Saturday, 31 July 2010

Skara Elit Grand Prix

Wednesday was a good day all the way through, family visits in the morning, World Championship-participating in the afternoon and in the evening - something for Nathan... the Skara Elit Grand Prix in biking! Yay, that day couldn't have ended much better for him.

We saw the whole thing of course, both heats. First the junior bikers 15-16Y together with the the women, then a little bit later the seniors.
The younger riders did 30 minutes + 2 laps around the track (which was 1,5km around central Skara) - the seniors 60 minutes + 5 laps. Jeez, they were coming through in quite some speed!!

The juniors:

Linnea cheering on, screaming "Goooo!":

The start of the seniors:

Nathan "looking at wheels"... or something:

Me and Lucas, eating ice cream, having lost interest a bit..:

The sprint into goal for the seniors:

Linnea, amusing herself in her own little way:

Nathan's new shades

Nathan went all out recently and had a pair of Oakleys custom made. He had trouble for days though, to decide on what colours should be where. You see, it all needed to co-ordinate with the rest of the equipment when he's on his bike...
So, he ended up with white ones (like his bike) with blue and black details (like his helmet). He was very pleased with the finished result!

(Did you notice the self portrait by the photographer..?)

Our World Champs

On Wednesday afternoon it was time for one of the highlights in the Skara calendar - they yearly WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (!) in cherry-pip-spitting! :D
Yes, they are actually arranged in my small home town, and this year they even celebrated their 20 year anniversary.
The competition came about together with the Pancake-party, where they eat a special kind of local pancake, full of cherries. Nathan and I tried some of course:

The World Record stands from 2004, and it's 15,94 m. There are classes for men, women and juniors, which is under 12s.
It's pretty serious with plenty of officials helping out measuring the distance, brushing away the pips and organizing the competitors. Here they have just set up:

I managed to convince both Lucas and Linnea to participate, but Lucas didn't at all want to say that he was from Brunei (nor NZ/Sweden etc), he just wanted to be from Skara. I also had to come with them up on stage, and as it turned out - I had to eat the cherries too and then just give them the pips! :)

Here is Lucas getting interviewed, and spitting:

And Linnea:

Unfortunately their results (2,50m and 2,43m) weren't enough for a spot in the top three. The winner amongst the juniors spat a whooping 9,70m!
But at least they can tell their grand-kids one day that they have participated in a World Championship!

A day for family

Wednesday was a day spent with family. First we went to see my Aunt and my cousin. My other cousin was visiting with his girlfriend and daughter, so it was nice to catch up and let the kids play for a while.

It was sunny and warm, so they took the opportunity to go for a bit of a swim:

After some more playing and a few hot dogs, we went to see another cousin of mine that I hadn't caught up with for a few years. He is a biker too, and Nathan got really happy when he offered him to borrow one of his bikes when we get back from Copenhagen! :) Happy day!

Friday, 30 July 2010

No deal

Nathan went off to buy us some coffee to take along in one of the long queues at Liseberg the other day. When he arrived at the café he realized they also had beer! Hmmm... He asked if it was possible to get a beer-to-go, but the bartender/coffee guy said no, not allowed.

Nathan then got a brilliant idea and asked if the coffee could be to go, where the answer was that "Yes, of course!" Well, Nathan continued, maybe he could then fill one of the coffee cups up with Kilkenny instead?
"Ehm... No."
But then the bartender thought about it and said with a smile to Nathan "I've never heard that one before!". So at least he made his day and gave him a story to tell! (Nathan didn't get any beer though...)

Liseberg 2010

On Tuesday we had a whole day at Göteborg, in the sun - yay! It was an absolutely glorious day, and we spent nearly 10 hours of it (!) at Liseberg, the coziest amusement park in Sweden. (It's old too, opened 1923!) Nathan had never been, so we looked forward to showing him around.

Ten hours is a very long time, and we spent a lot of that time in queues unfortunately. The kids held up really well and were very patient and understanding of the queues (most of the time). We had Åkpass (=Ride pass) so we could ride as much as we wanted though.

It was a great day, and we even got to meet the big green rabbit!

Back to Mösseberg

On Monday we braved the grey skies and went to Falköping, a neighbouring town, for some looking around. We were lucky because it cleared up, and we had a lovely day there.
We started in town with some shopping (I found a shop with 70% off! My kind of reductions!) and then went up to the little mini zoo on Mösseberg, that the kids and I visited with Mormor last year.

It's a great little park with just enough to do for our kids. There are a few different animals, a nice playground and lots of space to run around. We had brought a picnic and the kids had a really nice time, Lucas spend his mostly on the moon cars...

... and Linnea hers talking to the pigs!

Veteran bike riding

On Monday it was a clear, warm day again. I took the chance to go for a run after dinner, and Nathan wanted to come along. His shoes had fallen to pieces and needed some glue so we thought maybe he could try my old bike instead.

When I say old, I mean old... I bought it 25 years ago! Back then it was hot stuff though, and I bought it for my own money I had earned selling flower and vegetable seeds (?). I still remember that first day that I had picked it up and was biking and biking and biking around town...

I had a good run, not too sure Nathan got any kind of workout on the bike though, ha ha! He didn't dare pedaling too fast, he said it was making strange noices!

Dahlénium photos

Finally, here's a slide show from our Science Day on Sunday:

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A day at Dahlénium

I haven't been blogging for a few days, for two reasons. Firstly the internet connection here wont allow me to upload any more photos at the moment, and the last few days I haven't even been close to a computer - instead I have been out there, enjoying life to the fullest!

