Monday, 31 August 2009

1000 - and 1 posts!!

I just realized, that the last post was my nr 1000 on this blog!
That's so cool! Just hitting 1000 and 2 years, at the same time!

Starting the way we mean to finish

This morning after school drop off, Nathan and I went down to the gym. We figured better 'start the way we mean to finish', and get into it straight away!
I was surprised to see so many others apparently thinking the same thing, the class was very full this morning. It was a new instructor, and a new class - and I smiled my way through the whole hour! It was so much fun, and I really enjoyed being back exercising!

Nathan went next door, to the machines - and did a couple of ks on the exercise bike. I'm in there tomorrow morning to do a run, and can't wait - they have replaced all the old equipment with brand, new, high tech stuff! It looked very flash!

1st day of school 2009

Today was the first day of the new school year. We got up without any big problems, and got ready and off we went - after the traditional photo session, of course. (You can see last year's here.)

The whole school was buzzing with excitement! I remember that feeling from my own school starts - in fact, I kind of felt it today too! (It was nice for all the mummys as well to catch up again, after a few months holiday!)

They both seemed to have had a great day today.
Linnea was so tired when she got home, she had to have a little nap; and Lucas totally crashed now in the evening, of tiredness. They were no trouble getting to bed tonight!


Lucas is in Year One this year. He is a big, big boy now!

He was very excited this morning, last year it was Linnea - this year it was certainly him who couldn't wait to get there.
It was so nice to see them reunite with all their little friends, and discover their new classrooms and new class mates.

Kindy Girl

Here she is, our little Kindy girl:

This is outside her old class room she went to last year, upon arrival to school this morning. We still use that same parking, but this year they had redone everything as you can see - with brand new stairs, a brand new roof and a brand new side walk! Very nice!

Tomboy girl

Yesterday while I was preparing the clothes for school for today, Linnea came inspecting and told me with horror in her voice *pointing at her skort*:
- NO Mummy! I don't want that one!

We hear a lot of "I don't want this... and I don't want that..." at the moment, normally without any specific reasons. I still thought I'd try and ask - Why not?
- But Mummy, then the boys will see that I'm a girl!!!

Bless her, our little tomboy girl; she just wants to be one of the boys...

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Last day of summer holiday

Our last day of summer holiday has been a great day. We went to our new neighbours in the next simpang for a swim this morning, and the kids got spoiled with icy-pops and I got coffee and muffin by the pool! Mmm!

Then we had our little friend over for a play date at our house, and there was 'Ultraman' being watched and lots of games played all afternoon.

In the evening, after Daddy came home, we celebrated the last day of the summer holidays with - pizza, of course!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Thanks to the Swedish Presidency

Before we went away on holiday, I got a call from the Swedish Consulate here in Brunei, that I had a gift to come and pick up..?
Yes, it was a gift in honour of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union (that Sweden took over on the 1st of July) - something both for Mr and Mrs Watson. Exciting!
I didn't have time to get it before we left, but Anna had picked it up for me, and today I got my present:

It was a scarf for me, and a tie for Nathan - in nice blue and yellow colours, together with some other little things such as pens and paper pads in the same design! Go Sweden!
You have to be grateful though, I really doubt every expat Swede is receiving this package. It must be because there are only so very few of us here in the country. It's kind of cool!

In sync

I really, really like my iPhone. It has many useful applications, is easy to operate and I have every information I ever need in it - truth is I would be slightly lost without it.
What I like the best about it is that it syncs automatically with my Mac, and with Nathan's Mac. That's a feature that is very much needed now that school is about to start again, everybody are back in the country from their holidays and all sorts of functions are starting to get booked in.

The calendar has already started to fill up with exciting events and happenings, and I'm sure there will be much more in the coming weeks. Although the new notice boards in the kitchen have already proven useful, I'm glad I have my phone to help me keep track of it all!

Friday, 28 August 2009

All quiet on the... eastern front

Not much to tell from the life in Brunei at the moment. We are still suffering from the jet lag, believe it or not (it usually doesn't take this long). Kids are either awake late at night, or in the middle of the night for a few hours; and then after being up with them, I can't sleep until in the early morning... and the vicious circle continues...

