Saturday, October 12, 2013

House Hunters International

So we found out today through a friend when our episode will be airing. November 10th at 8:30 PM on HGTV.

This is the preview:

"The Phillips family is leaving the security of their perfect life and big house in Utah to move to a small town in Sweden near the Arctic Circle. Eric will realize his dream of working internationally, while his wife Gini will have to quit her job and become a stay at home mom. Along with their one year old baby, they'll have to adjust their new lifestyle near the Arctic Circle, with its long, dark winters."

Stay tuned!!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wedding and Fun

So I haven't blogged in a while and I apologize in advance that I don't have hardly any pictures. Anyways, a lot has happened. Gini and I returned to Sweden on the 22nd of September after spending 10 days in the US. We both realized that 10 days isn't enough. We got back and had a fun time with Mallory's wedding, Cache Valley, and Reese's blessing. In that order. Then the following week, I proceeded to work on our house. I was able to remove who-knows-how-many-years worth of english ivy from our front flower bed, and did some work on the roof. I had to hire out the last of the roof because I just couldn't do it anymore and I was beat. This desk job is really making me soft.

Anyways, we left on Sunday evening and then we had a long trip. Owen and I were both getting sick on the way, so it made it that much better. When we landed in Minneapolis we were able to grab the last three seats in business class for the flight to Amsterdam. That helped us all get a few extra hours of sleep and it was nice. However, any sleep we may have gotten on the flight was quickly erased when we came home with a sick, jet-lagged baby. Owen usually struggles for a week getting up at midnight until 4 am. Since he was sick we wouldn't know why he was awake and so we would go and check on him. So of course that would just let him know all he has to do is cry and he will get Mom and Dad out of bed. It has been a long week. At least now that Gini and I are getting over the jet lag we can go back to sleep if he wakes us up. Before we both would get up at midnight and just be up until 7 or 8.

With all the free time I have had in the dead of the night I have asked myself the same question a lot. WHAT ARE WE DOING IN SWEDEN?!?!? I don't know what it was about this trip, but it really made me homesick. I have been one who has always enjoyed an adventure and loved new things, and so far I have just been pretty happy-go-lucky about this move. Then I started to think what it would feel like if this adventure ended and we moved back to the US. It would be really sad for me. I miss a number of things in Utah, especially the hunting and fishing, but it is a great time being here. And won't it just seem like a breeze if we live on the East coast and have to take, heaven forbid, TWO flights home from Grandma and Grandpas, or even drive home! Anyways, this adventure is still fun, we are just gearing up for winter. The high the other day was 40, it is getting dark earlier and earlier. We lose about 30 minutes of daylight a week for the next 10 weeks.
The mountain pass between Norway and Sweden.

The Port of Narvik.

These are just two pictures from work. I am going to Norway again next week, and will take some more. We'll see if it looks different.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I forgot to mention that this happened the other day.

Thanks BYU for having such affordable tuition I could 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Birthday, bike rides, and Vacations

So I haven't been up on the bloggin as much as I wanted lately. So hang on we are going to cover a lot of ground as a lot has happened in August.

When Gini left me alone in July I realized just how many dishes our family does. So we bought a dishwasher and got it all hooked up. I LOVE it. So does Gini.

We took a spur of the moment trip to Amsterdam. We left on Thursday afternoon, and landed and Owen was about done by the time we got on the train. It was a really exciting time. it is interesting to see these towns that are just so old. gini and I kept commenting to each other about what it would be like to be there in the early 20th century.

This is Owen falling asleep on the train.

There are over 168 bridges in Amsterdam.

It was hot so Owen decided he wanted to go for a swim in the public park. He wasn't the only kid in a diaper.

Owen loved vacations

There are about 1000 house boats like this that are fixed in the canals. They have every amenity that apartments would. 

We went to the Anne Frank House. The house with the black doors and the small group in front was the shop and building that the annex was built off of. We walked through it. It was really cool walking through the annex where they all hid for so long. It was incredible.

They had these all over the town. If you look closely they are just a concrete slab about 3 feet high, and 12 inches wide. They were restrooms for men to use on the street.

Aren't they so cute.

I love this picture because you can see how the building slowly angle out as they go up. 

Owen spent all his free time chasing pigeons. They stunk. They all smelled like rotten fish. But he would run into the middle of them and just start laughing when they would fly off.

There literally was a line waiting outside the Abercrombie and Fitch store. It was a joke.

This picture kills me. It was from when we were flying back. Sometimes it blows me away that our family is living in Sweden and traveling Europe. 

Lately, I have been riding my bike to work. It takes about 30 minutes and is really nice. I snapped this picture on the way in to work the other morning. 
This past week the crown princess of Sweden came to Lulea to kick off a new public space. They retrofitted the South Harbor from a freight space to a park/events center. The crown princess sailed up on this restored ship. It is one of the largest wooden ships still sailing these days.

On the way home, we picked Owen up some rain boots. He loves them and just wears them around the house.

Isn't he so cute?
Life is good. We are getting excited to return home on the 12th to kick off some wedding festivities. Hope to see many of you during that time.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

So I am trying to blog once a week to keep everyone up to date. It has started getting dark, last night Gini and I had to drive with the headlights on! I shouldn't complain about the dark because soon there will be more than I think any sane person can handle but it feels good to go to bed and it be semi dark at nights.

I uploaded a number of pictures to document this past week.

When I come home from work I walk in and say, "Where is Owen" and he usually giggles and runs and hides and I chase him. Well the other day I came in and this is what I saw.

When he heard me come home he was sitting on Mom's lap and he just pulled her sweatshirt over his head and burrowed himself right up to her. He is a nut.