This blog is about Sunday, without photos for now, they will be uploaded later. It was a(nother) rainy day on Sunday so we decided to spend it at Dahlénium, an expo and interactive Science Center all in one. Me and the kids left Daddy at home in front of Tour the France and went out with my friend Johanna and her two boys Mickaël and Jonathan. (Dahlénium has got it's name from the homeboy Gustaf Dalén, born there in 1869. He was a Swedish Nobel Prize winner, and also the inventor of the AGA company and the Dalén light.)

We had never been before, and neither had Johanna so we didn't quite know what to expect, but we were really positively surprised. Even though the kids didn't quite have the patience to read every instruction nor the age to follow each experiment through - they had a blast and we spent over 3 hours there, and could easily have spent a few more (but the mummys needed coffee..!).
It was a fun day, because the kids could both explore some things by themselves and try more intricate experiments together with us.

I decided straight away this will be a place we will make recurrent visits to every summer, it will just get better and better the older the kids get.

Monday, 26 July 2010

In the cosy candle light

Ok, I'm going to start complaining now, about the weather. It sucks!
I know, I know: "Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder" (=There is no bad weather, only bad clothes). Well, that's only true if you live in a country with constantly changing weather and actually own all sorts of different clothing needed.
We don't; and to be perfectly honest, I have no huge desire to actually be out in the rain either, unless I need to of course. But I don't.

I will just complain about it, like any other good Swede, since we are now on our second day of incessant rain. We are known to talk a lot about the weather, and no wonder, the way it keeps changing! Just a couple of days ago it was lovely, summery and hot - today it's been raining all day and barely made it over +12 degrees!

We are all wearing socks and jeans, Nathan has been wrapping up in his merino wool sweater and we even lit some candles this evening!
As Nathan said, "Well, it's been a while since I had winter"!

It better change again soon, rain is boring. There is no playing outside, no walking in the woods, no running, no summer feeling. Plus, we have lots of things on our vacation agenda that will not be happening if it's raining, busy week coming up.
No more rain thank you very much!

A different perspective

The other day we got another example of how different our kids are. Whereas Lucas likes things "as they are supposed to be", f.e when he builds a LEGO set he builds it and poses it all exactly like it is pictured on the box; he always follows instructions to a tee - Linnea often sees things differently.
The other day in the car, she was asking Lucas about maths:

- Whats six take away three?
- Equals three.
- Whats nine take away nine?
- Equals zero.
- Whats crocodile equals two?
- ???

Sunday, 25 July 2010

How to feed a fussy 6-year old

As I've said before, we have bread two very different children. When it comes to food, they certainly are poles apart.

Linnea will try anything and eats nearly everything we put in front of her. She loves fruit and will gobble away on banana, mango, melon, pineapple, grapes, papaya - you name it.
Lucas will eat... apple.

He also has a very strong aversion against anything 'red' in his food, i.e red peppers, tomatoes etc; plus he dislikes onion and will spot the smallest piece in any meal.
So what do you do, when dinner is pyttipanna (bubble-and-squeak/fry-up) like tonight, full of little tiny pieces of onion..? You do this:


Läckö Slott - Läckö Castle

Today we took on one of the most visited cultural attractions around here, Läckö Castle. It's situated on Kållandsö, right by the shore of Vänern, Sweden's biggest lake which is not very far from where we are.
Each summer visitors in their thousands flock to this cultural gem and apart from visiting the castle itself, they organize plenty of exhibitions and events here every year.

This castle is one of the more magnificent baroque palaces in Sweden, but parts of the building are actually much older. The foundations of the first castle situated here were laid as early as 1298! That fortress was destroyed by fire, and a larger castle was put up in it's place in the 1470s.

But it's mostly the style and taste of the 17th century Baroque that can be seen in the castle of today. It was created by Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie who took it over from his father in 1654. It was during his time the castle's towers were built and he also decorated the interior.

We went on a guided tour in English, and then took a walk around the rest of the castle grounds, we saw the armory, the prison cells, the kitchen, the caste chapel...

... and the castle gardens.

Läckö Castle is really pretty, and it's surroundings are stunning. Although it was super cold (well, you know, for us) today, it was a nice little excursion!

Friday, 23 July 2010

12.4 k later

After the rain finally stopped today, Nathan and I went out for a walk.
12.4 k and nearly 2 hours later we were back home again after having covered a big area of the surroundings!

It was a bit chilly (only 19 degrees) but still a lovely walk, and nice quality time to spend together just the two of us.

Swedish summer

The first half of 2010 has apparently been the warmest year ever since they started global temperature measurements back in the 1880s, according to the newspapers.
June has been a fantastic month with tropical temperatures over +30 degrees nearly every day and no rain at all.

But now, as they say, comes the "Swedish summer", with lower temperatures and scattered rain clouds:

Ah well, I'm not too bothered. I don't mind if it's slightly lower temperatures (we have enough of more than +30 at home!), 20-25 is fine by me. I just don't want any rain and every day seems to start wet at the moment.
Rain, rain go away!

Footie fun

Mormor bought Lucas a new toy today, some football goals!
He spent all evening playing outside, mostly with Nathan or me, but also some with Linnea and all by himself.

Here is a style study in how you are a good goalie:

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Local highlights

Today we took on some of the local highlights here in Skara.
They have a brand new Visitors Center in town; it's a really nice tourist information office combined with a flash expo about how they made the famous (well, in Sweden) Arn-movies. It was all about knights.
They even have a shop selling different kinds of medieval knight paraphernalia:

We put on the special headphones and off we went:

It was a rather interesting expo actually, even for the kids who for obvious reasons haven't seen the movie itself; they still listened to all the different info about the knights and the movie making, and asked lots of questions.

There was also a part of the expo about the Skaramissalet, Sweden's oldest (it's from 1150!) preserved book which is kept here in Skara. Even that interested the kids, especially Lucas.