Monday, August 25, 2014

2nd Grader!

And we officially have a second grader! I'm still not quite sure how. How did he turn 7 all of a sudden? Sometimes it feels like he was born yesterday. But then again, I can barely remember a life without him in it.

Tindra and I sure miss him today. The house is too quiet. Tindra walked around for a good hour this morning yelling "Jap bear?" And then turning to me to announce "Jap bears gone" Even though she walked him into his class room and kissed him good bye, twice. 

Now that school has started, I'm ready for some cool, crispy fall weather and to start getting into a routine again. This summer we didn't have much of one, and I crave routine, and I think my kiddos to also. So hopefully this means I can start playing catch up on the blog! And in my house and the rest of my life as well. 

Bring on fall! 



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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Madsen

Three months ago we bought THE most amazing bike of all bikes. The Madsen. Ever since we were living in Sweden (in 2009 when Jasper was one) I have been lusting after a cargo bike. There was a family at Jaspers daycare I would see with one. The mom (or dad, they took turns) would drop the kiddos off at day care, lock the bike up and then hope on the bus right outside. I thought it was brilliant. 


Fast forward a couple years and I start searching for cargo bikes here in the US. When I came across the Madsen I knew I had to have it. We have really enjoyed biking all over the city the past year but Tindra was almost out growing her bike seat, and Jasper isn't quite old enough to go on super long bike rides so we were limited to a couple miles one way.


Well not anymore! We have had the Madsen for over three months now, and I'm not exaggerating when I say its changed our lives for the better. Now we go on long family rides together on the weekends, to the farmers market, to brunch, to dinner, to parks and pools, really everywhere! And one of my favorite parts, now I can go on bike rides with both kiddos while Drew is at work. Before I was only comfortable going on rides if we had both adults so one could be in the front of Jasper and one behind him, but now I just put both kids in the Madsen and off we go to summer story time followed by  ice cream. A weekly favorite activity here!


I was a tiny bit nervous that it would be really difficult to ride with kids in it, but it only took a ride or two to get used to, now I feel like a pro! I'll be honest, hills are still sort of difficult with 70 lbs in the back, but lets be real, those hills are difficult for me even on my regular bike. 
I get asked most about balance, and as long as the kids are sitting still in the back it's not an issue at all. Also, I have to take wide turns, theres no zooming in and out of traffic for me, but no way I would do that with my kids in the back anyway. 


Another great thing about Madsen as a company, customer service is phenomenal! We had issues getting the tire on, and the owner himself face timed with us and helped us figure out the problem. Amazing service right?




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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts and Prayers


Yesterday, which shall go down as one of the hardest days of my life, Tindra had bilateral strabismus repair. Which if you don't speak doctor means: double eye surgery to repair/move eye muscles. She's being a champ even though she has to be in quite a bit of pain. Seriously. She's amazing. As I spent the next few days cuddling her and making sure she doesn't touch her eyes (a difficult task since to her it feels like she has sand burning in her eyes) please pray that the surgery was 100% successful and that she doesn't get an infection. 


I'm so thankful for the wonderful care she got yesterday at Denver Children's Hospital, and even as she was going in for surgery I felt strangely grateful. Grateful this was her (and Jasper's) first time in a hospital other than for birth. Grateful for my healthy babies. Grateful for amazing doctors and nurses. Grateful for the technology available in 2014. Just grateful. 




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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

4th Annual Mountain Getaway

Every year we go up to Grand Lake, CO with some friends of ours and go camping. We usually go in August, but between all of our travels and all of theirs as well, two weekends ago was the Only weekend that worked for the entire summer! The nice part we decided about going in July vs. later in August like previous years is that instead of the night temp being in the very low 30's it was in the mid 40's. Which seemed a lot warmer in theory, but turns out, 44 degrees is still pretty cold while sleeping in a tent! Regardless, our kids were all troopers and slept well. They also had a blast roasting marshmallows, playing in the creek, lake, and petting all the animals at the petting zoo at our camp site. Until next summer, Grand Lake! 



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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Yellowstone

We disappeared to Yellowstone for a few days (an 11 hr drive from us) to relax and spend some time with my dad and his cousins visiting from Sweden. It's so incredibly beautiful here! The days are hot and the nights are cool, and when a little afternoon thunderstorm rolls in and leaves a breathtaking rainbow it's not hard to imagine why my dad chose here. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stockholm Part 1: Skansen

As I mentioned before, the first 5 days of our trip we spent in Stockholm, staying at the J Hotel. The first few days we are were all so exhausted and jet lagged that it would take us a while to get up and going. I had to wake Drew and the kids up every morning (first time Ever I have had to wake the kids up I think) and they probably would have been content to sleep the day away, but I wasn't going to let that happen! 


