How did 2018 go so fast?

It’s been a long time since I wrote here. Sure, there was the Christmas greeting and the advent calendar, but I think it was back in august 2017 I made a real update. And there have been happening things since.

First; I’ve been busy, like really busy, having three kids isn’t good on the spare time account (or any other account for that matter). Second; sitting at the computer writing stuff isn’t easy when three kids want to use said computer when I use it. Third; my computer is sick, it needs a safety override to start and if I run any program that runs it warm (like most games, sketch-up and such) it shuts down. This resulting in only really necessary things being done on the computer. Blogging wasn’t one of them I suppose. Actually I just recently realised that I hadn’t transferred pictures form my phones and camera to the computer (and the subsequent backup’s thereof). If I had lost my phone I would have lost all pictures from January to November. That would have been sad.

This year has been really nice though. Last year (2017) we were learning to be a family of five. Learning to deal with a sick child and just cope. Dealing with broken cars and the hassle of getting a new one. Having a broken heating system, and disappearing plumbers. Just not a year to enjoy.

This year was so much better. It was decided that our little one didn’t need surgery. Work was good. Life was much more balanced. We had low expectations and got good results. The new car exceeded our expectations. We got our heating system fixed after more than a year of living with it only partially working.

We also got some other good things going.

First: Our garden.

Even though there was (is) an epic drought in Sweden, we had a wonderful garden this year. We also got our greenhouse done last winter. This resulting in us getting our own cucumbers, tomatoes (they would have grown outside too), chillies, paprika, water-melons and some other things that usually doesn’t grow here.

Our garden with the greenhouse in the back.

The garden provided us with abundance of mangold, carrots, potatoes, onions, beetroots and herbs. We also had squash, corn, strawberries, salad, cabbage and broccoli, just not as much. And we actually took care of most of it. We still enjoy our own carrots (and they will last some time still), beetroots, potatoes and onions. We have some frozen mangold and herbs left too.

Our apples were also in abundance, we couldn’t take care of them all. But there will be apples for a long time still. Plums and cherries were also plenty, we have made some marmalades and chutneys with them. The blackberries didn’t really like the drought though, and we didn’t water them, we got some but not that many.

And the best part; almost no mowing of the lawn and snails.

Second: Our kids.

Our kids enjoy each other. We get time to do other things, while they are playing. Our daughter is now in school for real, learning new things every day in first grade. Our sons are still at home with us.

We are not burdened with our youngest’s condition any more, as he doesn’t have any symptoms and doesn’t need medication now. He is still monitored though, once every half year there are some tests to be made, and once a year an ultrasound. For you that doesn’t know more: He was diagnosed with gall-stones when he was just a little over 3 months old. About the same time we ordered our new car. It took a few days till they found out what it was. Then some more to figure out what to do. First medication and later surgery. The surgery was to be done in Stockholm but was postponed many times. About one year ago we were told that his values were good enough to not do surgery, but they will monitor him, if it comes back.

Our kids at the Zoo playing with water

And he is a talker. We aren’t used to that. Both our daughter and our older son didn’t really make sense before they were almost three. But he astonishes us with his speech.

Maybe I should have put our kids first…

Thirdly: Our house.

Last spring, (you see the pattern) we lost pressure in our heating system. Like there was a leak somewhere. The problem was just we didn’t find any leak. So we hired a plumber. He didn’t find any leak either. But when he tested the system there wasn’t any leak any more. A few months later (after summer was over) the pressure disappeared again. And the plumber too… So we called a different one. And he didn’t come when he said he would. So I added a few taps to get our heating system working in parts of the house. So we had central heating in our bedroom, storage, hall and laundry/shower-room. The rest of the building had to rely on small electric furnaces and our wood furnace in the living room. It was cold in the mornings.

