The Great Swedish Voyage

  • Posted on October 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

In homage to my friend and colleague Kyle, who will soon be moving to Sweden, we set out on Saturday afternoon in search of authentic Swedish meatballs, lingonberries, modern design, and cheap furniture and home decorations. We strapped Stella into the car and took off:

wearing purple, which was voted the best color in Sweden

Wearing purple, which was voted the best color in Sweden.

Consulting the map for directions to our great northern destination

Consulting the map for directions to our great northern destination.

Behold! Great puffy Swedish clouds!

Behold! Great puffy Swedish clouds!

We finally spot the tell-tale blue and yellow sign with the Swedish font.

We finally spot the tell-tale blue and yellow sign with the Swedish font.

There it is, the blue box of wonder!

There it is, the blue box of wonder!

I've heard that Sweden is obsessed with sauce. This is for those that like gravy a little too much.

I've heard that Sweden is obsessed with sauce. The Swedish Weight Doctor is for those that like gravy a little too much.

Husband: Where'd we park the car? Wife: I think it was in the $9.99 throw section.

Husband: Where did we park the car? Wife: I think it was in the $9.99 throw section.

A warm lowercase Swedish welcome.

A warm lowercase Swedish welcome.

Methodist Koreans in Sweden too! Who knew?

Methodist Koreans in Sweden too! Who knew?

Certified authentic Swedish meatballs. We took the meatball shortcut.

Certified authentic Swedish meatballs. We took the meatball shortcut.

What clever little carts they have in Sweden. Stella was amused....for approximately 30 seconds.

What clever little carts they have in Sweden. Stella was amused....for approximately 30 seconds.

GET ME DOWN, she says

GET ME DOWN, she says.

Testing the bright Swedish table...is everything so colorful in Sweden?

Testing the bright Swedish table...is everything so colorful in Sweden?

if you avoid the gravy you can fit into the rocking chairs.

if you avoid the gravy you can fit into the rocking chairs.

Beautiful Swedish gardens.

Beautiful Swedish gardens.

OMGGG GIANT SWEDISH SPIDERS WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT STEP ON IT MOTHERFUCKER IT'S GOT MY FOOT AHHHHHHHHHHHH

OMGGG GIANT SWEDISH SPIDERS WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT STEP ON IT MOTHERFUCKER IT'S GOT MY FOOT AHHHHHHHHHHHH

Kyle has told me many things about Sweden but he never mentioned the traditional Swedish crayfish OR the traditional Swedish buffalo chicken wrap. Do they come with lingonberries? Where are the Swedish fish?

Kyle has told me many things about Sweden but he never mentioned the traditional Swedish crayfish OR the traditional Swedish buffalo chicken wrap. Do they come with lingonberries? Where are the Swedish fish?

We stop for a snack in the cafe: meatballs with gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberries. I've never felt so Swedish in my life.

We stop for a snack in the cafe: meatballs with gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberries. I've never felt so Swedish in my life.

Spongy little balls of meat. Yum.

Spongy little balls of meat. Yum.

Let me translate these signs for you: Leave your kids here while you shop! We've got Wall-E on! The second sign: Fucking Delicious Meatballs!

Let me translate these signs for you: Leave your kids here while you shop! We've got Wall-E on! The second sign: Fucking Delicious Meatballs!

Actually, in slang smaklig maltid means "bon appetit."  But "Fucking Delicious Meatballs!" is the official translation.

Actually, in slang smaklig maltid means "bon appetit." But "Fucking Delicious Meatballs!" is the official translation.

Thank god they translate their signs here. I thought this said "your bra is showing."

Thank god they translate their signs here since they use so much slang. The official translation is "your bra is showing."

And then we went home with the bright little table. The end.

Stella Does the Silly Pizza Song Dance

  • Posted on September 15, 2009 at 7:28 am

This one is for my dad-I present Stella doing the “Silly Pizza Song” on her Signing Times DVD. (I’m on the side lines encouraging her to dance and be energetic and am in no way prompting her to sign.)My favorite part is the spinning frenzy:

Silly Pizza Song from L.A. King on Vimeo.

First Art Project

  • Posted on December 16, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Stella came home from school yesterday with her first ever arts and crafts project:

What a cute little reindeer. I think she did a great job, especially with cutting the head and nose and drawing the eyelashes. I am going to keep it forever and ever and ever.

This is so sad…

  • Posted on September 30, 2008 at 7:41 pm

I can’t stop thinking about this. It’s a blog about a woman who got a septic streptococcal pneumoniae infection when she was pregnant.

