Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sankta Lucia

Happy Sankta Lucia today! Swedish celebration of saint Lucia who is coming with the light. I have a little girl her who is crazy about Lucia and all the traditional songs. We have celebrated three days in a row. Friday Lucia concert in our church. Saturday we had great friends and family over for glögg and Christmas snacks and Mila and her best friend performed songs dressed as the two cutest Lucia's all afternoon. Today Sunday 13 December the actual lucia day and we had chance to join great tradition with Lucia on horses. Mila borrowed a very handsome black pony with amazingly long mane. It was so nice walking in a frozen landscape as the sun was setting. After a great weekend we are now putting all lucia gear away until next year and now focus on 3 year cold birthday next weekend instead.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Illustration Book dream

I keep dream about that one day I will manage to put together a children book. It is a thrilling dream and I keep thinking about different stories and characters. I also draw some of my ideas while I am dreaming. In matter of fact I have since I was a kid being creating stories while I am drawing.
Here is an illustration of a girl who loves all type of animals and who are imagine how life would be with these kind of different animals. Happiness and a lot of challenges handling the different characters. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Summer heat in our kitchen

I have noticed a big cultural difference that I am trying to get use to, but it is hard. Sweden has cold winters (or should have or used to have at least) same goes for Moscow I am expecting minus degrees and snow. The difference is that here they are kind of compensating for the cold outside temperature with extra super warm inside. I mean 25 degrees seems to be normal and many people I see use shorts and t-shirts as indoor clothing. In Sweden normal is around 20 degrees inside it is warm but not summer hot and you still need to add a layer of wool to keep toasty and warm but it is pretty comfortable I think or maybe its because I am use to it. So here I am sitting in our kitchen and sweating in 24,7 degrees and can hardly think straight. Floor heating and also radiators. Why I don't turn the heating down you might wonder.. I do. But unfortunately in order to get the heating system to warm up upstairs I need to keep a higher temperature on the thermostat which is placed downstairs. Maybe this will be a blessing when the cold weather comes but for now I feel like I am melting away and yes I am also starting to use my summer cloths inside and opening windows and maybe soon I will walk in bikini, or maybe not... 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Memory Illustration & Russian update

Tonight I managed to put together a memory illustration from November and our Moscow adventures. We have been here just over a month and time is really flying by not far off before we are heading back to Sweden for birthday, Christmas & New Year and Christmas II (orthodox). We have really managed to settled in here better then I ever expected and I am so happy for that. I will list some important happenings. 

Happy girl - I am so proud of Mila that I feel like throwing a big party. We started a kids fitness group twice a week in our neighborhood more or less as soon as we arrived. Mila was so shy and uncomfortable hiding between my legs holding on to me screaming mamma as soon as teacher even looked at her in the beginning. It is in Russian with Russian rhymes and songs and different exercises and I thought it would be fun to met other kids in the area. After a couple of times I thought this will never work why am I putting her through this. But she wanted to continue and so we did and now she is running around having so much fun feeling comfortable and slowly learning some Russian words and songs ( and so am I ) She is at least saying hi, bye, thank you and green in Russian. To see her so happy, enjoying and learning new culture makes me so proud, happy and relieved.

Mr Sunshine Filip continues to be our big bright happy sunshine. He is such positive character that he is such pleasure to be around. Even through this hell of teething he is doing his best not letting the crankiness take over.He loves playing with toys and things his big sister is so great and funny. He has started to eat more and more and he is so eager to try everything. Today he tried great soup, chicken and small pieces of Swedish buns.  I admit I am monitoring his poo or no poo business like a hawk and after some issues when he finally manage I am so happy that it is crazy how I can be so happy for poo!!