A few months later the plumber did come and they didn’t find the leak either. Now it was leaking after testing though. He said he would figure something out after new-year. And he disappeared again. Later he told us he couldn’t help us. So we called our insurance again and they referred us to him… Luckily they had a backup. Now a third plumber came, and they performed the same inspection as the previous ones and didn’t find anything. They also dyed the water in the pipes green to see if there was any green water somewhere, but no. They did know a guy though that could test the system with gas (no not the American kind) and he pressurised our system and found that the leak was probably below the newer (1994) part of the house. He couldn’t tell what pipe it was, there were two going that way, so he recommended us to reroute the pipes going under the new part of the house. So we asked the previous plumber for a price. And it was hefty. So we asked a different plumber (one that had repaired a radiator right after we moved in) and it was a bit better. So we went with that guy. And he fixed it. In the middle of the summer we had heating again. And we tested it, as good as one can test a heating system on a day with 30° C outside.

We did have a minor leak later but only affecting our hall and laundry/shower-room, this we had fixed by our guy just before Christmas.

We always had a slow pressure decrees in our heating system, but I thought it was due to a faulty valve in the boiler room, but it was probably just the pre-stages of the big leak. Now we don’t have that problem anymore.

The truck with the insulation pumping into our house.

We also got some extra insulation under our roof, so now we have a much nicer climate on the upper floor.

Fourth: Our cars.

We have two cars, like we’ve had all the time we have lived here. Last year we needed a new one, because our old had an accident. So we did some calculations and realised that a new electric car would cost us about the same as a used ICE. We are very pleased with our ZOE, not just the new-car feel but mainly the running costs. We have been driving it a bit more than we thought we would. Basically it’s our first car now and our Megane is just if the ZOE is busy or we need the bigger trunk or roof-rails for shopping. Sadly neither has a hook for trailers, but we might get one some time. I just hope we can keep the Megan alive until we can afford a second electric. In a couple of years there should be a few more to choose from.

Charging our ZOE in Germany

In spring we did a trip to Germany. We decided to use the ZOE, it would be so much cheaper and we need plenty of stops anyway. It went really well. I guess that it won’t be as cheap in the future though, more than half of the charging posts didn’t charge for the electricity. We learned that using charging posts is easy in Germany and Denmark, in the Netherlands you need to do some planning first, but thanks to Tesla (and a free and open destination charger) we got to our destination there too.

Fifth: The summer.

This last one is with a bit of ambivalence. It was a great summer, I love the high temperatures and sunny days. I’m not as happy about the drought it brought. We still have much less water in the lake than usually, maybe 80 cm lower than it normally is in December, even if it has risen maybe 20 cm from its lowest. Our lawn stopped growing, except for some weeds. It wasn’t entirely yellow though, probably because of the proximity of the lake. We got some good time at the sea too, both the Baltic and the Westcoast.

Sand castle at the beach

Looking back on this year is good. Looking forward is exiting. I will be home with the kids while Susanna has a new job (that she will find soon I hope). It will be different then the last times. There will be strict daily routines, the oldest has to be at school in the morning and picked up afterwards. There will be many more activities during the weekdays for the boys. But I think it will work well.

5 years passed just like that.

Last Saturday our daughter had her fifth birthday. It was a nice summer day this time, good for us as we had her kindergarten class over for a party in the afternoon.

It’s amazing how fast time flies. It feels like it wasn’t that long ago we were at the hospital in Stockholm enjoying our little miracle. Now she is so big, knows so many things and is learning and becoming more independent every day. That day back then was a nice day too. It wasn’t as warm as now though.

Evening bicycling

Here are some of the neighbourhood kids bicycling along the lake. (Ours is the one with the flag).

That leads me to my next rambling, on Sunday we went to the beach. It isn’t quite common to go to the beach to enjoy the sun and the sea mid-September here in Sweden. This year it is possible though. (It was even warmer today). The water was a bit chilly but in the sun it was nice and even when a cloud (there were a few sadly) covered it, it was still nice enough not to drape oneself in towels or clothes like so many times during Swedish summers.

Bicycling!

I just have to tell you all like the proud father I am: My daughter now knows how to bicycle all by her herself. For a week or so she has known how to bicycle with the little exception of that she couldn’t start herself. Today our evening walk started the same way as most, I held her to start and then she was off. When we were almost home again, she didn’t want to wait for us to catch up with her so she tried to start herself and did. Back home she waited for us at the entrance to the driveway, she wanted to show us how she had started herself and she did. So now she knows how to bicycle, from start to stop.

