Little Accomplishments

Sometimes, especially when you feel exhausted with life, it’s good to stop and look around. Concentrate on the positive. And see the things that we’ve accomplished instead of all that we still have on our to do lists.

Toisinaan, erityisesti silloin jos elämä tuntuu hengästyttävältä, on hyvä pysähtyä ja katsoa ympärilleen. Keskittyä positiivisuuteen. Ja nähdä saavutukset tehtävälistojen sijaan.

Maggie from the blog Dreaming of Guatemala has been doing these Little Accomplishments posts for some time now and I have admired her positivity in them. Here is my SAHM version of little accomplishment and as Maggie says it: “Let’s celebrate all of life’s joys – no matter how small!”

Maggie blogista Dreaming of Guatemala on tehnyt kirjoituksia pienistä saavutuksistaan jo jonkun aikaa ja mä olen ihaillut hänen positiivisuuttaan etäältä. Tässä tulee mun kotiäitiversio näistä pienistä saavutuksista. Niin kuin Maggie sen sanoo: “juhlistetaan elämän pieniä iloja – riippumatta siitä, kuinka pieniä ne ovatkaan!”

It’s only Tuesday but this week I have already… On vasta tiistai mutta tällä viikolla olen jo…

Bought the first Christmas presents! There was a move out sale in one book store and I found some children’s book classics that I got for all of my children. And my sister’s children. And my godson. And.. ok, that was it.

Ostanut ensimmäiset joululahjat! Kirjakaupassa oli muuttomyynti ja löysin joitain lastenkirjaklassikkoja, jotka ostin kaikille meidän lapsille. Ja siskon lapsille. Ja kummipojalle. Ja.. no ok, siinäpä se olikin. 

Harvested the first zucchinis! I told you before (here) that I have hard time keeping my plants alive. But I have found the one plant that survives even at my care. It’s zucchini! My mother planted me a small zucchini sapling this spring and told me to water it well. I didn’t water it. Even once. But thank you rainy summer! I have so many zucchinis I don’t know what to do with them.

Keräsin ensimmäiset kesäkurpitsat! Kerroin aiemmin (täällä), että en tahdo saada millään pidettyä mun kasveja elossa. Nyt olen kuitenkin löytänyt kasvin, joka selviää jopa mun hoidossa. Se on kesäkurpitsa! Äiti istutti meidän pihaan kesäkurpitsan taimen keväällä ja sanoi, että muista vain kastella. En kastellut. Kertaakaan. Mutta kiitos sateinen kesä! Saatiin tosi paljon kesäkurpitsaa. Pitää vaan keksiä, mitä näistä kaikista tehdään. 

Cooked two healthy meals for the family. I mean two out of two days is quite good? At this point of my life, cooking well is not always an option. But here it is, as a proof, my simple chicken salad.

Kokkasin kaksi terveellisestä ateriaa perheelle. Kaksi kahdessa päivässä on aika hyvä, eikö niin? Nykyisessä arjessa ei oikeasti terveellisiä ruokia ehdi aina tehdä, joskus mennään kalapuikoilla. Mutta tässä on todiste, mun simppeli kanasalaatti.

Picked some chanterelles. I have been wanting to go mushroom picking for a month now and today I finally got to the forest. Ok, I had only 15 minutes and I only found some handfuls of them but they were a great base for my second healthy meal of the week which was vegetarian pasta. (I know, pasta may not be the healthiest choice but it didn’t have any cream or other unhealthy ingredients in it)

Keräsin myös kanttarelleja. Oon halunnut mennä kantarellimetsään jo kuukauden mutta tänään vihdoin pääsin. Kieltämättä se oli vaan vartti ja löysin vaan pari kourallista mutta ne kävi hyvin viikon toiseen terveelliseen ateriaan, joka oli vegepasta. (Tiedän joo, että pasta ei ole kaikista terveellisin vaihtoehto mutta tässä ei kuitenkaan ollut kermaa tai muuta epäterveellistä)

Downloaded an app called Momzie. It’s like a Tinder for moms. 😀 I have been chatting with some very nice moms there. It’s such a great idea and a great way to meet new mom friends nearby.

