20 June, 2011

It's a...


All fingers & toes, all heart chambers present and functioning, an amazing little spine. Look at that thing!
Our due date was pushed a little earlier. Baby & I are sporting an anterior placenta, which explains why I haven't felt any little kicks or punches. Now we just gotta figure out some mutually-agreeable boy names.

So that means we are ready for France & Italy!
Back in July...

Barnmorska meetings

Today is a busy day. Well, I've basically beached on the couch all day, nursing my poor pricked finger, so maybe I should amend that statement. Today is a busy day, for Stu. My very clever husband has TWO interview with big Swedish newspapers, smooshed in between our TWO big pregnancy appointments. The interviews are because of the competition he and his very clever team are participating in two days in Paris. Cross your fingers and hold your thumbs for them...it could be a big ol' monetary prize if they win (and as consolation prize, we get to spend 4 days all-expenses-paid in Paris if they don't.)

But this post is about babies. This morning, we had our second appointment with our Swedish midwife, our barnmorska. You can read a little more about the funny Swedish translations of pregnancy terms here. We had our first appointment at 10 weeks along, when we had a long chat with our very experienced midwife and about a million blood tests. I cannot handle giving blood...I am scared of needles and have very low blood pressure, and tend to get all tense then lose all feeling in my whole body. That 10-week appointment was the pits. Then a few days later, as is just my luck, they called to say they had to do several over again.

Compared to the US system, I was surprised at how late that first appt was! When I called knowing I was about 5 weeks, didn't they want to at least confirm the pregnancy? Or give me some don't-eat-these advice? Or prepare me for the insanity of the first trimester? Nope. But somehow, I managed to figure it out (thanks to websites like whattoexpect.com and babble.com's awesome pregnancy blogs). And somehow, I've managed to keep this little person alive. Sometimes I don't know *how* I manage that, but we heard a heartbeat this morning, so things look good.
And thank god we did. The week or so leading up to our first ultrasound (when they test for the possibility of down syndrome and other genetic disorders) I was SO nervous that there would be no heartbeat, and they'd tell me I'd miscarried. It made me cry, it kept me awake. I've had the same anxiety this past week...I haven't felt all that pregnant for weeks now (not really showing, not feeling any movements, no obvious symptoms). So the heart monitor made me feel worlds better this morning. And it was well-timed good news, since it was after she pricked my finger, which also makes me woozy and fainty and see spots. It was also our last barnmorska appointment, since we're moving back to the US in just over a month.

And this afternoon, in about an hour, we have our almost-half-way ultrasound, which is when most couples find out whether they are expecting a boy or a girl. Oh, I'm hoping this sweet potato cooperates...I want to find out! I am probably jinxing myself just saying that. Just writing this post!

I haven't had any dreams or 'feelings' about the sex. My best friend had a dream which involved getting upset at Stu for leaving a whole bunch of baby girl clothes in our washing machine in our old DC apartment. Stu & I have been calling 'it' a girl ('cause you can't call it 'it'!) I used to think I was more of a girl-y kind of mamma, but since taking care of sweet little boys, I'm much more open. I will be happy regardless. So we'll see! In less than an hour! Woot!

17 June, 2011

Baby's first concert

We introduced our unborn child to gypsy punk on Wednesday.

I'm just hitting the 18 weeks mark now and haven't felt so much as a flutter from my belly yet, so I was SURE that going to see Gogol Bordello at Gröna Lund this week would be the Balkan beat that made this baby jump.


But it was still a good time!
It was the first time we had been to the Tivoli/amusement park on Djurgården, where the band was playing for 'free' (you had to buy tix to the park, but not the show.) It started off with a little rain, but cleared up and got quite nice.

125+ year old Gröna Lund was fun! We didn't ride any roller coasters, just walked around with friends and played a game or two. It is a great place to see a show...stora scen has a huge stage and viewing area. Between us, Stu & I have seen Gogol Bordello 5 or 6 times now, and this was the first time for me outdoors instead of a small smoky club. You could breathe! 

But no baby kicks. They say any day now, but man, if Gogol Bordello didn't get him or her excited, I'm a bit worried about this child's future personality!! 

16 June, 2011


First Swedish strawberries of the season! (for us, anyway).

They call little kids (or friends when you are older) 'gumman' or 'gubban', which is little old woman or man. Jordgubbar translates to little ol' 'earthmen' or 'dirtmen', kind of. I think it's cute. 

