And it has begun…

You who know us know that one of the reasons we moved out on the countryside was the fact that we want animals. In the long run we dream about having both chicken and sheep. I don’t know how long it will take until we are there. For the sheep we will need some extra land so the chicken are probably closer in time.

So before Christmas we finally got up the birdfeeder. It’s a start. So now the birds are able to get some seeds when the stock is short in nature. Not that it is this year, but we didn’t move to Skåne for the winter.

The birds really like the place. Most of the time the small ones are there, but in between crows come and raid the place too. Then we have to fill the feeder with new seeds. The pheasants are also finding the seed fallen down on the ground and once we saw a woodpecker too.

Pictures of the birds: How many kinds can you see?Collage of Birds And today things became even more serious; we have two new family members of the feline kind, Milo and Siam. A friend of ours couldn’t keep them anymore and asked if someone would like to take them over. We really wanted cats too. It is a start when you want to have animals and they are nice having around too. And it’s good to have them around when you have kids so they will learn how to interact with animals. Our daughter ran herself tired the first day excited about the fellas that came to our place and tried to figure us out. When she was asleep they were less reserved and Siam sat in Susanna’s lap for a while.

Here are some pictures of them today: (Milo is the black one, he is a bit more reserved than Siam).

A collage of Siam and Milo

Poff is due soon

In the beginning of the year I wrote about the fact that we are expecting our second child. This time the working name is Poff. Poff is due on the 8th of June, or at least somewhere around that day.

Last Wednesday we went to a second ultrasound. We have a few of those booked due to the fact that Susanna has gotten pregnancy diabetes again. She had it while we were waiting for our daughter too. This time, as we live in a different part of Sweden now, they tested her much earlier for diabetes. Susanna wants to have the child at a certain hospital. So she made up her mind to treat her diabetes with food, rather than with insulin. The hospital where she wants to have our baby doesn’t take women that are treated with insulin.

So now she is eating a very strict diet, basically a LCHF diet. It’s hard. Especially at the holidays like Christmas and Easter right now. She can’t really eat any of the sweet stuff. And she doesn’t. I’m so proud of her.

It does rub of at me too. Most days she doesn’t make different food for me. I don’t mind it at all. I do miss the pasta and rice, but it’s not hard like I expected it. And it does me good.

Here is a picture of Poff:

Three pictures of Poff

We are now really getting our house in order. During the last week I have started putting up our paintings on the walls. We haven’t had them up since we left Stockholm. (Okay, we had a few up where there already were nails on the walls in Höör but most of them were stacked away). The house becomes so much more homey with paintings.

The garden is also getting into place. A few weeks ago my parents were here and they helped me build a sandbox for our daughter. The sand we had delivered. It came in a really old truck.

The sand truck:

The preperation, the sandbox, the sandtruch and the filling of the sandbox

I have also been digging up a little garden. I don’t know if we will grow much this year. I have started some tomatoes; they will be a bit late though. Susanna wants to grow a few more vegetables. One day in the future we hope to have most of our vegetables during the summer from our garden. That was one of the reasons that we wanted a big plot like we have.

The trees are now starting to get leafs. We have one little tree just by our house that blossomed with small white flowers. We are not quite sure what kind of tree it is but it has long pointy thorns too. Most trees on our plot are birches; we do have a few apple trees, a bunch of cherry trees some beeches, a chestnut tree, some oak trees and some shrubs we don’t really know what they are yet. Oh, and we do have two small spruce trees, they will become Christmas trees as they don’t really fit on our plot.

I’m so happy we have this place. I really love working in the garden. I love hearing all the birds in the morning, especially when I go for my morning run. I love the sunsets from our balcony. The fireplace in the living room. My lovely wife, our daughter and Poff that soon will join us.

We have some wildlife here too. Most are rabbits and moles. We do have a lot of birds. The pheasants are strutting around. Kites roaming the sky in search for some small rodent. Gees living on the field. All the small birds that live around the house. One morning as I ran my round a badger crossed my path. And last weekend, as Susanna and I went to bed far too late we saw deer buck just outside the window. We have rabbits too, but I’m more ambivalent about them as they might make it hard to grow our vegetables.

