Babies are NOT like puppies.

Hey there.  So you’re going to have a baby?  That sounds so wonderful!  Babies are cute and snuggly, and there’s nothing like the smell of a newborn and the feeling that comes with becoming a new mom.   Babies are not like puppies.  You see, puppies grow up just like babies do, but the time we have on this earth with our beloved pets is way too short while the time we have on this earth with our babies, if lucky, lasts our entire lifetime.  That’s a good thing.  That’s a commitment.   It also means that your baby will forever change you.

Hey there.  So you’re going to have a baby?  Did anyone tell you that in order to have a baby you need to lose a piece of your heart for, well forever?  If you have more than one baby you must give up even more pieces until you are no longer the owner of your heart.   Say goodbye to your heart.  You no longer own it.  Oh you love your husband?  Sorry…I didn’t mean to laugh or giggle or chuckle.  Let me know how much you love him when you feel mother love.

Hey there.  So you’re going to have a baby?  Get ready to feel really uncomfortable.  No, I’m not talking birth or weight gain or loss of privacy and time.  I’m referring to your transition into a lioness who is constantly questioning fairness, the quality of friendships, lessons that need to be learned, the school system, the daycare and everything else that is out there in the wild.  You are no longer human.  You are a lioness.

Hey there.  So you’re going to have a baby?  I hope you like looking in the mirror.  No…not at your makeup or your new hair style.  Your little human offspring will constantly hold up a mirror and show you your flaws, your fears and insecurities, and your imperfections on a daily basis.  You will learn more about yourself than your own child.  Hold onto your hat!  It’s a wild ride!  You will grow as a person and as a woman in ways that you could’ve never predicted.

Hey there. So you’re going to have a baby?  Get ready to experience loss.  You will love them fiercely and invest so much time into raising them and then they will leave you.  See ya!  Yes they will call you.  Sometimes.  You will have to get used to not having them in your life every single day.  It’s not fair but that’s how it works.  Your snuggly baby becomes a full-grown human and goes out on their own.  They may fall in love, may have a career, may move to another country and will always love you but you will miss them fiercely and maybe just maybe….

So you’re going to be a grandma?

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Why you should walk your dog!

I used to have a love/hate relationship with my two small dogs. There was a time when I would arrange my schedule around their bio breaks.  Every two hours I would send them outside into the yard and yet they would still have accidents in the house!   I was tired of using Nature’s Miracle on my carpets every day.  Nothing was working.  Quick comment about “Nature’s Miracle.”  This is simply the best carpet cleaning spray on the market.  It doesn’t matter if you have dogs because this stuff is amazing!  I once had to clean lipstick artwork (courtesy of my friend’s daughter) on my tan carpet and that miracle solution took it right out!

I caught the main culprit!  It was Mocha, my female Cavachon.  Mocha is full of life, a bit hyper and believes in all play all of the time.  She loves to be outside but not for the reason that I send her there.  To Mocha, being outdoors means squirrels and rabbits and catching skinks, digging in the dirt and running after her brother Cap.  It does NOT mean going to the bathroom.  I did some online research, truly baffled by this conundrum and was a bit miffed at what I discovered.   Cesar Milan was very firm with me.  The answer was simple.  My dogs weren’t truly trained and the way to solve this problem was to……

WALK MY DOG!  Apparently I could not just let my dogs out into the yard and hope for the best.  Perhaps for some dogs this works but not for my mutts!  I have learned some valuable lessons during these walks including the fact that my dogs will go and go and go over the course of our walk.  They can last for hours once we get a good morning walk finished.

Now I walk my dogs about two miles every day.  We have not had one accident for three months.  Even more exciting is that I’ve found that these morning walks are so incredibly enjoyable for me as well.  Here are some observations I have made these past three months and the benefits that I have surprisingly received!

