Monday, August 29, 2011

Finland Part 2: Some Sightseeing

Part Two of Finland blogging consists of some sightseeing and some fun things we did together while still at my Grandmothers. The third and final installment of this trip blog will be the last two days we spend being "American Tourists" in Helsinki! :) But here are some fun things we did up north.

As many of you probably know, Shad is a HUGE sports fan. His two favorites include college football and baseball. So when Shad found out that Finland had it's own bizarre version of baseball, he really wanted to check it out! This particular version of "baseball" is unique to Finland. Here is a peak at the field and players (notice: no pitcher's mound... I'm not sure how it works you'll have to ask Shad!):

Just Shad and my dad went. It was a really rainy and cold that day, and it was far away (about two hours) so we didn't want to take Owen. But they had a good time. Us girls at home caught highlights of the game on TV!

One evening my parents ventured out and found this really gorgeous spot to do some fishing and roast some Makara! The many, many times that we have been to Finland we never discovered this spot, just a few minutes from Mummo's house!

It had a fire pit, perfect for roasting Makara. A Finn favorite.
And yes, we are wet! We got caught in a brief rainstorm, but it quickly passed!

Owen, as always, enjoyed playing outside.
He particularly liked collecting pinecones, which he calls "pops," and sharing with Mummo.
After Makara, we went fishing! One of my all time favorite things to do in Finland!
That's me! The fish were definitely biting...
GQ Shad... ruggedly handsome!
Owen with one of the two teeny-tiny fish we caught. Both caught by my dad! He loved it!

A family pic, before we left.
We took Owen back to the park where he had fun playing in the water/dirt...
And we enjoyed the sights...

A Finnish road trip isn't complete without seeing some Reindeer in the street!
We saw our fair share of them! This guy even posed for us!
Finland isn't exactly known for its high elevation and waterfalls, but there is one small waterfall near Mummo's house that we stopped to see one evening.

It was a fun stop to check out.

Owen actually really liked it, he kept saying "Wow!" (And yes, there is the baby bump)
Another fun thing about Finland is how the berries grow wild everywhere! These are what we think are Lingonberries, there are Currents that grow, and Blueberries EVERYWHERE.
The final thing we did while up north is visit an area called Hossa. It is so BEAUTIFUL there. Its known for its camping, hiking, and fishing. And also for these ancient rock painting discovered in the 1970s that date back 7000 years! We decided to make the drive up north and take the 3 mile hike to see these painting. I vaguely remember going there before when I was younger, because this was the second time around for us, but the first time for Shad (and Owen!).
Taking a brief break for juice and a snack.
We made it! (It actually felt like a REALLY long hike)
Here they are, can you spot them?
How about now?
Hmm?? What do they mean? (There was an explanation of each painting there, it was mostly people and animals, moose and swans supposedly... but who really knows right? They're 7000 years old!!)
We, of course, had to take our family pictures with the rock.

And take some silly pictures with the rock too! My cavemen...

This is the view just across the river from these rock painting:
And on the way home, we stopped and took some scenic shots of Hossa... it was so beautiful there.

And so ends Part Two! Next and final stop... Helsinki!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finland Part 1: At Mummo's House

We're back!!! And we actually have been back for just over a week now, but I am just now getting sorted through all 1200 of our trip pictures and have had MANY requests to post pics. So finally here I am. Shad is DONE with the BAR exam and we will have results in October (UGH so long to wait!!)... but I'm happy to have a husband again.

I will mostly let the pictures tell the story of our trip with this blog and a couple more the follow. But I will start off by saying that Owen was GREAT on the trip!! He did so well, much better than I could have ever imagined. So thanks for all your advice, tips, and helpful hints! They all worked, and we just have a master world traveler on our hands! :) Both the plane ride there and back was smooth... A few meltdowns here and there, but nothing we couldn't quickly handle with a toy/grandma/or snacks. He adjusted better than any of us to a new sleep schedule. In face he slept better and later there than he does here!!! We really only had one rough night right after we got there, and it wasn't so bad... and then he was cured of jet-lag!

The only hiccup of the trip, as far as Owen is concerned, was two days before the trip he had started getting a watery eye. He has had it several times before, I always credited it to allergies, and it always went away after a day or two. Well... being on a nasty airplane for close to 14 hours, you will pick up all kinds of germs. After we got there the eye started getting worse and worse, and was red all on the OUTSIDE and eyelid, plus it started gooping. So we had to take him to the local doctors office, pay a nice non-resident fee, spend about two seconds with the actual doctor for him to prescribe an eye drop that cleared it up within three days. But other than that... nothing too major. :)

Our trip was mostly a quiet one. It was a lot of family time and not a lot of adventure. We spent most of the trip at my Grandma's (Mummo's) house up in northern Finland. Getting there always takes a long time... after two plane rides and 20-24 hours of travel we arrive in Helsinki. We then rented a car and drove about two hours to my aunts house where we spend a couple days recovering from jet-lag. Then we drive another 9 HOURS to my Mummo's house way up north! We spent about two weeks there, where my dad and Shad did many household projects for her and helped all around the yard and house. We played outside everyday with Owen and spent a lot of time reading and down time. It was actually nice to have some quiet time, especially after Shad had been SO busy taking the bar exam!

Here come the MANY, many pictures (Remember this is PART 1 of 3!!):

This me with two of my cousins: Heli and Henri. It was fun to catch up with them for a bit.
We arrived in Finland the day before my 26th birthday, so on my birthday I was totally spoiled with gifts and this decadent chocolate cake... Mmmm.
In front of my aunts house the day we left for Mummos, before the 9 hour trek!
My parents with my Aunt:
After we got to Mummo's we got right to work with berry (currents) picking!
Owen LOVED to pick berries...
...And then EAT them! Caught in the act...So delicious!
Just up the street from Mummo's is this wonderful little park, with beautiful Finnish sights to see.

Very typical Finland, complete with tour boat!

Just near the park, is also an old steam train... we just HAD to show Owen. He loved it!
My Mummo can make anything grow... seriously. She has the most amazing garden and collection of flowers. And a HUGE yard.

Owen absolutely LOVED being outside, all day, everyday. He enjoyed running, and pulling his little truck around. So much FREE space to play!
Did I mention he LOVED being outside?
Shad helped out with yard work, including mowing the lawn, which took about 4-5 hours!
My dad and his brother built new Sauna benches for her. Which turned out awesome.
Owen also got some time with his great-grandma... It took some time to warm up to her, but he eventually did!
Mummo made us a delicious dinner everyday. Including one night of Moose meat! (Not exactly my favorite!)
Owen was excited when he saw the smoke coming from the Sauna, because that meant...
...BATH TIME!! He loved it in the Sauna! A true Finn!
Clean boy... all ready for bed!
The last day at Mummo's we took some nice family pictures together.
Me with my sweet, amazing grandmother:
My dad with his mom:
Owen with his great-grandma!
Four generations:
This is the end of Part 1. Its a little out of order because you will see more pictures with my grandma in them, but I thought the way I divided it up worked out better. You'll see... For now, its 11 PM and I'm going to bed! More pictures from Finland SOON! :)