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.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just a day in our lives!

Mostly our lives are just everyday days.
In the last weeks it seems like our life has been like that a lot.
Nothing too exciting going on, but at the same time, a LOT going on!
My Hubby is working 1½ hrs away, so his days are long, and so are mine at home alone with the kids.
As our kids are getting older, it's not so bad thou.
I really enjoy spending time chatting with the kids and I think it's important for the kids to have that time with me, just taking and hanging out.
Their lives are so busy, and they see and hear so many things from so many sources, so having a good base to come home to after school is so crucial.

Our 2nd oldest, who I often refer to as my voice of reasoning, (she's 12 btw), had one of those "Blah!" days this last week.
After school things just seemed boring and yukky.
Nothing bad in specific, but just, you know
"I don't know what to do, I'm bored, I'm sick of everything and nothing and I'm not sure why".
That's how I feel too this time of year.
It feels like my energy is drained from a long winter, and now I'm over due for some spring, warmer weather, flowers etc.
Anyway, as my daughter and I chatted away, she vented about this and that.
She told me how a girl in her class has had to live in foster care because of her parents problems, and now when she's back with her mom she's not happy since her mother is so strict (mean) to her.
I got shivers and felt so bad for the girl.
I told my daughter that maybe this girl could come and live with us!!
My daughter agreed that it sure would be nice if we could help all of those less fortunate once.
Then after some more chit-chatting she said
"You know mom, I think I have the best home out of all my school friends!"
Then she added
"And mom, I'm glad I have you, you always know how to make me feel better!"
Well kiddo, it's not just me, all I did was to listen to you.
I allowed you to feel let down, bored and out of sorts.
I didn't try to correct your feelings.
I know that life is mostly "average" days, and I'm not trying to sugarcoat everything, making you believe that life is always great.
Just talking.  And having somebody listen.  Can mean so much.

So... the last weeks have been filled with dentist appointments, running errands, work, school, picking kids up from school, day care, visiting, birthday parties, having company, chores, homework, housework, car repairs, construction...
But here and there I find small moments to cherish.
Watching and listening to our youngest kids can be extremely amusing.
Hanging out with the older kids is fun and educating.
Spending time with my Hubby is always a good time.
There are moments I wish I could take a week off and fly to a far away, warm and sunny island.
Just me.
Then there are moments I look at my life... and I get so full of love it actually hurts.
I agree with my daughter.
We have a wonderful, wonderful life.

We have great friends and a great social life.
We are content with little.
Today Hubby and I went bowling together.
Just an hour of our time, but so well worth it.
Coming home the kids and I cleaned the house while Hubby put up trim upstairs.
Little by little our house is getting all the finishing touches done.
It's easy to get cought up in all the details in life, and forget to stop and smell the roses...
When we do thou, we get reminded of our great wealth.
We have a rich, full life.
We are truly blessed.  Even on our "boring" everyday days!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Angry Birds take the cake!

Here it is. 
The cake I made for our oldest daughter and her friends last Friday.
I can't remember last time I made a cake,
or took the time to decorate one,
but I sure enjoyed this little project!

It tasted good too!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My talented daughter!

Happy early birthday girl! 
14 on Sunday - WOW!
So far you are turning out ok, not too much fuss having a "teen" in the house.
But we are not quite "done" yet... :)
With 6 girls in a row... there's still much drama, many tears, arguments, loves, heartbreaks etc in the future.
Well, I went through all that too, so I know what's "normal" (= nothing!!).
I feel worse for my Hubby... But he's survived me for almost 15 years, so I think he'll be just fine.
Kind of.

Well.  Our 1st born has never waited for anything.
She's a real "go getter" .
It's comforting to know that I will never need to think for her or make up her mind.
She has her own plans, ideas and talents.  Lots of talents.
One of them is making her mom pull out her own hair...
At times I feel like putting my foot on the break.  Hard.  But at the same time her ideas peek my curiosity...
I want to SEE what she's creating in her head.
And if I always said no, I think her brain would suffocate.

From the day she was born she has known what she wanted.
I tried to wrap her tight in a baby blanket... only to watch her fight her way out.
She rolled around on the floor at 2 months.
Crawled on all 4 at five months.
Walked along furniture at 6....
When she was a toddler she just did what she wanted, and got what she wanted, one way or another.
There's always a way to get on top of the fridge.... (where I'd stash anything she should NOT have)
In JR Kindergarten, at age 4, she illustrated pictures to the new song they had learned.
Her teacher actually copied her illustrations and printed out a set for each child! :)
Further up in the grades when she was recognized as a "gifted" student, she was given special assignments at school.
In grade 6 she got to plan and hold classes with the younger grades.
She was the person the principal called to the office to guide a visitor to the right room.
Well... the list could go on and on... and on.
I sometimes wish I would have taken more pictures and written down some of the projects that she has come up with... so today I'm sharing some of her productions.
Her true passion these days is baking.
It's not only the decoration (although that's her favourite part of course), but she also comes up with interesting fillings etc.
She has made up a few cakes from scratch.
I know most people don't like to listen to other parents "gush" about their kids, but as a parent of this kid, I have to say that I often stand on the sidelines and watch with my mouth open!
The funny part is that she compares herself to me many times.
Wanting to be at the same level in some ways...
Well dear... you'll have time to be all grown up too.
For now, enjoy being young.
Keep being talented, creative and fun.
Even if it drives me a bit bonkers at times... I wouldn't want you any other way!
And thank you for being a great kid.