  1.  I have a cleaner house!  No more accidents!
  2. They love me more.  I love them more.  These walks have been such a bonding time for all of us.  Each morning they start to hop up and down in anticipation.  Their joy is contagious!
  3. I get some serious time breathing fresh air, listening to the birds and feeling good about being outside.  I’ve started to benefit from the stress relief of a simple walk.
  4. I laugh more.  When you walk your dogs and he pounces on a dandelion as if it was a chocolate bar, it’s just so easy to find little moments of laughter.
  5. I have had the opportunity to meet new people.  Lots of people are walking their dogs outside!  The dogs are getting more social as well.
  6. They sleep more.  I sleep better.  Studies have shown that even light exercise can help you sleep more.  As I type this, both of my dogs are passed out by my feet.
  7. My lawn is clean.  I know this is ridiculous right?  Wrong.  It’s no fun to mow a lawn full of poop.  Whether your son or husband mows the lawn or you have a contractor, they will appreciate you more if they don’t have to avoid landmines.
  8. I’m doing something that has been peaceful and solitary (with the exception of my pups).    I do a lot of thinking on my walks.  It’s good to have the peace and quiet.
  9. It gets me out of the house.  I tend to spend my mornings holding my son’s stress very close to my heart.  These walks while he’s running round like a chicken without a head helps me avoid conflict with him.  I get home just in time to give him a hug and send him on his merry way.  It works really well for both of us!
  10. My boys are taking responsibility for the dogs by walking them when they get home from school.  It has become a bit of a stress relief for them as well.  

Walking is so good for the soul.  Whether you have dogs or not, try to get out there once a week and see how it makes you feel!  Get those steps in!

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The common threads in life

On a hike!

I’m on revision #32 #38 with this particular post.  I know what kind of message I want to convey, but am having trouble not sounding like a pompous ass or a know-it-all.  I do believe that the sum of my experiences and the long talks I have had with my friends has given me some insight. It is true however, that even though I can commit these words down to paper, it is still a learning process within my own life and my own relationships. I’m going to try to share some thoughts with you and have to ask you to forgive me if it comes out wrong.  This post is about marriage, about friendships and about evaluating the core common threads that connect us to people in our lives.  Regardless of your marital status, I am hoping that you will still get something out of my ramblings.

I have learned during my marriage that there is a common thread that connects us.  I believe that this is the case for most people, whether we are thinking about our spouse or our friendships.  The difference is simply how strong those fibers are in your thread.  You can really do some serious soul-searching on the strength and makeup of those fibers if you think about why you share your time with that person in the first place. My husband and I share the same value system, we are nerds, we love to have intellectual discussions and question just about everything and we both have a very weird sense of humor.   I am thankful for the years we have shared together including all of the ups and all of the downs.   It’s real and imperfect but at the core we both care about what the other person thinks and feels.  Let me repeat that because it’s important.  We both care about what the other person thinks and feels.   This is our true common thread.  This common thread also connects me to the people I call my friends.

When people first get married they may suffer from Cinderella syndrome.  This is the belief that just because they get married, that marriage will “work,” because that’s what is supposed to happen.  In some ways this was my philosophy during my first marriage.  We both failed to examine whether we were a good match on many different social, philosophical and emotional levels.  When things went south, that common thread shredded so fast that there was only one way to survive and that was to let go and find our separate truths.  Twenty-two years later we are on pretty good terms.  I was a bit more realistic going into my second marriage.

During these “midlife” years,  I’ve been hearing more and more from people who are struggling with their relationships.  Friendships that were formed when the kids were little may fade away when those same children become their true young adult selves and choose different friends on their own.   Spouses who used to enjoy each other’s company are side tracked with the daily activities of life and may drift apart.  The foundational strength of your relationships become even more important, and it becomes more important to identify the common threads and fibers that connect you with the people around you.  Sometimes we find that they were weak to begin with and at other times we just need to rediscover each other.

Then there’s the other side of the coin.  

Betrayal, abuse and cruelty infused marriages and toxic friendships are not healthy.  These situations break hearts.  If married, a person may believe that they stay for the children.  I can certainly understand this concept, but only if you can ask yourself a question and answer with complete honesty. What does your marriage actually teach your children?  This is such an important question to answer.  Your words to your children only go so far.  Your children will look at their childhood and their youth in totality and will put together the picture you have painted on your relationship.  Chances are they will internalize those things and may even repeat the history they have witnessed.  Abusive relationship?  Love and abuse go together, that’s the lesson they have learned.  Infidelity?  This is how to treat your partner, like they are disposable or not good enough.  The cycle continues.  Put on your oxygen mask before attaching one to your child.

I’ve said this before in past posts but sometimes the easiest person to lie to is yourself.   I’ve seen so many people fool themselves into thinking they are sacrificing themselves for the sake of their children when really all they are doing is teaching their dysfunction in the strongest way possible, through their own example.   How can we do right by our children if we can’t do right in our own lives?  I’m not against the sanctity of marriage, I’m just against only one person participating within their marriage.  The same rules goes for friendships.  A true friendship has an even give and take.  In both marriages and friendship, when one party is extremely selfish it creates discord and does not represent a true partnership.

