd like some tea!"

So... here we go again.
More hospital visits.  More bloodwork.
It's not a molar pregnancy like last time, but since I've had one, they take this miscarriage more serious than a "normal" one.  So I'll need some extra attention medically.
My heart will need some extra attention too.
And it's already getting some.
Again I'm reminded of how loved I am...
The instant outpour is so amazing.

The kids are devestated of course.
And I gave them the option of staying home from school tomorrow.
We've been hugging and crying.
We agreed that now Star has a friend.
Now when we look at the dark nigh sky we won't just see the dark.
We'll see stars.  And the moon.
And they'll remind us of what matters in life, Love.
There's never too much love, and the more you give the more you get.
And it keeps on growing.  All the way to the dark night sky.  To Moon and Star...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Because God hears prayers...

First a little background.
After our move here a bit more than 2 years ago, the 1st fall in a new school, in a new country, with a new language to learn, was a HUGE uphill for our then 4 school aged kids.
The school they went to was bi-lingual, meaning that the Finnish kids started learning English from grade 1.
Some kids knew some or a lot from home, if they had a parent from an english speaking country.
That was of some help for our kids the first few months, but often during that first fall the girls came home from school looking discouraged.

"I sat through several hours not understanding a thing!!", they would tell me.
My heart would sink.  And hurt.  And my eyes would well up with tears.
What were we thinking?  How could we do this to our kids?
In the evenings my hubby would sit, sometimes for several hours, and help our girls with their homework.
First translate the text... word for word...
I wasn't able to really help with homework at all.

By Christmas time, they started to break through the surface.
Our 1st grader sang Christmas songs in a language she barely understood!
My eyes would often well up when I watched them all taking careful babysteps.
So bravely...
At times they'd cry, and ask "Why did we move here?"
I'd try to encourage them, but often I felt the same way myself.
So much frustration not knowing a language!!
It's not just about being able to understand what someone is telling or asking you.
It's about reading, writing notes, calling another mom, helping with homework...
feeling like you are PART of a conversation!!
And I couldn't do ANY of that.
So I very well understood our kids frustration.
At least I was able to "hide" at home with the little kids...ignoring what I didn't know.
I attended a Finnish language class a few evenings a week for 6 months or so.
It did help some.

Well... In June this year the kids finished their 2nd year of school here.
And over all they have all been doing better and better.
Finding their groups of friends, making themselves understood.
Bringing home papers from school showing me what they wrote in Finnish all by themselves!
So wierd to read something that your kids have written...and you only understand some of it!
Humbling.

Our 3rd daughter has had the hardest time.
In Canada she was everybody's friend.
Her teacher's only complaint would be
"She talks too much in class!"
I asked the teacher to move her next to the boy she knew the least, and the teacher replied
"I did, and after a few days they were best friends!"
Our smiley, sweet girl was well liked and enjoyed school.
When we moved, her teacher said
"When a girl moves, all the girls are sad, when a boy moves, all the boys are sad, but now when your daughter is leaving...everybody is sad!!"
I watched as all her friends made a huge group hug around her as they said farewell.
My eyes still well up thinking about it.

Moving here she became more insecure.
Of course I understood that and didn't expect her to connect with new friends right away!!
She was fortunate to have an American girl starting in the same class at the same time, and they quickly became friends.
The unfortunate part of that was that she relied on her english speaking friend 100%.
She kind of "got stuck".
In their 2nd year her friend had connected with other girls, (she had learned finnish from her dad growing up, so she didn't have the same problem with that) and the two of them weren't playing as much any more. 
So, my little girl looked more and more unhappy...
We talked to the teacher, he was young and new and tried his best, but well.. let's just say his efforts weren't impressive!
She learned more and more Finn, not very fast, but Ok.
Her grades were just fine, actually quite good concidering all her obstacles!
She also has her diabetes to deal with, and being 10 years old and realizing that "I am different", is always a bit hard.  She never used to make a big deal about it, but I noticed that she became more caucious about a lot of things.
The sweet bubbly girl was fading in front of my eyes.

When we started to talk about moving back to Canada in the spring time, she looked so relieved.
But I told her that we'll be here at least one more year, and she needs to make the best of it.