Latasin sovelluksen nimeltä Momzie. Se on niin kuin äitien Tinder. 😀 Olen jutellut muutamien mukavien äitien kanssa siellä. Tämä sovellus on hauska idea ja kiva tapa tutustua muihin lähistöllä oleviin äiteihin.

 

Emptied the laundry basket. It’ll be full in an instant again but I have been doing soooo much laundry the past days that at least at this moment I can say, it’s empty!

Tyhjensin pyykkikorin. Toki se täyttyy hetkessä mutta olen pessyt niiin paljon pyykkiä tässä pari päivää, että ainakin just tällä hetkellä voin todeta, se on tyhjä!

Found some great stuff from sale and flea market! Finding high quality clothes for a low price always makes me unbelievably happy!

Löysin tosi hyviä juttuja alesta ja kirpparilta! Laadukkaiden vaatteiden löytäminen edukkaaseen hintaan saa mut uskomattoman hyvälle tuulelle!

Please let me know your little accomplishment! Jaa ihmeessä omat pienet saavutuksesi!

Have a lovely week! Mukavaa viikkoa!

Mannamaria

To anyone expecting twins, part. 2

I wrote a post called “to anyone expecting twins” three months ago when the twins were three months old. Now when I read it, it makes me smile. I’ll write a new one here and probably smile at this one later on as well.

Kirjoitin tekstin “to anyone expecting twins” kolme kuukautta sitten, kun kaksoset olivat kolmen kuukauden ikäisiä. Sen lukeminen hymyilyttää nykyään. Kirjoittelen tähän uuden version ja todennäköisesti hymyilen tälle sitten taas myöhemmin.


People will ask lots of questions. But it’s not annoying unless you let it be. You will learn the best way that works for you to react to them. Some like to get sarcastic, some get annoyed and leave the situation quickly. I think that questions like “are they twins?” “can I take a look?” are more conversation openers than anything else. With only one child I usually opened conversation by asking “how old is your child?”. Asking if they’re twins is pretty much the same in my opinion.

This being said, there are uncomfortable situations that you should be prepared to react to. For example I don’t want any stranger to touch my small babies (with their dirty hands) and if anyone tries that they’ll get a strong reaction from me. With one baby no one ever tried to touch him!

And also one time a stranger took a photo of them without asking me. I was so shocked in that situation that she got away with it without me saying anything but next time I’ll be more alert and prepared.

Speaking of the next time.. the older the twins get, the less people pay attention to us. I went to a flea market the other with only my baby girl and no one stared at us. No stranger came to talk to us and I couldn’t hear any one talking about us. It felt strange and it reminded me that this period when people come to talk us and ask questions and tell their own twin stories that seem never ending, is very short. Let’s not waste time getting annoyed by it. I may even miss it soon.

Ihmiset kyselevät kysymyksiä. Mun mielestä se ei ole ärsyttävää, ellei sen anna olla. Jokainen oppii oman parhaan tapansa reagoida näihin kysymyksiin ja kommentteihin. Jotkut vastaa sarkastisesti ja toiset ärsyyntyneesti lähtien tilanteesta mahdollisimman pian. Itse ajattelen, että kysymykset kuten “onko ne kaksoset?” “Saanko katsoa?” on tarkoitettu enemmänkin keskustelun avaajiksi kuin miksikään muuksi. Silloin kun mulla oli vain yksi lapsi, avasin itse keskustelun usein kysymällä lapsen ikää. Jos joku kysyy kaksosuudesta, se on mun mielestä hyvin samantyyppinen tilanne.

Tämän sanottuani pitää todeta, että epämukaviakin tilanteita tulee ja niihin on hyvä miettiä oma suhtautumisensa etukäteen. En esimerkiksi halua kenenkään tuntemattoman ihmisen koskevan mun pieniin vauvoihin (likasilla käsillään) ja jos joku yrittää, reagoin kyllä nykyään voimakkaasti. Yhden vauvan kanssa kukaan ei yrittänyt koskea häntä!

Kerran myös tuntematon ihminen nappasi kuvan kaksosista kysymättä lupaa. Olin niin järkyttynyt siinä tilanteessa, etten osannut edes reagoida mutta seuraavalla kerralla olen kyllä valppaana.

