the south & sweden

I'm a Texan who lives in Sweden. It's interesting. I don't take this (blogging) too seriously. Until I do. Sometimes.

four things

I have a hard time figuring how August flew by so incredibly fast. It felt like one day it was July and now suddenly, it’s September. And with that comes several important milestones.

1. Gillis starts his new job- the job we moved to Ireland for. Our fingers are crossed and our breath is held. He will do great, but still, I think we are both a bit nervous. You know, moving internationally with two young kids…

2. Henry turns two. How I will soon have a two year old is beyond me! This kid continues to impress us daily with his humour, intellect, and extreme rascaliness. (word? nope…oh well)

3. Gillis turns 30. I am trying to find a good 30 present, but with our two babies and being in a new country it’s a bit hard to come up an awesome 30 experience. I’m usually pretty awesome at birthdays but feeling a bit out of my element right now.

4. I begin my own adventure of stay-at-home mommy hood. I successfully got both kids dressed, fed, and out the door for Henry’s daycare. I even took Sixten grocery shopping this morning. *clap clap* I know many a-mom who would roll their eyes at taking care of just two kids, especially after having their husband home for three months….. but it doesn’t make it any less scary right now. My goal is to keep them both alive.

Ok the littlest bear has a diaper to change, but I’ll be back. Hopefully a lot more now.


live from dublin

We arrived to Dublin almost three weeks ago. Has it really been almost three weeks? It’s hard to believe. It’s even harder to believe that in almost two weeks Gillis will start his new job and I’ll be stay-at-home-momming it up. (Spell check changed that to stay-at-home-miming…. yeah.)

Gillis has been at home for almost three months with us and it’s been amazing. Those first few weeks before Sixten was born were almost like a honeymoon and then those very blurry weeks right after Sixten, where Gillis became the best father-husband-person in the world (I couldn’t have survived without him), and this now- living in Ireland and discovering this new city together. I will miss him when he starts working is an understatment.

Every night I talk myself through what our days will be like when he starts working. He’ll get up before me and the kids and go to work. And then the kids will get up and I’ll somehow get them dressed and fed, or fed then dressed? How will I feed Sixten and make Henry’s oatmeal? How will I get both dressed and myself? I can’t really trust Henry alone with Sixten… or really alone anywhere. 

And then I’ll take Henry to daycare and it’s just me and Sixten until 15:00- where I pick up Henry and then the three of us have 2.5-3 hours together before Gillis is home again. 

You should know, Sixten hates not being in our arms. He has just recently started to accept his little baby play gym, but other than that the poor guy gets really anxious and upset when he’s just hanging by his lonesome. It’s made this move to Ireland incredibly long and we’ve really adjusted our whole “parenting parameters.” 

But he’s so good, Sixten is. So cuddly and happy to be with us. Gillis wears him everywhere in our Stokke carrier and he just snuggles in and falls asleep. I spend countless hours holding him our couch or with my arms around him at night. But! But, our new goal is to teach him to be ok in the buggy. I don’t mind baby wearing or snuggling, but it’s a good thing for him to learn and will help us a bit when we move him to a crib.

And here I am talking about my family and my stay-at-home-momming anxiety and nothing about Ireland!

A bigger post to come, but Ireland is grand. Really good! It rains everyday for a short bit, but the weather isn’t so horrible. There are so many great cafes around our house! And a house- we have a little row house! And everyone here is crazy nice.

So there ya go. And hiya- it’s good to be back!


on moving to ireland

In four days we are moving to Ireland. I keep talking to Henry about it and really the only thing he takes away from the conversation is “airplane.” But duh, my head hasn’t even grasped the fact that we are MOVING and not just taking a very long vacation with our kids, so at least Henry and I are on the same page.

Speaking of which, let me brag about him for one second here. He sometimes asks us to switch between languages. Gillis speaks Swedish with him and I speak English. But lately he’s been asking us to sing one song in English and then again in Swedish and same for counting numbers. Kid isn’t even two yet, but is basically a genius. Mom brag over.

