Fint på trappan

Mörka dagar, men vid vårt hus lyser det så fint hela tiden. Känns fint att komma hem till en välkomnande entré. Det var inte alls meningen att ha så många små lyktor, men i somras fick ungarna för sig att leka tomtar (eller vad det nu var) tillsammans med sina kompisar. Och då behöver man gå runt med en liten lykta i handen i mörkret! Jag passade på när jag hittade smålyktor på loppis så det finns nästa gång det blir tomtelekar här hemma hos oss.

Kotten är en betongkotte som jag gjöt i somras. Det var liksom meningen att gjuta många såna till alla mina blomlådor, men det bidde bara en. Och det är okej det också – jag försöker slappna av så mycket jag bara kan, och börjar göra lite framsteg.

Ha en skön vecka!

 

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Fina lamporna

”Har du pärlat dom där?” sa en på Facebook, och jo – jag har pärlat lamporna!

Och jo, jag skryter gärna om det lite grann, för det tog minsann lång tid!

Jag satt i timmar och sorterade pärlor och lade dem på pärlplattorna. Lyssnade på föreläsningar eller pratade med folk medan jag pärlade, och det var så himla tillfredsställande. Speciellt när resultatet blev så fint!

Jag har letat efter lampor till min hörna av huset i flera år nu, men inte hittat nåt som passar. Till sist tänkte jag – nu fixar jag nåt själv. Jag ville använda upp våra pärlor (barnen börjar snart vara för stora för att orka med såna, men jag tycks inte växa ur det!) lite sådär både för att 1. få mer utrymme och för att 2. se om det gick.

Det tog minsann många timmar – minns inte hur många, men vi snackar många veckor med flera timmars pärlande varje dag.

Till sist hade jag strykta pärlplattor till fyra lampor. Och nu fyra lampor som lyser så vackert i höstrusket!

 

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10 things to think about when adopting

It’s more than 10 years since we adopted our younger children, and we have come such a long way. Here are 10 things to think about before adopting:

  1. Ethics

The adopting stage is completely different now than when we adopted, but I think still some things are true. When thinking about adoption – try to find the most ethical solution you can find.

Having a child is always a selfish option, no matter how you have that child. You do it for you, not for the child’s sake. Having a child through adoption is even more selfish, because there is always – always – a tragedy behind the adoption. And some agencies are not as ethical as one would want them to be. Do you want to parent a child and one day find out that that child had a mother and a father who wanted the child, but were tricked into giving it away? Sometimes there is even child trafficking involved with people kidnapping children and selling them to orphanages.

The adoption industry is just that – a market with buyers and sellers. I still think there can be ethical adoptions – we are examples of just that. We chose a country with a reputable organization in the adoption country, with the possibility that a biological mother could choose us. We were fortunate to be chosen by both the parents, so in our case we have zero doubts as to whether everything went by the books. In many other cases things are not so clear. It definitely pays in the long run to really look into the organization that you’ll be using and to think about the ethics.

  1. Every child that is adopted has gone through loss

It’s best to assume the child your adopting will be having PTSD-symptoms and other symptoms of stress. No matter how young a child, the child will have been through a stressful event that can affect their whole life. A child’s brain is malleable to harmful influences already before birth, and chances are a mother who gives up their child for adoption is in a lot of stress which influences the child.

This can then take the form of attachment issues. Attachment issues often look like ADHD when the kids are a bit older. It is of utmost importance to seek help as soon as possible!

I’ve seen many parents not want to seek help when they think their child’s problems aren’t that big, but believe me – it is much better to seek help a little bit before you yourself are ready (and I’m 100% sure if you’re even considering if you should seek help, that yes, you should) than to wait until your child’s issues have spiraled out of control.

We’ve been in therapy for many years now, and I don’t regret starting so early! We would have gone earlier if that had been even possible, but we did it as fast as we could and now we get to reap the benefits in kids that are much more well adjusted than even their peers without a trauma background. Take a leap of faith and ignore all your miscomprehensions about therapy and just go for it. Your child will feel better and so will you, and all the judgmental people if they exist can just go suck it.

  1. It is so important to have all the facts

If you have any facts about your child’s adoption, write them down so that the child can read for themselves when they are old enough.

