Sunday, 31 August 2008

Moon or no moon?

Tonight we had to keep an eye on the school's website, to know if school will be open tomorrow or not. It's because Ramadan is about to start, either tomorrow or Tuesday - depending on when they sight the moon - and the day it starts school will be closed.

Well, I just checked, and no moon has been sighted tonight, which means school is on as normal tomorrow, and Ramadan will by default start on Tuesday, whether the moon has been sighted or not. Apparently, they hardly ever sight the moon because of the foggy skies, and the rain; so it almost always starts on the 2nd day they have as an option.
(Some even say it's because the guy who is supposed to look for the moon is half-blind, but I don't know about that! :))

Ramadan ends in a month's time, once again - after they have sighted (or not sighted) the moon, it will end either the 1st or 2nd of October this year. Every year, it comes around slightly earlier than the previous year. You can read more about it here f.e.

Busy weekend

Our first "school weekend" (you know what I mean) has been rather busy, but nice:

- We have been to a 5-year birthday party, with loads of kids dressed up according to the spooky theme, a couple of hours just as chaotic as all these birthday parties are with kids that age.
- We have seen the new Wall-E movie at the cinema. Lucas thought it was ok, Linnea got a bit scared and a bit bored, not quite her type of movie just yet I think.
- We have had the carpenter here to fix the desk in the office.
- I went to a girls-night/birthday dinner and Nathan went to a games/curry night.
- We have mounted all (just about) our paintings and other things that are going up on the wall.
- I've done the weekly (sort of) shop, unpacked a few boxes (yes, there are still a few left) and sorted out some other bits and pieces.
- We have been for a swim at the Empire, and said goodbye to our friends the Holmes who left Brunei for good and flew out last night.

Now Nathan is working, the kids are asleep and the TV remote is mine and all mine! :)

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Bit by bit

Our house is slowly taking the shape of a home, bit by bit. We have now changed the curtains downstairs, from this:

To this:

Makes a big difference, huh? A lot more warm and cosy. All these little details means so much in the overall feel of a house. I love to see the personality of the people living there when I enter a house.
The next thing for us will be some nice rugs for downstairs, but so far no luck.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Warm up over

This week has been a bit of a warm up for us. It's been a bit hard to all of a sudden get up at 06.15 (with 2 kids to drop off, and Lucas having to be at class at 07.30, that has been necessary). It's been long days for the kids, especially with the extra bit to drive now that we have moved slightly further away from school. We leave home at 07.10, Linnea gets picked up at 11.30 and Lucas at 14.00.

We have tried to fine tune our morning routines and time the getting-ready and the drive to school. I think we've got it down to a good plan now! All I need now, is to try to get into bed earlier at nights too!

Tomorrow we are kicking off with the first birthday party of the year, we have another one next weekend as well, and with two schoolkids now - this is just the beginning!
Next week it's all getting serious though! No more soft start, no more warm up, no more excuses: it's back to the gym for me! I'm planning on going every morning after school drop off. There is nothing else to do that early anyway. If you have errands to run, nothing is open until 10.00, so it's either the gym or drive all the way back home for a couple of hours, which sometimes will be nice too.

So Monday we should have all the routines for the school days in place after a soft start this week. I like Mondays for fresh starts, and this Monday is a 1st of the month too - couldn't get any better!

My morning read

In Sweden, I love(d) having long breakfasts while reading the morning paper. It kind of goes together, the smell of coffee and the rustling sound of paper. Here, I don't have time for long breakfasts - nor a morning paper to read...
Instead, what I do, is make myself a nice cup of coffee when I get back in from my early morning jobs (school run, gym, errands etc.) and sit down and enjoy my morning read on the internet. Thanks to the internet, I can still read the morning "papers" and keep up with what's going on at home, and in the world. Internet is great!

I also have a blog roll I follow almost every day, a bunch of favourite blogs I subscribe to. My blog roll is a mix between scrapbooking & photography blogs, both private and commercial to inspire and feed the scrapping mojo; private blogs (mostly other Swedish mums abroad - see links to the right); fashion blogs and home decorating blogs. I love reading about what's hot and not back home, and get inspiration for my new home.
Again - internet is great!