Rescuing Angel I am so happy to have met a great neighbor and friend in our area. To be honest I don't know what I would do without her. She helps me with all sorts of things bringing me nice products from the market, sending be links where I can order things online, borrowing me things for Filip, not only does she invites us for lunch and dinners she also makes a amazingly good food and it is so nice to really get to taste real homemade Russian food. Mila likes to play with her daughter even if they don't understand each other yet they find a way to have fun together. This is so nice for us and we are so very grateful for this friendship and wish we could do more in return.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy 4th wedding anniversary

Happy 4th wedding anniversary  to us!! 
Best four years! So grateful we met and were brave enough to follow our hearts and strong feelings for us and got married. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Family Portrait in the making

I have been drawing so many family portraits lately and finally I got around to make Team Nikolovski family portrait. Started with a draft and then from that added inc and watercolors and more details. I love the process but now it needs to rest a little until tomorrow when I am hoping to be able to continue the finishing touch.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy 6 months little boy!!

Today our little Filip is turning 6 months. I can't believe how fast the time is flying. It felt like it was yesterday he join us but at the same time like he has been around forever. I feel pitty I haven't have time to draw memory illustrations for him as I did for all Mila's progresses and developments. I guess that's how it is to be a little brother. But I have a few started and I will definatly get around of finishing them as I think it is very nice way of remembering this baby times.

Our baby Filip is such happy boy, a big sunshine and I can count on one hand the times he has been upset. He loves his routines since he is born. Bedtime and wake up like an old man. When Mila was a baby I read about holding babies hand to get it to fall asleep and that was like reading science fiction... But this little champ really he falls asleep just holding hand or reading a story.. He loves his big sister more then anything and also is a great fan of his granddad. Doesn't mind to be passed around to different arms. Smiles when he wakes up and smiles and flirts to anyone. Very sweet little boy and we are so happy that he came to us, such blessing.

Happy 6 month!

Wine tasting

Team Nikolovski is using the opportunity while we are in Russia to try wine from this region as that is something we can't get hold of that easily back in Sweden. So Italian, French, Spanish, South African and Portuguese wine has to wait and instead trying Russian, Belarus, Moldavian etc types of wines. So far we haven't found one which really fits our taste and I decided to start to take pictures and reviewing them here so I can keep track of what we have tried and if we find something we like it is good to remember.

Todays wine was very rich but way too sweet.

For you my dear friends in Prague not doing wine for 40 days I never said I join that challenge only the no sugar challenge... 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Townhouse life in Moscow

Of course you want to see how we live in Moscow. For many me included I had no idea how to picture life and living in Russia, Moscow before we moved here. I feel even a little embarrassed to admit that I was really suspicious and thought that here is much more undeveloped and primitive than Europe. But I was proven to be wrong and I am very positively surprised with many things here. Yes I do know that we are very fortunate and can pick and live in nicer areas not having to see the ugly faces of this big city. Because of course every place has good and bad sides more or less. As Loren's office moved further out from city center we decided to also move so instead of spending 1,5 hour in traffic to work ( on a good day) now Loren only has 5 minutes drive and we have much more time together. Before we lived very central and walking distance to Gorky park & Red Square, very nice indeed but the benefit of the Team spending more time together is priceless. Also I love the fact that we have a townhouse now with a small garden instead of a flat.

Our neighborhood is pretty new and built up after a street somewhere in Italy according to our landlord. To me it looks little bit like Amsterdam with these townhouses in many different colors. We have gates and guard by the entrance and at least 5-6 men constantly brushing up or walking around blowing leaves away. Here is some pictures of our neighborhood. How it looks like outside our gates is very diverse. Many huge luxurious mansion looking houses but also some sheds and primitive houses with goats and cow in the backyard. Some street dogs down the road a sight I am not use to see. I will show pictures of life outside the gates in the future.

We have a very nice little supermarket 7 minutes walk from us and also can't wait for the gym to open on the second floor there in December.

Playground in the middle of our neighborhood

Our street 

Our neighborhood from the main street 

Main road but pretty quiet just outside our gates

Our blue house 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jewelry creations

I used to make a lot of jewelry back in the day. It feels like ages ago and I had nearly forgotten about my little creations. Now when I was unpacking boxes I found all my beads and tools again and got feeling. Here some of my collections of earrings. 