Write down everything using age-appropriate language. There are ready-made books you can use, but in my opinion Lifebooks that the parents make themselves are the best. In that way the book gets custom-made and not only that – by a loving parent. You show through your deeds how much you love the child, and the child will pick up on that.

I made Lifebooks for all our kids, and we’ve read them since they were little. But it’s only now that they are old enough to read them themselves, that the books are really significant. They look at pictures of their birthparents and can read all the words I wrote so long ago about how children get made, what adoption is and what we know about their parents and birth-country.

  1. Your attachment style will come into play

The way you were treated when you were little will affect how you treat your children.

Most people learn this the hard way. They can be calm and collected, look to be set to be perfect parents and then boom – when the kid is born the parent completely changes.

All those issues that you had with your parents, even those that you don’t remember will come out in situations where you lose control or lose your temper.

I’m fortunate to be securely attached, but Niklas was not and we have struggled a lot with his attachment issues. It is not easy to have kids with trauma, when you yourself have issues. The thing that has helped the most is of course 1. therapy, but also 2. mindfulness and 3. finding out the MBTI-type  and learning how each of us in our family thinks and using that for meaningful engagement.

  1. Take care of yourself

This is much easier said than done. It is tough raising kids with trauma, and I myself haven’t always had the opportunity to even get to breathe easily for five minutes during certain days. But nowadays there are meditation apps to help you. If you can’t do anything else relaxing, you can at least breathe.

My favorite meditation app is Calm, which gives you guided meditation which I love.

  1. Get help

Get a therapist if you can. Get your family and friends to help you. Sometimes they won’t believe that there is anything wrong, because sometimes traumatized kids only show their symptoms at home (this is a good thing – you don’t want the other way around, when they show their symptoms at school or away from home, but are well-behaved at home). Sometimes the kids are just so exhausting that nobody wants to help you with them.

Look around and see if you can find someone who either understands your situation a little bit, or who you can trade favors with. It doesn’t have to be a relative – it can be a friend, or even an acquaintance who is sympathetic. We have a family who have supported us through thick and thin, who’ve taken the kids overnight once in a while just so we could get some time off. Later on we’ve done the same favor to them.  The kids are by now so familiar with each other that they don’t get too stressed with spending time away from home, and both our families have been getting really close-knitted in the process.

  1. Collect memories

I’m not sentimental, and I find making photo books a chore, but my kids – they love the books! They love looking through old albums and seeing how happy they were when they were little. Making memories together as a family is so important when you all have different backgrounds.

When the kids were little I used to write down ”star-moments”. When we had a really good family moment I wrote it down on a paper star and glued it to the wall in the hallway. All these little things really make the kids feel safe and loved.

  1. Think about racism

If you are the sort of person who don’t want to adopt a child from Africa because you are afraid they will be exposed to racism – perhaps you should consider if you should adopt at all.

All internationally adopted children will be exposed to racism in one form or the other. If you as a parent are blind to it, you are harming your child.

You should instead try to be informed, no matter how awful it feels . It is even worse for the people experiencing racism, so think about that instead. (I’m assuming most people who read this blog post are white).

Your job as a parent is to be a shield and a warrior that fights for your child. It is your job to tell people to stop being idiots, to stop using racist words, to be kind to people.

It is your job to tell people not to touch your child’s hair. It is your job to be informed.

  1. Adoption is not like having a biological child

Yes, you love all your children, but adopting is different from giving birth to a child. All children need parents, but you can’t just go on and adopt because you want to save a child. You have to know how hard it is, and also think about the ethics (see point 1.).

But it definitely helps if you have a child beforehand. You have probably managed to work through some of your own issues, when you got the first child. You are more experienced and can tell what is normal and what is not. That can give you a heads up when you need to seek help.

  1. Is it worth it?

You can never know beforehand how much work having a child will be. Some kids are easier, because of their own predisposition and the parents. But most children – most people – have their own challenges. Nobody goes through life without meeting any hardships, so yes, it’s worth it.

It’s hard work, and you should know beforehand that it is hard work. If you feel you are not ready or you are not willing to have sleepless nights and to fight for your child – then forget about it. Do something else. Our world is overpopulated as it is, and not everyone needs to be a parent.