The full moon the other night: The moon up in the sky, and on the way down

 

2014 – A year to remember?

2013 was an amazing year. As it started I didn’t know what it would hold for us. I had a few expectations, but they are dwarfed by what actually happened.

(See my post from the 10th of January last year: http://blog.wolfmaier.se/wolfie217/2013/01/10/new-year-what-will-you-bring/)

Here are the points that I thought of as certain last year:

  • I will go back to work. (Just the date is not decided yet).
  • Our daughter will turn two. (She actually turns 16 months today).
  • We will travel to Skåne a few times, the first trip to see my cousin in law become a priest in the Church of Sweden.
  • Our daughter will learn so many more things.

Little did I know then that some of the things on the list would be bigger, more altering than I thought.

We had already been thinking of making the move when I wrote this, but nothing was planned. So now to what actually happened:

  • I did go back to work, just not the work I used to go to. I’m doing so many new things. I’m having great new colleagues. It’s in a new town.
  • Our daughter turned two and is easier and easier to understand. She even talks in two languages some times.
  • We travelled to Skåne many times. Now we travel to Stockholm. First we travelled to look for houses, then to get the key to our apartment. After that the direction changed and we travel to Stockholm to visit family and friends.
  • Our daughter is still learning so many things.

But the biggest things that happen were not thought of:

We made the move, leaving our home in Stockholm for a new one in Skåne, first in Höör, then in our house in Gamla Bo.

  • I got a new job. A great job at Ramböll in Malmö.
  • We bought a house on the country side.
  • We are expecting a little Poff to join us in 2014. Poff being the working name of our next kid.

This leads me up to the headline question: 2014 – A year to remember?

It definitely will be. We will have our second kid; that is really big. We have been looking forward to have at least one more kid, but as things dragged along it wasn’t easy for me at least. I wanted the kids to be closer in age. One just has no say in how fast things go. Now there won’t be too long between them, just a little less than three years and that is fine, it was just longer than I hoped for.

I don’t know how our daughter will react to Poff arriving but I think she will become a great big sister. She already talks about the little little baby living in mom.

I do know that Poff will be born into a nice home.

By the way, Poff comes from the fact that at some point a friend of ours called Susanna and me Piff and Puff, as the chipmunks in Donald duck. Our daughter had the working name of Paff before she was borne.

Now we just have to get the home in order. We have had my parents here for Christmas and New Year and they have helped us a great deal, making our home liveable. There are still plenty of things to be done until some real ordinary life will show up, many boxes to be unpacked, lamps fixed (they have to stay at the apartment until it is clean; we keep it until the last of January). Curtains and pictures on the walls might take a longer time.

Owning a house is much more an ongoing project than renting a place. The list of what is to do will grow faster than we can check things off.

Back to the question, now a few points to remember from 2014 that we already know:

  • A trip to Zambia.
  • Poff being born.
  • The first summer in our house.

There will probably be a few more things. It won’t be an ordinary year. It will just not be the life changer that 2013 has been.

(And we do have a guest room).

The art of settling

We have now lived here in Höör over one month. Time has gone really fast. We have had plenty to do. But now things are getting to some kind of normal. And then it all will change again when I start working in three weeks from now.

The apartment is getting into shape. We only have a dozen of boxes left to unpack and they are mainly things that belong into our children’s room. (That room also houses all the empty boxes, 179 so far). That doesn’t mean that the room is not used yet, our daughter uses it all the time as we have made her a little desk there where she can paint. We also put most of her toys in the room, leaving the rest of the apartment less of a mess.

Susanna is getting into her “new” job, just the way it was planned. The days are not that much longer than in Stockholm, though she starts earlier to get home in time for dinner. Traveling by train is also much more pleasant for her than traveling by underground. We visited her at her job once and had lunch at the Malmö festival.

Living in a small town so far has had mostly pros:

  • There is walking distance to most places.
  • If it isn’t walking distance it’s only a short bicycle ride away.
  • Traffic isn’t too heavy for using the bicycle.
  • People are friendly. (Not that we have met all but the ones we met were).