11 June, 2011

Getting Ready to Move and Travel Plans

So, we're project people. No sooner have we finished up school and finally don't have any deadlines overhead, and we're already on to a new project... this time, the move. Plus, we're doing a farewell European road trip through France and Italy.

The Move. We saved all our boxes. I know my Scottish Grandmother would be proud: the plaid blood, as my mother calls it, makes it difficult to throw things away. And, boxes are useful! So thanks to our good fortune of having a storage unit in the basement, we kept them. We'll be donating a lot of clothes and such to the second-hand shop Myrorna, I think, and then deciding what we really need to take with us. Everything else must go.

The Trip. I feel pretty good about this one. Besides our great luck in getting to Paris, we've a friend's wedding in Bordeaux, a road trip through Carcassonne to Antibes, a little of Provence and a last night in Nice. Then we're taking a train to Florence for a few days, another wedding at a villa in Tuscany, then meeting friends from the US for a few days in Rome! Since this is our last big trip before leaving Sweden behind, plus the last vacation sans children I think it's fitting that it's a bit over the top. What do you think? It sounds fabulously bougie. I'm worried that my pants aren't tight enough.

Figuring out the details today was pretty exciting. I know the next few weeks will rush by us. Then it will be late July and we'll be gone. We're sad to leave Stockholm, but excited to return home. We have something like just 20 days of meals and dishwasher runs left in our apartment. Have to think of all the food we'll have to eat, and what dishes to box up. Finally, what the heck do we do with all this peanut butter!? Anne has amassed quite the stash. We'll have to parcel it out to worthy expats...

Master's degree #2 and the exhibition

We had the most excellent time with Patti & Maggie last weekend. It was like a girls' weekend (+Stu, but he fits in nicely with the girls) with lots of eating and drinking and time outside. It was so great to have them visit before we move, and celebrate a little early about being done with school.

But this week was a big one. Thursday, I woke Stu up with the sweet sounds of me wretching in the toilet...I guess the whole morning sickness thing comes back when you feel stress? Because Thursday morning was my thesis defense, which I had to survive to graduate that afternoon! Aside from the sickness and then my class mate's alarm malfunctioning and thus us beginning an hour late, it all went very well. I now have a few edits to make before turning it in to the department for grades and archiving. And, most importantly, I now have a SECOND master's degree under my belt. Woot! Now the bigger question, am I employable?!?

Well, I darn well should be as a curator, since I also finished installing the small show I put together at Moderna Museet this week! It looks really professional, IMHO. Here is a little information online in English (though, admittedly, with some typos. Where did my italicized titles go, or that last 's'?)
I took pictures over the few days of installation, which I will post here whether you are interested or not. This blog has the secondary function, aside from communication, of 'archiving' our experience here, and I think its a project I want to remember. Regardless, it has been a lot of fun. I have felt a little insecure about some decisions, but I've still had to make them. I have done a ton of research and planning and installation, along with the *amazing* staff at the museum (I cannot get over how professional and nice they are!) It feels pretty good. And admittedly, it also felt pretty good when both the museum's director and deputy director came through and gushed about how good it looked. Almost like they were surprised about how good it looked, but regardless, I'll take the praise!

Day 1, a bunch of empty display cases

Day 2, placing the artworks, wherever they would actually fit!

"Closed for Re-hanging"

All of the works in their right places, display cases in their right positions.

Day 3, putting on the glass covers

The very funny conservator cleaning the inside of a case, while making Anchorman jokes about being in a glass cage of emotion.

Day 3, wall texts in place! Wow, I hope people read them.

And, we're done!

I love this wall. I love Henri Matisse. Holy wow, I got to put a Matisse in my school art show!

In the middle is the TV screen showing a sound piece in conjunction with one of the books. There are also two other screens showing book films I planned (and Stu edited!), from a selection of works in the show, with the idea that visitors can better see the three-dimensional object via film than they otherwise can under glass.

