Sunday, May 22, 2016

Stockholm and how to become Swedish

It feels like ages ago last time I went up to Stockholm and so I decided it was time to get out of the forrest and head to the city. I love the energy from city and need a good combination of city and country yes I do think I have written about that before. However as much as I need that combination I also get use to country life and kind of forget I really need the other source of energy. And when I get a dose of city I go "ahhhh yes this is just what I needed" and then I will be extra happy to go home to my garden and continue to sow seeds and plant flowers.
I went up with my dad who anyways was going up to work and didn't mind to fill up his car with a cookie monster  ( great with crumbs in the seats...) 3,5 year old who used up all her mammas surf on the phone watching Youtube. A 1 year old who was complaining (read screaming) refused to fall asleep for about 1 hour of the journey which feels like hundred years and I was even considering jumping off anywhere and walking back home... Me I  was driving, trying to keep the peace in the car and drinking coffee. We managed 2/3 of the trip in good atmosphere and so that is classed as a success.  But we did end up a little later then planned so my dad droped us and continued to his job and my mother came to pick us up.

Mila has been longing for her grandmother asking for "when are we going to see my little mormor?!" Since we got here they have been hanging out in the garden, playing with Molly the crazy puppy, taking a bath in the hot tub, eating a ton of strawberries with whipped cream, going on a sky-bar attraction, riding escalators and playing memory game. And yes of course Mila has taken good care of aunty Sofies barbie horses, I think it is around 65 barbie horses saved in boxes here and every single one of them has a name AND Sofie still remember all the names.

Surprise was that Loren managed to find a good ticket for Friday evening to join us here in Stockholm. And that gave me a chance to fix a surprise for him a couple of days before his birthday. Mormor offered to take care of the kids and I found I perfect Comedy show "How to become Swedish in 60 minutes" who had premier Yesterday. We headed down-town and walked through a  busy Stockholm hand in hand (no stroller, no kid on the shoulders...) . We had dinner and beer at the Theatre bar before the show. The show was great and well worth to see and the Islandic comedian had really managed to capture some significat signs for Swedishness and Swedish behaviour. After we enjoyed another drink before heading back to the kids who had had just as great evening as us with mormor and Göran.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Science fiction by Mila

I loved to write and illustrate books when I was a child or actually I still love it and dream of making childrens books. Mila has already started to follow my footstep but in a slightly different genre then myself. Mila is more into science-fiction//horror.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Illustration world with inspiration from books

I have started on an illustration some weeks ago. I still have to go over it with second layer of colors to make it more rich and alive. If  I will get around to it. I have got inspiration from different books and characters. I love children books and I read for Mila and Filip every night without a fail. I buy a lots of books both new and second hand. I have been able to read a different story every night until now when Mila only wants to read one particular book "Märtar galloperar". It is about a girl called Märta who is learning how to canter on a pony.... I have now read this book every evening for over 2 weeks.. Sometimes even two times per night. I wonder what will happen if "Märta galloperar" goes missing for a while!? I might try that very soon if I only can remember to make it go missing before I am already trapped in the sweetest way. Laying there in the bed with one kid on each arm and gets this very loved book handed over to me and with a very sweet voice Mila asks " mamma can we please read Märta galopperar tonight!?" like she havn't heard it in ages. First I am trying "but why don't we read xxx or xxx or maybe xxx" but at this point she is not ready to negotiate it is "Märta galopperar" or no sleeping...  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Filip turning 1 year

Last week was a busy and fun week here at Lundsätter. Loren drove together with 3 friends our car from Moscow to Sweden. Road-trip from Moscow to Riga and from Riga ferry over to Stockholm. They arrived to Lundsätter on Tuesday just in time to enjoy the warm sunny spring weather ( actually more summer temperatures with 23 degrees)
Started with taking the gang for nice walk and ride. Mila was thrilled to have not only pappa here but also Adad, Igor & Gazzan to show them how she rides Puzzle. The following day we all went to Örebro for nice lunch and play down town. The nice spring weather was truly amazing and we could enjoy having lunch and dinner outside. Our patio is the best investment ever as it is like an extended living-room where we can hang out on nice days like this. On the Friday we had arrange a BBQ party to celebrate Filip´s first birthday. Friends and family came out and we had a great time although as always when throwing a party not so much time as a host to sit and enjoy even though we had great help organizing all the food and drinks. I can't believe that Filip is already turning .. How fast this year has passed it is crazy. On the Sunday we continue to celebrate Filip with starting the day with having him christening in our very beautiful church here in Vingåker. Great ceremony with choir and good atmosphere. Family from my side was collected and came out for lunch and cake after. Thank you all for coming and celebrating with us.
It was busy but fun days and we had so much help over the days. I got spoiled having help with cleaning up the kitchen, making great food, garden work and taking care of the kids. If all guest were like this I would have people staying all the time. Kids are super happy when Loren is here and of course sad when he has to back to Moscow to work. Filip is such pappa boy and it is so cute to see how he only wants pappa to take care of him when he is here and first thing in the morning reaches for him. Mila is pappa's princess and are shining extra when he is here. I hope we soon can all be in one place all the time. I am proud how we manage to stay strong and make this work even though it is hard to be apart so much. 

