Friday, 31 December 2021

Happy New Year!

We will be watching the fireworks from our balcony, like so many other times, so this photo below is from an earlier firework show.

I saw a quote earlier today that I personally will try to remember and hold on to for more optimism and less anxiousness in the year to come:
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength" (Corrie ten Boom)

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!
Let's hope for a 2022 full of life, love and laughter! ❤️

Before packing down

Nathan is working all day today on New Years Eve, so we have decided to postpone our traditional New Years dinner (fondue) to tomorrow. Instead we cooked up a lovely morning brunch to be enjoyed all together before he left for work. If we are lucky he might make it home just in time for 12 o'clock.
So kids and I are on our own and have very unceremoniously decided to have... pizza tonight!
Yup! That's us! Pizza and board games!

I managed to go a whole week after coming back home before having to leave the house and go to the Mall, yay! But the other day Linnea was going to the movies, so the rest of us went to exchange some Christmas gifts, sort my broken screen protector, and do some grocery shopping at the same time.
So since all of us have been at the house so much, we decided to keep the Christmas decorations up until this weekend for a change, but tomorrow - they are gone! New year - new house!

Before packing them up, here are our new Christmas tree decorations for this year.
Nathan got quite a few new ones this year, from Mormor. She is very good at always keeping an eye out for little things that suit him! A flying Santa for example:

A rollerbag:

And the favourite, a beer bottle bauble which states 'Micro Brew':

I got myself, and also the kids, some lussekatt decorations. Our favourite Swedish sweet Christmas treat for all the julfika:

I was lucky during transit on the way to Sweden, that I decided to buy some baubles in the Amsterdam Airport Museum shop. As on the way back - all airport shops were closed due to the new restrictions in the Netherlands. I just couldn't resist this Starry Night Van Gogh bauble, and a pretty tulip, even if I have a Delft porcelain one from Amsterdam from before.

While in Sweden I also picked this Dalahäst up:

And this years favourite, one that Mormor made a long time ago from birch bark. The kids and I each got one:

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Current mood: Over it!

I am so so so over all this Covid-malarkey. So over it. Over the spike in cases. Over Omicron. Over the déjà-vu feeling. Over the restrictions. Over the masks. Just over it all.
I feel so hugely disappointed, and above all sad still about yesterdays news. I can also feel all I'm becoming increasingly worried and anxious, and I don't want to do anything. Just hibernate, until it's all over.
I feel a bit like Ferdinand the Bull: "I like it better here where I can sit just quietly and smell the flowers". Yup, I like it best on my own, in my own house.
Maybe I should also get myself some flowers to smell.

Nooo, not again

These holidays are starting to feel just like last year, with changes in restrictions happening almost daily in reaction to increased spread. Yesterday the dreaded, but not surprising, news about the school start came - Abu Dhabi have decided to start next term remotely with two weeks of e-learning.

Only Abu Dhabi. Not Dubai, or the other emirates.

I am very much all for the "rather safe than sorry"-approach, but I don't agree that schools should be the first things to shut, again, all while life goes on everywhere else. The F1 and the Mubadala Tennis Championships still happened; there was no cancellations of National Day Celebrations or Christmas Brunches. Expo is open, as are all the tourist attractions and Abu Dhabi is still planning for world record breaking fireworks for New Years Eve... but the poor school kids are the ones having to make sacrifices and get their lives disrupted the most.

All we can wish for now, is that the situation calms down, so that this will only be for the first two weeks. It feels like last year all over again, and the fear is that this is just the beginning is so depressing.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

#TopNine of 2021

Like with every Social Media, you have to remember they never show the whole story, it's always a bit "filtered", in one way or another. Especially this year, I have tried to keep Instagram a happy place, I felt that was needed. My #TopNine posts from Instagram this year showcases what matters the most - family, and the things and life celebrations that that take place - pandemic or no pandemic.

From top left onwards you see our wedding anniversary, my Bachelor Exam celebration dinner, my first vaccination shot, Lucas and my birthday, me enjoying the fresh air in Sweden this summer, the post for Linneas birthday, the first day of school, some New Years celebrations and another birthday shot.

Monday, 27 December 2021

The only Advent calendar

Since it was a surprise for the 1st of December, I since then forgot to show the only Advent calendar we had in the house this year, which actually was for Nathan.
I had seen this amazing beer tree while scrolling around the web, and ordered it in - I admit - a bit of a rush. What I thought I was going to receive was this tree here below..:

... but it turns out I got scammed, and I received (at least I did receive something..!) a hastily cut out tree with raw edges, no dedication on the star, and only nine holes... ha ha!
Well, Linnea and I decided to make the best of it, and she helped me sand the whole thing down and paint it to bring some joy to it. We surprised Nathan with it on the 1st of December, and since he didn't know how it was supposed to look, he got really happy!
Then again, what's not to like? It's a beer tree!

Christmas Day 2021

Oh how lovely it is with bigger kids... my Christmas Day started with getting coffee in bed, made by Linnea. Lucky me!

There was a surprisingly big amount of gifts under the tree, for just the four of us. After initially having been a bit confused about where to sit now with our new design of the room (since last Christmas), we carried them all over to the sofas, piled them up and took turns opening.

There was happy faces all around!

Linnea had got Lucas a funny shirt in Sweden that she was very pleased with, especially since he loved it.

He also got a few pairs of socks, a leather strap for his Apple watch, Christmas PJs, a new controller and some other gaming things. The family in NZ had sent over money, and Mormor had got him a sports kit for padel and picked out a nice new shirt that he wore later in the day. He also got the traditional Santas and Christmas tree decorations, of course.

