Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Friends

Odin has many friends in Sweden! Yesterday we visited with Peder, Lena, Arvid, Joar and Cornelia. Below Cornelia's father, Peder, tries out what it would be like to have twins...

Odin is especially fond of Joar...He sat with him relaxing in the bean bag for some time.
Today we visited with Torgny, Maria, Evalina, Lovisa and Hedvig. Evalina and Lovisa are great babysitters, but Odin's favorite is Hedvig (the 6 year old daughter). While Hedvig was sitting by the Christmas tree, Odin walked up to her, turned around, and backed up until he was touching her, then sat down. Very cute!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Today we took Odin out on one of his Christmas presents, a pull-behind sled for toddlers. It was rather cold, so we really had to bundle up, but Odin still had a lot of fun even with all the layers!

In Sweden gifts are opened on Christmas Eve, so we followed the new tradition. Odin had a lot of fun tearing things open and playing with the boxes, paper, and ribbons. Oh, and also the toys!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More WATER!!

We have recently moved our water playing activities into the bathroom so Mom doesn't have to clean up water (our bathroom floor is heated so the water dries really quickly) and Odin absolutely has a blast. Every time we go in the bathroom he climbs up on the chair and squeals with delight...he can turn the water on and off and adjust the flow of water without any help. He's also pretty good about turning the water off when we ask him..."Odin the water is going to overflow, you need to turn the water off and let some drain!"
Although Odin really loves splashing in the water most, he also enjoys checking himself out in the mirror...
The only part about water play that Odin doesn't like is when it comes to an end...if we don't have a good distraction for him, leaving the sink can result in one serious heartbreaking tantrum!

Early this week we were blanketed with snow and it seems every night we get a little bit more. We are now living in a cold winter wonderland. The snow is so beautiful and it really helps brighten this amazingly dark place. Today the sunrise was 9:30 and sunset 1:45! But we will be getting more light starting tomorrow; today is the Vintersolståndet (Winter Solstice).

Monday, December 14, 2009

First Love

At Open Preschool Odin found his first was the St. Lucia celebration and there were many girls to choose from. Odin walked over to one attractive (although bald) Swedish little girl and decided she was to be his! He gently patted her a few times and then leaned in for a kiss! He went on to play with other toys and children, but came back to the lucky girl three times for more kisses! The love-sick Odin with a happy father watching his daughter being courted by Odin.
"Your lips are so sweet..."

"Hey dude, I'm only one-year old!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Swedish Tree

Today we ventured out into the forest to get a Christmas Tree. We went to some local forestland owned by one of Kenneth's friends in Umeå.

We left a little "late" in the day and it started to get dark on us! I believe this picture was taken at 2pm. But we were able to find the perfect one...
Kenneth and Anita helped us in finding our perfect tree and then made Odin super happy by giving him a special ride back to the car.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Open Preschool

Sweden is a great place to raise children. There are playgrounds everywhere (no kidding, you can walk 5 minutes from one set of swings to the next), walking paths all around, nature trails to explore, and best of all there is Open Preschool!

Open Preschool isn't what it sounds don't drop your child off and expect them to be "schooled." Instead you GO WITH your child and PLAY with them and other children (and other parents). Odin typically goes with mom to open preschool two mornings a week. There are anywhere from 10-30 other kids to play with and all the toys you can imagine!

Open Preschool goes from 8am - noon (but we rarely make it there by 8am!). It always ends with group songs. Mom hopes Odin is learning a little Swedish by listening to folks sing in Swedish.

During the singing children tend to sit on their parents laps...but not Odin! He'd rather go around the room greeting everyone.

And he also likes to dance while we are singing.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Tonight after dinner we decided to let Odin do the dishes...
He had a blast!

But got water everywhere!

So mom had to mop the floor afterwards, but that was OK b/c Odin...

had already vacuumed!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Some cute things

Odin has been doing some really cute things lately. The cutest happened today. I was walking with a friend and had Odin in the ergo (baby carrier). My friend started to whistle to entertain Odin. I then started to whistle too. Odin watched us very carefully and then he put his lips together and blew air out as if to try and whistle too (he can be such a parrot!). Well, no sound came out, so he started to sing instead but with his lips still in the whistling position! I had to laugh!

Odin has also learned that if he wants us to do something he can grab our finger and put it on whatever he wants. For example, he often wants us to open cabinets or doors so he will put our fingers on the handles. Sometimes he will grab our pointer finger and lead us across the room to the exact cabinet he wants inside. Hard to say no with such willpower!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Skinnskatteberg, Vindeln, and Innebandy

All three of us around a fire for some much needed fika (coffee break) after a tour of some private forestland operations in Skinnskatteberg in southern Sweden. A trip to visit the river Vindeln not far from Umeå. Due to all the rain we've had, the river was very full and the rapids were quite a sight.
We went with our friend Erik to an Innebandy (floorball) game last Friday night. It was a bit loud, so Erik brought some earmuffs for Odin. Celia and I laughed when we saw them and told Erik that there is no way he'll wear them...and then Odin proceeded to wear them and laugh and smile! Ha!
Papa reading a "pop-out" book to Odin that Aunt Connie sent us called The Very Lazy Lion. What fun!

Monday, November 16, 2009


The weather is getting colder, but that hasn't slowed us too much. Fortunately we were given some hand-me-down Swedish winter gear for Odin!

But before we could venture outside, Odin had to learn how to walk in his boots!! So we did a lot of practice inside.

Odin has started to develop a very cute personality. He likes to do things that make us smile or laugh. Here he is shakin' his maracas for us!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'll Feed Myself and YOU

Odin has decided he is now old enough to use a spoon to feed himself! And to feed us!
Odin has become a big fan of Papa. He gets very sad in the mornings when Papa leaves for work and when he returns in the evenings there is much rejoicing! And then Odin sticks to Papa like glue! Sometimes even climbing inside his t-shirt.
Picking cranberries in a bog! We had to wait until it got cold enough so that it is easier to pick the cranberries and the freezing changes them to make them taste even better.

October 31 is "Alla helgons dag" here in Sweden (All Saints' Day). It is a day of rememberance for those that have passed away and everyone goes out to the cemetaries and leaves candles on the graves of loved ones. It is quite pretty to see the cemetaries all lit-up with thousands of candles. Halloween has been imported here to some extent and Odin found the Halloween candy. Though we only got 2 trick-or-treaters (or "bus eller godis" in Swedish).
So cute!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuscany, Italy

We took a recent trip to the Tuscany region of Italy to visit Uncle Bill and Brian. What a wonderful time! It was a 'real' vacation - no email, no computer, no work. In addition to wonderful food, great company and beautiful artwork we experienced life with a baby that no longer crawls! Odin has become a full-time walker and even at times almost a runner!

Odin, Uncle Bill, and Dad relaxing. Odin found some new toys while in of his favorites was the salad spinner (pictured below).

Mom and Odin after a long hike in a huge national forest called Casentinesi.

Odin showing Uncle Bill around the local favorite resturant, La Gravena.
Odin chasing pigeons in Arezzo. It was his first real "run." He really wanted to play with them, but they always kept about a 1-2 meters away from him.
Odin and Mom on the streets of Poppi after visiting a 12th century castle.
Dad, Odin and Mom in the yard of the beautifully renovated farm house we stayed in near Arezzo in the Tuscany region.
Uncle Bill, Dad and Odin checking out the sights in San Gimignano, a wonderful historic town.
Mom and Odin in Florence.
Julian, Uncle Bill, Odin and Brian after a nice long dinner.