Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter feeling

I love winter on a bright cold crispy sunny day with white views. But only for a week or two. After that my love turns into a miserable frozen feeling. The snow makes things pretty but also so hard at the same time. So much cloths that needs to be put on all team members before even thinking to get out. And when everyone finally got cloths on and are out it is too cold to be out more then half an hour. It is one more week left of January and then still 2 months left of winter. I am making plans how to survive Russian winter and how we eventually will defrost. To break it up a little we are planning to go and get warmed up in Dubai end of February.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Happy New Year 2016 & summary of 2015

We ended 2015 in the best way with beautiful snowy winter weather with friends visiting us from Prague. Nice walks, great company and good wines. Me and Mila made our premier cantered on Soda on snowy field this cold sunny day the last day of the year.

How I summaries the year of 2015:
2015 was and interesting year and difficult in many ways and also full-filling in other ways. After Russian winter down-town Moscow we came to Sweden in spring to wait for our new team member to arrive. We made Lundsätter the base that we wanted. Building second floor and creating home. Found new friends and enjoying having family around.
After cold and hard winter and a pretty over all lost feeling after leaving Prague came Filip our big bright Mr Sunshine. He is born with a smile and it is amazing how we all can learn so much from such small baby. He has a positive approach to everything apart from when he is very tired. His smile is catching and he can even make the grumpiest old pensioner smile that by the looks of it had not managed to smile since the last century. He is a real charmer and has brought as all so much happy positive feelings. I will do everything I possibly can to make sure he keeps smiling and keep us smiling, 

2015 with a summer that never really came and pretty hard times that we spend so much time apart as Loren worked in Moscow and me and kids staying in Sweden. "What doesn't kill you make you stronger" and yes we feel less lost and much stronger as a team then ever.

Mila has had a good year with finding great friends that she is playing fun creative games (running around with her stick horses for hours just like her mamma) by themselves and just coming down to get served pancakes or Swedish cinnamon buns. She is the thinking miss Einstein of our team and are now mastering both languages no problem. She has developed a strong passion for horses and is the cutest and bravest little rider ( I wonder who has influenced her...) she knows everything about Frozen and wants to be called Elsa instead of Mila and to wear glittery dresses and long capes. Strong love for her pappa and missing him a lot when he has been away working. Knows more song lyrics then myself. She has grown into a strong and sensitive girl who knows what she likes and what she wants. It is a pleasure to be with her and she is such great help with her little brother.

I have taken multitasking to an even higher level to master one small baby a three year old and driving a building project on the house as well as growing fresh vegetables in the garden and building painting and sewing new creative ideas night time. I have managed to buy two new strollers and can soon open a museum of all my strollers. I have also taken my packing skills to super high level, how I can manage to fit my family with stroller bags and everything in my "snezka" Citroen C3 is even for me surprising and a sport every time.

During 2015 I found a much calmer approached to life, enjoying and feeling fortunate being able to be home with the kids this short time while they are small. Before I used to feel stressed that I should get back to work doing carrier the sooner the better mostly because of the influence of the Swedish norm and its general idea of what equality is. That being mother and choosing and even enjoying staying at home more then a year is nothing but a trap for women. Reading Swedish mama magazines was making me even more stressed and making me doubt our active decision of how we want our life to look. Doubting that I could no longer call myself a strong woman with observance of equality. What changed and made me feel an even stronger woman proud of our decision instead of apologizing for it, I don't really know but maybe it was when Mila started kindergarten for a short while. It was not in anyway a bad experience the teachers were very nice and sweet etc but I realized there that Mila doesn't need kindergarten for her development and well-being. We have such active fun days that I believe she is learning more with me home living life then being put in daycare and I enjoying being with her. Also talking to my aunt and a friend who both work as teachers in kindergarten they confirmed that my gut feeling were right that small children doesn't need kindergarten or that it offers more then what I got to offer as a parent.
Me and Loren has actively decided how we want our life to look while the kids are small and have therefore made arrangements accordingly. I don't feel at all trapped or that I as a woman will regret this decision in the future. I have great experienced from living and working around the world, a master degree in business and most important great creativity and ideas. I also have many many years still to work that I can "afford" not to for a few years. I am not scared that I will not managed to make myself successful in the way I want to be successful. I am now taking the chance to develop my creative interests with illustrating and sewing with more exposure and positive feed back then I could every dream about. If I can be able to take it to a higher level we will see. Learning and living in a different society and culture is hard and very fulfilling in the same time and I am sure that the experience I am collecting I can make use of all my life. Do I need to add that it feels great to have come to this acceptance of my way of living and not letting norms making me doubt myself.

