Sunday, March 30, 2008

Signs of Spring

These are not the best pictures ever, but I love that the flowers have survived two weeks of being buried in the snow. They perk right back up and remind us that Spring really is coming. Thank you Lord for the reminder!


One of the snowy days we decided to go see a local lake. It was almost frozen and very pretty. Samuel had fun trying to break the ice close to the shore, pappa watched over him and mom was having a fit that he was getting wet and cold (Andreas got a good laugh out of it). There is a difference between what Samuel gets to do with Pappa then with Momma! I guess Pappa is the cool one. Momma is still the more careful one (we still have fun though, I have the bruises to prove it).

Snow days

Well we have had two weeks of snow and it has been wonderful. This is the Swedish winter that we love. The snow makes everything so beautiful. It is fun to see the many animal tracks through our yard. Most of all it is great to have the sun out during the days with the beautiful white landscape! Thank you Lord for these two weeks.

Samuel has exhausted himself playing outside. I (Laurie) have several bruises from sledding and wrestling with my son in the snow. Andreas has really good snowball aim and we are all very happy that we finally received a Swedish winter. It is melting now and rain is coming back. However, so is Spring! We have moved the clocks ahead one hour and so the evenings are light and will continue to get lighter. Samuel will soon have to learn to go to bed in complete daylight (that will be interesting). Thank you whoever invented blackout shades!

Enjoy the pictures, sorry I forgot to turn this one, but Samuel thought he could fill Daddy's shoes!


Samuel thinks that rolling in the snow is a new Olympic sport. He has no fear. He has thrown himself down several hills! Luckily the snow was deep and soft.

I don't have long enough arms to take these pictures.

Snow days cont.

Andreas in front of our home.

Our yard

Loving the fact that we no longer live in Mississippi

Eating snow is an essential of life. I just love my hat.

Buried in the snow, don't worry we didn't leave him there!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Direct Contrast

WOW! What a contrast to the weekend that we just had. This morning we woke up to over 6 inches of winter wonderland. We had no idea that this was coming. Samuel was very excited about the snow and continued to scream for about 5 minutes that there was snow outside. Then for the next 45 minutes he proceeded to tell me exactly what he was planning to do in the snow when we went outside . Sweden has been unusually warm this winter, so we have received rain and not snow. This is what the Swedish winter should look like (but don't tell my mother-in-law). It looks like it may stick for a few days at least.

This is the Sweden that I really like! It is fun to see Samuel's enthusiasm about playing outside in this. He is one of those kids that makes "lemonade". So if anyone wants to join us feel free! Happy St. Patricks Day.

This is Johannes's. It belongs to Andreas's grandparents and is about 100 yards away from our house. Unfortunately his grandparents no longer live there on a permanent basis, but we still go play in the yard and have fun there. I put this picture up for Heidi Spencer. She loved this house when they came in the summer of 2002. Thought you might like to see it in snow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Birthday Extraveganza

Hello all,

I would like to tell you about my birthday weekend. My husband did a wonderful job planning and giving me a great weekend. My birthday was on Friday, March 14th. For all who need to know, I turned 34. I was kind of bummed about my birthday because it wasn't Spring here. I know it sounds weird, but it has always been Spring on my birthday and that was special to me. Andreas knew that I am not Swedish enough to throw myself a party (this is what the Swedes do) so he wisked me away! On Friday morning I was woken up by my husband and son bringing me breakfast and flowers. They sang to me and handed me one piece of paper each. I received two tickets to the pairs ice skating finals for the world championship! They are being held in Gothenburg. It is really cool to live close to a place that has sporting events like this. So Andreas and I will go this Wednesday. I plan on bringing my huge American Flag, let's hope I can use it.

After that Andreas took Sam to his Swedish play group so I could relax! Another wonderful gift. Then I was asked to pack because Samuel was staying with his grandparents this weekend and we were going to the ocean house (as Sam calls it). The ocean house is in a place called Grebbestad. A seaside city that has boomed over the last few years. Luckily the house is a little outside of the city and on a cliff facing the ocean. It is an amazing place and we are always thankful to be able to use the house (Andreas's grandparents passed it down to their children and now Andreas's parents are very gracious in letting us use it). So around 3:00pm. we dropped Samuel off with very happy grandparents and drove up the coast. We had just enough time to drop our stuff off (realize there had been a mouse in the house) and off we went. I didn't know that Andreas had planned a Swedish massage for me a little ways down the road (it was a spa down the road to clarify). So after an hour of massage I came out quite relaxed. We ended the day with a huge bowl of peel and eat fresh shrimp and a movie. What a relaxing day!!! I was told that Saturday morning breakfast would be served at 8:30 and we would need to leave the house by 9:30. I was quite amazed because my birthday was done, but Andreas had something up his sleeve.

The next morning we were out of the house by 9:20 with some pretty warm clothing items on. We headed for Fjallbacka (another ocean town that I love). We stopped at a boat with several other people on it and jumped on. I was then told that we would be going for a day trip to the Weather Islands. These are the islands on the outer west end of the archipelago. This means that there is pretty much open ocean between those island and Denmark or England. Not knowing what kind of day we would have we brought rain gear and books with us. We would spend the better part of the day on the island and eat at a restaurant there. The day turned out better than perfect. There was no wind (for all of those who know Sweden this is a miracle) and it was sunny and warm! We ended up hiking to the western end of the island and laying in the sun in t-shirts. We were actually warm (thank you Lord)!!!!!! It was a glorious day (for those of you who don't understand the intensity of my adjectives please look up grey and rainy on the weather channel and you will see a picture of Sweden in the winter!). Andreas also decided to take a swim (with the word swim being a loose term) in the ocean. I say the word swim is a loose term because it was more like a dip (literally). The ocean is probably around 5 or 6 degrees C or 38-39 degrees F. Cold, really cold. But he can now claim to have been in the ocean in March (a claim that I do not care to hold).

We spent the whole day outside. When we returned from the wonderful island we walked with our dog by the house and lounged in the sun. It was a day that I needed desperately. I have thanked my husband constantly for that day and I also must thank the Lord for the beauty that He allowed me to be a part of. I cannot explain how it helped me, please come and enjoy it for yourselves sometime. The pictures below will show you some of what I am talking about. Unfortunately my camera is in the States being repaired so we used my phone camera.

Today we woke up to fog all around us but by 10:30 the sun burned it off and it was another amazing, sunny, gorgeous day. So we lounged in the sun for as long as possible and then came home. It was wonderful to see Sam again. He was asleep and looking very cute when we arrived. When he finally woke up he told me that he wanted to go back to Far Mor's house! Of course, what kid who gets to do what they wanted for 3 days wouldn't want to continue to do that! However, he told me that he missed me, gave me a big kiss, and then growled at me like a lion. Ahh, the wonders of motherhood!!! It's good to know that he didn't change much in the time I was away. I have to say thank you to mom and dad for allowing us to use the ocean house, for taking such good care of Sam, and for being happy for us that we received the sunshine (after last summer you have a right to be bitter).

Enjoy the pictures below. God bless you all and I miss you.

P.S. I did receive a very good birthday gift from my old boss Tom Velie. He wrote informing me that New Beginnings received their Hague accreditation!! Thank you Lord. That was a lot of hard work (it stretched my brain) and I am glad that it paid off for everyone that worked so hard and for the agency to continue in it's ministry of adoption. We give all the glory to God.

Hello England!

This is where Andreas went "swimming".

The water was so clear that you could see the bottom at several points, so beautiful. I need to point out that the Swedish ocean is very dark and it is not common to be able to see through it.

This is Fjallback from the ocean. I love how it is built on a hill and everything is so quaint and tucked in together. The big steeple is a very old state chuch.

Yes, even the dog had a great day!

My Birthday Extraveganza cont....

Some of the cottages on the island and the natural harbor

This is the ocean on the outside of the archipelago, it is calm, it was amazing.

This is Andreas on the west side of the Weather Islands. There is a small reef below him causing some waves. There are just a few small rock islands after this one and then 600 miles to the nearest land. It was amazing to be there with no wind and calm waters. This doesn't happen often.

Being Like Pappa

Yes, my son will kill me for this someday. But this was one of the funniest things that I have seen in a while. He just climbed up on the toilet and took one of the comics from the holder on the wall. He is so funny. He was also so proud of himself. I guess we will all be fighting over the bathroom a lot more.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Still here

Hey all, we are still here. Sorry for the silence for a little while. I haven't been feeling well and it is not very fun to do this without my camera. My camera is in the States getting fixed before the warranty ran out. I hope it comes back working and soon.

Tonight we went to our first adoption class in Sweden. Yes, you heard me right. We are required by the Kommun (county) to take this intro to International adoption so that we can see what it is like to raise an internationally adopted child in Sweden. The class really doesn't have much to do with exactly that. It is a class for prospective parents to decide if they want to do adoption and what are some of the pitfalls and hard areas of adoption (I taught similar classes in the States). We told the Kommun that it was my field of vocation and that we have an internationally adopted child, but these are the wheels of Social democracy at work!!! According to the Swedish rules we shouldn't have to take this class, but the people in charge of the home study said they won't do one if we don't take the class. Needless to say the teacher of the class and everyone else is very surprised that we are required to be there. But I am praying that we can be of some help to others that are there also. This class is every Tuesday for six weeks and it was not cheap! However, once we jump this hurdle it's on to the home study. Keep praying for my patience, it sense it wearing thin at times.

As I have stated in the past my culture shock has not been nearly as bad this time as it was last time (Praise God). Yet, I still realize that I am dealing with some of culture shock little by little. It is not that I miss the States so much as I miss a lot of people. So to all of my dear friends and family, you are missed!

Samuel is doing really well. When we talk to him about the adoption he chatters on and on about having a sister that is a boy, or maybe a brother that is a girl. We are working on the sorting of the words and their meanings. He doesn't really know what I am asking, but he answers me with the little understanding that he has and it is very sweet. He has taken to telling us thank you for lot of things. We went to Far Far and Far Mor's ocean house a couple of weeks ago and he continues to thank us for taking him there. Or he will thank me for buying him food at the grocery store. It is so cute and sometimes seems so grown up. He is still into telling us long drawn out stories that are hard to understand, but still very fun to listen to. He amazes me constantly. The other day we were reading a Swedish kids book with lots of pictures that we could point to things in. So I would point to something and ask what it was. He would tell me in English, I would then ask him what it was in Swedish and he would answer me correctly! Andreas was there as my witness. We were amazed. He has been paying more attention than we thought. I was surprised he understood the difference in the English and Swedish.

Samuel is sleeping much better and he doesn't seem scarred of mice anymore. Let's hope we don't have to deal with that one again.

I hope that all of you are well. We will be praying for each of our friends by name. Keep in touch!