Living in Höör gives a few extra pros:

  • It’s close to my parents in law.
  • It’s close to Malmö and Denmark.
  • It has a zoo. (We haven’t been there yet though).
  • It has a butcher. Meet just tastes better from a butcher than from a supermarket.
  • It has a few lakes to swim in that are within bicycle range.
  • It has beaches (nice sandy ones) within one hour by car, in two directions so one can chose depending on which one might have the warmer water.

There are some cons to though:

  • It’s far from my parents.
  • The place we live in doesn’t have that nice a view like we had in our place in Blackeberg.
  • I won’t be able to take the bicycle to work.
  • It’s far from many of our friends.

We have also started with looking for a more permanent place again. So far we have looked at five (if you read this after Sunday afternoon six). We now have plenty of time to find the right place. But it is so hard. One place hade everything but was located too far out so that we would have to take the car for 10 minutes just to get to the closest store. Even the closest bus stop was three kilometres away. One other place had a beautiful garden. Just a little bit too beautiful, we don’t need a garden that takes all our free time to take care of. We want one that is practical and where we can grow our vegetables and have some chicken in the future. Basically a big grass lawn with a few trees would be perfect, not an intricate sculptured garden with bushes, ponds and flowerbeds that want plenty of attention to not look unkept.

12 houses

We have been in Skåne again. This time we had one major task, find a home.

I haven’t written about this here before: We have decided to move to the south. We have always had a long term plan of owning a house. In Stockholm houses are really expensive. Too expensive for the life we want to live. So we figured out that to own a house we need to find a better way. As we have family in Skåne (Susanna’s parents live here) we thought it would be a good idea to move here. One other thing that makes Skåne a good place to move to is that it’s possible to work there in the professions we have. The move should be made before our daughter would start school.

Last year we visited my aunt. Her husband said one thing that made us think. Start with your dream now. Don’t wait, start now with something simple and work your way up to what you want. In waiting you only loose time. We thought about how this would apply to us: We probably should start to rethink the time frame. During the Christmas-holiday we had time to think. We decided that we should change our time frame a bit. Now the goal is to move to Skåne by the end of August.

This means:

We need jobs in Skåne. (We are working on that).

We need a place to live in Skåne. This is why we went down here this time.

We have during the last week looked at 12 different houses. It’s hard work looking at houses. We have been so fortunate that Susanna’s parents have a good hand with our daughter so they have looked after her the days we had many houses to look at.

After looking at 12 houses we do better know what we want. Five of the houses were really interesting. None of them had all the things we want, but that might be impossible as we have a budget to stick to. Most of them were okay places, but just not for us.

We looked at one house were we would have been owners of 30 meters of E6. (It was hardly a place to bring up kids, living at the edge of heavy traffic). The house wasn’t that nice either.

We looked at one other house where after walking up the stairs I decided it wasn’t really a good idea to be two people on the stairs.

We looked at an odd house in the middle of the forest that really more looked like a big tent and it was filled with cats, (I counted 5 I think), the only thing missing was the crazy cat lady.

We looked at a small house that had a nice plot of land by Rönneå, just that the house was not really a place for a family and needed a lot of work.

We looked at a house with more birdcages than Skansen. It had a pool and I think it was four ponds. The plot was over landscaped, it was nice and all, but just too much.

We looked at a really beautiful house that had a too small plot.

We looked at a simple house that needed plenty of work and was only heated with wood.

Then we looked at five houses that were more interesting.

One nice one with a view of Denmark. It wasn’t possible to see the water between though. It had the rooms we need, a bit small plot, but it will be easy to rent land from the surrounding farmers as they have land that is difficult to use for them. The current owners do this as they have horses.

One small one with a lovely plot of land.

One that we looked at already in January. It was a well-built house, using very little energy. The plot was half in a nature reserve and half outside. Parts of the house had barely been used.

One that was super-cosy. It was small on paper, but the layout was really smart, making it one of the bigger houses despite the numbers. It also had a lovely plot of land. It was just a bit far off, actually in the same neighbourhood as the tent.

And one with a winter lake view. It had a fine but messy piece of land and the house had high ceilings and plenty of bathrooms. And it had rhododendrons. Big rhododendrons, as big as on Roan Mountain, just not as many. Here it would be possible to go swimming, as Ringsjön is close.

