19 July 2015

Le finn

le fin. the end.

with much thought, i have decided to end the blog. its actually been an idea of mine for a while, but a catalyst came along and made the choice an easy one for me. basically the blog began when adventure was ahead of us, unknown, always changing adventure. and while we are certainly on the adventure known as parenting, that has lately felt like the only adventure, and i dont feel like writing about it. i feel like living it. we still plan as many vacations as money will allow but we are pretty settled here and life is stable in many ways. things are always changing but i havent enjoyed chronicling it like i did in the past.

i have an idea for a potential future blog, one that has nothing at all to do with personal matters and likely with a very low interested readership. but, if i do it, i will enjoy that and the adventures it takes me on. unless, of course, i get a job, and then, o glorious, i will be fully wrapped up in balancing family and work life. i hope for that, but may fall back on the new blog idea in case i need to save my sanity.

in conclusion, goodbye to whoever is still out there reading this blog roll. the people who reached out along the way were wonderful and i really enjoyed those connections in cyberspace, as well as the people who know me as a real person. but for you, there are always the old fashioned modes of email and phone calls to keep our communication intact. and hey, i recently, sorta, figured out texting...so theres that. :) fare thee well and thanks for reading.

20 June 2015

End of spring in the city - 2015

what a rotten trick. spring came early around here and had people excited. but it never warmed up. we had early spring weather pretty much the whole way to midsummer. and we didnt see much sun. what a bummer, but at least we know that summers can be hot, like last year.

-palm sunday, aka virpojat. this is a day of trick or treating in finland. it occurs on palm sunday but actually is more of a pagan thing. you dress up, traditionally as old hags/witches (but nowadays in whatever costume you want, see pic below) and you decorate willow branches and you ring doorbells and wave the branches along with a song that will ward off evil spirits if you take the branch in exchange for a chocolate. X and her friend went around to our neighbors. they had tons of fun and thankfully the candy collection is much more manageable than on halloween in the US. looking forward to it next year.

(scary ladies; our vase of good luck charm branches collected from kids who visited our door)

-toukka. a kids book store in kallio. a nice little independent place to support, unfortunately its mostly finnish and swedish books but we did find a cool nordic comics book in english.

-helsinki university main library. what a beautifully restored building. definitely must see architecture. plus, there is a little cafe and campus bookstore inside.

-kulosaari kartano. such a delightful new find. a beach, mökki (cottage), and rugged nature trail area. a serene slice of life right near a highway and metro rail that you would never know about. a big thanks to X for her enthusiasm pushing us onward to locate this place.

(beach happiness)

-silvoplee. a vegetarian restaurant in hip kallio. the place has a great, varied buffet. the food is weighed for the cost, and i thought it was a good value for the amount of food i wanted, however you weigh many of their desserts too and those are pricey.

-university cafe in the city center university library. the place had only a few small offerings. it was hard for me to find something to eat and the portions were quite small, both dave and i left hungry.

-maritori. the cafe inside the marimekko outlet store. this place is spacious, inviting and sophisticated. the lunch buffet is 10€ and you can rub elbows with the actual fashion designers and marimekko workers. its the real location where the magic happens. and there are high chairs so you can feel free to big your kiddo without getting weird looks.

-kakku galleria. a nice selection of breads, pastries, cookies and cakes. they even had choices for people with dietary needs.

-mount kailash. a nepalese restaurant in the jätkäsaari neighborhood of helsinki. we hit this place after a family trip to verkkokauppa. it was lovely. tasty curries full of spice for dave and i, plus the amount of times we heard X exclaim 'this is the best dinner ever' (she had chicken fingers) was innumerable. nice to have another place that works well for everyone.

(serious contemplation of her chicken fingers)

-amppari popsicles. this is like stripes of sherbet on a stick, hence the name 'wasp' (amppari). tasty popsicles i must say.

finn notables:
-kutsuplus. this is a relatively new city shuttle service. its in between a taxi and a bus, in terms of price and direct routes. you can order the service on a city website and they tell you a nearby bus stop to wait at for pick-up, if there is anyone else nearby going in the same direction they will share the ride with you and you will get dropped off at a bus stop near your desired location. weve used it twice now and were very pleased, the perfect choice for those times when we need to get across town but riding the bus would take upwards of one hour.

