Some Other Things

I feel like I need to remind people (including myself) that I do still do some things other than having emotional baby-related breakdowns, and talking about babies.  One of them is knitting!  I was able to get some done recently, which was really great!  While in the US, I managed five baby hats, a dress for a sock monkey, and a couple dresses for my mom’s doll (whose name is Bella Button!).  I only managed to take a picture of the doll though…

Bella Button

Since then, I got to make my niece’s first-birthday gift (which I still haven’t gotten to give to her…) Also, I keep trying super hard to get it to turn, but for some reason it uploads it this way, and I can’t figure it out so…just tilt your head.

Sweater

I also realized that Theo had suddenly outgrown all of his hats at once, so I whipped this up during a rare, long naptime:

Hat

That’s what my needles and I have been up to!

Other things are going well.  I’ve gotten out three times already this week (so I hit my goal!) and as a bonus, I’ve also worked out three times (yes, five-minute ab workout videos on youtube count.)! Whoo!  What we really need to work on is bedtime.  Theo has never liked evenings, and we still really struggle with bedtime.  We keep the lights low, the playing low-key, and we even have a bedtime routine we’ve been following for a long time, but if it’s after 5 pm, he doesn’t want to sleep.  Not even if it’s a power nap, and if he accidentally does fall asleep, it’s for a half hour ONLY.  Anything longer than that is unacceptable.  We’ve tried tons of different things, and each failed experiment ends with us making a new plan for the next day.  I dread the day we run out of new plans, but I just hope we’ll find something that works before that day comes!

Edit: I just realized this entire post was also pretty much talking about babies and baby things.  Oh well.  That’s just how it is now!

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Photos, finally, and Ayyam-i-Ha! (and owls)

I know that it is about time  for a post with some pictures, and not just some pictures, lots!  And it’s finally here!

Now, to prepare you for this post, I have to tell you that I love owls.  I LOVE owls.  Anything owly and I like it.  Automatically.  And I’m incredibly thankful that they are “in” right now because they are everywhere!  So I am busy collecting as many owl things as possible, so I have enough so that when they’re not stylin’ anymore, I can still have my owls.

So, it’s Ayyam-i-Ha!  I know that doesn’t mean much to a lot of people, but for the Baha’is, it’s party time!  It’s sort of our version of Christmas, although there’s nothing specifically religious to observe or celebrate.  In the Baha’i calendar, there are nineteen months, with nineteen days in each.  This leaves four “leftover” days in the year (five in leap years!) that fall on Feb. 26th through March 1st which are earmarked for Ayyam-i-Ha, a time of celebration, being with loved ones, doing service, helping others and anything else nice you want to celebrate.

This year, I hadn’t had much planned.  To be honest, I got a bit caught up in Valentine’s Day, and the end of February really snuck up on me.  My family did a “Secret Camel” (it’s a long story, but it’s basically the same as secret santa) exchange, but I sent my gift off weeks ago, to make sure it got there in time, and kind of forgot about it after that.  To help out our camel-partners, we each made a list of things we’re interested in/would like to get as gifts and sent it to my mom who was doing the coordinating.  Somewhere in my list was, of course “anything with owls.”

My parents have had a box of some things I left behind when I moved that I’ve been wanting recently, mostly because my laptop battery was all but dead, and I ordered a new one to their place to send to me (because even with the shipping, it’s less than half of what a laptop battery would cost me over here).  So I was really excited when the box came, and it also had Ayyam-i-Ha goodies in it!

Now that I had some little gifts, I wanted to make sure Andreas had something to open, too, so I whipped up a quick little surprise…Let’s start with that one.  To preface this, I made this, for Andreas’s sister and her husband when they were expecting their little girl:

owl

It was big and bouncy and…well, big.  Andreas loved it.  So, for Ayyam-i-Ha, he got:

baby owl 2

This little guy!  He’s maybe eight inches tall, very round, and bounces off of everything Andreas throws him at.  The most impressive part is that I knitted him up from start to finish in less than four hours.  You can just call me Speedy Needles.

Anyways, this was only the beginning of the owly goodness!  The package included this lovely lady (which Andreas also loves):

baby owl 3

So sweet!  And her eyes have cellophane in them, so they crinkle.  I have a feeling the baby will enjoy this one.