Here is a picture of her on the way last week.

Bicycling Daughter

Spring is coming

I just wanted to share some pictures of the flowers of our garden at this time of year. (Sorry for the bad quality of some of the pictures).

It started early, here some of the first, these Snowdrops came already in the beginning of February.

Snowdrops without snow

Just a few days later it looked like this instead:

Snowdrops with snow

They are still in bloom, and we have plenty of them around our place.

Then there was this little yellow thing. Our neighbour have many of them, we just have this one: (I have no clue what it is).

Yellow little thing

This lonely Crocus showed up in the beginning of this week:

Crocus one

There are more coming, but most of them I dug up clearing for the expansion of our vegetable garden. Susanna replanted them later and now they are growing in the round flowerbed, not really blooming yet.

Yesterday these two started just next to our house: I really like the colour of them.

Crocus two and three

Then we have these little ones, they are blooming a little now and then. I don’t know their name either. There was one in January and I saw one late last year, must be a special resilient kind.

Resilient little thing

Last weekend my brother and I took the kids on the lake. There was no wind at all.

Mirror lake

I also managed to make a selfie; it’s kind of crammed on the canoe, but it was fun.

Canoe selfie

Now I’m just hoping it gets a bit warmer soon.

Father daughter time

Last Thursday our son should have had his first swimming class. We had our daughter at swimming classes back when we still lived in Stockholm and before our son was born here in Höör too. Inconveniently he got a bad cold with a slight fever too, so no swimming for him. We had promised our daughter to go swimming at the same time though so that had to be honoured.

So I went with her to the sports-centre so she would get some water time. It was really great, just me and her. We enjoyed both the big pool, she swam 25 meters (with a floating device) and the kids’ pool, were we played. I dived all the way across; she mostly jumped from the edge.

After the pool we went to one of the pizza places we have in Höör. It is nice to sometimes do something special like that. Having conversations with a four-year old is a lot more rewarding than with a smaller kid. Interesting things are going on in her head now. Even though I try to be attentive to what she is saying normally it’s not that easy to zoom out after a while in the everyday setting, especially when there is another kid, wife or other person trying to get your attention too.

My legs hurt

I did it. Today everything was right. Our son didn’t sleep before it was too short for him to sleep before we have to pick up his sister from preschool. It was dry outside and I was in the mood. So I packed our son in the trailer for the bicycle and off we went, to pick up his sister by bicycle.

I had checked the route and it gave me a hint that it wouldn’t be easy. Back and forth along the small backroads, I won’t take the main road, it’s not safe. It should be about 8 km, and more than 50 meters up and down. It turned out to be a bit longer and the last part the wind came straight against me.

Our daughter was happy that I picked her up with the bicycle. Her brother slept on the way there. On the way home I had some time to make pictures.

We live in an electricity producing area; there are wind turbines all over the place.

Wind turbines

As I got a bit tired I had to make a few short brakes, just to rest my legs and arms.

Taking a break

Just before we come home I have to lift/drag all of us across this old stone wall. It is hard to imagine that I can get both bicycle and trailer through the shrubs behind the wall, but the path is wide enough.

Crossing of the wall

Doing the pickup this way made the day feel shorter. (A good thing when one has to entertain a 1 and a 4 year old kid). It was fun to actually go somewhere and not just going back and forth along our little road we live at. I just love bicycling.

On the downside I realised in how bad shape I am. Okay, the wind was against me, but 8.5 km in just short of 40 minutes, that’s not good. I will have to do this on a regular basis to get back in to some kind of shape again. It would do me good. So I will try to do it at least once a week, as long as it isn’t raining, I’m comfortable that way and dirt roads just aren’t fun to be on when wet. I won’t do it with too much snow either, who knows how well the snow is cleared off the small backroads.

Now I will try to sleep, my legs are killing me.