I was single for six years between my first and second marriage.  They were some of the happiest and most fulfilling years of my life. This was a time when I truly found myself and learned so much about who I was and who I wanted to be, a time when I learned to value myself and those around me in a healthier way.  It is very true that you can be lonelier with someone than without someone.  For all of those men and women who have chosen a different way because it was healthier, I honor and respect your decision and courage.  There is joy in respecting and loving yourself.   For those of you who are sad and doubtful, confused and scared, I send you love and prayers.

It is common to reflect and question this time in your life.  I am a firm believer that relationships with strong foundations and strong common threads can weather any storm.  I’ve seen so many people come out of those storms stronger and happier.  In many ways they’ve recommitted and re-established why they are together in the first place.  I’ve also seen people refuse to give up even when their lives have become destructive and toxic.  People who give more and more and receive less and less within their friendships and in life in general.

What is your common thread?  What is your basic foundational need within your relationships?  Whether you are single or married, the truth is that life is too short.   Live your best life and surround yourself with people that share your values and common threads.

I’m going to click publish now.  It’s a bit long and convoluted but I’m done.  I can’t even read this again for editing purposes!

You deserve love.  You deserve respect.  Happiness is a journey.  Take it!  Thank you for once again reading my ramblings.  Sending you a virtual hug!

 

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Don’t Dull Your Shine!

I feel a little bit nervous for my son Max this morning.  He’s in fifth grade and he’s a young fifth grader.  At this age, my other two sons were growing into their pre-teen status and were transitioning from the magic of childhood to the realities of more homework and new social norms.  Not Max.  The world is full of magic and possibility and I absolutely love this about him and I also fear for him.

Yesterday he video taped himself making a news presentation for his class.  The children have a choice, they may create a Powerpoint presentation on a current event in the class or send in a video.  He wanted to create a video.  He sat at his father’s desk and started his newscast  “This is Max Lundqvist with Lundqvist news.  I have an intriguing adventure story for you today.  A snow leopard fell of a cliff BOOM and survived!”

Yes he used special effects, his tone was excited, quirky and engaging.  He had the time of his life and even signed off the video by saying Adieu!  ADIEU!  What kid says Adieu?  I’ll tell you what kid, a kid who reads all the time and is not afraid to be himself.  My first reaction was pride and my second reaction was to worry about what the other kids would think.  I sent the video to my husband who was simply thrilled that his son has inherited his presentation skills.    This is not my first rodeo and I suspect that this video that Max is so proud of may be very different from the presentations that have been done so far.  This IS an age where kids start to quiet their inner personalities to avoid ridicule.  But why?  Why should we dull our shine?

Last night Max told me he also wanted to wear pajamas to school.  If you pledged a small donation for the school Fun Run then you could wear pajamas.I made the donation and he happily put on his pajamas and we went to the bus stop.  Not one child was in pajamas.   Not one.  Not the first grader, not the third grader and not the fourth grader.  Max had his pajamas on AND his Chewbacca hoodie.

I drove home and sat down at my computer to write and to think.  I encouraged him this morning to be himself, to celebrate his creative spirit and to be unapologetic for his uniqueness.  And yet….for all of those pretty words and intentions I still have a pit in my stomach.  This is not allowed.  We are told to conform to social norms and kids are punished and bullied for their differences.  Even when those kids grow up to be adults, many of them conform and focus on not standing out.

It makes me mad.  I see parents who have gifted kids, really gifted kids who are not very academic but are inventors and unique and their friends make fun of them.  In an effort to protect themselves these very same kids hide their talents, talents that may take them really far in life.  They dull their shine.   I know kids who love nature and paint and play music and celebrate the wonders around them but can’t sit still in class.  They are labeled and flattened and scolded and told to burn less brightly.

Why?  Why do we try to quiet the future leaders of our world?  As their parents we need to stop being afraid.  We need to celebrate our kids and help make them more resilient.  We need to also push back on other parents and their snide comments and judgmental bullshit.  Don’t dull my kid’s shine.  Don’t dull my shine.

Don’t dull your shine.

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Missing you.

