Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain

Over the silver gleam of tram tracks
rolls a brown scuffle of rhododendron leaves.
On their surface harsh lessons,
scratches and black bruises written
with the Cailleach’s icy fist.

Storm goddess forging steel sharp branches
to pierce the bleached sky,
to rain rustbleed on white walls,
she ushers in the new year.

With the light’s slow withdrawal
down red chimney bricks,
her shroud obscuring creation
from spirit thins,
allowing her rough dreams
to touch our world.

Whispers brush by,
mistaken for the hymn of a distant train.
Their hoar-gray kisses
burning the exposed foliage,
they pursue us over unedged paths,
invisible footsteps dancing
on frosted blades of grass.

Golden weeds bend seed heads
in time to their private banter.
We rush throughout the garden
unaware of their presence,
their laughter chasing us
as we retreat
to the city’s concrete song.

With the haze of dawn
they coil around roots to sleep away
another year in frozen earth.
The rill sings a lullaby,
closing the circle of the year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back in the Land of the Unintelligible

Oh, how I miss Norwegian. So easy to understand, so easy to fudge if you don't know quite what to say. Throw in a bit of Scots and you're usually pretty close. Even the Chief was getting the hang of reading the language before we left. Finnish is so difficult. 

But I'm off to my first Finnish language class tomorrow. I missed the first session today because we were flying back from Norway, but my friend who went said they only did how to say hello and counting, so I haven't missed much, I guess. 

Norway was lovely, even with the stomach bugs and horrible coughs and a day in the hotel. Mostly it was being with good friends that made it so wonderful as we didn't do anything terribly exciting or new. It was a well-planned holiday for the kids at least. Staying at my friends' in Oslo meant there was a houseful of toys and kids to keep the Weans happy and visiting my other friend in Bryne meant the same. In Bryne we had a 6, 5, 4, 3, 1 year olds and a 2 month old. It was busy, but fun, we made cupcakes and watched videos and played with the player piano. Just chilled. And before I got ill I lent a hand with the new baby, oohhh, she was delicious, even when she was miserable with the colic.

We forced ourselves to go out on our last day, just to see everyone and make the most of our holiday. We dragged ourselves up this huge hill near my friend's so I could do my photography project. The Chief and I had barely eaten in the past 24 hours to avoid being sick constantly like the Weans and Mouse having had the bug the worst complained all the way, but still made it to the top, part of the way carrying his 'dinosaur egg' that he found. A very large rock that we convinced him to leave part of the way up so he could collect it later. The hill is called Tinghaug and it was a meeting place in Viking times for the rulers of the area, I believe. I was too knackered to try and translate the signs once we made it, so I'm taking the Chief's word for it as he had been up there on our last visit. 

I went mainly to take pictures of the area's stones which have always been a symbol of the area for me. They appeared in even my earliest poems about Norway. Again I'm not sure if my teacher will like my photos as there are no people, but for me they were lovely, an emotional revisit to a place and people I love. Here's one of the few with people.



If anyone knows of any jobs going in Norway, please contact us, we'd go in a minute.

The flights back went swimmingly, the Weans are seasoned flyers now and behaved like stars. We all actually had a nap on the second flight. Luxury. 

So we've now done the 'stomach bug, stuck in a hotel room on holiday' thing, so won't be doing that again, thank you very much.

All in all, it was a lovely holiday. 

I, of course, have hundreds of photos to get through, so will post a few to whet your whistle and then will do another photo post later. 




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pride Cometh Before . . .

As expected Thor and his bumpy minions have made us pay for daring to enjoy ourselves in his homeland.

Mouse has a stomach bug, Foo woke up bright red and swollen-looking, Bump either has Mouse's bug or his cough and was sick last night as well. 

It's 5pm and all 3 are out cold in the hotel and there's no room service. Think the Chief and I may take turn dashing off to the local takeaway or out to the bar in reception. 

Happy holiday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oslo, A Hop, Skip and a Cough Away

About half-way through our Norwegian adventure and I'd thought I'd check in. I will post my pictures later, but I wanted to get this all down while it's fresh.

