My Review of Steninge Slott’s Christmas Market

My Review of Steninge Slott’s Christmas Market

Steninge Slott's Julmarknad is always a fun trip out to Sigtuna, Sweden.The Christmas market is housed in the stone barn behind the 17th Century palace and the interior is stunning.The vaulted ceilings of the barn give it an airy atmosphere and illuminated advent stars hang from the ceiling begging to go home with you.Our favorite purchases usually involve buying a paper sack of candied almonds and some warm glögg while we walk around the property among the tree-lined pathways.However, Steninge Slott's rustic charm is undergoing a bit of a renovation and the grounds are currently under construction with new housing development on the property.No longer do you feel like you are on a large estate property but now you feel a bit like you're intruding on people's backyard.Another change from years past is that Steninge Slott now sells furniture and home decorations year round. The inventory for this new business has pushed the crafts and local vendors who participate in...
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Celebrating Holidays When Living Abroad

Celebrating Holidays When Living Abroad

Holidays have a special place in our hearts. We grow up with certain traditions—some wacky, some practical, and some that sound crazy when we try to explain them to outsiders. Regardless of how we choose to celebrate our special holidays, celebrating a special occasion outside of the country of origin may make things a bit more complicated. For one, there are no seasonal reminders that the holiday is approaching. As Sundae mentions in our podcast discussion, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, there are no changing colors of the leaves to indicate the traditional autumn season is upon us. It can create some last minute scrambling if you have to source food or decorations or have to make things from scratch, as one often has to. We have dropped many US traditions except for a few—Thanksgiving being the one that we've held onto the tightest. Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Sweden like it is in the US—or at all, really. Technically Tacksgiving is a day...
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Beautiful Chaos

Beautiful Chaos

Beautiful chaos. That's what this is. Motherhood. Fatherhood. Parenting. Messy and exhausting it's not Supposed to be orderly. It's not supposed to make sense. We establish routines for normalcy So the children know what to expect But in the end And we all follow the routines like a religion. Bath, books, bed, breakfast, drop off, work, pick up, dinner. Bath, books, bed and so on until Years feel like minutes and Memories of their tiny voices fade. Our current reality always replaces what was. Daily monotony is broken by Giggles unleashed after  a tickle spider attack, Insightful conversations in the car, and other Tiny moments that aren't marked by holidays on the calendar. These special moments are the ones you treasure the most because of their unexpectedness. It's being silly in public because it makes your kids laugh. It's working through exhaustion because there's no other choice. It's messy, tiring, but it's life. We are rewarded with sleepy morning cuddles and bedtime stories that only last for a limited time only, folks. "Get yours now!" while the gettin's good. Today was crazy and tomorrow will be...
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You’re My Favorite

You’re My Favorite

You crawled into bed with me this morning after the sun rose. My arms wrapped around you and I breathed in your hair. You smell of the shampoo you didn't wash out of your hair last night when you giggled in the shower with your brother.Your little body nestled against mine and I felt your bones relax. Your soft cheek brushed my chin, and I thought, "Ahh, you're my favorite."I would never say those words aloud, of course, because parents aren't allowed to have favorites.But, at that moment, in that space, my heart was full of you.My attention was 100% focused on you and only you as if we were the only two people in existence. I allowed myself to think that you were my favorite because, for that moment, you were. Later today, you and your brother played at the playground while your Daddy and I sat on a rocky cliff overlooking the Baltic Sea.Worn down over time by rain...
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The Return of the Lost Wedding Dress

The Return of the Lost Wedding Dress

Five years ago, I discovered that my wedding dress, photo albums, and a few fragile items with sentimental value ended up in a dumpster somewhere in Atlanta, Georgia.It wasn't my choice to throw away my beloved sentimental items but that of our property management company. I discovered it long after it had happened, so there was nothing to do but accept what happened and move on.I tried to rationalize away my sadness and to make sense of the grief I was feeling over *things*. Afterall, nobody was sick, nobody had died, but I was still heartbroken over this loss. Sentimentality is expensiveWhen it comes to sentimentality, highly mobile people select their "must have" items very carefully. Each relocation costs money and each box packed represents only the items we "must have" or what we think we must have when we move to a new place.During every relocation, boxes are lost or damaged. Basements flood and houses catch on fire—my wedding dress...
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5 Tips to Increase Your Emergency Preparedness