Seuraavasta kerrasta puheenollen… mitä vanhemmaksi kaksoset tulevat, sitä vähemmän meihin kiinnitetään huomiota. Yhtenä päivänä kävin kirpparilla vain tyttövauva mukanani eikä kukaan tuijottanut meitä. Kukaan ei tullut juttelemaan enkä kuullut kenenkään puhuvan meistä. Se tuntui omituiselta ja muistin taas, että oikeastaan tämä aika kun ihmiset tulevat juttelemaan ja kertovat loputtomia kaksostarinoitaan on todella lyhyt. Ei siitä kannata ärsyyntyä. Sitä saattaa tulla pian jo ikävä.


You may easily feel inadequate with twins. Holding them and comforting them at the same time isn’t easy at least when they’re small babies. The other one has to wait his or her turn in many occasions and even if they say that twins will learn to wait for their turn, they learn it by crying out loud for good many times.

What really helped me during those moments was remembering that even if in that particular situation they had to wait (alone, poor little ones), they will have the other sibling closer to them than any singleton will ever have their sibling. And I don’t meant that singletons can’t be really close, of course they can have tight relations, but twins can have their sibling right next to them in the same group when they go to kindergarten or school or take other big steps on their life path. They’ll always have a friend who is going through the same age and phase at the same time.

So even if they have to wait alone little now and then because of the other sibling, they will have a huge support in each other later in life.

As small babies when they both wanted to be held at the same time, I sometimes put them in the same cot facing each other and they calmed down looking at each other. Now it doesn’t work any more since they grab at each other’s face or roll over and kick the other one to the head or bite the other one’s finger. It always ends up to a massive cry.

Kaksosten kanssa tulee helposti riittämätön olo. Niitä ei ole helppo pitää sylissä ja lohduttaa samaan aikaan. Toisen pitää odottaa vuoroaan usein ja vaikka sanotaan, että kaksoset oppivat odottamaan vuoroaan, he oppivat sen itkemällä monet kerrat lohduttomasti, kun sisarukselta vaihdettiin ensin vaippa tai toinen pääsi ensin syliin.

Se, mikä minua on auttanut noissa tilanteissa on itseni muistuttaminen siitä, että vaikka näissä tietyissä tilanteissa heidän pitää odottaa (yksinään, voi pienet), heillä on kuitenkin sisarus lähempänä kuin yksösillä ikinä voi olla. Enkä tarkoita nyt sitä, etteikö yksössisarukset voisi olla hyvin läheisiä, tottakai voivat, mutta kaksosilla on toisensa esimerkiksi kun he aloittavat päiväkodin tai koulun ihan siinä samassa ryhmässä. Heillä on aina lähellä ystävä, joka on juuri samanikäinen ja käy läpi samaa kehitysvaihetta.

Joten vaikka he joutuvat vauva-aikana odottamaan sisaruksensa takia toisinaan, on heillä toisissaan valtava tuki myöhemmin. Isossa kuvassa he varmaankin jäävät voitonpuolelle läheisyysasiassa, kun saavat sitä toisiltaan niin paljon.

Kun he olivat aivan pieniä vauvoja ja halusivat olla molemmat sylissä yhtä aikaa, hoksasin jossain vaiheessa laittaa ne pinnasänkyyn katselemaan toisiaan. He rauhoittuivat usein siinä köllötellessään. Enää se ei oikein toimi, koska he tarttuvat toisiaan naamasta, kääntyvät ympäri ja potkivat toisiaan päähän tai purevat vaikkapa sormesta. Yritykset päättyvät aina valtavaan parkuun.


Accept any help you can get. This one I wrote already on the previous post and I’m glad I realized it already when I wasn’t too tired. With a heavy fatigue I’m not sure if I would have had the strength to search possibilities of getting help from the city. We’ve had a nanny helping every week, and my mother in law has come monthly for a couple of days. Now we have a nurse student coming for a training period and we’ve had friends and family helping regularly.

I’m not going to say that we could not have made it without them. It’s insulting for anyone who doesn’t get help. We would have made it even without any help (and so will you if you have to) but boy am I glad we got it.

Don’t worry about messy home. Everyone will understand. Invite them in anyways.

