10 Years

Today it is 10 years since Susanna and I became a couple. I’m so happy for these years, they have been filled with so many good things, like us getting married, our children and the move to the country side. The best part is you Susanna, all the other things wouldn’t be without you.

Now we have a year of celebrations ahead of us, next up our 10 year engagement in June, hope we can have that on Bornholm like you though would be a good idea. Later comes my 40th birthday and as a grand final the wedding anniversary next January.

Susanna; You are the best!

Golden Fun

We have finally bought a new car. It is really difficult to buy a car, first we had a budget, then there was a thought of what kind of car we wanted, then we started looking at ads. There are so many cars out there matching our criteria. We had to look at some cars.

If you want the quick version, just scroll to the end of the post, there is some good portion of rambling in the middle.

So, the new car should not be too old, we had a limit of how much we could put, and preferably not driven that far. That makes a tricky combination. We looked at Hyundais, first. Then we realised we didn’t want something as wind sensitive as the Yellow Danger. There are some other models there too. We also looked at VW-Polo and Golf and siblings from Seat and Skoda. Na, either they were Stone Age (or at least from the previous millennium) or they had been driving something like 300 000 km. At this point we realised we need to broaden our search and start actually looking at cars not only browsing ads.

So Susanna’s parents came to take care of our kids and we went for a tour de used-car-dealers. At the first place we had a rather shocking encounter with a Hyundai Getz, (I think it was), not that old, just not taken care of. There we also saw a Ford Focus that kind of opened our eyes to the Fords. The second place was closed (or just not answering the phone), the third place had grass growing out of the car so we decided that we didn’t really think that was proper treatment for a car to be sold.

After a much needed lunch we continued up the coast to look at some other cars. Two Hyundai Accent were the lures. We took one for a test drive. Not our car. And it wasn’t that nice either. We looked at some Fords again, but neither one of them was better than the one in the morning.

Off to the next place. We were greeted by an eager salesman (probably the owner of the place). After letting him know what we wanted he started showing us cars. It was a bit confusing at first; he was showing all kind of cars kind of at once. But we wanted to look closer at a few of them. Here we first came in touch with the French cars. We realised that a Citroën C4 wasn’t our cup of tea, centre speedometers should be banned. The C3 wasn’t that nice and lacked some features, I was really hoping for car with cruise-control. We looked at some Opels here too but they were a bit over our budget.

A Renault Mégane was a nice surprise tough. Coming in a bit below our budget it caught our eyes. So we asked for a test-drive. It was a pleasant surprise. Quiet, smooth and comfortable. We really liked it. Still we weren’t convinced. Renault isn’t a brand we were familiar with. It had some things that needed tending but that wasn’t a problem the salesman said, they would fix it.

Off to the next place, the last place in our tour. Here we had high hopes. Boy did they fail. The cars were in lesser shape than at the previous place and seemingly higher in price. We didn’t even test-drive any car there.

On the way home Susanna researched a bit about Renaults. The gathered info convinced us that a Renault could actually be a feasible choice for us. We still liked the Ford Focus though. Back home we did some background check on the most interesting cars we had looked at. 7 owners on both the Ford from the morning and the Mégane. But wait; the first owner of the Mégane was a car rental company. So that’s why it was so cheap. Some more research on owning a former rental crossed that car off our list. Now we were back to the Ford Focus. It had been rolling a bit far so we decided to look at some more.

As we didn’t want to ask someone to watch our kids again Markus and I drove to Kristianstad to check out some Fords we had seen ads for. The first one was sold. Going to the next one. At first it looked okay, but a closer look revealed rust, and plenty of it. It was actually more rusty than the Yellow Danger. And that isn’t a good sign for a car almost 4 years younger. It had some parts almost falling off. We still took it for a test-drive. It didn’t feel good either and made some funny noises.

Disappointed we looked around in the store. There was a Renault Mégane there too. It looked really nice. So we took a closer look. I asked if we could take it for a test-drive. It felt good. We looked at it, no rust to be found except for a bit on the break disks in the back. (One of them needs replacement in a not too distant future). Just below our budget but without winter tires. Winter tires could be included though. So we went home thinking this might be the car. Back home we did the background check. Only one user and nothing other showing up.

So, today (Monday) we went back there to buy it. Susanna hadn’t seen it before but she liked it too. Here it is, the Golden Fun. A bit bigger than needed, but it could double as family car in case we need to. Now I only have to install a phone-holder.

Golden Fun, Renault Mégane Combi

Here is a picture of the car.

We already made use of the fact that we have two cars again. Susanna went shopping while I picked up our daughter from a friend.

Sugar wedding

Today six years ago she said yes! I did too and we were wed. Time really flies. She is really something, wonderful to live with, great to have by my side. I’m so happy and lucky that it is us.