I have been busy preparing for school start. I've gone through the uniforms, got clothes named, organized the bags and lunch boxes, cleaned our 'gallery wall' of last year's artistic school work so it's ready for new ones; and mounted new notice boards in the kitchen in a bid to get all the little papers and things off my fridge. Still a few bits and pieces to sort out, but I'm getting there!

Ramadan is in full swing, which means look out in the traffic! I'm careful anyway, since it's been a few weeks since I last was driving, but you really have to be vigilant at this time of the year.

We've caught up with quite a few of our friends and after having been at the Yacht Club for a swim yesterday, the kids continued their water play in the huge rain of last night - running around outside until they were completely soaked!
One of the joys of tropical climate, being able to play in the rain without getting cold!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Jet lag fool

I thought we had cracked the jet lag already on the first night, but I was fooled.
We landed here 09.40 (am) on Monday - only had a 2 hr nap that first day and went to sleep at about 22 that night, all of us slept until 09.30!
So far so good.
Yesterday I kept the kids awake all day, thinking I would be able to get them to bed slightly earlier that way. Yes, they went to sleep at 19 - only to wake up again at midnight!!

Unfortunately that coincided with Nathan getting home, so the reunion excited them even more of course, and only at 02 am were they asleep again...
But, this morning I woke them at 8 - so maybe tonight we will get a normal nights sleep. At least, school is not on for another few days, so we have time.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Mammaaa, mammaaa!

If only there was a machine, pedometer-type, that could measure how many times a day I hear this at the moment... Maybe it's just because my patience is wearing a bit thin after three days of travel, seven weeks of nonstop together-time or maybe it's because of the jet lag; one thing is for sure, it is driving me absolutely insane!!
It never stops!

I hear "mammaaa, mammaaa" at least every 20 seconds - to come and look at something, because they want to tell me something, to break up a fight or solve a problem, to wipe their bums or serve them food, to turn on the TV or change movie, to make the other one be quiet or to ask me when we can go and play at someones house... Aaarrrghhh... How does single parents do it?? Respect.

Monday, 24 August 2009

We now have dogs

According to Lucas, we now have dogs!
Yes... no news to the rest of us, but with his logic it's like this: we had puppies before, and now they are dogs. (They have grown quite a bit while we've been gone you see!) Very cute.

The eagle has landed

We have arrived safe and sound back in Brunei. It's good to be home, even though we were greeted after just having been in the house for a couple of hours, with a near 3 hr power cut... Welcome back...
Fortunately, just as it was getting dark and I had lit all the candles in the house, the power came back - and with that the well needed AC..!

The trip went just fine this time. It was long of course, but it didn't feel looong like it can do sometimes. You just have to do it one bit at a time, and that makes it easier.
Saturday we had to do Göteborg-Copenhagen, and have a 3 hr transit there before catching our flight to Heathrow - since SAS had cancelled our direct flight. Luckily, I didn't have to pay for my overweight, it did have me a bit worried. It was only 1 kg extra per person, but still, you never know how rigid the check in person is on the rules.

Normally, Copenhagen is a beautiful airport full of cool shops and 3 hrs would have passed easily... if you wouldn't have had two small children in tow. They were unfortunately not the slightest interested in browsing the shops... So we found a quiet corner where we could have a hot dog, and play for a bit.

Upon arrival in London, one of our suitcases had gone missing. Luckily, it wasn't the one with the toilet bag and our travel clothes for the next day, but the one we were supposed to lock in at the airport during our transit anyway. On the other hand, it was the one packed full with all the new stuff, all the Lego and all my new clothes etc...
I made a report on it and they could already see it would arrive to LHR with another flight later that evening (it had for some strange reason taken a detour to Brussels?). So I left the address to the hotel, hoping for the best.

At the hotel the kids got a great surprise, because they didn't know that our dear friends from Horsham - the Häggkvist family had driven up to meet us! It was a huge reunion hug party, and then the kids played in the little jungle gym in the hotel, while us adults had coffee and caught up a bit. It was so lovely to see them, so nice they made the effort even though it was only for a short meet.