Every child needs a parent, but it doesn’t have to be you. It has to be someone who is willing to sacrifice their own health, their friendships (because sometimes people can be selfish, racist jerks), their beliefs of the world and their peace of mind (secondary trauma – it’s a thing). And then – then it’s worth it.

 

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My lovely, colorful lanterns

Last Sunday was Father’s Day here in some of the Nordic countries, and we took the opportunity to invite my parents for dinner.

I decorated with the fuse beads-lanterns that I made.

They go along with almost all of our decorations!

I used battery-driven tealights in the lanterns, so they can stand pretty much anywhere without being a fire hazard.

They glow so nicely when it gets dark.

My kids helped me decorate – they love putting flowers on the glasses. I think it looks lovely!

We used some of the old thrift shop-china that we’ve collected during the years.

The napkins were from Indiska’s Christmas collection – they are perfect for our house just about all year round!

I made lanterns in varying sizes. The big ones took forever to make! These smaller ones were quick.

It was so much fun making all the different patterns, and fun to see how different they look with lights inside them.

It was a really nice dinner, and I love decorating with all these colors – I need colors this time of year, when it’s so dark outside and before Christmas has occupied our home. Which is soon!

 

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Höstfunderingar

Ute är det ruskigt och kallt idag, men för bara någon vecka sen gick jag i skogen och njöt av alla gula färger. Gult och svart i stark kontrast, och ibland vissa dagar en alldeles klarblå himmel och klarblåa vatten.

Det börjar vankas jul så småningom, men vilken ynnest att först få ha en sån här gyllene höst! Vi har njutit av promenader och ätit äpplen varje dag och kaninerna har blivit bortskämda med ett och annat från trädgården.

Det är nästan så att jag har fått mitt mått mättat med höst nu och är beredd för julsäsongen. Nästan! Gluttar lite grann på julen i form av pepparkakshusplaner, för snart är det dags för det också!

Ha en skön måndag!

 

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Fuse bead heaven at our home – DIY fuse bead lanterns & crown

(Okay, so that last post was supposed to be called ”Fused bead lamps”, because this one is about the fused bead lanterns! But I’ve corrected it now)

I don’t know how many hours I spent sorting the fuse beads according to color, but it was so worth it!

And I actually think it can be sort of relaxing to sort the beads, so win-win all around?

Once the beads were sorted, I made strips of fused beads about 7 beads wide and different lengths. I made six pieces for each lantern.

I glued together all six pieces using a hot glue gun.

The lanterns are perfect for this season! They’re colorful and pretty in the evenings, and bring both light and color to our home before the big Christmas ornament explosion. This picture is during daytime, when I hadn’t yet ”lit” the lights (I forgot to say – I use battery driven tealights inside these, so they’re really safe and you can place them almost anywhere in your home) – hopefully I’ll get around to taking pictures of them during the dark hours too, because they are just so lovely!

I also made a crown that I used for Halloween, using the same method. I made the parts of the crown separately and glued them together using a hot glue gun. So easy, and so much fun to do! And it’s always fun to wear crowns!

 

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DIY Fuse beads lamps

My craft room/study is my place for tranquility, my type of tranquility, and now I finally have lamps to match my mood and the mood of the room!

I used to have white lamps, but they don’t give the right king of ambient mood in the evenings. They’re alright, but I wanted something a bit more cozy, so I thought for a long while and came up with an idea to make lamps out of fuse beads.

I made modules out of strips of fused together beads (7×21 beads) and glued them together into pentagons using a glue gun. Then I ordered and re-ordered them until I got four color combinations that I wanted (for 4 lamps).

I glued the pentagons together one on top of another. I made sure to use lots of glue on the inside of the pentagons, so that the plates of fuse beads won’t get unstuck.

Finally I glued a piece of cardboard on top of the lamp with a slit to the middle of the pentagon. I left one corner of it unglued to the lamp, so that I could thread the lamp bulb through it. 

The new lamps are just perfect for my little corner of the world! And they give such a lovely, warm light in the evenings!

 

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My new sleep tracker – the one ring to rule them all? (fitness trackers, that is!)

 

It’s finally here – my Oura ring! I first heard about it through Chris Kresser, and since I’ve had severe sleep problems for the last ten years, I immediately thought this would be something for me.