Halloween in Russia

What has happened.. This Halloween thing is really spreading everywhere.. Even here in Moscow pumpkins, ghosts and monsters in every other window.  I remember when I was 10 years old and for the first read about Halloween in my first English textbook. It was a very american celebration and now it seems to be established in Sweden and also here in Russia. At least in my neighborhood. Me and the kids went over to a neighbors place for lunch on Friday and she was preparing making small candy bags to hand out to all the kids coming for Halloween. Did Team Nikolovski remember to prepare and buy any treats? No of course not. I was partly thinking that maybe they will not knock on our door as we are new. But MY GOD the kids dressed as ghosts, zombies and monsters started coming around seven o clock and after that the door bell rang every 10 minutes!!! Last group rang at 22 and but that time we had really cleaned out everything containing sugar. Horrible feeling being soooo unprepared and actually the whole idea of going around asking for sweets are pretty horrible even though I do understand super fun if you are a kid. Next year I will be organized for sure!! 

Me and Mila was making some Halloween inspired decoration last week.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our big Prague family

First evening a lot of laughter and great food 
Here comes some more pictures from our trip to Prague together with our big Prague family. We felt so incredibly welcomed and good coming back. We are so so blessed having all these great friends. Like Loren wrote somewhere that "rich people are once who have friends" and yes we are very rich and fortunate to have such good funny people here and there. Just look at our big smiles and happy faces on the pictures. Lets use an old phrase "pictures says more then thousands words!"
Thank you all again for best weekend ever and see you guys again soon if not in Sweden or Russia we will soon come back to Prague. 

Happy Team Nikolovski 

Filip getting a lot of attention getting introduce to our big Prague family

The mandatory big team picture with a touch of back to school. Amazing to see how the kids grow and the group also

Clowns and some extra kids 

Mila happy back in her birth town and  defiantly still recognize the streets, parks, friends and flavors 

Kampa bridge

Filip's first visit to Prague in person 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Prague a magical place

I have walked and jogged over this bridge so many times. And every time it doesn't matter in rain, foggy, on a cold day or like on Saturday beautifully sunny day it always hits me the beauty of Prague. I was cool and happy being back and not too nostalgic. But when I reached this view I couldn't stop a few tear drops from falling. How magical is this place!? To me it still feels like coming home.

Heading back to Prague

We moved from Prague exactly one year ago. I was very sad to leave in fact I don't think I have ever cried so much over a place. It was a hard time for us as we felt very lost in all the new and the changes. A year has past and after a pretty though period it feels like we are out on the other side and we are little less lost and much more positive all of us.

It was great to head back to Prague in this positive spirit. I will write more and show some pictures in my next post. Just wanted to show a family portrait I made of friends. Always nervous to give a family portrait away when its not been asked for. I hope they liked it and can find some similarities at least in the setting.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ooops, searching for internationals and lesson learned

It is hard to move as I have mentioned before. The fact that I know things will feel home and we will meet good people give it some time is hard to remember when your little girl looks at you with sad eyes and says " Mamma I have NO friends here!" I tried to sound positive and replied "but you have me!" and she just looked at me and said " But I want a friend like Malou here that I can play horse with!" Hmmm nothing to reply or discuss just let the mamma heart break and then take action. 

So I took action and wrote on like three different expat parents in Moscow Facebook pages to introduce us and to ask if anyone one else living in our area and fancy to meet up. I also wrote to International women club Moscow and a Swedish group who are organizations to connect internationals in this huge city. Yes maybe I felt a little embarrassed like billy no mate asking for friends but I thought what the hell who cares and in the end of the day it is 2015. Also when I moved to Prague I found this amazing group of international parents in Prague also on FB that were so helpful, welcoming and friendly. I met more or less all my friends in Prague in some way or an other through this FB page.

When I received no replies after two days nor any likes I became so disappointed, not like sad just like what is wrong with people kind of disappointed. Even more so when this international clubs replied very standard phrases and just asking to pay membership fees. I got so upset with this to me very unfriendly approach and in this disappointed state of mind i needed to share it with Loren who is currently away in Ducat and 8 hours a head so I couldn't call him at that moment.. So I forwarded him the reply ( I thought) and wrote "I get sooo upset with all this fucking fake international networks!! Just see this very non human standard email saying nothing more then pay membership!! I mean 3000 Rubles is no problem but really get to get some nice help or information first is that too much to ask for. Same with the Swedish network! No one commented anything more then the lady said hope you can become member of the network...On the other facebook pages for expat parents NO reply !! I am chocked!" 

