nothin' but chaos

did i mention that there's 8 children present on this particular holiday? my guess is that everyone's suddenly realizing that this job definitely has its 'uh, no thanks' moments...i actually can have those in abundance, depending on how you view wiping poopy butts, hauling dirty laundry, watching 3 children under the age of 7 by yourself for 72 straight hours with no breaks, going on holiday and not planning any of your own activities, being told you can't take your car further than a 10 mile radius.......but i digress :)

anyway, i love my job, fully and completely, so that's not really the issue. however, do i love having 8 children - all under the age of 8, actually - on my beach vacation? notsomuch. everything is all fine and dandy until dinnertime rolls around and then suddenly it's as if every single child was given a triple dose of energy and feistiness the moment before they sat down in their chairs. i've never been so weary about feeding a group of children as i have in the last day and a half! these kids pick and moan and groan and whine and cry and complain at the prospect of having to eat just one small, tiny piece of fish. and if i were the kind of girl who blared all her inner thoughts out onto her blog, believe me - you'd be hearing my thoughts on this one. but as my ever-wise stepmom Queenie says, 'who asked me?'

so we sit down at dinner in the nice, quiet dining room and within moments each child is yelling something at their parents while banging on the chairs, table, plates, etc, all the while having a conversation with whatever child is sitting next to them at the time. seriously. it's like this the entire time they're eating. they bang and holler their way through dinner (and how can they help it?? when i'm with 7 of my best girlfriends i'm all loud and excited, too) and by the time they get up to go play outside - ironically in very calm, controlled manners, of course - my nerves are practically jumping through my skin and i've drank all my dinner wine.

so. that's been my vacation, thus far. went for a walk on the beach today and came to the conclusion that any beach where i have to wear my shoes in the sand cause i'm fearful of broken glass is really just not a beach i care to go to. ever. thank God for the pool here, cause otherwise my sunbathing attempts would be miserable...


6000 miles later...

...i've finally arrived in Bali, Indonesia! it was a long, 17 hour process to get from Stockholm to Denpasar, but we made it without a hitch and surprisingly, the flights went by much more quickly than i thought they would, considering we had 3 small children. we loaded up at 11am yesterday morning and took off at 2pm for a 10 hour flight to Bangkok, where we had a 3 hour layover, and then a 4 hour flight from Bangkok to Denpasar, Indonesia. Needless to say, it gets long and tiresome, but this girl's learning how to travel! i bring pajamas to wear on the plane and an outfit to change into the following morning, my makeup to refresh myself, and definitely deoderant and toothpaste/toothbrush. it helps the following morning not feel so icky, cause it's really not morning to your body's timeclock, it's more like midnight. and believe me, wrangling 3 children and bags for everyone through an airport when it feels like midnight and you've been sitting for 10 hours...well, let's just say a little bit of makeup and toothpaste can go a long way.

at any rate, the villa we're staying in is GORGEOUS. completely open-air, swimming pool right smack dab in the middle, we have an open-air bathroom with palm trees in it, robes, slippers, down bedding, flat screens...it's deluxe.

i'll try to post pictures as soon as i can, but i had to share that i had made it here okay!



okay, i love my family here, this job is GREAT, better than i ever could have dreamed of and they're really wonderful people on top of it...but no kidding - you would think i lived in a developing country, with the way the INTERNET AND PHONE NEVER WORKS. seriously, i have never seen anything like it! pretty much since February, it's been breaking down and then working, and then breaking down, and then working again. and for a girl who is Internet-crazy and uses it as her source of connection to home, it's pretty much torturous.

so here i sit, at Wayne's Coffee, trying to write this but losing it cause they only connect you for 20 minutes...seriously, if you're at a coffee shop using the wireless internet, you're PROBABLY planning to stay more than 20 minutes. geez.

by the way, i found the bag i was looking for - my gigantic slouchy handbag! it's soft leather, cream colored and should be able to fit 3 weeks of clothing and a small child into it. i'm happy :) my only frustration with it is that the leather gets a bit of a wrinkled look, and i'm not sure how to get that out. any ideas?

alright...i need to get home soon here, and taking the train is always such an ordeal. at least it is in my mind - reason number 2 for why i will be so happy to be back in America. no 1 being CHIPOTLE BURRITOS.


i'm off

to go watch the Sweden vs. ?? football game. yeah, that's right. i don't even know who in the world they're playing. all i know is, all of Stockholm is going to be watching this game outside of the TGI Fridays and i will be there (btw - TGI FRIDAYS. i paid 32 dollars for 3 fajitas there back in December - that's how incredibly expensive everything is here). i figure it's the least i can do to show my halfhearted, could-care-less support for my temp country. everyone's saying they'll lose this game, anyway.

buuut...before i go watch the game i'm going to prowl the city (okay, H&M) for a giant oversized hobo slouchy bag. everytime we travel it ends up that i carry half of the stuff for the kids, plus everything that i'm taking for a carry-on, and you wouldn't believe the trunkload of stuff these kids take on the plane...PSP's (each have their own), DVD players, books, markers, puzzles, dolls, misc toys, bananas, crackers, meatballs (they don't eat plane food, duh)...the list goes on. i'm sick of throwing everything in my small-sized big purses and somehow, my Vera Bradley duffel bag just doesn't feel so cute in Europe, where everything is black, brown or white.

oh. and summer SUCKS here right now. it's been cloudy everyday for the last week and a half, and the high temp today? 59 degrees. that is a CRIME in the month of june.

thank the Lord i'll be on the beach in just 4 days...


i am so domestic

....uh, that's a joke. although, i do have to say - i'm getting GOOD at managing 47 loads of laundry per day.

my domesticated, married-with-kids life has obviously yet to appear (although i keep telling brad i REFUSE to be older than 30 to have my first child, sooo...just 4 more years, haha), and while i certainly have mastered the art of helping to run someone else's household, running my own is a far-off thing. hopefully not too far, right, brad? :) anyway, every now and then i get this deep urge to iron my linens and cook really good food, and today was one of those days.

now, here's the thing - if i were graced with a super high metabolism, i would be visiting the Paula Deen website every freakin' day. i grew up eating that kind of food, and believe me, i would much rather eat something fried and dripping with butter than ice cream or sweets. but since i don't, and since i value my size 6 jeans, i am resigned to cook things like fish and vegetables, veggie burgers, chicken fajitas sans rice/tortilla, and other boring, healthy foods. but every now and then i come along little gems of recipes that are really, really good and really pretty healthy.

and with all that said, here's the one i discovered this morning -

  • 2 Large cucumbers, grated or thinly cut
  • 1 finely minced garlic clove
  • half a palmful of fresh dill, minced (i used a whole palmful, i like dill)
  • 2/3 Cup of light sour cream (i would usually use FF, but needs to be a bit thicker)
  • 2/3 Cup of light Greek yoghurt (recipe calls for full fat, i did half fat free & half full fat)
  • 1/2 liter of organic, boxed chicken broth
  • salt and white pepper to taste
mix everything together, and blend in a food processor or blender to liquify cucumbers. you can garnish with chopped avocados or tomatoes, or a spoonful of sour cream.

and that's it! it's SUPER easy - it took me a little bit to make it cause you can't buy boxed chicken broth here, so i had to actually make some from cubes. but otherwise, i would say the most time consuming part of this recipe is grating the cucumbers. it's perfect for summer, and tastes even better when you let it chill in the fridge for a while.

my next recipe i'm attempting is Lettuce Wraps from the Martha Stewart website. they look super good, and make me think of the Lettuce Wrap appetizers at Big Bowl in Minneapolis. yet another thing that makes me antsy for home....



today there's been about two thoughts consistently on my head - no. 1, the BF. he's been gone for a little over 24 hours and everything feels empty and boring. it's incredible how much you can be in love and yet know that he's your very best friend in the whole world. i told him the other day, 'it's so great that your my best friend and i get to kiss you!' not sure there's anything better. but anyway, i miss him. feels like a part of me is gone.

the other thought is uh...slightly connected to the first (okay, largely connected) but due to the fact that this doesn't actually quite apply to me yet, i have to be extremely vague about it. so - thought no. 2 - anybody know where i can get 2000 dollars? see, there's something i am dying to purchase. like, dying, dying. i've got it in my head and i can't get it out, no matter how much i try to. so, if anybody has any idea of how i can acquire an extra, unnecessary-for-bills 2000 dollars by oh, say...December, then i'd be much obliged.

