Almondella Box :: Products I'm Loving


With the first snow under our belt here in Finland, and the reality that things aren't going to get warmer here on out, I started seeking out ways to keep us busy through the next several months. Back stateside, I had a few friends recommend kid-subscription boxes to me. They had purchased them for their own kidlets and always commented how it gave them something exciting to look forward to every month. While I have only dabbled in the world of subscription box services ( I got one trial box many moons ago,) it seemed like a seriously good idea for this season.

I soon discovered that there just wasn't the options that I found stateside. Any subscription boxes I did find weren't really tailored to moms and kiddos, weren't for Eowyns age, or only shipped to the UK.

and then I stumbled upon Almondella. I got pretty excited.

Not only was it high quality products, the boxes were tailored to specific developmental milestones for ages newborn through three years old. While some subscription boxes focus on a specific area (like crafts for kids) this box seemed to be one of the only ones I found that did a great job of focusing more holistically on children and their needs.

Almondella is based out of Finland.They're actually here in Helsinki, down the street from our place, but service all of Europe. The boxes are based on the concept of the Maternity box that the government gives to mom's-to-be here in Finland. That holistic aspect I mentioned really is represented well when considering that their inspiration is from a box tailored to meet a baby's needs.  Almondella boxes are created for pregnant moms all the way to 36 month toddlers and carry 4-5 high-quality items each month. 

In addition, they're all about supporting small creative businesses, while being earth-friendly. The more I grow in my understanding of how our money affects the world globally, the more I can get behind such a vision. I was thrilled to have found them.

While I have loved everything I've seen on their site so far, one thing that I was super impressed with was the option to have a sneak-peak of the box BEFORE you get it. The beauty of this is that they even allow you to pass up a month if you please. I can't tell you how much I love this idea!  They also offer a 'trial box' that's steeply discounted.

I was pretty set on giving them a try, so in my excitement, (and in my tendency to always be on the lookout for a discount,) I shot them an email asking about any deals/coupons available before ordering.

Not only did we get a discount, but we got to meet one of the employees personally as she came to hand deliver our box. Eowyn repeatedly said 'thank you' even after our new friend, Hanna had gone back to work. :) So, we were very excited about how kind they were to do that for us.

During Hanna's visit, she interviewed me a bit for a blog post on their site. To read the interview, click here. (The last two of the pictures of this post Hanna took. They give you an even better idea of how much fun Eowyn had with the unveiling of the box.) Needless to say, it was great getting to know Hanna and play with all these goodies.

And now on to the box (the best part!)

Our first box had a cooking theme and was wrapped sweetly. Little candies (which were consumed faster than I could take a picture,) sweet wooden veggies that Eowyn can 'cut' by her self, moomin cookie cutters, a notebook for recipes (I've claimed it for myself,) and a sweet tea towel were all part of our box. In addition, we got a cute longsleeve organic cotton shirt that's from a Lithuanian company. Eowyn was a big fan of the "cat!" on the T.  So much so, she took off her shirt nearly immediately to put her new one on.

It's been a few weeks since we've received our box, and Eowyn is still playing with the veggies on a regular basis. We've made some moomin play-dough cookies, and have enjoyed hiding beneath and 'cleaning up' spills with the tea towel. I'm pleased with how the box has held our interest.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming months and the sweet surprises that will come from our almondella subscription. The items represent Finland and our fellow countries so well, I'm excited for the memory keepsakes we'll find through this (like the moomin cookie cutters!). We may even order a few boxes for our little guy.

All this to say, we're grateful to have found them.

In addition to receiving a coupon ourselves, I get to offer it to Celebrating Daily readers! Check out to see the sweet boxes they send. If you order a trial box, subscription or gift box use the code "cd25" and get 25% off the first box. 

Life Lately :: November


The month of November has held some fun memories. We got to have my parents here, I was able to be interviewed by a local company here in Helsinki (I'll post more about that later,) Eowyn has been picking up several words everyday, and we get to end the month with a sweet thanksgiving meal with our church friends. It'll be a full house (like 20 or so!) which is no other way to have a thanksgiving when far away from home. Filling our house makes me love the place all the more. 