-buzzfeed collection of supposedly finlands hottest men. i saw this link somewhere and had to laugh. sorry, but its more than a little sad. and they didnt even post a good picture of the one finn who i do find very attractive, teemu selänne (a retired NFL hockey player, he is very well loved nationally).

04 June 2015

June 4 - carl mannerheim flag day

happy birthday to military and political leader of finland carl gustaf emil mannerheim. the day is also celebrated as the day of finnish defence forces.

carl gustaf emil mannerheim was born on this day in 1867 to an aristocratic swedish-speaking finnish family of german descent. his military life is a little complicated (to me at least) but he ended up being involved in 4 of finlands wars during his life, and was a military leader in the finnish civil war, the commander-in-chief during WWII and the sixth finnish president. he is perhaps the greatest historical finnish figure.

he had a long and distinguished, and not without a bit of controversy, military and political career, however the most interesting thing of note (in my opinion) was that hitler visited finland for a few hours on mannerheims 75th birthday in 1942. it was presumed that hitler was going to ask for finland to support germany by stepping up to the soviets. the meeting took place in secrecy in the east of finland, and 11 minutes of the beginning of their discussion was secretly recorded by the national news agency YLE. it is the only know recording of hitler speaking in 'an unofficial tone.' mannerheim refused to help hitler.

01 June 2015

June = Kesäkuu

happy june all!

june in finnish is kesäkuu. kesä means summer, so this is literally 'summer month'. midsummer is june 20/21 each year and june 1 all school kids begin their summer vacations. the time for office work is winding down while outdoor/vacation mentality is deeply setting in.

26 May 2015

The mr Y grows - 10 months old - A mover and a shaker

little mister is a big boy now and he can move all on his own. it has brought him a new level of pride and happiness to be able to go and explore where he wants. he has his favorite things to play with in each corner of the house and he makes his rounds as soon as he gets up, the most exciting thing, that always gets him going, is when X wakes up. he gets to see her and go into her room. double bonus!

(cute little boy. dave calls the collared shirt his '1970s TV repairman shirt', i disagree)
(feed me please, so i can have energy to...)
(pull up to standing; swing)
(and play with my sister)
(because i love her)

good young picture books: betty goes bananas, dinosaur kisses

-teeth. top tooth (#6), bottom teeth (#7, 8)

-sick. he got pink eye in his right eye and at the same time an ear infection was discovered in his right ear. neither affected his mood. antibiotics for both things were taken. he finished them up without event (though he shared the pink eye with X). a week later he had pink eye raging in both eyes, a double ear infection, a runny runny green slime nose, coughing, and had a fever one day. fun. and he had ear pain this time. more antibiotics. and FINALLY we were rid of the merry-go-round plague(s) in this house!

-sleep. there seems to be little of this and less for me. he was absolutely all over the place again. my body had no idea what to expect and you can bet my patience was wearing thin. something like 4 months straight of this crazy stuff with only minimal recharge days where both he and i would catch up on sleep.

-eating. he loves it and is very focused and serious about it.

-making noise. he loves and is skilled in the art of banging, clapping, singing, shaking rattles. if he can scrape it, hit it, close it, or shake it to make noise, by golly he will. he will find all the noises in the world!

-mischievous. he tickles X through the back of her chair or bites daves toes. he will look at me before he does it and then giggles when i watch him do it.

-he doesnt seem to be bothered much by minor bumps and bangs.

-vehicles. he has an affinity for cars, trucks, and buses already. he bounces up and down when he sees a bus drive down the road.

-he waves

-he blows kisses

-he is vocalizing lots of sounds, and isnt shy about trying. he is refining his word for X, and i have to say it really is his first word. he can also pretty much say 'mama' and 'äiti' (finnish for mom. we did not teach him this. i now assume its one of those sounds all babies can make and the finnish language scooped it up to be their 'mama' word), though he doesnt really use them to ask for me (although we do get 'äiti' when he is tired and pissed. yay). he likes trying to say 'tree' and can almost perfectly say 'clock'.