So the sixth wedding day is the sugar wedding, at least in Sweden or the English tradition. I like that.

Susanna

Here she is.

We celebrated today by going to the movies and tea after without our kids. It’s the first time we have done something like this since our son was born.

Time to be a house husband again

Since today I’m a house husband. I will stay at home taking care of my kids, the kitchen and all other things connected to the house while my wife goes to work. The last two years I did the working, but now it’s Susanna’s turn again.

I have done it once before, one year, when I stayed home with our daughter, now it is time for me to take care of our son and our daughter since she only is in preschool for 15 hours a week.

Preschool started today too, so today was really a day of changes. Our daughter needs more friends to play with than we can provide here at home so preschool it is. We have gotten a place at a really nice preschool in the next village to the south from us so it’s not far away. I’m just missing the bicycle path there; otherwise I would have used the bicycle trailer most days. Now I think I might do it once or twice as I have to take backroads that are more than twice the distance. I just don’t bicycle with my kids along a main road with a speed limit of 90 km/h.

That is just one way this time will be different than last time. Living in a house changes things too. There is always something to do when taking care of kids and household isn’t enough. I doubt I will get bored. I doubt I’ll get many other things done, kids and household has a tendency to be more time-consuming than I anticipate.

Anyhow, if you have your ways by Gamla Bo, give me a call and maybe you can stop by for a cup of tea.

5 Years

Five years ago she said YES. The best person in my life stood beside me at the altar and said yes. It was wonderful then. It is wonderful now! It has been wonderful between then and now.

You and me, Susanna and I at our wedding

Imagine that this great woman found me! And what a journey we are on. Life with her is a ride better than any you could find.

Susanna you are the best thing that has happened to me. You are the Milky Way on the clear winter sky. The soft breeze at the beach. I love to hear your voice. I just long to see you every time I’m away from you.

Picutres of our great journey

We have already been through many things. Made some big changes together, enjoyed life, worked our way through difficulties and had two great kids. I’m looking forward to all the things that are to come.

Picutres of Susanna

Today we are celebrating our wooden wedding. The traditional gift would have been silverware. I doubt that we need more silverware. Life is a dream with you. Sometimes I wonder when I will wake up. Then I realise that this is all very real. I just hope I cherish it as much as I should.

Picutres of our dream life

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!

 

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

 

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.

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.

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.

New job, new place, time for an update maybe?

The last couple of weeks have been eventful. As I wrote earlier we have decided to move to Skåne. We want to live in a house. Finding a house 600 km away isn’t easy. So we will move anyway. To a rental apartment first so that we can look for a house while we already live in the area and we don’t have time pressure.

First things first:

I have a new job; I will be starting in September working at Ramböll, a consulting firm with an office in Malmö, with similar things that I was working with before I left for parental leave. There will be some new tasks, I’m looking forward to learning new things and this is broadening my possibilities. I think this might be my dream job; it is at least at the company where I have been dreaming of working.

I had to quit my current job because of that, they did know that I was moving though so it didn’t really come as a surprise that I might want to try something new.

More new jobs:

Susanna will work in Malmö too. She will start there and when I start working she will be staying home with our daughter. This got final this last week too.

What about a house?

During our trip after Easter we looked at 13 houses. Here is a description of that; it was posted before we looked at the last house though. The last house was a bit of a tricky one, good location and plot of land, but an unplanned house with far too many stairs. And there were some parts of the house that weren’t ready.

A few weeks ago we went down there again, this time with my parents. We wanted to look at a house again. Good we took them along, to live in that house we will have to invest some money as it had some major flaws that we as laymen didn’t see.

We did look at two other houses too:

The chicken farm:

First we looked at an old chicken farm. The house was nice and all, but the old chicken barns would have given us a bit much to do, keeping the place in good order. The barns hadn’t been used for chickens for a while; they were rented out as storage for old cars during the winter months, we could have kept that concept, but then we would have to keep the roofs in perfect condition.

The house with the humongous living room:

The house with the humongous living room was right by the railway-line between Malmö and Stockholm. The house was a converted summer house, extended in several steps to its size. The plot of land was nice too, a bit forest, close to a lake and close to a future (maybe in one year from now) railway station. A few things would have to be done with the place for us to move in though.

We can imagine ourselves living there, but we didn’t want to make a fast deal because we want to do it right, and we want the place to be the right place. But as we had our jobs organised we need some place to stay.

Some place to rent:

So we have started to look for a place to rent for the time until we have found the house we want to live in. We haven’t signed anything yet but there is an apartment that we were offered and we will (if nothing happens till Monday) let them know we want it. That would give us a place to live from the first of July. (Hint hint: If you want to help us move, it will probably be by mid-July).

