This was a real gift to me. While visiting the Livingston railway museum the luxury train this calendar started with showed up, passing through the museum to change direction.
This was a real gift to me. While visiting the Livingston railway museum the luxury train this calendar started with showed up, passing through the museum to change direction.
Evening mood at Denair in California.
Back in Africa, this time in Lusaka, Zambia, overlooking the main railway station.
Quick change of continent. Here I’m in Chicago, looking at a south shore line train arriving.
This train doesn’t run anymore. The train station is converted into a restaurant, the cars of the train are the bar. We are at the Kruger National park in South Africa.
The subway at Holmenkollen in Oslo. The line had just been remodelled to be fully integrated with the subway network.
A Finish engine waiting for new tasks in Helsinki.
The engine of the North American Rayon Company that had a factory in Elizabethton, now on display in a park.
Here I’m in Italy, just before taking the train to Rome.
Here we are in Stuttgart, also a place of great change. The regional train waiting for me to board.
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.
On Easter Sunday our daughter and I prepared the Easter eggs.
Later that day we had the egg-hunt in the garden. To find them there was some climbing involved.
The new wheelbarrow was a great success. Now she can help when we have to move things around the property.
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.
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.
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:
We went to the open air museum of Jan Karlsgården. The swallows were not shy at all.
The flag (Åland has its own) and a few of the other things we did and saw.
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.
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.
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…
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:
A few from my trips:
A few from our trips:
And some other more random pictures:
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.
Our daughter learning many new things to our and her joy. (This could be a long list in itself).
Having a few short vacations to Germany.
Having a nice summer vacation driving around Sweden.
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.
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 to you all!
Here is our Christmas card for you:
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.
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.
Susanna and our daughter in the bus waiting to get to the terminal in 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.
The second day we spent mostly outside in the sun.
Some trees are just nicer than others.
Our daughter behaving like the star she is.
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).
Today is your first birthday, you might not think so much about it, but you have lived in this world for one year now.
One day you will understand the fuzz about it and enjoy the special things we do for you on your birthday. You might even understand this text if we do some things right. Today you just enjoyed the cake, pancake cake with raspberry jam, strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream, the new toys and your parent attention.
It feels like yesterday, the day when you came. It was a beautiful day, a bit strange, maybe because of the fatigue. I just loved you the moment I saw you, just like I love you today.
At first I didn’t know what to do. I was scared. But then, when I could hold you to my chest all that disappeared. Today a year later you are greater than ever. Now you walk, enjoy food and like moving things to new spots.
I’m so happy you take us on this journey. I couldn’t imagine half the things I have seen happening this year. Some were hard, some fun and some just plain. Still even the plain things are special.
I’m so happy when I get home and I hear your voice, “papapapapa”. When you give things to me, even if it’s a half eaten piece of pasta.
Here are some memories:
When you just were born.
Enjoying our first trip together.
Visiting our relatives in Germany.
Sitting in the bicycle trailer
Eating your birthday cake.
Opening your birthday gift.
And some film too:
A small film form you when you were one half year old.
A film of you walking over to your wagon.
I’m so looking forward to being your dad for many years to come and for the time we get together when I’m home taking care of you that starts soon.
It’s about time. I finally got my picture-documentation of 2011 ready.
It was a year with many things happening but not as many pictures taken. Still I have managed to put together a little resume like the previous years.
A little preview:
a few trains,
and of course us.
Here comes the link to the page: 2011 in pictures
Wednesday night we got home from our trip to Germany. This was the first time abroad for Ellinor. We flew to Frankfurt, took the train to Stuttgart where my uncle met with us to take us to his place.
One thing I realised travelling with her is that I can relax more than when I’m travelling alone or just with Susanna. I don’t know why that is, probably it’s because I have a different focus now.
Flying with Ellinor is easy. She does not cry much and enjoys playing with simple toys. After a while she wanted to sit on the floor, but that was not possible on the short (2 hour) flights. We found some really good seats (for us) on the plane that goes between Stockholm and Frankfurt, the row in front of the emergency exit has only two seats, so we didn’t bother anybody else there and there is an open space between the seat and window where we could put things that were in the way otherwise.