The blog is a little hard to follow, but here is the rundown: Carol had to have an emergency c-section back in June because she got really sick. Then, her blood started clotting uncontrollably, I think due to the drugs she was on to help her blood pressure stabilize, and it basically made parts of her body die.

Her skin died and started sloughing off, necessitating skin grafts.

Her legs had to be amputated below the knee.

Her left arm was amputated below the elbow.

Her right ring finger was amputated.

The nerves in her eyes died and now she is also blind.

All because she got a strep infection.

Can you even imagine? You are pregnant, looking forward to the birth of your child. The next thing you know, you wake up in the hospital and your life has completely flipped the fuck out. Like your worst nightmare.

To be in that state, and not be able to feed, nurture, cuddle or kiss your newborn baby. The baby not even knowing its mother. And, the woman also has an older daughter–it looks like she’s a toddler, maybe two or three years old. The family seems to have a great support system, and the baby is now thriving. But still. The husband always seems to have a positive attitude when he writes updates.

My heart goes out to them. Get well, Carol.

Get That BPA Out of Your Mouth Right Now

  • Posted on September 23, 2008 at 5:45 pm

All of the talk about BPA has really muddled my brain. BPA, short for Bisphenol A, is a compound used to make water bottles, CDs, sports equipment, and other common consumer goods. Oh, and did I mention baby bottles?

The controversy, in a nutshell, is some reports say that BPA causes hyperactivity, fertility problems, cancer, autism, growth problems, ETC ETC ETC. Just your run-of-the-mill toxic element wreaking havoc on your body. Some countries, such as Germany and Canada, are even trying to ban BPA.

Just a few weeks ago, the FDA issued a final report on it’s study of BPA, concluding that there is “no direct evidence for health effects in people.” The report says that similar conclusions have been reached by other government agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority.

Then another report was released that said BPA causes heart disease.

So I really don’t know what to think anymore, except maybe stick to my theory that pretty much anything can kill you, so moderation is best.

But I also like the creed “better safe than sorry”, so I took advantage of the little-known Babies R Us policy that allows you to exchange your bottles for BPA-free bottles. You don’t need receipts, packages, or boxes–just the bottles. (Don’t forget the little bottle brushes, or they’ll subtract a dollar. Unless you distract the cashier and they forget to subtract a dollar, which also works.) They will give you store credit for new bottles. It also comes in handy when you aren’t so fond of the bottles you already have, like if you have Doctor Browns bottles with those eleventy billion gazillion little parts.

So return your bottles, be worry free about BPA in your baby, and try out a new brand of bottles!

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

  • Posted on July 3, 2008 at 11:37 am

I think that Stella LOOKS LIKE A GIRL. She’s not one of those androgynous babies that could go either way. And practically every day I dress her in girly outfits. She looks like a cute blob of pink. Oozing girlishness. She has a pink pacifier. She wears pink socks. She has her name, STELLA, pimped out in stickers on her stroller. So why do people ask me if it’s a boy or a girl? Do people really dress second-born boys in frilly pink dresses and stick pink pacifiers in their mouths? Is it not completely obvious that she’s a girl?

My old self would say that people are just being polite, and don’t want to offend me and say the wrong thing. (”Oh, your little boy has such broad shoulders, he’s going to make a great football player, and with those giant feet, he’ll be a fast runner too!”) But having heard every sort of rude, intrusive comment when I was pregnant, I now know that people are NOT that polite. (”Your nose is so huge! You look like a lush!” “You’re about to pop!”)

Swim Suit Model

Avoiding The Paparazzi When You Have The World’s Cutest Baby

  • Posted on July 2, 2008 at 11:44 am

We’ve managed to avoid the kidnappers thus far. But, we’ve found that there’s another downside to having the world’s cutest baby–the Paparazzi. The cameras. The fans. They follow us everywhere.

On Monday, Stella and I ate lunch at the Dominion Deli at Arlington Boulevard and Gallows Road with seven fabulous mommy and baby friends (which is always a sight-eight women, eight babies, eight strollers, and several gratuitous flashes of breasts as we feed our babies. I try to tip the servers well). We sat in the corner of the patio and managed to avoid the paparazzi all through lunch, although this was probably because I had Stella in a sling and no one could see her face. When I put her in her stroller and put her sunglasses over her eyes, it was ALL OVER. CUTENESS OVERLOAD. BRING ON THE PAPS.