I don't want to jinx anything . . .

but so far it's been a really good trip. . . well, ok, Mouse has another nasty cough and the other Weans and I seem to be getting it as well. We're all sharing a room as we cough though the night (poor Chief) which maybe isn't ideal, but other than that things have gone well.

It was a good idea to split the two flights up onto two days. The flight was an hour and a half, relatively short and the Weans were entertained for most of the way. Foo had one meltdown when I wouldn't let him climb under the seats to get to the Chief, but we managed to distract him. Thanks to my friend's brilliant instructions, we made all our connections for the train and even though my phone didn't work a nice Norwegian offered to loan us his mobile so we could call my mate to have her meet us at the end station.

Staying at my friend's house has turned out better than expected. I was a bit worried about having 6 kids under 9 under one roof, but they've managed to keep each other entertained without killing each other. Mouse and the eldest Norsk-Aussie boy bonded over a mutual love of Clone Wars and we've hardly seen Mousie since. Every time we've wanted to go do something we had to pry them off the Playstation or away from the Lego Star Wars toys.

Foo and the littlest Norssie who is also 3 played near each other in that odd toddler way, but occasionally would meet over a Tombliboo or polar bear. They also loved feeding the cat together and I heard little Foo talking in the middle of the night last night when someone woke him coughing, saying 'KaaTT', just like she had been correcting him earlier that day.

The middle Norskling was ill with her own nasty cough and spent most of the weekend in bed, so hopefully we don't swap Norsk for Finnish germs. Bumpshie was just happy to have a whole playroom full of new toys and lots of kids to steal things from and to play with.

They all speak English really well as that's what my friend speaks to them, so communication wasn't an issue. How nice it is to be able to make out the signs in the streets or to glance at a newspaper and get the gist of it. I miss understanding the world around me.

The Chief and I have had a lovely time talking to my friend and her husband, catching up with the last 8 years. Strange last time we met we had 1 child between us and now we officially have a bus-load. Our first full day we took the kids out to the statue-filled Frogner Park and then up to Holmkollen to see the big ski jump which was almost totally hidden by mist and to have a hot chocolate at the top of the hill. It would have been a nice view of the city, except for the mist.

Today was a work and school day, so the Chief and I took our Weans into town, down to the harbour, up to the Castle to see the incredibly slow and fanfare-less changing of the guards. Mousie liked it though, marching up and down while we waited for the soldiers to do something besides stare at each other. We also walked down the main shopping street past more statues and had some more food. As usual we are eating tons of holiday foods. Boller, yum! Lots of fresh air and walking which wore Foo out so much that he fell asleep before the bus came and is now still awake 2 hours after his regular bedtime. This is why I dropped his nap, so poking him with sticks tomorrow will resume as usual if he tries to fall asleep.

Tomorrow a mid-day flight to the West Coast. Rogaland here we come.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Brief Hello and Good-bye

Lack of sleep makes Äiti a bad blogger. Blame it on the Bumpshie. 

Poor soul has had a horrible cough. Last night was better, so hopefully we'll get a reprieve for a bit.

We're off on holiday in a few days. Beautiful Norge, Norja, Norway. I have a couple of friends still there from my exchange year, on opposite sides of the country. Since we have to change at Oslo to get to Bryne, we're staying with my Australian friend and her Norwegian family in Oslo for a few days. She and her husband have 3 children, so yes, that 6 children under 1 roof. I think her eldest is about 10, so it should be interesting or murderous. 

Then we're off for a few days in Jæren where my other long-time friend has recently had a baby. It's also her 3rd, but we'll be staying in a hotel to give her a break. We'll be spending my birthday with them, so take-away food is already planned. And knock-out pills for all the children. Just kidding.

It's been 23 years since I lived in Norway. I had my 18th birthday there as well. Boy, how things have changed. I had no idea when I was daydreaming in my little room in Kleppe that someday I'd be living in Finland with 3 Scottish Weans. Not bad for a Iowa girl. 

So I will be quiet for the next week or so, but taking lots of photos for you all. Need to do my photography project while I'm there as well. 

I like to have the photo on the cover page, so here's a local view. This used to be a kind of ski and hunting lodge, I believe, but it's now used to host events and you can hire it for parties. At a crazy Finnish price, of course. 

Enjoy.







Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Mouse-like Thought Crept in Last Night

The night before his birthday, Mouse ended up in our bed due to a horrible cough that was keeping him up and threatening to wake the little Weans. 

He brought him into ours about 4am, about the time I realised five years before that I was going into labour with him. He hasn't slept with us in ages, it was kind of sweet. Though there wasn't much sleep for anyone. 

He had a lovely birthday yesterday, he got to stay home due to his cough which persisted all day. Foo went off to playgroup and Mousie went into the bath with his Octonaut toys. 

Then we picked up Foo and came home for lunch and a Star Wars movie. When Daddy came home we went out to his favourite local restaurant for chicken nuggets. And then home for leftover birthday cake from his party. 

He coughed a bit last night, but seems ok today. Kept him and Foo home anyway as Foo and Bumpshie kept everyone awake all night, so we were all shattered. 

Tomorrow back to the grind for Mousie. And I get a wee break with only 2 at home, but it's a holiday half-week (don't ask, I don't know what holiday and why only half the week) so all our usual things are cancelled. The soft-play places and museums will be stowed, so I don't know what we'll do. Hopefully the weather will be dry so we can play outside. 

The Weans have finally decided that the play area out front of the house is fun, so we head there regularly. Today Foo and Mouse had a bit of a blast. 




Bit of a change from 2 years ago.


The boys weigh the same now, Foo has lead-weighted bones, I swear. Mouse is still a few centimeters taller, for now at least. 

They're both growing too fast for me. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Now He is Five

He is my first, he is my everything. 
Happy birthday, my Mousie. We love you.



Two Days Old
1st Birthday

 
2nd Birthday - A Big Brother

3rd Birthday

4th Birthday with New Baby Sister
5th Birthday
5th Birthday

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Into October




Finland does Autumn rather well. It has its cold, wet, windy days, but then it breaks into a cool crisp proper autumn day when sweaters are welcomed and hats can still be fashion accessories and not life savers. 




Don't ask me why I always start with the weather report. I do it in my poetry as well, maybe it's a way of grounding myself, setting the scene. 

So, here we are - October. Yesterday was golden and glorious, today was wet and wild. Yellow birch leaves clung to everything, the boys fished for red leaves out of the gutters, the eighty euros I spent a few days ago to replace Foo and my shoddy wellies were totally worth it. Foo's odd gait had burst the seams on his after 2 months and I just wear mine constantly so I'm hoping I've found pairs that will survive our rough wearing. 



For those of us with kids, Autumn is the beginning of the cold and flu season. Poor Bumptious has been hit by one virus after another for the past month or so. The boys' have had their share of years like this, but seem to be less bothered now. I'm hoping the early battering builds strong immune systems. 

Mousie had one morning of a tight cough this week, but it only lasted a short time, so hopefully we will see less croup with him now. With Foo, you just can't tell. He doesn't seem to understand illness and injury that well with himself, so a bad mood could be the beginning of a cold, a nasty ear infection or just a bad mood. He's been pretty good though, so 'touch wood' we won't have too many triple whammy bugs this year.


Tried this weekend while the sun was being cooperative to take some birthday photos. I like to take proper posing pictures of the kids around their birthday. They hate it, I love the process and the outcome. 



He was claiming he was dying for a pee. Mean Mummy making him stay until I got a decent one. It was a mixed bag, but I'll save the better ones for Mousie's birthday update though the ones like this are much more fun. But I may try to take some more later as Isä got me my birthday present today - a 50mm lens for my camera. So I'll be driving everyone nuts practicing with that. 

Bumpshie has been talking more and more everyday and is that precociously cute stage of asserting her independence with a cute baby voice. It won't last, she likes the words No and More too much. We actually have conversations now which mostly involve me wheedling her to do something I want and her deciding to do her own thing anyway. My kids start young. 

She's also developed this quirky smile when she knows I'm going to take a photo. I'm not sure where it's come from, but looking back at older photos it's been around for a while. 





Though she does have a more charming natural one.  



Didn't inherit those looks and charm from me. Gorgeous. 


Not much else going on. Thinking about a holiday, but not booked anything yet. Will keep you informed. 


Enjoy these hazy days of Autumn.


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