Writers block

I am in a phase where I am not getting around to update my blog. The internet is pretty bad out here in the forest. My computer is still in Moscow and I am borrowing my dads at the moment and we are not getting along that great. I have been busy with garden projects and before that stair project inside and many other things. But maybe the biggest reason is that I have writers block or maybe more asking myself why am I blogging and for whom am I writing. After doing some serious thinking I have come to following conclusion.I am updating and want to keep updating my blog because:
  1. I have such a crappy memory and by using my blog as a journal I will capture feelings, events, memories etc which I have noticed is gold worth especially as the kids are growing up so fast.
  2. It is away for me to sit down switch my brain on and activate my writing skills and use my English in written form. Maybe even thinking it would be good to also write in Swedish sometimes. I mean other then here I don't really have the chance to write much more then messages and emails. And I have always loved to write stories, articles etc. 
  3. Best inspiration when I am sitting drawing and painting is to know that I will use my illustration in a concept together with my texts 
So I have the answer. I will get back into being more active as it has so many benefits for me and that is what matters.

Here is a memory illustration I made back in February that I found and realized that I have not written down anywhere what is going on in the picture. It is me super proud mamma with such clever small boy who is using potty successfully since the minute he could sit stable. He is also a master in doing the movements of itchy bitsy spider and happily clapping hands to if you happy and you know it clap your hands. Pointing at everything he wants while his big sister is running around being a unicorn or a flying Pegasus. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Garden spring clean

I have been busy with spring cleaning the garden lately. Less time for indoor creativity and more time for pure hard working projects in the garden. And I like it alot especially now when I am starting to see the resluts. I had a target this year to clean up behind the house where my dad has been storing all sorts of good to keep building materials in the nature. Roof tiles, pipes, plate, wood, styrofoam blocks etc etc. Material that has been laying there for 15-20 years and as you can imagine not a pretty sight although everything kept with good intetions that it will come in handy one day. But enough is enough. I wanted to get it done before the grass starts to grow or become too warm so the snakes wakes up. Every spare minute when Filip has had his daily nap or got help from my dad to take him I have been carrying, digging and fixing outside. At fist it did feel like a mission impossible to clear out and organize everything but slowly but surely I am getting there.
I am proud of my work I have to say and now I am ready to start to focus on real garden work with planting.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Lundsätter development

I am so amazed how far we have come from last year with our Lundsätter house. Second floor on our part, patio, finnished work outside on the fasade etc etc. Now it really is starting to look organized ans great out here. Last week we had builders here to work on some smaller projects with focus on safety. The railings for the stairs has been replaced just in time to be ready before Filip will move around. My granddad started the project and has cut and designed the railing but never had chance to mount it. I have been painting the first layer before putting up. First I was thinking white. But then I thought that is too normal and boring for us so I tried a colour called jazzucci. Interesting colour in some light it looks light grey in other light like pyjamas blue, greenish and turquis, I am very happy with the pick. On the outside they are working to finnish the patio and to secure it with railing and stairs. I also took the opportunity to build a pergola on the pation. It really looks amazing such a great job but also so so useful to have this patio. After these jobs are done we will enjoy the fact that we dont need to rush to do anything major on the house this year apart from painting on the back. 

Approaching one

Not long now before our little baby Filip is turning 1 years old. Where did this year go? Feels like he has always been around but at the same time just arrived. Since he is born he has been our mr Sunshine. Such happy easy going character that we sometimes look at him and wonder where did he come from. It is lovely to see him growing and amazing to get to know this little boy and what he likes and wants. For each day he is learning new things and developing new skills. He is now in this cute phase of pointing at things saying "dääär" ( there in swedish) not only pointing out every lamp in the house but actually poining at what he wants. Why he is still not crawling or not even really trying is probably because he is so good in pointing, charming and has so many assistants helping him to get it. For example granddad Stefan is with us a lot and has many creative ideas to entertain Filip. He has a long rope on not only the walking chair but also on the swingset so my dad can swing Filip pulling the rope and at the same time drinking coffee at the patio. He has a strong will and knows what he likes, but most of the time super happy. He loves water. He loves to play in the water in the bath tube, shower, kitchen zink and in a glass. He can spend hours on the swing set and loves being outside. Duplo is his favourite toys. He doesnt really like to be in the stable only if he can go the sulky holding the reins. He likes cat Levis but doesnt care much for the puppies Bozze and Zita we have in the house. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nasty nasty cold go away

