Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

Merry Christmas and Hyvää Joulua to you and your families from the Clan.

2013 has been a happy and exciting year. First of all, it's Pudding's year. We discovered we were expecting back in January and she's been on our mind and in our hearts ever since. My pregnancy went smoothly, the only hiccup was one slightly high result on the glucose intolerance test which meant they wanted me to monitor my blood sugars for most of the pregnancy. I was certain nothing was wrong and a later scan and consultant appointment agreed that everything was fine. 

Pudding's birth in mid-September went perfectly, helped by the fact that I finally had a midwife who listened to me when I said my kids come quick. She had read my notes and said to call her if anything happened. Sure enough, as soon as she left after monitoring me, my waters went and everything happened in a rush and even the midwife was struggling to keep up. I had to spend 24 hours in hospital to check on Pudding's blood sugars, but we were both fine and raring to go home. 

She's into her fourth month and already a character. All the kids love talking to her and trying to make her laugh. The first few months took some adapting for the family, but we're now working like a grumpy, old, half-oiled machine. We get there in the end. 

The summer before Pudding's arrival was busy with trying to buy our first Finnish home. It took the first half of the year just to find a house that suited our Clan and then a couple of months to figure out the Finnish housing market and to negotiate the sale with our bank. But once we committed it all happened within 2 weeks and we got the keys in mid-July. The Chief took some time off to get us moved and to do some work on the house. We now love our home. It has plenty of space inside and out for our crazy mob and has its own Finnish charm. Because it is over 30 years old it needs a lot of TLC, so we're learning the hard way the difference between new builds (our last house in Scotland) and older properties. 

Mormor stayed with us for 6 weeks around the birth, to help with the other kids. It was wonderful to have an extra set of hands, but also for her to get a chance to meet Pudding and give those extra-special grandma cuddles. 

Mouse started primary school this year, a nearby international school. One of our requirments for the new house was to be close to his school. It took him a few weeks to settle in, but he now has lots of friends and enjoys his time there. He is quickly learning to read and write and is enthusiastic to try it out with our books at home. He started out in his own room in the new house, but requested that his siblings come in his room. The new set up is a bit chaotic, but they love being together. Though it does make me wonder why we bought a 4 bed house if they're going to cram into one room. 

Foo has had a productive year with his medical issues. In March we were finally seen by the specialists at the children's hospital for his walking problems. He was getting weaker and his muscles tighter, so the physiotherapist recommended electric-stimulation therapy, night boots and orthopedic shoes. It took all summer to get that sorted, but in 3 months we have seen unbelievable improvement: he can now stand flat-footed for long periods of time and also walks normally of his own volition. We've been taken under hospital care so his treatments will be upped in the new year and hopefully we will continue to see more improvements. He's back at his nursery from last year, but is one of the big kids so has new friends and is putting time in on his fine motor skills so is learning to draw and sit and do exercises that require more attention. 

Bump started at the same nursery in August. She was really excited to go at first, but I don't think she really understood what going to nursery meant so after a week she was miserable every time I left her. Four months later she still has days when she doesn't want to go, but once there she loves it. She starting to make friends and is learning to speak Finnish like her big brother. She's happier when Foo is around though they have been put in different groups so they are forced to speak to other kids. She's a great big sister and loves to get down to Pudding's level and play with her.

The Chief has been busy with work and things are going well. He's even been given a prize for one of his money/time saving ideas being chosen to be implemented across his company. Hence our meal at a local Viking establishment, courtesy of his work. 

2013 was so eventful I have no idea what fun and excitement 2014 holds in store for the Clan. 

We wish you all the best for the upcoming year and hope you have a lovely holiday season. And our doors are always open to friends and family, hope you pop by some time soon. Tervetuloa.

Love from the Clan.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Like Muzzies to Pudding

Maybe I need to get out a bit more.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Three Months and Christmas Decorating

A bit late but here's Pudding at 3 months. Don't think that duckie outfit is going to last much longer. She's such a funny wee girl, laughing at her Daddy and I. She loves to watch her siblings and is grabbing at things now. She's still cuddly, but wants to look at everything. 

We finally bought our Christmas tree this weekend. First ones at the tree stall when it opened, but the Weans have been keen to put one up for a couple of weeks. I'm so glad they don't start selling real trees here until mid-month as we already have needles and glitter everywhere. 