But that’s just the beginning!  What the package mostly consisted of was the afghan I crocheted after Andreas and I got engaged, which we are now using to cover the couch, since the couch is not a particularly pretty color…

Catan blanket on couch

If you don’t want to cuddle up onto that couch with those owls and all the pillows, I think there’s something wrong with you.  But wait!  The owls aren’t finished yet!

Owl calendar

We’re pretty excited about our new calendar!  Especially now that we actually have social engagements and have things to write on it!  Another gift consisted of this, and Skittles (YAY! Skittles!):

Owl candy dish

I’ve been looking for a good candy dish for a long time now, but haven’t really found the “perfect one.”  Luckily, my mom did!  It’s owly AND green.  That gives anything double-score in our eyes!  We also got some candles which was wonderful!  We’ve been candle-fiends recently, partly because we don’t have any little lamps in the living room yet, and partly because we just love them.  We got some nice simple candle-holders from IKEA (where else?) and I’m falling in love!

And last, but definitely not least was my present from my secret camel!  The day before we opened the presents, we went to visit Andreas’s sister because she had cake leftover, and what better reason is there to get together for an evening than cake?  Anyway, she gave us the lovely gift of a baby-book!  It’s something we both wanted to do, and knew we wouldn’t keep keepsakes or write mementos if we didn’t have a structured book to put them into, so we were so happy!  And my secret camel (my little sister!) included the following in her gift! (along with a generous skein of green baby yarn!)

First Baby Gifts

Baby’s first presents!  I keep cuddling the sleeper.  I can’t help it!  And finally, there was also two more big skeins of wool from my mom, which I already have plans for!  But first, I have to finish this little number:

baby clothes

Everything is so exciting right now!  Happy Ayyam-i-Ha!

I’m back! And I’ve brought a friend…

I am completely aware of the fact that I’ve been super absent lately.  It’s not because I’ve become so busy that I don’t have time for blogging.  It’s not because I’ve been so boring that nothing worth blogging about has been happening, either!  The truth is that I’ve had a secret, and I couldn’t write here without spilling all of my beans, so all you’ve gotten is my radio silence.  Believe me, things have not been silent.

I recently stumbled upon a quote by Paulo Coelho that goes like this: “Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once. ”  Now…Paulo Coelho was kind of an eccentric, but boy did he sure get this one right.  I’ve spent the last year learning now to deal with life when nothing is happening.  At all.  I’ve learned to keep busy, and I’ve learned that time alone with my own thoughts isn’t the worst thing ever.  I’ve learned a whole lot about Danish, knitting, baking, and a little about computer programming, but mostly, I’ve learned about patience.

This will surely come in handy now that I’ve started hurtling down the roller coaster hill I’ve spent the past year chugging up.  In the fall, everything started happening at once.  I got my visa in October, and we moved in November.  I’ve started language classes, and had to adjust (yet again) to living in a new country.  I “touristed” Copenhagen, and took a weekend trip out to Stockholm on what felt like the coldest days all winter.  But most of all, I’ve been working on something else…

Egg in a Nest

 

No, it hasn’t taken me three months to finish this teeny tiny project.  But it has taken me that long grow the mini-version of the baby we’ll be having in August!  So, all of a sudden, everything is happening.  Not only does that mean that the past few months have been really overwhelming, but it also means that I find myself having everything I’ve dreamed of having for the past few years (and some things I’ve been wanting since I was about 4).  Everything isn’t perfect at the moment, we’re working through challenges, and we know there are lots more to come, but we try to keep in mind that we’ve got the important stuff: each other, our wonderful families, a place to live, enough to live on, and now, the beginnings of our own little family.  What more could we ask for? (except for a TV…a TV would be nice.)

 

 

 

OOOOOOOps.

So I dropped the ball yesterday.  I am a bit bummed that I didn’t mange to post every day (and SO close to the end!)  but I’ll live!  I promise I actually had a fairly good reason for dropping the ball.  But at least you can be assured that while I wasn’t blogging, I was definitely knitting!

We tend to keep our new apartment on the chilly side (something about saving money or energy….) and we have hardwood floors.  Now, this leads to cases of cold feet.  Fortunately for me, I have some knitters who love me and I have plenty of thick socks and even a pair of wonderful felted slippers (in green!), but Andreas, who always refused all requests for knitted socks from his mother, didn’t.  Now, this past year (and almost a half) that we’ve been married has made him pretty soft.  Either that or his feet were super cold.  Either way, he agreed to let me make him some over-socks.  Some extrabig slipperysock sort of things, and yesterday I did just that!

Andreas is modeling h2t in this picture…you can see his fingers on his knees totally match his foot-posture. Proud.

Slightly more normal photo…

A Manly Scarf

A while ago, I finished a sweater for my nephew that impressed my husband to no end:

He had before this generally declined my requests to knit him something, using the age-old excuse of “it’s too itchy!” but after seeing what my crafty hands are capable of, he gave in, and let me knit him a hat!  The hat was such a success that his cold neck soon begged for a scarf.  I haven’t made a scarf since I made my 36-foot scrap-monstrosity:

The scarf was slow work, but easy to take along to knitting group, and not mess up while I was busy yakking!  I looked for patterns, but in the end decided just to wing it again, and was able to make it exactly how Andreas wanted it.  I tried to make sure it was manly, and simple but I wanted to make it subtly detailed (so it wasn’t such a bore to knit).  It turned out well, and Andreas’s neck will be warm (and hopefully not too unbearably itchy).

He’s happy with it, and super excited to wear it to work tomorrow.  In the meantime, we’ll have a cozy Sunday evening, and if we’re lucky I can read some more Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!  We’re almost finished, and a few weeks ago we joked that we have to move when I finish it, since the next one in the series is checked out of the library.  We’ve also joked that we won’t buy new toothpaste until we move, and since we’re running out, I’m hoping the apartment Andreas is checking out on Tuesday will be The One and we’ll get it.  Unfortunately, the competition is tough, so we’ll see!

November is NaBloPoMo!

So apparently November is this National Blog Posting Month.

Now, I just realized that National probably refers to the US, in which case I will not be celebrating NaBloPoMo but rather something like InaBloPoMo (International Blog Posting Month).  I think it still counts.  Anyway, the idea is to post every day in November, and while I can hardly remember to brush my teeth every day, I’m going to try!  I’ve got plenty of things to write about, be they small daily tidbits or bigger ideas!

I also figured it’s a good way to lend a distraction to my apartment frustration and also an outlet.  It’s everything all in one!  It’s NaBloPoMo!  Luckily I happened to post yesterday, and this counts as mine from today, so follow me on my November adventures which is sure to include cozy fall baking, my Danish family’s First Thanksgiving, complaints about the weather (and wind, oh God, the wind), and knitting to counteract that weather (and WIND!)!

This is it for today, though, as dinner’s ready (and it’s homemade palak paneer, so it oughtn’t be kept waiting).

A Day in the Life (with photos!)

So, nothing is happening on the apartment-finding front, but I’m trying my best to be optimistic about it!  Being optimistic about it means that I’m assuming we’ll soon be leaving here (though to be completely honest there’s a nagging black demon tugging on my amygdala and whispering that it’ll probably be months before we get a place to live).  Anyway, seeing as I have a (hopefully) short time left here in Sweden, I wanted to remember what daily life is like.  When I’m crazed with school and babies, I want to be able to remember “ohhh that’s what having free time was like…I wonder why I was so angsty about it…” So, without further ado: my Wednesday.

Now, I didn’t have the idea for this “day in the life of” post until mid-morning, so I don’t have pictures for the first part.  Fortunately for you, the day started with me going on the rainiest, coldest run and I came back red-faced from exertion and windburn, literally dripping all over the entrance and all the way into the shower, so it’s really a blessing that I didn’t take pictures of that.  Afterwards, I cleaned up what was left from knitting night the day before, and since before/after pictures are one of my favorite things, I went a little crazy with them…

Sometimes these before-and-afters help a lot to ease the discouragement that is keeping house.  I feel often like I do the same things over and over.  Every week I wash clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, un-do the bed, re-do the bed, vacuum, meal-plan, grocery-shop…and then there are the things I do every day (or multiple times a day) make food, clean up after food, prep for next day’s food etc.  It can be irritating at least, disheartening at its worst.  However, there’s always a reward.  Today’s in the form of cheesecake and knitting:


I usually sit a bit and watch a few programs on TV while I knit and/or choose to wander around the internet.  Today I managed to finish up my most recent project, a little cotton cardigan for my newest niece!

It ended up a lot bigger than I anticipated.  She’s less than a month old now, but I was knitting it to fit her when she’s about a year.  Turns out, it’ll probably fit her older sister seeing as…

I was going to make her older sister a matching shrug, but I think this one might be more appropriate for her, and I’ll make a tinier one for the baby…we’ll see.

After having been so productive (*snort*) I played around online and went through all the backlogs of this:

while enjoying my lunch:

This is where I become slightly ashamed of exactly how easy my life can be.  After lunch, I debated for a while whether to take a nap…or read my book.  Take a nap…….orrrrr….

Turns out I needn’t have worried my lady-of-leisure head over such a question because I ended up falling asleep while reading my book.  Gettin’ everything done.

Luckily, I had enough time after waking up to

before I went to go pick up Andreas!

When we got home, I made dinner, and promptly forgot about taking pictures of my day, so there are only two left!  One of dinner in-progress:

We spent a lot of the rest of the evening on IKEA.dk and IKEA.se comparing prices in Sweden and Denmark, and getting really, really excited for the big move.

Before bed, I read Harry Potter out loud (in Danish) to Andreas as usual.  We were almost done with the second book at 10:15 (Andreas’s bedtime is 10 PM) but decided that we couldn’t sleep without finishing it, and stayed up late reading about Harry’s adventure in the Chamber of Secrets.  We’re now one hundred pages into the third book, and I’m hoping that by the time we finish it, we’ll have found an apartment!  Pleasepleaseplease!

In other news, my sister-in-law Rebekka is coming for an impromtu visit this whole week, and then on Friday we’re going to my in-laws house to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday!  I’mlooking forward to the time spent with family.  I miss Andreas’s family more and more when I’m away from them.  Today I talked to Rebekka for an hour over Skype (all in Danish!) and then later called his mom to ask her if I could borrow some of her knitting needles.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but with my anxiety (especially over the phone, especially in Danish) it was a huge step for me to call her by myself, speak in Danish the whole time, and I was not nervous at all!

Progress!  Woohoo!

Now for a short aside:  Once when my sisters were cleaning their room, every time they got something accomplished, they would say “progress!  whoohoo!”  Now, every time I think of the progress I’m making, their voices ring in my head.

My Spoiled Knitting Group

Like I mentioned in my last post, it had been quite a while since I’d felt “up to” going to my knitting group.  But I’ve hit a streak of optimistic days, and I knew it was time to host again!  Besides, I’ve been wanting to make a really big cake, and if I get other people to eat half of it, I only get a bit fat after eating…you know…the other half.  And since the cake I wanted to make used many more egg whites than yolks, I obviously had to make cream puffs to use up the yolks…obviously.

 

And, luckily for you guys, I remembered to take pictures!

The first cake I made is the same cake as this cake that had my father-in-law raving, but I decided to add lime curd to the middle!

The cakes ended up slightly deflated in the middle, so although they weren’t as fluffy as the first time I made them, they were still light, moist, and delicious.  The craters also helped a lot to hold the lime curd in the middle without it leaking out the sides, I just inverted the top cake and voila: secret lime curd containment unit!

This picture may not do it justice, but this frosting is just the silkiest, whippiest, marshmallowiest frosting I’ve ever had.

At this point in the cake-making, I was in awe of how smooth and glossy the frosting was, and was going to flatten it all nice and smooth and perfect, but I realized that the coconut was going to go on top.  However, I do wish that I had smoothed it down some, because the coconut here is in smaller bits, and the uneveness in the frosting-job showed through.  A lot.  Luckily, it was delicious enough that I don’t think anyone noticed.