The Oura ring is not a fitness tracker – it’s a sleep tracker. The difference is, although it tracks your fitness and how much you move – it also tracks your sleep in detail. (This is not a sponsored post by the way, although I wouldn’t mind being sponsored regarding this! Sleep is just that important, and this is a product I believe in).

Above all, it tracks your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which most gadgets don’t track. Your HRV is an indicator for how much you recuperate after something like illnesses, eating certain foods, exercise etc. It also tracks your sleep stages and then takes all the variables into account and gives you suggestions for your day.

The tracker needs about two weeks tracking to be completely accurate, but already after 5 nights of sleep, I can see that my deep sleep is just rubbish! My resting heart rate is too high on nights when I’ve been stressed out during the day, and my HRV is also not that great. I have the mind of a much older person, in other words, and I need to do something about it. But one stress factor – how much I should move about during the day, and if all the wakings I have during the night make me ineffective – has completely disappeared! Now I have clear data that shows that although on some nights I don’t sleep as much, it doesn’t matter if the quality of the sleep was better.

My ring still doesn’t know me, so it tells me to get moving every day, as if I need to push myself! But in reality I’ve had to cut back on the amount of exercise I get. If my ring tells me I need to walk 7k, I usually get that just by being at home. We have a upper floor, and I move around a lot, all the time placing things in their order, fetching things or sometimes doing yoga.

At most my ring has told me to walk 10 km, and that is just the ordinary amount of walking I do! I haven’t so far had any day being completely optimal, especially since my deep sleep is so bad (about 20 minutes a night – you need at least 1,5 hours) and because I tend to walk too much, but now I at least have something to track progress with.

And it feels so good!

You can find the Oura ring here – I waited more than 9 months for mine. My dad got his a month earlier, so he’s had more time to track his sleep and his activity and his ring is definitely giving him results he can use. Since we preordered we got a nice sum off the final prize, but you can still get discount codes all over the internet if you are eager to have a sleep tracker too.

Here’s an interview with the Oura CEO with one of the persons in the Functional Medicine community:

Harpreet Rai on Bulletproof Radio:

(and fun fact: Prince Harry also has one! He got his after my dad got his, so my dad was ahead of Prince Harry and the trend!)

Some sleep tips I’ve picked up recently:

  • 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey before sleep can really help you sleep better, especially if you’re female (it has to be raw honey, and you can’t put it in hot water)
  • I want a weighted blanket for adults
  • True Dark glasses are now on my wish list
  • I tend to forget to take my magnesium – but it also affects sleep
  • you can’t fall asleep with cold feet or hands. You just can’t. Socks are a must if you have cold feet like I tend to have when I go to sleep.

 

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The Halloween-party

Halloween came and went, but before I go all Christmassy on this blog, I’ll post some of the pictures from our Halloween party.

I was an evil tooth fairy, and I made a large staff with a huge tooth out of papier maché that I dipped in beeswax and then painted red in places. It turned out real creepy and went perfect with my outfit!

I also made a necklace with large pulled out teeth mixed with black ribbons. It took a while for the guests to see what the necklace really was, but it was all the more gruesome when they did!

I wore a crown that I made from Hama-beads. I’ve been on a hama-bead bend recently, but now I think I’m cured (because now gingerbread season is beckoning!). But there’ll be some hama-related blogposts in the near future, if I can only find the time to photograph (NanoWriMo, folks!)

I made the bathroom into my laboratory, where I pulled teeth of people who didn’t comply. This tooth fairy wants your money, or else…!

Supereasy to make some fake blood, and so effectful! 

I mixed some golden syrup and some water with a bit of red food coloring, and sprinkled it on the bathtub. Easy fun decoration, and easy to remove as well!

This year we remembered to bring out the skull shaped soap dispenser that we bought last year and completely forgot.  

The scary candles were perfect! Their core is either orange or black, which made for a nice effect when they were lit and the candle wax started dripping.

We had such a nice time, big ones and smaller ones, and it’s so much fun with a party where the whole family can participate!

The kids had been waiting for the party for ages. They had planned lots of funny games to play, and really enjoyed themselves. 

We had Niklas’ brain for dessert! 😀 (just kidding! Not!)

 

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