I feel like I want to scream "NASTY COLD GO AWAY!!" I know I know I am very dramatic over a simple cold.. I know it will go away. I know only a week home with cold is not the end of the world...My rational side knows all this.  But I am going nuts anyways soon!!!
Kids has had high fever for a few days and now green snot everywhere. I am also feeling rough. Kids need my full attention which is kind of tricky sometimes how to help two at the same time. The only nice part is that Filip is a little more mamma oriented and want to cuddle in the sofa (until he sees my phone or the remote then he wants them more then me..) And we have all together had a nice middle of the day looong nap a couple of days now. I have been able to sleep a little and read a little and then sleep somemore. So I guess not all bad if I should try to see it with positive eyes and yes I am starting to see the light in the tunnel.. Loren is currently travelling in Ural mountains and we are very much looking forward him coming home on Friday.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Chasing the spring all the way to Spain

Great feeling complete Team Nikolovski collected and ready for adventures down to Spain and costa del sol to find the missing sun and spring weather. Moscow and Swedish winter has been kind of hard this year ( like every year..) We flew to Malaga and from there rented a car going to my mother & her husband's house in Puerto Banus. First time we saw the house in real life and it was very nice and fancy as expected. Cute neighbourhood on the so called Swedish hill close to the Swedish shop with Swedish TV chanels and even Swedish radio in the car we rented. I can't really get my head around the need but I guess same same but different during my in total around 12 years abroad I had my ways to get what I needed from Sweden also. When I moved the first time 2001 to Holland the internet was not everywhere like today and therefore no SVTplay nor newspapers online or even Facebook. It is even hard to imagine today. My best friend was send me letters and my mum and dad was sending sweets and magazines every other week. My grandmother was recording Sweden's most popular series on TV "Rederiet" "Skilda Världar" & "Sen kväll med Luuk" on VHS and sending it down to me every week. Occasional we also did trips to IKEA to get some stuff from the Swedish shop there. Over the years and being intergrated in the countries I have lived in I have say I don't have the same need for Swedish products at least. But with internet I have the opportunity to consume swedish TV, news, magazines and follow blogs which is great and has really made me feel that I can get the best of two worlds. Just some thoughts but enough about this and back to our vacation.

 Mila was super happy to she her mormor and was very clear that she wanted to stay in Spain forever and Filip was so excited to see the pool and insisted on splashing in the water although it was waaay to cold for my taste even to dip a toe. Mila has also been looking forward to swim in the pool for weeks and packed her swimsuit by herself I did try to tell her that that might not happen but that she of course could try. She even asked me to draw her picture of the trip where she and her grandmother are swimming. No big deal says me who is not a big water lover anyways she can swim next time. The light and the sun was great for us northen people who is slowly getting out of winter hibernation. Mila was running around playing horse, telling mormor all about all and nothing, talking to the very lame cat that she named Bella and playing with a big plastic dolphin in the sun in the garden from morning to evening. Me and Loren managed to get out doing some good walking. We enjoyed tapas and sangria and Rioja. Checking out Puerto Banus beach collecting shells. Great time.
After a few days we said thank you and waved bye bye heading to Malaga. We (Or actually I will give Loren all credit on this) had rented a great 100 sqm apartment in super cute central area of Malaga. Great big genuine food maket only a few meters in one direction, cute square with play area also only 2 minutes in other direction and cute streets without cars right outside our doorstep. I have been in Malaga a few times before but never really got that impressed but this time I fell in love totally and want more. Mila was walking the streets like she belonged there and she was asking how to say different things in spanish as she wanted to stay and make friends there... Hmmm kind of trick as my spanish is very limited to Hola and gracias and por favor. She even asked today before she fell asleep when we can move to Spain. Filip also enjoyed the trip very much. He is a very social little guy and in every restaurant he found old ladies that he could get full attention from and charm the socks of. It is amazing how such small person can be so social and find people everywhere to communicate with.
Great trip it was!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Back in Sweden and update from Lundsätter

Me and the kids came back to Sweden from Moscow a couple of weeks ago.
Mila missed her friend and activities and so did I. Winter is not so easy as it has a lot of limitations a specialy in our neighbourhood in Moscow. A lot of snow fell and even if we have lots of dedicated full time snow cleaners they never managed to get the roads clean so I could walk with the stroller probably and with Filip being so small I need him tucked in the stroller when we are outside in the cold. Also as though you might think Russians are when it comes to cold and kids they are extremly careful and so it is very hard to meet up with other kids in the area as they are being kept warm inside. I will write more about coultral difference also that I have experienced in an other post.

So we are here at Lundsätter. Mila got bright and happy coming back and are enjoying seeing friends and family. Here is an update illustration I made last week.
- Mila has got a ballerina dress that she wants to wear all the time... Not very convienient when it is still cold and snow outside
- Filip I am sure is growing a couple of cm during the night. He is also developing so fast now. I am proud but a little disapointed.. He can say pappa, tack ( thanks) making the movements to itsy bits spider and is using the potty successfully before he is even trying to say mamma!!!! I mean shouldnt mamma be THE first word ?! And finaly a small tooth has seen the light.
- Levis the cat is happy having kids back. They love him. And he loves to wake us up 6 in the morning and I am stupid enough to let him stay inside when I know he does this to me as a thank you. 

Colorful and home made

I have been sewing a lot lately. It is my evening and night activity. I have been buying new cool colorful and mainly ecological fabrics here in Sweden. Filip has got a lot of colorful tights as I find clothing for boys in the stores very dull and boring. Why so much dark colors with cars and trains for boys ? My strategy is to buy plain light bodies and matching them with colorful fun pattern tights that I make myself. Only problem he is growing so fast that I have to keep up with my production for him.  

Also I was so happy to make it to big sewing fair in Stockholm last week. Nothing really that I havn't seen before but it was a good day out and I did some shopping of funky eco materials. For example the strawberry tights below from JNY I found very nice and cherful and keeps me dreaming of summer.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter feeling

I love winter on a bright cold crispy sunny day with white views. But only for a week or two. After that my love turns into a miserable frozen feeling. The snow makes things pretty but also so hard at the same time. So much cloths that needs to be put on all team members before even thinking to get out. And when everyone finally got cloths on and are out it is too cold to be out more then half an hour. It is one more week left of January and then still 2 months left of winter. I am making plans how to survive Russian winter and how we eventually will defrost. To break it up a little we are planning to go and get warmed up in Dubai end of February.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Happy New Year 2016 & summary of 2015

We ended 2015 in the best way with beautiful snowy winter weather with friends visiting us from Prague. Nice walks, great company and good wines. Me and Mila made our premier cantered on Soda on snowy field this cold sunny day the last day of the year.

How I summaries the year of 2015:
2015 was and interesting year and difficult in many ways and also full-filling in other ways. After Russian winter down-town Moscow we came to Sweden in spring to wait for our new team member to arrive. We made Lundsätter the base that we wanted. Building second floor and creating home. Found new friends and enjoying having family around.
After cold and hard winter and a pretty over all lost feeling after leaving Prague came Filip our big bright Mr Sunshine. He is born with a smile and it is amazing how we all can learn so much from such small baby. He has a positive approach to everything apart from when he is very tired. His smile is catching and he can even make the grumpiest old pensioner smile that by the looks of it had not managed to smile since the last century. He is a real charmer and has brought as all so much happy positive feelings. I will do everything I possibly can to make sure he keeps smiling and keep us smiling, 

2015 with a summer that never really came and pretty hard times that we spend so much time apart as Loren worked in Moscow and me and kids staying in Sweden. "What doesn't kill you make you stronger" and yes we feel less lost and much stronger as a team then ever.

Mila has had a good year with finding great friends that she is playing fun creative games (running around with her stick horses for hours just like her mamma) by themselves and just coming down to get served pancakes or Swedish cinnamon buns. She is the thinking miss Einstein of our team and are now mastering both languages no problem. She has developed a strong passion for horses and is the cutest and bravest little rider ( I wonder who has influenced her...) she knows everything about Frozen and wants to be called Elsa instead of Mila and to wear glittery dresses and long capes. Strong love for her pappa and missing him a lot when he has been away working. Knows more song lyrics then myself. She has grown into a strong and sensitive girl who knows what she likes and what she wants. It is a pleasure to be with her and she is such great help with her little brother.

I have taken multitasking to an even higher level to master one small baby a three year old and driving a building project on the house as well as growing fresh vegetables in the garden and building painting and sewing new creative ideas night time. I have managed to buy two new strollers and can soon open a museum of all my strollers. I have also taken my packing skills to super high level, how I can manage to fit my family with stroller bags and everything in my "snezka" Citroen C3 is even for me surprising and a sport every time.