Here are just a few of my favourites (mostly in Swedish, sorry), check them out:

Underbara Clara - Old-time fashion today
I ett litet hus - Home decorating
Petrified in Pink - Design etc.
Jenny's Perspektiv - Home decorating
Badanka - Scrapbooking, art, graphic
**WoopsieDaisy** - Scrapbooking, photography

Thursday, 28 August 2008

In the right place

Doing my blog roll these past few days, I realize that it's been really bad weather recently in most parts of Scandinavia. Everybody talks about it: the rain, the cold, the "autumny" days already. Summer is over, and now it will only get colder and darker for many long months...

Makes me feel like I'm in the right place.

The little unicorn

Linnea's pre-Kindy class (or Nursery class as you really should call it now, to comply with international standards) at school is called Unicorn. She is really enjoying being part of the little crowd of other "unicorns" and has proudly declared she has now got her own friends.

Her schedule for this year, looks like Lucas' from last year: they do swimming on Fridays, PE (sport) twice a week, music on Tuesdays and library on Thursdays. In between all that they have indoor and outdoor free play, music/singing time, computer time, quiet time and of course - snack time.

These first two weeks, they are not following the schedule completely to the point, but are very flexible to follow the kids' needs. Some of them will only recently have turned two and some will soon turn 3; so the age span is quite big considering the big difference between a 2- and a 3-year old.

The theme for these first two weeks is "All about me", and they will be talking about ‘How tall am I?', My handprints’, ‘My Birthday’ and ‘My favourite songs’.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

"Mamma, vad är ... på engelska"?

= "Mummy, what's ... in English?"

I get this question hundreds of times daily, with variations. Of course it depends what we are talking about, or which language is being spoken at the time. Lucas is very conscious at the moment about his two languages and wants to know ALL the words in both languages ALL the time.

It's so interesting to follow the kids' linguistic development, especially since I have studied both linguistics and bilingualism at the University, and languages is one of my passions.
It's very clear that Lucas is in a vocabulary building stage at the moment, and all of our conversations are full of "how do you say this and how do you say that"- episodes.

He is very, very good at switching between the languages, and he knows exactly who speaks what. In Denmark he spoke English to the people we (mostly) spoke English to (Nathan's friends) and Swedish to the people we (well, I) spoke Swedish to. But he has also figured out that most (if not all) people do speak English, so that's always the fail safe.

Linnea has just started switching, at the moment it's mostly just with Nathan and I. For the rest of the people, it's just about making herself understood, with whatever words or language she has at the moment.
Although, she spoke more Swedish (with English mixed in) while we were in Sweden, and now it's more English with Swedish mixed in.
One thing is for sure though, she is a chatterbox, in both languages!

Monday, 25 August 2008

The cutest schoolkids, ever!

My new favourite photo, look at them, aren't they just the cutest?


And, this -

- is what the Mummys do when the kids are at school! We almost didn't know what to do with ourselves and our new independence today, after having dropped both kids at school. Then we decided to go to a café and celebrate!
Might not make that into a routine though...

1st day of school 08/09

So, today was the day at least Linnea has been waiting for! Time for school after seven lovely weeks of holiday.
They were both really excited this morning, about their new bags, and lunch boxes - and about both getting dressed in their new uniform. Linnea was so proud she would were uniform too, just like her brother. She looked at Lucas as they got dressed and said excitedly:
-"Cool!!" and he responded "You look really nice Linnea". (Bless!)

They were absolutely adorable, and happily let me snap away some photos before we left home. This is how happy you are when you are off to school for the first time (I can almost hear Linnea say "Oh yeah!" when I see this photo!) :

With their new bags, very important:

My big boy:

My happy girl:

Arriving to school we first went to Lucas' new classroom. He has moved up to Reception this year, so not only is it a new classroom (which is similar to the old one though) but also a new teacher, a Mrs Williamson. Lucas introduced himself and promptly told her where he had been for the holidays, and that he had visited Legoland, of course!
He was a bit puzzled at first that none of his mates were there. The two Kindy-classes has been split up into three Reception classes for this year, and he is not in a class with either of his two best friends unfortunately. But he soon found another friend, and wasn't bothered at all when I left.

Then I went to drop off Linnea at Nursery. I thought it would be easy, since she spent all last year dropping off and picking up Lucas, so she knows the drill. Plus she was so excited. At first it was ok, she was curious about the other kids and her and her best friend Daniel got busy straight away with some toys - but when I was about to go she burst out in tears...

So I stayed for a bit longer, but then I went anyway (tough love!) knowing she would stop crying once I had left. The teacher told me when I came to pick her up, that she had settled almost instantly I was out the door, so it's probably just a bit of a protest. Otherwise she had had a good day.
We will see what happens tomorrow, and the rest of the days this week, when she realizes this will now happen every day..!

