When your body is not your own…

Today I want to scream…no seriously, I want to scream. My body feels like it’s under attack by the small wonders that I call my children. Sometimes it seems like every minute of every day my body belongs to someone else…and I HATE that. As a naturally introverted person, it really freaks me out to be touched ALL THE TIME. Tonight, my husband took one of the kids off to pick up dinner, unfortunately, the other child, who was asked by his dad to put together a Lego set in his absence decided that instead he would fasten himself to may side and demand to know what I was reading on the internet. Then he started making demands about which websites I should go to. Then he wanted to know why I didn’t have an Instagram account. Finally, I had enough, “I love you but I just want to not have anyone touching my body. PLEASE read your magazine or a book.”. Somehow, this worked. It was the third time I asked, but somehow it worked. Small miracles, I know. He is periodically looking at me and saying “harrumph” and telling me which books to buy him, but still…small victory.

Do those of you who are parents ever have days like this? I miss writing. I miss reading. I miss THINKING. I miss NOT BEING TOUCHED. These are all things that go to the wayside when you are surrounded by tiny dictators throughout the day. For those of you who miss my blog (I hope there are some of you out there), please be patient. Someday I will have the opportunity to put all these ideas in my head on paper. Unfortunately, I have no idea when that will be. My goal is soon…soon being at some point within the next 30 day period, but you never know. In the meantime, I have to go. The tiny dictator has reattached himself to my arm and is demanding to know what I am typing. If only he knew 😉

Until next time…


Mom Level: Expert

Hi all! Did you think I disappeared? Nah… nothing so drastic. I just popped a kid out and that took a bit out of me. Apparently this parenting business is just as hard the second time around as it is the first. Perhaps even harder because toddlers don’t come with a handy off switch. I love my boy, but he has a LOT of energy and also carries around every virus known to humankind. His life goals include simultaneously smothering me with love, running me into the ground, and giving me the flu—all out of love. It’s baffling.

Moving on… for my first blog post pregnancy, I decided to write about something happy, empowering, and downright awesome. I hope you enjoy it. 😉

Some days as a parent, even as a second time around parent, I feel like a complete newb. When that small creature shrieks for what feels like hours on end while I grasp frantically for solutions, it is disheartening. Then suddenly, the clouds part, something goes right and I think… oh yeah, I’ve got this. No problem.

Let’s talk about that parenting win today. The past three months, it has been a bit chilly in our apartment. Not exactly sweater temperatures, but nothing I would want a naked baby subjected to for long periods of time. Consequently, our new arrival has been diapered and dressed almost all of the time (showers and baths excluded). This does not leave many opportunities for airing out “down there” if you get my drift. So, what is a mom to do when a rash starts to develop and creams and oils just don’t cut it? Naked booty time. That’s right, the kid needed some diaper free time to relax around the apartment. Thankfully, the sun is now shining high (most days) in the Swedish sky (from before 6am until after 9pm…) so the apartment is quite a bit warmer during the day.

Unfortunately, we do not have a washer and dryer in our apartment and I have an aversion to washing linens more than once a week. Exceptions are made if it cannot be avoided, but I do everything I can to avoid it. The hubs even carries our sleeping 4 year old to the toilet each night to ensure there is no wet bedding in the morning. As many of you know, babies pee at their leisure and seem unaffected by such small details as dirtying the linens. In fact, something about a bit of fresh air almost ensures bladder release.

As Plato said (though probably not in English), “Necessity is the mother of invention”. My extreme desire to avoid doing a 7th load of laundry each week brought me to the kind of super mom “AHA” moment that I had previously only dreamt about… PIDDLE PADS! Also known as puppy training pads, pee pads, and urine absorption pads. That’s right, I decided to lay my kid on a puppy pad. Some of you are jumping up and down thinking, “why didn’t I think of that???” Still others think I am a complete and total jerk to my kid. That’s cool, to each his or her own. I feel like a genius.

How did this little experiment go? Swimmingly 😃 Thanks to my lovely aunt, I am the proud owner of a 7 pack of piddle pads and after 3 naked baby sessions, my little one has yet to actually pee outside of her diaper. Clearly she is attempting to lull me into a false sense of security… My only regret is that we bought relatively small piddle pads. In the future, I will probably purchase the extra large ones to guarantee more room for the wee one to roll around. If I’m going to do it, I might as well do it right.

So, for you parents out there suffering the dilemma of either doing an extra load of laundry or keeping your baby in diapers, give this a try. Let me know how it goes 😉

Until next time…


Today’s Win

Today was a great day. My back hurt, I was tired, and it was still a great day. Why? Well, I got the best news today. Not really news so much as a revelation. As many of you know, we recently switched preschools to be a bit closer to home and also expose our son to more of the Swedish language. Lo and behold, that decision paid off.

Midday, just as I was debating on whether I really had time for a nap, a notification popped up on my phone screen. It was from Pluttra, the program the preschool uses to send pictures and videos from the school day. We don’t get a notification every day, but whenever we do, it is always a surprise. Today’s notification related to a video featuring our son introducing lunch to his classmates. You see, each day one of the students rings the bell signaling lunch and then tells the others what they will be eating. Today was our son’s turn.

As the video began, we heard the teacher asking a question in Svenska (presumably asking our son to introduce the meal). The little guy promptly responded by making eye contact with his table mates and then pointing to each dish in turn and providing the Svenska name for the food. There were about five different foods on the table. He correctly listed all but one in Svenska, correcting the last after prompting from his teacher. Following his presentation he said “varsågod”. This is “you are welcome” in Svenska. It is also the same phrase used when you are provided just about any service or item. He definitely used it in the correct context.

I cheered! Aloud…by myself. Couldn’t help it really.

It’s been two weeks now that his teachers’ have been speaking Svenska exclusively with him and already the progress is astounding. Children have the most amazing minds. When I was younger I had no idea of my capabilities. Now I truly understand why we use the phrase “limitless potential”. Watching that video, I was reminded that the entire world is open to my child, to our children. We just have to give them the opportunity to discover it.

Image from

Image from

Until next time…



New Term, New School

Pre-school has begun again for our little guy and I am so excited to share this new experience with you. As you know from my previous blog, we were excited to have the little man try out school in Sweden. While the teachers in our last school were AWESOME, we wanted to find a school closer to home and also one where the students were primarily Swedish. The logic behind this is that if we stay in Sweden long term, the short one will need to be fluent in Svenska. Thus began the search for a new school. I applied to many schools, a few local public schools, and several cooperatives. The one I was most excited about was a Montessori cooperative. Those of you familiar with the Montessori pedagogy know that the emphasis is on helping children to develop their life skills through self-guided play (massive simplification, I know). Needless to say, my fingers were crossed. A couple of months passed while we waited to be notified about school, but finally we found out there was availability in three of the schools we had contacted. Two we were very excited about and those two were narrowed to one after we considered ease of commute.

That is how just three weeks ago I found myself bringing the little man for his first day of Montessori pre-school in a primarily Svenska speaking school. It was such a good decision. Not only is this a Montessori pre-school, it also has a huge outdoor play area with a giant sand pit, vegetable and flower gardens, and even a little play house. Indoors, the children are separated by age into three distinct classrooms that only mingle when outdoors (a big plus for my little guy who doesn’t always enjoy the company of the littlest children). The teachers are lovely, and the students are most definitely the nicest group of kids I have come across.

Each week, the children will be going on a hike in the nearby woods with their teachers. They also take walks around the neighborhood, visit local museums and theaters, and eat some amazing, freshly prepared meals. Yesterday when I arrived they were eating apple sauce they made with apples foraged from a local yard (freely given by the homeowner) and today they had sandwiches made on freshly made bread rolls by the awesome cook who prepares tasty meals each day. My experience with the food at both the previous school and this current school is that the quality is so much higher than what I was accustomed to back home. As someone who has been sick and disinclined to make strongly flavorful foods for the past few months, it is wonderful to know that my child is eating things like freshly prepared salmon cakes and homemade stews during his school day.

This school is a cooperative in addition to being Montessori, which means that we as parents have a responsibility to assist with the smooth running of the school. There are cleaning duties, committee duties, and in general an expectation that we will be active in the goings on at the school. While this can be daunting for some, in a place like Sweden, where parental leave is generous, and people work to live rather than live to work, it is completely reasonable. It’s not all work though, in addition to those responsibilities come certain privileges. After picking up children from school, it’s not unheard of for parents to stick around and play on the playground out back with the children. I wouldn’t even have considered this at our previous school, as the playground was in the middle of an apartment complex and I felt it would be impolite to stick around. Since this playground belongs to the school, it makes perfect sense to let the children continue playing and to join in ourselves.

My biggest concern joining this school was that my limited Svenska would be problematic for the other parents. Thus far, my fears have proven completely unfounded. The parents are friendly and inclusive, some have even been helping me to add to my Svenska vocabulary bit by bit. One mom even made me a homemade natural deodorant that is much better than the store bought one I’ve been using. My other concern was that my son would have trouble adjusting to being the only English speaking child. That concern turned out to be entirely unfounded. The other children have completely accepted him and gone out of there way to include him in their play. Hopefully eventually he will even be able to understand what they are saying.

Until next time…



Just One Task

Now that I’m officially slightly on the mend, I’ve decided to pick up some bits and pieces of my prior life (we will call that “before pukefest 2016” or “BP2016” for short). Unfortunately, as I learned while my mom was in town visiting, taking on too many tasks or too big of a task in one sitting is a poor choice and returns me to the time of pukefest 2016. A good example of this is that if you have been in a semi bedrest situation for months on end, it’s probably not a good idea to go to Ikea for an outing… Ikea = just too darn big! Or, if you do go to Ikea, do not then trek to the neighboring strip mall to check out the home improvement store to check out cleaning supplies. This level of activity will no doubt have repercussions. On the bright side, following this poor, poor choice, my toilet is once again sparkling clean. It’s best to only experience a pukefest in a sparkling clean toilet. I strongly advise avoiding friends’ toilets. You never know what you will find…

Following the Ikea incident, my new and awesome midwife advised me to rest as much as possible. Hmm… while I am a fan of this rest thing, it doesn’t jive so well with having a son who is on school break and a husband who just returned to work (following an amazing 3 week paid vacation—thank you Sweden!!).
School starts again next week, so this week I’ve vowed that we will do one task each day (preferably out of the house). That way he doesn’t go completely stir crazy, and I don’t feel like a blob that just sits around and allows her child to watch way too many episodes of Mighty Machines (greatest Canadian show ever folks) and Axel and Daddy Show. Thank you YouTube…

Our task this Thursday was to replace the front tire on the jogging stroller we’ve been hauling around since we were in the United States. In England this wasn’t a big deal, as there was a cycle shop right up the street that carried the right size tires and took care of everything for me whenever we got a flat. Love the performance of air-filled tires, hate the maintenance… In Sweden, we don’t have a cycle shop up the block and I don’t yet know enough svenska to be confident calling around town looking for a shop. That said, my husband reminded me that we passed a shop one day on our way to lunch, so the short one and I set out on Thursday to track it down. As we sat on the tram, I realized we would be in the neighborhood of a friend who had contacted the hubs for some computer help. Now, I’m not the most savvy computer person, but I have broken a few in my day, which makes me uniquely qualified for a novice. I contacted my friend and within minutes we had a deal. I would look at her computer and she would call around town double checking all the cycle shops for me. Win-win situation!

Two and a half hours after we left our house, and one trouble shooting season later, the boy and I were headed out again. We caught a tram and headed for the cycle shop…then promptly got off two stops later when I realized the tram we caught would not go to the area we needed. Finally, three hours and four minutes after we left the house, we found the cycle shop. Unfortunately, they had just closed for lunch four minutes prior… After several days with little sun, the short one made an executive decision that I would find us a place to hang out in the sun where we could absorb some vitamin D (yes, he really does say things like that). Four hours after we left the house and many games of super hero with me sitting on a bench and him running in circles later, we entered the cycle shop and thankfully were able to have a new tire and inner tube installed. Quite reasonably as well! Four hours and twenty minutes later, I realized we were once again on the wrong tram 😔 Five hours later, we arrived back at our apartment, having completed our one task for the day.

One task truly was all I could handle for one day. Funnily enough, in the U.S. this wouldn’t have been an issue. I would have called around or checked the internet, hopped in my car, driven to the shop, and finished everything within an hour. In England, I would have taken a leisurely stroll and 15 minutes later been finished with my errand. When you move to a foreign country where the language is unfamiliar, everything changes. Some things are amazing and some things are so, so hard. What I am learning as I go through this transition while also attempting to grow a living being in my belly is that I have to be nicer to myself. Instead of beating myself up for the time he spends watching shows, I remind myself of the fact that we kept tv from him for two full years and that the shows he does watch are good ones that aren’t damaging his brain synapses. Also, anyone who has watched the shows I mentioned above will likely agree that they can be pretty interesting, even for an adult. I caught my mom staring raptly at the screen during an episode of Mighty Machines the other day. It was awesome.

So, how have I done this week with my one task goal? Well, it didn’t actually start until Thursday, so, not too bad. The five hour cycle shop adventure kept my kid happy and wasn’t too exhausting (though I may have fallen asleep on the tram for just a moment and needed a nap as soon as we got home…). Friday was laundry day and that wasn’t too bad either. The short one even kept me company going back and forth to the laundry room. I did cheat a bit and take him into town to meet the hubs at his work, which is technically a second task, but both the child and I were feeling a bit cooped up, so it was good to go out. The nausea started to return as I headed home, but thankfully I was prepared with good ol’ white bread as soon as I got home. Yeah, yeah, I know I should be eating better. You try puking up every vegetable and fruit you eat for 4 months and then lecture me 😉 The midwife says survival is more important at this stage, so that’s my goal.

How about you out there? Are you being too hard on yourself? Setting unrealistic expectations? Why not set a one task goal? If you complete it, congratulate yourself. If you still have energy, aim for a second. Let’s all learn to work to live rather than living to work. My mom put it best. She said that during her visit she finally had time to think. That her life is so busy and chaotic that she never really has time to just be one with her thoughts and sort things out. That’s a great description of my life before leaving the US. Busy does not equate to productive and productive does not necessarily equate to happy or content. To all of you out there, I hope you are happy and content. If you aren’t, I hope today you take a moment to yourself to find a quiet place and just be.


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Until next time…

Parenting, Travel Adventures

Glorious Summer Break

The Hubby here, and I want to share my reflection of my first 3 week Swedish Summer Break.

When I started working in Sweden 6 months ago, I was warned by my new coworkers about the ritual that the whole country seems to enjoy: taking 3-4 weeks during Summer out of work.
As July approaches, the build up of excitement shows. Some might argue, around here, Summer break is a bigger deal than Christmas break.

All schools are closed.  All daycares are seemingly closed. Most people (except those in retail) take July off from work and flee the city.  Everyone working in Sweden is entitled to 25 days of paid vacation per year (that is 5 work weeks), so I can see why they make the most of it.  As a cherry on top, in Sweden, if you take vacation days, as part of collective bargaining, you might actually get paid a bit more than your regular salary.  They really want you to take those vacation days.

Taking long vacations from work is not something that we, as Americans, consider commonplace. So for this Summer break, I set two personal goals for myself: disconnect from work and bond with my son.

The first goal turned out to be surprisingly easy. I mean, it does make things a bit easier when most of the people in your office are also on vacation. Synchronised vacation has both pros and cons, but as far as helping me reach my personal goal: it’s a plus. I didn’t feel the urge to compulsively check my email on my phone like I always do when I was on vacation back in the States.

As for the other goal…

My relationship with my son has always been pretty good. But I always knew that I am no substitute for mommy – and there are areas where our son would not budge. Getting him to bed is one. He would get royally pissed off if mom is not in the room when he wakes up in the middle of the night, for instance. “I want mommy!” was a common plea.

One day I asked him:

“Do you love me?”
“Yes. But just a little bit”
“How about mommy?”
“A lot”

I don’t blame him. I was like that when I was his age, always looking for my mom. Not very many people know this, but one of the main reasons we left the States is because I worked too much – to the point of not spending enough time to bond with our newborn. Things were much better in England, but I feel that I hit a stride after moving to Gothenburg.
I’ve always been envious of all the dads out there on Facebook who manage to take a toddler for few nights on their own while the moms are having weekend trips. This was not my reality.

This summer, here are some of the awesome things the boy and I did together:

РTook a bus to Bor̴s Zoo and Science Centre. The boy got some more dinosaur names to augment his dictionary, such as Apatosaurus
РCaught, hatched, and evolved lots and lots of Pok̩mon
РSlowly catching up with Pok̩mon Season One on YouTube (2 episodes per day only, I still remember the seizure concerns back in the days)
РInvented and acted out various made up Pok̩mon roles.
“Today I am Doggy, a high level Pokemon!” he yelled. “Hit Evolve button, Dad!” “How do you spell Evolve?” “E-V-O-L-V-E” I hit an imaginary button. Random dramatic noises. “I am Ultra! I have my Stomp and Stinky Balls! (don’t ask)”
– Recycled lots and lots of cans and bottles to save up for his coveted toy
РUsing Pok̩mon Go evolution to teach him why saving up his hard earned money for a higher level, I mean, more expensive toy is better
– Took a speed boat to the Archipelago around Goteborg. “How fast?” “SO FAST!”
– Had him nap on me while we were on ferries and trams
– Saw him do his first forward roll, and the nine hundred rolls afterward (his patented Flip Fall, where he would pretend to fall then forward flip)
– Rode the back of a Triceratops
– Told him stories on trams. So many made up stories, involving our imaginary friends The Kraken, The Monster with One Thousand Eyes, Grabby the Toy Grabber, Terry the Pterodactyl, and hundreds more.
– Visited Copenhagen, took a nice tour boat ride on the canals
– Heard him say “Okay, here’s the game plan..”


I feel that finally, I bonded with my son. Like really bonded. He’s actually looking for me, and letting Wifey focus on being healthy for <Number Two>.
I feel confident now laying down with him for naps and at night. Instead of yelling for mommy, he actually gives me a grin when he wakes up.

I am very much looking forward to another awesome Summer Break next year, where we will get to do a lot more of these awesome things together.

And so, the time for the Litmus test..
“Do you love me?”
He nodded.
“A lot?”



“But I love mommy more, though”

Until next time…


The Toilet Diaries

Hello again my friends! It’s been much too long since I’ve placed my fingers on the keyboard to communicate with you all. Those of you who contacted me to check on my absence—THANK YOU!! Knowing you enjoy reading about our adventures and that my words add to your day gives me such a feeling of accomplishment that I can’t even describe it. So, what has kept me away? It’s a bit of an unpleasant story, but I’m cautiously optimistic for the coming days.

These past months, I’ve spent lying in bed or sitting in bed or hugging my toilet. My hair has fallen out in large amounts—thankfully no bald spots! I’ve learned how to go to the ER in Sweden (a post for another day). And, frighteningly enough, the medication I was given for some of these issues resulted in uncontrolled facial spasms. Oh the indignity! Thankfully, I made it through (so far).

So, what is wrong with me? Am I dying??? No, I’m not dying. Am I terribly ill? Many would say I’m not even sick. No, I’m not sick.

I’m pregnant (Yippee!) Yes…it was planned 😛 Yes…I knew this could happen—again.

As with my last pregnancy, I suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). According to this website only 1% of pregnant women suffer from this condition. That contrasts with the 70%-80% of women who experience some form of pregnancy related nausea (let’s not kid ourselves and call it morning sickness). While HG is partially caused by rising human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels during pregnancy, in some women HG causes hyperthyroidism. That can in turn increase the nausea. I’m one of those people. It’s not severe enough to require thyroid medication, but it does require lots of blood tests. I feel like a pin cushion! So far, I’ve been lucky and only lost a little over 6kg (13lbs) and I wasn’t skinny to start off. I spoke with someone online this past week who lost over 20kg (upwards of 44lbs)!! Can you imagine that misery? I can’t, and I’ve been miserable these past many weeks.

Thankfully, after trying several medications, the latest one at least allows me to eat white bread a few times a day, so that is good. Even better, an amazing friend helped me find a sympathetic midwife who I will begin seeing later this week. Knowing someone out there with medical expertise is watching out for you gives me so much relief. Once again, I have no words. Finally, and most importantly, despite my own misery, this baby seems to be quite healthy. If it is anything like the experience with my son, probably baby and mom will come out of this with no long term physical damage.

Experiencing something like this during pregnancy can be very isolating and upsetting. During a time when emotions are running high, being cooped up at home or alternately, having to venture into the world knowing you will be sick in public does not a happy woman make. A friend was kind enough to send me a link to HelpHer.Org and I discovered a wealth of useful information as well as forums where other women experiencing the same symptoms are available for advice and support. If you know anyone who is experiencing severe pregnancy nausea, please share the HelpHer site with her. There is nothing more demoralizing than being reassured that it is completely normal to be sick when you are pregnant. At a certain point it isn’t normal and it helps to have that acknowledged.

Thanks for hanging through a very serious blog. If even one reader finds it helpful, I will know it was worth sharing.

Toilet Baby Announcement

Until next time…

Parenting, Travel Adventures

Snow Day!

Today has been an amazing day. We woke up to a beautiful, white wonderland. The streets were hushed, as transportation was delayed across the city. Undeterred, droves of people tromped through the snow to work.


The boy and I had plans today to visit a thrift store to look for some used furniture for our up and coming apartment; but those plans were happily waylaid at 10:30am when I got an unexpected text from our new friends we met at the tram stop. Their daughter had a snow day from school and we were invited to meet up and go sledding—yay!


Drake was ecstatic. He exclaimed, “I love Hannah! Let’s Go!” So we went, and had an amazing time chatting and stumbling through inches of snow in a nearly deserted park. It was something I rarely experienced as a child of the Pacific Northwest. It brought back fond memories of sliding down “cardboard hill”; the hill near our apartments as a child. In the summer, we slid down on cardboard and in the winter, once, a friend’s truck hood. Fun times 😃



Göteborg covered in snow is amazing. It is a beautiful sight. While the park wasn’t occupied by many; all present had a great time. What truly struck me was the sheer number of people walking around outside in the snow, unperturbed by this sudden white wash. They went about their days, business as usual. Part of that is because the trams were fully restored by 11am, but also because the people here seem to be very at home with the elements. No matter the weather, they are out and about. In the city it is rare to have cars; making feet and public transport the norm.


This level of accessibility makes me happy. There were times in my life that I have felt crippled when without a car. This is not one of those times.


Yay for a snow day!

Until next time…


Birthdays Must Be Celebrated

Happy 3rd Birthday!


Today was my son’s third birthday. It was also his first birthday that was celebrated with friends on the actual date. To give you a little background, we left the United States when Drake was 11 months old. Three of the boys celebrated their first birthdays together. In his case, just a little early. Thankfully, since we were getting ready to move, my sympathetic friends handled every detail. We just showed up. It was fun and crazy, but not something he would remember just yet. His actual birthday was celebrated, just the three of us in a temporary house in Greenwich, England. An amazing temporary house, but one where we didn’t yet have friends with whom to celebrate. It was nice, but also quiet.

His second birthday was celebrated with equally as little fanfare. Our initial “permanent house” turned out to have an insidious mold problem that had been hidden with copious amounts of pain. After 10 months there, we were finally able to leave the small village of Horsell and head to the big city, Guildford, Surrey. Unfortunately, this meant that once again we were in a new place with no friends to help us celebrate. Still, he was once again young enough to not be bothered. He was just happy to eat cake 😃

We are now set to move to Sweden, but, we haven’t moved just yet. This meant that finally, we were able to celebrate his birthday not only with friends, but since it is a Sunday, also on the actual date! Jackpot! Here is the conundrum; we’ve never hosted a birthday party and we have a very small house. Toddlers, inexperienced hosts, small house…oh oh; this could have been a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully, it was not; most likely because of the impending move. Our tiny house feels much larger after we gave away a couch, two shelving units, a recliner, and an area rug. The only furniture in the living room is a collapsible table with 4 dining room chairs and a small storage trunk on which sits our tree that now only holds lights. After adding a picnic blanket, a train set, and a box of trains, it still felt very roomy; at least until the guests arrived.

We invited four close friends and their awesome children to celebrate the big 3. Last night I put together one of those box cake mixes because who has time with a toddler and a move to make a cake from scratch? I also wrapped up some small books for the kids to take home, because it’s no fun when you don’t get a present at that age. The big day arrived this morning and all looked well, until the #3 candle broke as it came out of the package. Oh, well… As the first guests arrived, my husband was dispatched to the grocery store. Thankfully, it was 10am the day after Boxing Day, so the store was open.

Eventually, all four friends and their four children arrived. Suddenly, the house did not feel as roomy and my lack of hosting experience shone through. My toddler grabbed every present as they came through the door and immediately opened them. I figured, “why fight it?” and apologized. They totally understood. At least he said “thank you.”

Teas were made and my friends were too polite to tell me when I gave them the wrong ones; they drank them anyway. Ready made snacks were devoured and the cake was a huge hit with the small ones. Finally, after a couple hours, we graduated to coffee, because, who wouldn’t after 2 hours in a house surrounded by toddlers? Meanwhile, I whipped up some home made lotion in the kitchen for the ladies to take home as a treat. Not my best time management choice, but doing something for them made me feel good; their friendship means so much to me.


Finally, as naptime rapidly approached, we said our goodbyes and planned for one last visit. It was a crazy day, but a memorable one. The birthday boy had an amazing time and I think everyone else did too. A valuable lesson from this is that if you have the opportunity to celebrate in the midst of something like this, grab onto it. Those memories will be the ones that help you when you are struggling to re-establish yourself. Snippets of conversation via programs like Whatsapp and Voxer will be even more meaningful when you have awesome memories playing in your mind.

I’m so thankful that this year we had a chance to celebrate with friends. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t stressful, it wasn’t without gaffes, but it was perfect. An empty room, a box cake, some heat up snacks, bags of tea; that isn’t so hard, is it? Even someone moving can handle that.

Thank you England for the memories. I hope Drake’s next birthday in Gothenburg is just as grand.


A Female Conundrum…

Tonight something innocent happened and my own reaction is troubling.

When going down for a nap, Drake reached up and tugged on the hair in my armpit. He thought this was funny. I was appalled. It’s not a forest in there, really just a bit of fuzz from my last shave last week. The question is, why was I appalled? Also, why does it matter to me how much hair is under my arm?

Hair is natural. It grows where it will and has distinct biological uses. If I recall correctly from my school days, hair under the arms is intended to trap pheromones and increase the odds of attracting a mate. So, technically a bit of fuzz should increase attractiveness, albeit on a subconscious and purely physical level.

Despite knowing this and usually having zero issues with my sometimes lazy shaving habits (and having lived very close to Berkeley), I was still embarrassed. So, what’s that say about me? Apparently I’ve bought into the stereotypes about gender and attraction from mainstream media. The idea that women should be hairless dolls is one I’ve always found offensive, but apparently I did buy into it on some level… Ugh.

In the long run is this really a big deal? No, it isn’t. However, it is a reality check. I don’t want to raise my baby boy with an unrealistic view of women. That needs to start with me.

So, next time he grabs under my arm and encounters a bit of fuzz or even a forest, I think I will try to giggle along with him. To heck with you unrealistic ideals. I’m a woman and I have to keep my razor away from the tub so my kid doesn’t cut himself in the bath. Shaving daily just isn’t an option. I’m going to keep rocking that fuzz and sending all those pheromones in the hubby’s direction. So suck it.