I am happy that the kids had a chance to spend so much great time with their grandparents and really building a relationship which has been hard before with us living abroad. Having Lundsätter makes us closer and I can also collect family like I did for Milas birthday. It was a great decision to make this our home base a solid base which will always stay and feel like home for all of us ( well apart from all my crazy developing ideas)

December I got back on a horse and I am hoping to get fitter and be able to do more riding during 2016. Yes I said get into shape indeed as most important for 2016 is to stay healthy and happy. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Birthday girl

Our sweet and very intelligent girl Mila turned 3 years old in December. I can't believe how fast she is growing up and what an amazing little person she is growing into. She has been playing birthday for the past half a year so I wanted her day to be as she wanted and expected it to be. I prepared the house ready for her big day with colorful lights, signs and glitter. Fishing from the fishpond that I had created the night before was a success and is a Swedish tradition for birthday parties and was a very important element of her celebration. Unfortunately pappa Loren couldn't be with us but was on the phone from Moscow from early in the morning ready to sing Happy Birthday for our sleeping beauty. I woke up at 6 and made 2-3 attempts to wake her up by singing Happy birthday in different languages and versions and a tray with candles and presents but she was sleeping so sweet that me and Filip had to wait another 2-3 hours before she wanted to open her eyes. We had an awesome day with a party for her friends in the morning and for family in the afternoon. We were strictly forbidden to sing for her. But she enjoyed all the play, cakes and presents.

Christmas 2015

Not much activity here at the blog for some time. I have had a break from computer partially by purpose but mainly because my computer broke down big time. I know I can update via other devices but not the same for me typing on the screen. I am emotional connected with my keypad and my computer and I am very grateful that great IT people managed to bring my computer back to life.

 So what have Team Nikolovski been up to. Well we left Moscow and headed to Sweden first of Advent. We have had a long great great stay with lots of fun activities and a fun December running up to Christmas. Mila did a premier visit to Stockholm Horse Show as well as learning all about St. Lucia and performing as the cutest Lucia all of December but of course with a peak at 13 of December. We have also enjoy being in the stables and I am so happy to finally be back in the saddle and utilize muscles that has been in hibernation for years. Mila has reunited with her best friend Malou and yes they are still great together. Filip reunited with morfar Stefan and have enjoyed hanging with him. My mother helped with taking the kids so me and Loren could enjoy our first evening out down town Stockholm by ourselves, I think first date night in 3 years. I am so happy that the kids are creating such great relationships with both grandmother and grandfather and aunt. We have seen our great friends and family and prepared the house for Christmas with decoration, baking and songs.

Lots of fun and  I am happy that we have our base in Lundsätter and that everyone in the team feels home and comfortable. Here Christmas in some pictures.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sankta Lucia

Happy Sankta Lucia today! Swedish celebration of saint Lucia who is coming with the light. I have a little girl her who is crazy about Lucia and all the traditional songs. We have celebrated three days in a row. Friday Lucia concert in our church. Saturday we had great friends and family over for glögg and Christmas snacks and Mila and her best friend performed songs dressed as the two cutest Lucia's all afternoon. Today Sunday 13 December the actual lucia day and we had chance to join great tradition with Lucia on horses. Mila borrowed a very handsome black pony with amazingly long mane. It was so nice walking in a frozen landscape as the sun was setting. After a great weekend we are now putting all lucia gear away until next year and now focus on 3 year cold birthday next weekend instead.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Illustration Book dream

I keep dream about that one day I will manage to put together a children book. It is a thrilling dream and I keep thinking about different stories and characters. I also draw some of my ideas while I am dreaming. In matter of fact I have since I was a kid being creating stories while I am drawing.
Here is an illustration of a girl who loves all type of animals and who are imagine how life would be with these kind of different animals. Happiness and a lot of challenges handling the different characters. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Summer heat in our kitchen

I have noticed a big cultural difference that I am trying to get use to, but it is hard. Sweden has cold winters (or should have or used to have at least) same goes for Moscow I am expecting minus degrees and snow. The difference is that here they are kind of compensating for the cold outside temperature with extra super warm inside. I mean 25 degrees seems to be normal and many people I see use shorts and t-shirts as indoor clothing. In Sweden normal is around 20 degrees inside it is warm but not summer hot and you still need to add a layer of wool to keep toasty and warm but it is pretty comfortable I think or maybe its because I am use to it. So here I am sitting in our kitchen and sweating in 24,7 degrees and can hardly think straight. Floor heating and also radiators. Why I don't turn the heating down you might wonder.. I do. But unfortunately in order to get the heating system to warm up upstairs I need to keep a higher temperature on the thermostat which is placed downstairs. Maybe this will be a blessing when the cold weather comes but for now I feel like I am melting away and yes I am also starting to use my summer cloths inside and opening windows and maybe soon I will walk in bikini, or maybe not... 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Memory Illustration & Russian update

Tonight I managed to put together a memory illustration from November and our Moscow adventures. We have been here just over a month and time is really flying by not far off before we are heading back to Sweden for birthday, Christmas & New Year and Christmas II (orthodox). We have really managed to settled in here better then I ever expected and I am so happy for that. I will list some important happenings. 