First thing Lucas said to me when I picked him up today was:
-"Jag vill inte vara så länge i skolan" (=I don't want to be this long at school)...
They go from 07.30 until 14.00 now (12.30 last year). Long days yes, but I guess he will get used to it. Otherwise he had had a good day and made new friends. He said he liked his new teacher, and he had got a new blue "schoolbag" they need to bring to and from school every day, with reading assignments etc. He was very cheery and happy - I think this will be a good school year!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow! *Singing*

Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for the past week - school is back! I have to admit, it's going to be so nice, for all of us.
Lucas is looking forward to seeing his friends, Linnea is looking forward to starting "real" school and me, I'm looking forward to having four hours every morning to do what only I want to do... mmm!

We are ready to go. Picked up all the uniform on Friday, and the amah has been busy naming all the different parts; we have bought new, black school shoes for both of them (still need to get Linnea some sneakers for PE) and they have both been picking out new school bags. I wanted them to have trolley bags this year, as I was sick of logging all Lucas' stuff last year, now they can pull their bags themselves! Lucas chose a Batman one and Linnea a "Kitty-cat" one (=Hello Kitty).
All the drinks bottles, lunch- and snackboxes have been named as well, now I only need to get the kids to sleep fairly early, we have to get up at 06.20 tomorrow...

I like the everyday life. I like routine. I never used to, but since I've had kids, it's by far the easiest way to get our everyday to hang together. Clear rules and routines, every day looks pretty much the same, easy. I like it. I can't wait until tomorrow...

05.10 in the morning

It's far too early in the morning, and I should be fast asleep, just like the kids. Instead I am lying here wide awake and a bit scared, of all the noises I don't know yet in this house.
Nathan is at work, something woke me up, and now I can't fall asleep again...

There is always lots of noises in a big house, here we have the air conditioning units going on and off, humming away; sometimes very heavy rain, on rare occasions some traffic and finally plenty of different animals just outside that make really loud noises. It's kind of cosy when you are going to sleep, but not when you wake up in the middle of the night and you are a bit of a scaredy cat...

Saturday, 23 August 2008

In the jungle

Our next-door neighbours are moving in less than a week now (boo-hoo) so yesterday they brought over the garden furniture we have bought off them. Our amah and theirs also moved all their plants over to our house, which took them most of the afternoon cause there were so many! It turned really cosy straight away, with all that greanery!
Check it out. Before:

And after:

They hang plants in the trees here, for decoration I guess. It looks really nice:

Now all we need outside, is some nice lanters for in the evenings, some blinds for some privacy and maybe a soft, cosy sofa or too to lounge in. That would make this space even more perfect!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Half a year later...

Today was a big day! At least for Nathan - our boat got in the water for the first time!!! It's been taking what seems like forever to get all the parts for it and get it fixed up - but today was the day!

Will and Nathan took it out for a spin, and apparently it went really well, and the motor had a nice noise (?). There was a few issues though (don't ask me what) that will have to be dealt with before we can take the family out.

The "I can do it by myself" phase

Linnea is in the "I can do it by myself"-phase. She has been actually for quite a while, and with her personality, I think she will always be pretty independent.
She says "I'll do it by mysjälv", which is very swenglish and cute!

When Lucas was in the same phase, he said "I'll do it my byself", which was another funny version! He only stayed in that phase for a short period though. He is back to "I caaaaaan't..." instead, mostly said with a very winy voice. *Sigh*.

Thursday, 21 August 2008


The jet lag is always worse for us coming back home to Brunei. Going east is hard.
Normally, when we go to Scandinavia, we manage to curb it within one early night and early rise; which is good cause we don't want to miss too much of our precious vacation time.

But coming back home is a different story... it normally takes several days to get back into normal rhythm. Which is why we came back five days early this time, so we have plenty of time to beat the jet lag before school starts on Monday.

Last night we actually slept, all of us, all night! Yes, the kids didn't get to bed until after 23, but that was ok. Linnea was rumbling a bit around 02, and came in to my bed (Nathan was at work) - but then we all slept until 07.30! Lovely!

Even though we might not be completely back in routine, we have at least had a good nights sleep, and that's really important. Today probably will be a bit upside-down too, but that's ok. It seems we might be lucky and get over it fairly quickly though this time anyway.

