Monday, October 25, 2010

Down Home, and Dirty
My little travelers and I left Sweden Tuesday, and arrived in Florida late Tuesday night. We had all the luck in the world with us, it was one of the easiest trips we have made. The kids started on their regular bedtimes and wake times from day one. Monday we skipped the one year old's nap, and with a well timed DVD for the 5 year old that she watched while the one year old napped on the plane, I even got a nap on the plane. Except for that one normal nap on the plane, the kids stayed awake until 1 am Swedish time when we changed planes in JFK New York. Then they both fell asleep for the entire second flight with out a fuss. We arrived at 5 am Swedish time, or 11am Florida time, and they stayed in bed until 7 am Florida time. Off to a good start!

By day two, we headed to the library for the big bags of books I was missing, and caught an English language story time. We met a friend and her two year old, and ran into one of Swedegirls favorite babysitters, who was there with a child she was looking after. It felt good to be home, to participate in an activity in my own language, with friends and familiar faces, themes, and songs. We checked out 27 items from the long rows of books, CDs, and movies to to choose from! (I like to copy movies and CDs to bring back to Sweden.)
But our big Re introduction to our Florida Tribe of friends was the Ranch Camp Over Birthday party!

When we left Florida in February, we had a ranch camp out party for my girl and her dear friend whose grandparents have a beautiful piece of property in the Florida woods....we got back just in time to celebrate the freind's brother's birthday with a camp out at the same ranch.

I was the midwife at the birth of all these kids. It is a really special connection to see them grow.
We got to the ranch and SwedeGirl fell right into line with her favorite gal pals, to do something she has been begging me to do....Bob for Apples!
The birthday boy went head over heels for it....
Swedegirl was determined and fierce in her pursuit of an apple!
The day this boy, now celebrating his 7th birthday, was born shook the earth and brought so much love...he is the oldest of the tribe, and the love that came in with him helped us birth the wonderful community of mothers, families, and friends that gathered to celebrate this milestone.
Seven. Old enough to play a trick on everyone when he blew out his candles, surprising us with vampire teeth!
His grandparents took the whole tribe of kids on a hay ride...
SwedeBaby got busy trying to make some friends.
The kids played hard, and got so dirty.
Here they are sucking down the most American of treats, root beer floats. We are not in Sweden anymore!!!
Dirty, tired happy kids passed out in the tents after a delicious potluck dinner.
The grown ups gathered round for some no kid time in a fire circle under a very magical rainbow rimmed full moon, that cast moon shadows through the live oaks and Spanish moss...
No beer for the pregnant mama, so s'mores it was!!
T. and K. are s'mores making MACHINES. They have it down perfect.
The tent, amongst the oaks at dawn
Good morning, SwedeBaby!
And and amazing breakfast buffet.
Kids were catching toads....
The very last thing I did on our February trip to Florida was attend this little guy's birth. I got home from his sweet birth just 5 hours before the plane took off....
His family, Living in the Light.
Kids and dirt. These are a few of my favorite things....
The pack. It was so great to see my girl with her friends, and know what she was saying while she was playing.
Posing like the bad guys from Star Wars.
How to entertain a baby while you pack up a tent. He was drumming, and it was good!
Happy SwedeGirl
Dirty Feet
Calls for a bath at grandmas, and a long nap for the momma while the grandparents entertain the kids!
The SwedeLife. The Best of Both Worlds.
So glad I am here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pig tails, Frost, and Family
We got Pigtails
And the Frost came hard today, sticking in the shade past noon, ending the garden season at last....
Bye Bye Garden!
We are enjoying a nice visit from our sister in law and brother in law. My camera is broke, so no pics from me on that.... But we are enjoying turning the conversation back to the things we love about Sweden, as they are new transplants to Stockholm from Washington DC, and seeing it all with fresh eyes.

