Best minute of the week

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Today has included seeing friends, family, a road trip, good food and now Marcus offered to take the snooze shift – so I get some quality time with my blawg.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, since usually it includes all of the above. We get up early, get dressed all nice and pretty. We go to church and hear uplifting messages. We spend a lot of time with our family and have good food. And there’s nothing else that needs to be done.
But my very favorite minute of the entire day sums it all up. It’s so magical it seems the sun is shining indoors and glitter is falling from the sky. It’s that walk through the doors of the church, down the hall and to your seats in the chapel. There’s something about arriving feeling clean, your hair is done and you’re wearing heels. At least that’s a big deal for a my kind of stay at home mom – face is all relaxed like ‘I’ve worn a bun all week!’. We’re not early birds, so by the time we get there the building is full of soft preluding organ music, playing songs we know all too well. We’re met by smiling people. Everyone, even those we don’t know turn and say hi. It’s like a different world. S usually waves at everyone with a scrunched up little smile (if you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen that wrinkled nose a few times by now or?), which buys a few extra grins and ‘hellos’ and glitter. In the chapel we’re met by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings.. (I envy Marcus for having grown up surrounded by his extended family like this). Everyone is hugged and how do you do’ed. It’s kind of a unicorn-pooping-skittles scene. And it’s awesome.

And that’s it. A few minutes later I’m shepherding my daughter away from the plants in the hallway and waving at our reflections over the baptismal font. And the rest of the day is a glitter rain dance.

Happy Sunday!

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The scrunch.

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Thanks for the pictures Maggis! Her blog here ->

We had a magical day, you and me

It’s been another one of those days. I’m just leaning back and taking it all in. You’re like my little fairy guide. A patient one, even though I can be pretty boring and clueless you’re always stubborn enough to get me back in the game. Recently you learned that you had the power to take my hand and lead me to the things you wanted to show me. I’ve seen a lot of stuff since then, thanks. Sometimes you’ll even drag me to the front door. I think it means you want us to explore beyond our apartment. I know I’m right when you patiently sit down in my lap and hold out your arms so I can put on your coat and shoes.

I carry you down the stairs and open the heavy doors but once we’re outside you don’t need my help anymore.  We almost run across the lawn. We’re so eager that it’s difficult to watch out for rocks and branches. We only stop when we reach the edge of the playground and we take a minute to carefully climb down the steep hill onto the sand. It’s a lot faster if we don’t lose our balance so it’s important to get down on all fours. Once we’re safely down we can go anywhere we want. The feeling of freedom gets to our heads and we set out for the farthest corner of the patch first. We quickly forget about our goal though because you show me all the small pebbles and pine cones we come across. If only we could fit all of them in our hands. We have no choice but to put down the old ones to make room for the new. It’s very important to hold them tight in our hands so we don’t drop them.

We approach the slide. I suggest we slide down from the top but you prefer climbing up from the bottom. It’s difficult but in the end I agree that it is fun – especially with the loud sound our shoes make on the hard plastic. There’s a panda nearby. We know it’s a nice one because it’s smiling. It wants us to ride its back but we’d rather just talk. You tell me it says ‘mooh’.

A lady comes around the corner with a dog. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for and it is so exciting that we forget what we were doing and start our pursuit. The dog is pretty fast though and it takes too long to climb back up the hill onto the grass. The dog is gone and we feel a little sad. We walk back to the swings and talk about the dog for a little bit to try and cheer up. We sit there swinging back and forth for a bit. It’s soothing and we start to feel tired. I turn to you and suggest we go home and take a nap. You understand and agree that that would be nice.

You’re asleep now. I don’t think I will because I like to watching you. Your pine cone and rock are on the dresser. I should throw them out but I’m not sure I want them out of our lives just yet.

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The grateful list

I was just telling Marcus the other day, “I used to dream of the day we’d have a dishwasher. Now we have one and I just complain that it smells funny.”

We’ve moved around a lot and throughout the course of our marriage we’ve experienced a few different humble living situations. We’ve scraped, we’ve bought and sold. And I feel I’ve really come to learn the truth of the principle that gratitude equals happiness.