This summer they finished building a brand new school not too far from us.
It's an all Finnish school, so we decided to move two of our kids there, since our 6-year old girl is starting Kindergarten there anyway, and it's in the same place our youngest girl will go to daycare.
So our soon to be 11 year old and just turned 9, girl, started there this fall.
Our 2 oldest are going to middle school elsewhere.

Before starting the girls practiced riding their bikes to the new school, checking out their new playground.
The place is beautiful!!
I was hoping a new start at a new school would give our little girl a 2nd chance here in Finland.
The weeks leading up to school start were up and down for her.
One day she'd be excited, the next worried and nervous.
When visiting at my brother-in-laws the Sunday before school started, I asked our friends who were gathered there to pray for her.
My heart ached so badly for her, and tears kept streaming down my face.
We had talked about this many times, but I felt her fears and worries.
In the car on the way home she told me
"Mamma, I don't feel so nervous about starting school anymore!"
"Why is that?" I asked
"I feel safe"
My eyes welled up again.
God had heard all those prayers, and within a short time our daughter felt comforted and safe.

She went to her first school day with light steps.
I reminded her that she is a likeable person, and that she has nothing to worry about.
Well... it's been 8 days of school so far.
And almost every day she's telling me of new friends she's made.
She's using her Finnish, since that's the only language they speak at this school!
Yesterday she stopped by at a friends house on the way home.
She keeps telling me how nice all her friends are and how much she's liking her new school.
We have talked about the power of prayers and how God does hear them.
When I think about my daughter's face this last week... my eyes well up with tears, again.
I'm recognizing the little girl that stood in the middle of that big group hug 2 years ago...
And in my heart I fiercly pray that she's here to stay.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Strength and Honesty

I've been thinking about strength.
About being strong.
How come some people seem so strong?
I think being honest is one way to be strong.
You have to start by being honest with yourself.
When you try to look at something in a way that you know will not work longterm, you are not being honest.
When your kid asks you a question that you know is hard to answer, you might give a brief reply, knowing that you never got to the bottom of it.  Not honest.
Sometimes we might think we are saving ourselves headaches by not being honest.
It sure isn't very convenient to be brutally honest at times, but when you know that it pays off longterm, we sometimes stand tall and stay honest.

I know I share a lot of my feelings and can be quite open about many things.
Some people look up at me because of it.
Others think I talk too much and come across as "bragging", others might be scared of me!!
When someone asks me for my honest opinion, I will give it.
I will also do whatever I can to not say things that hurt or offend people.
But on the other hand, most people hear what they want to hear, so sometimes if they already have an opinioin about you or what you are saying, or if they don't want to change their mind about something, they will make up their minds before you open your mouth.
Some get offended very easily, and take things very personally.
I read somewhere that "When you stop taking things personally, you gain a lot of freedom"
Very true.
At the same time I want people to understand me and what I might be saying isn't meant to be braggy.
There are differences between listening and trying to UNDERSTAND what you hear!!

When I go through hard times I like to talk about it.
Others keep quiet as a clam shell.
Which way is better??
I've been told to remember that others also have hard times, and just because they don't tell everyone about it, doesn't mean that they aren't suffering!!
Well, duh!!! 
To be honest, every time I hear of someone going through a really hard time, and it's already been a while since it happened, I get amazed that they didn't tell anyone!
I feel like I need my friends prayers, and that is why I share my hard times!
I heard about a guy who died and his wife's family wasn't telling anyone about it, because it was so hard to talk about!
We sure are different.
I know the longer I hang on to something that weighs me down, the more energy does it steal from me, and the heavier the trial gets.

Let's use this pregnancy as an example.
I am only just past the 8 weeks mark.
Many many women would not have told anyone yet (besides their husband), and in the past I've usually kept it quiet till about 10 weeks (then my belly is usually so obviously pregnant so it's kind of pointless not to not tell)
This time I was only 5 weeks on the way, and maybe some think I just want attention, and what if I miscarry and then have to tell everyone about it.
Well.  If I wouldn't have told I was pregnant, and then would have miscarried, I would have told people about that to get over the hard time.
Is this just a way to get attention??  Or a way to seem strong?
After I lost Star last fall, it was pretty obvious at 20 weeks to even strangers that we were having a baby, I shared the sad news with lots of people.  Was it to get attention, or to somehow show how strong I was?
Nope.
Well, first of all people would have noticed my belly disappearing, but mostly I felt the need for everyones prayers and help.  So what happened when I told everyone? My phone got text after text many days straight.  People brought dinners, food and offered to help.  Lots of prayers were heard, and I could feel the strength and love.  It brought me closer to many.
But not only that!!  I've been told after how our trial strengthend others. 
So if I would have only told my closest friends and family, it feels like love would have been lost.