So with Christmas carols on, we put up the tree. Then Bump made more glitter decorations and helped me make cookies. Feeling very Christmas-y around our bit, especially since a lovely thick snow began to fall. Mouse managed to make his first snowman on his own. He'll be gutted in the morning it's a puddle because it's started to rain now. 

I'm not at all ready for Christmas, still waiting on Amazon to ship out the presents I've ordered. And I'm not even going to pretend I'm going to do Christmas cards this year. I'll be lucky if I get my big 2013 round-up post done in time. But the house is decorated, so that's done. Wish I had some Baileys in, would have been nice to sit down now the kids are all asleep with my Christmas cookies and wee drink. On my to-do list for tomorrow as I start buying food supplies in.

Hope you're all getting organised and enjoying it a little. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

First Snow 2013

Busy week as Christmas hurtles towards us. Of course, I'm not ready at all. 

We've had two Christmas shows/parties for the little Weans at päiväkoti. Neither really wanted to be part of the shows. Foo joined his in the end, but Bump just messed about on the sidelines. I think Mouse wanted to be in her show more than she did. I didn't get to stay for Foo's riisipuuro and glöggi as I had to take Mouse to school, but we did have glöggi and piparkakku at Bump's party. A nice start to the Christmas season. 

Foo being a mouse for one of the songs. 
After seeing the price of boxes of chocolates, I suddenly decided to make little bags for traditional-style sweeties to give to the kids' teachers. Luckily, I had just bought the fabric and cloth tape to make something else, so spent a few days sewing bags. They're not spectacular, but the kids stamped the paper for the tags, so thought it was a bit different than the standard boxes of chocs they get. 

The kids have started their Christmas crafts as well. They made decorations for a felt tree I cut out for them as we won't be getting a tree for a few weeks yet. My house is covered in fine glitter now though. 

Bump loves her a bit of glitter and is already demanding we do more. 
Opening their Christmas calendars, yes, we have 3.  I can't see any other way around the fighting. 
The 6th December is Finnish Independence Day - Itsenäisyyspäivää. We have our own flagpole now, so the Chief put up our flag. The first photo is at 8.30am, the days are really short now, sunrise around 9am, sunset around 3.30pm.  We also got our first real snow that day. 

Not much really, but we all know it's just the beginning. 
Mouse took the photo below. The prints might be a hare, but not sure. The kids are enjoying going out in the snow which is great as I've got them on my own this weekend and need them to burn some energy and occupy themselves a bit. Need to find something fun to do tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Welcome to Winter

The weather has gotten significantly colder, dipping below zero. I'm now doing my school drop-offs and pick-ups in the near dark. Along with it came colds for the Weans and broken radiators, so we've been inside most of the week. The 8 radiators have been replaced, so we're back in business which is a relief as my Weans love to be half-naked most of the time.  

Also a bit of good news: Foo had another assessment at the children's clinic with the physio therapist. He's been wearing special night boots to help stretch his Achilles tendons for about 3 months, seeing a physio once a week and we bought him special orthopedic shoes and insoles about a month ago. Results: his ankles are much more flexible, one can bend almost 20 degrees farther than a month ago. He's able to stand flat-footed for short periods and even occasionally walks heel-toe on one or both feet of his own accord, though when he runs or gets distracted he's automatically on his toes and off-balance. 

After 3 years of walking on his toes and it getting so bad that he actually flips his feet over when he walks, trying to walk on the tops of his feet, this is amazing improvement in such a short time. I'm so happy that the physio has gotten in our corner and has been working hard to get Foo the help he needs. We're getting there. She's trying to get more physio approved for the new year and we also saw a occupational therapist this visit who hopes to get more OT approved for him with his current therapist. A year of trying to get some help from the clinic, we're finally seeing positive steps, literally. 

Some photos from this week: indoor playing for a sick Bumpshie and Pudding.

A girls' picnic.

Pudding playing with Daddy. 

The Weans skating as the garden freezes over. 

Couldn't resist taking photos of Bump's perfect curls after her bath. She's a bit of a ham. 

Actually hammy-ness seems to run in the family. Foo on his pirate ship. 

My fast growing Pudding, having a wiggle. 

Pudding now has the cold that Bump and Foo have had over the last week, so I don't expect to get much done this weekend or early next week either. Welcome to winter in Finland. 

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