I took the kids for a walk and a play and calmed down and accepted the facts that this is how it is and yes maybe I overreacted a bit as I guess everyone is busy with themselves or have filled up their friend quota. Funny enough this same day I found a very nice mother in the playground who have kids the same age and invited us for coffee and play and offered to help with what ever I need help with. She only lives a few houses away and is very interesting fun lady and just what I was looking for.

And now when I looked at my email I realized that I never sent this very upset mail to Loren but as a reply to the lady from the international club!! Hahhaa ( i am blushing a bit just reading my upset mail) so I guess I will really stay away from these group defiantly and next time I am writing upset emails I will make sure I send them to the right person! 

Svenska översättningen på denna ganska pinsamma incident som jag just ganska detaljerat och utlämnande har berättat lyder som följer. "Mamma jag har INGA kompisar" sa Mila en dag vid köksbordet "men du har ju mig" sa jag "Men jag vill ha en riktig kompis som Malou som jag kan leka häst med!" Mammahjärtat brast och jag bestämde mig för att jag måste göra något NU även fast jag vet att det kommer att lösa sig bara ge det lite tid i allt det nya.

Jag skrev på 3 olika Facebook sidor för internationella i Moskva, lite introduktion om oss o att vi letar efter andra i vårat område att umgås med. Kontaktade även två klubbar som anordnar diverse aktiviteter och generalmöten för internationella kvinnor för att få lite information vad de organiserar för barnaktiviteter.

När jag efter två dagar inte hade fått några svar eller ens en tumme upp kände jag att jag blev sur. Inte sur och ledsen utan mer sur och förbannad, vad är det för fel på folk. Till saken hör den att i Prag finns det ett helt fantastiskt nätverk på Facebook för internationella föräldrar där alla är hjälpsamma och välkomnande. Det är genom den gruppen jag har träffat alla mina vänner i Prag på ett eller annat sätt. Inser nu att det är unikt för Prag detta forum och mötesplats.

Hursom helst när jag sedan fick väldigt som jag tyckte otrevligt standard svar från en internationell klubb som mest sa att betala medlemsskap först. Jag menar jag vill ju först ha lite information om det kan vara nåt för oss innan jag springer till nästa generalmöte och betalar medlemsavgift som iof inte är så mycket att bråka om men en då. Nu blev jag förbannad och igen inte ledsen jag ger upp förbannad utan mer förbannad förbannad på detta hyckleri från dessa sk välgörenhetsklubbar öppen för alla internationella att mötas. Så jag kände att jag ville ventilera med Loren men eftersom han är i Ducat och de ligger 8 timmar framåt så kunde jag ju inte ringa just då. Så jag skrev ett ganska upprört mail till honom (trodde jag) med mycket svordomar och ord rakt från hjärtat i detta något upprörda tillstånd utan filter eftersom jag ju skrev till min man.

Sedan klädde jag på barnen och tog med dom ut till parken. Lustigt nog var det denna dag som jag träffade en supertrevlig mamma i parken som har barn i samma ålder som Mila & Filip och som bjöd hem oss på kaffe och lek och erbjöd sig att hjälpa mig om jag skulle behöva någon hjälp. Hon bor bara några hus bort och det var ju precis det jag letade efter. Idag tog hon med mig på barnjympa, introducerad mig till andra mammor i vårt område och visade mig mer av vårt område och helt utan medlemsavgifter.

När jag nu på kvällen öppnade min mail ser jag att mitt upprörda mail inte alls skickades till Loren utan jag skickade det visst som svar till ordförande av klubben så jag kommer garanterat hålla mig långt borta från den gruppen och nästa gång jag skriver ett argt mail ska jag kolla addressen en extra gång..

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Brotherly love

The way little Filip looks at his big sister is amazing. She just has to look at him and he laughs out load and want to be with her so much. Even if Mila is in a lets say delicate mood he smiles to her. They are very cute together and as he is growing they are really connecting in the sweetest way. When he wakes up in the morning he turns to her to pull her hair or touch her face and when she wakes up she first want to hold him. It is a blessing to see them together and I hope they will stay friends forever.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Loooooong Russian winter ?!

