Mommy of the year award

I think I won the mommy of the year award again. I know, I am awesome. I’ve dealt with sick kids for almost 18 years. We have been through lots of asthma and croups, plenty of ER visits, climbing falls, soccer injuries, skiing falls, a couple of different accidents that happens when you have kids. That’s life. The last 5 years have been pretty bad when it comes to allergies and Sofia is a real trouper. She has a food list of 34 items that she can’t eat if she doesn’t want to swell up or stop breathing. She is more than awesome. And after all those years it feels pretty stable right now. I am on top of things. The kids are getting older. I can treat a cold or two with my eyes closed. I can inject an EpiPen in my sleep if I have to. But no, my healing skills suck.

I know I can be pretty rough when it comes to injuries and sickness. The kids are good with staying home from school if they are sick. But it doesn’t happen if they’re not close to dying. PMS doesn’t really exist at our house but soreness from a tough workout does. Sounds bad? We actually are a nice, caring family but school is important. So what do I want to say with this rambling?

Two weeks ago Sofia stayed home from school with the flu. Really sick, high fever and a bad cough and a really sore rib. She could barely walk and sneezing made her cry. When it didn’t get better after a week I took her to the doctor and he checked her out. I explained that we came in because of the rib, she might have bruised it pancaking in volleyball or…? He looked at me and told me that my kid had an ear infection and almost pneumonia. Good job mom. That’s why she didn’t hear.

Johanna has been home for week with a terrible cough and high fever. Really unusual. She finally saw a doctor today. She is coughing so bad she can’t talk. I pumped her full of asthma meds and coughing syrup that tasted puke. I even force fed her frozen fruit bars to ease the cough. The kid has pneumonia. Well done mom. Maybe see a doctor earlier next time.

If Caroline gets sick this coming week she will see a doctor the first day and I will not make any decisions that concerns her health. Apparently I didn’t learn a thing over the past 18 years or my kids are really cool kids and not very easy to brake.


Heart, body and soul

Started yesterday with news, breakfast and cleaning my mailbox. What a great feeling when it’s down to zero, empty. And you turn around and it starts ticking again.

I drove to work in sunshine. Blue skies, calm waters and one heck of a beautiful mountain in the horizon. Seattle at its best. The kids started to roll in and we had a great day at school. Tired kids that slowly woke up and got their Swedish brains and words going. What a great group of kids. What is not to love with 6 year olds. And when you get 15 of them together something happens. And this is why I choose this job 100 years ago. Curiosity, never ending energy and open heartiness. At the same time they make your brain spin around and take leaps, you sometimes need to hold your breath for a second and think.

The sun was still out when I drove home, the mountain was still bright white and the lake crisp blue. After some food, coffee and kicking my feet up I was promised company for my run. I love spontaneous running company. Caroline got dressed and laced up. We shared the forest with horses and goats and had a really good time for about 6 slow miles. Lots of talking, mind twisting and body work.


After a quick shower, a trip to the grocery store and dinner prepping for the kids we were on our way to the city and a late concert with Doug Seegers. The guy who got famous on Swedish TV and has a magical voice. He is playing for full houses in Europe but here he is close to his small audience. We sat beside the stage, got to chat with him before and after the concert. What an awesome night. Add on good friends, a couple of beers and great music. What a perfect night, goes straight into your deepest.

The older, the better

It’s easy to get depressed when you bing or google getting older, age, etc. It tells you that your muscles starts to look flabby and your nervous system doesn’t react as fast as before. Eyes and ears change, and your heart people, changes. It doesn’t pump your blood as efficient as when you were young. But I actually think it feels more. Laughing, crying… it gets more overwhelming. A sedentary lifestyle make aging happen faster and women tend to age faster than men. What! I am not ready for muscle deterioration. I still want to wear tank tops and low cut dresses. I am not planning on having more kids but I realized the other day that it’s not cool anymore. I am over 40, it would not be fair to put anyone through that risk. But it feels a bit unfair. If I were a man I would have many more years to go. But it’s not all bad. Believe it or not, there are other things that actually gets better when you get older. A calmness comes over you and you don’t really care that much of what other people think. So what if you are a bit flabby and chubby. It’s not really worth worrying about. It could be worse. But some things actually get worse…

Technology gets complicated. I am not very savvy when it comes to new things. I am just not that interested. It’s kind of a necessary evil. I get all excited when I need a new phone or a new computer but I swear at the same time since I know I have to get everything to the new device. I am pretty much ready to throw my GPS watch into the wall. I love it when it works but my heart rate band broke months ago and I just can’t get myself to get a new one. And I am supposed to hook the watch up with the power meter on the bike, yes, absolutely. I have learned to run and trying to know my heart rate by feel. I am good, it works. The TV, ahhh, don’t get me started. I am all good as long as there is regular TV going on but Netflix, Amazon, DVD, Xbox… not that interested. We have 5 remotes! I let the kids change devices and I don’t really watch TV when I am by myself.