I am missing you.  When I look down at my aging hands I see you.  I remember sitting next to you on the sofa, tracing the veins on your hands and thinking that your skin was beautiful and soft while you knew that your skin looked thinner and more frail.  Now you are gone but I hold you close by looking at my own hands.  I am missing you but I still have my memories.  Thank you for all of the joy and lessons and love that you have given me.

I am missing you.  I remember when you were a small child and adored me.  You don’t adore me to that extent any longer.  You’ve become an independent, strong, young man with your own thoughts, opinions and personality.  I am missing being needed even though I know I am loved.  I hope that you will not judge me so harshly like kids are prone to do.  I was imperfect while you were perfect.  I did my best and you have made me a better person for all of the smiles, the sickness, the teenage angst and the challenges that have come with growing up.  I love you.

I am missing you.  I see an uncertain future.  No longer can you neglect your health.   I am missing you before I need to because I see what you do not.  I see your tired heart and lungs, your weary heart and mind and the abuse your body has taken from years of neglect.  I mourn you before it is time because I do not see a future with you in it.  I hope you prove me wrong.  One day we must all say goodbye but we should not speed up that clock.

I am missing you.  We have separated and have gone different paths.  Deep inside my heart I know that we have both learned valuable lessons from our friendship but we also know it was not meant to be.  The beautiful thing about aging is that you constantly grow and sometimes you grow apart.  It is what it is.  I miss the days of youth but would never go back to them. Sometimes it is the same for friendships.  They are not meant to be revisited.  I wish you well my friend.

I am missing you.  The days of my youth when I would sing in my family’s car on a road trip and imagine I was flying through the air.   Lazy days by the pool and Italian ice with wooden spoons. Ice cream trucks, parks, little league games and Charlie’s Angels trading cards.  Eighties music, the first boxes of mac and cheese that we thought were actually healthy and Saturday morning cartoons, the only time when a kid could watch cartoons.  Joy came easy.  Today I make my own joy, I work at it and pay attention.

I am missing you but you are all woven inside the fabric of my being.  The lessons, the laughter, the joy, the heartache and all of those experiences have brought me to this road.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Yes I am missing you but more than that, I am celebrating the gifts you have given me.  I hope you can say the same when you think of me.

I can’t help you.

During the last six months I’ve made some tough parenting decisions.  Those decisions were incredibly difficult and uncomfortable.  I put some serious boundaries in place with one of my sons..  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I had to tell him that I couldn’t help him anymore, that he completely owned his life and that I was done and was letting go.

He was crushed.  I was devastated. 

And he did it.  He helped himself.  I didn’t enable him any longer and he understood that it was time to love and care for himself and his future.  So in dedication to my son, this very difficult and perhaps harsh post is seeped in love but that love, well, it is tough love and it’s a strong love.

I can’t help you.

I can’t help you.  I’ve tried.  I’m always here to lend a helping hand, to support you when you need it, but I can’t actually do the work.  You need to do it.

I can’t help you.  I know money is tight and yet you still went on that vacation and you can’t stop shopping and you don’t put boundaries in place.  It’s never too late to save and it’s never too late to protect your future self.

I can’t help you.  I’m not sitting in that classroom and I don’t have homework and I didn’t lose my calculator but I can listen and help you find solutions so you can prevent those mistakes in the future.  The rest is up to you.

I can’t help you.  All children are born into this world naive and innocent.  If your child  is heading towards a wrong direction there’s only one person who can right that ship with boundaries and discipline and that’s you.  You are not helpless, you just need to pay more attention and do things that are uncomfortable.  There’s no magic to parenting, just a lot of hard work.,

I can’t help you.  We are all struggling with weight because we are in midlife and some of it is genetic but most of it is because we are indulging.  Alcohol, lunches, socializing, portions and lifestyle are what keeps people fat and unhealthy.  I can’t help you.  I’m trying to take care of my own health.  I’m letting go of yours.

I can’t help you.  You hate your job and yet you don’t look for another one.  You wait and wait until you don’t have a choice and your money runs out.

I can’t help you.  I know you don’t feel good and yet you won’t go to the doctor or take care of yourself.  There is no one else to blame.

I can’t help you.  I’m a hot mess and am trying to make myself just a bit more tidy.  It’s an ongoing struggle but it’s my struggle.  I own it.

I can’t help you.  Help yourself.  The only person you can control is yourself.  Make sure what you’re addressing in your life is a problem and not an excuse or justification.

If you face something that you can’t control I will be there in a heartbeat.  I will always listen and lift you up……

But the other stuff?  The challenges that you face that you yourself have contributed to?

