Saturday, August 23, 2008


New Year's resolutions don't really work for me. Christmas is so busy and the new year is always a bit of a chance to relax so I'm not quite ready to get excited about new goals. However, with a new school year starting, I'm ready for a challenge. So, here are my goals for the new year:
  • Ride my bike or walk more (and with the cost of a tank of gas, this one is highly motivated... though with three kids in three geographically dispersed schools...)
  • Do yoga once a week (really - it's only two blocks from the house, so how hard could that be?)
  • Walk to pick up Benjamin once a week (a quick 8 minute walk there, 25-30 minutes back because we have to check every puddle for signs of pond life - as if a fish might have rained down in the latest storm)
  • Play tennis with Annika once every two weeks (so far we have played once with great success, defined as no tears or tantrums)
  • Eat k├Âttbullar (meatballs - our staple) no more than once a week, same for spaghetti bolognese
  • Don't open my computer until the kids are in bed... even just to check e-mail... even if it only takes 2 minutes... not even once... well, maybe just once...
  • Turn off the TV and the kids computer during the week - no more electronic babysitters!
  • Get the kids to start helping around the house with defined weekly chores (a need which was made clear to me when Annika was asked to help load the dishwasher and she rolled her eyes and asked, "What do you think I am - some kind of servant?"

Whew. It all starts on Monday. And I have just looked at the schedule and with three kids, each with 1-2 activities, we are booked solid.

A Nine-Year Old!

Annika turned 9 today - our last year of single digits.

What she didn't get for her birthday: a mobile phone. She has been begging for one for months, and goes to the phone store every time we are at the shopping center just to check out the latest pink and purple models. She even roped Benjamin into the asking process, so that we had two begging for a phone for her. However, we have discussed it at length, and a mobile is not just some fun toy to play games on or to use to SMS her friends. She will get one when she needs one.

What she did receive:
  • a loudspeaker for her iPod so that she can dance in her room
  • some clothes for her Build-a-Bear
  • a Klutz book she has had her eye on for ages
  • a Room-Mates fish border so that she can cover up the babyish Noah's Ark wallpaper border in her room
  • Toobs of Whales & Sharks and Horses, espeically chosen by Benjamin

Annika's current career choice would be rock star and/or famous actress, somewhat along the lines of Hannah Montana, Vanessa Hudgens or Amy Diamond. We have discussed that perhaps some interest in music (other than her iPod) would help... But anyway, as luck would have it, Amy Diamond was doing a show for Kids Day at the local mall. Ellen and Annika were right up front, though a bit to one side to have a great view, but Annika is sure that Amy Diamond waved right to her one time.

A few stats on our adorable daughter:

  • Grade: 3rd
  • Favorite book: Spiderwick
  • Favorite TV show: Zack and Cody
  • Favorite actress: Vanessa Hudgens
  • Favorite school subject: math
  • Favorite toy: Build-a-Bear

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Everyone (and Everything) on Holiday

Yes, we have had a wonderful holiday - and a long one. The five of us were either together - or individually - in four countries (including the US) and five of the US states. The blog was on holiday (though not the camera), even though I did manage a couple of camp-related updates.

Even our house took a holiday... unfortunately. The alarm, which was fixed just before holiday, went on the fritz again... the car battery went on holiday and never came back... and the electricity also decided to take a holiday. Yep - the whole house was "dark" for at least a week. Our two fridges were beyond disgusting, with spoiled food that resembled a science project gone bad.

David and I should really learn our lesson. Every time we end an overseas trip with a taxi ride where we discuss who will sleep when, we come home to a domestic disaster. At least this time the house wasn't frozen - just smelly. So, instead of getting quick naps and work done, I started in on the fridges, filling the trash can with a stench guaranteed to keep neighbors away, and David walked to the grocery store (no car) and bought the bare essentials.

By the way, in the process of cleaning (and cleaning), I disassembled every part of both of our fridges. The new one must have more than 50 various shelves, drawers, sliding pieces, doors, ice making devices, etc. The old one? About three shelves. Progress? Uncertain. Chance of getting it all reassembled again? Uncertain.