The moment of panic when you are shopping for clothes. It just came over me the other day when Sofia and I browsed around a few stores together. The clothes look good but no, not for me anymore. Short skirts and dresses screams bad taste when you are over 30. Cheap cotton tops and v necks, no. Bikinis, ahhh, not sure. I surprised myself by buying a dress at Macy’s, didn’t think that would happen anytime soon. Sofia bought really cute volley ball spandex and said that I could borrow those if I wanted to. Really sweet but NO!

The party is over people. Well, not over but it’s not worth it. Not every week. I rather buy one really nice bottle of wine or calvados then 10. And I get really excited about beautiful vegetables and a nice piece of meat. And some nice organic berries. If I get to shop for food at a farmers market in France, even better.

The surprise of entertainment, been there done that. It takes more and more to make me impressed. Well, Sting, Bruce, a nice opera and a casino in Monaco works every time.

I don’t care if you say that James Bond is outdated and Daniel Craig is old. Or Pierce Brosnan. I still think he is a hunk and he still looks young me. The kids think that Tom Cruise is old. What? I don’t understand. Men look better the older they get. Especially if they are in good shape. 

Sleep. I used to love sleeping in. Late nights, late mornings. Last month I’ve been waking up around 5am after 4-5 hours of sleep. Let me tell you, it doesn’t work. I am constantly tired and napping/listening to news or pods in the afternoon. What’s going on, is this a permanent thing? I don’t like it.

The newspaper gets interesting. I have always enjoyed reading the paper but now I really bug the kids by discussing the topics out loud. The world is a crazy place. Is this really the world we want to leave behind?

The older you get the less you are concerned by your appearance. It doesn’t seem to matter that much anymore. Those lines around your eyes are a sign of a good life with lots of laughs, right.

The sunrise gets more beautiful every year. It’s true. Gorgeous. And talking to strangers. So many nice people walking their dogs in the morning enjoying the same sunrise.  

And some excellent advise I picked up the last 40 years or so…

If you can’t carry it, you probably don’t need it.

You’re the boss of your own circumstance, so make good choices.

When given the opportunity, wear a costume.

Give lots of hugs to everyone you care for.

When frustrating things happen, keep them in perspective. It can’t be that bad.

Try to learn the rules of football. Or maybe not. No, I really don’t care.

Get oil changes on time; check the tire pressure, take care of your car.

Whimsy is essential.

See the beauty everywhere.

Allow yourself to be moved.

And don’t forget to wear your seatbelt.

Choose your battles.


I feel rich. It’s one of those days when the laughs are pouring and tears are drizzling because of happiness. All three kids are back home after a long weekend and I feel 100% intact. We almost had a broken nose after a visit in a dark bathroom to check if my tights actually were glowinthedark. The tights did glow in the dark and a knee happened to bump into a very small nose that became bigger but not broken. Dinner has been simmering since 4 and we made it together at the table 8. I am so lucky. Three beautiful girls. Almost grown up.

We started planning our trip back to our other home, our old home. I am thinking a week in Skåne, a few days in northern France and many weeks in Uppsala. I am thinking oysters in Cancale, a touristy visit at Mont-Saint Michel again, chilly dip in the English channel, a visit at Omaha beach. It’s ben too long. We are dreaming about a simple boat ride Sweden-Denmark-Sweden, food, drinks and a walk, beach time and long dinners outside. And a few nights in the greenhouse, a crayfish party and a few days at Härjarö and the summer would be complete. And maybe finish it off with a heck of a party for our bestest friend that has a big birthday in August. What do you think? Sound good?

We had a short midwinter break that officially ends tonight. Breaks are too short and school happens too often. We need more breaks and less school around here. Caroline had a great time climbing in Smith, OR and can’t wait to go back (with mom, her words not mine. I would love too!!) Big thanks to the R family that took care of her.


Photo: Maren

Spring is here. The sun is warming up Kirkland and giving us beautiful sunsets in orange and pink.


I just had to get a ride in when the sky was blue and sun was out. A nice hour and a half in short sleeves and sunglasses on. Beautiful! It will hopefully last all the way to summer.

