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. ūüôā

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. ūüėÄ 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). ūüôā

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

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

 

 

Wanderlust Ecuador

I could have put here the same photos from last week. You can check the Finland photos here. Finland is a great destination for a wanderlust.

But this time I wanted to make contrast and show you some photos from my backpacking trip years ago. I traveled around South America and visited some amazing places. These are from Ecuador; Isla de la Plata and the Amazonas.

I’m happy I did those travels back then. Nowadays our holidays are different. Family holidays. As they should be.

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Weekly photo challenge

The first 3 months with the twins

The twins are now three months old. Time seems to fly faster than ever. I’m still waiting for the spring to come. I can’t believe it snowed yesterday. Snow! At the end of April? On New Years Eve the husband raked the yard¬†and now that the barbecue season should start we get snow. Oh well. Sometimes I feel like moving¬†somewhere warm.

The past month brought some hardships when the boy got colic right after the christening party. I wrote about that here. The refloxologist really helped and situation has been good after her visit. I still have some worries but everything is pretty much ok right now.

The babies¬†have started to “talk” with us. They babble back when you talk to them and they smile that big smile that lights up their whole face and makes it impossible not to smile yourself.

The boy learnt to turn from stomach to back. He also tries to pull himself up to sitting position when I’m holding him. The girl likes to have her service and is not that eager to practice moving or other skills yet.

In many ways they are really different. I don’t know why that surprises me since it’s obviously the case with nonidentical twins but one thing they both like is hanging out with each other. Before I felt like they didn’t even realize there was someone else next to them but now that they have started to get more interested in other people they also notice each¬†other.

One day they were both awake at the same time and both wanted to be held. For a while, I carried them around in turns until I finally decided to put them on the floor facing each other. And it worked! Ever since they have been keeping each other company every once in a while. This realization made my life a lot easier.

The big brother is still only happy to have little sister and brother. Every day he wants to hug them and kiss them and help looking after them. We have paid a lot of attention on giving him enough time alone without the babies and I think this is something we have done right. He hasn’t acted out or been¬†jealous in any way.

The babies sleep their naps outside but other than that we haven’t been out much because of the cold weather. For the next month, I’m hoping that we could move our life little more outside and the weather finally gets better.

Have a nice first of May!

Mannamaria