Ota vastaan kaikki apu, mitä voit saada. Tämän kirjoitin jo viime postauksessa ja olen niin tyytyväinen, että ymmärsin tämän jo ennen kuin olin ihan loppuunväsynyt. Jäätävissä univeloissa en olisi jaksanut alkaa selvitellä, mistä voisi saada apua. Meillä on tosiaan ollut lastenhoitaja joka viikko, anoppi on käynyt muutaman päivän kuukausittain. Nyt on tulossa opiskelija harjoittelemaan ja lisäksi on ystäviä ja perheenjäseniä ollut apuna tarpeen mukaan.

En tahdo sanoa, etteikö oltaisi selvitty ilman apuakin. Se on loukkaavaa niitä kohtaa, jotka eivät apua saa. Oltaisiin varmasti selvitty (ja niin selvitä sinäkin jos täytyy) mutta oon mä kyllä kiitollinen kaikesta avusta mitä ollaan saatu.

Älä murehdi kodin siisteydestä. Kaikki ymmärtävät kyllä. Kutsu apu sisään jokatapauksessa.


I wish I could tell you more general advice for twin life but twins are usually as individual as singletons. Some sleep well, eat well and develop as they should, others have their challenges.

But here is something I’d like to say to you:

Don’t worry, it will go well,
You can do it  and
You are enough, just try your best.

Have a nice week!

Mannamaria

P.s These photos are from our date last week.

Osaisinpa kertoa muita yleisiä neuvoja kaksosarkeen mutta kaksoset ovat yhtä yksilöllisiä kuin yksösetkin. Toiset nukkuvat ja syövät hyvin sekä kehittyvät niin kuin pitää, toisilla on oman haasteensa.

Tämän haluaisin kuitenkin sanoa sinulle:

Älä huoli, hyvin se menee,
Selviät kyllä ja
Sinä riität, yritä vain parhaasi.

Mukavaa viikkoa!

Mannamaria

P.S. Kuvat ovat viime viikon treffeiltä.

Pärnu, Estonia – How was it for a family holiday?

I wrote you about our summer holiday plans here. As it turned out we ended up traveling in Finland and also went to Pärnu, Estonia by car for a couple of days.

We stayed there for only three nights since we thought it would be a tiny village with not much to do but if we went there again we would stay a full week. Not only because there is lots to do but also because when you get this caravan (family of five) all packed up and moving it would be worth to make the most of it and stay a couple more nights.

About Pärnu

Pärnu is the fourth largest city in Estonia with the total population of 40 000 inhabitants. It’s located in the southwestern part of Estonia little over 100 kilometers from the capitol, Tallinn. Pärnu is famous for being a rehabilitation and holiday resort and most of the tourist are Finns, Swedes and Russians.


Getting there

From Helsinki with a ferry and then drive. If you are feeling more adventurous or if don’t have children it’s also easy to reach by bus from Tallinn.

The ferry itself was part of the fun! Driving in there was exciting but the ferry has great facilities for families. We took the newest ferry Tallink Megastar that has started to operate only this year. It has good shopping facilities “largest mall on the Baltic Sea” and the children’s playroom was very good! It has surveillance cameras in there so parents can sit outside and monitor their kids from tv screens. Our son ran there first thing when we got to the ferry, got new friends and we could hardly get him out of there to drink or eat.

At the harbor we had gotten a “family”-tag to our windscreen and could skip the lines, made it to the front in the ferry (which meant that we got out fast) and they left us enough space to be able to move around with our twin stroller. If you are nervous about travelling by ferry, don’t be! They have organized it very well for families.


This is already from the Pärnu beach.

Where to stay?

Everyone said that Pärnu is so small village that all hotels are close to the center. Well.. it’s not that tiny. Our hotel was quite far away. The hotel itself was not bad. Our room was two floors which was beautiful but not the most practical solutions with children.

There are many hotels with spas and waterparks. Also Air bnb might be a good solution. If I went again I would look at them. During the holiday season Pärnu is quite expensive and it’s not easy to find good price-quality ratio in hotels.


Cows between the hotel called Tervise Paradiis and the sea.

What to do?

This was the surprising part! We thought that ok they have the beach and then they have waterparks and spas.

But the whole beach boulevard was filled with activities. Nothing spectacular, to be honest, but all in the same area and on holiday we had time to try it all. They had very nice playgrounds for children, mini golf, tivoli, carousel, bouncing castles, pedal go carts and more. With only three days we only got to the beach and this beach boulevard area and visited the Pärnu center. The beach itself was amazing by the way! The water was shallow and warm and perfect for small children. We were also lucky with weather. Sunny and warm weather every day. We could have spent every day at the beach.

