go owen go!

after eating double helpings of green veggies to grow big and strong and learning to balance and fall without his pedals owen pedaled down the alleyway on his big boy bike!

new blog!

we have officially reached capacity at adventurefidfam so if you're keen on more fidfam adventure follow us at fidfamadventure.blogspot.com newly christened as ice cream motorcycles. we promise more ice cream, more books and more pics. . . hope to see you there!

much love!
cara, michael & owen

good night sweden (with dreams from the basque country)

tomorrow morning we start our trek back to california after our 6 week "adventure" abroad. we've been lucky to have weekend excursions during our stay in karlstad and even a week with my parents bookended with trips to uppsala and gothenburg. and the last week in basque country has truly been the sweet ending to our sweet-en stay... literally paid for by the weeks michael's spent living overseas with hotel points and airline miles (and somewhere in there we get double miles for freeway time done along the 241 and 91). and i've started a few posts trying to mark the moments but either abandoned them due to blogger-block (no different than whan i was seven and keeping a hello kitty diary and if i missed entries exhausted myself trying to "catch up" and by then it all seemed silly and outdated) exacerbated by too many tram rides in too many days or simply by inconsistent hotel internet connections. . .

look for delayed posts when we return from san sebastian and helsinki and i've put the slideshow up to the right from biarritz. we found ourselves (not suprisingly) taking less pictures but being more thankful for our time together. the basque country was simply amazing--the people warm and beautiful, the water clear and serene, and the paella and sangria marvellous. as we took our two busses along the bay of biscay heading south towards spain it seemed that we could have gotten off at any stop and spent another week on the beach or sitting in a local cafe. we weren't sure what to expect from a "resort town" but the cobblestoned french streets, the patisseries and the boulangeries, the crenellated buildings, the wrought iron gates and the magical cliffs were right out of a french fairy tale in the heart of a basque surf town. i found myself jumping in the sea and dancing around in my bathing suit (something suprisingly i hadn't done in years despite how often we go to the beach) just as happily as i eyed my boys building sand fortresses out of sand pebbles while i read didion on a stolen hotel towel. . . ah, i hadn't meant to write anything at all, what with all that blog block but i suppose with no pretention or motivation here's a bit of what i couldn't say all week and why after a failed internet connection i gave up on turning on the laptop altogether. . .

i'll end this with two of my favorite owen-isms from the week and our one family snapshot taken while travelling.

oh, and this picture of owen trying on a beret holding a bull in the tourist shop--by the time we left he had mastered "bonjour! je m'appelle owen" (which he recited no less than 37 times in the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel and i'm convinced his recissitation of this to the front desk is what got us an amazing corner room) as well as delighted the french madames with his sincere see-voo-plays and mair-cee-bow-coos.

in helsinki next to a rather dour couple owen looks at me and rather loudly asks: "mom, why don't ALL adults have little boys like me?". i giggled.

in biarritz owen stopped at a rather sexy mint green vespa and shouts: "oooh! an ice cream motorcycle!"


unable to post any pics from the hotel in Helsinki... but here's where we've been and where we are today...

at the glasseria

i had to share this bit of wisdom from the glasseria menu: "to experience the ultimate culinary indulgence, we feel it is important to eat ice cream." you can see we have been taking this swedish mantra very seriously (shown above my "caffeine bomb" featuring löfbergs lila coffee and citrus and owen's blueberry) and will continue to propagate this philosophy when we return!

thoughts before packing up sweden

today i'm packing up our things and it seems we've only just arrived here in karlstad. summer is lovely here as the city comes alive after being in a winter sleep (with only a few hours of daylight half the year, this isn't simply metaphorical) and the parks and gardens and cafes open their doors just for these few months. we've been lucky to do so much travel and so little looking out the window in a hotel room in the rain (ah, norway). we could spend another week taking busses to gardens and parks we haven't yet explored (how could have missed a visit to mårbacka?).

it has been a relatively short trip--just a month rather three--and we were ablet o enjoy a week of it with my parents (owen asked when they left: "who is coming to visit next?" and points to the scandic "there's where my nana and papa stayed" every time we walk by). the packing is tricky though, as we have more things here than we carried over and we're committed to only travel with two suitcases and one carry on each among the three of us (mind you we have 2 additional suitcases and 2 duffel bags). the bittersweetness of that is it means michael will come home with us but then come back to karlastad to wrap up the project without us. so we just need to figure out the essentials we'll need at home. . .

(and the sweet part) . . . and what we'll need for sunning (shoo! shoo! rain clouds) in biarritz. michael is taking vacation time and we're cashing in a year of living at the radisson in norway for a week of resort living in biarritz, france. rooftop pool, sandy beach, and a short train ride to san sebastian. michael is looking forward to watching the tour, owen to his bucket and spade, and me to my satchel of books.

we'll spend a weekend in helsinki, finland en route and another day in stockholm on the layover back home. and then, well, we're just not really sure. i'm officially unemployed, by the way; i didn't "get the call" to renew my annual contract at UCR but i think very few people did. michael has already made me an official project plan for finishing the dissertation and who knows what else might happen if i have a husband at home (winkwink). ok, off to packing. i'll post our karlstad slideshow soon and we'll be updating en route. . .

sagovärld and other magical places OR what we're reading in sweden

i'd been collecting these gorgeous, whimsical postcards of faeries and flowers and strawberry queens by elsa beskow "the Beatrix Potter of Scandanavia" but it wasn't until we went to junibacken--the children's museum in stockholm dedicated to astrid lindgren (pippi longstocking creator)--that i really fell in love with beskow's sagovärld or faerie world (here's a cool link showing the making of this exhibit). owen called it "food world" and after being terrorized by the story book "train" (a really really slow moving float through creepy oversized dioramas of melancholic scandanavian fairy tales) he was thrilled to find beskow's blueberry land where he could ride on a mouse, sail in a walnut boat and ski towards a giant orange.

after the adventures we spent way too much time (and most of our souvie budget) in the amazing giftshop/bookstore. here were our 4 favorite picks (the rest of our finds will be appearing in stockings and gift baskets!):

peter in blueberry land
we're looking forward to collecting the rest of beskow's stories-- the sun egg and ollie's ski trip were other favorites in sagovärld

Selma Lagerlöf, the swedish writer who was the first woman to win the nobel prize for literature wrote
The Wonderful Adventure of Nils
as a geography reader for Sweden from a commission by the national teacher's association. the 20 kroner note has Lagerlöf on the front and Nils riding the goose on the back. this will be a fun journey to read as a bedtime series!

and of course we picked up tove jannson the finish writer of the swedish moomin world--owen loves the peekaboos and cutouts of moomintroll trying to get home to mama with his jug of milk in

the book about moomin, mymble and little my

we'll be in helsinki, finland this weekend and although we probably won't make it to mummimaalima in naantali a few hours north of helsinki (check out this informative link about the mummin family and moomin world) we may have to find the moomin shop!

finally--the last book isn't swedish per se, but we couldn't resist
Richard Scarry vi lär oss ABC and have been enjoying learning swedish words (especially getting those extra 3 letters!) with lowly worm and the cat family

you can sing most anything!

owen is determined to sing his way through sweden-- here he is at the mariesbergsskogen music garden doing do-re-mi (he's also been known to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at bus stops):