Now we have to figure out what we want. When we have our jobs secured we will go on and make an offer, so we have to look at some of the houses again, with help of people that know more of houses than we. I’ll keep you posted…

New Year what will you bring?

As most of you noticed a new year has started. (Sure in some areas it hasn’t started yet or it had started a bit earlier than here, but I’m thinking of us living in the part of the world where time is related to the birth of Christ).

Some years are just normal years. The last one was that in some way. Normal years are good, they give you time to reflect on life. No real life changing thing happened. As far as I know anyhow. (Some of the life changing things have the tendency to first show themselves after some time).

Will 2013 be a normal year again, or will it bring big change? I don’t know. There are things brewing, but nothing is actually planned.

A few things are more certain:

  • I will go back to work. (Just the date is not decided yet).
  • Our daughter will turn two. (She actually turns 16 months today).
  • We will travel to Skåne a few times, the first trip to see my cousin in law become a priest in the Church of Sweden.
  • Our daughter will learn so many more things.

None of these things will qualify this year as non-normal.

I just hope I can make the most of every moment of this year anyway. I have started out good I think. Like today, when I took our daughter for a ride in the bicycle wagon to go shopping despite the snow. (You who know me know that I like bicycling in the snow). After dinner tonight I also took a few rounds down the slope beside our house on the snowracer. I think I might enjoy it more than her, but she likes it too. Now the snow is really fast so we have to turn around the house to not go through the thorn bushes and down the steep slope into the nature reserve (that contains plenty of trees before ending in the lake Mälaren, that isn’t frozen over here so far).

This morning I saw this post on facebook where there were 45 good advices given by a 90 year old lady named Regina Brett. I looked it up, since I liked the advice given and found out it wasn’t a 90 year old lady after all giving the advice and it wasn’t only 45 but five more. But it is good advice anyway so I shared it there, and I share it here too: http://www.reginabrett.com/life_lessons.php

I think I might print them and post them on my board here at home.

The other day as I was bicycling home from church I went by a little group of people that were taking photos. I thought that one of them looked familiar, but she lives a bit away nowadays so I thought it is just someone similar. Then when I glanced through her blog the other day, I recognised a picture taken at the spot I bicycled by. I should have stopped and said hi. (And here is the link to that blogpost: http://litenlisa.blogspot.se/2013/01/en-ovantad-grej.html)

After Susanna proofread this post she said she wanted to show me a thing. We had the book that Regina Brett wrote on the 50 advices standing in our shelf (translated to Swedish). Now I have a new book to read.

One month and counting

Now I’ve been home with our daughter for one month. Time has passed really fast. Somehow I haven’t had one full week alone with her anyway. The first two weeks fully planned, as Susanna only worked 60 % then, then a long weekend in Germany shortened two more weeks, and now this last week Susanna got sick and stayed at home for two days. So I still have to cope with the first five days week ahead.

Last Friday was a new record though. Susanna had some thing at her work with dinner attached to it. She left right about eight and didn’t come home until half past 11 at night, that’s fifteen and a half hours, more than five hours longer than the longest she has been away from our daughter before. I can’t imagine how that feels. Susanna and our daughter have a special relationship, sure all mothers have that with their kids, but I think Susanna is one of the more attached kinds. I think that is good. That makes for a good caring mother.

This night was also the first time I had to get our daughter to bed by myself. I haven’t done this before. Mainly because Susanna is breastfeeding our daughter to sleep most nights (I think I know of one exception lately where Susanna and our daughter went to bed, but before the breastfeeding started our daughter just fell asleep). I’m not that good at that, due to the lack of milk-producing breast like most other men. The only way I have to get her to sleep is to walk with her in a sling. That was what I did tonight. I’m happy my winter-jacket still is large enough to cover us both as I didn’t want to put on her warm clothes as they would have been too warm in bed, or she might have woken up if I tried to take them off. (I have had that problem during the afternoon nap before).

There are a few things that have happened during this time. Our daughter has finished her second swimming-class, we have gone to the “open preschool” a few times and autumn has given us some really nice days. We did also go to Germany, see previous post, and attend a great wedding of two good friends.

