Beautiful lake views

The theme of this week’s photo challenge is ‘satisfaction’. I went through my photos trying to see if there was something I would like to post here.

First thing that I came up with were findings from the flea market. I love flea markets! I go there often and make great findings quite often. The thing is, I never take photos of them. But maybe I should! 

I did find two scenes that I find extremely satisfying. The first is Finnish lake view. I don’t know why but I calm down instantly when looking at this view. My heart beat slows down, my mind stops racing and my muscles relax. I could stare at this for hours. The first photo is from our summer holiday trip to Ikaalinen. The second one is from near our home.



But I can’t leave out the view of a field either. Part of this satisfaction is also the silence. You can only hear the wind moving the crops but other than that it’s silent. No traffic, no nothing.


This is my contribution to the weekly photo challenge!

I’ll see you soon!

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

Explanation and extempore get-together

I wish I had some exciting explanation for being absent from blogging. I wish I could tell you I was busy with eating ice cream and swimming in lakes. That I went to the summer cottage where wi-fi doesn’t work well. But I can’t. We spent two weeks ill. Or actually everyone else was ill and I took care of them. The twins took it hardest and we had to go to the E.R. twice in a week.

Our every day life is good when everyone is happy and healthy but this kind of incidents shake it up easily. This spring and summer I have happily accepted visits from my mother-in-law and last week I was maybe happier than ever that she came over first for 5 days and when the situation was still quite hard on Friday she stayed until Saturday.

But now we are all healthy and on summer holiday! In Finland people usually have summer holidays in July while the rest of the Europe is on holiday in August.

This first week we are going to stay at home, clean up, visit friends and get to the holiday mood.

My favorite flowers, pionis, are blossoming in the garden!

Today I also visited friends extempore. That never happens anymore. With three kids I can’t just go whenever I want. It has to be planned. Always. Except today!

I was messaging with friends in the morning and found out that one of my friends was on sick leave from work (because a dog had bitten her) and another friend came yesterday from Berlin and is heading to Greece tomorrow but today she was in town. And then there was me, who can never do anything without planning, free to go. We met around noon. Bought a bottle of wine. Went to my friend’s new home. Hung out in the kitchen while drinking the wine. Talked about friend’s Tinder adventures.

To be honest it was amazing. I loved not-speaking-of-kids. For a chance. Since they are usually the only thing I talk about. Here is a view from friend’s balcony. I looooove it!

I hope you have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

A day of twin life

People often ask me how is it like to have twins. Of course twins are as unique as any other babies, some are easier than others, but in all honesty our every day life is quite hectic or at times even chaotic. I feel like I’m in an endless circle of warming milk bottles, changing diapers and putting someone to sleep. With our first born son we already had more structured days at this point. With the twins every day is different. Some are more structured than others.

I decided to write down our happenings for one day. This was written last Friday. It was a National holiday (Midsummer) so the hubby was at home. Usually people go to their summer cottages for this holiday but we were too tired to leave the city. The babies got ill on Saturday and that might be a reason why they didn’t sleep or eat well the day before.

Here is how the day with the twins went:

03:00 Baby M (girl) eats and continues to sleep.

05:00 Baby L (boy) eats and falls back to sleep.

06:50 Both of the babies wake up. I give a milk bottle to M hoping that she would fall back to sleep for a little while. I go change diaper to baby L and dress him up. When I come back the older kid, N, has woken up and is talking to the baby on her bedside. He’s amazing.

I warm up a milk bottle to the baby L (who doesn’t want to eat) and change diaper to the baby M and dress her up.

7:20 The hubby, J, makes oatmeal to N. They eat breakfast (it’s oatmeal with strawberries) and I play with the babies.

After finishing his breakfast the kiddo watches cartoons.

7:45 I change diaper to baby L.

8:00 The babies get tired so we dress them up for their first nap. They sleep outside in their pram. L finishes his morning milk. J goes out with them and I eat breakfast.

8:15 The babies are asleep and me and the hubby take a cup of coffee and join N to watch some cartoons.

9:00 J and the kiddo go out to mow the lawn and play. I do some chores. Our lawnmower got broken a week before so they borrow one from the neighbors. N is excited about this ‘new’ lawnmower. He also has his own toy lawnmower that he uses to ‘finish up’ after daddy.

9:25 Baby M wakes up.

9:40 Baby L wakes up.

9:50 I warm up milk for both of them but they’re not hungry yet.

10:15 I change diaper to M.

10:30 J and the kiddo come in. J changes diaper to L while I start preparing lunch with N. The babies get tired so J feeds them and takes them back out to sleep. The lunch is prepared so I continue with my chores.

11:50 L wakes up.

12:00 It’s lunch time. We’re having salmon and potatoes with sour cream sauce. I had planned on making also a salad but am too tired for that.

12:15 M wakes up. We eat holding the babies.

12:40 I change diaper to L. N goes to bed for his nap. J changes diaper to M.

12:50 We get a video call from the grand parents. N was already in bed but runs out to talk with them.

13:15 Video call ends. N runs back to bed and we put the babies out to sleep again.

13:25 All kids are asleep. Coffee, please!

13:55 M wakes up, eats and continues to sleep.

14:50 M wakes up just as we are getting ready to leave for a Midsummer family gathering. I change her diaper and put her to the car safety seat.

15:10 L hasn’t woken up so we move him from the pram to his car seat.

15:20 We are all already sitting in the car when we decide to give them some milk before going. It’s the boy who should be hungry but we can’t pass the girl if she sees the bottle. Neither of them wants to eat.

15:30 Finally we start the engine and go! The babies fall asleep in the car.

16:00 We are there and the baby L eats properly. N eats. Me and J try to eat something while the family members hold the babies.

We didn’t go to the summer cottage but are having a barbecue at my father’s house. My cousins haven’t met the babies yet so it’s nice to introduce them. There is some Formula 1 program on TV that some watch, someone is talking about making a trip to China and some are going for a road trip in Finland this summer. It’s nice to hang out with them. I forgot to take any pictures.

16:40 Baby M eats.

17:00 Baby L goes to sleep.

17:30 M goes to sleep.

17:45 L wakes up.

18:00 M wakes up.

18:30 I change diaper to L and we head home.

19:00 I start the evening routine by giving N his evening snack (grapes and milk tonight). I put pajamas on for both of the babies. This is where the craziness starts. All of the kids are tired but we can’t get all of them to sleep at the same time yet. In sport terms, they’re on power play and we’re trying to keep our game together.

19:30 J goes to the nursery to put L to sleep. L eats before falling to sleep. I’m holding M while we do the evening chores with N.

19:50 Baby L is sleeping. I’m reading a bed time story when J comes to pick up baby M and feeds her.

20:30 N is sleeping. 

21:00 J changes diaper to baby M and we then watch some House Of Cards and SKAM.

22:00 Baby M falls asleep finally. I pour myself a glass of wine for Midsummer.

23:00 I go to bed myself.

That was one day! Currently the sun rises at 3:56 and sets at 22:49 in Helsinki. Further north they are enjoying the midnight sun. 

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

These photos I took at 22:00 in our backyard. The burnet rose is called Midsummer rose (juhannusruusu) in Finnish since it blossoms always on Midsummer.