So I am currently spending my last Wednesday in Sweden swing on a hammock, Sixten nestled into me, with a view of the Swedish countryside. We moved up to my in-laws for the next few days and it really is a lovely farewell. Nothing is more Swedish to me than their home. 

It’s been a whirlwind of planning and packing the past few days, weeks. I’m sure there is a ton we have forgotten about, but I think that we are fairly prepared for moving to another country. 

We’ve heard that we are crazy, exciting, and terribly adventurous for moving  internationally with two young kids. Which sounds about right, and thank goodness I can drink now because JEEZ!

Gillis won’t start his new job till September 1st, but we figured it was smart to move as soon as possible and take a month to get acclimated to life in Ireland instead of rushing it all in two weeks. So while our past month has been insane, I am hoping it will pay off once we arrive and are unpacked.

And if you are curious, here is basically how we have planned to move to Ireland in a month:

Finding a house:
We started out by seriously studying a map of Dublin and then asked around various internet forums for recommendations on where to live. We read and read and read about every single place that was suggested to us and then we looked up each area or village on, which is where you go to find housing in Ireland.

It took us about a week to finally start to make sense of the map and the different areas of Dublin. (Remember, we’ve never been).

We also made a short list of the things we wanted in a home. 2-3 bedrooms, bathroom with a tub, washing machine, dishwasher, in a good neighbourhood, and a small grassy yard. This was fairly easy to find BUT since we weren’t physically in Dublin a lot of rental agencies wouldn’t even consider us as tenants (they wanted us to view to place first, understandably) or there weren’t enough photos of the houses the satisfy us in renting sight un-seen.

We found our home by luck and by even more luck with realtor has been very eager to help us out. I’ll write more about that once we arrive and know that it’s not a big scam. :)

We’ve heard that renting in Dublin can be tricky and that good properties go fast, so when we were offered our house we jumped on it. 

On Settling In:
Find our house gave us a good jumping point and after two quick google searches I found a few daycares and local doctors. Based on internet recommendations for both, I already have a well-baby check up for Sixten scheduled and three daycares to visit for Henry scheduled as well.

The most important thing to me in this move is making sure our kids stay happy and healthy. Henry loves daycare so he will continue with that and Sixten is still a tiny newborn so making sure he is gaining weight and gets his vaccinations is at the top of my list.

On moving:
We couldn’t even consider this move if we didn’t hire packers and movers. We used an online bidding site to receive different quotes on how much it would cost to have professionals pack our stuff as well as move it to Ireland. Yes, it’s crazy expensive but we get a small relocation package with Gillis’ new job AND it saves us on the stress of it all when we are already a bit stressed with a two year old and newborn.

Also, we have a moved A LOT in our six years together. This will be our ninth home! We are quite good at culling stuff now and despite moving just six months ago, we still managed to curate three trash bags of stuff to donate as well as five trash bags of trash. We also decided to give away almost all of our books, all of our houseplants, and return our records and record player to Gillis’ dad.

We also sold a few pieces of furniture and will store two bigger pieces at my brother-in-law’s apartment. So while we appreciate our stuff, we’ve learned to not be sentimental for most of it. If you move as much as we do, minimalism is the way to go. Thankfully, I love that.

The beginning:
For the first week in Dublin, we are renting a little townhouse through Air BnB. Gillis’ parents will eventually join us and help us look after the boys while we unpack. We figured it was smart to have a clean, calm place to go to each evening while we deal with the chaos of unpacking and making our house into a home. We will also rent a car during this week since there will probably be a few IKEA runs. 

Tying up Loose-ends… kinda:
We are keeping a lot of ties in Sweden open for now. Financially, health wise, etc etc etc. I know that eventually we will move everything over to Ireland, but for now it is a bit easier for us to keep part of our life in Sweden. But if you are moving you’d probably want to talk to the tax office and your insurance company. 
Also, we will always have ties in Sweden since Gillis is Swedish and our kids are half-Swedish. Same for America.

