Easter holiday photos

9 04 2013

Some photos to accompany the previous blog post…

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The French police was more than willing to show us (and the driver in the Spanish car) to a local ATM so that O could pay the speeding ticket…

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While in the countryside we went to a local wholeseller of fruit and veggies… V loved the madly barking guard dogs (inside a big cage) and wanted to help select potatoes and tomatoes.

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One way of eating your dinner… Everytime I tried to tell V to sit up / not touch something etc, his grandparents said “Oh, let him…”. Oh dear, Houston we have a problem…

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Have you noticed that IKEA almost always have Swedish books in their bookshelves? The book to the left is a “wine guide for ordinary people” – in the kids´ section in IKEA, opps  😉

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Passing time in IKEA in Zaragoza while daddy was having a conference call in the restaurant section… This was taken before V decided that it was more fun to run around the whole shop and I tried to keep up with him

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The grandparents shop is full of fun stuff to play with but who wants to stay in the back room when you can charm customers and try to plot your escape everytime somebody enters / leaves the shop?

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Some last tapas with Vs grandfather before we headed back north… V was offered a lollipop by the bar owner who was a bit surprised when we said that he doesnt eat sweets but quickly produced some bread and jamon when we suggested that instead. (second time V was offered a lollipop in Spain…)

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Our Ibis hotel at Futuroscope in Poitiers, halfway between Zaragoza and Brussels. Perfect place where we will probably stay again – child friendly, 81 EUR for the night including a great breakfast buffet and just by the motorway – easy to find. The hotel room was basic but nice (no fitted carpet, we like that!) and it even had a balcony! V was a little shocked though when he just before checking out managed to turn on the shower while standing under it… Poor boy but he looked so funny that we couldnt help laughing!

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My new nephew! 🙂

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Not the planned outfit but after the impromptu shower it was the only dry option, and I think that he looks very cool in stripes!





Random Easter thoughts from Spain

3 04 2013

We had to re-schedule our traditional Easter holidays from the Easter week (Semana Santa) to after Easter since Vs creche is closed this week and we couldn´t take two weeks off work. But even though that meant that my parents couldn´t join us in Spain, they came to Brussels for 5-6 days last week, which was great! V got an extra week off the creche that way and got to spend time with first the Swedish grandparents and then now with the Spanish grandparents.

  • I became an aunt* on the 23rd March when my brother´s son (who everybody was convinced would be a girl 😉 ) was born. He chose to arrive the day between his paternal grandmother´s birthday and his maternal aunt´s birthday! I can´t wait to meet him!!
  • The old ladies, the priest and the nun in the small village where V was baptised last Easter were delighted to see him again on Sunday. One of the old ladies whispered “Henry** is here” when she saw him in church. Guess who couldn´t sit still during mass – fortunately it is always a very quick service in that particular church.
  • I told O “I told you so” when the nun, when seeing that we are adding to the family, told us that “now you really need to get married” (religiously that is). She is really sweet though so no pressure…
  • I managed to block the sink in the bathroom late at night and O and his mother spent more than one hour to get it unblocked… opps! I thought that the nausea was over for this time but nope, my breakfast came up yesterday morning as well (this time in the toilet and not in the sink…) 😦
  • V absolutely loves running around in his grandmother´s shop and creating trouble… it´s getting a little old picking up all the chewing gums (wrapped) from the floor again and again…
  • I got hysterical when Vs grandfather wanted to drive off with V in his lap even if it was “just for a 5 minute ride”***. Later on that day the car seat buckle broke (fortunately not our own new car seat) when we were in the neighbouring town and we had no option (??) but to drive home without V belted in. I was convinced that we would have a crash! Guess who felt punished by the car safety gods…
  • Driving 1400 km in two days with a 18-month old was do-able. Hoping for as good driving karma on the way back this weekend!
  • O might not agree with good driving karma as he got fined 90 EUR just before the Spanish border by the French gendarmes (police). They stopped a Spanish registered car and our Belgian registered car, but none of the French that were driving at least as fast…
  • A lost cause: trying to convince my mother-in-law that V understands Swedish as much as he understands Spanish…

*) Of course I am also the tía of O´s niece and nephews
**) One of V´s two second names 😉
***) Trying to get my parents-in-law to understand car safety is another lost cause I fear. Their constant argument is: “We had five kids who were never attached in the car and they were never hurt”. Sigh…





Fruit harvest in Spain

1 11 2012

It’s a month since our last visit to V’s grandparents when O helped with the fruit harvest:

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Pears, plums, grapes and figs were harvested last month

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V and a big pear!