We have also cancelled this place, we didn’t want to pay double rent for more than two months, so now we really hope everything works out otherwise we’ll be homeless by the end of August (actually by the end of July as we need the home to be less far from Malmö by then).

So this was a short update on what is going on here. Life is exciting.

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/

Three Lovely Years!

Today Susanna and I have been married for three years. It has been three lovely years. The best years of my life for sure.

Three years since she said Yes! I think it was one of the best moments in my life. But actually every moment after has been better as it was a moment with her.

Sharing the good, sharing the bad, sharing the sad, sharing the funny and just sharing life and life has given us our daughter and plenty of great times.

Here is a picture from that day. And one more recent.

Us

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.

This is it folks!

I think 2012 will in my mind be remembered as a year with much joy in the everyday life.

It hasn’t been a year of big things like the year before (when we had our daughter) but of many small things.

Like:

Our daughter learning many new things to our and her joy. (This could be a long list in itself).

Star daughter

Having a few short vacations to Germany.

Having a nice summer vacation driving around Sweden.

Susanna and Johannes walk with Ellinor

Having my brother coming over much more than before. (See his homepage for updates: www.wolfmaier.com)

Being home with our daughter (that will continue well into 2013 too).

A few business trips to Gothenburg and Malmoe.

A beautiful snowy December.

Afternoon sun in the snow

Now it’s coming to an end. I’m writing this while our daughter is playing with the pens on my desk, right after our New Year’s dinner. It has been a good year. I have learned new things about myself. I have learned to enjoy new things.

I’m so happy to share this year with my family. Susanna is the best wife I could ever have found. Our daughter is just the cutest there is. We enjoy our company and like doing things together. Basically most things we do together end up being fun. Even fairly boring things like shopping for food.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Here is our Christmas card for you:

Christmas card 2012

I wish you all have a wonderful time with family and friends in great fellowship, good food and much joy!

This year we stayed home for Christmas, having my parents and my brother for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, Susanna’s parents are coming on the 3rd to have a second Christmas with us then.

It is lovely to see how our daughter for the first time really enjoyed the feast. The joy she had opening presents, (she started with the small ornamental ones we had put in the tree) and later playing with her new toys. This really makes giving fun.

Now it is time to rest until it is time for sound on Sunday.

The perfect Friday night dinner?

Today I think I made the perfect Friday night dinner. You decide for yourself if you agree.

Take one day of perfect Friday with beautiful snow and sunshine.

Blend with a bicycle ride and a nice walk through the forest.

Afternoon sun in the snow

Blackebergsbacken in snow

Prepare a sourdough-sunflower-seed bread in time (in the morning) for part of it becoming the buns for the dinner.

While the daughter is sleeping (after a short stay at the open preschool) start making the last preparations for the bread.

Buns being prepared

Take it easy for a little while.

Make dinner; the task for today was; it should have bacon in it.

Form burgers from minced meat.

Burgers being prepared

Bake the buns.

Buns ready

Put french-fries in the oven.

Fry burgers.

Fry bacon.

Have your wife come home.

Take french-fries out of the oven.

Prepare lettuce and other assembly details.

Put the rest of the bread into the oven.

Assemble the burgers.

Serve with beer.

Dinner

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to take out the bread before it is black. (As a good dinner takes a while it might be in the middle of it).

Now let the weekend begin!

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…

Summer in October

Two weeks ago we went to Germany to celebrate dad’s birthday. We stayed at my uncle’s and we met with most relatives. It was like coming back to the summer we didn’t have here. It was so nice having a few days off. Okay, I can’t have days off like when I was working, but still it was a good break from everyday life.

Travelling with the family is always a great thing. Our daughter is easy to travel with, we always see it when we fly and she behaves in a good way.

Here a few pictures from the trip.

Our daughter at the playground in Arlanda.

Our daughter at Arlanda

Susanna and our daughter in the bus waiting to get to the terminal in Hamburg.

Susanna and our daughter at Hamburg

As the trip was short it was intense. First night there was the celebration.

Our daughter was playing with the stones lining the floor.

Playing with stones

The second day we spent mostly outside in the sun.

Some trees are just nicer than others.

Nice tree

Our daughter behaving like the star she is.

Star daughter

Temperatures were well above 20° C, barely any wind, just the way you like summer to be. Needless to say, we really enjoyed it. In the evening we had dinner with the relatives again. It was so nice to have two evenings altogether. Even my brother came, as he lives a lot closer now.

The last day we were early with packing up before going home so we had a walk in the neighbourhood. The view with the trees in autumn colours is just so nice. A cat followed us around. Our daughter really likes cats, but hasn’t really understood the fact that screaming with joy running after them isn’t the best way of getting to pet them. She’ll learn that someday. (Maybe when we get ourselves a cat too).

Nice scenery

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: