Jun 21, 2014

Liam=7!

Sugary cereal the morning of:

Going to get balloons for the treasure hunt:
The hunt itself, organized by Tim:





Getting warmer:
After following a treasure map from the last stop, they unearthed a jar of jelly beans:
Our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle concessions:
(No, we are not that creative, but some blessed person on Etsy is.)

Reid's homemade gift for Liam: a ship for his stuffed animals.
Thanks to our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends, near and far, who helped us to celebrate.

Here's to our wonderful seven-year old:

Jun 20, 2014

The peanut gallery

Mornings, when I exercise, Reid sets up his own mat with blankets. 

The commentary mostly revolves around the "bossy lady" who is directing me as I huff and puff.
Reid's bit in this is clearly very strenuous.

Jun 11, 2014

Uppsala!

A highlight of our trip to Sweden was visiting some friends of ours who lived in India while we were there from 2007-2009. Erik, Anna, and their girls Ellen and Vera, took us around their beautiful town, Uppsala, and then loaned us some bikes to explore on our for a second day. 

Erik and Anna at a wonderful meal full of all sorts of delish Swedish specialties, outside their apartment on our first night:


Like seemingly everyone we saw, our friends rely heavily on bikes to get around.



Neighborhoods were composed of dense apartment buildings, bordering central park green spaces, and surrounded by lovely pastoral settings, all within a few minutes bike ride. This arrangement seemed like a city planner's dream come true.


Have I mentioned yet that we had some great food in Sweden?


The city's cathedral, built (if I remember correctly) to show up the Finns who had recently built a cathedral that was tall, but not as tall as this one:
The palace. Yep, Sweden still has monarchs (though apparently their genetic line is from France, rather than Sweden). The government decided in 1980 that girl children can inherit the throne.
The green pastry, made of marzipan, is called a vacuum cleaner in Swedish.
Tim and I biked 30km on our last day, thanks to the bike and map loan from our friends. At one point, we followed this river from the center of town south to Lake Malaren, where we jumped in, just to say we had.

Tim at our swimming hole.


Everyone was out enjoying spring.
This pic is from the Swedish-children's-lit-inspired play area at the airport.



Jun 10, 2014

Skansen

On our last day in Stockholm, Tim and I had a great time exploring Skansen, an enormous open-air museum, representing five centuries of Swedish history. Many of the buildings were original and had been transported to Skansen to represent a distinct time or location in Swedish history, and they were staffed by craftspeople and actors who were happy to chat about the issues of the day/culture they were representing. Here's a taste of what we saw:

Glass blowers at work. They were the only craftspeople we saw in modern clothing:

Tim buying (with a credit card) cinnamon rolls from the 19th century bakery.
A very lively shopkeeper who explained to us what it was like to keep a general store in 19th century Stockholm. Basically, if someone from the surrounding islands wanted to sell anything, they were required by law to bring their wares to Stockholm proper (where they would pay a tax). Only one day a year were they allowed to sell their goods outside of the city gates.
A woodworker. He was working in a walking stick for one of his fellow Skansen actors.
The architecture was fabulous. This house below reminded me (and Liam when he saw the picture) of the house of the Russian folk witch, Baba Yaga.
This woman showed us how to make Swedish flat bread from barley (she also gave us many tasty samples). She said baking with her mother and grandmother was one of her fondest childhood memories. They would work all day, baking in a wood-fueled oven, making a week's supply and storing it in a wooden chest.
We loved the many fences made from local wood in Sweden. We hope to recreate a much smaller, foot-high version in our own garden some day.



This woman talked to us about the different people who lived in her home; the contract the house's grandmother made with her children when she passed over the house; the role of the house's servant; and how to dye wool by boiling it with plants (which some of her housemates were doing outside over a small camp fire).

We also loved the roof gardens. Note the roll of birch bark at the edge--it turns out the entire roof is lined with bark to keep out water.
The Finns used birch bark for all sorts of things--bags, baskets, and even shoes.



A working mill.
A farm home with Biblical scenes painted on the walls.
A Samish house. The Sami people are indigenous to Sweden.