Edit: The only not so nice thing, is that Lucas has been throwing up all morning. He can't even keep water down at the moment, a little bit worrying, but hopefully it will get better during the day.

Edit 2: He is now ok. Has kept down both fluids and toast, and building Lego with full energy again.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Back in Brunei

We are back home. So nice.

It was a long trip this time, nothing really went our way and everywhere was really, really busy because of the end-of-the-school-holidays-timing... Haven't slept at all on the way back and so far I've only managed to unpack one of the suitcases...

Good to be home though. In our new house. In our own life. It's all good.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Vacation in numbers

Our Scandinavian vacation is over for this time. It's time to go, our bags are packed and we are on our way.
It's been five fantastic weeks, and here is a little summary, in numbers:

Days it has rained: 14 (I think, maybe more)
Amusement parks we have visited: 5
Friends we have seen: 58
Places we have slept in: 7
Ice creams we have eaten: 25 each (at least!)
Plasters we have used: 8
Pictures we have taken: 601
Lego boxes we have built: 8
Family we have caught up with: 14
Books I have read: 0
Blog posts I have written: 40

3 things I rather not sum up:
- How many kilometers we have traveled, across the world, and criss-crossing Denmark and Sweden here, there and everywhere.
- How much money we have spent (gosh, Europe is suddenly really, really expensive!)
- How many kilos we have gained...

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Playground fun

One of the things we always do while at Mormor & Morfar's, is to go to the huge playground they have in town. It's a really nicely made one, with a pirate ship, a car, swings, slides and a huge climbing frame. The kids always have a blast.

There is only one thing that is really strange, why are there almost never any other kids there?
Where are all the Swedish kids?!? Hiding inside? At home? Still on vacation?
I don't know. It's a mystery. It doesn't matter which time of the year we come, or what time of day - we are almost every time, the only ones there. Strange.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Bibel 2009

It's here, the Bibel - at least for us Swedes!

Unfortunately, it's not starting to get distributed until on Tuesday, the day after I leave! Talk about bad timing!!! (You can browse it on the net though already if you want, right here.)

Oh yeah!

Linnea's latest expression, whenever there something is making her really happy, is:
- Oh yeah, oh yeah!!!

Mostly it is at the news of dessert coming, or ice cream... She sounds so funny, cause it is with a really strong voice, she sounds a bit like the cake loving "lady" in Little Britain.
I hope I will be able to catch it on film one day.

Astrid Lindgrens Värld

We were so lucky yesterday, with the weather, it was a really hot and sunny day (for a change) - which was really handy since we had decided to chance it and visit Astrid Lindgrens Värld (Astrid Lindgren's World) in Småland.
What a beautiful place!

(Picture borrowed from

I must admit, it was just as much for my sake, as for the kids we decided to go there. Even though it was our 5th (!) big park for this vacation I really wanted to go, since the kids (especially Linnea) have been watching all our Astrid Lindgren movies lately, over and over again. I thought it was good timing this summer, while the kids were still into all these characters.

This park has no attractions, no rides. It's all about the stories of Astrid Lindgren, and it's a park full of performances, both scheduled on stage and improvisations throughout the park - special episodes from her different stories.
The kids are allowed to play in all the different settings too. It was a huge success for example, to be allowed into Pippi Långstrumps (Pippi Longstocking's) house, say hello to Karlsson på Taket (Karlsson-on-the-roof) or get (pretend) locked-in to Emil's woodshed.

We spent all day there, walking around, watching the shows and playing in the different settings and playgrounds. Lucas favourite was Pippi, where we saw about 3-4 stories getting acted out, and Linnea liked Karlsson på Taket.
If you ever get to Sweden, and you have the slightest fancy for Astrid Lindgren stories, this is a must! Well worth a visit.

As usual we took so many pictures, so I made a little slide show. Be patient, it takes a moment to load:

Under attack

I can easily say what's been the worst thing during our vacation - the wasps!
There has been so many of them, everywhere we have been. Extra yucky during those hot weeks when they got so lazy from the heat, and just sat in the grass for example - you had to be really careful and watch your step.
We are lucky we haven't been stung (*knock on wood*), still they have been extremely annoying when we have tried to sit outside and enjoy our meals etc.
Such a pain.

(Picture borrowed from


It's raining again, and I'm sitting here after the morning rush quietly contemplating our last few weeks. This long vacation is soon coming to an end and I was thinking about listing some favourite moments. But, thinking about it it's all been so good! We have done so much, had so much fun and good times; met up with so many of our old friends - so I won't even try. It's all been great!