This month brought a sort of peace with Finland that I haven't had in previous months. I think every month we get more and more into a groove and there's just been a sort of settling of my heart as we start the holiday season. We're no longer having to buy odds and ends to make our home complete. We have enough towels, have the cooking utensils we need (minus a turkey pan....still trying to find that for this week!) and are now preparing for the little guy to make his entrance in a few months. That's one of my favorite sites, actually. His little closet with all his diapers and folded clothes, makes my heart so calm. His life has redeemed so much of the struggles we've had over the past year. Getting to meet him will be such a sweet part of late winter/spring.  

Ben's doing well. He sort of rocks the whole living overseas thing. He's starting to look more and more European and it's been fun slowly seeing his style change. I think I'm doing the opposite. Ha! While he's getting more and more stylin', his wife is hugging her leggings and comfy clothes tighter. But I suspect once my belly isn't exposed in every normal shirt, we'll get back to enjoying the whole getting dressed arena. Lucky for me, Eowyn is the belly-exposure-police and will ensure that no epidermis shows at any given time. Thanks, kid.

My belly is getting big, and my legs aren't taking me quite as far as I'd like them to. We're having to re-calibrate expectations and relearn what we can and can't do this season. One thing that's nice about having a toddler is that we still get out and about daily. We both get a little cabin fever and while the weather here is often grey and rainy (oh, how I miss you sun!) we're learning the joy of puddle jumping even when we have winter coats on. So, the next few weeks may be slow and steady, but I'm no longer fighting it. We're just counting down till thanksgiving, going on a fun Christmas trip for Ben's work, and hanging out with Ben's side of our family.

Then, it's just a matter of weeks before my mom and sister come and a little mr. makes his debut. I gotta say, having a baby early in the year has it's perks. Third Trimester does go a wee bit faster when there's so much to look forward to.

November, you've been peaceful. Thanks for that.

Also, thanks for giving us so much time at home that my girl is really learning how to be involved in her art projects.  Getting the paint out of that girls belly button was hard work. :)

First Snow :: Helsinki


The first time I was introduced to snow, I was seven and my sister and I, out of pure joy (and coming from Texas) tied plastic bags on our feet and hiked up a giant snow mound before church. Compare that to a girl who has had snow as a part of her life ever since before she could walk, and it's interesting to see how different her winter experiences are to mine. Minnesota, Colorado, Finland, each stage of her life has included the sweetness that a snowfall brings.

Eowyn in true eowyn-fashion spent the majority of her time outside today consuming the white fluffy goodness. She also got a kick out of snowball throwing. As she should. We stomped around for a while until I noticed her nose running and my fingers burning, and hiked back in (after many tears). My guess is we'll be making another trip out as soon as her daddy comes home.

If ever there was something to make me realize how quickly this girl is growing, it's looking at each season's 'first snow.' Here's her very first intro to snow back in 2012, then there was last year's snow, and now this year. One things for sure, she's moving a whole lot quicker nowadays.

Happy first real snow for Helsinki! Heres to hoping it sticks so that good ol' 3:30 sunset can leave the streets not so dark.

What I wish I knew :: 6 things from six months abroad


We've crossed the threshold, officially. We've lived overseas for a whole half year! It's barely anything, and yet it feels like everything. I can feel the 180-some days we've been gone from home, and those days have held a lot of things in them.

Sometimes when I'm riding on the tram, I get to thinking about how this once so foreign, now familiar way of life has changed my heart. I sometimes wish I could have had the forethought of the upcoming changes then that I do now.

But to actually verbalize what it means to embrace a new way of doing things, a new language, a new city,'s hard. It's hard to express and explain change to those that haven't swam in the current of a new culture. It's hard to explain that all these days added up slowly change the direction that we think and the way we react. This whole experience of cross-cultural living is like wading in a river. Given enough time we end up in a whole different place.

But, as you all know, hard doesn't mean impossible. Here's a few key lessons my heart is learning. While I don't think I'll ever really know how much is happening in our hearts during this season, I can see some big lessons I'm being given.  Here are 6 of them:

1. Comfortable looks extravagant when it's no longer available (and it isn't a dirty word.)

It's weird how deeply we long for things of home at certain times and seasons. Being pregnant has only exasperated those feelings for me. Mostly because I had an awesome experience stateside with my clinic that included chipotle across the street. Praise Jesus, Amen.