Bicycling with kids again

Now I’ve done it (or actually last week some time).

Made the first bicycling trip with our son. One afternoon I crammed both of them into the trailer and bicycled a few round in the neighbourhood. They seemed to enjoy it.

Kids in bicycle trailer

We have to do it more in the future. Someday I might even pick up our daughter from the day care by bicycle. To avoid the big road I will have to take a trip more than three kilometres longer than by car. There is a long term plan to build a bicycle path along the big road, but who knows when that actually will be built.

Some reflections on the first weeks

I have been home with the kids for almost two weeks now and I think things are going good so far. Most times I went shopping with only our son, but yesterday we went all three of us. That’s more of a challenge, but with the arrangement below it went really nice. Except for the last 5 minutes when our son fell asleep. Not the best place to fall asleep. He did wake up as soon as we left the store and didn’t sleep until late in the afternoon.

Our daughter and son in the shopingcart at the store

Sleeping during the daytime is a bit of a challenge too (for our son, or maybe for me getting him to sleep). It seems like it is easier for him to get to peace than it was for our daughter though. So far he has slept a while every day. The best time is when our daughter is at preschool, right after lunch. Then I will have some time to fix things here without having him to watch out for. It is also good as he then will be tired in the evening when we want him to sleep. Some days that’s just not possible, luckily our daughter can amuse herself long enough for me to get him to rest the days she is at home or when he didn’t sleep before we picked her up again.

We have had a great harvest of plums this year. (Last year we didn’t realize that we had a plumtree until the one plum fell down). This has resulted in a bunch of cakes like this one.

Plum cake

We did some other things with the plums too, like chutney and compote, really nice. The blackberries are still in the process of being harvested, so far we have made some jam, but the plan is to make sorbet out of some we already have gathered.

4 years!

Today 4 years ago our daughter was born. So I made a cake in the morning (cake for breakfast is tradition in my family at birthdays).

Cake for our daughters 4th birthdayWe were kind of hungry so I took the picture after she left for the preschool.

It is nice to celebrate her birthday again, it just is a clear mark that she is growing bigger and bigger. She got her first LEGO’s with the small pieces and she really enjoyed building it. It was fun helping her too.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you all!

I know Easter is almost over but this year I’ve been busy not sitting at the computer more than short bits. The weather was some kind of typical April weather with sun, rain, hail and thunder.

My parents were here and my dad made some pictures of the highlights that I like to share:

We burnt the branches and twigs from our property. As the darkness fell the fire was really beautiful, and the full moon made it less dark.

The fire in the night with moon

On Easter Sunday our daughter and I prepared the Easter eggs.

Prepairing Easter-eggs

Later that day we had the egg-hunt in the garden. To find them there was some climbing involved.

Daughter on the rocks finding an egg

The new wheelbarrow was a great success. Now she can help when we have to move things around the property.

Trying the new wheelbarrow on our front lawn

Much needed break

This autumn has been crazy. We all have been under a lot of stress here at home and I’ve been working much and traveling with work too.

Anyhow…

sometime this summer we decided we need a break this autumn. We want to see our friends and family in Stockholm some time again. So we planned to take a week off in November to go there and visit everybody. We had no clue of how hard times were ahead of us.

Then time flew. Like it always does. We hadn’t planned anything real and one weekend when we just realised it was all too much. We need some time as a family, just the four of us. So just before we had planned to book the tickets to Stockholm we decided not to. We started looking for an alternative. Staying home was not an option as there are so many things to do here so I wouldn’t have been a vacation that way.

Last week we did it. We left our little house in Skåne for a smaller house on Lolland, that’s a Danish island not too far away. Five nights away doesn’t seem like much, but it did great! I think the best part of it was that there was no internet there and as we are cheap we didn’t pay for roaming on our phones either. We had all the time together. Except for a few short trips to the village to get groceries, trips that would have been so much longer and trickier taking the kids along.

We played games. Sat in front of the fireplace. Enjoyed each other’s company. Relaxed in the bubblepool and sauna, no really it was relaxing, even the time my three year old was in it with me. Made some simple food, it tasted great. Got fresh bread from the baker a few mornings. Had a walk on the beach. Made a trip to the zoo and to Germany.