Happy girl - I am so proud of Mila that I feel like throwing a big party. We started a kids fitness group twice a week in our neighborhood more or less as soon as we arrived. Mila was so shy and uncomfortable hiding between my legs holding on to me screaming mamma as soon as teacher even looked at her in the beginning. It is in Russian with Russian rhymes and songs and different exercises and I thought it would be fun to met other kids in the area. After a couple of times I thought this will never work why am I putting her through this. But she wanted to continue and so we did and now she is running around having so much fun feeling comfortable and slowly learning some Russian words and songs ( and so am I ) She is at least saying hi, bye, thank you and green in Russian. To see her so happy, enjoying and learning new culture makes me so proud, happy and relieved.

Mr Sunshine Filip continues to be our big bright happy sunshine. He is such positive character that he is such pleasure to be around. Even through this hell of teething he is doing his best not letting the crankiness take over.He loves playing with toys and things his big sister is so great and funny. He has started to eat more and more and he is so eager to try everything. Today he tried great soup, chicken and small pieces of Swedish buns.  I admit I am monitoring his poo or no poo business like a hawk and after some issues when he finally manage I am so happy that it is crazy how I can be so happy for poo!!

Rescuing Angel I am so happy to have met a great neighbor and friend in our area. To be honest I don't know what I would do without her. She helps me with all sorts of things bringing me nice products from the market, sending be links where I can order things online, borrowing me things for Filip, not only does she invites us for lunch and dinners she also makes a amazingly good food and it is so nice to really get to taste real homemade Russian food. Mila likes to play with her daughter even if they don't understand each other yet they find a way to have fun together. This is so nice for us and we are so very grateful for this friendship and wish we could do more in return.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy 4th wedding anniversary

Happy 4th wedding anniversary  to us!! 
Best four years! So grateful we met and were brave enough to follow our hearts and strong feelings for us and got married. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Family Portrait in the making

I have been drawing so many family portraits lately and finally I got around to make Team Nikolovski family portrait. Started with a draft and then from that added inc and watercolors and more details. I love the process but now it needs to rest a little until tomorrow when I am hoping to be able to continue the finishing touch.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy 6 months little boy!!

Today our little Filip is turning 6 months. I can't believe how fast the time is flying. It felt like it was yesterday he join us but at the same time like he has been around forever. I feel pitty I haven't have time to draw memory illustrations for him as I did for all Mila's progresses and developments. I guess that's how it is to be a little brother. But I have a few started and I will definatly get around of finishing them as I think it is very nice way of remembering this baby times.

Our baby Filip is such happy boy, a big sunshine and I can count on one hand the times he has been upset. He loves his routines since he is born. Bedtime and wake up like an old man. When Mila was a baby I read about holding babies hand to get it to fall asleep and that was like reading science fiction... But this little champ really he falls asleep just holding hand or reading a story.. He loves his big sister more then anything and also is a great fan of his granddad. Doesn't mind to be passed around to different arms. Smiles when he wakes up and smiles and flirts to anyone. Very sweet little boy and we are so happy that he came to us, such blessing.

Happy 6 month!

Wine tasting

Team Nikolovski is using the opportunity while we are in Russia to try wine from this region as that is something we can't get hold of that easily back in Sweden. So Italian, French, Spanish, South African and Portuguese wine has to wait and instead trying Russian, Belarus, Moldavian etc types of wines. So far we haven't found one which really fits our taste and I decided to start to take pictures and reviewing them here so I can keep track of what we have tried and if we find something we like it is good to remember.

Todays wine was very rich but way too sweet.

For you my dear friends in Prague not doing wine for 40 days I never said I join that challenge only the no sugar challenge... 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Townhouse life in Moscow

Of course you want to see how we live in Moscow. For many me included I had no idea how to picture life and living in Russia, Moscow before we moved here. I feel even a little embarrassed to admit that I was really suspicious and thought that here is much more undeveloped and primitive than Europe. But I was proven to be wrong and I am very positively surprised with many things here. Yes I do know that we are very fortunate and can pick and live in nicer areas not having to see the ugly faces of this big city. Because of course every place has good and bad sides more or less. As Loren's office moved further out from city center we decided to also move so instead of spending 1,5 hour in traffic to work ( on a good day) now Loren only has 5 minutes drive and we have much more time together. Before we lived very central and walking distance to Gorky park & Red Square, very nice indeed but the benefit of the Team spending more time together is priceless. Also I love the fact that we have a townhouse now with a small garden instead of a flat.

Our neighborhood is pretty new and built up after a street somewhere in Italy according to our landlord. To me it looks little bit like Amsterdam with these townhouses in many different colors. We have gates and guard by the entrance and at least 5-6 men constantly brushing up or walking around blowing leaves away. Here is some pictures of our neighborhood. How it looks like outside our gates is very diverse. Many huge luxurious mansion looking houses but also some sheds and primitive houses with goats and cow in the backyard. Some street dogs down the road a sight I am not use to see. I will show pictures of life outside the gates in the future.

We have a very nice little supermarket 7 minutes walk from us and also can't wait for the gym to open on the second floor there in December.

Playground in the middle of our neighborhood

Our street 

Our neighborhood from the main street 

Main road but pretty quiet just outside our gates

Our blue house