There's an ease and a convenience that American living provides and while some scorn it, there's something to be said for it.

I was warned of how hard leaving comfortable is. It made sense in theory (people told me how much I would miss x, y and z.) and yet  I don't think I understood how extravagant the lives my friends back stateside now look. Starbucks in target? Stores that hold everything you could need? Drive-thrus? Even the house sizes seem radical. They're magical now. The biggest thing though for me is the comfort that comes with friendships that have weathered through life seasons. They seem all the more precious now. If homesickness could be capsulated, I think it would be the missing of people that just get you. Getting to be a constant in other peoples life is, I've come to understand, one of the biggest gifts to be given. It's one of my greatest aches.

I also have stopped seeing comfortable as the dirty word that I used to. When I was stateside, 'comfortable living' is challenged regularly, especially in Christian culture. I'm well aware that there is a way to become too comfortable and hold on to that too tightly when we're called to something different, but I think choosing a life just to be uncomfortable, well, is kind of chasing after wind.

So, I'm learning that comfortable isn't the end all (as I previously might have thought.) Sure consumerism and a self-focused life often equate to comfortability, but so do other really good things.  Making others feel comfortable is of value. Finding the comfortable in the uncomfortable is too. It isn't good to live a life day in and day out with the headache from the uncomfortable. It makes a soul weary. I guess all this to say, I'm grateful for all the good gifts we get to enjoy in this short life, especially when that enjoyment comes in the company of friends.. I'm grateful for the comfortable here and look forward to enjoying some of those sweet comforts that are held in the friendships we have back home.

2. When travelers say that a place is about the people in it, they know what they're talking about.

I'm learning that who you journey through life with really does make the trip. We've been blessed with some pretty solid people to go through this season with. Even the new people I meet at the park or the random English speakers on the tram have made the time here all the more special. I think one of my most frequent thoughts while here has been: "Had we not moved here, I'd never get to know you."
It seems so simple, but my heart aches at just the thought of it.

If this whole trip was only for the people I've gotten to laugh alongside with (and perfect my British accent) it's been worth the trip. Plus, Eowyn calls me 'mum' pretty sure that's the coolest thing ever.

Really though, growing in community here has made this place beautiful.

3. Kind people are as universal as their counterparts.

With my parents most recent trip, we were having a good talk, as we often do, about making choices and how that affects others. My dad made the comment that "there'll always be unkind people and kind people." So much of my life I've tailored to the unkind. I've made sure to work above reproach, just in case we're in the company of the unkind. While I didn't label them as such, I now realize that there are people that will always lean towards critical, and others that will lean towards grace.

My job is to lean towards grace, and to show Eowyn that while there are unkind, there are mountains of kind people. And those are the people we tailor to. Too little joy is gained from tailoring to unkind. Especially when kind are in plenty. I want to teach Eowyn to find friends who will hear the whole story. Who will give grace until they've had the conversation, and to naturally lean towards assuming the very best.

 I've had strangers sigh heavily at us being in the way, and I've had strangers offer to help and entertain Eowyn (in Finnish. :) ) Everywhere we've gone, I've learned I have a decision to make. I can either let the kindness of others be the thing we remember and to allow my heart to rest even midst silent stares or unkind comments or I can battle the heart-race that comes from feeling like I've failed some standard I'm not yet aware of. There's enough kindness to be the light I remember. If there isn't, we can be the kindness that others remember.

4. Grace through journeying together is the difference between enjoying or hating an experience.

Marriage is hard. Going overseas and having everything that came easily become a chore is harder. Traveling with someone who is just as lost as you are can easily become volatile ground to become frustrated, impatient, and bitter. The simple things fall a part when a brain is overworked from everything else and you only have one person to turn to. Things get left undone.  Like dishes, like apologies,  like remembering to do what we said we would.

I've learned to ask myself how I'm feeling. If I'm feeling exhausted, or tired, or worn out, or like this whole thing is one big failure, chances are he might be feeling that way too. Remembering this gives the grace to my heart to fight for each other rather than with each other. And much more gets done this way (with a bonus perk of a  heart that's then willing to enjoy her spouse once the dust settles rather than work through all the damage I've created.)

