are you ready for this?

cause i have LOTS of pictures! i'm really sleepy right now (wine, fajitas, dessert and Gilmore Girls will def take it out of you), but i've been wanting to get these up, so here they are...

1. Brad & Sicily

we met this man in our hotel one morning, and apparently he had nothing to do cause he took us on the city bus to the car rental shop. i think he got sick of hearing us try to communicate in English with all the non-English speaking employees.

this is a view of one of the many towns we drove through on our 3 day trip in Sicily. the Mediterranean is breathtaking.

we found some absolutely beautiful locations along the way. this one just happened to be the coldest spot in all of Southern Europe.

see, he's freezing. that's why is jaw is all clenched. but it was pretty.

oops, not Sicily! but this is an uber-cute picture of me and the BF. AND my new red Hunter Wellies! he buys the best Valentine's Day gifts.

one of the many dilapidated buildings we saw.

i loooove lamp posts. i think Paris got me hooked on them.

a street. in a town. i have yet to find an American city that is this beautiful.

here's Brad in a little shop that sold pastries and lunch foods. they had amazing calzones.

cacti in italy. who would've thought?

a harbor. this was definitely the Land of Boats.

the countryside was full of rocky, jagged cliffs right up next to the Mediterranean.

a Sicilian sunset

an old door on an old church in an old town. in an old country...

2.) Bobbie & Stockholm

so, i love to take photos of my friends. these two shots, while showcasing the fact that my Minneapolis best friend is visiting me for a week, are also my displays for photos using new lenses. this one was taken with an ultra-zoom. good thing her skin is so darn beautiful :)

this shot was taken using a wide angle lens. they can do incredible things with capturing the sky. who wants to watch 'Little House on the Prairie' now? hm..makes me miss Laura. Laura and Manny.

so, there you have it. hope everyone enjoyed these as much as i loved taking them.


who would've thought

i swear, if there was anything about coming to live in stockholm that i wasn't excited for, it was definitely the weather. granted, i had been living in weather hell - AKA minneapolis - for the last six years, but i was certain that sweden was going to trump minneapolis in frigid temperatures and arctic snowfalls. and i was also certain that i was going to die in this weather, cause if there's anything i hate more than the cold, it's having to BE in the cold and especially having to service a car in the cold. i have (honestly) contemplated quitting various jobs at 7.30am when i am outside in sub-zero temps, scraping ice an inch thick from my windshield with a CD case. yes, i have done this, and so have you.

seriously, can life get any worse in those moments? i get anxious just thinking about it...ugh.

but anyway, the point of this whole post is only to brag about the fact that, since i've been here, it's pretty much stayed between 35 and 48 degrees. we've had snow about 3 times, and it's melted the next day. back home, in minneapolis and illinois, i hear it's been one of those awful winters that you'll look back and remember for years to come.

hm. sorry.


citizen cope...is dope

okay. this man is Citizen Cope. he's a musician that Brad randomly discovered a couple years ago, and we spent many summer days driving in his Jeep with the windows down cranking Citizen Cope. he's got this funky, summery music that sticks with you and makes you want to throw your ice scraper in the trash can, find an old pickup truck and drive out West to California and spend your days surfing and proclaiming social justice. check out 'Bullet and a Target'.

and...i may or may not have a slight crush on him.


my crazy life

so, is anybody still reading this?? i've been awful about updating lately, mainly because i had a friend (BOYfriend...) visiting and then was gone this last weekend in Sicily. and to further make blogging a pain in the butt rather than something i enjoy, my computer has completely quit working and is currently at Joakim's office getting fixed.

but, in good news, i am now the proud and happy owner of a pair of...

my red Wellies! Brad surprised me with them when he came, and let me tell you - i was THRILLED. pictures to come at a later time...

