#MicroblogMonday – sleep is for … others

We arrived to my home town Thursday at 11pm or so. So far we have been woken up each morning since (Fri, Sat & Sun) at 4:20 am, 3:00 am and again at 3:00 am. However, this morning we’ve been lucky enough to already be awake at 3:00 and 4:00 am. Paxlet decided that 11:30 pm was a great time to wake up screaming and not go back to bed, EVER! Well, except for the 30 minute drive at 1:30 am to the other side of town looking for any fast food  restaurant to be open. Thank you, Taco Bell!!
I think I’ll take a shower now and head to Walmart for the 4th morning in a row. Yes, I’ve become one of those people…

20 weeks, #2

We have already started on our journey to visit my family today, so this has been typed up yesterday.

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Twenty weeks tomorrow. Halfway already? Halfway already! In the long term, I don’t know where the time has gone. In the day to day moments and waiting, time has slowed down and even dragged on at points.

Our 20 week anatomy scan was today. The technician looked around for about 30 minutes and everything looks good. I have an anterior placenta, which means it is on the front wall of the uterus, which accounts for why I haven’t been feeling too many kicks and punches. Or at least the ones I have felt haven’t been too strong yet. The last couple of days, I have felt more movements.

Tadbit is also head’s up, meaning its breech at the moment. Paxlet was this way too, until the late weeks. No worries here.

The tech did look at the heart quite a bit and even had me roll onto my side so that she could get a better view because Tadbit wasn’t budging from its position even with the technician’s wiggles. There is a tiny calcification spot on the heart, which showed up bright white. I wouldn’t have even paid attention to it if the tech hadn’t said something. She mentioned what it was and then said several times that this is nothing to worry about, especially since there is no other markers for any other issues with this pregnancy. She said it is quite common (1:20 babies) to have a calcification on the heart (chamber?), she will mention it in her report, but there is no need for a follow up and in fact there won’t be any follow up for it. Most times this calcification goes away soon after birth. I’m not worried and won’t get worried over it.

I think the ultrasound took a bit longer then normal, because Tadbit didn’t want to straighten its legs. The tech wiggled my tummy many times, went and measured other things and eventually had me get up and walk a bit. Tadbit rolled over, but still didn’t want to straighten its legs. Tadbit did however give us good look between the legs!

We are most likely having a GIRL! And girl, oh girl! Is she already being stubborn like her mom. LOL

I won’t deny it, I am a tiny bit sad to not be having a boy. But as I was already quite sure in my  mind that we are having a girl, this isn’t too difficult to take in. Most of all, our baby is healthy and measuring right on for 20 weeks.

I don’t have much else to say this week as I have been so focused on getting ready for our trip that anything pregnancy related has taken a back burner. This trip will definitely be interesting and I can’t wait to see what is it like to travel pregnant, as we didn’t go anywhere further than 1,5 hours away during my pregnancy with Paxlet.

Last travel thoughts before traveling

We’re leaving dark and early in the morning, so this is my last post before we get on the way. (I just realized I could blog on my phone on the bus trip to the airport or at the airport, but I highly doubt that will happen.) We are packed as well as we can be and only the last minute things that are needed in the morning (toothbrushes, deodorant, food that is in the fridge, etc) that will be in carry on will be added.

Three people, three suitcases, 3 backpacks (Paxlet has a Paxlet-size pack inside the bigger bag) and 4 passports (I have 2 passports). Paxlet has decorated all 3 suitcases with stickers. And Mr Siili packed all of the junk that I managed to find and buy to take to family and friends in the US. Yes, it was almost a suitcase full in itself. Thankfully it will  all be staying there! And yes, he grumbled about it. (I need to give him a big hug and kiss for it. :D)
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As for all the things that I have been worrying over, this is how it went down:

Snacks = have a plan to make savory muffins (sun dried tom, spinach, cheese), raisins, banana chips, dried fruit, cuc sticks, carrot sticks (fresh & steamed), granola/breakfast-type bars, apple wedges, fishy crackers (goldfish, however ,they are not gold), Cheerios, rye bread sandwiches (for the first part of the trip) and smoothie pouches, if I remember it all. The pouches are liquids and I forgot about the liquid issue. We’ll have to put all liquid type food & stuff (hand lotion) in a 1 liter bag x 3; one per person. I have a small water bottle for Paxlet and I, but we will have to dump the water out before security checks OR toss the entire bottle. Once past security checks, we can fill the bottles up again (if we can find somewhere besides a bathroom).