hmm...this week is fairly uneventful. the kids are at camp this week, and Friday is Midsommar, which is THE biggest holiday in Sweden. it's the longest day of the year, and that's when everyone dances around the Maypole and eats crayfish and drinks til the cows come home. i, however, will not be partaking of the celebrations to their full extent cause i'll be on a flight on Saturday afternoon to the South Pacific. can't say i'm too disappointed :)

living darfur

because i love Africa and have a huge place in my heart for its people, i wanted to post this music video by Mattafix called 'Living Darfur' - it's a beautiful portrayal of the lives of the Sudanese people who are being murdered on a daily basis. if you know anything about the Darfur crisis, you should check this out.


beach, boyfriend and baby boy

i'm a little behind in posting pictures and even blogs, i think! life has been really busy lately - a week in Spain, a week with the man, and my time is all filled up. however, vacation's over (at least for uh, now....don't hate me, i'm on my way to Indonesia on Saturday) and the BF just jetted out of the country tonight (i seriously miss him already), so i'm a free woman with lots of pictures to share :)

my shimmery legs, courtesy of Hawaiian Tropic AKA the BEST smelling sunscreen ever

brad discovered this beer in Spain called Desperado - it had tequila in it, and was SO good

he gets brown as a berry in the summer. ridiculous. he took me out for paella one night, we weren't expecting the shrimp heads to still be on our shrimp.

one of my most very favorite things? big earrings. the bigger, the better. i think it's funny how these are casting a shine ON MY FACE. btw, this is how i look after 5 straight days of beachin', drinkin' and smoochin'

this was Paella Night - not a huge fan of this picture, but this is the shirt from my Carrie Underwood outfit! i wore the white shorts with it :)

two of my favorite boys - brad was sixten's FAVORITE

sixten's losing his baby face...and brad's smile is as great as ever ;)

we took this at the Texas Longhorn Restaurant in Stockholm. brad says the have some of the best ribs he's ever tasted...? we tend to avoid the Swedish food when he's here.

okay, i know this picture is super blurry, but it was also taken at 10.45 AT NIGHT. welcome to Sweden.

playing football with the littlest peanut. football's HUGE right now in Europe, by the way. Euro2008 is coming up.

love this picture :) brad is great, great, great with kids. aaaand...i love that hand. he has big, beautiful, construction-man hands and I LOVE THEM

have i mentioned how much i love these two?

sixten is 100% ALL BOY

too, too sweet.

SO. i think we're all caught up now, right? it's after midnight here and i need to get to bed, but i'll get back on track with posting. brad told me i tend to post more updates, rather than talking about topics, so maybe i'll work on blogging about things, or stuff....i don't know, we'll see.

and can i just say...i'm back in the BEST COUNTRY ON EARTH in just a month and a half. tell ya what, you never know how much you love America til you don't live there. Europe has many great things, but it doesn't come close to the good 'ol US of A :) but maybe i'm a bit biased?


back to reality...

my bags are packed, i'm in my ripped jeans and white t-shirt, the tan is bangin'....and i'm heading back to Stockholm. with the boyfriend, of course :) it's been a great trip - lots of laying out on the beach, walking around, eating ice cream and the BEST pizza in the world, and drinking ridiculous quantities of authentic Sangria. it's been a fairly uneventful vacation - last night, we (one of the guys on Brad's bike tour is here with us) tried to go to a bull fight and tickets were 65€. that is the equivalent of over $100. NO, THANK YOU. so we walked back, and me and Brad took a walk on the beach and realized that we've done quite a bit of traveling together. since we've been dating, we've been to Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Sweden, Sicily and now Spain together.

one thing i will tell you, though - i have seen MORE BOOBS on this trip than i've seen in my entire life. the beaches here are not 'nudie beaches'...they're just 'bikini tops optional'. that's definitely a weird thing to be around when you're with your boyfriend.

here's a picture of me and brad (please notice how STINKING tan he is - you oughta see the tan line on his back) -

oh, and on a completely un-related note: home in less than 2 months!! can't wait :)


made it to Spain!

yep, i'm here....me and all 25 kilos of my suitcase. just so you know, whenever you're traveling in Europe, it should be LAW that you can't bring more than, oh, i don't know...5 KILOS in your luggage.

seriously. i am not sure i have ever felt so ridiculous in my LIFE, hauling my big 'ol deluxo, king-sized suitcase through the train station and out to the airport. what makes it all so crazy is that i'm meeting up with 5 guys while i'm here (my boyfriend and his entourage of bikers, they've been biking through Europe)....can't wait to hear the beating i'll get for that.

anyway - my time is running out on the computer, but for my family and friends, i'm here, i'm safe....and i can't wait to stake my place on the sea tomorrow. it's across the street!