Booking tickets to Florida last week relived my home sickness. I had planned to go to Florida in January, then in the summer planned to move the trip up to October on account of the pregnancy. Then I started second guessing if that was practical. After sitting with it, I realized I just need to follow through and do this trip right now. I think it was the idea of not making it to Florida this fall that had my mind spinning, thinking so much about Sweden vs. USA. It was indecision over the travels more than a general dissatisfaction about my life that was really tormenting me. I just needed to get clear that taking this trip is important. I am feeling very happy and excited to go back to visit Florida, and also very happy and grateful for my life in Sweden.

By being here now, I figured out to go there then.

Or perhaps knowing I am going there then is helping me be here now.

Either way, I feel better.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Take me to Normal Land.

I know a little girl of 2, and when she pretends to go somewhere imaginary she says she is going to NormalLand. Sign me up.....

I am heading to NormalLand in 6 days...Oct 19th SwedeMomma and the girls are heading to Florida for 5 weeks, returning Dec 1st just in in time for Swedish Lucia magic.

I have been very thoughtful about the differences between Sweden and the USA lately. I am living the conflicted life that everything here is structurally perfect, the house, the seasons, the school, the little red barns and tapestry of green and yellow fields bordered by the colorful autumn trees of the Skåne landscape. It is picture perfect.

We left Florida in July 2008 just months before the economy crashed, with Bush and Cheney still in power. The feeling was one of impending doom....when we left, it was like the typical TV car wreck scene from CHIPS where someone is running away from an over turned crashed car that is leaking gasoline and ready to blow. We were running for cover. And sure enough, right as we settled here we peeked out of our sheltered place to see the american economy implode. The wreckage is still smoldering, and the damage still being assessed, and people are trying to remake their lives under new circumstances created by so many personal tragedies, small and large. We feel lucky to have escaped so many of the problems those we left behind are facing.

But I miss my people. I miss my home. I miss working, my friends, and knowing how to participate in the society around me.

In childhood I would imagine my jungle gym a circus. I created a shows, made tickets, and imagined a packed house ready to join me in the fun. As a grown up, I am full of ideas, always connecting to people and connecting them to each other, seeing possibility and potential all around me, and making things happen. I create circuses, and people come. In Sweden, for better or worse, I know no one, and while my little world here could not be more beautiful, there is only my family to share it with. For now, it is enough. It is healing to be in the isolated peace, but the quiet is getting deafening. I find myself longing to get the circus started once again. To be part of the world again.

On my return, I look forward to hanging out with my parents, swimming in the sunshine and relaxing in the hot tub at night, visiting with my sister and her two little girls, my brother will take my girls fishing, and my mom and dad can see how cute my little girl is at 18 months. Swededadddy will stay home and tend to his family business, and we will miss him, but are glad to be heading out. I am going back in time for a favorite boy's 7th birthday camp out party, will make the 1st, 3rd and 6th birthday parties for a cousin's baby and two special little friends, see high school friends, will go to a Halloween party I would probably cry about missing if I had to read blog posts about it from a far, and have a big family Thanksgiving with a special appearance by an aunt traveling from far away. I am in limbo in Sweden. I still am creating a life here. But meanwhile, the life I left behind in the town my family lives in, that I grew up in, started a business in, and became a mother in is perfectly intact. I can drop in, head out with friends and bask in the excitement and beauty that comes from returning to a stage already set, a life that has been on pause. It's like old times, but better, as everyone is all the more happy to see us since we have been gone.

I wonder how it will feel to be home on this trip. Last time we went to America, we felt like it was a great place to visit, but we were glad we did not live there. It seemed so busy, fast, overstimulating, over consuming, impoverished, and stressed. It was like one big Disney World turned into a whole nation. We were glad to come back to quiet, sane, safe Sweden. Now, the craziness of it all aside, I miss the singular fact that it is where I am from. It is a big crazy circus, a nation in pain struggling with some very hard issues, but it is home.

To me, it is NormalLand, and I am going back.

I always did like the circus. So we got some tickets, but I am not sure we are ready to run off to join the show.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Punkin' Time
Nothing says Fall on a momblog like some
Pictures of Kids and Pumpkins!
Jack o Latern Pumpkins are an imported tradition in Sweden, a nod to American Halloween...we are lucky there is a lovely pumpkin patch not too far away that gives us a good fall fix.