But like I said, I think the hardest times to be grateful have actually been during the times when we’ve had a little more. Marcus got a solid job, and it got hard not to complain about working conditions and salaries. We got our own nice apartment with a dishwasher and washing machine, and it got hard not to complain about it not being ship shape all the time. We had a baby, and it got hard not to complain about lack of sleep and lack of time.

I saw this in my Facebook feed the other day and I’m so grateful to the woman who shared it. When I was done reading through it I’d completely forgotten about my complaints and I felt how it actively allowed me the space for a little more happiness.

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See original post here!

September photo dump

 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetWhen we get bored and excited for Papa to come home from work we send him selfies.

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S with her treasures.Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetWeeeeeeee!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetAnother selfie for Papa – when are you coming hooooome??

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Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetShe’s actually not being a ‘scary bear’. Sometimes this is just what a happy face looks like.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetLife of having a 1 year old. There are treasures in every drawer, cupboard and box around the apartment. The other day we were at some friends’ house and we couldn’t find our apartment keys. We finally found them in one of their kitchen drawers. I think she’s just trying to make our life more memorable.

 

Picture post: Summer vacation in Denmark 2015

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On the train to Gothenburg early in the morning.
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Taking a break on a bench walking from the train to the ferry terminal in Gothenburg. Baby needed some cheering up.

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Welcome home! says our HUGE Danish breakfast! – Thanks mom!

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetBaby’s first ever beach day! I was so worried she’d be eating sand all day – but she didn’t! She was in too big of a hurry to get to the water!

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This is her outfit no 2. Marcus lifted her just over the surface so she could splash with her hands but he didn’t notice the big wave before it completely drenched her. So she got her first ocean swim that day too.

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Getting on the plane to Copenhagen! Baby was such a pro.

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My wedding outfit. I hate posing alone in pictures – this is the only picture Marcus managed to take where I’m not doing an impatient silly face.

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Outside the temple. She was in heaven! She made us walk her up and down the stairs a gazillion times – equally excited every time.

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Posting this because it’s the only family pictures from that week. And we were all dressed up so pretty. Just forget about the distracted half-smiles.

The BEST foolproof chocolate chip cookie recipe. Yes it is.

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A few days ago I wrote to Marcus, I feel like chocolate chip cookies!
He said, Let’s make some! We’ll make it a party!   (see my definition of party here)
I said, And leave them on our neighbors’ doorsteps!

And so we did.

Okay, I always get a little annoyed when I find a good recipe on a blog but then I have to scroll down for 5 minutes to see the actual directions.
So I’ll get straight to the point! – THIS IS MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE! I’ve done it many times and I’ve perfected it so that it’s foolproof. Though these cookies may look flat they come out perfectly soft and chewy.

Happiness is knowing that you’ll never have to make a bad chocolate chip cookie ever again!

And today I’m sharing it with you.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (90 g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (200 g) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Okay, before you do anything! Take the butter out of your fridge! (You’re welcome, I always forget to do that)

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Next, beat your (room temperature, Rebecca!) butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth with an electric mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and continue mixing on low speed. Gradually add your dry ingredients just until mixed. Grab a spoon or spatula and stir in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

Now try not to eat too much of the dough and instead put it in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form small lumps of dough – about 1½ inch (4 cm) in diameter on the baking sheets about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Bake one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes (I bake mine for exactly 9 minutes) or until the edges turn light brown while the surfaces still look wet. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 3-5 minutes and then transfer them to a rack and let them cool completely.

 

Voilá!

 

– Remember this post when this weekend you’re craving something sweet, kay?

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Baby girl is 10 months!

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Hello funnest age ever! It’s 10 months and it’s a whole new world!

Motherhood all of a sudden became a completely different ball game. Up until now I’ve marveled at the fact that most moms can actually take care of a baby AND keep a house clean AND run errands AND put dinner on the table AND still be alive to tell the tale. But just over the last few weeks I see something at the end of the tunnel and I’m pretty sure it’s a light!