When I think about strength I think about being able to tell about even the hardest things.
Abuse, substanse abuse, marital problems, deaths, depression, mental illnesses etc.
We all know someone, and maybe we are victims ourselves, but when I look at the ones who have come out stronger on the other side, it's almost always the ones who opened up.
The ones who asked for help and prayers.
I also know of many who were and have stayed quiet, and they are the ones who are still stuck.
The ones who feels misunderstood, sad, like victims etc.
If you hear about an abuse victim, I think most of us feel that "You have to tell about it!"
Why???  So the offender can be charged?
Maybe that too.
But first and foremost so the victim doesn't get stuck in its victim role and can start to heal.
Of course there are self help books out there, but I think the power of hearing others telling you
"You will be fine!" is second to none.

It all comes down to being honest.
And being daring enough to speak up, even when it seems impossible.
It has saved me from so much pain and I wish more people would see it this way.
I don't mean gossiping about others, or putting other people down.
I don't mean making yourself seem superior or better.
I mean in a humble and honest way daring to bare the most painful and heaviest, in order to move on to feel stronger in a vulnurable way.
You know how much the pain hurt, but at least now it's getting better, and when more hardship comes your way, you'll know how to handle it better.

At the end of the day I think we all have the same need to feel loved, respected and accepted for who we are.  And most of the time I feel that I get that from my family and friends.  Something that I am so thankful for, because the ones who know me the best also know all my weaknesses...because I am strong enough to admit I have lots of those...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer 2012

Here's a glimps of our summer...
I've been awful at remembering taking pictures, I could have had so many more but I hope you enjoy these!!




I love the combination of kids and kittens.
It's been pretty busy with 7 kids and 7 cats/kittens....
but still a neat experience
I love this little guy holding them.
He pretends they are his "army guys"!!

Sometimes he's a monster, and sometimes this sweet...

Momma cat with her kitten in a caring lap

One evening the girls wanted a SPA
Here's our 4 year old "vegging out"!!

"Aaah! I sooo needed this!!  Life of a kid can be so exhausting!!"


Three pampered ladies

"So... this fall I'm staring Kindergarten, so I better relax while I can"

Looking good!
Guess who!!


This summer has been very cool and very rainy.  We've had to watch the forecast closely in order to plan any outing.  One Saturday we finally made it to this park... Oh what a FUN day we had!! :)


Teacups.  A classic.

Obviously we all indulged in Cotton Camdy!!
I LOVE that stuff!!
It was fun to watch little Guy trying to make sense of this eatable "cloud" stuff!!
"Spin faster!"

One lucky girl got to go on a horseback ride, since she was too short for the "bigger" rides.
She'd go on ANY ride if she was allowed, she has NO fear this one!!

Riding on the track (you have to bike forward) that surrounds the park.


The Enterprise
Our 3 oldest girls favourite ride.
When the day came to an end and the park closed, our little guy hung his shoulders, and with a sad voice he announced "I don't want to leave this place!"



Bye for now!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wrooom!

Summer is swooshing by.
I think it might be the rain that's making the summer go by so fast.
It's leaving us behind as it runs down the streets in whimsical patterns.
Yikes.
I'm NOT ready for fall yet!
I thought we were just getting started.
I'm always a bit lost...

Anyway.
We've lived in our house for a year now.
I just noticed this a few days ago as the 1st anniversary quitely zoomed by.
Our house hasn't changed too much thou.
We still have lots to do around here before we can call our house "done", (not like a house is EVER done!!)
but Hubby has been way too busy working elsewhere, and when he's at home, his extra time is spent on work related paperwork.
At times he also enjoys spending time with me and the kids, (obviously!!), so our house has been way down on the priority list for a long time.
We are hoping to change that soon thou!