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Happy, healthy heart

Give the most important muscle in your body some extra sweet love today.

Run the hardest you can and take a break by the lake, breathe in the air and feel your heart beat. Live uncomfortably and appreciate the moments of sweetness. Watch your kids live, breathe and laugh. Hold yourself loosely and gentle, in a soft grip and treat yourself well. Make it easy for yourself to change route and move on. Open doors to new adventures, climb a mountain and live free. Make your heart work a little extra, fill it with oxygen and love. Make it beat hard so you have to take deep breaths. Surround it with happiness, something bubbly and sweet tunes. The more you experience the bigger your heart will grow.

Every new year is your first. Use it well.

Random chitchat

I am hot, I promise. There is something going on with the miles and treadmill pounding lately. I can feel the bounce again, my feet and legs are moving in the same direction. I shouldn’t jinx it and scream it out here but it feels good and promising for a bright future and spring. I did a beautiful belly flop on the treadmill today. I stopped and talked for a few minutes and then started running again. Hamstrings cramped up and I did a gorgeous flip and ended up on the side of the treadmill. A few people got a good laugh in the early morning. You are most welcome.

I got all worked up this morning reading an article about the movie 50 shades. How low can you sink Charlotte? What happened to the big interest in politics, heated discussions and high blood pressure on election day. Still there people, but I cover the rest of the newspaper too. And quite frankly, Bertha is not that interesting. Been there done that 20 something years ago in the south of Sweden. Big tunnel, big drill, disaster. And I am sorry, football… phew.

I think I am a bit more laid back than some years ago when I gladly and aggressively walked out from lectures to prove a point. The fire is still there but I seem to channel it differently. Back to 50 shades. The book sold over 100 million copies. And yes, I did read it. It’s one heck of a book. Not well written but quite frankly very binding. What can I say? There are petitions going around to sign because of the book/movie and it’s relations to violence and torture in relationships. And yes, I can see it and yes, it’s not good. But no, let people have their fantasies and don’t make such a big deal out of everything. Don’t feed the flame. And yes, at some point I will watch the movie. I certainly don’t want to diminish the topic but don’t read too much in to everything. There are so many things around us to get worked up about, in movies and books. Personally I really dislike Disney’s Frost. So lame, so old fashioned, so not interesting. And guns and violence, why all those guns in people’s homes? And drugs. I don’t get the weed thing here. How can you not think it’s harmful? Maybe been smoking too much?

We can all do something for the world and all people around us. If you know better, do better. Läkarmissonen in Sweden invites all to take part in Vänliga Veckan (kind, friendly week) Feburary 9-15. Do something nice and the world becomes a better place for everyone. One easy thing to take part in. Pick up the phone and call a friend (we never seem to do that anymore), surprise someone with a lunch, a hug or show your support somehow. Smile. It’s actually really easy. Many small steps…

One kid packing up climbing gear and leaving for a few days. So grateful for Fam4 that let her squeeze with them for some days. Thank you. 

And some Swedish melancholy:

The day in numbers

3 very tired girls. 1 adult super perky, as always.

6 am wake up call, almost felt like sleeping in this morning. I was lucky to wake up 15 min earlier with 1 Kindle paperwhite pressed against my right side of the face and 1 computer under my left thigh. Awesomesauce, glamour and a bed filled of rose petals. Dogs barking outside the bedroom window and a woman with a beautiful high pitched voice screaming. Love the life in the suburbs. Flashback to Brussels in the early 90s minus the smell of fresh bread and screaming in Flemish. The good old days hanging with monks and a Belgian gay prince. Wearing very short skirts and missing the last train back from unnamed old towns.

2 cinnamon rolls in my tummy. Really hard to resist after spending 3 hours baking earlier today.

6 cinnamon rolls left out of 36. No, I didn’t eat them all, I am just so darn popular. Hard to believe, I think not.

2 large tacos for dinner and a huge amount of homemade guac.

2 very small glasses of vino to go with the 2 tacos. Very small.

2 jars of lingonberry jam brought by a friend. That means meatballs and tiny, tiny oven roasted potatoes, beats, sweet potatoes and parsnips and a lovely mushroom sauce tomorrow night.

1 friend for coffee in the afternoon made my day. Kitchen hanging and chatting away. And she had one huge rock to show off. Love you!!

2 shoulders still in their sockets after very light weightlifting, big success.

6 cups of coffee or more like 6 double espressos so that means…

1 million over 1 billion in blood pressure but still a resting heart rate of 50. I am a medical mystery.