Some highlights, 5 pictures showing the autumn and our daughter

This far I’m not bored or don’t know what to do with the days, actually I’m happy when I have a day without plans, as I get to take long walks with her then. (I could do long walks anyway, like today when I walked over to a friend about 50 minutes away). Walking is relaxing. Walking without direction or goal is even more so.

Now as the days have become short and it’s getting colder there are a few things that have to be done. I’m starting to tick of things of my to-do list, but somehow it’s growing faster. I don’t mind that, it just shows that I find new things I could do. Many of the things on my list aren’t that important and don’t have a deadline. I really don’t like deadlines that much, it is better to take things when the spirit is right, they go so much faster and smoother then.

That’s all for this time, now on to the next month of being at home…

Some different life

 

So, now I’ve been home with our daughter for one and a half week. I’m starting to get a hold of things. I’m starting to understand the work involved in entertaining a kid all day. I’m having a hard time thinking of easy and good food, but thanks to some of my readers I still have a few ideas that I can use.

One thing I’m realising is that no day is like the other. One day I’m getting all the signals right and I don’t have to change one used diaper. Other days I’m missing all of them. (She has been using the potty a long time, but for safe we use diapers too). Some days I can eat in peace with her enjoying her food at a comfortable pace without too much a mess, other days she just throws things around, leaving me cleaning the floor, table, three chairs (including hers), wall, windows and sofa. I always have to clean her, sometimes less, sometimes more, then I just put her into the shower.

It is amazing how she has become so much more attached to me. She now comes over to me and wants to be lifted up while I’m cooking even when Susanna is at home. That didn’t happen before. I’m getting stronger in my left arm; it’s kind of tricky to cook with only the right arm free, but doing it with the left is even trickier. I do have to put her down for some task and she does somehow understand it too, but as soon as I’m done with the thing that made me put her down in the first place she’s back between my legs almost trying to climb up.

I thought the hardest thing would be not meeting people all day. And I think it is. I’m trying to get out every day, some days for some shopping, others for some activity (we have her swimming once a week now), or just to go to the playground or to the open preschool. Later, when Susanna is working full time I will come and visit her at work too.

Sleep is a bit of a problem still. I can get her to sleep, but it requires a long walk or bicycle tour. I have to time it right and have to be on the move for at least half an hour. Then she maybe sleeps for one hour, but if I stop it’s not sure that she continues to sleep. Twice she did sleep a while after I got home, but every other time she woke up.

This last weekend was beautiful, so we had a little walk around our house:

Beautiful weekend

As I was writing Susanna was looking at some toy-car-thingy: http://www.swingcar.se/ (She didn’t look at that page I’m sure of, because I couldn’t fine the film she was looking at there. It had a song as soundtrack; see film below; which made me remember a walk I made midsummer 2004. I made a walk in my neighbourhood that night, thinking of how my life was. Back then I was just doing the last parts of my master-thesis. This was a period in my life when I had lost myself. I felt like I wanted to run from everything. I was thinking I should move to a new place and start over. I just knew I wouldn’t get rid of the feeling anyway. It felt hopeless. Still I had many things I was really happy about. I had a few good friends and I really looked forward to visit my brother later that summer.

 

Here are a few pictures from that walk:

Midsummer walk 2004

After looking at those pictures I started looking at other old pictures. O have I changed. I showed some of them to Susanna, I think she is really happy I have changed. I’m happy too. I found myself again. Now I have a happy family and the feeling of wanting to run from it all just doesn’t come anymore. I live so much more right here, right now. I think that’s the only way of living taking care of a child.

Some more music reference there if you want:

I started running again

Somehow I have gained a few kilos this spring and summer. So I have to do something about it. Since I really like good food and snacks I have to tackle it the other way, by getting more exercise.

So I started running again. I write this today as it already is the second time I’m doing it. (I ran on Monday too).

I don’t know how many times I have started running and it has stayed at one time. Just this spring I started last time, that time it lasted only one time, then I got a cold. Last autumn just after my daughter was born I started running too and a few times before that. Now I don’t want to start running again until spring 2013.

