Oh Summer Let Me Hug You

Today it was 25 Celsius first time this year. We spent all day outside with the children. I hope that the weather stays like this for a long time but in case it doesn’t we wanted to make the most of it.

First time this year:

  • the boy wore a cap instead of a beanie,
  • he used his new summer shoes,
  • he didn’t have to wear an overall at the playground,
  • he got to water paint (do you do this? He loves it! Great recommendation),
  • he got to play other water games outdoors,
  • the twins were out on a blanket,
  • I had a problem of what the twins should wear so that it’s not too hot for them in the pram,
  • I had my morning coffee outside at the terrace,
  • It’s almost 10 p.m and the sun is still shining and I’m writing this post outside.

And the tulips finally blossom!

I would have had a lot of cleaning up and cooking to do inside but I decided to let that housework wait and spend the day outside instead. The day included also ice cream, lunch at the terrace and a nanny who gave me an opportunity to cross over at least something from my to do list.

More days like this one please! 🙂

Mannamaria

Summer Holiday Planning

I’m currently using lots of time doing summer holiday planning. With small babies and the boy it’s not that simple to find the perfect solution for all. To travel abroad or stay in homeland? Stay at home? Summer cottage? Hotel? Here are my current thoughts.

Travel abroad
I love travelling and there are so many places I’d like to go to.
This option has the positive side of
– finding new travel destinations,
– creating great memories for the older boy,
– relaxing is easier when you are really out of your ordinary life,
– better chance of good weather than at home.

On the negative side:
– it is expensive,
– travelling by plane with baby twins and a 3 year old sounds stressful to me,
– the twins wake up at night no matter where we are,
– they won’t remember it anyway.

img_1206

Travel in homeland
I have traveled quite much also inside the country and this country surprises me positively every now and then.
On the positive side:
– it’s cheaper,
– you can pack everything in a car so moving around is easier,
– there are lots of great family destinations like the Moomin world where we haven’t been to yet,
– we could visit friends and family around the country and spend some time in our summer cottage.

On the negative side:
– the new experiences would be limited,
– it’s not that easy to get to the holiday mood,
– we are a family of five so not all our friends could host us which means hotel nights which means spending more money (though I also love staying in hotels and especially their breakfasts :D)
– This is a big country and our family and summer cottage are far away. Driving for 500 km in a day with kids doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

213

Stay at home
There would be so much to do here at home!
– we could finally do something from the to do -list,
– that would lower my stress level
– I love Helsinki and we could do some summer activities here like go to the beach, zoo or amusement park,
– we have our friends close and maybe for once we’d have time to see them,
– this option doesn’t cost much! 🙂

On the negative side:
– Does it feel like a holiday if you don’t go anywhere?

img_2396

Combination
One thing we have thought of is travelling to Estonia or Latvia. This way we didn’t have to use the plane, we could drive. Those countries are close. It’s not very expensive to go there and we’d still be going abroad and that would hopefully give me the sense of holiday.

I love this part of the holiday! Planning and comparing all the possibilities. Summer is still ahead and everything seems possible.

If I was jealous to some people it would be those living in the central Europe since they can travel to numerous destinations by car. That would make life so much easier when you have small children.

Do you like planning? What kind of summer holiday plans you have?

Mannamaria

Sunshine and happiness

What a difference some warmth and sunshine can make! I wish I could move this country to the equator where it’s always sunny and warm. 🙂

Now it’s cold again but the end of the week was nice and warm. For anyone wondering what ‘warm’ means at this time of the year here in Finland it was +17-19 Celsius.

On Saturday we visited Helen Electricity Ltd in Helsinki. The ‘family day’ was planned for kids but I think my husband an I enjoyed it as much as the boy. It was also nice to spend some time with the boy without the babies. He really enjoyed the attention he got.

At Helen we had brunch and there was many info and activity spots. The husband and the boy built a windmill, we watched some info videos and there was a photo booth and sort. At the end a bus took us to an under ground electricity station which was exciting. It was such a well organized and fun day!

On Sunday the mother-in-law was visiting us so we stayed at home and only did some walks outside. It was sunny and warm and people were smiling and eating ice cream. The boy loves soap bubbles so we made tons of them.

The spring has been so cold that our garden is only now waking up. The growth is behind in nearly everything. Daffodils and wood anemones are in bloom. My rhubarbs are growing slowly but surely and I still believe that my tulips will blossom before Mother’s day. They are already so close!

It was such a nice weekend. I wish the weather would stay good since there is so much more to do when it’s warm.

How was your weekend?

Mannamaria

Danger underground

Maybe the title is a little too heavy? Sounds like I’m going to talk about some bad working conditions of the miners or something?

Well I’m going to show you photos of our excursion to an underground electricity station. Station that transfers electricity to a big part of Helsinki. It is located quite close to the center of Helsinki and 30 meters under ground.

Disappointed?

Sorry.

It was a very modern and safe station but it did get me thinking about what would happen in case of emergency. Since there can be an emergency anywhere and if you happen to be at a big electricity station, 30 meters under ground, with huge transformers and electricity cables it would easily get fatal. And there are crazy people everywhere.

But we did go. Me, my husband and the boy.

I’m not going to bore you with any details about the station or it’s history. But you know electricity is very abstract. At least for me it’s very difficult to understand how the electricity transfers in a concrete way from the wind mill or nuclear power plant (let’s not go to the dangers of that) to my house. This excursion was very informative and educative for me.

The boy doesn’t really understand what is ‘electricity’ though we tried to explain it. He was excited to get into a tunnel and a cave. 😀 Everyone had to wear a vest and he was very proud of wearing it.