I think because we honeymoon so well together, and vacation so well together, I assumed that this would be easy. While I'd say we live abroad really well together, we've definitely done the dance of figuring out how to work alongside one another. All this to say, given our chance at The Amazing Race, I now think we might actually have a legitimate chance. :)

5. Adventure is most sexy before the trip. In the midst of it, it can trend toward exhausting.

The number one comment we got before our move was some various form of :"Oh! what an adventure!" And I couldn't have agreed more.

I think when I thought of 'the great adventure this is going to be!' I compared it to all the amazing vacations I've experienced. But those didn't hold trips to government offices, figuring out tax forms, learning to pay bills, losing important things and figuring out where the heck the garbage is (to check for important lost things.) It didn't include the tears that come after bringing some weird cream sauce thing home for the umpteenth time because you thought it was yogurt.

It doesn't take long for those cool European buildings with antiquated elevators to go from romantic to tedious.  It's an active choice to see beauty when so much of the beauty comes with hard work.

I've learned that when people tell me that they're on some sort of 'wild adventure,' to ask them how their heart is doing. Because, it's hard and that's the first thing that gets lost in all the newness. It's hard to move to a whole new place where no one knows you. It's hard to try to reconnect to people back home when in a matter of weeks, new experiences have messed up all you once thought. And while the place we move to does have several awesome sites and experiences (that are super fun to show our visitors), it also has a lot of struggle.

I'm learning to not speak  so quickly on the things I don't know. I found that before this journey, I was quick to give my opinion in hopes to make the conversation more meaningful.  I've now thought often how much I desperately  want to cuddle a person when they speak slowly and with wisdom. I've seen friends of mine actively choose to not speak on what they haven't experienced. And now I know the difference of "I read a blog post that says this helpful thing..." and "That sounds so overwhelming, how are you doing, Can I help?" Too often I say the first rather than the latter. But, lessons are being learned.

All that to say, adventure with a family can be exhausting. Wise community makes adventure worth it again. (And grace to cover all of it is beyond essential.)

6. What I think an experience is meant for, may not be what it's really for.

If you were to ask me what this season was for, based on my best guesses, I would see it as an experience to travel, to raise Eowyn in a different place, to pay off debt, etc. While those things are true and still a part of our experience, the days and weeks look a lot different.

I think this experience is more about shaping our family, and even more so shaping our hearts. I think God's teaching me about loneliness and community and how both of them aren't to be rushed into or out of.

I think we're learning about what we need in our marriage, and what makes us tick. Being faced with a new culture allows us to take another look at the things we always just assumed were true for us. We're realizing that there's a lot of choices we were planning on making that just don't make sense anymore. In all of it, I'm realizing that faith has a lot more importance when it ends up being one of the only things we have to hold on to.

I'm also seeing struggle as a more and more beautiful thing. I always hate writing that, but it's true. As I meet others, I often find that the souls I love most are the ones whom have weathered a few storms. The tact, and quietness that so often comes to their souls from struggle is just so beautiful and refreshing, that I can't help but hope that our struggle results in that kind of beauty. Until hard life hits, we so often talk without depth. So, in a lot of ways I'm encouraged by the outcome of struggle. Even if I still resist it anytime I sense its impending arrival (next up: newborn)


All in all, this season has been a season of struggle. But, it's been worth it. I questioned that a lot in the beginning weeks of moving here. I don't question that so much anymore.

I often joke that the quicker lessons are learned the easier life gets (which is laced with inaccuracy but...lets pretend) if so,  then the next few years are going to be easy-peasy right?

We seem to have a knack for making things difficult right when we start keeping our heads above water. Newborn baby in 13 weeks = party, eh!? Just like with everything else, I have no doubt we'll declare it all to have been worth it. We just might be having to wade back over to the shallow end of the water for a while.