He usually wakes up and wants to read, he was sitting in his bed reading and decided he wanted to lay down. 
Gini returned on Tuesday!!! YAY!!! It has been so nice to have our mom back. Since she has been back though the weather has been pretty crummy. I have felt really bad for her because it is A LOT harder flying West to East so the return trips always kick our butts. She wasn't feeling good from that and then all the bad weather just made it worse. So Saturday it was really nice and we went for a bike ride and a little trip to the beach. Yes even in the arctic circle we have beaches.

He likes to wear sunglasses.

We took a break to soak up some of the sun.

This is the North Harbor. If you look at Gini's blog from the winter, this is where the ice path is.

Owen loves this beach, it is really sandy, no waves, and he can wade out about 30 M and still touch

In the background of this picture is a dock. Owen would run down to the end and then lay down and scoot right off the edge like it was a step. He would land in water that was about chest deep and just start laughing and then wade in to the shore, and do it again. He was totally fearless about dropping off a dock into the water. I have mixed feelings about it because it is nice to see him just being adventurous but makes me worried that we'll have to watch EVERYTHING he does.

On Thursday my boss' girlfriend came in from Utah for a week. Poor guy has known this girl for 10+ years and it wasn't until he moved to Sweden that things worked out for them to start a relationship. Now they are 8 time zones away and trying to figure out how they can make it work. There is a boat that takes about 50 people out for a 3 hour boat ride with all you can eat shrimp. It was fun and quite an experience. The shrimps were all boiled, whole, with the head whole, so you had to peel them and tear the head off. It was really fun though.

She is so beautiful, I don't know how I got so lucky.

The sun was actually setting on the boat ride back in.

Owen loves nursery because they have cars and animals. He has struggled to experience anything other than that though, hopefully soon. The boy with Owen is named Leo, they are a few months apart and the other kids in the nursery are all only there for the lesson and then go to sharing time. I volunteered for the third hour to watch these two. It was a lot of fun, it was neat seeing Owen interact with other kids. My parents tell a story that when Mallory was little I pulled her arms out and tried to touch them together behind her back. I didn't understand limits and playing softly. Neither does Owen...he was playing with Leo and decided he was going to "Get him" and he pushed him over and then put his hand on his head and just pushed it into the ground. Leo just looked at Owen like, uhh what are you doing. And Owen just laughed and then walked off before I could pull him off. We are working with him on "being soft". Heaven help us.

Monday, July 29, 2013

When the cat is away, the mice dance on the table...or so they say.

At work Swedes will always teach us their idioms. They don't usually translate so good. I learned this one a few weeks ago and it is only fitting for the past few days. Gini went back to Utah for her sister's wedding and her other sister's farewell. So we said goodbye to Gini and planned to hang out alone for a week.

This is us saying good bye at the airport.
When Gini left I set a few goals for Owen and I to accomplish while she was gone. 1) Get Owen to become obsessed with something other than Cars and Cars 2. 2) Mount Owen's seat better on Gini's bike and put a kick stand on her bike. 3) Don't let Owen get bit by any snakes (I had a dream the night before Gini left that Owen was bit by a rattlesnake. I was nervous the whole first day for snakes.). 4) Make sure Owen doesn't just eat fast food and chicken nuggets. 5) Think of a good surprise for Gini when she got back.

Goal 1: So the first day I went home and I bought Finding Nemo for Owen. He quickly fell in love with it. It still isn't his number one but it is quite close and cute when he says "shish" and points at the TV. However, we have these toy cars that he can't put down. Any waking moment, he says cars and just wanders around until he has one in each hand. It is really cute.

As you can see he didn't even put them down to eat. This was spaghetti dinner, and it was easier to take his shirt off and hose him off afterwards.

So I feel like I accomplished that goal.

Goal 2: Gini and I brought bikes back with us in June, and we bought Owen a seat. When I mounted it the first time I rushed it a little and it wasn't too stable and it was really high. Gini's bike was always close to tipping over so I made plans to fix that and make it safer for the two.

Before, you can see it is pretty high and only connected to the seat stem.

The seat is lower, and mounted to the frame now. Much better.
I even took it out and rode it around the town each day she was gone to make sure it rode well. Owen LOVES going for bike rides. The first fifteen minutes of each ride is a mixture between "GOTTA GO!!!" and squealing and giggling. It is really cute.
 Goal 3: No snake bites...check.

Goal 4: Owen only ate fast food once, and chicken nuggets for the first meal. I cooked pasta, chicken tacos, beef tacos, and a hot dog.
This was us eating a hot dog in the car.

First dinner, it was really good.
Goal 5: So I racked my brain to come up with something original that would ease the transition back from the states. When Gini and I moved here we had a moving come and pack up our stuff and palletize it and put it on a boat to Sweden. When we got our pallets 8 weeks later, there was one box missing. The only thing that we have been definitely been able to tell was in there were all of Gini's cookbooks. She was crushed. She had one that was a gift from her sister that included a bunch of recipes from all their friends. Gini cooked from it 5 days out of the week when we lived in Utah. Gini was able to get the word document from her sister. Today Owen and I spent the day putting it in book form so she wouldn't have to use her laptop every time she was cooking. I can put it on here because she won't read this until she gets back to Sweden.

I also included these extra pictures.

We went to parks and went down slides

I bathed him on a regular basis.

Shirts however, were optional when we were hanging out

But we did go to church and have a fun time playing afterwards

We might have watched too much TV....

He couldn't get close enough.

We played before bed.

He was laughing, it is dark again though and so the flash came out and caused him to squint.

But most importantly, we missed our mom. She is the best, and we can't wait to shower her with love when she gets back!