Sunday, April 1, 2012

Coming or Going

Life hasn't been easy peasy these days. Thoughts of where we'll be come July 1st are dragging down each day, a wet blanket dripping on any rays of sunshine.

Over the past 6 years, we've called seven different houses 'home' and I'm growing so tired. Fatigued from the packing and unpacking, the organizing, the chaos, the house-hunting, the not-knowing. But most of all, I'm just so fed up watching my poor husband slave away for a minimum of 12 hours each day with little light at the end of the tunnel and no appreciation from anyone but me. I want to scream out about how unfair it all is. And I'm also paralyzed as I don't know how to begin to 'fix it'.

So I sit and brood or occupy myself with mindless activities and do what I've done for the past 6 years, wait. And I know it's not productive and I know it's only increasing my frustration but I really don't know what to do. Though I do know what I want. And that's for my husband's hard work, passion and devotion to provide him the freedom he so rightly deserves.

Everyday that goes by, we inch closer and closer to being forced to make a decision. Do we stay or do we move back to Canada? Though I have to admit, life in Sweden has grown on me these past three years, we've been overseas for six years and our extended family is back home in Canada. And we need each other.

Thank God for the Forever Rainbow that is our wonderful Little Man, who excitedly called out to his father today, "Daddy, look in the backyard. There's an onion! Just joking. April Fool's!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

To Katch a Kony

I had to respond to the criticism regarding the Kony 2012 campaign. Celebrity begets criticism. But really,  all I have to say about this is summed up rather perfectly by a quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who
points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is
actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and
blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and
again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but
who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at
the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who
at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so
that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who
neither know victory nor defeat."
  Thanks Teddy for the perfect words.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Behave Yourself! Part 2 of 2

This issue, my issue, will rear its ugly head at times, hence part 2. Read Part 1. We have a pretty wonderful little 5 year old if I do say so myself. He loves to love and be loved. It's very rare that we  "get angry" or express our disappointment. And when we do, his little heart breaks and when that happens, mine does too.

As we've lived so far away from our family for nearly all of his little life, Skype dates are necessary and mandatory. And of course, they sometimes come when he's completely disinterested in chatting. Well he usually always needs to be prodded to 'smile for the camera' as it were. I can't blame the kid really. It's hard to develop intimacy via Webcam, especially when there are so many tangible things to do: read, watch a movie, play, etc, most activities involving flesh and blood humans as opposed to the virtual ones.

I've tried to explain the concept: Grandparents are far away. They love you. They want to talk to you. blah, blah, blah. The concept is likely still a little advanced for him to wrap his head and heart around. So when they call, expecting a performing monkey (which they do), I don't expect him to be one but I do expect him to at least be polite. And loudly proclaiming in an annoyed voice, "Mom, I want to watch a movie now." while they're in the middle of asking him a question "hurts their feelings". I try to help along the Skype dates by encouraging him to show his art or remind him of the highlights in his day to share. I'm also sensitive to the fact that he's only 5 so five minutes of his time is really all anyone should expect.

I was 'angry' tonight because I was embarrassed. That's not cool and my 'angry' reaction to the situation likely wasn't either and I know it. Though after some stern words, I did make sure to dry his tears and reassure him that I love him and leave things on a good note, unlike what my own mother would have done back in the day. So there's a few Parenting Points.

All that said, I do want to teach my son compassion and sensitivity for other people's feelings. I'm looking for ideas. I'd like to go beyond "doing/saying things to please other people" and instill in him some joy in these conversations with his grandparents or at the very least some tolerance. Because right now, he's likely viewing his participation as a sort of punishment. Any ideas? As I've written in previous posts, I struggle with the "behavior" issue :-(.

Friday, March 2, 2012

First Joy Pockets in Forever

Glad to be participating in Joy Pockets this week. Want to share your joy pockets? Head on over to Mon at Holistic Mama and join in the fun. We all need to find the joy in our lives, no matter how cleverly hidden at times.