I should also probably add that this was the second batch of coconut I toasted.  The first ended up in the trash, too brown and burny.  Consequently, I ended up having to sheepishly buy some more, and when Andreas asked if we hadn’t already bought coconut, and I told him I burned it, he plopped an extra bag of coconut into the basket “just in case.”  Guess I can’t blame him, but fortunately I didn’t burn the second batch, and now have a bag and a half of coconut to use…any ideas?

Before I started the cream puffs, it was definitely time for a cup of coffee.  Now, I just use instant stuff that my sister-in-law looks at with disdain, but I’m having fun mixing up coffee drinks, and I’m definitely getting better…

The cream puffs were actually much, much easier than I expected.  I’ve made eclairs before, and although the choux pastry behaved, I had a lot of trouble getting the filling the right texture, and filling the eclairs.  I have to say that the cream puffs were a dream!  The shape makes them so much easier to fill (they were all completely full, no big ol’ air bubbles or flat bits of pastry), and using a pastry cream recipe with just egg yolks made the filling much less tempermental and liquidy.

Andreas wasn’t crazy about the cake (even though that was the star of the show for everyone else) but he loved the cream puffs.  Unfortunately, he’s now suffering the wrath of his allergies (sugar and dairy) but he claims it was worth it.  They were really delicious, and even though I ran out of pastry cream, I filled the rest with a bit of sweetened whipped cream, and they were also lovely!
The treats were delicious, and I’m glad everything turned out.  The rest of the night was great, too.  We might be renting one of my knitting-friends’ apartment starting in December-ish, and we’d probably lease for 6 months which sounds like an unbelievably (and wonderfully) long time to stay in one apartment, and it would be great to have something lined up so early, and not have to worry.  I also re-caught the knitting bug and have knitting fever!  The fact that I recently received my KnitPro set in the mail doesn’t hurt…Today I finished up a project that’s been on my needles for a long time, and I have a couple more that I’m setting out to either buy yarn for, or just jump into!

I’m really grateful to the wonderful people in my knitting group.  I may be introverted and shy, but I’m starting to get quite comfortable with them all, and was really looking forward to seeing them.  It got me thinking about how grateful I am to my previous knitting group as well, and above all, my dear friend who started it all, and taught me to knit one sunny day in Wisconsin.

 

 

My First Race

It’s official!  I’m signed up for my first race!  I’m going to be a part of the American Women’s Club team for the iForm 5k/10k run in Malmö.  I’ll of course be running the 5k, since I’m a beginner runner, and I’m super excited!  The race is on Sunday the 23rd of September in the afternoon.  I thought I would have a week after I’d finished my program to work a bit on speed, but as usual, I was off on my estimate of which day/week/month of the year it was, and the race will be two days after my “final workout”  I’m really excited anyway, and am hoping to do five kilometers in the park this coming weekend, and see how I’m doing on time.  My goal is to be around 30 minutes, but I realize that since I’ll only just have finished the program, I might be a bit slower than that.  Regardless, that’s my goal time, and we’ll see how I do.   I’m a lot more nervous about the time leading up to the race, finding my team, saying the right things, etc.  and the time spent with them after the race than I am about the race itself, but I’m sure I’ll do just fine.  I’m expecting an exilerating day, and I can’t wait to report!

For now, running is still going well, although today my knee was giving me quite a bit of trouble towards the end.  I took a different route than usual, and did a few hills which I think isn’t very good for my knees, so I’ll avoid them as much as I can until I can get a knee brace of sorts in the future.  I’m still feeling really good about how I’m doing, and get excited for each run.

Since I last posted about my various accomplishments, things have sort of slowed down a bit.  We haven’t had much time to read Harry Potter together, and I’ve hardly read my book from the library (so my goal of 50 books by the end of 2012 is looking more and more unreachable).  However, I’m not feeling discouraged about it.  I think I’m finally realizing that life, hobbies, accomplishments, come and go in waves and cycles, and I don’t get down on myself for not doing more when I’m in a lull-state.

