Sweet baby girl

Our New Swemerican

We had a beautiful little girl two weeks ago and I'm just now getting around to updating my blog (of course).  After 39 hours in labor and emergency surgery afterward to remove the stuck placenta it was quite an adventurous birth, but our babe is perfect...eating, pooing, farting, burping, and sleeping like a champ.  Since I'm not planning on using real names for my family on this blog I'll have to come up with a good blog-name for her.  Being a first-time mom is wonderful, even though I had a nasty case of the baby blues last week and spent a few days drenched with hormones, breast milk, and tears.  I'm really thankful that after her dramatic arrival (she came out blue with the cord around her neck twice in addition to the postpartum surgery) she is very healthy and perfect and I've had zero problems breastfeeding.

That's all the news for now...time for yet another nap....zzzzzzz 

Ready to pop

I really don't have much to write about these days other than the fact that I'm very, very, very pregnant.  My due date is one week from today...so far this little babe seems pretty cozy in there as I haven't had any real signs of labor yet.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the full moon this weekend!

I've been lucky in the fact that although late pregnancy is no walk in the park, it really hasn't been too horrible for me...I'm not working or running around after other kids and the weather hasn't been overly hot, so there isn't a whole lot for me to complain about.  On the other hand, the past month of waking up with only the tough decisions of whether to read a book, eat strawberries in the sunshine, go for a walk (or waddle at this point), take another nap, go swimming, or aimlessly shop for small baby items has not exactly made the time fly by. 

I'm really excited to meet our little one though, and just feeling very happy that I've ended up on this random Swedish island with M and our growing family.  And to make our life here even more idyllic, we and a few of our neighbors just pitched in together to buy a wood-fired cedar hot tub that M is installing next to the sauna on down by the sea right now:

I stole this photo off the internet but the one we bought is HUGE and fits ten people.  Can you say party time?

Crafty stuff

Well, I've once again been slacking on my blog, but for good reason since the summer has been wonderful, we've been spending lots of time out on the boat in the islands, I was working at a preschool until the end of June, and I've been waiting for a good opportunity to take some photos of all the baby stuff we've been making.

M told me he was working on a baby bed/cosleeper but wouldn't tell me exactly how he wanted to make it...then he surprised me with this ADORABLE bed which is even more adorable because of the fact that we met while I was working on his boat as an environmental consultant looking for dolphins and whales:

 Here's a quilt I crocheted...at first it was hard to figure out which colors to choose since we don't know if we're having a boy or a girl, but then it was fun to just go crazy with all the colors:

I was also inspired by M's nautical baby bed to crochet an undersea mobile for the kiddo...M made the hanger from an oak tree in the backyard:







I have a feeling that if we have a second child there's no way I'll have this much calm downtime to make so many cute handmade baby crafts, so I'm just assuming these will be for ALL our future kiddos too.  Everything is going smoothly with my pregnancy...a little less than 1.5 months left and I've officially crossed over from being "cute pregnant" to "kind of freaky pregnant."  Let's just say the next person who jokingly asks me if I'm sure there's not twins in there is getting slapped....

Tongue tied

I've been pretty proactive about learning Swedish since I met M over two years ago...I spent lots of time studying on my own, patiently listening to Swedish conversations trying to pick out words, watching TV in Swedish, and whizzing through the Swedish for Immigrants classes that are offered here. I'm feeling really comfortable understanding and reading Swedish, almost to the point where I barely have to strain my brain in order to understand everything.

But, there's something about speaking Swedish that is neither easy nor fun for me. The pronunciation, especially of vowels, is SO tricky...you'll end up saying a completely different word if you don't get your ä's, å's, and ö's sounded out perfectly. And I'm starting to admit to myself that I really don't enjoy the feeling of speaking Swedish. In order to sound correct you have to speak way in the back of your throat in kind of a nasally, snobby way, and something about the Swedish intonation reminds me of a disapproving grandmother (not that my slopppy, monotonous American English sounds any better).

Back in Guatemala when I was learning and speaking Spanish, the way the rrrrrr's rolled off my tongue felt fun and badass. The better I got, the more fun it was to speak...almost like salsa dancing in your mouth. I've never had that feeling with Swedish, even as I've gotten better and better at it. Maybe it's just a matter of time...hopefully someday I'll grow to love these exaggerated vowels and nasally "oj oj oj's."

Dragon Tattoo fever

Okay, I'll admit it....my real excitement for the upcoming Hollywood version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie doesn't have a whole lot to do with my love for the Stieg Larsson book trilogy.  I've only finished the first one so far and thought it was an okay read, aside from the fact that I'm really not a fan of graphic sexual violence.  The real reasons I'm so excited for the movie are: A) I have a huge and not-so-secret crush on the handsome actor Daniel Craig;  B)  I really, really, really want to hear how well a bunch of American and Brit actors pull off fake Swedish accents in English; and C) A good portion of the movie was filmed within a half hour drive of where I live, not only in Stockholm but on our neighboring island of Ingarö.

Last fall I spent an afternoon stalking the set of the movie in Stockholm and even though I don't think I managed to catch Mr. Hottie Craig (unless that's him in the second photo), it was still fun to watch them turning this huge rain machine on and off during filming:

Here's the trailer for the movie...not due to come out until December, but by then I'll most likely be ready to find a babysitter and hit the movie theater for a couple of hours:

In other random Dragon Tattoo trivia, the original Swedish title is Män Som Hatar Kvinnor, or Men Who Hate Women.  The original title is much more true to the plot, since the tattooed heroine isn't necessarily the main focus of the story, but my hunch is that in order to earn more money they changed the English title to make it sound titillating and dangerous instead of like a book from the self-help section....

What's in a name day?

A few days ago I opened up my mailbox to find a nice postcard with a picture of roses on it from M's grandparents, congratulating me on my "name day."  Turns out my name day was on May 17th  (I had no idea), and it also turns out that the modern purpose and celebration of name days in Sweden are an utter mystery to me.  The custom of celebrating one day of the year for everyone with the same name originated with the Catholic church to celebrate saints and martyrs, but as far as I can tell (just like all the other churchy traditions here in Sweden) the true meaning has been totally lost and now there's just a lot of extra ink used when printing yearly calendars by adding names at the bottom of each day.

When the big day arrived, I was secretly kind of excited to find out if I was going to get presents or breakfast in bed or a surprise party or some other adorable, unexpected foreign tradition.  Turns out the extent of M's celebration of my name day was fulfilled by looking at the calendar the day before and saying, "Hey, it's your name day tomorrow."  There were two kids at the preschool where I work who ran up and excitedly congratulated me.  That was it.  So, as far as I can figure out, the name day is something that old people and little kids get excited over.  Hm.  I suppose I can't be too disappointed considering the massive parties that are thrown for holidays we don't have in the states, like midsommar and totally insane crayfish parties.  I'll just have to remember not to hold my breath the next time May 17th rolls around.