The new stuff

She plays! Oh she plays! Like right now I’ve got her breakfast on the table all set but she’s too busy playing with her toys. I’m not picking her up, cause THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE! My time as a full-time entertainer is finally over and I can take a seat with the audience for a few stretches a day.

She has taken her first three steps – withOUT falling! She was so startled that she did it that she stopped and sat down. Scary stuff!

She waves. All the time. At anyone! She does understand that “hi” or “bye-bye” means it’s time to wave, but it is also her default action if she gets that we’re clearly asking her a question but she’s not entirely sure what. We get a lot of waves.

She has a total of three teeth now and one that’s gonna surface any day now. I know. Because the week she’s discovered how entertaining it is to bite her mom and giggle when she screams and jumps. And not just when she’s eating. She bites my hands, my stomach (that’s a fun one!), my face.. and I’m still trying to figure out how to best react so she’ll realize it’s not okay – or at least not funny. Any tips are very very welcome.

Generally speaking actually she’s getting more violent every day. Other than biting she hits, smacks, scratches and throws herself on you. It’s fun that she’s getting more playful but.. makeup can only do so much to cover the scratch marks on my face and neck!

She imitates and it’s so fun! Whenever someone laughs she does her own little fake laugh, she waves, she follows, she talks back, she goes “Mmmmm!” when she eats..

Peek-a-boo is the funnest game ever! And she’s really good at coming up with the most creative ways of playing it. With a blanket, under the chair, behind the bed, without a blanket, behind her arm, with her forehead on the floor. Sometimes I wonder if it’s actually a game of be guessing when we’re actually playing Peek-a-boo. I must say she outsmarts me half the time!

The hates

The vacuum

The blow dryer

The door bell

She cries whenever either of these come on. Hysterically! Although the other day when I was cleaning she seemed to be examining the vacuum. Patting it, feeling it. After a while she stopped crying and was more fascinated that it seemed to be moving of its own accord.

 

Before I know it I’m gonna have a one year old on my hands!

10 ways to be happy

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Because it’s FRIDAY and I’m feeling a little extra happy about an exciting upcoming weekend!

 

1. Turn chores into parties

At our house there have been an immense number of cleaning parties, laundry parties, cooking parties, packing parties, unpacking parties, diaper-changing parties, bill-paying parties and homework parties. Marcus is right, I am weird. But really! If there’s good music, snacks and a happy spirit, it’s a party, right? And if it’s a party, you can’t help but be happy!

2. Focus on being grateful

Personally, I say a prayer. Even if you don’t believe in God, just for a second, imagine that He does exist and that you have the opportunity to talk to Him for a few minutes. Put it all out there. Give thanks for everything that makes your life good. If you’re doing it right it’ll probably take more than just a few minutes.

3. Get up earlier

I need to get better at this one myself. My mom taught me the beauty of early mornings. You feel happier for getting a head start and there’s just something inspiring about getting up before the day has really begun. My mom always says it feels like you have the world to yourself for a little bit. What better time to set the foundation for a happy day?

4. Smile! Force it if necessary

Seriously! One of the very most effective things I do when I feel frustrated and need to get it together quickly, is turn around, close my eyes and just smile. At nothing. Keep going! Until you slowly feel your anger releasing. Take a deep breath and think of something funny.
Like… remember the time- hahahahaha!

5. Create something

I honestly never feel happier than when I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I think being creative is so much more than just being artsy or musical. I really think it’s simply acting on inspiration. Or even prompting or allowing for inspiration. Reading a book, developing a skill, developing a relationship, writing in your journal, writing a letter, cooking a good meal, even looking out the window and just listening to yourself for a bit.

6. Cry it out

Marcus still doesn’t really believe me on this. But crying really helps?! Seriously, most times when I’m done I can’t even remember why I was angry in the first place. It works best if you don’t cry alone though!

7. Go for a walk

Some alone time in a different scenery really helps you empty your mind and think of something else. I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, but for me I feel like my mind and my thoughts get louder when I’m alone. It’s easier for me to reason with myself and to find solutions to my problems.

8. Be genuine

Nothing makes me feel more insecure than when I’m trying to be something that I’m not. Be happy about who you are and try to make your personality shine through your best features.