Toys = We don’t have a tablet, but my new phone has a drawing/notepad app on it that keeps Paxlet quite happy, tons of (new) stickers, paper, colored pencils, books, Pupu (stuffed rabbit), some fuzz-craft balls and other small toys that can be easily packaged up and dragged along.

We don’t have too much time between plane transfers, but if we do have some down time, we’ll look for interesting stuff to keep busy. So far, Paxlet is pretty good about not “wanting” items from stores or at least not making a big fuss if we say no and move on.

Language: Paxlet hears Mr Siili speak English to me daily. :) So he does know daddy speaks English. But in general, we do practice OPOL. I try my hardest not to translate things into English when Mr Siili says something, unless I feel a point really needs to be made. Paxlet will learn what he learns in each language as he learns it.

As for Paxlet’s language skills, he basically only speaks Finnish (by choice?), but understands both languages perfectly (or as perfect as a 2 year old does). He will say things in English if I ask him to, if he is copying what someone says or on the rare occasion when I have not heard or understood him, he has repeated words in English (usually a key word from the sentence).

I am sure we will work it out with the language “issues” I am creating ahead of time. LOL. I think part of my main worry is past family drama and issues towards Mr Siili.

Confusion & De-stressifying: We will definitely be explaining to him what is going to happen beforehand (he knows we are flying in a plane to see grandpa and grandma S), as it happens and afterward recaps. As with all things kid related, that I have learned so far, observe the kid and see how s/he is doing and follow their lead.

We will be staying in a hotel, so we will have a place to escape, take naps and just wind down in general.

I’ve done what I can to get ready for this trip. Now it is just off to bed and try to get a little less than 4 hours of sleep before we need to get ready to leave. Wish us luck! And everyone take care.

#MicroblogMonday – When in Rome…?

Only 3 more sleeps until we start making our way towards the US to visit my family. I’m still stressed over this trip more than I am looking forward to it. I know that will change, I hope, once we board our first plane. Until then, I’ve got too much to do. Or at least it feels that way.

Mr Siili speaks only Finnish to Paxlet and I speak only English. I have no clue how it is going to work while we are in the US. My family, obviously, doesn’t speak a word of Finnish. And even if they do remember a word, I do NOT want them saying it to Paxlet as they will mangle it beyond recognition.
Should Mr Siili continue to speak to Paxlet only in Finnish? And then to everyone else in English? This is how I do it here in Finland, although most everyone understands English. However, if there are kids involved in a situation, I generally use Finnish, so that everyone understands what I am saying. Or should Mr Siili use Finnish only when directly talking to Paxlet (for example to impart some instructions or warnings), but English when other people need to know what is going on or being said? Or, or…? Or am I thinking about this too much?

What would you do?

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s blog.

19 weeks + 1 day, #2

I had this started already earlier this week and I just couldn’t be bothered to write and publish it yesterday. This laziness and “can’t be arsed” attitude seems to be the theme of this pregnancy. I didn’t take a weekly picture last night either, even though I remembered… I even told Mr Siili I can’t be bothered. Tonight. I promise, tonight.

Five days until our anatomy scan and 6 days until we are hoping on a plane to visit family. I’m definitely more worried/concerned/stressed about the up coming trip. The scan, I’ve hardly even thought about.

Even though the thought of traveling to the US is stressing me out right now, I know that once we get on the road and especially checked in at the airport, I will be fine. I look forward to Paxlet meeting my family, experiencing things I grew up with and just spending some (hopefully stress-free and) quality time with my family.

Reminder to self: do NOT leave anywhere without visiting the restroom first. I think I need to write this on my hand.

I’m still feeling big, bloated and/or fat. Sometimes I feel pregnant, but not really. I’m also slightly uncomfortable, sometimes. I think once I feel more movement, things will start to be more real and I’ll feel more pregnant. Maybe.

I do hope to feel more movement soon.I know I have felt a few movement earlier than with Paxlet. But I am pretty sure that once I started feeling movement with Paxlet, it was constant (10am and evenings) and every day. This time around, no so. I think I have felt swooshie-queasy movements, but not really sure. Although, most of the times I do feel these weird things, it is in the upper right hand side of my tummy/gut, which is where I have felt the definite movements. I spend way too much time thinking about (possible) movements in my stomach area.