The past month or so, I haven’t been able to make it to knitting group.  I didn’t have the easiest time with the move, and I was left feeling stressed and anxious, and couldn’t add to that voluntarily by going out.  I used to also be hard on myself for how silly that would sound, and how fragile I would sometimes feel, but I’m realizing more and more that that’s just how I am.  Andreas helps a lot by being supportive and encouraging without making me push myself too far, and I’m noticing how I recover a lot more quickly and work through issues better when I let myself take it a bit easy instead of challenging myself too much.  However, I really missed my knitting group, and I’m excited that I’m doing better now.  I’m hosting this week, so I’m making a couple really fun treats, and am having fun filling my days with baking.  I’m doing my best to take pictures along the way, and I’m looking forward to sitting down on Wednesday to do a bit of editing and post-writing!

Fall is definitely coming, and even though we didn’t have much of a summer here weather-wise, I’m ready for fall.  I’m feeling encouraged and happy that time is plodding on, and I’m looking forward to the race, more knitting (with my new knitpro set!!), introducing my in-laws to Thanksgiving, two new nieces, and hopefully a visa or two!

For reading this, you get a cookie!  Better pictures of better goodies coming soon!

General Update *salute*

Sorry if you didn’t get the vague How I Met Your Mother reference in the title, but I couldn’t help myself…

So, I’m planning a couple more “themed” posts in the near future, but honestly, I’ve been a bit of a mess recently, and couldn’t manage it.  Sometimes, I surprise even myself by how fragile I can feel.  Any change (at all) is really difficult for me, and even when I’m in the midst of change, and I know that it’s just all the unsteadiness that is making me feel anxious, sad, upset, angry, nervous, and homesick in turn, I still can’t manage to feel okay.  It’s times like these when I’m ever-so-grateful to Andreas and his endless patience and support, and when the storm is over, as I am tentatively hoping it is, I always feel the urge to somehow reward him, and I’m never quite sure how.

Anyway, my first week in the new apartment was only okay.  I wasn’t used to living with people who aren’t Andreas, and having to close the door when I pee, or not feeling comfortable going into the kitchen to have kitchen adventures whenever I please (which is one reason for the shortage of bake-y posts recently).  I had a couple of breakdowns, and felt much better afterwards, and am doing so much better now, but it wasn’t fun for a while.

Anyway!  I’m much more cheery these days, and getting used to sharing spaces, and trying to start going about my usual routine without feeling lazy, or guilty for not being more social.  I started knitting again, and have now finished the pieces for a sweater for my nephew, and now just need to get a zipper, put it all together, and knit the collar on!  When that and a few other small projects are off the needles, I’m hoping to have heard the news of whether I’ll be having a new niece or a new nephew come January, invest in a set of KnitPros and be up to my elbows in baby knitting!

Also: Andreas has a work “teambuilding” sort of activity tomorrow, which is going to take his entire Saturday.  From what I’ve heard about it so far, I’m pretty sure it’s going to make a pretty good blog post, so I’m excited to share some of his stories.  He’ll be getting home likely in the wee (or maybe not so wee) hours on Sunday morning, so although I’m losing most of my precious Andreas-weekend-time, I’m hoping some of the outrageous stories he comes back with are worth it!

Since I’ll be home alone for most of the day tomorrow, I’m hoping I can find something exciting to bake!  Hopefully some sort of double-layer cake.  I decided to forget about the fact that we’re only three(ish) people to eat whatever I make, and bake something large anyway.  I’m a bit tired of making miniatures, and my sister-in-law has a lovely springform pan that I’m dying to use, so a whole, large cake it is!  Here’s to hoping I remember to keep my camera nearby!

Speaking of the camera…I’ve been meaning to take more pictures, but I’m so used to not having a memory card and not bringing my camera with me when I go out.  I even forgot it when we went to an awesome concert on Monday, which I’m definitely bummed about.  I want to make sure I get shots of some of the cool things I pass every day without thinking about it, and so hopefully I’ll have a photo-tour of Malmö coming soon!

I’m doing much better these days, and even though some things are tough and not getting any easier (i.e. having patience while waiting for a visa and not knowing where we’re going to be living come December), right now I’m in an okay mindset to deal with it all.

But…you know…Migrationsverket, I really wouldn’t mind hearing some good news sometimes soon…say, Monday?

And now, as a reward for reading my recent, drab, photoless posts, here’s a picture of me and Andreas “smoking” some hazelnut-filled wafer-roll cookies that we bought specifically so that we could pretend to smoke them.