During 2015 I found a much calmer approached to life, enjoying and feeling fortunate being able to be home with the kids this short time while they are small. Before I used to feel stressed that I should get back to work doing carrier the sooner the better mostly because of the influence of the Swedish norm and its general idea of what equality is. That being mother and choosing and even enjoying staying at home more then a year is nothing but a trap for women. Reading Swedish mama magazines was making me even more stressed and making me doubt our active decision of how we want our life to look. Doubting that I could no longer call myself a strong woman with observance of equality. What changed and made me feel an even stronger woman proud of our decision instead of apologizing for it, I don't really know but maybe it was when Mila started kindergarten for a short while. It was not in anyway a bad experience the teachers were very nice and sweet etc but I realized there that Mila doesn't need kindergarten for her development and well-being. We have such active fun days that I believe she is learning more with me home living life then being put in daycare and I enjoying being with her. Also talking to my aunt and a friend who both work as teachers in kindergarten they confirmed that my gut feeling were right that small children doesn't need kindergarten or that it offers more then what I got to offer as a parent.
Me and Loren has actively decided how we want our life to look while the kids are small and have therefore made arrangements accordingly. I don't feel at all trapped or that I as a woman will regret this decision in the future. I have great experienced from living and working around the world, a master degree in business and most important great creativity and ideas. I also have many many years still to work that I can "afford" not to for a few years. I am not scared that I will not managed to make myself successful in the way I want to be successful. I am now taking the chance to develop my creative interests with illustrating and sewing with more exposure and positive feed back then I could every dream about. If I can be able to take it to a higher level we will see. Learning and living in a different society and culture is hard and very fulfilling in the same time and I am sure that the experience I am collecting I can make use of all my life. Do I need to add that it feels great to have come to this acceptance of my way of living and not letting norms making me doubt myself.

I am happy that the kids had a chance to spend so much great time with their grandparents and really building a relationship which has been hard before with us living abroad. Having Lundsätter makes us closer and I can also collect family like I did for Milas birthday. It was a great decision to make this our home base a solid base which will always stay and feel like home for all of us ( well apart from all my crazy developing ideas)

December I got back on a horse and I am hoping to get fitter and be able to do more riding during 2016. Yes I said get into shape indeed as most important for 2016 is to stay healthy and happy. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Birthday girl

Our sweet and very intelligent girl Mila turned 3 years old in December. I can't believe how fast she is growing up and what an amazing little person she is growing into. She has been playing birthday for the past half a year so I wanted her day to be as she wanted and expected it to be. I prepared the house ready for her big day with colorful lights, signs and glitter. Fishing from the fishpond that I had created the night before was a success and is a Swedish tradition for birthday parties and was a very important element of her celebration. Unfortunately pappa Loren couldn't be with us but was on the phone from Moscow from early in the morning ready to sing Happy Birthday for our sleeping beauty. I woke up at 6 and made 2-3 attempts to wake her up by singing Happy birthday in different languages and versions and a tray with candles and presents but she was sleeping so sweet that me and Filip had to wait another 2-3 hours before she wanted to open her eyes. We had an awesome day with a party for her friends in the morning and for family in the afternoon. We were strictly forbidden to sing for her. But she enjoyed all the play, cakes and presents.

Christmas 2015

Not much activity here at the blog for some time. I have had a break from computer partially by purpose but mainly because my computer broke down big time. I know I can update via other devices but not the same for me typing on the screen. I am emotional connected with my keypad and my computer and I am very grateful that great IT people managed to bring my computer back to life.

 So what have Team Nikolovski been up to. Well we left Moscow and headed to Sweden first of Advent. We have had a long great great stay with lots of fun activities and a fun December running up to Christmas. Mila did a premier visit to Stockholm Horse Show as well as learning all about St. Lucia and performing as the cutest Lucia all of December but of course with a peak at 13 of December. We have also enjoy being in the stables and I am so happy to finally be back in the saddle and utilize muscles that has been in hibernation for years. Mila has reunited with her best friend Malou and yes they are still great together. Filip reunited with morfar Stefan and have enjoyed hanging with him. My mother helped with taking the kids so me and Loren could enjoy our first evening out down town Stockholm by ourselves, I think first date night in 3 years. I am so happy that the kids are creating such great relationships with both grandmother and grandfather and aunt. We have seen our great friends and family and prepared the house for Christmas with decoration, baking and songs.

Lots of fun and  I am happy that we have our base in Lundsätter and that everyone in the team feels home and comfortable. Here Christmas in some pictures.