I can’t help you.  I know someone who can.  Look in the mirror.  You can do it. Go forth and do it and I will support you.

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The Midlife Crisis – The Blank Page.

I am turning fifty this year.  As I age, I see more and more people around me struggle with this time in their lives.  I do also.  I believe that the decisions we made in our twenties and thirties come back to haunt us in our forties and fifties.  That’s the darn crisis!  Perhaps if we made good decisions, life would be all peaches and cream (has anyone actually eaten that).  Let’s face it.  A good portion of our twenty plus years focused on being married and raising our children.  We were in survival mode!  When that’s almost done we have our AHA or WTF moments.  ONE CRISIS COMING UP!  DING!

If someone today asks you: What is your life’s purpose?  What gives it meaning?  These are important questions because the way you answer will also lead the way to your future.  If you sit here, as you read these words, and tell me that your children are your only life purpose, I will understand your sentiment but will whisper a word of caution.  They are only on loan.  If you neglect yourself, who you are at the core, all for the sake of your children and your spouse, you may be setting the foundation for some confusion down the road.  I think that it’s about balance for all of us at this stage.

Those decisions that you made in your youth will now become the midlife elephant in the room.   He will trumpet and stomp and ask you uncomfortable questions.  That’s why this time of your age can be difficult.  The elephant asks questions like:

  • Why didn’t you save money?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Do you love your spouse?  Does he/she treat you right?
  • Are you going back to school?
  • Are you taking care of yourself?
  • What brings your life meaning?
  • What has your marriage taught your children?
  • Did you really think he/she would stop cheating on you?
  • How much time do you think you have left to take that trip?
  • Exactly what day will you start to exercise?
  • What else do you have besides your looks because…ummm…they are disappearing!
  • Do you need glasses? (LOL sorry why yes, yes I do).
  • When will you retire?
  • Are you taking care of your health and securing your health for the future?
  • What are your goals?  What do you want to achieve?

We build prisons of our own making.  It’s never too late to write the second half of our lives.  Midlife is a blank page.  It’s a new beginning.   I don’t care if you’re in your forties, fifties, sixties or seventies – your time is NOW.  Rewrite your story or finesse it.  It’s never to late to stop making excuses.  Face the elephant in the room and have your answers ready.  It’s never to late to live your best life.

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Hurricane Tornado Crazy Mom.

Hi.  It’s me.  I was going to write about how skinny people get wrinkles even though they’re skinny and my fat easily fills the lines on my face in but then I thought that wasn’t so nice.  Plus, who am I kidding, I have both fat and wrinkles.  So instead I will write about one of the biggest “oh my I’m raising sons” mistakes I’ve ever made.    This mistake has come back to haunt me and I’ve dubbed it “I’m too tired to follow through on your bullshit” mistake.  You’re welcome for my technical and psychological expertise.

So this is how it goes.

MOM:  “Clean your room.”

SON:    “OK Mom, I will….after I finish this game.”

MOM:   “OK” (I naively and foolishly comment)

Two days later I realize that he never cleaned his room.  Do I follow through?  It depends on my energy level.  To be honest I often repeat myself until I’m so damn tired and realize that it’s easier to pick up his dirty clothes myself.  MISTAKE ALERT! WHOOT WHOOT WHOOT!

My sons have trained me, outlasted and outsmarted me.  They have won the resilience battle.  It’s really not fair because I have three kids to follow through with and they only have one mother to push back on.  I am the ONLY woman in this household except my dog Mocha!  What was I thinking?   And let me say something about my Mocha.  She’s a sweetheart.  She keeps her brother Cap clean and licks the gunk out of his eyes while her eyes are matted like crap because he is not going to clean her because he is MALE.  OK I digress.

So then I erupt into this huge monster hurricane tornado kind of mom and am met with complete embarrassment and attitude.  “Seriously, like my other friend’s moms don’t behave this way.” To which I will reply “I AM FRIENDS WITH THOSE MOMS AND YES THEY DO!”  What usually then follows is an exaggerated walk to the refrigerator by (pick any of my son’s names) and a slow drink of water until he sloooowwwwly goes upstairs to take four hours to clean a room that should have taken five minutes.

Dear future daughter-in-laws I am so very sorry.

One day I wrote a note to my son Ryan.  The note said “Ryan, is that your plate in the basement I see on the TV cabinet?”  Later when I passed that note I saw a reply.  The reply said “Maybe.”  OUT came the hurricane tornado mom only to find that he cleaned up his damn plate and now I AM the crazy one….again.