If we’d had more time I would have liked to take a boat ride, visit an alpaca farm and go to Estonia’s largest theme park Lottemaa.


To eat?

This one I really don’t know. With the the older boy we have gone to the restaurants since he was two months old but with twins it feels stressful. That’s why we got our meals to go and ate at the parks which they have many and they are beautiful!

This was a stress-free solution which is always good on holidays.


Best in Pärnu?

It felt like a true summer city. People walked around in beach wear holding their swim rings. They were in a relaxed holiday mood. No one had to hurry anywhere. This was a location I could see myself going back to.

Have a lovely week end!

Mannamaria 

Car trip with kids – my tips and thoughts

Our family vacation is coming to its end. Four weeks together traveling and renovating the house. At the same time it feels like we have spent the whole summer together and that time flew faster than ever.

This summer we made two trips by car. First we visited the grandparent, 500 kilometers one way. Then we went to Estonia which meant first a two hour trip by a ferry (we drove our car to the ferry) and then driving for another two hours.

With our first born son we made the long drive to the grandparents when he was 2 months old. We got only one advice: drive as long as the baby sleeps. As a first time parent I had read that it’s not good for the baby to spend many hours in the car safety seat. It would be bad for his back so we had thought that we should have a stop after about two hours and take him out from it. Then drive for another two hours and have another long break. I’m glad we didn’t. Drive as long as the baby sleeps was a great piece of advice. He fell asleep right after we started the engine and slept for about 2 to 3 hours. Then we stopped and after a good break we drove another 2 to three hours and we were there. It didn’t take much longer than our trips before kids. And since that was a very rare occasion, nothing happened to his back.

This summer we have three kids. Twins are about 6 months and the toddler is 3 years old. Since the other baby suffers from stomach problems and cries a lot anyways, we had done some back up plans before the first long drive in case he would start to cry at some point. We had called a family member half way and asked if we could spend a night there if needed. We had checked the train stations and time tables to see if it was possible to continue by train (where I could hold the baby) in case the car seat was too uncomfortable for him. And we had the mindset of spending all day to this trip.


The first half of the trip went well. Drive as long as the baby sleeps was our motto and so we drove. As fast as possible, as far as possible. Half way the babies woke up. We stopped, fed them, changed diapers and ate our self. It was a good stop. We decided to continue our trip but after about 20-30 minutes the crying started. We were middle of nowhere. We stopped by the road side to calm the baby. We realized that we hadn’t hold him in the upright position after eating long enough so he had gotten stomach problems. We held him, carried him around, watched the cars that were bypassing. After some time we decided to continue. Maybe 2 or 3 time we stopped by the road to calm him before arriving to the next town.

We had bypassed the family member where we could have spent the night at and there was no train station nearby. After arriving to the town we parked our car and decided to spend as long as we needed to normalize the situation with the baby. We spent there little over 2 hours. We ate dinner at a restaurant while holding the baby. When he got tired we packed everyone back to car and drove to our destination. The trip took us nearly one full day.


I had this chicken&goat cheese waffle while we stopped for a few hours..

What I learnt from that trip is

  • Know your kids. My baby needs to be hold up for about an hour after eating. Rushing with this one backfired big time. Most kids don’t need this and in that case..
  • Drive as long as the baby sleeps.
  • In case you are not sure make many backup plans (can we spend a night somewhere if needed? Are there nice hotels, amusement/water parks, family members on our route? What sights or cities there are on our route where it would be nice to stop for a couple of hours if needed?).
  • Be ready to make a plan on the go. The odds are, you are going to be in middle of nowhere when all hell breaks loose.
  • Try to make the new plan sound like fun for the other kids. “Let’s have dinner in a restaurant/Let’s have a picnic! We have never stopped in this city before! That amusement park/zoo sounds like fun, let’s go there!”

When we were coming back I tried to book train tickets but since it’s the summer holiday season all the seats where you can take a pram nearby were taken. Our plan b was to book a hotel night somewhere on our route so we booked a night at a spa hotel. It was fun for the older boy who loves water parks and hotel breakfasts and the trip was less stressful to us.