I definitely need my tummy support belt these days. On Sunday, I drove to the store, gently/slowly wandered around a bit and then drove home and I still hurt! Seriously, I just walked around the store.

I had…something…to update. I didn’t write it down as soon as I thought about it and now I’ve forgotten what it is, again. This too is part of my life lately. LOL

Rusty the cat has decided to sleep right next to me lately. I mean, he’s always slept near me, except when Paxlet was in bed with us, but lately it seems like he is squished so close to me I can’t wiggle my legs and thus my back gets stiff and sore. But, if I try to push him out of the way, he leaves the bed and decides to start whining, which can possibly wake up Paxlet. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

No cravings, still! But I am thinking about Doritos, Taco Bell, cheddar cheese and a myriad of other foods (and candies) that I can’t get in Finland. I am sure to gain more weight than I need while in the US.

I bought my first baby item this time around.
pjs
It was only 2€ and in my opinion it is quite girlie. However, if this does turn out to be a boy (I don’t think so), I’ll save this for someone else. Not that it really matters, especially at the age of 3 or so months and seeing that it is pjs, no one outside our immediate family is probably going to see it anyway. I just couldn’t resist it!

#MicroblogMonday – Tips for Traveling with a Toddler Needed

In 10 days, Mr Siili, Paxlet and I are hopping in a taxi, a bus, several planes and a car ride to go visit my family in the US. All in all, we’ll be traveling for roughly 25 hours. Mr Siili and I have done it several times before and while it isn’t the easiest, it isn’t so bad. Much better than 30 hours of traveling. However, this will be our first time of traveling this far and long with Paxlet. I have belief in Paxlet that he’ll do just fine and will be a trooper. Mr Siili on the other hand seems to have some reservations and worries. Mostly, I feel that he thinks I am in la-la land when it comes to the trip. (This is the guy who has stressed about getting to our next flight when there was nothing to stress about.)

However, in spite of how wonderful I know Paxlet is going to be on this trip, I’d love any and all tips you have about traveling with a 2 year old. Especially, what types of snacks and foods did you take with you? I know we’ll have some fruit, dried banana chips, raisins, fruit/smoothie pouches, oatmeal pouches and granola/breakfast bars. Mr Siili feels we need some proper food for our boy and Paxlet will NOT eat store bought veggie and meat baby foods in a jar, the easy solution for actual meal-like stuff and not snacks. HELP, please?!

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s blog.

Learning Finnish

In response to one of my #MicroblogMonday posts a few weeks ago: Foreign, Language, Melissa from Stirrup Queens asked some good questions, that I thought could make into a fun post. Or at least interesting. Or something.

I moved to Finland just over 15 years ago, but I had “taken a holiday” here the year before, which is the catalyst of my interest in Finland and learning Finnish.
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In the beginning, I bought a book or two to start learning the Finnish language. Mr Siili sent me a dictionary *take a picture of it*caption: this thing went EVERYWHERE with me during the first few years* and created some “homework” for me that he either emailed or posted to me. He also wrote some silly stories in Finnish, sentences for me to translate in Finnish and English and made me a crossword puzzle or two, which I still have tucked away to this day.
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Once Finland was on my mind, I took my books everywhere with me learning what I could. This led me to bump into other people in my hometown who had ties with Finland. One girl’s family was from Finland and they visited in the summers. Another guy studied Finnish in Washington state and then did an exchange in Finland. He was nice enough to give me copies of all the books he had. I still have them on my shelves.
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Once I moved to Finland, Mr Siili would help me with learning Finnish more, but that didn’t last long as our learning and teaching styles clashed. He wanted to correct my every error and I just wanted to be understood. It is a bit better these days, but elephants Mr Siili’s have a long memory. Unfortunately, this led to Mr Siili and I only speaking English at home, even to this day.

After living in Finland for a couple of months, I got a job at an English speaking daycare: the adults spoke English and the kids didn’t, for the most part. I quickly learned some basics: colors, animals, numbers, thank you, stop, don’t and any other basic phrases you need with kids. I also learned some simple phrases. During this time I also started a basic language course through one of the community colleges. It was a structured way of learning and I am sure I learned something from there. The second year of living in Finland, I worked a different English daycare and continued to learn more Finnish.