8 empty bottles of Perrier found in my car today. Who drinks all that water? And that means a Costco run tomorrow since I am almost out of fancy water. Scary. But a pretty healthy addiction. Costco still makes my heart race, I am not a big fan. It feels like driving in Paris. Big, big boxes of dog food, allergy meds and adult diapers. I get fooled every time and comes home with wool socks, big boxes of cereal and milk filled with hormones. And we have no milk drinkers in the family. If I have a good day I could even buy 48 Sharpies or an obnoxiously big TV just because it’s there. It’s not healthy people. I LOVE WHOLE FOODS! Expensive gluten free pasta, gorgeous cheese, meat that screams and the wine guy knows my name! You want to know if the fish you buy is good or not!! And Icelandic lamb, please. Beautiful.

7 miles on the treadmill this morning. I looked awesome, great form people, happy face and I didn’t hit anyone that passed me. But felt like a brainfreeze without the benefit of the ice cream and

1 person walking on the treadmill beside me in her PJs and reading a book. Just wrong, just wrong. And one young woman without a shirt. Not ok. There are other ways to get attention.

4 females alone in the household means Thai food, fajitas and guacamole, chicken wrapped in Parma ham, frozen yoghurt and lots of chick flicks, New girl, Mindy proj and too much House and foam rolling. We sure know how to party. My girls!

5 am alarm tomorrow…

1 volleyball player has morning practice. And the season just started.

23 gallons of fuel, very empty car that started to make noises when turning sharp and driving uphill.

1 pair of shoes ordered and waiting to be delivered. Purple.

2 deer back after a long vacation. They are back and I can start my deer whispering again. Life will soon be back to normal. I have missed you! How could you leave me?

2 % oil left in my car. Will someone please take the mothership in for service. And get it cleaned. It’s mud all over, embarrassing. It’s kind of a save the world, don’t use water statement. Oui.

1 gorgeous and sparkly dress hanging in my closet bought last week when I felt sorry for myself for not being able to work out Friday after dislocating my right shoulder Thursday night. Had really big issues taking it off since I couldn’t lift my arm over my head so I just bought it. Woohaaaaa.

1 dress waiting for a fancy party, tux please. Socks, sandals and shorts, just no. NO!

1 climbing kid leaving for Smith tomorrow afternoon. Sleeping bag, granola bars and puffy coats. Missing – no climbing helmets in the household.

2 showers today. Gunde would be so proud if he knew how fast I can shower, shake and dress. Like a boss.

1 short film that I think is worth watching. I love some of the Swedish labor laws, not all.

Close doors

You set up goals in your life. Goals are good, it gives you something to work for whether it is job-related, school, training or something more private. I like goals and I know I am pretty goal oriented. Maybe in a way a little bit addicted. I like to measure something that for me is success. I got a kick out of university credits when I was younger and got a little bit overboard with my load. Especially when all three kids were under 5 when I decided to get another masters in 1.5 years. But it worked out. The brain do work on coffee and very little sleep. Very motivating. Same with training. Some years ago I collected miles or minutes running and it can very easily get overboard. I am still the same but I don’t care about miles but I have to admit that I still track my hours training and I track how it feels. I want to be over 3000 minutes per month witch is kind of ridiculous since it’s not really the minutes that counts. But it has to be qualitative training, it doesn’t count otherwise. I remove minutes when I don’t feel satisfied with what I’ve done. Sort of a childish punishment I guess.

The last month or two my training has been lousy. I’ve been cheating, taking shortcuts, switched out important workouts to more fun or easy ones. I feel extremely unmotivated and have a strange feeling that it doesn’t really matter. Does it really matter? Not really since I am not Martin Flinta or Björn Ferry. But it doesn’t do wonders for you self-esteem. It really sucks. I cover my 3000 minutes per month and sometimes a bit more, I get most of my workouts in but in slow mode. I run slow, with terrible form, I swim slower than ever, my legs are basically dragging at the bottom of the pool. Biking works well especially outside. All CrossFit are fun but I am not in any kind of beast mode, I finish but with varying results.

So what’s wrong? Is it a classic burn out? The rest of my life is in sync, I sleep, I eat, I work and I am as healthy as I can be right now. I got my shoulder out of place the other day. That is probably some kind of sign that I will choose to ignore.

I don’t think it’s a burn out since I feel good outside training witch is 90% of the day. I think it has to do with poor goal setting. My goal may just be wrong. An Ironman sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But it’s lonely to swim, bike and run. It’s a lot of hours to spend by yourself in the pool. It rains a lot here in Washington. Running in rain can be nice but biking in rain really gets to your insane part of the brain. And spending hours by yourself can be nice, but not all the time. I am really not that interesting. And how many podcasts or TED talks can you listen to before you get bored.