I didn't sleep too well, cause I kept thinking of all the things in the missing suitcase, that I thought I would never see again.
But miracles do happen - the next morning at check out, there it was!! It had been delivered during the night, halleluja!

I was dreading the two long flights of the second day, because they were both mostly day flights. But the kids were super well behaved and actually (mostly) stayed in their seats, and were easily entertained. They only took a short nap each on the first sector and then we got to sleep a bit more on the second one. We arrived in Brunei rather perky!

I have spent the day unpacking and being grateful all our bags made it! All the stuff I managed to bring back, it's crazy...
The kids have been playing with their toys, the dogs and been running around outside for a long while. We've only all had a very short nap this afternoon (I set the alarm), so hopefully now we will get to sleep without too much trouble and stay asleep most of the night. As long as there will be no more power cuts...

A fresh start

Many people think of autumn (because yes, I'm Swedish so I follow the northern seasons and now we're going into autumn...) as a fresh start - and so do I.
When I was younger I always enjoyed starting school again after the summer holidays, I always enjoyed getting new pens, book covers and pencil cases; and starting from scratch again with a new year.

I guess autumn still brings up that feeling in me. I really like autumn, and I like having routines. It seems like my body likes routines and finding it's rhytm again. Autumn is a bit like New Year for me, I always recap a bit, look over my daily life - decide what needs to be changed or renewed. After a summer of relaxed living it's easier to create new patterns - and I like it!

We have one week left now of the summer holidays and it's going to be spent with getting over the jet lag, unpacking, sorting out the house, relaxing and getting ready for Monday - the school start, and new routines.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

A last night magic show

As a special treat on our last night, Morfar brought out some of his magic tricks and did a little magic show for us!

Lucas interacted and told Morfar off for doing "the wrong thing" and "cheating" - and got surprised over and over again. Linnea just sat there with her big eyes and didn't know what to expect.
We all thought it was great!

The show begins:

Linnea assisting:

Lucas "breaking" the wand, he thought this was hilarious!

Lucas assisting - take that, Harry Potter! Check out the wand control!

-"No, no Morfar - you turned them!! Like this!! You turned them!"

The gadget kids

Boel Design

Look what I have done:

... all by myself!! (It was definitely easier than crocheting...)

Lek & bus huset

It's been raining today, our last day of holiday. On one hand it sucked a bit because I was looking forward to a last nice run in my forest, on the other hand it's been quite alright - makes it easier to leave!

We took the opportunity to go and discover something new, that we hadn't tried out before, the 'Lek & bus huset' in the neighbouring town of Lidköping. It's a place for kids, made up out of ten different rooms with different themes/things in them. There was f.e a room completely full of pillows, a room made out as a store with a cashier and all, a room with dolls, a kitchen and dolls houses, a room with a child size racing car, a lighthouse, a Postman Pat car and a boat to climb in, a room where to train your balance, a climbing wall, a room full of masquerade clothes etc...

The kids seemed to have a good time, even though I thought it was a bit pricey and will probably only go back next year, if it wont stop raining at all! Otherwise, the kids have just as much fun at the playground!

Even Mormor played a bit!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Vacation summary

It's time to sum up this year's Scandinavian vacation. Last day today.
Bags are getting packed, the DS, PSP and other gadgets are getting charged and we are all gearing up for our long trip.

It's kind of lovely to think back because it's been some pretty packed six weeks with lots of fun things to remember!
After last years holiday, we did some thinking and tried to plan this year differently, so we would actually be relaxed and rested after it, instead of even more tired! Last year, we trained around everywhere, and visited six (!) big amusement parks. Fun yes, but slightly exhausting too!

It made a big difference to our holiday to have cars to our disposal both in Denmark and in Sweden. It also made it more relaxed to have made up a travel plan already before coming, and mostly stick to that. That meant less decisions to make on the trip itself.