9. Think happy thoughts

Any happy little thought?**
Yes! If you’re somewhat like me, you’d be shocked how many negative thoughts you have throughout a day if you pay attention. Do yourself a favor and quickly think about something else when a negative impression sneaks its way inside your head. Allow yourself to see your day through happier and more colorful eyes – it will even make other people like you more!

10. Do something for someone else

This one may be obvious, but boy does it help! And I know what you’re thinking. Some days there just isn’t a sick widow next door who needs a fresh batch of cookies to brighten her day. But that’s okay. Just go over to Facebook and write to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s much less frightening to open up and give compliments to someone in writing. Especially when you imagine their surprised faces when they read the unexpected message. Or try to be the best spouse, parent, sibling, (in-law?), friend to someone that you’ll see that day. It’s never too hard to serve and there are always opportunities.

 

Have a great weekend!

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The debate on gay marriage makes me worry what this world is coming to

Generally speaking I’ve never really been the kid who was embarrassed by her parents. I’ve never really understood that. I guess I was just blessed with really cool parents. Sure, I’ve disagreed with them once in a while but I’ve always respected them and appreciated their opinion. I’ve even been glad whenever my parents have met and talked with my friends, because someway I felt like that was a way for my friends to get to know me better. Because they were examples of the kind of person I wanted to be.

I do remember a few times in my life when my parents have truly deeply embarrassed me though. Times when all I wanted to do was run as far away as I could from the scene and hide until all was forgotten.

Those moments have all involved my parents losing their tempers with strangers. Whether it was someone who misbehaved in traffic or someone who did not manage to provide the service that was paid for. A complete stranger that I’d never see again. And even if they actually deserved some telling off I still felt deeply mortified that my parents whom I respected and expected to be patient adults could ever just lose it in public. This hasn’t happened often at all, my parents are good, happy and friendly people, which is probably why I remember those moments so clearly.

On Friday last week gay marriage was legalized in the US. To say that that was a historic day is probably an understatement. And thanks to social media news spread like wildfire. Everyone knows and has an opinion about it.

Now almost a week later, I am left with sort of that same feeling I had when my parents got angry. Deep thick embarrassment.

And I’m not talking about other people’s opinions here. Cause what can I do about that really?

I’m talking about the way that grown-ups, adults have been acting publicly (yes, because social media is most definitely public) in this last week. Every single day when I’ve opened Facebook I’ve been bombarded by respectable people chewing one another out for having different opinions. Some of whom I know and some I don’t. And some have popped up in my feed so many times that I wonder if they’ve quit their day jobs to become full-time Facebook-bashers.

I am going to keep my own opinion on the subject of gay marriage out of this post, because it is completely irrelevant. But I will say this, quite frankly I don’t care at all about anyone’s opinion anymore. And I’m not saying I’m against the debate, because I do think it’s healthy and interesting to hear what other people think. And because I realize that I can’t change someone else’s opinion and I would never try to. But if this discussion of opinions has to have this negative of a tone and invite this sort of a negative atmosphere into anyone’s head who happens to open their social media – then can we please stop and consider whether it is really worth it?

Does having a certain opinion and preaching it to the “non-believers” really come first over showing love and respect to others? Shouldn’t we instead realize that we can’t force anyone else to agree and focus on being respectable citizens of our society? at least our Facebook society? Or focus on being better examples to our children? Or especially the younger generation of Facebook-users?

I don’t know – but I do hope that somewhere out there there’s a whole lot of kids who are deeply ashamed of their parents right now. Otherwise, what is this world coming to?

I worked out of the house for a month – and I hope I’ll never have to do it again

I made it! We made it! My four weeks of working full-time are over!

Almost two months ago we moved our family back to Stockholm, Sweden where we were married and began our life together. Marcus had just gotten his first post-college job, we had gotten an apartment and we were facing a few months of the hard transitioning from student loans and practically backpacking to finally settling down. It doesn’t sound that hard. But what with moving costs, deposit, buying furniture and all the extra knick-knack such as dishwasher salt, toilet brushes and the likes, it slowly amounts to quite a lot.