-he crawled at 9.25 months

-he pulls up to standing and can (for short periods of time) stand solo. i even saw a half step taken once. and right at 10 months, he taught himself to sit down safely. that was nice.

14 May 2015

10th anniversary

happy 10 year wedding anniversary to us!

together for 15 years is even more startling to me, but i also cant believe its been a decade since we got married. we seem like wholly different people from that time, i mean, not at our core, but what we have experienced since then makes me not even remember the mindset of the two people who got married on this day in 2005. well, i do recall a lot of anxiety about being the center of attention during the walk down the aisle, toasts, and first dance parts. oh, and there was the bit of annoyance at the fluffiness of daves hair ;), but other than that it was a whirlwind of a day. i do enjoy looking at the pictures and seeing all the lovely people we care about, and feeling lucky we are still friends with much of our bridal party and extended wedding day helpers.

so the suggested gifts this year are tin or aluminum (or diamond, yawn, they list that for like every anniversary). and what do most people do with that? buy a six pack of beer and a can of tuna fish, to be consumed as your celebratory dinner? who comes up with these, really? eesh. well, this year weve spent more than i care to think about already on a new apple imac (lets say its made of aluminum) and plane tickets for a summer visit to the states (airplane bodies involve aluminum right?). i think weve hit our aluminum quota. you say those arent legit or romantic anniversary gifts? poo. well, does it ease your mind to know that we decided we will replate our white gold bands sometime soon (read: maybe within the next decade), or that we agreed that we will take apart my diamond wedding band that matches my engagement ring and have it reworked into something i can wear separate from the engagement ring (again, this might happen before i die). these actions involve metal, of some sort, and they are linked in meaning to our wedding. but, okay, if that still doesnt cut it...

i submit my abstract take on the 'gift'. its cheesy, and it borrows from the name of a season 2 episode of the tv show 'new girl' and the movie 'toy story'. its not really a gift so much as a catch phrase i could have scrawled in a card, had i taken the time. it does, however, capture the amount and endurance of my love for dave, and so, in the immortal (mostly) words of buzz lightyear,
i love you 't-infinity, and beyond!'
and then, to repost my facebook message about the occasion, another sentiment that is equally true:
thank you for all the gifts that money couldnt buy over the years. i look forward to a treasure chest filled with more.
end of gift. we laughed that we didnt really take this anniversary seriously enough. but Y is still nursing too frequently to properly get away at the moment and grand gestures of tangible items isnt something we really do. id love to have marked the occasion with some amazing travel locale, but we already have our trip to the states this summer. maybe we'll plan to do anniversary #13 up special, mess with the fates a bit. oooo, better yet, lets do something for #12, we will have been together 17 years at that point, my lucky number. at any rate there are other chances, other years, we didnt get to do anything memorable for #5 because X was a newborn, so weve made a habit of not doing the milestone years i guess. so, heres to anniversary #12 in 2017 that celebrates 17 years together. oh yes, i like this idea, i like this very much.

and finally, a collection of wedding photos of dave and i. well, one photo of us at our wedding, and photos of us celebrating other peoples weddings over the years. happy upcoming anniversaries to everyone!

(our wedding)
 (daves cousin adams wedding)
 (my friend lisas wedding)
(new mexican wedding celebration of friends angela and ben)
 (friends georgette and chucks wedding)
(friend missys wedding)
(my cousin alexs wedding)
(ready for friend julies wedding)

12 May 2015

May 12 - johan snellman flag day

aka, the day of finnish identity.

johan snellman was an political philosopher and an influential figure in shaping the finnish identity. he was born in stockholm on this day in 1806 but moved to the finnish territroy when he was young. he became a popular lecturer at the university of helsinki. he self-exiled from 1839-1842 due to the government trying to censor and control oppositional thoughts among academics. when he returned to finland he published papers encouraging the rise in the finnish language and culture from peasant status to a respected national language and culture. he apparently coined the phrase:

'Swedes we are no more,
Russians we cannot become,
therefore Finns we must be'

he did become a prominent finnish senator, however, he ultimately had to resign in 1868 due to his radical reputation and inflexibility.