In Germany we met with all our relatives there. First we stayed in Lorch, a small town about 40 km east of Stuttgart were one of my uncles lives. There we met with the relatives on my father’s side.
Ellinor had everyone’s attention from the start. She charmed all of us with her best mood and fun sounds. She has started to make more sounds again, some of them sound like mama and papa and lampa (lamp in Swedish).
Ellinor had everyone’s attention.
We had one day with better weather so Susanna, Ellinor and me went on a walk. (I had done this walk already on Sunday). It was really nice to get out into the fresh air, Ellinor really enjoyed it too, but that’s normal if you don’t have to walk by your own.
Klotzenhof, the furthest point of our walk.
Most days we had a busy schedule. We wanted to see as many people as possible. We tried dinner at a restaurant too. Not entirely a success. Ellinor does get tired in the evenings so Susanna, Ellinor and I had to leave before everyone else so that we could get her to bed.
Ellinor is a Schwab. (A person from Schwaben, the region in Germany where my dad comes from. In this region Pretzels are staple food).
After a week in Lorch it was time to get to the next place, this time my aunt with family in Hagenhill, a small village near Ingolstadt. I hadn’t been there for a long time and Susanna hadn’t met them before since they didn’t make it to our wedding.
The drive there was not as relaxing as one could wish for. Ellinor didn’t feel well so we had to make plenty of stops. I think it could be the fact that we took some smaller roads there and that it was lunchtime for her that made her upset. If driving with her is this bad every time it just isn’t fun. (But it wasn’t).
We had a great time there, catching up and getting to know each other. Here the days were a lot less crammed with activities so we got some well needed rest.
Ellinor playing in Hagenhill.
Here our car really did fit in, since this family only has BMWs (when it comes to cars, they have a bus and a tractor too), could be because the husband of my aunt worked there before.
The last day we went to my other aunt that just had returned from India. We had a nice day with her too. We had a walk through the nice old (more than 1000 years) town she lives in. In the evening we looked at pictures from her trip. We didn’t stay up that late this night since the next day would be a long one.
A few houses in Hersbruck.
Ellinor enjoying my aunt’s company.
The journey home started at eight in the morning. We first had to drive back to the airport in Stuttgart where we had rented the car and had the air tickets from. This is under ideal conditions a trip just under three hours. We had ideal conditions and some. Only one shorter traffic jam and a restroom stop (for me) left us time to do some last minute shopping, filling up the car and returning it in good time before twelve. Ellinor slept for most of the trip and when she didn’t she was happy with sitting in the car.
Our flight home went fine, even if the transfer time at Frankfurt was a bit short for my convenience, but hey, we didn’t have to wait at all.
Ellinor and Susanna in the plane.
My parent picked us up and drove us home, I’m so thankful for them.
I’m looking forward the next trip I make with my lovely family, they just make travelling much more fun.
This week we are in Germany, visiting my relatives and showing Ellinor off. We arrived in Lorch (a small town about 40 km east of Stuttgart) already on Saturday but since it’s easier to rent a car on a weekday we waited till today to do so.
I had booked a car in the VW Passat size. One never knows what kind of car that will be. Last time I booked a car with proximally this size, a Chrysler Sebring we got a Dodge Journey with the smallest motor possible.
This time I hoped it would be a bit more the same size and comfort.
When I got the key I liked what I saw. It had the BMW logo on it. Not too bad for a VW. In the car-park an X1 waited for me. This is the smallest SUV from BMW but still roomy enough for us.
First I tried the backseat making sure that there would be enough space for Susanna and Ellinor. It felt okay. Getting in and adjusting everything was easy.
Driving away was nice too. Just out of the airport on to the Autobahn overtaking a few trucks, looking down on the speedometer, ups, 170 km/h. No feeling of speed in the car, I have to be careful not to drive too fast on the smaller roads.
Susanna was happy about it too, trying the backseat on the way to the store and to the dinner. Most of all she enjoyed the fact that it had Darmstadt plates, as she had stayed there when she first came to Germany.
On the way back from the dinner Ellinor fell asleep, I think she likes the car too.