Saturday, May 30, 2009

It is Officially Summer when the Slip N Slide Comes Out

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(For my friends who are interested in photography...I was playing with white balance in these shots. The first two I used the shade settting, but my LCD made it look like the sunny setting --which I used on the last two shots, and about 150 others -- was better. But I think I really like the coloring of the first two, with the shade setting, better. I'd be curious if you agree.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Setting Free the "Butterflies"

The time we were out of town was, of course, exactly the time that Soren's butterflies were scheduled to make their grand entrance. But our great neighbors babysat our little chrysalids for us while we were gone and then delivered them in all their grand butterfly beauty when we returned. We enjoyed watching them for a day or so and then went over to the neighbors' for the releasing ceremony.

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There were five of them in their little enclosure.

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Fun to watch them flapping around inside.

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Then each of the kids reached in and let one land on their hand...

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And some butterflies were even passed around a bit...

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...and rested before they flew off for their life in our neighborhood.

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(And...anyone who notices that these "butterflies" actually have a striking resemblence to moths, please don't tell anyone.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Clues...

...that Soren may be tiring of my photography class

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Monday, May 25, 2009

"I Can Dress Myself"

Many of my friends with kids Soren's age have talked for a long time about the trials of children who insist on dressing themselves. Whether we've just been lucky or I've succeeded in my attempts to keep Soren in the dark about the self-dressing option, we haven't had to take on those battles...until now.

He still is more or less fine with whatever clothes I pull out for him, but he's getting more and more insistent that he put them on by himself. Which explains this:

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Even funnier is that while his shorts were not inside out, they were on backwards.

And, yes, we did go to town with him dressed like that. Sometimes it is easier to just go with the flow, you know?

Friday, May 22, 2009

You Can Call Us the Bumpkins

True to form, Chicago O’Hare came through for us yesterday. We got bumped! In addition to getting the free tickets, it was actually kind of nice to take a break from flying. My flight from Stockholm was 9 hours so I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to jump back on another plane. United put us up in a hotel, gave us meal vouchers, first class seats on the next flight, and three free roundtrip tickets. Love it.

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So, we dropped our bags at the hotel and grabbed a train to downtown Chicago.

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It was a gorgeous, warm and sunny day so we went down to Navy Pier and played around. Soren of course found the train ride within about 3 minutes of getting there.

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And we enjoyed playing with the trick mirrors.
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This, by the way, is what I’d look like if I were a supermodel.

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This morning we went back out to the airport and they were again asking for volunteers. I really needed to get to work today, but Soren and Peter volunteered. Right now it looks like they’ll get back home tonight…but who knows, if the trend continues it may be awhile before they get out of O’Hare.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last Day in Stockholm

The conference finished, we took a fabulous tour of Stockholm today. We travelled all over town by bus. Just looking out the windows throughout the trip was really interesting.

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One of the main highlights of the tour was the Vassa Museum. The Vassa was a ship that sank on its maiden voyage about 350 years ago. A huge war ship heading out with crowds of onlookers, it was poorly designed and top heavy and sank within 20 minutes of leaving port which means that the crowd watched the whole thing. Talk about a bad day at work!

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They didn't have the means to retrieve the Vassa until the 60's, 333 years after it sank. But now it is on display for all to see.

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We walked around the old part of town too. This is my favorite area of Stockholm.

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Our guide, while very articulate and well-versed in the history of Stockholm, wasn't dressed quite as creatively as these two.

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Stockholm is built around 14 different islands which means that you are never very far from a beautiful water view.

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This is me with Sofia, one of my colleagues from the Swedish office. She's always a great host.

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We stopped again at the royal palace.

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Isn't it pretty with the softness and brightness of the flowers in this architecure?

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Guess what I ordered for dinner?

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Reindeer! I couldn't pass up the chance. I had it smoked and in a very sweet white sauce over fettucine. Delicious! (Sorry, Rudolph.)

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I'm checking out of my hotel in about an hour. Time for the long journey home. A huge bonus though is that I'm meeting up with Peter and Soren at the airport in Chicago. They've been off playing in Michigan while I've been in Sweden. Can't wait to see them!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Welcome to Stockholm

I arrived in Stockholm early this morning after an easy 7.5 hour flight from Washington DC. Flying to Europe from the East Coast totally rocks! I had been in DC to visit some of my friends there (more about that in a later post.)