Not everything was perfect. I wish we hadn’t gotten colds, except Susanna, she was spared. I wish we had started cleaning out the place an hour earlier this morning. We made it out before the owner came though. I wish I had understood how the fire stove worked, now it was a bit of an ordeal to get it burning. (Maybe the wood was a bit too wet).

In total it was great! I always have said that the best time for vacation is in November. Even staying in this area of ever grey weather is better with a break than just chugging along. Just have a break. I warmly recommend it and my family does it too.

Sorry all of you friends in Stockholm that would have loved to see us. Most of you didn’t know what you missed as we hadn’t made appointments yet. There will be another time. We just don’t know when.

Summer is a short thing,

even if it’s eight weeks long.

Collage with picutres of the Summer of 2014

Somehow this summer has passed really fast. Sure summer isn’t really over yet but as I this week started work after the vacation/parental leave it somehow feels like it. It has been an exciting summer. So many things have happened. Still it also has been a slow summer, not doing even one overnight trip, only staying at home. (Except for the few nights when we were at the hospital for Gabriel’s birth in the beginning).

Ah, there you have the name of our son too: Gabriel. We had a hard time to decide, so it ended with us drawing sticks. We had two names, equally nice, but both of us had a different one as favourite. But if we get another son some day we have a name for him.

Most of the summer has been about taking care of our kids and getting food on the table. A few other things have been made though.

I fixed the lawn-tractor. It wasn’t that hard and now cutting the grass isn’t hard labour but fun labour. I think I’m becoming more of a mechanic as I live here, I kind of like fixings things.

I built some mosquito-nets for our bedroom and work-room and with the help of dad the guest room too. (My parents wanted to sleep there and it was warm so a mosquito-net was not a luxury). The one for the work-room I like the most, as it is a door.

We have made it to the beach twice. Once as a family and once with my parents but without Susanna and our son as a day on the beach isn’t the best thing for a new-born. We did go for a swim in our local lake a few times too, it’s just a five minutes’ walk so it really isn’t a big deal.

Our garden isn’t really giving that much produce, we haven’t really taken care of it as we should. But still; we have potatoes; we will have carrots and some beans. Three of our apple-trees have apples, so we will have apples too, (actually I baked an apple-cake with apples from one of the trees yesterday that we had at work today). Our blackberry-bush is having plenty of berries and they ripen over a long time, it now has given us a few portions with ice-cream and a pie, but there is much more on the bush. The only downside with the blackberries is that they have so many thorns and that makes picking them a bit painful. (We haven’t taken care of it the right way this spring).

We have spent some time with family and relatives. My parents have visited twice, Susanna’s a few more times, and we visited Susanna’s parents too (Susanna and the kids stayed over there one night even). We had a few friends visiting, been to the zoo in Höör with friends and have visited friends for a few hours, so it has been things going on even if we had to time it with our sons feeding, leaving us less punctual than usual.

Now I’m back at work. This first week has been calm, as most people still are on vacation. It is fun though; I’m working on a project where I will simulate railway traffic and I really enjoy that.

Now it’s weekend!

 

Snowman and snow house

Winter has arrived. With snow. That’s fun.

Our daughter thinks so too. Today we spent a few hours outside in the snow. First I fixed some things at the shed and garage then I built a snowman. A few days ago my dad shared some pictures with us from my childhood, reminding me of the time we built snow houses back then. So I thought I might try to build one too.

As the snow was the sticky kind today it was easy to roll big balls and construct the building. Our daughter made smaller balls that we fitted to the house too.

Here is the result.

Snowman

The snowman

Snow house and daughter

The snow house

Winter here is something different. A couple of weeks ago Susanna and me went to the cinema in Lund. On the way home we ran into some serious snow-drifts. They were really deep and all across the motorway making it hard to drive. Before we came to our exit we caught up with the snowploughs, so they had just cleared the snow and it was already back again. And all this while there was barley any snow on the ground.