We walked to the Starbucks for an after-lunch grande Lite Mocha Mint Frappuccino with chocolate whipped cream. The paparazzi, made up of three women, spotted us. They followed us to our car. They oohed and aahhhed over Stella, saying things like:

“Oh My GAWD she is the CUTEST BABY EVER!”

“I didn’t know they made sunglasses for babies!”

“Are you on maternity leave?”

“That sure is a nice car seat!”

and my favorite…”CAN I TAKE HER PICTURE?”

The youngest woman pulls out her fancy blackberry/camera phone/MP3/GPS/whatever and takes a picture of Stella. Because she is the cutest freaking thing she’s ever seen. Oh well, at least she asked.

Stella with Sunglasses

Stella and Her Bees

  • Posted on June 7, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Stella LOVES her bee mobile, as displayed in this video (in spite of the fact that she lets out a little cry at the end. I think she was mad because she thought it was stopping). When it’s on, she stares at it intently. The only problem is that it requires someone with full control over their hands and fingers (i.e. Mommy or Daddy) to wind it for her every minute or so. Over. And Over. And Over. But it keeps her happy, so I love it too.

Any Day Now

  • Posted on March 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Baby. Baby. Baby. Baby. Baby. Baby. NO Baby. Not yet.

We’re all ready to go–we put the final touches on the nursery, installed the car seat, and packed the hospital bag. Now we just wait.

I’m feeling huge and a bit uncomfortable. I can put socks on, but I can’t really cross my legs anymore. I’ve given up putting lotion on my legs because bending over makes my back hurt. My feet and ankles are so swollen they look like butternut squashes. And OOOOOHHHHH the pressure. The baby is head down, on my bladder. I can feel her little butt wiggling at the top of my stomach. My back aches.

Enough complaining. The pregnancy hasn’t been bad at all, and I really do like being pregnant. I love feeling the baby move inside me. And lucky me, I never got nausea, heartburn, indigestion, or any other of those symptoms. Some stretch marks and swelling, and that’s about it. Oh yeah, and my PREGNANT NOSE.

People still say that I’m “glowing” and that I look like “the happiest pregnant woman they’ve ever seen.” I think they are mistaking a pregnant glow with my permanently flushed face and gigantic red nose. A cashier at the grocery store asked me when I was due, and then she told me she knew I was having a girl. When I asked how she knew that, she said she could tell by my nose. AAAHHH. Yes, it’s swollen and red. How does that mean I’m having a girl?

I’ve discovered that people have no qualms about what they say to me. Adults, not kids, say the darnedest things. Some of my favorites include:

  • “Are you having twins? You look like you are having twins.”
  • “Are you okay? You look sick, like you are about to throw up.” *(see note above about not experiencing nausea.)
  • “How many are in there?”
  • “I hope you have your bag packed and in the car.” (as he slowly backs away from me, like I’m going to get birth goo on him right then and there).
  • “Are you sure there’s only one in there? That’s what they told my mom, and then out came me and my twin brother.” (coming from a man who is 55 years old. There have been advances in technology since 1952.)

38 1/2 Weeks

Dressed up for Amy’s wedding, 38 1/2 weeks pregnant

The Nursery--Finished!

The nursery

The Great Outdoors

  • Posted on September 7, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity, eating and emotions. My brother Eric was visiting from Indianapolis, and we managed to do some fun junk outdoors, eat way too much food and laugh a lot, in spite of some other really awful things that happened. (I’m still processing how to even write about one of them, it’s so intense and extreme and scary, so right now I’m going to stick to happy thoughts.)

One highlight of last weekend was our trip to the National Zoo on Friday-we spent eight hours walking around, and I think we managed to see every single animal there except the elusive liger baby anteater. However, by the end of the day, we were all so physically worn out, and my legs hurt so bad that I could barely walk back to the car. I did manage to get some pretty cool shots of animals with my nifty zoom lens:

Cute Panda
Panda!

Gharial
Gharial–sort of like a crocodile with a really funny mouth

Strange Creature
unidentified mammal with the speed of a liger and the wit of a mongoose.

We ate SO MUCH FOOD this past weekend. I am sure I gained 11 pounds. There were too many good meals to review them all, but a few of the highlights were: Fogo de Chao (again–we cashed in one of our free lunches), Mannequin Pis–an amazing Belgian restaurant that was an instant favorite, and Jaleo, which is always a winner. I am still full. (Okay, not really.)

Come back anytime, Eric!