Here are mine this week:

  • "Hi, my name is Russell. I'm a Wilderness Explorer from Tribe 54. Are you in need of any assistance today sir?" Our 5 year old reciting lines from Up! What a memory this kid has!
  • An overnight trip away with the girls.
  • Waking up to THIS in the morning, set on a very old stove in a very old B&B: 

  • A thoughtful and creative husband:
  • The smell of cozy sleep on the little man every morning.
  • That the burglar didn't choose our house.
Lots of love for a joy-filled week ahead.
Jenn xo

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's a New Year

Did I read something about them switching the date for the end of the world?

Anyhow, apologies to those that check in every once and awhile in hopes of a new blog post from me. Truth be told, just haven't been inspired to write like I used to be :-(.

Change is in the air here in Sweden. A move back "home" to Canada is imminent, though not tangible...yet. Still, the thought of it fills me with a mixture of "yes!" and "no...". You see, after overcoming the year of "Get me outta here!", you start to acclimatize. People, places, food, all becomes familiar and wraps around you like a cozy blanket. Those initial struggles to make your way, they become distant and at times, laughable memories.

Life IS good in this country. There's a sense of security here but always the gentle pull at the heart strings from our family back home. The longing.

When we do leave, it will be with a heavy heart as we have made a life for ourselves here in this place so far from where we came from. We have been truly blessed. Over the past six years, we have done what many dream of doing and few will ever actually do. We have lived in two vastly different countries and experienced their cultures, the good and the not-so-good and the downright BAD. We will return back to Canada changed from this experience. I am thankful. Thankful especially for the wonderful start we have given our son. For the strength in our marriage. For the courage. For the knowledge that we can make it on our own.

And I thank you all for sharing our experiences with me. Now to take the little man off to his swimming lesson, my favourite part of the week.

Much love from Uppsala,
Little Man enjoying a Christmas morning tradition, Swedish porridge, grött. The one who finds the raisin gets a special prize! 

Montenegro, Summer 2010, our visit back

(Swedish)Jenn xo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tis the Season

I  love Christmasy time, don't you? We got all the decorations up the 2nd last weekend of November and have been enjoying bright lights and relaxing by the glow of the fake tree ever since. We've been to and had our share of parties and though I swore we were "done" until 2012, I managed to invite the neighbours over for some holiday cheer this Wednesday night. Well the families of the three little kiddies the little man enjoys playing with.

We will not be "home" for Christmas this year but I'm ok with it. After a month spent in Canada this summer, I'm still running on family steam and am just as happy to relax cozily here in our home away from home, Sweden. We'll spend Christmas Eve (which is the day they really celebrate here) with our Swedish "family" and then feast on our turkey Christmas Day.

Temps have been unseasonably mild the past few months with only two baby snowfalls. A request to Santa via Facebook status to please send us some snow for Christmas was met with snowfall #2, thanks Santa. And with sticky snow, my uber creative husband gets his hands wet. And voila! Most people build snowmen, hubby creates snowangels :-).

Hope you're all enjoying the very best of the season: family, friends and food!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Two weeks with Mary Poppins!

I've been silent over the past 2 weeks and for good reason:

On October 23rd, a special reunion took place between these two:

For two weeks, we all enjoyed her company, her love. She was Joseph's Nanny for the first two and a half years of his life in Montenegro. We were blessed. We are blessed. She celebrated my 35th with us.

She saw and experienced Sweden for the first time, and some Canadian traditions too!

We hosted a Halloween party here for little man's class..16 kids! Couldn't have done it without her.

There's a lot I couldn't have done without her.

Or my darling husband for that matter: Master Pumpkin Carver and Costume Maker.

From Uppsala to Stockholm to parties and The Butterfly House, we couldn't have asked for a more fun-filled 2 weeks with our dear Tanja.

Whether on-the-go or relaxing, she was what we all needed...a good dose of family.

And today we didn't say Goodbye, we said, "See you soon." Thank you Tanja for two wonderful weeks. xo