Yeah it is horrible the first snow fell last week in Moscow, 8th of October. I repeat 8th of October!!! That is like at least one month too early. I was just about to get depressed when I saw Mila's happy reaction. She is very much into Walt Disney´s Frozen and didn't even have time to eat breakfast before heading out to play in the snow. It was fun to play in the snow for about 30 minutes and thanks god the snow is gone now and please no need to come again before 1 December..

Förra veckan föll den första snön över Moskva och la ett vitt kallt täcke över oss ett par dagar. Åttonde oktober är för tidigt för snö, ja menar nog för att det är fint och så men inte i oktober! Kom igen i december då är jag redo för dig. Mila blev superglad iaf, hon är ett stort fan av Frost ( en Walt Disney film om en prinsessa som kan förvandla allt till is och snö....) Vi hann knappt äta frukost innan hon ville ut och leka i snön. Jag fick leta fram hennes vinterkläder från förra året och insåg igen hur galet mycket hon har vucit under sommaren. Så i lördags var vi iväg och införskaffade ny vintermundering så nästa gång snön och kylan kommer är vi iaf förberedda. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Someone up for coffee?

First week back in Moscow. I am unpacking boxes creating home slowly but surely. It is great so much space. I can focus here and there to organize and to find home for everything, no rush. Or that's what I am trying to tell myself. I am so eager to get things how I want it and to unpack every box. But I am trying not to stress it and I think I am doing a pretty good job this time. The area is very cute and it feels like a great decision to move here instead of living down town. But it does take time to settle in and feel comfortable for all of us. I have moved so many times that I know that it is no walking in the park this with moving, but I also know that with time we will feel home and find our way around. I thought I with all my experience moving to different countries would feel calm with the knowledge that I will feel home and find great people just give it some time, but I can't help getting a little stressed and want to reach this stage now now. I guess that's why I am sitting drawing coffee cups hoping that I soon will have someone to invite for a nice strong coffee. 

Vår första vecka tillbaka i Moskva. Jag har packat upp flyttlåda efter flyttlåda för att får ordning och skapa hem här. Men jag försöker att inte stressa utan njuta av att det är så mycket utrymme och att jag faktiskt inte måste packa upp varenda pinal utan känna in och ta några steg i taget. Det känns bra att vi valde att flytta hit lite utanför stan och i detta mysiga bostadsområde. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Moving East

I came from Moscow to Vingåker, Sweden, in March
Spring came and my belly was growing
The builders came and finished great and necessary projects on our house
Baby Filip arrived in May like the brightest sunshine in our life
Summer and the light nights came
Or actually the summer never really came as it was raining and pretty cool all summer but great weather when having a small baby and a 2,5 year old who likes to ride
It was hard to adjust to our country life and it was even harder being a part with Loren working in Moscow and me and kids living in Sweden
We got used to and formed a very nice country life and spending a lot of time and bonding with grandparents
Seeing family members on regular basis
Blessed with not only reconnecting with old friends but also making new great friends
Although of course still very hard spending so much time being apart as a family
September came and offered great autumn weather and lots of chantarells and berries in the forrest
It feels so good that we have built such nice home base in Lundsätter
Our country home that we all came to feel very nice in not only me but also the kids

1 October me and Mila & Filip flew over to Moscow to create our second home and base there
We are excited to be together the whole family and to utilize our city base as much as we can
We are more positive this time around and hungry to make the most out of the privilege of having two homes on in the nature close to friends and family and one in a big city and everything that has to offer.

Our blue house

Our new very cute neighbourhood in Ivakino

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Illustration Family Portrait

I love these orders of family portraits. It is so challenging and fun to try to capture people and their personality in an illustration. This order I got from a friend to draw a friend of hers and to give the illustration as a present. I got some information and pictures to work from. In this case I had a lot of picture material on internet as well as she is one of Sweden's best dressage riders sucessfully representing Sweden in the last world championship, Jeanna Högberg . I sat up one evening and made this drawing and worked a lot with bright fun colors. I am happy with the result and hope that they also got happy with it.