How's this for a warm welcome? It was the display screen on my TV when I checked in. (I didn't take it personally that they didn't get the right flag.)

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So to ward of the jet lag...in spite of not having slept in a very long time... I hit the town as soon as I got checked in to my hotel.

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There's something so utterly gratifying about figuring out the public transportation system when you first arrive somewhere. Once that is done, I feel so free! Transportation pass in hand I headed into the old part of town. Lovely.

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It helped that it was a warm, sunny spring day, but Stockholm totally lives up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. I spent most of my time just wandering the streets of the old city.

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I did find it pretty entertaining how many people asked me for directions. It must have happened six different times. Even Swedish people, in Swedish. LOL.

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I went to see the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. This experience left me with two impressions:

1) No country other than England should try to do a formal, showy changing of the guard. The Brits do it perfectly. Flawlessly. The whole show is so infused with pomp and grace that you actually buy into the importance of it all. The Swedish guard, poor boys, I'm afraid that they just look like they got done with a high school basketball game and tossed on a polyester uniform and very shiny metal hat. They were professional and precise. But they just can't compete with England. Sorry guys.

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2) The second observation is that the muppets, namely the Swedish Chef, have done a grave disservice to this country. While the head guard was apparently inspecting the rest of the troops there was some shouting that they did as a part of the procedure. The head guard would shout something and then the others would shout something back. But the fact that they all sounded exactly like the Swedish Chef made me look around to see if they were going to start tossing vegetables. Really, it made me want to burst out laughing. Not the effect they were going for, do doubt. I did avoid an international incident and refrained from a good ol' guffaw. But let me tell you, I was cracking up inside.

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I'm going to try to go to bed now. I'm really tired, but if past experience is any indication I'll probably sleep for 3 hours and then be wide awake. It doesn't help that the sun is up so long. It is still totally light outside now at nearly 10 pm, and when I was here last year at this time I remember many a jetlagged waking at 3 a.m. to a bright sunny day. {Fingers crossed that I can get some sleep so I'm not too bleary eyed for my meetings tomorrow!}

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Treasure

Soren has a treasure box. It was a gift from my friend Victoria who decorated it herself. She intentionally made it lovely enough that we could sit out in the house and collect the random coins of our day to day lives.

It is lovely.

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Any time Soren finds coins around the house he drops them in his box. And with his new pirate fascination, the term "treasure chest" has taken on a new meaning that totally adds to the intrigue for him. We hadn't opened it since before he was born, but he wanted to last week. So we dug out the key (that took some digging both in the drawers and in my memory trying to remember where exactly I put that key!)

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But what is even more exciting is that Peter has a treasure chest too. A duct-taped box filled with odd coins, old pennies, and random items a growing boy would have valued. Peter's Dad brought it out from the deep recesses of their basement. We've had it stored up in our attic since then.

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At Christmas while we were putting away all the decorations in the attic, Soren found Peter's treasure box. I thought he'd forgotton about it. But last week while we were going through his own treasure chest, Soren pleaded with me to get out Dad's treasure chest too. So we did. And then spent time sorting, stacking, and inspecting all the special treasures.

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When we'd had our fill we locked them all back up again. And as we were carrying Peter's treasure chest back to the attic Soren said "I am not going to take this to Somalia." Though he doesn't know any of the real details, he's heard about the pirates in Somalia and seems equally terrified and fascinated with the whole idea.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sharks on the Brain

Last weekend I let Soren choose all his own books from the library.

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He's been kind of obsessed with sharks lately. So if the next time he sees you he explains that sharks have cartilage, not bones, just take his word for it. He's been researching the subject.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sesame Street Live

Last weekend we went to watch Sesame Street Live. What fun!

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Soren was mesmerized.

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When we left he said "oh mom, I wish I could stay there forever!"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Butterflies' Progress

Late last week the caterpillars crawled up and suspended themselves to the lid of their jar:

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Tonight we removed them from their jar...

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...and transfered them to their new home. Now we're awaiting the "birthing" of our Painted Lady Butterflies!

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