Nathan got an Apple wallet that attaches to his phone, Christmas PJs, snaps glasses, noise reducing headphones and Christmas decorations - and a game that the kids had found which they HAD to buy him, "That's what she said"...

I actually got a few gifts that I didn't know what they were - apart from the roller skate protective gear, and storage bag, that I had sorted myself. I also got bath bombs and the game 'Ticket to Ride'! I'm not sure that the family realised that they now have to play it WITH me..!

Linnea was probably the one scoring the most stuff, as she wishes for smaller things generally. Mormor gave her a Christmas pillow, underwear, Rituals shower foam, a make-up bag and Christmas earrings, plus the yearly Santa and tree ornament. Auntie Nikki and the gang gave her a blue strap for her Apple Watch. She also got beads, books, a Bullet Journal and some other bits and bobs - and, her turn this year, a new laptop!

Unfortunately I didn't get a family Christmas Day photo this year. I was the only one ready in time to get a few shots before our guests arrived, and then we forgot all about it.

We had invited our friends the Nordins over for Christmas Dinner, started our afternoon with one ofe my more recent favourite Christmas drinks, some 'Glubbel' (glöggbubbel) I had brought from Sweden:

We had (for the 3rd time) ordered the Festive Hamper from the Westin, with turkey and all its trimmings. It was good, and the Nordins first turkey dinner; but I think next year we will order from somewhere else if we celebrate at home. Even though we had got the big box, it was just enough trimmings to go around for one serving. Turkey on the other hand, we will be eating for a week at least!

I was bummed we had forgot all about the Christmas crackers (not my tradition really), but we had a great day, eating, laughing, talking and playing games. I had to quickly whip up an alternative dessert as the ants had attacked the Chocolate Yule Log, so we had a saffran gooey cake with raspberry frosting, mmm! Then later in the evening when we got a bit hungry again, Henke brought out his home cured salmon and gravlax-sauce, and his homemade gubbröra which all went down a treat! Yum!

We finished our Christmas Day very very late after our guests had gone home, by playing Nathans new game. Ha ha, lots of laughs there! Great day!
Merry Christmas to all! ❤️

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Christmas Eve eve 2021

While we lived in Brunei we had quite consistent Christmas traditions for Christmas Eve. We used to celebrate a family Julafton at our Swedish friend Anna's in the afternoons, and then move on to our Australian friend Pip's in the evenings for a more grown-up end to Christmas Eve.
Pip's little sister Peta now lives here in Abu Dhabi, and to resume the tradition in a way, we made use of our fresh PCR-tests and went over to their place for some drinks and nibbles on Christmas Eve.

Their kids are much younger than ours, but everyone still enjoyed decorating some Christmas cookies:

The Watsons and the Browns, cheering to old and new traditions!

Julafton 2021

Another Covid-Christmas, and we celebrated it at home, again. That's the way we like it anyway - and with the pandemic still raging, certainly the most safe way at the moment. We were all freshly tested, healthy, happy - and together!

Started the day with bubbles - as you should!

Linnea and I had brought back the necessary Christmas foods from Sweden, like different pickled herrings, two different Christmas hams, julmust (Lucas only wish from Sweden) and the special small pork sausages. I also made eggs, spiced red cabbage, beetroot salad and Janssons Temptation. A smaller Julbord this year, but all the things that we like.

I hope all the Swedes/Scandinavians had a lovely Julafton out there!
God Jul from us (and one of my new Santas)! ❤️

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Welcome home...

The day we left for Sweden there was 74 new cases here in the UAE. That was just before the F1 weekend... and that together with what is probably the aftermath of the Rugby7s and all the National Day celebrations resulted in us arriving back home today... - to 1002 new cases here in the UAE. Ouch.
Will this ever end..??

Happy faces though, as we got back without any trouble, had negative tests both pre-flight and at arrival. I really don't cope well with the uncertainty and all the Covid-related travel stress, so I'm happy to be home. Now I have no plans other than to stay put until it calms down a bit.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Early Christmas celebrations

Since we were going to be flying back to Abu Dhabi for Christmas, we celebrated a mini-Christmas with Mormor and Morfar a bit in advance - with a mini Julbord (=Christmas smörgåsbord) and a few gifts. We tasted the Christmas ham the night before, as per tradition, for the evening fika:

Mormor sent us home with tons of Christmas presents, but some were just better to open while in Sweden, so that they would be easier to pack.

How lucky are we to get so many Christmas celebrations!

Winter walks

Summer or winter - the exercise streak is strong. I dressed warmly and went for a walk every day, even on this visit. I didn't walk as far as in the summer admittedly, but that was not due to the cold - but because I didn't have time every day before it went dark!

Here's a little review of my walks, the first ones were done in a snowy landscape, so I walked along the road where it was easier to walk. Hence the reflective gear, to make sure all the drivers could see me.

One day I had to walk in the dark, was extra careful with the traffic of course.

My old winter jacket came to good use! Old, as in probably about 30+ years... but so warm!

The snow eventually melted away, but it was still just as cold:

This day was particularly beautiful, check out the frosty landscape and the magical, soft winter colours:

Just like in the summer, I couldn't help but take tons of photos on every walk, of what it felt, the same trees, bushes and views every time... But - look! So pretty!
Inhale - exhale.

So happy!

On another dark evening I decided not to walk along the road, but rather around and around on the yard, just to be safe:

My last walk started dry, but ended wet - as I got surprised but some very intense snow-rain! The snow decided to make a comeback properly the same day we left unfortunately.