Any readers live abroad or have experience doing so? What are some of the big things you took away from your experience? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

First & Second Trimester Faves :: Products I'm Loving


I always love reading up on favorite products or tips people have regarding pregnancy and motherhood. With this being our last week of the second trimester, I figured I'd take some time to share my own favorite products that I've used over the past 27 weeks. Our family has definitely shifted over the years to a mindset of quality over quantity, which has fueled my desire to not waste money on things that aren't going to hold up well/be useful for a longer season. All these things have proven their worth and have been helpful through the first two trimesters.  Hopefully a few of my momma friends can make use of these little finds (or store it away for later) to have easier pregnancies of their own. I know these things certainly have made mine more enjoyable.

1. Bumped by Blanqi Support tanks- I actually had Blanqi's postpartum tanks back stateside and then forgot to bring them here. Sadness abounded. But not to fear, when I went to buy the maternity tanks from target, they were half off! So I was able to get exactly what I needed and recover my losses. Sadly, they dont appear on anymore, but I know you can get them elsewhere.  I now have the maternity tank and postpartum tank in my arsenal for when the time comes. I've been loving the bit of extra support the pregnancy tank gives. Plus, I didn't have a bellyband, and it has one sewn in, which allowed my 25 week self to still wear a few pairs of my favorite jeans. All this to say I love these tanks. They're long, offer a great deal of support for my belly and have great fabric.

2. The Pregnancy Countdown-I rented this from the library stateside and really enjoyed it, so I picked it up this time around from, an online bookstore that ships here free. It's been a fun read each week, even for a second time mom. Plus its got a dash of humour, which I'm always one to enjoy.

3. Unisom/B6- I'm not sure if this combo helped with the nausea as effectively as with Eowyn's pregnancy, but it did help me sleep at night through sickness. Bed time was my favorite time of day through those first three months. Unisom still makes its appearance here and there and the b6 certainly kept me from upchucking a few times. Check with your doctor obviously before taking it, but it was recommended to me by my OB back stateside.

4. Vick's Humidifier. You'd think living by the sea would make for some pretty humid homes, and in many ways it's true. But with how well insulated Finnish homes are, the air gets dry really quick. So... Bloody noses. They suck and I get them a lot when pregnant. Putting a humidifier by our bed has helped majorly with this and the sore throat. Plus we saved ourselves from having to buy one once our boy arrives.

5. AngelSounds Sonar Doppler-I read on several forums that women who had gone through miscarriages were particularly blessed with this little doppler. While it's a bit controversial, (Due to the problems that arise when untrained people use medical equipment, midwives often discourage use. It's not to be used as a diagnostic tool.) I  went ahead and bought it in hopes to get to hear our little ones heart. Before I could feel him kick, I enjoyed getting to find my little nuggets heartbeat in between appointments . We used it sparingly, just incase, but it saved Ben from hour long conversations reassuring me everything was alright. Plus, is there any better sound than that little heartbeat? I don't think so. I was able to find the heartbeat by 12 weeks, but the box says it takes till 14. (I bought ours from, and don't see the same one on, but I'm sure it's available elsewhere.)

6. Doterra Deep Blue Essential Oil-This is a recent favorite. When my parents came they brought with them a Doterra Physicians Kit starter set that I bought from Amazon. Medicine here is really hard to come by (even tylenol in certain doses is prescription,) and after having so many weeks of sickness, and being limited in what I can take because of baby, I got a little desperate. So we hoped on the Essential oil bandwagon. The oil by itself seems a little pricey, and I bought the kit from one of the cheaper vendors on amazon so it was a better deal. I wasn't expecting to love this particular oil so much, but I do. It helps tremendously with the achyness, so I'm a big fan. It's like a duller version of biofreeze, if you've ever used that.

7. Peppermint Altoids. My overconsumption of these ditties through this pregnancy can be proven by my daughters habitual need to have a 'minnn?' as soon as we leave the house. For the first several months, every time I walked out of our abode, the scents of the world outside would have me digging for these sweet little spheres. Ben's mom even shipped them express when I couldn't find them here. Talk about the save of the century. I use them when I get motion sick as well.

8. BumpNest Pregnancy Pillow-I've made mention of this sweet gift from the heavens before, and I'll mention it again. I didn't have a pregnancy pillow last pregnancy, but I'm so glad I do this time around. BumpNest was one I wanted back stateside and I was able to get it here as well. I was super glad and have been loving it ever since. Apparently it makes for a great nursing pillow as well, so I look forward to testing that out.