Today as I drove to the store in Stehag I passed some snowdrifts (today it wasn’t windy like the day we went to Lund) that were more than one meter high. I doubt that the road was passable when the snow came.

Boat owners

Now “our” house has passed its check-up and the water-test came back with good results too, so we will get our keys in the beginning of December.

Today we went over to the house to clear some things with the previous owners; among other things we decided what things they didn’t need to trash to clear the house. We had talked about the things in the garden shed before. We also knew about the fact that some of the shelves would stay. What we didn’t know that with the house we would be boat owners. Okay it’s just a canoe but still it’s a boat. Some nice surprise there; not only do we live close to the lake, but we have the means to get out onto it.

We will also get one sofa; it will complement our lounge perfectly. We are now in the process of filling our model of the house with furniture, so that we know where to put the things when we move.

Maybe we should be starting packing now? There are still some things to figure out before that, like the fact; can we use the boxes we used in the last move, or will they want the boxes back just during our crazy moving days? We will try to move before Christmas, we just don’t know when we will have time to sleep too. (As I work and our daughter keeps Susanna busy during the day). I can already announce that if anyone feels called to help us with the move (we’ll do it ourselves this time) and needs a break from Christmas shopping, just give us a call. We will probably need help more than once during December.

Our daughter seems to like the house too. Today Susanna showed her the room we are thinking will be hers and she approved of it. And she really loves the stairs. And the cat. But we won’t get the cat.

Two Years: The best!

Today our daughter turned two. It has been an amazing trip. I don’t have words for how blessed we are with her. We celebrated her both yesterday and today, yesterday it was with some relatives, today it was just us as a family.

It is wonderful to see how she is growing up and learning new things by the day. We start to understand more and more of what she says. Her sentences are getting longer. She is playing with her things, letting them having long conversations.

Today we had the possibility to skype with both my brother and my parents so they could wish her happy birthday too. It is great what technology can do, making it possible to sit face to face and still be in different cities or on different continents.

Here are a few pictures from the celebrations:

Our daughter dancing away at the zoo.Our daughter dancing away at the zoo.

Four generations

Four generations, from Oldemor (great grandmother in Danish) to our daughter.

Tricycle

Now this tricycle moved here, it’s a good mode of transport to the playground.

Going down the slide

Going down the slide is great fun.

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.

Skåne here we are!

We did it. Or maybe we are doing it. We have gotten all our stuff to the new place, but we still have to make the place liveable. Thanks to my parents in law where we all slept good last night. Susanna and our daughter slept the night before that at their place too and might sleep another night, while I did sleep in the cupboard the first night after I drove down the car from Stockholm. I chose that room as it is the only room without windows and I didn’t feel like putting up blinds in the middle of the night.

But first let me take it from the start.

On Monday we had our last guests at our old place, after they left we really started dismantling the place (We had done some of it before but were far from done). We had planned it this way as we had decided to have a company help us with the packing and moving.

On Tuesday we dismantled the rest of the things we could get done. We also got rid of all the things we didn’t want to keep. It all took a lot longer than we thought, but at three in the morning we were done so far that they could pack up the rest the day after.

On Wednesday three packers came and boxed up our place. We tried to keep out of the way and started to dismantle the furniture that they emptied. We had a fairly calm day this way, Susanna was mainly taking care of our daughter outside and we had all our meals outside too as it wasn’t really possible to be in the apartment during their packing. After they were done I joined Susanna and our daughter at the beach, meeting with a good friend of ours.

In the eventing we went back to the chaos and took care of the last things that had to be done before the move.

On Thursday we moved. Susanna and our daughter left early on a plane to Skåne to prepare a few things in the apartment and I stayed behind to oversee the loading and cleaning.

The truck came early and they started filling it up. With all our stuff. We have a lot of stuff. We have too much stuff. The stuff didn’t fit in the truck. Not so fun. But the moving company said they could get another truck (small one) and fit the rest. Now we know how much stuff we have, 67 cubic meters. This is exactly the amount that one other firm thought we have in their bid. When we got that bid we didn’t believe it. How can three people have that much stuff? Good we did some cleaning out before, otherwise we would have had even more. We’ll have to continue cleaning out stuff after this.