And then there are lots and lots of artists' books. Each book has a corresponding 100-word text to give it some context, so I hope people read them. You may not even realize what you are looking at without them! And each also had to have a specially designed cradle for it, so the conservator and prints & drawings technician worked incredibly hard to make these in a very short time span.
One of the other curators (one the museum actually pays for their work) wanted to use a few of the works I had already earmarked for exhibition, in addition to needing nearly ALL of the large display cases in storage for another show. I held on to the artworks, diplomatically, but since he had left post-it notes on so many of the best display cases, the technicians and I had to scrounge for whatever could be found. Surprisingly difficult, but it all worked out. I didn't have to cleave any of my darlings due to space issues. It just meant I could not group the books according to any particular theme; they just got placed where they fit.
There is no real 'opening' event. We had talked about it quite a bit, and early on, I had been excited about it. But in the last few weeks, I'd just gotten too busy and tired to pursue an opening or to think of a curator's speech, so it opens to no fanfare this morning at 10am. If you are in Stockholm any time this summer, go see it!

04 June, 2011

36 hours in Stockholm

Maggie & Patti are visiting from Ghent & Utrecht! It is utterly gorgeous in the city. They'll be here for the long holiday weekend, and we're going to fit in some of the things on the NY Times "36 Hours in Stockholm" list...I've never been to Junibacken!

03 June, 2011

A little bump (after 10pm)

At 16 weeks, I'm not really showing a baby bump yet. The kid is the size of an avocado, but I just have a little extra mush in the middle (well, all over...morning sickness and thesis writing made it tough to exercise!) Kinda like I need to lay off the twinkies (or rather, the kanelbullar.) They say for your first, it could be 20 weeks before even really looking pregnant, and that just seems SO far away. I have a friend who is a few weeks ahead of us, and she's been showing since week 14. At week 18, she looks properly pregnant. And I just look like I need to step up the cardio.

But despite this, I did buy my very first pair of maternity jeans yesterday. I still fit my normal pants, but buttoning them is either A) incredibly uncomfortable or B) damn near impossible. So I bought a pair of those stretchy-waisted jeans that you just pull on and off...they are *awesome*. I may never go back to regular button-up/zipper-fly jeans again. 
Of course, I cried a little inside after buying them from the ridiculously adorable Polarn O. Pyret Mamma section here in Stockholm, then seeing they sell the exact same jeans for much less than half the price at the PO.P online shop in the States. Seriously, I paid nearly $100 for these jeans here, and they sell them to Americans for $40. Two months, people, two months and we'll be back to a country we can properly afford.


Anyway, here's a bump-y picture, after a giant spaghetti dinner. Generally, my belly feels about the size of this sculpture that sits on Sveavägen, between Handelshögskolan and Statdsbiblioteket, so I emulated it on a walk last night.

And just to point out how far we've come since winter, these pictures were taken around 10:30pm. It was still totally light out, and it doesn't even fully get dark black out at all. Just kind of a chocolately darkness. I was woken up at 2am by our neighbors doing karaoke Carole King (Why?!? I woke up to some girl's terrible version of 'Natural Woman'!) and it was just beginning to get light out again.

Woot, welcome to summer in Scandinavia.

02 June, 2011


It is decided. We fly back one-way to DC on July 26, moving back to the States officially!

I hadn't bothered to apply to a single job in Stockholm this year, so I wasn't expecting amazing job offers on my end. Stu had some great leads on jobs here, but none materialized as solid offers by our self-imposed deadline. So, with our residence visas expiring June 30th, a whole 2 weeks after Stu graduates, we figured, why drag it out? Holy crap, June 30th is in 28 days! Thankfully, we could apply for short-term extensions to finish the move (and keep health insurance!)

We have a super summer vacay planned, with a week in France (including 5 days in Paris, which are fully paid by  major int'l company Stu is competing for!) then a week in Italy, with spending time with lots of friends in between. Then a few last weeks of decadent Swedish summer before the big move.

This weekend, we've got friends visiting, but starting next week, we start packing! I've already posted a ton of stuff for sale on Blocket (anybody in Stockholm looking for a pull-out couch? Some great Ikea chairs? Lamps? Coffee pot? Other random household goods? Here's a link to pictures of some of the stuff: https://picasaweb.google.com/lagom.sverige/Collages?authkey=Gv1sRgCPz1p8bS2vSvWw&feat=directlink#)

Uggg, another overseas move!  We got so lucky coming over--it was cheap, the company was good, everything turned up on time and intact. But of course, that shipper is out of business and I don't expect it to be nearly so cheap on the way back. And to boot, I'm preggers, and we don't have jobs, and DC is hot & miserable in the summer. I hate moving.

But I am still so, so, so excited to move back. I've been pulling for this for months now. We have had such a great two years in Sweden, but it just feels like it is time.

But what will happen to the blog?