- In May our dear friends Maria and Daniel visited for a short weekend to celebrate Daniel's 40th birthday. Of course that required proper celebration at a two-star restaurant! Thanks P & O for babysitting!
- Later in May we flew back to Sweden for a long weekend to celebrate my mother's 60th birthday (and my parents also celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary). The weather was perfect, sunny and 28 degrees! My mother was very happy for her gift from me - a visit to Chelsea Flower Show next year (that reminds me, should probably book the tickets already now), something she has wanted to do for a very long time! My mum is also, despite her age (ha ha, though these days 60 is still very young) finally getting a driving license, so she's busy studying theory and taking lessons. Good for her!
- A few days after Sweden we packed up the car (you can never travel light with kids!) and drove to Münich together with our friendbours P & O to visit O's brother and wife over the Ascension Day weekend. On the way there we stopped in Frankfurt (partly because we left after work on the Wednesday and partly to split the long drive - 7+ hours - for the sake of the kids) to spend the night, but on Sunday we drove home in one go. We were a bit unlucky with the weather but otherwise I really liked Münich and we had a very nice time. Unfortunately Isolde caught a fever so on Saturday she and I spent the afternoon in the hotel as well as in a local playground while the rest of the group continued their sightseeing (this meant I sadly missed the visit to the Englischer Garten, but we'll probably be back some day).
|I didn't take that many pictures with the iPhone but this is what Münich is all about, right :)|
- The following weekend Peter went to Sweden again, this time for the wedding of a friend of his. We didn't feel like travelling with the children again for the third time in just two weeks, so he went by himself. Nice for him to get some child-free time as well. While he was in Sweden, the kids and I hung out with the neighbours - of course - and I packed a bit. Friday was 6 June and the Swedish National Day so P, T and I took the kids to the Swedish church for the celebrations in the evening. Sunday it was Princess Leonore's christening so we used the occasion to have a brunch with the friendbours, or at least the females of the families and the children, while the christening was on TV in the background. I also had the Monday off for Pentecoast and since Peter came back Sunday evening, we had a family day as well.
|Emily, Harald and Isolde at the National Day celebrations!|
- The following week and weekend was the big move! I took half of Thursday and all of Friday off - work gives a leave entitlement for up to two days for removal purposes. Thursday afternoon we set out to Ikea with quite a long list - wardrobes for our bedroom, for Harald (Isolde had one already coming with the lorry from Sweden) and for the entrance/downstairs hallway, crib for Harald, bookcase for the kids' room, a double bed for the large/main guest room and other bits and pieces. The movers were supposed to arrive Friday with our furniture from the Stockholm flat, but they called and said that they were arriving early and asked whether it was possible to unload already Thursday afternoon. So they arrived around the time we returned from Ikea with lots of flatpacks (we used this excellent Ikea taxi service that only costs 30 euros irrespective of how much stuff you have and they help load and unload the van and there's no waiting time). We had reserved to block the street from other parked cars for the Friday to allow room for the lorry, but since it was Thursday still they had to just park in the road. Luckily it is not a very trafficated road so it worked out fine. We had booked a window lift - very exciting for the kids - for Friday afternoon to get some of the bulky furniture upstairs, as the staircase is a bit narrow, so we still made use of our cleared street part. On Sunday the "friendbours took the kids for most of the day so we could get some unpacking done and assemble Ikea furniture. After that it started to look like a home, or at least the start of one, and from that Sunday night (15 June) we slept in the house.
|Some order but mostly disorder!|
- Isolde made her first school trip ever in mid-June. They went by bus to a horse farm near Leuven where they were able to ride and feed the horses, look at sheep and bake some bread (very tasty actually!). She had a really great time and asked several days in a row if she was going on an excursion that day again.
|Isolde's farm-baked bread|
|Isolde reenacts her school photo :)|
- We had guests at the new house from the start. Even before we moved in Peter had assembled the grill and the trampoline so we were ready to receive guests, big and small! The first dinner was with P & O and kids and the first BBQ with our other neighbours T & M and another friend A with her boyfriend J, without the kids as we had organised a babysitter for the evening. We had meant to watch Belgium's first match in the World Cup on big screen in the local square but there were so many people that we decided to go home instead.
|First BBQ at the house!|
- The following weekend was Midsummer's and we had the celebrations at the house on the Saturday (Friday being a regular work day here) with 9 adults and 8 kids even though our house was in a bit of a state still. The weather was perfect and we were mostly outside anyway. We even had a proper Maypole and wreaths for the kids, thanks to T. There was so much food over so the next day almost the same crowd came over (minus 2 adults and 2 kids) for the leftovers and stayed all day. We didn't get much unpacking and organising done that weekend, but there would be time for that. Life is too short not to enjoy it fully with good friends!
- Peter managed to trip and fall on top of our glass table in the living room in the middle of our Midsummer fun, which broke in a thousand pieces, but luckily he wasn't injured except for some minor cuts (very fortunate, it could be much worse). It was funny in a tragicomical way because P, when seeing the table for the first time the day before, had asked "is that really safe with kids?" and Peter had responded "I've had this table for almost 18 years, several grown men have fallen on it, it's very sturdy..", etc. I guess the years and all those "bumps" had taken its toll and perhaps travelling 1,500 km in a lorry from Stockholm to Brussels was the final straw. Now we're on the lookout for a new table and possibly we're going for an almost exact table from Habitat (if we dare...).
|The table that no longer is...|
- After that it was school's out for Isolde and we drove to Sweden on Friday 27 June. The trip went surprisingly well, much better than the trip to Münich a few weeks earlier. We started around 9 in the morning and took our time to Travemünde where we were going to take the ferry to Sweden. Actual driving time was just over 6 hours but we took two breaks and arrived in Lübeck around 6pm for dinner and a walk around. The ferry wasn't leaving until 22:00 and check-in was at 20:00 so we had plenty of time to kill. Once on the ferry the kids were able to play in the playroom for a while before bedtime. We had chosen one of the largest cabins so that we had proper beds (well, sort of, but at least avoid top bunks) and more space.
|Great time in the ball pool!|
- The ferry arrived to Trelleborg already at 07:30 so we had to set the alarm pretty early. We had some breakfast on the boat but saved some room for a second breakfast at an old school friend who lives in the Skåne countryside. So our first stop on the Swedish side was a visit to C. in little village Stora Beddinge for some just-out-of-the-oven scones and fresh coffee. Last time I saw C. was three years ago and before then...15 years?? It was very nice meeting her sambo and children and I'm very glad that we stopped by. Around 10am we headed north and only stopped once for lunch after almost 3½ hours as the kids slept for most of the first leg. After the lunch stop we only had another two hours or so before we reached my parents' house in Södertälje in time for dinner.
- That weekend I had the chance to see Saltistjejen from New York who was in Sweden for the summer and meet the latest addition to the family. So glad we were able to meet up, even if only for a short fika!
- Sunday evening I flew back to Brussels to work while Peter drove to his parents' summer house. I had to work for another two weeks, however, I flew to Sweden for the weekend, and Peter and the kids joined me in Stockholm where we stayed in his parents' apartment. That weekend I also had the opportunity to join a farewell get-together for a colleague from my old (or Swedish) job (and did karaoke for the first time in ages and "better than good" as the saying goes...). While I was on my own in Brussels for two weeks (or ten working days) I did a little unpacking and fixing but also took the opportunity to go out with colleagues and friends, for example girls' night to celebrate P's birthday. The first few days alone felt rather lonely but then got used to it and the second week I started longing for the kids (and Peter too of course) again, even though I had seen them at the weekend :) And great weather had come to Sweden while I was shivering in 14'C Brussels and had to turn the heating on as I was all alone in a big house!
- Then on 11 July I flew to Sweden again, but this time for four weeks holiday! But more about that in a separate post!