So evidently and inevitably, I needed to take a job to help balance our economy. And I wasn’t too excited about it. It’s not that I hate working, but I really had a hard time accepting that I’d have to turn over my baby to someone else during the day, even though it would only have to be for a short period.
I applied for and got a short-term local cleaning job. It was close and it was only four weeks. It was perfect. We worked it out with Marcus’ family to help babysit. We were all set.

The first day was not fun but after that it was surprisingly easy. I left Baby in the morning and came back home, and Baby didn’t really seem to care too much. I really came to like my job and my colleagues. It became a routine. And the month went by quickly.

And yet I hope I’ll never ever have to do it again.

It has definitely been refreshing to have more time to myself and I’m sure if you turn it some certain way you could argue that it’s been healthy for Baby too. But these four weeks have only motivated me to work even harder to avoid ever having to leave my child for a job ever again.

Can I be bold and share some of my reasons?

I took her for granted

The first thing I noticed that was different after I’d started working was how accustomed I’d become to the fact that I only had to take care of my daughter for a few hours every day. On weekends I noticed that I got impatient with her and caught myself counting how many hours were left before I could put her in bed. I’d become used to someone else dealing with the annoying things. Changing her stinky diapers, feeding her when she didn’t want to eat, making her fall asleep and even just giving her my full attention when really I had other things to do. It made me feel really sad that I was considering her a chore rather than a privilege.
And I didn’t really, but subconsciously something had changed.
It scared me once I realized. I don’t want to give myself reason to be annoyed with my kids – especially when it’s not at all their fault.

Practicality

Frankly, I’m in awe at how so many mothers can work full-time, be the mother of multiple kids and run a home at the same time. The other day I cleaned the bathroom after work. Between having dinner, putting Baby in bed and cleaning up after dinner. I felt so accomplished!
For two years now we’ve moved from one sublet to another. None of the furniture was ours and even when we cleaned it up really nice it still didn’t feel like home. It’s my dream to be able to be in charge of making our apartment feel like home for my family. To make sure it’s nice and clean with dinner on the table when Marcus gets home. Creating a space where it’s easy for my family to feel happy. I think everyone deserves a home like that – and I realize now that it takes a lot of time and energy. If I can provide that service for my family, I’d consider it one of my most prestigious duties.

It didn’t make sense

Probably the weirdest part in all of this was figuring out the babysitting. It seemed so silly to me that I was handing over my full-time job (Baby) to someone else so I could go do a different less meaningful full-time job. I was looking for someone to do a job for me that no one in the world could do as good as I could. I was getting a job because I needed money, but I’d have to pay some of that money to have someone else take care of my child. My child, my first priority and most important job.
I don’t know. It just felt weird. And pointless.

It just felt unnatural

Last but not least, I just wanted to be with my baby. The night before my first day I cried myself to sleep. I kept picturing her confused face as I turned around and walked out the door. I truly truly did not want to leave her.
Although I completely trusted my babysitters, it hurt to know that someone else was rocking her to sleep, feeding her, practicing walking with her, playing with her. That I wasn’t there.

And isn’t that enough? Isn’t simply wanting to a good enough reason to stay at home?

 

I know that some people don’t have a choice. They just need two incomes. I completely understand – that’s why I just took a job. And I’m just counting my lucky stars now that I don’t need to work full-time right now. I may need to again in the future. But boy, am I gonna try my best to avoid it. Working from home, lowering our costs – anything.

And I really like my job and my colleagues – I’m happy that I can still work evening shifts. I just felt like I was in the wrong place. That I was needed way more in my home. That I could even contribute more to society in my home. By raising a strong family. It weirded me out that somehow someone might think I was being lazy for wanting to work full-time. For choosing my family over a job or a career.

And am I lazy? For wanting to be a stay-at-home-mom? For wanting to be the one who teaches my kids their first words, teaches them to walk. For wanting to be there when they come home from school. For wanting to raise my kids by example and not by theory. For wanting to provide a home where my kids can always find me. Can I be a little cheesy and add, where my kids can come home to the smell of freshly baked bread and private piano lessons by their mom? Is that really too weird?

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