A smoothie is not just a smoothie.
It's an occation.

One of her talents, being a good big sister, in awe of her Little Brother... (and HIS talents!!)

Aaawww....  Cupcakes.

A cheesecake she made for her cousin's baptism

A cake she made in honor of the Swedish Crown princess' new baby girl

She made all the decorations from fondant for this cute birthday cake

When her grandparents visited from Sweden she made these fruitbowls as a dinner side dish the last day of their visit!

And for her Birthday she "needed" to make these Angry Bird cupcakes for her friends at school!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fun in Finland

Yupp.  It's fun in Finland.
Lately we've been enjoying the beautiful winter/spring here.
Lots of snow, lots of sun and temperatures around freezing.
We've been outside enjoying the snow, taking walks, sledding, ice-fishing, snowmobiling, skating, skiing...
Now it looks like the winter fun is ending soon, with the "heat" from the spring sun melting the white stuff, sending it down the streets in rushing rivers of water.

It's interesting how things that seemed new and different less than 2 years ago, now start to become "normal" and familiar.
Small things I noticed in the beginning I concider normal.
Like the fact that every toilet has two flushing options, one for nr1 and one for nr2. (small flush or big flush)
We are very environmentally friendly here!
How you have to ask for help in stores (at 1st we thought they were terrible at giving service, but when you realize that they just aren't that pushy, I'm actually enjoying the fact that I need to ask for help before someone comes and breathes down my neck)
I find the service you end up getting is usually very good and staff in most stores are well trained and know their stuff. (and they speak excellent English)
In the end no one "tells" you what you should purchase, but leave any final decision up to you.
Which leaves me feeling more satisfied with my choice, rather than going home wondering
"Is this what I wanted, or what the sales person made me want??"

Today I dared myself to place a number of phone calls...
One of my pet peeves here.
I love it when I ask if they speak english, and they reply
"No, just hold on when I find someone for you!" (they say this with hardly an accent)
Or the person who claims to indeed speak English, and then really DO NOT know how :)
Oh the joys for an immigrant...
I feel brave for daring to place these calls thou, and in the end I got a lot of "musts" out of the way.
I'm starting to realize that I can't always wait for my Hubby to call for me, as he's typically away during the day, and by the time he gets home it's too late to call to schedule dentist appointments!

Finns do NOT tap their own backs, so even when they are really good at something, they will make it sound as if they barely know how.  If they do a good deed they do not bring it up in conversation and tell everybody about how nice it was that they were able to help someone or do this or that to help out.  Nobody gets impressed if you did this, it would only take away from the good you did.
A quiet humble way that I'm appreaciating more and more. 

The kids don't need a gold star at school for every achievement that they were expected to do.
IF they get praise or a sticker, it's because they REALLY did something over and beyond.
When my oldest daughter had textile class her 1st year in Finland (a year ago) and the other kids were knitting mitts using 5 knitting needles at the time, and my daughter was trying to catch up to their level, and her "mitt" turned into a cellphone holder (maybe??),  she asked her teacher what she thought.
"I'm not impressed!" was her reply.
We howled at this at home, as her response was so honest and dry.
Not any false praise.
So my daughter raised to the challenge and now she knows how to knit socks!
At least I am impressed!!

What else??
I love the fact that they have free dental care for kids up to 18!
Especially since 3 of our kids need some sort of adjustments done to their teeth.
Retainers and braces and all the check-ups that come with them are not cheep!
Same goes for our diabetic daughter.  All her diabetic needs are covered.
No more filling out forms to get reimbursed for insulin, teststrips etc.
Paying high taxes fortunately comes with some bonuses!

There are many small things that are different in different countries.
Little things that make the country uinque in it's own way.
Eating out is different.  The taxes and tips are included in the price.
So when you first think that the meals are quite spendy, in the end they are pretty much the same as overseas.
You always need to ask for your bill, and when they bring it to the table you are expected to pay asap.
This does not mean you need to leave thou!,  You can calmly stay and keep visiting with your dinner companion.
At grocery stores you need to put a coin in the shopping cart, and when you return it at the end of your shopping trip, you get the coin back when you connect your cart to the one ahead of you in the cart corral.
You also pay for shopping bags, but here they are so strong that you can easily reuse them many times.
(you just need to remember to bring them along from home when you head to the store again)

If you are out for a walk (which your average Finn seem to be quite often, they pretty much walk or bike everywhere) you don't typically greet other people.
I thought they might be shy or straight out rude when they did not say "Moi!" along the walking/biking trails, but now when I think about how much people use this method of "transportation" to get places, saying "Hi" to everyone would almost be like waiving to every car that pass you when you are out driving!
IF the person you say Hi to replies, it's typically an old lady who has the tremendous need to tell you everything that has happened in her life since 1952...  so... I don't greet people along my walks either anymore.

Well, well... I will try to keep the tidbits coming.
I should write them down as I go, as there are many little things that are neat and interesting and at times odd.
One neat thing is all the ice rinks that are open to the public all over the city.
One of our kids daycare teachers told me today that it's practically a "law" to build an ice-pad next to a school when they build a new one!  And those anyone can use after hours!  Not bad!
Over and out from Finland for this time!