5 Tips to Increase Your Emergency Preparedness

After watching the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria the news is full of stories about families rushing to stores to stock up on supplies only to discover that all of the stores are sold out. It's apparent that most families are woefully unprepared for any type of disaster situation. Not only do we need to prepare for natural disasters like power outages, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, heat waves, but also for the ever-increasing number of terrorist attacks on our cities. You don't want to be scrambling for supplies at the last minute during an emergency. With a bit of advanced preparation and purchasing of dual-purpose supplies, you'll be all set in case something unexpected happens. The following post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you. When it comes to preparedness, there are entire divisions at the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control dedicated to creating checklists and recommendations for you. Be sure to visit the links at the bottom for...
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Celebrating the Tired, the Hopeful, and the Dedicated Midwives

Celebrating the Tired, the Hopeful, and the Dedicated Midwives

 "Midwives? What is this, the 1400s? Do I have a feudal master to whom I pay monthly tithes in grain?"To say the least, my husband was unenlightened when it came to childbirth practices. He has since come a long way in a short time, but we were young(er) and stupid(er) back then, and he had never heard of a midwife delivering babies—doctors did that, duh.Optimistically pregnant for the first time, I chose my midwifery practice based on the advice of my friend who was also a midwife. We met in grad school and bonded over cheap beer and stupid men (those bonds last a lifetime, really)."This midwifery practice delivers at Northside. You'll be in good hands there," she reassured me. I knew she wouldn't lead me astray. She had my best interests at heart and knew these women personally.And so, I registered with Atlanta, Georgia's Northside Hospital—or Atlanta's well-known "Baby Factory" that delivers over 18,000 babies each year. If anything...
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Why You Should Give Some Cities a Second Chance

Why You Should Give Some Cities a Second Chance

Have you ever met someone who raved about visiting a particular city and you wrinkled your nose and shook your head, "Gah, no. That was not our experience at all!" How can people have such different impressions of the same place? Maybe the weather was bad, your kids were whiny, or you were tired from traveling. Maybe you picked the wrong restaurants, got lost too many times, or felt overwhelmed by the crowds. There are tons of reasons why your first visit to a new city or town may not be favorable. Some places deserve a second glance before you write them off for good. We have a list of places we want to visit and see, so we are often too quick to write a city off once we've been there. Been there, done that, let's move on. There are too many places to see and too little time, money, and energy to see them all so why go back to a place where you...
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Growing Up the Saban Way

Growing Up the Saban Way

By Kelsi Folsom "The practice of gratitude and fortitude will never be an unfruitful one, and is, I think, one of the greatest gifts of living abroad."         Ask anyone if they have ever heard of Saba, and most likely you will hear, “No, where is that?” To which I reply, “Well, it’s a five-square mile volcanic island of fewer than 1,800 people located in the Dutch Caribbean. It's home to the shortest commercial runway in the world, one of the most difficult medical schools, and the highest geographical point in the Netherlands. Want to grab lunch?” Saba is a charming mix of cultures. Although currently a Dutch protectorate, the language spoken is primarily English (with Dutch, Saba English, and a sprinkling of Spanish). There are the “expat locals” (American, Canadian, Scandinavian, European, Filipino, and others I have yet to interact with) and the “born and raised locals” (descendants of great sea-captains, pirates, shipbuilders, fishermen, and slaves) in addition to the 500 or so...
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Dramatic Play is Therapeutic For Your Child

Dramatic Play is Therapeutic For Your Child

Kids recreate the world how they see it through dramatic play. Shouting is emanating from behind the closed door of my daughter's room. "No, Mama, don't go!" "I have to go to work. You have to stay here." My three-year-old is playing in her room by herself. I slowly open the door. Her back is facing me as she sits on the bed with her dolls. We've had this exact exchange numerous times, and apparently, my daughter knows it so well that she is re-enacting our daily ritual of school drop-off with her Elsa dolls. I enter the room and sit on the edge of the bed. "How does the little girl feel when her mama has to leave for work?" I ask but I already know the answer. "Sad." "Yes, but she gets to play with her friends at school." "Yeah, but she misses her Mama sooooo much." Her head is down. Knife in my heart.   Play is a form of therapy My daughter is using play to work out scenarios that affect her...
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