we spent the weekend in Sicily, took a cheap flight on RyanAir - our tickets cost less than $100 US dollars combined - to Trapani, which is on the West Coast of Sicily. we rented a car and drove where the road led and decided that Sicily definitely did not disappoint. The landscape was gorgeous - rugged hills and cliffs overlooking the bright blue and aqua Mediterranean sea, little bed and breakfast's tucked into hillsides, ancient ruins right next to the coast...it was a photo opp everytime we turned a corner. and, the most surprising thing, the people were SO incredibly friendly. we had 3 different people drive us in their own personal cars where we needed to go when we were simply asking for directions...i'm sure it was just easier for them to do this rather than try to awkwardly tell us in Italian that they didn't speak English (because NOBODY does, believe me) and have us stare back and laugh uncomfortably. so - go visit Sicily! but i would recommend doing it in the summer cause the off-season, while being cheaper, is very uneventful.

let's see - coming up i have Bobbie, my best friend in Minneapolis, visiting this next week while the family is skiing in France (don't worry, i'm only missing out cause we're all going back next month). after Bobbie is Connie in France for the weekend, then my Dad and sister, and then it will be my turn to go to Chamonix...the French Alps. April brings a trip to Barcelona (my Christmas present from the family) with Nikki and Philly, and another trip at the end of the month to LegoLand in Copenhagen. In May we'll be going to Gothenburg for a marathon that Annelie is running, and the kids also have a camp of some sort during that month. In June we'll be going to Bali, and July will also be full of traveling to northern Sweden, the coast of Sweden to the summer houses and then back to France. and then i come home! i figured it out last night that i have only FIVE weekends left in this country where i don't have anything planned (not working, traveling or on vacation). hard to believe.

anyway, that's all i've got. hopefully i'll get my computer back soon cause i've got some great pictures of the kids, Brad and Sicily.

have a great weekend!


it must be all those smoochies

...cause i have one heck of a cold comin' on, and i'm pretty sure it can be traced back to this little Swedish butterfly -

i was planning to do a post about all the travels i have coming up - literally going to a different country every month for the next 6 months (Sicily is this next weekend) - but i don't have the energy to wait on blogger to post the pictures.

let's all say a prayer today that my kiddos are healthy and well and sent to school tomorrow, cause i have a million things to do [in prep for a special visitor...] and i really can't spend another day sitting in the house eating chocolate and listening to Dora the Explorer playing in the background. and lest you think i don't play with my kids....please. i made a MEAN drawing of a dinosaur* and a prince and a princess yesterday, and even drew my best Yoda for Sixten. and we made pankcakes today, which is the food that makes their little worlds go 'round.

alright, i'm off to find the NyQuil...

*when i was drawing Klara's dragon, she wrinkled up her little nose and said in her girly voice, 'seanni (she calls me sean-ni), that is not a dragon, that is a cow!'


to pass the time...

i think i have mentioned that all three of my kids love Star Wars? well, they do. even klara, my little girly-girl. i got a call from annelie this morning at 7:45 (after getting to bed around...oh, 3:30am) letting me know that klara would need to stay home today cause she's been coughing, and could i please come in at 8:30? so here it is, 9:40am, sixten and klara are absolutely entranced by Star Wars III, and i'm on my second latte of the day (yep, i'm officially spoiled at this job...plain 'ol morning coffee will never appeal to me again...).

so, having said all that, i thought i'd write a little bit about my Pilates experience last night, and post a few pictures...you know, just to entertain myself until 10am. at that point, i could be going on latte no. 3.

for those of you that have done Pilates, you'd agree that it requires a bit of technique, right? i took some classes in Minneapolis and really enjoyed them, but always struggled to make sure i was breathing at the right time and the right way, contracting the right stomach muscles, etc. so i get to my first Pilates class last night, and it's in Swedish. obviously. i've done a variety of classes since i've been here, some aerobics and spinning classes. the language barrier didn't really keep me from following along, so i figured that Pilates couldn't be that much different.

i was wrong. i spent that WHOLE dang class - which had around 40 to 50 women in it - squeezed into a corner and craning my neck to see up to the little stage where the teacher was. she spoke for about 15 minutes just on the importance of breathing and contracting the right stomach muscles, and i only know this cause she kept making every breathe in and out while holding her stomach. i thought it would be better once she got through the instructions and into the actual workout, but nope - i couldn't see her well, couldn't understand her, and so the whole class was a bit frustrating. i was lifting my leg when everyone else was putting theirs down, lowering my butt from the 'shoulder raise' when everyone else was bringing theirs up. living in a foreign country has given me a very real compassion for foreigners in America...it's definitely not easy to live in a place where you don't understand anything.