9. LifeFactory Water Bottle- Ben, Eowyn and I kept sharing one water bottle, so during the first week of living here, we picked this up and I've been loving it.  I like it so much so that I went and bought Eowyn a sippy cup version. I don;t think I've ever gotten so many compliments on a water bottle as I do on this one. Plus its easy to clean, and my nalgenes are known to get mysterious grey matter on the bottom of them toward the end of their life, so I'm grateful to be able to have a wide mouth bottle and to be able to clean it easy.

10. MamaLicious Maternity Coat-Wasn't sure if I was going to need this...and...yes I need it. Having a summer baby has major advantages regarding saving money on buying clothing. But I'm a big fan of the coat I bought and use it everyday. Since we're outside in the elements everyday for an hour or more, I'm glad I went for it. I'm hoping I can use this coat to snuggle in our little boy in a wrap when he comes. It'll hopefully have a bit more room to accomodate.

11. MAMA Maternity Pants-First pregnancy I prided myself on how long I could go without maternity pants. This time, with bending over constantly with Eowyn and the sense of sickness when clothes are too tight,  I was trying on my maternity pants right into the transition from 1st to 2nd trimester. No need to wait till 20 some weeks and I'm never looking back. I really like H&M's maternity line and these jeans have been worn pretty much every day.

12. Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal-I started taking these after watching this video from a blogger I really like, Mama Natural. While I often just bought whatever prenatal was cheapest, I really never felt like it did anything for me. I've really liked these. While the taste is weird to me (Ben says he can't taste anything but they taste pretty earthy.) and I struggled through taking them during the first few weeks, They've got everything I need. I can notice a difference when I take them VS. not, which says something.

13. Contented Baby & Toddler- I picked this up at the library when looking for books to help with the transition from one to two littles. I actually am really loving the practical nature of this book. The author, Gina Ford even writes out routines and such for managing two littles (which all of you who know my A-type personality, know that I eat this stuff up.) Plus, I like that while she assumes common sense, she still goes into detail about things.

14. Method Cleaning Products-I found a store nearby that sells method cleaning products, and more out of my love of Target and the familiarity of them, I purchased a few. The smells however have been great, they're non-toxic and I can actually read the labels, which is more than I can say for most other products here. I'm a fan.

There you have it. Any mommas have a few more items that didn't make it to the list? I'm always excited to hear the wisdom of my pregnant comrades.

Cheers to Third Trimester!

Twenty-Two, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Seven :: Baby Bump


Time is starting to speed up. Especially with the holidays, I anticipate that these last several weeks will buzz right on by. The friends that I have that are momma's of two littles often comment how fast the second pregnancy went compared to the first, and I couldn't agree more. I think I spend a lot less time worrying about when he comes as I did before. God had his hand on so many details that now, looking back, I find a lot of peace in recognizing how little control I have over details. 

I AM reading up on transitioning to two littles and am really loving a few finds on the topic. I'll perhaps share more in a different post.

All that two say, my brain is starting to think of us as a family of four, and I can't praise God enough for that. I wasn't all too sure if we'd be more than the three of us for a while, so to see God answer in the ways he has...well it's pretty awesome.

This picture is ACTUALLY a day away from 25 weeks (woops) but we're coming along. The other day I was planning out my week and while remembering this post, realized that I only have 2 more posts like these: 28-32 and then 34-38.  Perhaps I'll be able to post that 40 week post (which would be kind of perfect, because thats when my momma comes for baby) but, regardless I'm not sure if I'll feel much like jumping in front of the camera. :)  All that to say, having a february baby rocks. One, because of the the weeks fly by (and delicious food is served.) TWO because I have my own heating system over here and THREE because winter snuggling is totally okay by me. Plus having a baby right after christmas sales means we get to save bank on any last minute essentials.

I like having my summer girl and winter boy.

I'm starting to see some common themes with this pregnancy. First theme : second pregnancy aches more, second theme: we're really excited to meet this little guy.