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Funny, my father had taken a photo of the same [kind of] butterfly back home in their garden, it’s called “Red Admiral” (or Vanessa atalanta in Latin, which sounds nicer I think).

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Siesta under the pear trees

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V’s cousin also helped with picking pears, and I helped her mother figure out the new Ikea sewing machine

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V likes the “papilla liquida” (liquid porridge / välling) that we buy in Spain

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And he charmed the Ryanair hostess

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He is definitely not afraid of strangers, here he is chatting with the air hostesses and steward up by the cockpit





Votre train ne circule pas…

31 10 2012

I wrote last week that V and I were travelling to the south of France (Provence) to see my old friend L who lives there with her French boyfriend and their 2-year old daugther. Well, that didn’t happen thanks to [bloody] SNCF, the French railway company, that just happened to decide to go on strike last Thursday. According to the first information that L and I managed to get, it sounded quite positive: 7 out of 10 TGV would be running like normal. However, it turned out that our train was one of the 3 (out of 10) that were cancelled 😦

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We missed out on this view over le Luberon in Provence – photo from O’s and my quick visit in August 2010

We were all very disappointed but I was at least happy that V and I didn’t get up at 05 in the morning to be at Gare du Midi at 07 to find out that the train wasn’t going to depart… I was also happy that O came back one day early from his quick tour of Puerto Rico and the US, on Friday morning. I could have decided to work Thursday and Friday last week and the beginning of this week but V and I have spent some quality time together instead. And today we are off to Spain:

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The outskirts of O’s village in Aragón, Spain

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We will probably have some of my favourite tapas, “boquerones con olivas / aceitunas” (sardines with olives). No fancy tapas bar but the local one across the street from my parents-in-law’s house

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and we will visit the church where V was baptised at Easter, and say hello to the sweet nun who helped us with the baptism

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and have fika at the local pastelería

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and spend time with O’s parents, M & M





Spanish Easter with the two families

28 05 2012

So the two families, the Spanish and the Swedish ones, finally met after O and I spent almost 7 years together! It was an intense, a bit stressful but fun Easter. It was a confusion of languages: my Spanish sister-in-law probably never spoke that much English before, my Swedish sister-in-law and my parents spoke German to my Spanish brother-in-law, and my German sister-in-law spoke Swedish to my family, my father used his smart phone to speak Spanish to my brother-in-law’s secretaries in the office (as my father had to work during the week), my sister spoke Spanish to the Spaniards and O’s parents spoke… Spanish to everyone and O and I were interpreting.

My parents promised O’s father that they would be back in the autumn to help him pick the figs… And O’s sister and niece are hopefully coming with us to Sweden in August!

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Before my family arrived, O, his brother and his sister put the finishing touches to the renovation of a 4-bedroom apartment where the Swedish family members could stay. I think that the retro kitchen tiles are cool!

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We visited a castle with my parents and O improvised a baby sling

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Spanish desserts – O’s parents thought that my mother could do with some “fattening up” 😉 I think that the Swedish family was a bit shocked by all the food – two three courses twice a day!

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Calatayud has storks…

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and a leaning tower…

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Actually a whole square lined with leaning houses!

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V and his Spanish abuelo (and a reindeer skin from Kiruna!)

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The castle in the village is beautifully lit up at night

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Of course some exotic Easter processions for the Swedish visitors

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Shoe outlet shopping – O’s village is specialised in shoe-making! (and yes, it rained as usual at Easter hence the pram raincover)

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More Easter processions…

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We went for a walk to O’s father’s fruit plantation

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And discussed different fruits and plants (O’s father is holding wild onions), and how to plant a fig branch. Unfortunately my parents didn’t get the actual branch with them home. Next time!