I want to send a huge Thank You to all our friends who opened up their homes to us, we really enjoyed visiting you all and feel very privileged having so many good friends up here in Scandiland!
So Thank You to Claudia, Vivien & Linn; Thank You to Dorte, Lars, Lukas, Anna & Magnus; Thank You Thomas, Signe, Mikkeline & Konrad; Thank You Anne, Frederik, Malthe, Daniel & Ida; Thank You Fredrik, Eva, Tilda & Emma; Thank You Jens, Karin, Max & Tilde and Thank You Sam, Kicki, Maya, Charlie & Jack.

Thank You Ann-Katrine, Linea & hubby for lending us your apartment, super nice of you!

Thank You Henrik & Jette for lending us your car, that was great! And Thank You Katrine, for assisting in delivering it back!

Thank You Kattis, Moa, Lukas; Johanna, Mickaël & Jonathan; Sören, Katja, Filippa & Konrad; Lars; Tom & Nina; Viola, Hans & Edvin; Elinor, Leif & Sara; Johnny, Natalie & Fredrik; Tina, Emma, Stefan & Irmeli; Mads, Barbara & Josefine; Pierre, Dorthe, Cecilie & Sebastian; Jenny & Kamilla - for taking time to see us!

Thank You Erika for a lovely couple of girlfriend-days!

And last but not least, Thank You Mormor and Morfar - for looking after us, putting up with all our stuff everywhere and all our noice (...) and doing everything for us these summer weeks!
We will miss you.

It's been another great summer holiday (minus the sometimes quite boring weather, but hey, that's Scandinavian summer for you!) - and we will cherish the many memories for a long time!

Pigging out days almost over...

I got on the scales this morning and got a small chock, I'm slightly heavier than when I arrived on holiday... Even though I've been running in the forrest, and really feel good!! Boo-hoo! :(
It's a shame I don't look as good as I feel!

I'm really proud of myself for doing all this exercise while on holiday though. I've never done anything before while in Sweden (even though I should have, yes), so all exercise that has happened is good exercise I guess! (Today I ran over 6 km, not bad for someone who has never been a runner before!)
If it was only down to going exercise I would loose my overweight easy peasy, but unfortunately it's that 'controlling your diet' that is the hard part for me. I like my food.

I'm aware that being in Sweden offers far too many temptations for me and that every time I come back it's the same old story - I do gain some weight pigging out on all the goodies. It's too hard to say no to lösgodis, chokladpudding, marängsviss; frukostsmörgåsar på Lingongrova-bröd med massor av god ost eller leverpastej; kulglass, bearnaissås, kanelbullar, Ballerina-kex, bag-in-box vin, Estrella chips, Marabou choklad, dammsugare och chokladbiskvier m.m m.m... Too hard...

A few extra kilos inevitably happens every time, exercise or no exercise. Hopefully I have eliminated some of them by running this year though! And when we get back, it's back into normal routines and better eating habits. For sure.

Look Mummy, what I can do!

There is not really a lot of playgrounds around Brunei, and to be honest we don't spend a lot of time at the ones there are either, since it's always too hot.

So we make the most of it here in Sweden and go to the playground nearly every day. It's a perfect way to entertain the kids, and they also get to interact with other kids while we are there.
It's so cool to see how fast the kids acquire new talents. F.e Lucas has (finally) learned how to swing properly (and high!) by himself, and today he also wanted to show me how he could all by himself climb the whole climbing wall:

Of course, everything takes practise, and while f.e our 5-year old might not be able to ride his bike just yet (we have agreed to practise that a lot more on our return though!), he can swim - and so can our 3-year old! Simply because that's what we do most!

Playgrounds are lots of fun though! We will miss "our" one when we leave!

To the slaughter!

Today we "slaughtered" the piggy banks!

They were quite full, and we put all the coins in two plastic bags, to bring to the toy shop - after having counted them yet again of course.

Lucas found his toy really quickly, an 'Optimus Prime'-Transformer, but Linnea took her time in choosing what to buy, and changed her mind over and over again. In the end, she stopped at some 'Pippi Långstrump'-figurines. A good choice! (We passed everything from a soft Curious George-toy to an eraser in the shape of a 100 kr-bill...)
The ladies at the shop had to work a bit for their money today!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

It's here!!

Today was a big day, we were all excitingly awaiting the post this morning - the IKEA catalogue is getting distributed this week, and we assumed we would get it today (since normally there is not much other post on Tuesdays so would be a good day to hand it out), and we were right!

