October, 2009

I wish it hadn't been nearly three months since my last blog entry, but life has been very busy. At the end of July, we went to Sweden for a short visit. Getting there was more than a little stressful, but once there we did have a good visit. We started off again at Universeum in Göteborg and got to meet E. and her 2 daughters, a friend of mine that I hadn't seen in over 10 years (the first of 3 FB reunions this summer). We went again to Falkholts in Ed and had a lovely dinner with Farmor and all H's siblings and almost all of their partners (we missed you M.). Then it was over to the east coast where we spent a couple days at Lindholmen then a night at M&J's new place in Stockholm. Sam and Nina had a brilliant time with their cousins. We came home and had a short time to recover-- too short really-- before leaving for the US. H. had come down with a bad cold while in Sweden that he recovered from, but I caught it before we left for the US, and I was really quite ill for most of that trip and for several weeks afterwards although I did my best to rally. Luckily the kids did not catch it. They really enjoyed our time in Vermont, and we were especially grateful to Auntie K., Uncle E., and Cousin S. for spending several days with us there and to Uncle J. for making the long trip from MD. We got to celebrate Grama S's birthday with her three kids all together, something that hadn't happened for many years. We loved meeting S., a very dear friend that I hadn't seen for over 20 years, going to Silver Lake and going to the Montshire. The best night was the night of the bonfire, where the kids roasted marshmallows, Uncle J. took care of the BBQ details, and Auntie K. provided another fab dessert. Great company, great food, lovely spot.
Then it was down to Cape Cod where we were again very lucky to have Auntie K. and Cousin S. keep us company. The kids liked tubing and going on the boat, playing bird bingo with Grammy, and kayaking with Grampy. The kids were also completely thrilled by the whale watch we went on with my friend M. and her two kids who are about the same age as Sam and Nina. We got to go to the Museum of Science where the electricity show was a big hit and where we were met by Cousin J.. We then went to Uncle J&Auntie B's house where we had a lovely dinner and got to meet other Cousin J. and Baby Cousin T. whom we hadn't met before. We wrapped up the Boston leg by staying on Grammy and Grampy's boat in Boston harbor which was a really neat experience.
Then it was down to NYC where L. was very kind and let us stay in her apartment in Fort Greene. We got to see Auntie M. both Friday and Saturday nights and got to meet Uncle C. on Saturday night. Auntie M. and Uncle C. then met us on Sunday and we took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Nina made an instant friend on the ferry which was wonderful to see, interestingly another bilingual girl. We had some yummy pizza and frozen yogurt then said goodbye to Auntie M. and Uncle C. and headed for Newark where we spent the night before flying out. After a few weeks of different antibiotics and nose drops I was reasonably recovered. The kids had an enormously difficult time readjusting to English time, Sam in particular. In the end we had to resort to star charts and a "social story" about sleep.
On September 4th it was time for Sam to start in Year 3. This meant going around to the back of the school independently which didn't really happen until Nina started school on the 15th, but he does it now, so he got there in the end. The best part of Year 3 is that Sam gets to be in the choir, which he is really enjoying. One of the more difficult parts is that he has considerably more homework now.
Nina started school on September 15th. She goes half-days every day until Christmas, then starts going whole days in January.

The past week has been very different for Sam and Nina. Eight days ago I had my tonsils out, and since then, Håkan has had sole responsibility for the kids. He has had an exceptionally busy week as he also worked as much as he could from home. I think it has been quite good particularly for him and Nina to get a chance to spend more time than usual together. They have had some fun outings to Richmond Park and to Terrace Gardens. The kids have been very understanding during my ongoing recovery.
We got a call from Mrs. A. at the Vineyard finally about Sam's Circle of Friends which, after having been on his statement for two years, is finally going to be set up. We are really happy about this as the social side of school continues to be the most difficult side of school for Sam. During that phone call Mrs. A. also mentioned that she had been talking to Mrs. L. about Nina, at which point I began to laugh, despite having almost no voice, because I had been waiting for that. Turns out they had been discussing Nina's reading level which is very high, so that is something we'll discuss with Mrs. L. at the parent conferences.
As a choir member, Sam got to go to the Royal Albert Hall a few weeks ago where the Vineyard Choir performed one song and many other schools also performed. He enjoyed that experience except for the scary story the choir director told on the way back, which kept him up at night for a few nights...
Nina has made some friends in her class and the parallel class. She is enjoying her new ballet class and enjoys football more consistently now that Isabelle has joined her group.