One the absolute highlights must be what we did this Tuesday though:
My friend Linda (from UK) has been in Sweden all summer, because she had a little baby in the middle of July. Since it was number three, staying with her parents provided her with a lot of well needed help up until and after the arrival of the baby.
We had talked about trying to catch up, now that we were in Sweden at the same time, but I had decided not to go and see them because I felt we had moved the kids around enough through UK, Denmark and Sweden for this time.
That was until I realized that they were only 2 1/2 hours away...

So, I decided to drive up and surprise visit Linda this Tuesday and phoned her mother to tell her about my plans.
Linda got surprised all right, and so happy to suddenly see us, that she even shed a little tear!
We had a great afternoon together, and the kids played nicely all day, just like in the old days. Such a shame we live so far apart now, but I'm happy at least, our friendship is none the different. Still as strong as ever.
It was great fun giving her the biggest surprise, and so lovely to see them all! Thank you for a super day!

Here are some pics (some are blurry, but wanted to show them anyway):
Savannah and Linnea:

Angelo trying to scare off the wasps:

Crazy dancing to Imse Vimse Spindel:

Niccolai and Lucas playing pirates chasing lions, in the trees..:

Linnea and Angelo:

Linda and Savannah:

All the kids:

Me and my girl:

Monday, 11 August 2008

Meanwhile, in another part of Sweden

I left Stockholm this afternoon after having had taco for lunch with the girls, done some last-minute shopping (only presents) and struggled to get all the Lego (a box of 11 kgs) with me on the train...

The kids were happy to see me, but it was only Linnea who came to meet me off the train, Lucas was waiting back home. Took them a while to fall asleep because they were really excited.

They've had a good weekend too, although it has rained a lot more down here than in Stockholm, so they haven't been able to go outside much. Which means they spent a lot of time playing with the Lego inside instead, surprise, surprise.
Mormor has been a bit poorly, she even lost her voice on Friday. So all weekend she has been "the Lego baddie without voice"! Mostly Lucas wants to play with the Batman and Two-Face figures, which can be a bit boring the 100th time, when your imagination runs dry... Mormor tried to suggest they should play with the Indiana Jones Lego instead.
- "Yes", Lucas said, "and then Batman can come and visit Indiana Jones!"

You can't win...
Here he is playing with some of the Lego, mostly my old Lego actually, still going strong! Notice all the little Lego men running:

This is how they run:

And since Mormor had no voice, it had to be Morfar reading the stories at night. Probably a nice change:

More trendspotting

After a few days in Stockholm I can now bring my own personal report about what's trendy at the moment up here in the Swedish capital.

I have noticed one big difference to Copenhagen, people here are a lot more "styled" than in Denmark. It's not a question about a few different key items that work for everyone, but more about being as special and unique as possible.
Most people here look like they have stepped right out of a fashion magazine, or like they are on their way to a very chic party, but not always in a good way...

Mind you, we have noticed a few things that are extra popular:

- White tank tops, preferably combined with black high waist skirts.

- "Penguin-sleeved" and/or off-the-shoulder t-shirts.

- Plastic earrings, 80s style.

None of which I have taken any fancy. I did buy some nice white earrings (not plastic though), to get at least one pair of new earrings every time I get home to Scandinavia is tradition.
It's sure fun to trendspot though!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

6 years and counting!

Today is our Wedding Anniversary - six years now, and counting!
Oaw, all the things we have been through since then... two kids, two countries and a few jobs later - we are still as happy as we were that super hot day back in 2002. (Been doing a bit of reminiscing today...)

Here we are, just married:

And here, just before we go in to the dinner/party:

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Girlsweekend De Luxe

This post could also be called "Food and The City", cause we haven't really lived up to a proper girlie weekend shopping wise (haven't bought much at all, even between us) but we have had lots of yummy food!

Here is a little snapshot of our dinner yesterday, very yummy pasta with salmon:

Kamilla, Erika, Jenny-Ann and me:

This morning we went home to Jenny's new place, to have brunch. We got spoiled with nice, nice food:

She has recently bought this apartment and it was situated in a beautiful area, very close to the water, and opposite Karlberg Castle:

We walked from there and in to town, passed some well known Stockholm landmarks...

... and enjoyed the, once again, lovely weather. Gosh, we have really been so lucky this vacation!