This is hopefully a phase that will pass when a warm breeze passes over Kirkland. I hope I will wake up one day and feel like everything turned around and that my running legs feel strong again. But until that happens I will probably just keep swimming, run slow and add on an extra CrossFit hour to keep my mood in balance. Or maybe find a new goal.

Close some doors not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere – Paulo Coelho

And some motivation for you

Tears and hugs

Tears. We have cried a lot this past year and we still do, at least some of us. Caroline and I get all worked up and one look can be enough to get it started. We listened to a song the other day that reminded us of Ross and then the tears just didn’t stop for a long time. I think tears are healing and I really hope I am right. Tears drizzle down your cheeks in the most unexpected moments. It might be a female thing. I know men cry but not like women do. Maybe one difference is that we are expected to cry. I was told by a doctor yesterday that it was ok to cry. He told me “you don’t have to play tough”. I didn’t. I am wired wrong. This is me. I had to explain myself and we ended up having a long conversation about tears, how and why. He put my shoulder back in place after I bumped it out just a tiny bit. I thought I fixed it by myself but I couldn’t get it all back in. He did a quick little movement that made the pain go away. An instant relief. The dizziness disappeared and that brain blockage that comes with pain started to ease off. I didn’t cry until 10 minutes later when I tried to explain that I didn’t want this to ruin my swimming. I really need to improve my swimming. I don’t want to sink in a lake in Idaho. And I finally feel like I am starting to master rope climbing. And the tears burned behind my eyes. Then he handed me a tissue. I’ve broken body parts without shedding a tear but there are moments I can’t watch my kids without tearing up. And I don’t get the music part, why I cry when I listen to music. The human body is a mystery.

Another thing, I feel like I need to explain myself and fellow Swedes. There are always articles and blogposts that are around about ”how you know you are Swedish”, ”crazy things Swedes do” etc. Some are very true and when you live in a multicultural community it can hit you hard that people have different upbringings. That makes life interesting but sometimes a bit complicated.

We like our coffee breaks (fika), we take our shoes off in the house, we have one word that is not possible to translate to any language that we use all the time (lagom). We like our healthcare system, maternity laws and employment laws. We absolutely never hit our children. If I saw someone do that I would call the police.

One very important thing is that we hug. I get reminded every day that I have to back off. We hug when we meet friends, colleagues, people we barely know. Men and women. The closeness doesn’t bother us. So if you think Swedes are cold people, think again, we are just different. To friends and acquaintances here in Washington, I will most likely hug you again. Get your guard up if you don’t like hugs.

Music worth a tear

Singing in the car

Today’s wall balls almost broke me and I am spending the rest of the morning sitting down with the company of outlook. Try breathing really fast through a straw and squat at the same time. That’s how it feels when you don’t sleep enough, pretend you are 23 when you run intervals and then lift some weights on top of that. The body is a mystery and it’s difficult to reason with it.

The day started out well here. I got about 4 hours of restless sleep after a doppio last night. Worth it? I think not. I woke up at 5.20 singing Bailando by Enrique Iglesias. I don’t know why, probably something hidden in the back of my mind or deep buried in my childhood memories. But it’s kind of catchy. To really etch it into my memory I played it in the car on the way to the gym and I made an attempt to dance sitting this Wednesday morning. And I worked hard on my Spanglish lisp. I went to the gym to get my intervals done around 6am. The place is packed, all treadmills are all taken and people are working out in a frantic way. I really regret going and I move to a versa climber in a dark corner after my run. And I put Bailando on repeat. What is wrong with me? Time for a shrink?

I have a strange relationship to music. The more the merrier. Spotify is on every waking hour, mixed with a few pods and news on the radio. I grew up with a overload of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, opera, musicals, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Abba, Gyllene Tider, Noise and Frank Zappa and I must admit that I love it all. I remember when I made my grandparents listen to a full album of Wham, I could lipsync Tina Turner by the age of 8 and I got chills from listening to Putin’on the Ritz with Taco over and over again in the 80s. Those were the days. My first Bryan Adams concert was magical. And I still cry a little when I get to watch and listen to Sting live. Going to the opera makes my heart grow and burst.

My playlists probably reflects my extremely confused mind. Even my kids think something is wrong when I plug in my phone in the car. So, from me to you. My most played songs on my Spotify January 2015. And if you see a middle aged woman dancing in the car it’s probably me.