Are we ready? YES. So let’s just cross our fingers that it’s not a complete bust and that our new life in Ireland is everything that we hope it will be. 


Big News

We found out three weeks ago that we are moving to Dublin, Ireland!

Gillis and I have been looking for a new adventure for a long time and when Gillis received a job offer in Dublin we decided that it was a great opportunity for our little family.

While he was interviewing I was still pregnant with Sixten, so it all felt very exciting. Gillis’ second interview was the day after Sixten was born! But when he was finally offered the job two weeks later, I felt really overwhelmed and stressed about the idea of moving to another country.

However, things are slowly starting to fall into place and even though we are moving in a very short time, we all have a very good feeling about Dublin and our new life over there.

We recently found a house to rent, which is really exciting! It will be our first house and it has a little backyard with grass. Henry is going to love it.

We are renting sight unseen, which is always scary, but it definitely helps us as we prepare for our relocation. Knowing where we are going to live and having a place for our stuff to be shipped is making this whole transition a lot easier.

I’ll let you know how it all works out, since we really don’t know what to expect of our house and new neighbourhood.

I’ve heard really lovely things about Dublin and Ireland. I’ve heard the people are really friendly, which so far has proven to be true. Almost every Irish person I’ve been in contact with since our decision to move has gone above and beyond in helping us.

However, I am nervous about making friends once we arrive. I really, really hope that Gillis and I can find a community or else I think we will be pretty miserable.

Right now we are setting up appointments to view daycares for Henry and find a family doctor since Sixten is so young and needs regular check ups and vaccinations.

And did I mention that we are moving next Sunday?

We decided to a hire a company to pack up our stuff into boxes, since having all those boxes sitting around out apartment isn’t wise with rascally Henry and we really don’t have time to pack with so many last minute details and with baby Sixten who wants to be held constantly. 

Another company will ship our stuff from Malmö to Dublin and it will arrive on Monday, July 28th!

We plan on renting another house for one week while we set up our actual house. Hopefully this will take the pressure off of unpacking SO FAST while juggling life with our two year old and newborn in a new country.

There’s a lot to think about and plan, I hope you’ll stay on this new adventure with us.


Mother of Dragons


A week ago things were hard. Like, I can barely function hard. It’s not that they are SO MUCH easier now, but they are easier. Slowly we are making a new normal that will eventually change to another new normal and then again and again, because that is life with kids. 

The first days with Sixten were lovely and blissful. I was on this I JUST GAVE BIRTH high and adrenaline rush and it was powerful. Then we came home and the Baby Blues hit. Baby Blues are a real thing, google it.

I start to feel so much mom guilt about not spending as much time with Henry as I used to. I wasted so much precious time being tired and pregnant lazing on the couch and now Sixten was finally here and I was still so tired and sore and Sixten was eating all the time. But goodness, it wasn’t even a week yet and I felt like the worse mom in the world.

I cried. A lot. I would sneak away from Sixten to put Henry to bed and sob while holding him. Because obviously he hated me and resented me and felt like I was a terrible mom. (Um, no not at all. He’s been pretty awesome during all this change).

And then I remembered. This time is temporary. I will have Henry forever. He’s not going anywhere and neither am I. Deep breath, I’ll get to spend more time with him again soon. Right now Sixten needs me just a little bit more (since I’m his sole source of food…) but one day things will even out. A new normal.


And then right as my mom-guilt started to subside I got sick. It wasn’t the worse cold in the world, but factor in very little sleep it became a pretty awful cold. With pink-eye. In both eyes. Yeah, things were pretty disgusting around here for a few days. I was pretty miserable.

Oh and before any of this started, I accidentally let Sixten breastfed with an improper latch while we were at the hospital because I didn’t know any better and I got a crack in my nipple. It was horrible.

So extreme hormones, extreme mom-guilt over my first born, a cracked nipple, a bad cold, pink eye, and no sleep… it’s been a rough few weeks.


But it’s changing. Slowly.

We are getting to know Sixten a bit better and it makes things easier to know him. He doesn’t like the pram for instance. So we wear him in a baby wrap when we go anywhere. He also doesn’t like a pacifier unless he’s in the car. And he’s really into breastfeeding.

Henry was pretty much the complete opposite in everything above.

We went on a walk last Friday with Sixten in the baby wrap. It felt good. And on Saturday we took our little family on a day trip to Ales Stenar, about an hour away. The fresh air, smell of sea, and change of scenery was needed. The fact that we successfully took our two babies on a mini-road trip felt like a major win.

Basically right now we are just figuring it out. It hasn’t been a month a yet and even then we will still be trying to find that perfect sync. It might take a few months before we really feel like we know what we are doing. And I suppose the important thing is to enjoy right now and not look forward to the future. I’m sure it’ll be a great future, but even with us running in circles around each other, right now is starting to become pretty great too.


40 Weeks and Sixten

Here he is! Sixten Nils Phillip! Arrived on his due date, June 10th and at 3.8kg and 52cm. We are totally smitten with this little kid and he is fantastic.

My labor was a very fast four hours! We got to the hospital with two hours to spare and in so much pain with very fast contractions. I have no idea how far apart they were, but they were stupidly painful and way too frequent. There was no time for an epidural, but let’s thank the world for laughing gas because that is what got me through the worst of the pain. And what a nice, fuzzy feeling it gives you. :)

We spent a cozy 2.5 days at the hospital and we are now so happy to be home. Breastfeeding is going as well as it can in the beginning and for that I am grateful. I was so hoping to breastfeed this time around and right now it seems to working well.

And Henry! My goodness! What an amazing, wonderful person he is. He is in total awe of his little brother and gives him the most amazing slobbery kisses. He is always wanted to hold Sixten’s hand. He pokes his ears a bit too much and has so far been very loving towards him. As loving as an almost-two year old can be to a tiny baby. But we are over the moon with Henry’s reaction and we hope he will continue to stay smitten.

I am sure there will be jealous moments and we’ve had a few tantrums already, but then again, Henry is almost two. Tantrums are expected and so is jealously over ANYTHING. Sooooo, all we can do is try to be the best parent’s to both boys and learn from our mistakes as we go.

Already the TV has been on a bit too much, we’ve let a few rules bend, and what not. But I’m trying to give myself a break because A. It hasn’t even been a week yet and B. It’s going to take a lot of time to adjust and work with both a toddler and a newborn.

STILL. I am lucky. I am grateful. I am so incredibly over the moon with my little family. They are the best.


The Hospital Bag

Our hospital bag has been packed for a few weeks now and I thought I’d share a bit of what we plan to bring along with us.

Sidenote: we are way overpacked. With Henry we ended up staying longer in the hospital than we had originally planned, so I’ve planned for a similar scenario this time around.

For Mamma:

  • Dark yoga pants
  • Nursing tanktop
  • Cardigan- for coverage
  • Cashmere socks- indulge!
  • Slip-on shoes
  • Black undies in a larger size
  • Nightgown
  • Robe
  • Luxurious toiletries- the first shower after birth is incredibly refreshing, you probably deserve some really nice shampoo.
  • Usual toiletries- toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, hair ties, moisturiser, etc

For Pappa:

  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletry bag

(Our hospital doesn’t allow the father’s to stay overnight unless medically necessary. We can transfer to another hospital if Gillis wants to stay, but he will most likely go home to Henry anyways)

For Baby:

  • This kimono onesie
  • And this little outfit in grey
  • 1 sleeper gown- these are so good in the beginning
  • Silk hat
  • Baby pants- the same pair we brought Henry home in
  • A few newborn diapers- just in case
  • 2 blankets- one lightweight, one heavier (you never know the weather in this country)

Extra, etc:

  • High energy, high protein snacks
  • Coconut water- to stay hydrated
  • A gift for Henry from his brother
  • A gift for baby brother from Henry
  • Carseat
  • Kindle and charger
  • iPhone and charger
  • iPad and charger- incase it’s a long stay
  • Champagne!- we’re bringing a mini bottle of champagne to celebrate after baby’s birth! All babies should be celebrated and I can’t wait to have to have that small glass of Champagne.

And there you have it. Let’s hope I didn’t forget anything.


39 Weeks

Still waiting, waiting, waiting. This calm before the storm is pretty nice. Gillis has been so wonderful these past few days, he has pretty much completely taken over parenting Henry so i have I a lot of time to rest. Sleeping in, long naps, long baths, etc. I am very grateful.

But I realized the other day how much I missed Henry. I missed being his go-to person and all of the quality time we used to spend together. But it’s also so good that he gets this time time with his pappa. Gillis never took a long paternity leave (most dads in Sweden will take several months off when their child is around 8-12 months) so now is the time. And I think Henry is at such a fun age where he and Gillis can really play and interact. 

I’ve had a few “pre-labor” symptoms the past few days, but nothing that signals RED ALERT. Part me of feels this pressure to have the baby on his due date, but another part of me is kinda ok with going a bit over. A bit.
I honestly thought this baby would be early, especially after so much false labor for the past few weeks. But it is what it is.

Despite feeling pretty calm about the whole situation, I am worried about a few things:
1. Henry. Making sure he is looked after when it is time to go to the hospital.
2. A fast labor. The idea of the utter chaos makes me uncomfortable.
3. Also a very long labor. Henry’s birth felt very step-by-step, which was nice, but I would prefer to not be in labor for longer than a day…
4. Going to the hospital in the middle of the night. Trying to organise everything (i.e. babysitters, myself, etc) at 2:00 am just doesn’t sound very fun.

Some days it feels like he will come any second and other days I almost forget I am pregnant. I am pretty sure it will happen this week, which if I stop and REALLY think about, is both incredibly exciting and incredibly terrifying.

I know what to expect, but also- I HAVE NO IDEA. Two kids. You never know how much you can love your child until they are born, I find that I am still so surprised at the love I have for Henry and it seems almost impossible that I can love someone else just as much. But I know it will be ok. And we are ready for this baby, so COME OUT NOW BABY.

Ps. The very top picture is my new favourite of Henry. He loves to wear these winter reflector bracelets that he calls his “watch” and he can now put on his boots by himself. Go Henry!


Glimpse at our apartment: Before the Baby


No, no baby yet. Yesterday both my mom and Gillis’ mom called to ask if there was any news on the baby and I had to laugh because they would be some of the first people to find out. When we were expecting Henry I would get so annoyed and mad at anyone who asked about the status of my womb, but I don’t really care this time around. The again, let’s see how I feel if I go overdue, ok? That might be a different story…

I have five days to go until my due date. So really we are just twiddling our thumbs and making up silly last minute errands to run. You don’t want to get too committed to anything at a time like this, but you need little missions to keep yourself distracted.

However, everything is done. My freezer is stocked with food, we have a cleaning service coming to the apartment next Monday so I’m not stressing about smudges or dirt, Henry is healthy, I feel good, everything is more or less in it’s place.

Including this place. I made it a goal to have this apartment “finished” and decorated before the baby arrives and I feel like we have done that. It’s so easy living in a very basic rental apartment with white walls, wood floors, boxy design) because:
A. It’s a rental- there is only so much you can do to change it. No stress.
B. Despite being architecturally uninteresting, this apartment is a great blank canvas and thankfully has a lot of natural light which really makes for a nice home.

I’ve taken a few wonderfully crappy iPhone photos of a few spots in our home and thought I’d share them here, before it’s covered in spit-up rags, old diapers, and forlorn bottles.


Terribly crooked, but I love this Pia Wallen cross blanket so much I have three of them (one is a baby size though). This one is in “nature/off-white” and I can’t seem to find it online anywhere, but I’m sure it’s out there. It’s so perfect for this time of year, at least in Sweden, when the nights are still a bit chilly.
The painting above our bed is from a thrift store, bought years ago. I think it was our first big piece of art, really, our only big piece of art. 

I’d like wider bedside tables and taller lamps, but this works for now. It’s fine and functional and better than the old step-ladders we were using as bedside tables.


And the view when you enter our bedroom. A little co-sleeper crib with our handmade attempt a creating an interesting mobile/wall-decoration, a very classic IKEA rug, and dark blue IKEA blackout curtains, and the best wardrobe that Gillis’ grandfather made so long again. The light is the Kuu ceiling light by One Nordic Furniture. It was fun (really!) to put together. Pretty innovative packaging.


Henry’s room is so sweet and alllllllmost done. I really like his little shelves and our friend Nicole made the “Henry” art. We’ve asked her to make one for Baby Brother as well, which will eventually go right under Henry’s.


And this room! Or rather, this part of this room! Our living room is where we spend most of our time and it’s really become such a nice place to be. We moved Henry’s teepee by the windows and I finally FINALLY found the chair of my dreams on auction.

After a semi-intense bidding war, the Arne Norell “Ilona” chair was mine. I’ve had this chair, or similar ones, on my wish list for well over three years. So finding the perfect one for us was huge! While incredibly soft and buttery, the leather cushions have seen better days. Much better days. I don’t mind the wear, it gives the chair character, but there are some seriously bad stains and we love this chair, so we’re talking about how to get them repaired? I don’t know, honestly. Some of the stains feel a bit moist to the touch, so it really just depends on how we can help this chair be the best little chair it can be.

It feels really good to live in this apartment. Still not a big fan of living in Malmö, but at least this apartment makes me really, really happy.


Week 38

Here we are on the cusp of Week 39. Any day now we will change our lives forever. Again. I don’t feel this nervous anticipation any longer, it’s too late for that, now it’s just a waiting game. Exciting. Great. Tremendous. 

To be honest, I’ve been getting these “I am woman here me roar” sensations over the past few days. I can feel my body preparing. It’s a bit surreal.

But on the other hand, my body is continuing to play tricks on me with a few more bouts of false labor and the other day a few very strong contractions that led to….. nothing. Obviously.

I’ve been waking up around 4:00 am most mornings with contractions for an hour or two before they stop and I then go back to sleep. I’ve forgotten how utterly exhausting these last few weeks are. Today I barely moved and was so tired by barely moving that I took a mid-day nap. That has been the theme around here lately, lots of naps, lots of rest, and lots of fake-out contractions.

In order to keep my energy levels somewhat normal I’ve been trying to eat really well. Whole grains, protein, fruit, veggies- all that stuff. But it’s still summer and there’s ice cream and my number #1 craving for milk chocolate has not in the least bit subsided. But between that, we’ve been eating really well. The hospital bag is stocked with protein bars and coconut water… and champagne. :)

Somewhere before the third trimester I stopped taking my iron pill and my prenatals, so I’ve picked both of those back up in recent weeks. And alongside a few capsules of Evening Primrose Oil and a cup of Red Raspberry Leaf tea, I basically own a whole fertility pharmacy. 

But those naps, man, I forgot how life changing naps can really be.

I really don’t mind being pregnant this time around. It’s both a lot harder and a lot easier the second time. I think that as much as I want to hold this baby in my arms right now, I will miss being pregnant after he is born. I couldn’t have said that with Henry. After Henry was born, I felt so empty and it was a shock. I didn’t expect it. But man I was so over being pregnant.

This morning, Henry woke up at some crazy hour, so I went into his room and laid down next to his crib to help him fall back asleep. We keep a mattress on the floor in his room right now, because he’s been having trouble with sleeping. Gillis and I usually take turns for who goes in Henry’s room, it’s harder on me to lie on that thin mattress at 38 almost 39 weeks pregnant, but I don’t mind. He reaches out beyond his crib and grabs my hand so tightly before falling back asleep. That reassurance, that love, that stability that I give my son just by being there and holding his hand, is worth everything.

I’m so happy to be his mamma and I can’t wait to love and care for his brother.