By this point, I know I had a decent vocabulary. Especially if it consisted of the above mentioned categories and food. Oh, food was and is important to me. I love cooking and baking, but packages and products were so different here! I remember one time wanting got make a special dish for Mr Siili, but I just couldn’t find all the items I needed. Either because they were packaged differently and I couldn’t find them or because they just didn’t have them (yet) in Finland. That specific trip to the shop had me in tears.

On another occasion, I remember helping another American girl who had just moved to Finland to start working at the same place as me. I thought I was so great in my Finnish skills that I offered to “translate” for her so she could order some make-up the Body Shop. I took the product up to the ladies at the counter and told them that “she (co-worker) wanted to order this, but in a darker color.” (Hän halua tila tämä…) The lady behind the counter just looked at me very strangely. I kept trying and trying and I think I finally got my point across, but sheesh it was hard. Hours later it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been telling the lady that my co-worker wanted to “space” the product, not order (tilata)!! And now, all these years later, I know how very basic my Finnish was and how I could have worded the sentence even better to sound more like a Finn. (Hän haluasi tehdä tilaus… She would like to make an order…)

The following year (start of my 3rd year in Finland) I was accepted to a polytechnic school. (You can receive a Bachelors degree from here.) Part of my course studies included Finnish. However, in this class, we had students who had almost no Finnish knowledge and then those of us who had a decent amount. At times it was difficult to feel like I was learning anything, but at others I did learn some of what I already knew even better by trying to explain it to the others. Part of our degree included some training/working at a real company. I found a place (NC) that had nothing to do with my schooling, but was willing to let me write my thesis for them (It totally sucked by the way.) and pay me to work for them at the same time. I worked at NC until the end of 2006 (7 years in Finland for me).

Towards the end of working at NC, I decided that I wanted to step up my game and actively work on my Finnish skills again. It had gotten to the point that I could get by in stores, ask for what I needed/wanted, explain basic aches and pains to the nurse/doctor and so on. But when I would be out in public or around a group of people that started speaking Finnish to each other, I would tune out. I went to my own little world and just didn’t pay attention. At first, it was difficult to keep my focus on following a conversation and trying to understand what people were actually saying. I remember many days after a work meeting or coming home from work in the evenings and just being exhausted. It’s hard work actively learning something!

The year 2007 ended up being a year of focusing on Finnish language studies for me. I jumped into the middle of one advanced Finnish language course. It was a very traditional school-learning course. We sat in desks, did lots of writing work, a decent amount of speaking and a month long work experience “job”. I interviewed for 3 different places in which to do my work experience: a well known local do-nut shop, a cafe and a tech/computer place. I chose the last place, in hopes that it would lead to a real job, in an area that interested me and sort of could go with the degree I had earned. The job ended up being quite boring and I mostly just sat at a computer screen translating stuff from Finnish into English as best I could. I didn’t really interact with many people and they didn’t interact with me, which was a pity. Being middle of the summer and lots of people on holiday didn’t help much either.

After that course, I signed up for another couple of courses and tested to see where I placed. I managed to get into a course that focused on work life and other such “adult” things for foreigners living in Finland. But about a week after starting that course, I was accepted to one more language course: Onnenkieli (happy language, Önne is also the name of the owner and founder). I’d heard about this course and it sounds exactly like what I wanted! Plus, it was difficult to get into and I wasn’t really liking the course I was in, yes even after just one week.

Onnenkieli uses suggestopedic principles and methods for learning. That is, we did lots of play acting, dialogues, singing, hand movements (to help remember the different parts of speech), flash cards, relaxation/meditation while the teacher read us dialogs, discussed news & events, local holidays, customs, etc. We also did written work, but it was what we did at home. In class, it was all about group participation and interacting with others. I found this course to be more helpful for me and also tons of fun. The people in the course were great and there is one lady I still keep in touch with (in fact, I helped her figure out what she needed to do to get IVF and her baby boy). This course too required a month long work training, speaking as much Finnish as I could, which I did at my current company.
onnenkieli
While I learned Finnish from many different places and in many different ways. It was the last course that finally got this message through to me: talk, talk, talk! No matter how many mistakes you make, keep talking. The most important thing is that you go for it. People are generally understanding, forgive the mistakes you make in their language because you are using their language, especially Finns.

Fifteen plus years later, I still make mistakes. Lots of mistakes in spoken language (that’s a whole other language unto itself here in Finland) and in writing. But I do speak.