What else??  Oh yeah, our 1st anniversay in our house came and went, and with that the 1st anniversary of when I found out I was pregnant with Star.
Well, at the end of June I got a final report from my Dr, saying that I am now healthy, and that I can try for another baby if we want.
It worked.
A year after finding out we were expecting Star, I'm finding myself pregnant again.
I'm just at the early stages, but I still want to share these exciting news.
We need prayers that all will go well this time.
And if they do, God will bless us with another child at the end of March!!
The kids are very excited, and so is Hubby and I.
If we plan on moving next summer a new baby won't make it easier, but how fun to have a new litte person to bring back with us!!

Sooo... as usual in this household, full speed ahead!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer in Suomi

So.  Maybe we are not hitting any heat records.
Maybe we haven't had lots of beach-weather days.
But.  Finnish summer is still beautiful.
I like how the nights are cool, no a/c needed (although a few times I wish we had one... it was really muggy a few days ago)
The sun sets, but it's never really dark all night.
(we are at the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska)
The kids can be outside without getting burnt or dehydrated.
They've been picking lots of berries and wildflowers, biking, (they have amazing and safe biking trails all over), rollerblading, playing horses outside etc etc.

Going places there's rarely a crowd.
I've seen packed beaches and parks in my life, so when Finns ask "Was the beach busy?", they mean
"Were there other people than you?"
No wonder this country has more summer cottages per capita than any other country I know!
Finns like solitude.

I can see why, although 3 other families on a beach does not make it crowded in my eyes!!
Going to a Finnish "mökki" (cottage) means driving 30 min out of town, 15 minutes spent on a 2-track road barely useable to cars.  When you arrive and open the door the only thing you hear is the sound of nature.
Not your neighbours lawnmower or kids shouting.
No cars or boats can be seen or heard.
Just birds, and the wind in the trees and mosquitos.
Lots and lots of those.
They'll find your ears as soon as you step out of your car and keep reminding you of their precence for as long as you are out there.
The mökki is always on water.
Beautiful lakes with clear water.
Usually little islands are scattered in the water, and in the distance you might see another mökki.
If peace and quiet is your thing, well, this is it.
So... what do you do at the mökki then??
Sauna and swim.
And grill sausages.
Maybe if you have a boat (a rowboat, one with engine would disturb the peace), you take it out on the lake.
And you might do some fishing.
Mostly you enjoy the peace and quiet.

Well.  These last few months I've been very homesick for Canada, and we are making pretty official plans on moving back next summer, God willing, but I do have to say I'll miss many things about the Finnish summer. The huge amounts of wildflowers, the ice-cream, the nature, the berries, the sauna's at the crisp lakes, the peace and quiet... Aaaaaawwwwwwww....

So wherever you are, spending your summer, I hope you enjoy yours too.
Here we enjoy ours immensely, since we know we are heading towards cold and dark months in just a short while...

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm still here....

Julyyyyyyyyyyy!  Like hello???
What is going on.  Somebody call summer and tell it to slow down a few notches!
I'm still in no shape to hit the beach...  What happened??
In the spring I made these promises to get into shape and yada yada...
And here I am.
Pasty white, hairy legs, dough belly intact.
Yukk.
Sun??  Heat?? Hello??
I think we need to have a chat.

Ah well.
I am healthy.  I am happy.  I have a great life surrounded by my awesome family who takes care of me in the most loving way.  Really.
On Saturday my Hubby took me clothes shopping (1st time in 3 years??for real!!)
We were gone all Saturday afternoon and had our big girls babysit.
Our oldest actually suggested us going out for the day, and my Hubby had the same idea, so I had no say :)
We had a delicious lunch at a little cafe we never visited before.
I tried on hords of clothes (something I actually can't stand, but anything to keep Hubby happy)
Seriously!!
He LOVES shopping for me.
(not for himself, in that aspect he's very normal)
I HATE trying clothes on in public fitting rooms...
After squiggling in and out of X nr of dresses, pulling every muscle I own out of place...
I did score a few good deals.
Now I just need to go and have my neck adjusted!! (JK)

Coming home 4 of the girls had picked 3 pints/liters of wild strawberries!!  Wow!
YUM-MEE.
The house was picked up and all the kids were sitting down eating dinner.
Pork chops with french fries and bearnaise sauce.
Thanks to oldest daughter.
I just stood back and looked at our gang.
Nicely seated at the table.
"What a great family I have!" was the thought that came to mind.
I felt so blessed and thankful.
Thank you all again for making me feel like the most appreaciated mom and wife.
Even with my pasty complexion and pudgy belly ;)