It's here!!!

Since last year left me utterly disappointed, I was extra happy today to get to browse it IRL, so to speak. It's just not the same to have a look online.
Now I just wish we could get an IKEA store in Brunei too (ha ha ha!)..!


Today's excursion went up to a nearby mountain (well... very small mountain) Mösseberg, and to a little mini-zoo & playground there. A popular outing for families around here.
Lucas enjoyed the view, and said: "Look Mummy, we can see ALL Sweden from here!!"

It's a very child-friendly 'zoo', with mini-pigs, chickens, deers, peacocks, ponies, geese, rabbits etc. The kids were electrified to get to help feed the little goats:

They got branches of leaves for lunch!

There was also a big playground, so the kids were well entertained for a few hours!

Afterward, we went to the local cheese factory to stock up for a nice snack, and then into the center of town to browse the shops and have ice cream.

We only just got back home late this afternoon in time for dinner, and Lucas asked Mormor "How come this day ended so quickly?", so he must have had a good time!

On a rainy day

If it rains outside, but you still want to play, there is always the huge garage! The kids are having a ball on the trike and pedal car, playing postmen with lots of packets and letters to deliver - there is certainly nothing wrong with their imagination at the moment!

Our little Scrooge

While being in Sweden Linnea and Lucas have got their own little piggy banks from Mormor, to be kept here. They have been "fed" several times during the holiday, while the kids have sometimes been rewarded, or bribed (...) or just sometimes because. This week we are emptying them to go to the toy store for a bit of a shop.
Linnea has already many times emptied her piggy bank to count all her money, at one stage it was several times per day...

She keeps asking for money to put in it, and if she doesn't get any there and then, she goes hunting for some - as we all know her weakness for coins... She has been seen picking some up from Morfar's desk, and some from Daddy's wallet; but her favourite trick is getting them from returning the supermarket trolleys!

It's really a win-win for her, since she loves coming shopping and especially in this store, where children can use kiddie-sized trolleys. When we are done, she hurries to put them back, and pockets the 10 kr-coin! Ha ha! So Scrooge!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Packa pappas kappsäck

It's time for Nathan to go back, and the packing process is always a bit of a mission. Even though we are allowed to bring 30kg each on RBA, we still have to make it over to the UK somehow, and on SAS we're only allowed to take 20 kg.
It's not so easy, when you have half a Lego-shop, a bunch of new clothes and other bargain buys to pack... *Sigh*

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Song of the summer

The song of this summer vacation will have to be "Fairytale" by and with Alexander Rybak. It was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest for this year, and he's from Norway.
Even though Nathan really didn't take to this song at all, that didn't stop it from getting played on the radio over and over (and over...) again during our roadtrip around Sweden. No matter which radio channel we tuned in to - there it was!

Here you get it in a double whammy version; the video is from the performance he did in the "Allsång på Skansen" show this summer. (Allsång på Skansen is an 'institution' in the Swedish summer!)

Saturday feast

Yesterday Mormor's family came over for dinner, all her siblings and some of my cousins.
We had prepared a real feast; with sundried tomato-and-olive chicken, horseradish marinated pork filé, bulgur-and-bean salad, potato salad, tomato-and-feta salad and more. I really enjoyed cooking (well, I don't cook too often nowadays so...) - and eating it!

Unfortunately I didn't remember to take many pictures, here are but a few, of the kids entertaining the bigger kids with their games:

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Today we went on a little excursion. Only a short distance from here, there is a place called Falkängen (in Hällekis). It's a small street with houses from the early 1900s, where in the summertime a bunch of artists move in and show and sell their stuff. There is everything from paintings, straw creations, jewelery and ceramics to sewn things and much more.

It's a very pretty place, here are some photos:

Photographer: Lucas. He's got quite a talent actually!

This was my favourite "shop". The artist here sold candle light holders designed to hang, in trees or bushes or whatever. They were so pretty, and I wished I had unlimited luggage allowance on SAS (yes, I do need to get from Sweden to UK with them) so I could bring a bunch of these to hang in my garden for our next party.