Last autumn I even got new shoes. My old ones had been my running shoes for a few years and didn’t feel that good while running anymore. And they squeak. Now they are degraded to bicycling and summer out in the nature shoes, there the squeak doesn’t bother me as much.

I have started out with just a short run, basically running around Södra Ängby, a 4 km course mostly on asphalt. When I feel it is getting a bit short I will extend it a bit.

If I want to run in the forest, I don’t now due to high concentration of mosquitos; there are good possibilities for that too with the Grimsta and Judarn nature reserve just around the corner.

Last time I did regular running (more than just once every half year) I lost about 10 kg, I don’t know how much it will be this time and I won’t know any time soon either, this is something that takes time.

Okay, I might have to stretch some more now…

New Year, New Beginning

Happy New Year!

This time last year I didn’t even know I was becoming a father. Didn’t know how living with a kid would be like.

Susanna and I were thinking that it would be nice to have a kid during the year, not knowing that she already was growing in her.

Not in our wildest fantasy could we have expected a more wonderful kid than Ellinor. She is just so cute, letting us sleep at night and giving us an easy time.

A few highlights of the year:

  • The positive test on Susanna’s pregnancy.
  • The first ultrasound of Ellinor. (Link to blog entry)
  • The visit in Germany because of Ulrike’s confirmation.
  • Easter in Skåne.
  • Ellinor’s birth on the 10 of September. (Link to blog entry)
  • Friends weddings; Leigh and Andreas, Suppe and Jordana and Mattias and Amy said yes to each other.
  • Christmas in Skåne with Susanna’s family.

I will remember 2011 as a great year. Only one big change accrued, but this change was probably as big as change can be.

What will 2012 bring? Hopefully a kid that starts to walk, maybe even say a word or two. I will go on father-leave from work in September. That will give me much more time with Ellinor. I don’t hope for too many other things to be done then, but that is just not the focus of being off work then. During my father-leave Susanna will be working.

Maybe a trip or two should be possible too, nothing really far away though.

In March I will be part of a team from work skiing the “StafettVasan” a relay cross-country ski race in the track of the in Sweden famous ski-race “Vasaloppet”.

I don’t have that many other plans for the year. Maybe I will try to be more aware of injustice and lose a kilo or ten.

My year will be great! May yours be great as well!

4000 km

4000 km, that’s what I have biked on my new bicycle. Does that mean the bike is still new?

I reached that mark when I got home from work yesterday. Didn’t think it would be so exact. But bicycling to church on Sunday helped.

Actually I have biked a bit more, but I only count the times I have my trip-meter on. I just don’t know how far I have biked without it. It’s not that much, but I have forgotten it a few times going to work and then I haven’t always had it going shopping. Better not to make estimations that just wouldn’t be right.

Last week the bike got taken care of too. Actually it had a flat tire on Monday that had to be fixed. When I got home on Wednesday from Örebro I took the time to wash it and change tires. Now we are ready for the winter. I think it was in due time too, on Friday the puddles on the bike-path were covered with ice and today there was ice and snow. (Not much though).

I have reached a goal

Last Wednesday I reached a goal. Since the 9th of June I have biked to work 80 times.

Not much of a goal to reach, but I’m happy about it anyway.

In reaching the goal I have biked more than 4 out of 5 days I have been working. That was what I thought would be reasonable to manage, in regard to weather, work trips summer holiday and days off when Ellinor was born.

So now I’m on bonus time. I’m working three more weeks this year; will I bike 12 more times? Probably not, this week I’ll be on two business trips, it’s a bit tricky to bike to Örebro and Göteborg just for the day. (And I have got train tickets already). That make two out of five (I’ll be staying the night in Örebro, first night away from home since Ellinor was born).  Then in two weeks I’ll be going to Göteborg once more. So if I bike every day (I have already biked Thursday and Friday after I reach my goal) that I am at the office (as far as I know now) I will be biking 11 more times. In total I will have biked 93 times to work since the 9th of June. We’ll see if that will happen; as long it doesn’t snow so much I can’t bike, but then I probably won’t be able to get to work at all.

Within the next two weeks I will have biked more than 4000 km since I bought this bike. Not bad for one and a half year (I bought it in September 2010) mainly commuting.