Each morning we would wake up, eat a HUGE delicious breakfast at the hotel and then walk the 3 minutes to the boat. One day we were in more of a rush so we took the bus into down which only took 10 minutes where as the boat took us about 20. 


The day after we arrived there was a big midsummer celebration at skansen, an open air museum/zoo and it was the highest thing on my MUST DO list for Stockholm. I haven't spent midsummer in Sweden since I was probably 10 and it was something I couldn't wait to share with the kids! Jasper especially had so much fun running around, playing at the park there, seeing the animals and just being outside after our long traveling.
 ^First picture I took in Sweden except for one of the kids in the taxi sleeping. View from our hotel at 10-11PM. That midnight sun is something else^
 ^Enjoying delicious coffee on the dock waiting for the boat to arriver to take us to Skansen^

 ^On the boat! All the boats we took quickly became Tindra's favorite mode of public transportation^
 ^Midsummer pole at Skansen^




 ^Amazing views around the whole park/zoo/museum^





^Of course we had to be like the real Swedes and get flowers for our hair (don't mind the tired, jet lagged toddler. They did So well for being exhausted^

 ^Drew and I couldn't wait to have these hot dogs again. I don't know What it is about Swedish hot dogs but they are SO so good. I promise. I rarely eat hot dogs in America but there I could (and sometimes did..) eat them twice a day!^
^Once we got the kids to sleep in the hotel room, fairly easy considering how little sleep we were going on..Drew and I enjoyed a few ciders out on our balcony. The perfect ending to the perfect day^
*All of these pictures were taken with my or Drew's iphone*
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where to Stay in Stockholm: J Hotel

I'm going to sneak a travel tip number 2 into this post.

When booking a hotel for your vacation, choose one that is family friendly. That can mean a lot of different things, but for us that meant looking for a hotel with a balcony for our first stay in Stockholm. We were going to be staying there for 5 nights and we wanted a place we could sit out on a little balcony of our own after the kids fell asleep at night. 


When we arrived Friday night at Arlanda Airport we were exhausted after our travels and one day stop over in Iceland. We hadn't slept in about 28 hrs (minus a few short naps for the kids, and maybe a 20 min doze for Drew and I) so we were in a hurry to get to our hotel. The front desk had been very accommodating about how to get to the hotel using public transportation, but when we saw the taxis lined up outside, all of our luggage and our two overly tired children we decided to spend the extra money of a taxi out to our hotel. Best decision ever. 


From Arlanda (Stockholm's international airport) it's about a 45 minute taxi ride to the J hotel, and the price was only about $110 which seemed really fair considering the time and distance. And considering  you are going to spend almost half that on the airport shuttle into town and then a bus it was more than worth it.


We had a late arrival at the hotel, and from the second we arrived to when we left everyone there was more than accommodating. Such amazing service! The staff was extremely friendly, helpful and we just felt like they went above and beyond what we expected! The morning we left, they had called a taxi for us and knowing we had to leave before breakfast was served to catch a train, they had packed us delicious sandwiches for our train ride! That was such a fantastic gesture! 
 
Besides the Amazing service, they served a phenomenal breakfast every morning overlooking the water and the most stunning views I have ever had from a hotel. Apparently this is a Swedish hotel thing: out of this world good breakfast buffets! A whole room full of different cheeses (like 5 different kind) vegetables and fruits, eggs and bacon, different kinds of yoghurts, oatmeals, different granolas and fruits for the yoghurt, more types of breads than I could count, not to mention delicious coffee and teas that we couldn't get enough of. And these amazing little danishes that were almost too good to be served with breakfast, it felt like dessert! This is where Jasper fell in love with hard boiled eggs! He couldn't get enough. I bet over our vacation Jasper alone ate a few dozen hard boiled eggs. 


After filling up on a Huge breakfast every morning we would walk down to the dock and catch a 20-30 minutes boat into town, or walk up to the street and take a bus if we were in more of a hurry, but starting the mornings with a boat ride into Stockholm was definitely the perfect way to start the day!


When we were trying to decide between staying in the city or a little bit out of the city for our first days in Sweden, we ultimately decided that having some space for the kiddos to run around in the grass and play by the water and then having a balcony to relax on in the evening midnight sun was the way for us. I could not recommend this hotel more! For couples on a romantic getaway (because romantic it definitely was!) for families, even for a girls only trip- this is a hotel for everyone!


Another super cozy thing I have to mention, they have these huge wooden chairs every out facing the water, and a big stack of fleece blankets inside that you are welcome to take out on a chilly evening. We definitely utilized that as our first few days in Sweden it was on the chillier/rainy side! And speaking of rainy they also had big umbrellas you could borrow for the day! 


I'm already planning for the day we can go back to Stockholm and the J Hotel!





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