Monday, August 19, 2013

Before and After - Upstairs

Still a work in progress as I have plans for the kids's bed and blinds, but we're getting there. Getting rid of the orange ceiling, doors and dark window frames have made me a very happy bunny. 

Before we moved in:

After the painting is done, can't seem to get the lighting right though for the pictures. 

Still painting furniture, crib at the moment.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stealing Summer

I'll get back to the house soon, but been too busy to take photos and had some delays with things. Will get there, promise. 

Just a quick catch-up of what we've been up to in the last weeks of summer. 

Costumes seem to be a big theme of the Weans playtime, they have to dress up as whoever they are playing and the amount of time I, and sometimes the Chief, spend making or finding bits to put together outfits for all 3 of them seems endless. But they're getting better at making up things as they go along. 

To be honest, I'm not sure
A scientist

More scientists
New Rainsuit

They've become some serious posers. 
The excitement of new Angry Bird socks and clothes

She's taken to raiding the baby's things. Think we're going to have a bit of jealousy with this one. 
We now live right on the edge of Helsinki's Central Park and haven't really explored it, but we went to Haltiala Farm again in an attempt to find the pea picking in the area. We managed to find the flower fields, but no peas. The Finns aren't great at sign-posting things like that as everyone just knows where stuff it. Insider knowledge is a big part of getting into Finnish life. We have Facebook groups and other forum we use, but there are still blind spots in our vision. The kids loved the flower fields and the new areas of the farm we discovered where they could just run riot. We also discovered the river runs along the edge, so the kids watched ducks, kayakers and annoyed a mum and her daughter trying, with poor results, to fish.

Oh, yeah, and the munkki, we loves the doughnuts

The baby's due in about 4 weeks and yes, I'm starting to feel the pinch of time. I still have so much to sort out and my list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter and my free time everyday isn't getting any longer, even with all the kids at nursery and school. 

Speaking of, Mouse started school last week. He was really calm about it all, too calm for Mouse, until the morning of when it suddenly hit him and his head dropped to the kitchen table and he began to cry. We had a chat and I pointed out that for everybody in his class, including his teacher, this was a first day. They didn't know each other, they didn't really know what was going to happen, everyone was nervous and tomorrow, and everyday after that, would be a little bit easier as they would begin to get to know how things worked and who everyone was. That cheered him up and he explained it to his siblings confidently while I made breakfast. 

Shortly after he got there he was showing off his school supplies to a friend from his nursery, at least he knew one person in his class. 

He's going to an afterschool club since his classes finish between 12.30 and 2.15. With a half hour drive between the little Weans' nursery and his school and Pudding's soon-to-be presence, I couldn't face 3 school runs, so I decided that the club would make my life easier and I would pick him up after the little Weans. 

After his first day, he was fine with everything, except the afterschool club which he said made the day really long, though it was shorter than his nursery day. So I offered to pick him up an hour early, on the way to pick up the Weans rather than on the way back. I arrived at 2.30 and, of course, he didn't want to go, he was having too much fun. Now he's fine about the whole school thing, but he never remembers much of what he does every day, so I'm clueless to what Finnish school is like. 

After a great first week, Bump has had a bad second week. Foo, for many reasons - his Occupational Therapy, being kept home 'ill', his class not going out in the rain - has not been going out with Bump at playtime at the beginning of the day. She's been at a bit of a loss what to do as she hasn't really made any friends yet, though the teacher says she does play with the other children. She's been crying and screaming when I leave her, but the teachers are brilliant. They take her and console her and play with her until she's happy again. They don't like the parents' molly-coddling an upset child at leaving time, so I just have to go. I know she's in good hands, but it's still feels mean. This week Foo has Physical and Occupational Therapy, so she'll have a couple days on her own, but hopefully they'll get a few days together to build her confidence again. 

Super long post, guess a lot has happened. Hope you kept up. Would like to promise that I'll try to post more often, but who are we kidding?

Enjoy the beginning of autumn, the season has turned here in the snap, crack Finnish sort of way. Tons of rain and the temps dropping to a more bearable (for the pregnant of us) level. Hopefully we'll have a long, lovely autumn. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ready for Nursery

Not been able to take the pictures I wanted of the upstairs as the painter was a bit delayed with finishing and the weekend has been pretty busy. I'm also doing a few bits and bobs I'd like to include photos of as well, so will hopefully get a house update done over the next few days. 

But this week has been busy with other things. 

The Little Weans have started/headed back to päiväkot/nursery. Bumpshie joined Foo at his nursery, but in a different room. She's been very keen about the prospect of going for months now and after a taster visit back in May was super excited, especially about the handful of Barbies they had to play with.

She started her first session indoors so had a chance to play with those Barbies, even got her daddy to help her dress them. She was perfectly happy on her first day, except there were a few tears at nap time because she mistakenly thought I had said I would come to get her at nap time, but other than that she was fine.

She spent that evening calling me äiti (mummy). Not even phased by the Finnish, though I'm sure the teachers fall back on English to help her along. Growing up way too quick for me.

After taking a while to get into a summer routine and then having it torn apart by the house move, I was a bit worried about Foo starting back at nursery. He's been talking all summer about his friend from nursery that he was excited about seeing, unfortunately his friend had graduated to primary school so I knew we wouldn't be seeing him again. Foo had bonded very strongly with him and I was worried he would be very upset to find out he wasn't going to be back at päiväkoti. 

But Foo took my explanation without a problem because he obviously figured he had bigger issues - he's a big brother and had to take care of his sister. He's been so good about Bump coming to nursery. He plays with her at outdoor times and that first day he kept asking where she was and keeping an eye out for her across the corridor. He's so proud of her and I love that he has been worried about her. 

It's nice that they have each other to make the transition a little bit easier. They are very close at home and now they have each other at nursery, even if they don't see each other for most of the day. Though I feel a bit strange leaving nursery on my own, I'm not as upset as I thought I would be. 


Ready to head off into the world, together. 

ETA: Oops, spoke to soon. Bump had a meltdown this morning because her class decided to play outside this morning in the rain, but Foo's didn't. So she was all confused and upset that she had no one to play with. 

We'll see how the rest of the day went later. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

2 Weeks On - Before and After Living Room and Outside

Sorry, for being so quiet. Lack of internet access, tons of work to do, not knowing where my camera cable was packed and exhaustion kept me from doing an update.

We've been in the house for a week, but have had access and have been working on it for 2 weeks now. Working our butts off, to be exact. Painting windows, ceilings and walls in the living room, hauling furniture about, cutting back the overgrown mess outside. 

So here's some before and after pictures of a few aspects.

After clearing the creeper from the front that was threatening the balcony and roof by growing through them, the evil spruce that seemed to be spawning to the left and the thorny wildish roses that were threatening children and toys to the right.

The Chief got a bit cut happy with his saw, but I managed to save the crab-apple and keep him under control on some of the other dozens of trees in the front of the garden.

The living room is done, but not really decorated as we don't have a budget right now for much besides what needs to be done, but I hope to sort more things like curtains, light fixtures, etc over the next few months.

Before with dark doors, dirty ceiling and yucky wallpaper. 

Here's everything repainted clean white and after a trip to Ikea, some new bookshelves. This is the dining room section of the living room which we plan to use more as a snug, library kind of place as we eat in the kitchen. We have more books than that, but really need to make a trip to Scotland to empty our loft there and bring our real books home. 

This is the living room half. It will probably never be that tidy or uncluttered again.

The upstairs is still in progress. We got a professional in to do it as all the gabled ceilings, doors, windows and skirtings needed to be painted as they were stained in this horrible orangey colour. He's done the ceilings, etc, and is back this week to finish the walls. He taught us his technique for repairing the wallpaper, so you don't have to strip it. We used it in the living room and even in our amateur hands it looks so much better, so I can't wait to see the upstairs. 

The house is almost 30 years old so needs a lot of modernising. We're trying to make it livable just now and then will work on the bigger projects over time. I'm already much happier with it and after living in it for a week, realise it was a good move for us. The size is a bit over-whelming - I never know where the kids are shouting from so often wander from room to room trying to find them - but it it is nice having so much space for us all. 

We've put Mouse in his own room and the two little Weans together. It took a few nights to get used to the new set up, the first night they all ended up together, but they now are happy with it. Bumpshie is still learning to sleep in her own escapable bed rather than in a cot, but I already have a consistent routine set-up, so hopefully she'll learn to settle on her own soon without needing an hour of running around with her brother before collapsing. 

The little Weans start päiväkoti tomorrow, so it's back to early rises and stressful mornings, but I get the Chief at home for another week and Mouse doesn't start Primary 1 until next week. So will be putting the Chief to work for another week and then after they're gone will focus on getting ready for the baby's arrival. I'm due in about 6 weeks, but as I've gone early for 2 out of 3 Weans I want to get prepared. 

Hopefully there'll be another update at the end of the week. 

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