Here are some photos of our day!

Mannamaria

WPC

Relaxing me time – my tips

I told you about the difficulty of relaxing previously on this post. After that I’ve become better at this. It’s not that difficult for me anymore and that’s why I wanted to share some tips with you.

Today I had some me time and decided to head to Helsinki center to spend it. We live in the suburbs and I find it easier to relax when I go little further away from home. And I love Helsinki. One day I’ll write an ode to Helsinki. It’s such a beautiful city (in my opinion). 🙂

This time I only wandered around. Stopped somewhere to sit in the sun and look at people. Did some shopping. Had lunch at my favorite Café. It was finally warm enough to eat outside.

It’s somehow easier to breathe when it’s warm. Relax your shoulders and walk a little slower. I don’t have words to start describing how happy I am that it’s finally warm. I waited for this for too long.

I didn’t do much but it was a beautiful and relaxing day.

The nanny asked me in the morning if I had any special wishes for her last day with us. I asked for cinnamon rolls.

It was great to come to a cleaned home that smelled like cinnamon. For the last time with her.

Here are my tips for relaxing me time:

  • Try to get the time regularly. Set the dates weeks or even months beforehand. It really helps when you don’t have to keep asking for help all the time.
  • Leave your kids with someone you trust.
  • Lower your standards. It doesn’t matter if the babysitter has different rules or if she does things differently than you. When it comes to raising kids it’s the big picture that matters.
  • Plan beforehand what you are going to do. So you don’t spend your me time planning but be ready to change your plan.
  • Don’t make too tight schedule.
  • Make a mental list of things you would do like to do. If the possibility to spend some me time comes unexpectedly you can pick something to do quickly.
  • Sometimes it’s good to spend your me time resting, sometimes taking care of chores and sometimes doing things that you love.

When you have me time regularly you can do it all.

Have a lovely weekend!

Mannamaria

Our lovely nanny drives me crazy, part 2

You can read the first part of the story here.

You remember the time when you had to break up with a nice boy? Someone who tried his best, bought flowers and took you out to dinners. But you knew something was missing. For quite some time you tried to make it work but eventually you knew it would never work. You knew breaking up was the right thing to do but it was killing you knowing how much it would hurt him. You knew that he didn’t expect it and for weeks you thought how to do it. What would be the least hurtful way to say it?

And then one day you just did it. Made some excuse like “this is not a good time”, “I’m too busy right now” and of course that “it’s not you, it’s all me”. Afterwards you second guessed yourself. What if no one will ever treat you the way he did again?

Well I broke up with our nanny.

Tomorrow is her last day with us.

She worked for us for three months. Ever since the twins were born. We had some ups and downs but right now I’m convinced that this is the right thing to do. This decision has been a hard one. I’m still sad I had to make it. She is an absolutely wonderful person. Very nice old lady.

But every time she came by there was something I had to point her out. I decided that I would give max one negative comment per visit to keep the good spirit up and have her motivated. But the things started to pile up and I couldn’t keep up with them. To give you some examples, I’ve talked her about the following:

  • not doing our laundry (she ruined lots of clothes by putting whites and blacks and everything together in the machine)
  • not using metal tools on Teflon pans (still she ruined two pans, a cake tin and a cupcake pan)
  • to not put clothes from washing machine to the dryer (since not all clothes can be put there and she couldn’t sort the clothes)
  • not putting wooden tools or sharp knives in to the dishwasher
  • showing up on time

After that I gave up.

One time she asked me how to use an electric steam sterilizer for bottles and I was happy. I explained it in detail and thought that for once she didn’t just do as she pleased. When I was about to use the bottles I noticed that she hadn’t washed them before putting them in even though I had explicitly told her so.

I knew it was time to let the winds of change blow.

Sometimes I think about all the good times and start second guessing myself. She does the best cinnamon rolls ever! I loved coming back to a clean home that smelled like cinnamon rolls and I didn’t have to start cooking since she had cooked us meals for many days.

Next week we’ll have a new nanny. She won’t cook us meals, bake bread buns and cookies and it won’t be clean and all. But I don’t also have to worry about broken things.

Now I’ll head off to buy her a thank you gift and hope that she finds a lovely new family.

I hope we can still stay friends.

Mannamaria

Making new traditions – case Vappu

Yesterday we had a big carnival, public picnic day, opening the barbecue season or hangover. Whatever you chose. Vappu. To my eyes, the first of May has always been a student party. It’s a public holiday and originally celebrated by workers but studying until the age of 28 made me see it solely as a student party.

After having children we have been kind of in a tradition gap when we let go the student party traditions and started forming new ones for the whole family. This year we went on Sunday to one public family gathering. They had a fire truck for children to look at and fire fighters to answer questions and pose in pictures with the kids. My son was excited! The rest of the day we spent with family friends. I made doughnuts myself for the first time and they were soooo good!

We saw a first of May miracle in weather and in one day the temperature rose 15 Celsius and the sun came out. Yesterday we opened the barbecue season and had some friends over. Finally, the spring is really here!

Traditional way of spending this day would have been to join a massive picnic with tens of thousands of other people in one of the biggest parks in Helsinki but with small children we decided to stay at home this year.

I’ve been at that picnic nearly every year since I turned 16. Some parts of me would still like to hold on to these old traditions that we had while the other parts are excited to create new traditions. How contradictory!

I didn’t remember to take that many photos but here are some new ones and some that take me down the memory lane to these old vappu’s and the picnic.

Have you had difficulties in letting old traditions go and making new ones?

Mannamaria

n562802775_557568_3254

If you want to know the story behind the cap, this expat blogger explains it well here.