there you have it, my Pilates experience. i know your life was enriched by it.

okay, so i LOOOOVE j.crew. like, love them, love them, love them. if you're a fan, you should go check out their new arrivals, cause they have some CUTE stuff. and then be glad that you're in America and can easily go buy whatever you want. or at least have the option to. which is more than i can say :) here's a few of my favorite pieces -

picture no. 1 - love that shirt. the color, the soft material, and the fact that the sleeves have ribbed hems
picture no. 2 - love those pants, they look classy and yet, comfortable
picture no. 3 - at first i just liked the trouser cut of the jeans, but then decided that i LOVE that little yellow sweater...i hear yellow's the IN color for spring?

in other happenings, i went to the Absolut Vodka Ice Bar here in Stockholm, and while being a really cool concept - it's made completely of ice, even down to your glass - it's really not worth it for how much it cost. anyway...

this is me with the Dugick's, my friend (and fellow au pair) Nikki's family. they are WONDERFUL.

and this is to show you that, even in the middle of winter-y December, Stockholm can have some gorgeous sunsets...i took this in the backyard one evening overlooking the lake -

and lastly, here's my favorite pictures of my littlest peanut -

alright, hope you guys enjoyed my randomness :)


the sixth month

so, can anyone else believe i've been here five full months now? i find it hard to believe. sometimes it feels like i got off the plane just yesterday, and other days it feels like it's been ages since i've been home.

when i first started doing these "month marker" posts, i wanted them to be about the things that i've learned since i've been here, and my goals going forward, or things that i want to remind myself of. a lot of this is for my own benefit; an online diary, of sorts, for me to look back at when the year is done to see where i was at during each marker.


  1. i hate riding the train. i've noticed that since i've been living here i get these slight anxiety attacks when i'm surrounded by people. i cannot even begin to tell you the annoyance that rises up in me when someone sits down directly across from me on the train, their knees touching mine, when there's plenty of open seats around us. it is a constant reminder that i'm not as easygoing as i like to think i am.
  2. i am not a TV-watcher. i have watched maybe about 10 hours of TV since i've been here...i just could care less to turn it on, most of them. Why, when there's millions of blogs that you could be reading?? i would much rather learn about the every day details of peoples' REAL lives.
  3. i miss stores like Target with an unhealthy, deep-rooted passion.
  4. i am starting to fall in love with accessories - hats, purses, long necklaces, etc.

  1. it's okay to miss home...everyday.
  2. you find out who your friends are when you move away for a year. try it.
  3. life doesn't slow down for the good parts...or speed up for the bad ones, and everything that we go through is shaping who we are.

okay, enough inspirational talk. but seriously, those things are all so, so true. since i've been here, i've had some low points where i was ready to get on a plane back to Illinois ASAP. and then there's times, like when sixten is warm and sleepy and curled in my lap in the morning, or when i'm on the beach in Thailand, that i think, 'how can i leave this??'

i've been noticing in myself lately this EXTREME urge to get everything figured out...to eliminate all the unknowns in every area of my life: relationships, future job, where i'll be living when i get back to the States, to name a few. but i really feel like God's been reminding me to just live in the moment and not wish so much for the future or for things i can't change. i was listening to the new Kenny Chesney CD the other day and one of his songs is called "Don't Blink" and it's written from the perspective of a 100-year-old man who's being asked about what's he's learned over the years, and he says "Don't blink" (among other things...it's a good song, even if it is kenny chesney). and then my best friend, Steph, wrote a blog about a patient of hers that could be potentially dying of cancer, and how much its reminded her to live life every day.

i think it's not so much about living life to its fullest, but to simply live in the moment wherever you are, whether you're loving your life or hating your life.

anyway, that's what i've been thinking about. on a side note, i got tired of blending in with all the Swedish blondes and decided to go dark. here's a couple pictures of me and Sixten...or Luke Skywalker, as he'd prefer to be called: