the song i can't get out of my head

if i was as internet-savvy as all my friends think i am, maybe i'd be able to actually post the video directly on here?

anyway - this video is of the song 'Hero' by Charlotte Perrelli, and it was entered by Sweden into the Eurovision 2008 contest. basically, all the countries in Europe have this music contest in their respective countries - maybe a little comparable to American Idol, except the singers are typically already talented and the SONG is trying to win, rather than the singer - and then it's on TV, and people in the country can vote on what songs they like. does that make sense? sorry if it doesn't. at any rate, Sweden had a number of songs for their 'national' contest, and this below is the song that won, and will go on to be in the Eurovision Contest, at an international level.

that's all to say that it's a darned catchy song, even if it is totally Swedish/Euro in its cheesiness. when we were in France last week, just about every morning around 8am i would wake up with this blaring from the iPod dock in the kitchen, cause the kids love it. this contest was a really big deal here in Sweden, so i figured it was share-worthy ;)



a reminder to myself

i once heard a good friend of mine say that, 'God cares more about our character than our comfort.'

this is so very true, and i think it's a good reminder for all of us.


it's official -


i will be very honest and say that, while i was looking forward to coming to France, i was NOT looking forward to skiing. at all, really. i haven't skiied in over 10 years, but did some snowboarding a few years ago - badly, i might add - which took place in Duluth, Minnesota, which has no mountains of any sort, and just a really big hill that you can ski down in 3 minutes. we arrived in Geneva, Switzerland last Thursday night, and let me tell you - these mountains are freaking HUGE. the next day we went and rented my skis and i kept wondering...how are we going to get to the chair lift from the house? cause here's what i'm thinking - i haven't skiied in at least 10 years. we won't all fit in the Land Cruiser to go down to park and THEN get on the lift. the lift is downhill from the house.

do you see where this is going? my first day on skiis in a long, long time i had to ski all the way down the mountain to the chair lift. i think i fell about 53 times in a 1 mile stretch.

but, it got easier, and i took private lessons with Pascall - yes, he was French, and i kept wanting to call him Gaston - and there is currently a CAT in this hotel lobby, umm... - but i took the lessons, and six days later, my friends -

i was on the black slopes! you can bet i have been BRAGGING. thing is, though, they're not that hard. they're just a bit steeper and longer. in fact, my three kids have been going down them, including Sixten, the 4 year old. he snowplows the whole way down, it's so adorable to watch his little body go careening past adults on these slopes :)

i guess you could say that's been the good part of the trip - i've gotten to see a different part of France, rediscover skiing, and see some incredibly gorgeous scenery. but on the downside, it's also been one of the MOST boring weeks of my life. no kidding. the family's house - which is like something out of a magazine, the decorating is beautifully rustic and cabin-like - was supposed to have the Internet, but it turns out it wasn't turned on yet. i finished the ONE book i brought by Tuesday, and i've also read every.single.magazine in the whole place. the TV is constantly occupied by Kasper and Joakim, who have been playing Need for Speed nonstop. so, that really doesn't leave much...

i discovered a really gorgeous lodge down the street from the house that has wireless internet, though, so i've been coming here to sit in their lobby and drink vin chauds (hot wine) and check my email. it's actually pretty relaxing, despite the fact that i have to walk 2 miles uphill to get back home.

i've taken lots of pictures, so i should have those up by next week. i hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!


hittin' the slopes!

tomorrow i'll be getting on a plane with my (Swedish) family and flying to Geneva, Switzerland and then driving an hour south to Chamonix, France, to go on my first ever ski vacation. they have a cabin located right at the base of the Mont Blanc, which is Europe's tallest mountain. i think i'm excited...i'm definitely looking forward to seeing a different part of France and doing some skiing, but after the last month of visitor after visitor, i'm really just ready to relax. and i'm not so sure that being in a cabin with 10 other people (we're going with another family) will be all that relaxing :)

here's some pictures of Chamonix, and the Mont Blanc valley. again, i'm reminded just how much i LOVE THIS JOB...


my favorite part of stockholm

i would love to post more, but i'm currently in the middle of entertaining my dad and sister for the week - i just wanted to post a picture of Gamla Stan, which is Stockholm's Old Town. i've decided it's my favorite place to hang out in, and definitely the best place to take visitors. the streets are narrow, cobblestone and make you feel as though you're walking in ancient Europe. i've found a great pub that i like to go to, Wirström's, where every single time i've gone i end up meeting English-speaking people. the stores are obviously of the tourist variety, but i've found a random few shops that sell some of the cutest little Anthropologie-like items.
alright, they're waiting on me to get out the door - more later....


yes, we really did this

my best friend, Bobbie, came to visit me last week while my family was in France skiing, and let me just say, we had fun. so much fun, in fact, that we had to take some pictures to document all the fun we were having!

okay, so basically we just wanted to take pictures of us doing all the 'rich stuff' in my amazing house here. we're silly. but anyway, we really did have lots of fun - made tons of good food, drank tons of wine, and watched tons of 'Gilmore Girls'. it was a Girls Week, definitely.

i also had a visitor this last weekend, Connie - she's an au pair in Paris. we took some great pictures. i'll get those up pretty soon...but for now, i have to get to workin' cause my FOURTH set of visitors in FOUR weeks are coming today! that's right...my dad and sister are coming today and staying through next week. it's going to be their first trip to Europe, so that's exciting. lots of pressure there :)

some comments about these pictures -

1 - my family has a Golf Room in their house. it's basically a driving range...there's a computer that's hooked up to the big screen on the wall and when you hit your ball into, it tells you how many feet you drove the ball, and all sorts of other technical stuff that i don't understand. they use it often, for those who are wondering :)
2 - how about bobbie's glass of wine in the cupholder? we didn't realize that til after we were looking at the pictures.
3 - the hot tub. it's my lifeline some days when all i want to do is take a bath, as there's NO bathtubs in this house.
4- bobbie in the steam sauna. sometimes it feels sooo good to sit in there, especially when it's cold out.
5 - watching a movie in the Theater Room. the screen comes down from the ceiling, as do the window shades, with the touch of a remote button. also note the extremely IKEA-like bed that comes down from the wall.
6- my hand at golfing. not such a good one. by the way, the room looks really small, but it's actually a pretty good size. big enough to annoy me when i'm picking up golf balls every day :)


more than halfway

today marks my 6 month anniversary of being in Stockholm, leaving me 5 months left in this country. i'm not sure i have any great wisdom to share about what i've learned in these 6 months - it's probably not much different than what i had learned on my 5 month anniversary. but i do know that, after being away from home for 6 months - while it has gone by faster than i thought it would - it is so, so wonderful to have your friends come and visit you. it's like having home come to you.

to brad and bobbie, THANK YOU from the very depths of my heart for coming to see me. i wish that the weather was warmer and it wasn't so rainy and that there were more interesting tourist-y things to do in Stockholm besides the Palace and the Big Ship, but it's comforting to have heard from both of you that you didn't so much come to see Stockholm, but to see me. i'm always overwhelmed by the goodness of my friends.

hopefully tomorrow i'll be able to get some pictures up of bobbie's visit; i definitely have some good ones.

i'm home today with klara and sixten, they both seem to have gotten a touch of the flu when they were in france, so they're recovering. i don't mind a bit, i missed my little monkeys. one thing i can say about being more than halfway done - i will miss these kids like nothing else. they are in my heart more than i thought they ever would be.

on that note, i think i'll go watch 'Bambi' with them.