About Young&Hitched

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Motor skilling Monday

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That moment when you seem to wake from a deep sleep of repetitive baby routines and realize that your child is nearing 18 months and needs physical challenges to improve her body in other ways than sitting and walking. I feel deeply embarrassed that I’ve been so bad at actually challenging her during play time, now that play time itself isn’t a challenge any more. Most of the time think she’s pretty much the same as she was 3 months ago until out of the blue I’m hit in the face by the obvious truth.
I had one of those wake up calls today. I went to our poorly stocked kitchen wondering if we had accumulated enough household knick-knacks yet to construct some mobility challenging toy. Surprisingly I didn’t waste too much time. A couple of weeks ago we’d bought some ground cinnamon that turned out to not at all taste like the cinnamon we were used to back home. Why it was not yet in the garbage I wasn’t sure but now I picked it up, dumped the contents in the trash and rinsed out the glass bottle. I also dug out some cocktail skewers I got the other day to make these!
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I grabbed my daughter out of her chair, put her on the floor and presented her with her new toy. Mama made it for you! I dropped a few of the skewers on the floor and made sure she was watching as I picked one back up and dropped it through one of the tiny holes in the lid of the shaker. To my great astonishment she picked one up herself and after a few attempts pushed it through the lid. The next half hour she stayed there on the floor with her tiny lips pursed experimenting which hand made the activity easier.

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Burgers at Bunsen with buddies.. baby!

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One of the best things about having friends come to town is the opportunity to play tourist in your new city. Our friends are burger-people so after consulting Yelp we decided to try out Bunsen in Dublin 2 for dinner.

We met up at Trinity College and made our way across town to the restaurant. I talked a bit about this already on Instagram, but although it was a rather chilly night – we have all now borne witness to the deadly winds here in Dublin, brrr! – the city was still buzzing with cheerful people. I seriously love spending time walking around downtown just because people are so much friendlier than I’m used to. On Sunday on our way home from church we shared the sidewalk with an older fellow for a bit, and instead of stubbornly maintaining the awkward silence he went, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” And we had a pleasant little conversation with him until we separated ways. And it totally boosted my mood for the rest of the day!

Anyway! We got to Bunsen, which from the outside is rather easy to miss apart from the big neon “B” above the entrance. We waited in line for a couple of minutes and the place was full – can only imagine how packed it must be on weekends. We were seated at a table and ordered just a simple cheeseburger each with fries. Apart from wishing I’d ordered mine well-done, we really liked the burgers. The buns and paddies are both a bit thicker and softer. Usually I prefer especially the buns to be toasted and crispier but I actually liked the mushiness of this combo. Mushy food is always better, right? The fries though were really good – I’m more of a fries type person myself and I really appreciated that they were thicker and perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Marcus already asked if we could go back, so it was a definite success!

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Dipping your fries is awesome. Because the fry serves as a great tool to scoop up and eat the ketchup.
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Oh the blurriness.

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Our first venture into the Irish countryside, and Killiney Hill

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Today was a beautiful beginning to our second weekend in Ireland. We went on our first outing out of Dublin!

So, although it is so far not exactly my personal opinion, I must confess that most people told us before coming here that Dublin itself might not have a lot to offer but that the Irish countryside was worth moving to Ireland for. I myself have lived in Dublin for all of 12 days now and I think it’s a pretty great city and hope to discover even more greatness in the future –
BUT that doesn’t take away the fact that the Irish countryside is actually MINDBLOWINGLY gorgeous! Or so we have discovered today.

First we did a train ride all the way down the coast south of Dublin to Bray. The tracks literally go right by the water and on a clear day like today the Irish Sea glistened in the sunlight. We went far enough south to get into Wicklow county which is known as “Ireland’s garden”. And although it’s January and mid-winter and so so cold, I can’t believe how beautifully green everything was.

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This is the face she does when she’s smelling flowers. The word “blomma” (“flower” in Swedish) is among the handful of words she can pronounce perfectly.

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These pictures were taken at the Powerscourt Hotel… I feel like I’ve been overusing the word ‘beautiful’ and synonyms thereof. So… I will say no more.

On the way back to Dublin we stopped in Killiney. Killiney Hill was one of the top things on my Ireland bucket list because it gives such a breathtaking view of Dublin Bay and the mountains farther inland. You can drive almost to the top and it was no biggie to carry our baby girl the rest of the way. We got there just before the sun was setting, and it was just perfect. This point is said to have inspired countless Irish poets and authors and honestly my first thought when we got up there was that I just wanted to come back one day, alone, to just sit and write.

It was BEAUTIFUL.

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Herbert Park and back-and-forthsies

It is day 10 in Dublin and we’re still doing good. We’re planning to do an IKEA run this week to get the last essentials and then we’re good to move into our apartment! So the last few days us girls have been nomading back and forth between our hotel room and our apartment. Sleeping, showering and breakfasting at the hotel, then unpacking and cleaning at the apartment the rest of the day.

It’s great that we’ll be able to move into a fully equipped and unpacked home but the lack of routine and her own bed to sleep in, needless to say, Our baby girl’s sleeping habits are all .. non-existent. Yesterday she was lifeless almost until noon so I decided to defy the icy winds and take her to a park to run around.

So we walked to Herbert Park in Ballsbridge. In my opinion so far, Dublin’s parks are one of the nicest features of the city. Although Herbert Park may not be considered one of the old downtown parks it’s still so nice and pretty and clean. We got to run around in the grass and then we went and found a duck pond that was full of so many birds. We were both pretty excited.
After that it was back to our apartment and guess who dozed off before we were even half way.

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Dublin is so greeeeen – in January!!

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Oh and pigeon stalking…

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Nevermind the mismatched socks – we’re still living out of suitcases.

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Dublin: Week 1

My blogging (holiday) hibernation is over and has awakened in DUBLIN IRELAND!

We’ve been here for about a week now and I think we’ve gone from rock bottom to really starting to love it here. The first day was hard – especially for me I think. It’s easy to be excited about moving somewhere new and starting a new life before the actual move, but once we were here I was just hit by this overwhelming realization that we were lost and alone. Neither of us had really been to Ireland before, we knew no one, and didn’t really know much about anything. Oh the loneliness and homesickness. I’ll just say it, I cried myself to sleep that night.

But I found that it was just a phase to get past, cause the next morning Marcus had his first day at work – which he LOVED, and we started apartment hunting for real. Amazing how action and productivity is so energizing and motivating, isn’t it?

Honestly though, I think one of the things that made me feel loads better right away was the infamous friendliness of the Irish people. It’s all true. I really can’t believe that the Irish aren’t top of the list of the happiest people, cause you’ve GOT to be happy to show that much politeness and happiness around strangers! Or am I just from an incredibly rude country?

So we’re really happy to be here. Thank goodness for Facetime so we can talk to our families all the time otherwise this would probably be a very different story.
We’re moving into our new apartment in just a few days and we’re starting to make some friends here too.

I’d say this could be the beginning of a very exciting chapter of our lives.

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Our first picture in Dublin, lying down on our clean hotel bed after a long morning of traveling. Still smiling!

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The Grand Canal. The water is so clear I wish I had a better camera!

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Uhm, street musicians here are pretty awesome!

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Cockles and mussels! Couldn’t someone have given poor Molly a shawl?

14 months old – an update on the toddler

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I was just reading through my old weekly pregnancy updates – Ugh! I love that this blog allows me to easily rewind to and study past events, it’s seriously a bigger help than I thought! – and I realized that I’d documented my daughter’s development for almost 2 years, and then I just stopped 3 months ago.
So here’s another update to catch you up – and for my future self to laugh about.

I remember being so addicted to studying up on every tiny milestone she should be reaching during her first months that it seemed like she wasn’t changing at all. I can’t say the same for the first months of her second year. I’ve probably lost my Pinterest-addiction a little but she’s definitely changing every single day. I’m so amazed at how quickly she picks up on things – and especially the things that I’m not by any means trying to teach her.
If we’re watching a show or if Marcus and I are having a conversation she’ll just randomly repeat sounds or words she hears. She mimics my workout exercises and especially my exasperated exhales. She always, – and this one almost freaks me out – always knows when to start waving bye-bye even before she’s encouraged. After close observation however I have a hunch that she might pick up on key phrases like “I love you”, “I miss you” or “see you soon” that indicate that a conversation is coming to a close. Genius!

Another thing that surprises me is how feminine she is already now. I haven’t really encouraged this either, mainly because I thought she was too young to pick up on it. But she looooves dressing up! In pretty much whatever she can find. A typical “outfit” right now is her winter boots (she’ll bring her boots to me about 3-4 times a day exclaiming “tsch!” (shoes), hand them to me with a smile, neatly sit down in my lap and lift one of her feet), a kui kui nut lei we brought home from Hawaii, and her Halloween pumpkin bucket (and she doesn’t just hold it in her hand, she wears it on her elbow with her hand and fingers strutting up in the air). She’ll walk around like that, maybe swapping the necklace for a random clothing item she finds, like her father’s tie or one of her onesies, and stop and admire herself in the mirror. Like.. is she really old enough for this??

She is pretty strong-willed, but I guess we’ve suspected that for a while. It used to just be cute and we’d just laugh and shake our heads when she’d scream a high-pitched squeal when she didn’t get her way or she demanded assistance. But I’ll admit I’m starting to find it a little embarrassing. I want her to know that’s not a way to communicate. And soon!

More than anything she’s growing so fast physically. She can reach more and more things and unfortunately also climb up on more and more things. It’s not uncommon for me to turn a corner, tear through the room to barely grab her hand as she’s falling off one of the chairs with a move so swift that Spiderman’s jaw would drop through the floor.

Being the mother of a toddler feels strangely empowering as opposed to having a small baby, I think. I’m getting a glimpse of what it’ll be like to teach her manners, morals and standards and it’s forcing me to set higher standards for myself too. It’s making me really curious how being a mother is going to change me as a person.

And now I’ve made myself miss her so much I just want to run to the bedroom and wake her up even though it’s 11pm!

We’re moving to Ireland!

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Yep, you heard right. We’re moving again!

I know – why can’t they just settle down already! – right?

Well, Marcus got an amazing job in Dublin and we’re leaving in January. It’s a great career move for him and is with a company that he’ll absolutely love working for. The last couple of months we’ve been on the edge of our seats hoping against hope that we would get this unbelievable opportunity – how often do you get a chance to live in Ireland?
Our first thought when we realized we were going was how much we hate leaving Stockholm. We have such a good life here close to Marcus’ parents. It’s going to be tough being away from family again.

But we feel really good about it and are sure it’s the right thing to do for our family. It’s going to be scary since we don’t know anyone there and since now that we have a daughter we can’t just fill up our three old suitcases and hop on a plane like we usually do. This time it’ll be very different.

Personally, I think it’s the most exciting move we’ll have done so far. I can’t wait to see what Dublin has in store for our little family!

Somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin

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It just turned November and it’s already blurring past us. I think I might actually be able to abstain from listening to Christmas music before time this year.
Big changes are coming for our family and I’m busying myself with picking out side dishes to make for Thanksgiving. This is however a great distraction. You can never prepare too much for the best meal of the year, and the possibilities seem eeeendless! The ones I’m most excited about right now are confetti corn and banoffee pie!

I get out of bed and follow the same routine. Get up at 7, pull on my sweats, change a heavy diaper, whip up breakfast. Wave bye-bye to Marcus, eat breakfast, call my sister, fit in a workout routine before naptime. During naptime I shower, clean up, get myself ready and blog if there’s time. After nap we snuggle in bed, then we have lunch. We go outside, on a walk or to the park. Or both. We go home and clean up and then it’s almost time for Marcus to come home. We meet him at the train, talk on the way home, have dinner, the bedtime shift, take a breath and then we go to bed.
Over and over again. And every time we get one day closer.

You’d think we were pretty used to change by now, and I guess in one sense we are. We know how to not get too attached and how to say ‘come what may’ and really mean it.
But the thing about change is that – well, it’s change. It brings on something new every time. So can you really ever be prepared?

 

Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, But I fear what’s to happen all happened before.

 

I’m really crap at ending blog posts. Especially the blabbering ones like this one. That’s why I cheated and slapped on a relevant quote!

Goodnight!

Time to pray

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We have a lot going on right now in our family and have a lot of decisions to make (It seems like we always do – is that ever gonna stop?). It’s one of those times in adult life when I have the sudden urge to call my parents and ask them to tell me what to do.

Just the other day I was sitting down for a quickly prepared lunch with our little girl and despite her reaching eagerly for the bread I tried to get her to settle down and fold her hands so I could say a prayer to bless the food. I kept it short and skipped through the words to try to finish before her patience would run out and the silence would end. And it made me wonder why I was doing it and if it really was worth it. Would she understand? Even if I thought prayer was important couldn’t I just wait and teach her when she was big enough to understand why?

I pondered that for a few days. The most obvious reason I guessed was that toddlers pick up on everything and learn from example. In just the last couple of weeks, mine has picked up on new words, brushing her hair out and for some reason she always knows when to wave goodbye even before we do or ask her to. All because she pays attention to everything we do! So obviously, if I want for prayer to be a part of her life, now is probably a good time to show her how to.

But I arrived at another conclusion as well – a maybe less obvious one. And it has to do with the reason that I pray myself. I’m sure there may be plenty of reasonable reasons why one should not pray. But one of my main reasons for kneeling down is the feeling that immediately fills the room when I do. Peace. ‘Peace’ is such a short and easily overlooked word. Let’s just take a minute and really think about what it means – especially in an everyday setting with things to do in every direction. A pleasant warm feeling that pushes out worry and stress. That one feeling that we all go our entire lives searching to keep with us.
And in that atmosphere I can shut the world out for a moment and focus on myself. What I’m grateful for and what I really need help with.

I love the person I become when I pray. I become humble and submissive. It becomes easier for me to forget my faults and my pride. And more than anything the things I think I need but maybe really don’t. It makes me feel kinder and full of love. It makes me want to keep praying. To pray for help so I can keep being that person when I open my eyes, stand up and get back to my day. To have that feeling of peace stay with me.

And to share that feeling with my family. My daughter.

That’s why.

If I can teach her anything in life it will be where to turn for peace.


 

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It does not change God – it changes me. – CS Lewis

I am the mom

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetMy life is very ordinary now. I’m a stay at home mom like so many before me. I do laundry, clean up toys, change diapers and clean the bathroom. It’s a never ending job and I’ll probably be doing it for a long long time.

But once in a while, when it’s quiet and I can take a break. Like right now, sitting here in the corner. I can take a good look around my cluttered little apartment and realize that I have woken up in a life-size version of a fantasy I imagined over and over again as a kid. I’m playing house.

And I’m the mom.

I managed to get the role I always dreamed of. I have a husband who goes to work, a baby who needs comforting and a home that needs making. This now magical little apartment is my kingdom, and I’m in charge. I’m the mom.

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My white stained couch, the dirty dishes on the counter and the full laundry baskets are colorful little opportunities for me to beautify my realm. They’re my responsibility and I will do them justice. I have the power to make my home as radiant as I want.

It’s also my responsibility to prepare dinner. I can cook whatever I decide. Or maybe I can make something my husband would like. Something that would make him happy after a long day at work. Cause he’s the dad. He’s my husband, he loves me and he’s the dad. I chose a good one to play that role.

My baby girl is crying, she wants me. And I know how to comfort her, because I’m her mom. We can read books, she likes that. Soon when she is older I will teach her to read and write herself. I will teach her good manners and how to be kind and friendly to others. I will teach her to be a good daughter. That’s her role.

Thinking about this makes me smile, I almost feel silly. Because this is my life and it’s not make believe. It’s real and it’s exactly what I wanted – what I always dreamed of. It’s like the floor sparkles a little more when I scrub it, like glitter falls when I dust the shelves. I can see the magic. It comes from living your dream. I got it. I have other dreams now, but none will ever be as big or meaningful as this one. I’m just feeling extremely grateful I guess. Grateful for everything I have, that my dream came true. But especially grateful that I have learned to see the magic even when the dream has become ordinary.

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