The local bakery and one of the tapas bars became the regular places for the Swedes and the owners told them that they were most welcome back! No wonder 😉





What a cute baby…

3 05 2012

Is it a girl?

We have received several questions (and actually non-questions “Que bebé bonita” – Excuse me, it’s “Que bebé bonito!”) along these lines despite the fact that V is usually wearing a BLUE hat and is not dressed in any kind of clothing that could confuse his gender (including the Spanish faldón)! And this in countries such as Belgium and Spain and by the older generation who would never think about gender-neutral clothes…

People’s reaction when they hear that he is a boy, is “Oh, he is too cute to be a boy”… Oh well, I think that we can live with that  🙂 And no, we don’t always dress him in blue but he doesn’t have any pink clothes [yet].

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Gender easily confused despite all the blue??





Too long…

12 01 2012

It’s been too long since I blogged and I don’t know where to start… V and I are back in Sweden after a month in Spain. Life in Brussels seems so far away but we will be going back on the 22nd January. This first week in Sweden has mostly been about getting 100% healthy, as both V and I got sick the last two weeks in Spain.

A summary of the last month:

    • Cultural differences: in Spain people are worried about babies getting cold, in Sweden it is important that the baby doesn’t get too hot
    • Husband and father took holidays to work in the family business – not always popular with the wife…
    • Small baby, big virus! V got bronchiolitis / rs-virus infection and had to spend 3 days in the hospital in Spain. Then I got the cold of the century. And O and I got a stomach virus that “only” lasted about 12 hours but it was very aggressive. Plus V and I got eye infections
    • Eye infections are called “cold eye” in Spanish and people think it is due to being exposed to cold air.
    • V got a new cousin on New Year’s Eve – his name starts with M, just like his parents’ and brother’s and all whose birthdays just happen to be in December as well!
    • V’s two cousins, 8-year old M and 5-year old M (not siblings! just realised that V’s three cousins, three grandparents, two uncles and one aunt have names starting with M plus his first family name!) loved their little cousin even if 5-year old M was a tad jealous of the attention her mother gave him…
    • If you want me to keep a secret, let me know that it is a secret!! Too many secrets to be kept from parents-in-law and various “siblings-in-law”…
    • Temperatures ranged from 16 degrees to -3 in Spain. An exceptionally warm Xmas, both in Spain and in Sweden
    • I never got around to bake the safran buns with marzipan, despite Millan publishing her recipe and I buying all the ingredients
    • My German sister-in-law and I have three languages in common – Swedish, English and Spanish but we speak mostly Spanish to each other.
    • No internet connection for a month was very frustrating!
    • I discovered that with digital TV you can switch to VO (versión original, i.e undubbed version) and / or subtitles (in Spanish) when watching American films and tv-series
    • Baby V is no longer so small, he gained 1 kg in 18 days. Fortunately his growth has slowed down a little since then!
    • Security staff in Copenhagen airport definitely the friendliest, Brussels airport staff quite nice as well and Charleroi third. Madrid Barajas’ staff the most unfriendly and unhelpful with a mother travelling alone with a baby.

  • Scaninavian airlines the most baby friendly airline! Both price-wise and service-wise.
  • “Ajo” was the most popular word during our stay in Spain. Spanish children “have to” learn this word first as it contains a very important sound in the Spanish language. I claimed that most of the time when V “said” “ajo”, it was just a sound he happened to make and it would be more of a challenge to teach him to say “jamón” or “Jorge”  😉
  • People thought that it was cute that V wears “un pantalón”, i.e real trousers… Eh? Well, many Spanish babies wear old-fashioned knitted stockings, with or without a “faldón” (skirt), also boys!
  • A baby has to use a pacifier, according to O’s sister and a random woman in the hospital. I am not anti-pacifier but I don’t understand why we have to force V when he doesn’t want one and seems to be doing perfectly ok without it! He sometimes sucks his fingers but it is not a real habit (yet) and I am not too worried…

The baby is wearing real trousers!?

Photos and more posts will follow soon!