The spa hotel was by a beautiful lake.

Our next trip was easier. We knew what our baby needed. We were better prepared. The maximum drive was two hours. At the ferry he didn’t need to be on his car seat. We held him up as much as he needed, we had some medicine in case he needed it. We were well prepared.


Driving to the ferry was exciting especially to the boy!

I have heard many parents, especially twin parents, say that they are scared to go because so many things can go wrong. I would like encourage them to prepare yourself well, be ready to be spontaneous if needed but don’t be afraid to go. It’ll be worth it and it’ll go well! 

Have you done long car trips with kids? How did it go? Do you have any tips?

Have a nice week end!

Mannamaria

Visiting a family farm

We’re on summer holiday and my posts seem to be only about things and happenings. But that also reflects our life at the moment quite well. Life is lighter on holiday but it’s also more active than our every day life. We’ve been traveling in Finland for little over a week now. Mostly in the countryside.

Couple of days ago we visited a farm that my second cousin runs. The farm is still a small ‘old school’ farm when, I think, most farms are either quitting or getting very big with milking robots and all that.

In my second cousin’s farm the cows spend days and nights outside eating fresh grass in the summer. They are called in only for milking and then let out again. 

I think it’s amazing that I can offer my kids this experience. A real farm that is up and running. They learn where the milk comes from and how important work they do at the farms producing us domestic food supplies.

There were little calves that we could feed and my second cousin’s son offered to take my son for a ride in a tractor but that was a little too exciting for him. Sitting inside a tractor, when it didn’t move, was enough excitement. He “helped” fetch the cows from field into the byre and gave them grass. 

It was wonderful.

Me, as a true city girl, got too excited about it all. I took selfies with cows, photos of everything, including my second cousin working. I even made a video call to my sister inside the byre. I’ve been embarrased afterwards. I should invite them to my workplace to take photos of me working.

Anyways, I am grateful for them for letting us visit.

More holiday posts to come. Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Summer parties

This summer has been great. We have enjoyed it every day to the fullest. The weather has not been great every day but somehow we’ve managed to keep the atmosphere warm and happy. And luckily it hasn’t rained much. Maybe it’s the kids. They are always happy to play outside. No matter how the weather is.

Last week end we went to a birthday party. Little girl turned two years old. My son got to choose a present for her. We bought a firefighter’s helmet and a story book about rescue vehicles. 😀 She loved them.

The party was beautiful. They had done well with decorations and catering. Our kids enjoyed it. And the birthday girl enjoyed it. The kids played well together.

No we are at the countryside but I’ll write you more about that later.

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Baby photo shoot

This text is for encouragement to anyone who wonders if they can go to a photo shoot with a baby that cries a lot.

We did it finally. Went to a proper photo shoot with the babies. Our life has been so hectic that I hadn’t even thought about it until now. L had been crying a lot for the past months and we didn’t think it would be worth the trouble of going somewhere and get photos where the other baby is crying.

During the past weeks things had gotten better and the crying nearly stopped. Last week, after seeing my sister’s beautiful family photos, I finally made a reservation.

I was really nervous of how it would go. We had had many good days with him before that day. The photo shoot was around noon and I thought it was good since the crying usually started in the afternoon and got worse towards the evening. But in the morning of the photo shoot the crying started. It was worse than what we’d had for weeks.

When we left for the studio L fell asleep and I kind of hoped that he had just been tired and would wake up happy.  First we photographed M and it went well. She did really good.

We had to wake L up and at first he was just confused and we got some nice pictures. Then the crying started. And it got bad. We tried feeding him. We tried holding him. We tried everything we could think of but nothing worked. By making some funny faces we got some smiles. Everyone was stressed and when we left home I wasn’t sure if we were going to get any good photos of everyone. The photo shoot had been hard. Had it been possible I would have changed the date but it wasn’t.

But the photos turned out great. I can’t believe that in that noise and stress we managed to get photos with amazingly peaceful and serene atmosphere. I have to thank our professional photographer, Aino, for working miracles with us. I honestly don’t know how it happened.

The photo shoot wasn’t easy for anyone, but it was definitely worth it. I’m glad we went after all but I also hope that the next time will be easier.

Mannamaria

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Photo credit: vauvakuva