Also BELLY. It seems like those three weeks between twenty-four and twenty seven really allowed for that baby to drop lower. I always wondered if having a boy would feel different than a girl. While I think it has more to do with the first vs second time around, this baby boy certainly likes to be front and center. But, to be honest, it looks very similar to last time around

I was a bit late with this last picture (27 instead of 26 weeks) since we had family visiting, and I feel it's right about this time when things start to get more sporadic. The combination of growing to bus-size and the holiday season and it being freezing to go outside to take these pictures on our deck...well, we'll see what we end up with. :)

All I know is this: I'm grateful. If there was ever a reason to be sore, it's getting to grow a kidlet.

Tallinn, Estonia :: Adventures in Europe


When planning out all the fun things we wanted to show my mom & dad during their stay in Helsinki, Ben got the great idea to look into doing a day-trip to Estonia. We've heard great things, and we live walking distance from the boat terminal where we could board a cruise ship to go over. After looking into it, we thought it would be a great time and decided on going the first day Ben had off work.
The boat trip was a mere two hours, and they had a room on ship that had all sorts of toys and a ball-pit, so Eowyn was pretty well entertained the whole ride. In fact, by the time we got off the boat, she was already pretty tuckered out. We boarded at 7 AM and spent the day touring Old town. It was cold at times, but really was the Old Europe I imagined when first dreaming of moving here. While Helsinki is a much newer city, being so close to such beautiful architecture made for a happy day.
We walked the streets, found a few token souvenirs and came home on the 4:30 ferry, just in time to walk back home and have dinner. It was the perfect amount of time (thanks to the tips of our friends who had made the journey before us) and we were excited to have been able to visit and share discovering new places with my mom and dad.
My parents were leaving early friday morning, so we took Thursday to rest easy and we were glad we did. Not only were we pretty tired from the large amount of walking that Tallinn gave us, the weather was pretty rainy and cold. It even snowed on Thursday evening. I'm so happy to have had them for the time we did. 
 We now get to have visitors/events to look forward to all the way past our baby boy's arrival. I've been kind of holding out all year for this season to begin, and now that it's here, I am thoroughly enjoying the festivities. We're already gearing up for our next set of visitors: Ben's mom & Dad who come Christmastime! All this to say, we're happy the holiday season has finally arrived.
Hope youre staying warm in this cold weather and enjoying the weekend. It's a solid 30's-40's/ 0-5 degrees here and looks like it'll stay that way. They even have christmas everywhere. Despite not having an American thanksgiving (which we're throwing a party anyways!) they really do know how to usher in the holiday season. Every week I see more and more sparkle.

Family Time : Parents Come to Helsinki!


My parents came and filled our home these past several days. They stayed this past week and it was one of the better weeks I've had in all our days of living here. There's just something about getting to show the 'rents around the place you live. Also, the familiarity of the conversations and the soul-speak that comes when talking with family is life giving.

Not only that, but they brought a suitcase full of things like vanilla, chocolate chips, ranch dressing, chai, sweet baby things, Tums (hallelujah) and treasures for the lot of us. I bought some essential oils from the states and my mom brought them here for us. So, now we're in da club. I got my diffuser blowin' all up in this place. In short, christmas came with them.

The weather wasn't particularly remarkable during their visit. More than one day proved dreary and grey, but they were quite the troopers even in the rain and cold. Above are snapshots of their visit, some of which my momma took. While many of you have seen these already via other social media, getting to see them all together is what makes my heart swell. 

We took them to our favorite food joints, got to introduce them at church, and traveled to Estonia together (more on that in an upcoming post.) Eowyn was THRILLED all week, and clung to her Papa like he was the air she breathed. Nana supplied the fairy wings and glitter microphone (and snuck her chocolate.) We had more than one night of showing them clever youtube videos (Rhett and Link, anybody?) and talking through personalities, future plans and funny culture shock stories. It was all that spending time with family should be. 

The 'see you soon' that came this morning at 5 am left us taking it easy today and consoling ourselves with stuffed unicorns (eowyn), snickers ice cream bars, and going through and editing pictures reliving our time again.  

My mom forgot a glove, and in that sweet reminding way, it makes me happy. I'm planning on organizing the little mr.'s clothes this week to make the sweet times last a bit longer; that plus sipping on the chai they brought, and I think I can make the sweet times last till my mom and sister return in February. 

In the meantime, happy weekend.