While they were fetching the other truck I had lunch with my mother. That was really nice. She took me to a good Italian place just by her work. It was a good break.

As I came back the cleaning was on hold as they needed to get out the last things from the apartment to get it done. I packed up the things I was to take in the car and had some nice talks with the neighbours. I’ll miss the neighbours, they were nice people.

At five in the afternoon the last things were loaded and the cleaning was done. I checked the cleaning and after about one hour I was on my way.

Driving is fun and went smooth; I arrived at home (yes this is home now) a few minutes after midnight. After unpacking the car and winding down a bit I slept well, for the first time in our new home.

On Friday the trucks arrived and they started filling up the place. I only had to direct them where to put things. At noon Susanna joined us and at two they had unloaded everything. We had some lunch, I had some rest and we put the bed together before we left for my parents in law.

Today we slept in. We will go back to the place later and I will stay there overnight trying to fix as much as possible so that we all can stay there from Sunday on.

The move in pictures.

Wednesday:

Packing the place.Packing the place.

Our daughter helping us.

Our daughter helping us.

Thursday:

Furniture ready to be loaded.

Furniture ready to be loaded.

Furniture ready to be loaded.

Boxes everywhere.

Our daughter still sound asleep.

Our daughter still sound asleep.

 

Loading has started, rooms are emptying.

The truck being filled up.

The truck being filled up.

The truck

The truck.

Friday:

The first things are unloaded.

The first things are unloaded.

Box-room, this room now is all filled up with boxes.

Box-room, this room now is all filled up with boxes.

The flowers were placed and watered, they really needed water.

The flowers were placed and watered, they really needed water.

We rebuilt our bed.

We rebuilt our bed.

 

A little vacation

The last couple of days we have been to Åland. For you who don’t know, Åland is an archipelago and region of Finland that is situated between mainland Finland and Sweden.

We felt like we needed to get some break from our moving business. And as a cruise and visit to Åland is a bit trickier from Skåne we decided it was time to go there.

We enjoyed two 5½ hour cruises, on the way there with a huge breakfast and on the way back with the buffet. Our daughter enjoyed the playroom and the ocean of balls.

We spent two nights and one day on the island, seeing some sights and enjoying the beach in Mariehamn. We also pampered ourselves with good food and massages.

Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Åland 1Our daughter’s first time on a big ship. And the staple of Roslagskulla church, just across the road where I went to kindergarten.

Åland 2

We went to the open air museum of Jan Karlsgården. The swallows were not shy at all.

Åland 3

The flag (Åland has its own) and a few of the other things we did and saw.

Åland 4

On the way back. Our car parked on the car deck. One of the places we went to, to watch the big boat as kids, just a few kilometres from where I grew up. The modern skyline of Kista. Our daughter getting to sleep after a long day. On such a day it mus t be wonderful to be on a boat like the little sailboat we met.

I’m going to miss the old folks

As you know we are moving soon. There are many things I’m going to miss leaving Blackebergs Gårdsväg, most of which I have thought about for a while now.

Today as I was walking over to our storage (it’s two houses down the road), I heard an old woman sing. I heard another old woman laugh. I heard one old man call for his caretakers and one doing (very loud) small talk with a relative (I suppose, I didn’t hear the other person, it might even have been on the phone).

What I didn’t hear was the regular moaning and screaming for help that we also hear from time to time. Living here has given me a window into the horrors of being old and dement. Hearing old people scream because they don’t recognise the people that try to help them is heart breaking. Why I didn’t hear this on my walk this morning I don’t know, maybe the warm weather also makes the old people happy.

Now that I have been at home with our daughter I have seen more of the old people. During the day some of them are taken out for a walk or a roll. (Most of them are in wheelchairs). Some of them really enjoyed talking to us. Others are just sitting outside in the garden, saying hi and looking happy as we reply.

It has been special living next to this huge house full with old people during last period in life. I heard from one of the staff that most of them living there only live there a few months or less before they die. That is how it is in a home for people that need care at the end of their life.