My point is?  I try.  I really try to follow through.  To be honest I do a great job until they turn 16. That’s a magical age.  That’s when the hormones and the body odor and the attitudes all peek at once and it’s just easier to hide from them.  That’s when you feel like a boxer in a boxing ring and wonder where you went wrong and why you’re feeling down for the count.  As they approach twenty you start to understand that you don’t care where you went wrong and start to dream about beach homes and long vacations.

But for now?  I’m Hurricane Tornado Crazy Mom.  However when my husband intervenes and puffs out his chest and sternly tells them to listen?  I’m SUPER SULTRY SEXY WIFE!

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No. I didn’t see your Facebook post.

o-SELFIE-facebook.jpg

No, I didn’t see your Facebook post or maybe I did and just didn’t focus on it.  I liked something or I didn’t like something or I was lazy and switched gears and went to a news site.  If you think that I’m intentionally ignoring you or selectively using social media to send you a message then you need to understand that social media is not a good tool to measure human interactions and relationships.  I have the attention span of a five-year old most of the time so please don’t read into what I do or don’t do on social media.   Be kinder to yourself.  You’re worth more than what Facebook wants you to believe.

I’m not offended by what you say, what you write or what you do in your life.  If that changes I will simply unfriend you in real life.   I don’t believe you have a picture perfect life and I don’t believe you always look hot or skinny, because unlike your selfies I don’t view you from ten feet above your head.    You may be a great mom, but I also know that you really suck at motherhood because all of us do.  There’s no such thing as mother of the year.  Trust me, I know….I’ve been losing that contest for twenty-two years straight.   Your marriage isn’t perfect.  I know this because I’m married.  Your kids are great and I also know they suck.  I know this because I have kids.   You’re on vacation?  So was I!  Maybe you saw the pictures?  No?  That’s OK!  I’ll tell you all about it over lunch or I won’t.

No, I didn’t see your  Facebook post or maybe I did and just didn’t focus on it.  Pick up the phone and give me a call.

I knew I was in Sweden when…

IMG_0417It’s summer and that means I went to Sweden with the boys to visit family.

I knew I was in northern Sweden when:

  • I had to wear a knit hat on one particularly cold summer day.
  • My kids jumped into the lake fully clothed.
  • A mosquito took a nose dive towards my nether regions while I was on the toilet.
  • My son fed a worm to a baby bird. That baby bird is now dead because the mother was attacked by a cat.
  • I lost all desire to put on makeup, shave or wear any clothes other than sweat pants and Levi’s.
  • It took me a freaking hour to make hard-boiled eggs. Seriously what the heck is that? My sister-in-law said it’s because the eggs are so fresh.  No way. This is a country that imports lots of food and I’m not buying that.
  • I’ve made fire after fire to keep warm outside.
  • I’ve served my kids half and half instead of milk due to not reading Swedish labels and being half asleep.
  • Ice cream is now a food staple.
  • My kids added Tack, OY, and hej to their vocabulary.
  • I’ve been using the lawn tractor and push mower weekly.
  • I’ve become a one-handed warrior mosquito killer.
  • I’ve tried some jungle salt licorice candy that caused shooting pains up the sides of my jaw. Really guys?
  • Pork is not steak. Enough with the pork Sweden.
  • Have engaged in fun political discussions with my Swedish friends.
  • I have fished and fished and fished.
  • I went nuts when I discovered it was going to be hot one day at a high of 68 degrees!
  • I’ve enjoyed the most beautiful sunsets.IMG_1002.JPG
  • My kids have been outside running around every single day.
  • I went to Svansele and ate moose and artic char.
  • I saw a moose! A living one!
  • A Cinderella toilet has changed my life!

Not all of this is glamorous but it refreshes the soul.  There is plenty of time to get back into the hustle and bustle of life back in the U.S.  This is a gift to my sons, and is the number one reason why I don’t return to work; my annual summer month in Sweden.

Sweden has changed me.  I am two different people now.  Many of you see the sometimes sarcastic, introspective,  often humorous American friend and colleague.  In Sweden I can build a mean fire, bait maggots and worms on a hook, and can drive a lawn tractor so fast it puts landscapers to shame.   Being true to both of those personas is important to me.

I love you Sweden.  Until we meet again.  Back to my reality!