Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pool Time...or something like that

So we are still in Texas at my parents house, and I'm pretty much melting in the heat. We've pretty much either find indoor activities or do something outside involving water. I was too lazy the other day to take my kids to the neighborhood pool, so we were just going to do sprinklers and squirt guns, but then my mom had a fabulous idea. She got out buckets for them to play with and Kaija decided it was her own private 'swimming pool'. Then we found some storage bins so they could at least sit down if they wanted to. I know, totally white trash, but they had fun and I couldn't miss the photo-op with that one. As a side note, Teem comes down in less than a week and we are soooo excited to see him. Yipppeee!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trip to Finland

So it's taken me quite a while to get our trip posted with pictures and all. In case you didn't know the story, we were supposed to go to Finland last summer, but unfortunately, our passports arrived the day after we were supposed to leave, so we postponed until this summer. Teem was a missionary in Finland and has relatives there and he hasn't been back for 10 years. We really had a great time, despite the cool weather (for part of the trip). Here are some of the things we did (the map above shows where we went):
  • Visited sights in Helsinki (churches and such, and some shopping)
  • Silja cruise to Stockholm, Sweden (we'd like to go back again, since we only had 1/2 a day there)
  • In Stockholm we saw the palace and spent most of our time in Old Town (pretty neat)
  • We spent a day at the Helsinki Temple doing Teem's grandpa's work
  • Took a short detour to Turku, kind of a tourist town on a river...probably my favorite city
  • got to meet friends (Sinnika & Taru, Teem's companion - Jori Vuori, and Loretta)
  • In Kajaani, saw some cool Castle ruins, an old church (see picture) and a historical home
  • Spent a few days in Lappennranta with his Grandma (Isoaitti) and aunt, Marjatta (I hadn't met them before). We rode bikes, saw the annual sandcastle display, played at the lake, where they had the coolest wooden and metal slide that you rode into the water on a sled, and I even went to Sauna since they had one in their basement.
  • Teem's cousin, Simo took us fishing, or I should say took Teem fishing while I sat and read my book, and I think Teem was using the world's longest fishing pole (see picture in slide show)
  • We ate ice cream in almost every city we stopped in. It's delicious and super creamy and they have little ice cream stands all over in every city.

It was a whirlwind of a trip because we were constantly going to different places. It wasn't as hard as I thought getting used to the light. The sun is down for about 4 hours. I think in Kajaani (way up north) we were outside around 2am and it wasn't totally dark yet. Very bizarre but pretty cool. The food was really tasty, especially the yogurt, icecream, chocolate, strawberries, bread and pastries. Teem's aunt, Marjatta cooked some delicious food while we stayed with them and kept us well-fed all day long. I managed to learn about 5 finnish words while I was there. It's such a difficult language, but luckily a lot of people can speak English. I think Teem's highlight of the trip was the grocery cart when we went to the store in Lappennranta. Most of the carts in Finland have rotating wheels on all four wheels so you can spin them around. Then at the exit there was a declining 'moving sidewalk' (one of those escalator type things that's just a ramp) and the cart stayed in place without rolling down. I don't think I described that right, but Teem was so impressed he had to take a's in the slide show. Oh and we sat by an interesting fellow at church in Helsinki (I think he was a bum that just wanted something to do...there are lots of bums in Finland, but they all have apartments and everything, but they don't work because their government takes pretty good care of them). Anyway, after sacrament, he pulls out his alcoholic beverage and fills his sacrament cup to have 'seconds' then he pulls out some pictures to show Teem. It kept me entertained anyway, since I didn't know what was being said in the talk.
After the long flight home (I wouldn't recommend flying 6 months pregnant to anyone), it was so good to see the kids. I missed them a lot while we were gone, but my Mom (bless her heart...thank you) took good care of them. Good to be home, but it was a wonderful trip.

Blueberry picking