The old folks home

Here you can see the house behind our house and on the right of Susanna.

I’ll miss you. Not like your relatives will, but as a stranger who you smiled at and whose daughter you made laugh.

Sometimes timing is perfect

Today our daughter slept till half past nine. And it was just the right day. We didn’t get into bed before late. She had already slept for five hours when we joined her. That usually is a good plan to get a short night’s sleep. Not so tonight.

The reason we stayed up late last night was that we watched the third and final part of the miniseries “Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter” (our mothers, our fathers) or “Generation War”. It made me thinking, this is what my grandparents lived through. Maybe not exactly, but the things going on around them were the same. It made me think of grandfather’s diary that he wrote during his imprisonment in France. It made me remember the things grandmother told me of the time, mostly the time after the war. How they had to walk home. How life changed.

I can really recommend the series. It’s three 1½ hours episodes so it takes some time, but it is time well spent. And you get a free lesson in German, as the series is a German production. Here is the link to the IMDb site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1883092/

Happiness in little things.

Today was a beautiful day, just as all of you who went outside in Stockholm already know. We, that is my daughter and I went for a walk in the afternoon, mainly to get some groceries, like most days. As it was warm I thought of carrying her on my shoulders instead of the sling. (I did bring the sling just in case though).

On the way home I let her walk along the path through the forest by herself. She really enjoys it now, not long sections but still.

As I wasn’t in any kind of hurry I let her explore the surroundings. She skipped along and once every now and then she stopped to pick up a stone. She didn’t keep them, just picked them up, looked at them and carried them until she found a new one.

After a while doing this it hit me. She was enjoying little things. Literarily. She was enjoying picking up small stones from the side of the path. Most of them spread out during winter to keep it safe to walk. Stones that had ended up outside the path for no good. (The stones on the path had been brushed up earlier this week). But they still had reason. To make my girl happy exploring.

The joy of a kid

 

As these thoughts came to me I decided to get down to her level. Just to see some other little things. And sure enough, the stones are pretty; they have all kinds of colours and shapes. Some are mashed into the dirt so that one has to dig them out to get them; others are stuck in the asphalt.

And there are more little things going on this time of year:

  • Leaves starting to show. (You have to look really close on some).
  • Birds singing.
  • Birds playing.
  • Children having fun.
  • Old people walking enjoying the sun.

All these are little things. But they are important. And if I hadn’t taken the time to take the walk home in my daughters pace, I doubt I would have thought about any of them. But they made this day so much richer.

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…

Finally I’m done with the pictures of 2012

I have finally finished 2012, that is organising the pictures of the year. (This time I did it before I filed my tax-report).

Here is a short preview:

Many pictures of our daughter:

Our daughter

A few from my trips:

Malmoe

A few from our trips:

Copenhagen

And some other more random pictures:

Bicyling

Enjoy: wolfmaier.se/2012/2012%20in%20pictures/

Winter again

As winter came back the joys of winter returned too.

The first is that it’s not as dark anymore. The snow lights up everything.

The second is that it is fun to play in the snow, especially with my daughter. Last Thursday my brother and I had some time on the slope next to our house with her. Going down the hill with and without my daughter is great fun.

Here is a short film of us going down the slope.

 

The third this is the sound that walking on snow makes on a cold day, like today. It’s a kind of squeaking or crunching noise. It has to be below -5°C.

The forth thing is the fog over the lake on a cold morning after a ship has passed by and broken the ice.

Bicycling in the snow is the fifth. I really like it. It’s just a bit tricky when it is snowing. I did bike 17 km with the trailer last Tuesday. (For you who weren’t in Stockholm that day, it snowed more than 20 cm that day). My daughter has a swimming class and I had made up my mind to go by bicycle as I like that more. On the way there I had a real workout. On the way back it became a bit too much, so I had to stop and get some food. My daughter seemed to enjoy it though. (She slept on the way home). That’s how the bicycle and trailer looked like at the stop:

Short break from bicycling in the snow