Hemmagjorda Brezn från Bayern

För ett bra tag sen fick jag en fin present av min kompis som bor i Bayern – ett paket med allt man behöver för att göra egna brezn, bayerska kringlor.

Jag har sparat och sparat och sparat på det där paketet till ett speciellt ögonblick, och helt plötsligt insåg jag – bäst före datumet närmar sig! Så om jag ska baka dem, så är det nu.

Det speciella ögonblicket visade sig vara en helt vanlig torsdag då vi ville göra och äta nånting lite annorlunda. Dottern och jag bakade kringlorna som är gjorda på dinkelmjöl, och oj, vad goda dom var! Det doftade bageri i hela huset, och färska brezn var minsann mums!

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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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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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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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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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Where I find my peace

 

”Carpe Diem” said my dad’s sleep app today, and when you really want to carpe the diem – this is the place to do it!

There is something so soothing in nature. Peace and quiet seeps into you whether you want it or not – you can’t just not relax when surrounded by so much beauty.

I go on my walks and enjoy seeing the way nature changes during the year.

Right now there is so much yellow everywhere, but in just a few days time that will change to brown.

I found an abandoned swan egg the other day – a pair of swans have their nest nearby, so this is probably one of theirs that didn’t make it.

It was just so beautiful though. I love seeing little things like this, seeing squirrels chase each other or swans nesting or even bird carcasses – there are traces of the life cycle everywhere.

We are so fortunate to live so near nature. Spending time in the garden is great – spending time in the woods is even greater.

The tranquility seeps in, and I need that so much.

I’m also looking forward to using my new Oura-ring that I finally, finally got today! (after 9 months!) It’s a sleep tracker that hopefully will help me get better sleep, and I look forward to seeing what my daily walks are doing to my all around health.

 

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Jag gillar krokiga träd!

När man tänker på träd tänker man ofta på raka, höga saker, men ute i skogen där träden får växa som de vill växer de i helt andra banor ibland.

En del träd faller ner på andra och böjer ner dem. Andra viks av stormar och vindar. En del blir för stora för sluttningen de växer på och böjer sig därför.

Ibland roar jag mej med att se hur många olika slags former av träd jag kan hitta på mina skogspromenader, och det är många det!

Döda träd är också vackra att se på. Och innehåller en stor mängd skogsliv!

Skogens livscykel finns överallt – övervuxet, nyvuxet, dött och livslevande i en enda salig blandning, och allting i höstskrud just nu. Gult och vackert så det ser nästan overkligt vackert ut!

 

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…och nu över till något helt annat, kristallkronor!

Av nån anledning har en hel del kristallkronor hamnat hemma hos oss (kan ha att göra med att vi gillar glittriga saker!), och det enda tråkiga med dom är att dom måste putsas ibland.

Den här kristallkronan var ett loppisfynd som såg rätt sunkig ut redan innan jag började pilla av prismorna.

Det tog sin lilla tid att få bort alla prismor. Jag lade dem i vatten blandat med diskmedel. Mycket diskmedel.

Efter en omgång diskmedel

Jag måste putsa dem flera gånger för att få bort allt flott och smuts som samlats under många år.

Två gånger diskat till vänster – till höger otvättade prismor.

Men oj, vad fina och glittriga prismorna blev!

Sån här sorts städning gillar jag bäst – när man ser resultat genast!

…mer glitter åt folket!

(och man behöver inte alltid pilla bort alla prismor för att rengöra – det går bra att putsa dem med en mikrofiberduk om man gör det tillräckligt ofta. Men om kristallkronan har stått i många år får man ibland inte bort smutsen med bara en duk)

 

 

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FAQ : living with constant pain in a certain part of your body

Here’s the thing – I have a condition that I seldom talk about. I don’t complain about it most of the time, not even to my self, not at home, and then at most to Niklas. I maybe cry about it once a year or every two years or so on a bad day, but other than that, I try not to think about it.

It is debilitating, and it is the reason why I could never have a proper 9-5 job, but getting disability status would mean first going through years of not having treatment (which in this case means Niklas massaging me every day and me taking muscle relaxants plus sometimes pain medication) to show the doctors in how much pain I would be without it. I am simply not willing to do that, especially since I can function almost normally as it is now.

The fact is however, that I am in constant pain, not as much as I used to, but it is always there in the background. I tend to ignore bodily aches and pains (benefits and drawbacks of being an ENTJ), and I always try to look positively on things. Things could be so much worse. I am privileged. I have a husband, and a home and a possibility to at least write for a living some day, so I am not in such a bad state as for example many young women and girls in parts of Africa who have much worse injuries than I do, and still have to work and take care of families sometimes even without the help of pain medication.

So what are you rambling about? Why won’t you just come out and say what it is that ails you?

Because the part of my body that is damaged is the one part of the female anatomy that it’s not proper to talk about. My vagina. I have scarring on the side of my vagina and it won’t ever go away.

Are you sure? Have you done everything you can to look into it?

If by everything you mean consult with Denmark’s leading surgeon on the area, Denmark’s leading physical therapist on the area, one of Finland’s best gynecologists, then yes – I have consulted with them and plus other people. I have been through three surgeries, and consensus is that there is no point in further surgery, because my body would just create new scarring in the new cut.

There is a slight possibility that a specialized surgeon in the US could do something about it, but that would be extremely expensive and require resources that we simply don’t have.

How can one little scar affect so much that you say you are almost debilitated?

That one little scar is located in a place that is rich in nerve endings and seems to affect the muscles of the area, and when they get tense, all the rest of the muscles get tense, which builds up. After giving birth, before we knew what was wrong with me, I was in constant pain from my feet to my upper back, until my muscles were in such a bad state that I could not walk without some form of support. I was on constant pain medication, and always waiting for the four hours to go by so I could get my next pill.

Since visiting Birthe Bonde, an amazing physical therapist in Copenhagen, I got some massage help and she showed Niklas how to massage me to give my muscles relief. Since then it has been much better, which is why I don’t talk about it most of the time. I can live with this. Many people have it much worse.

Can’t you just tell people?

Yes, of course I can. These are my options, for example at a party:

I have aches, and don’t want to get up to fetch something, so I for example ask Niklas to fetch it for me.

  1. I say nothing, and people assume I am lazy or that Niklas is hen-pecked and they think (and sometimes say) ”Poor Niklas”
  2. I claim to have something else that ails me, like backache or something, which is sometimes also the truth, because the pains are spreading through my body. This is the most socially acceptable alternative, but sometimes people then look at me strangely when they see me do motions that they did not think I could do, because my explanation was a bit faulty. I.e. I come out sounding like a liar or a hypochondriac
  3. To say my vagina hurts. And, if people didn’t like me already – this is one sure to make them dislike me, and mean not getting invited to any more parties (not that we get that many invites as it is! Most women don’t really like me – statistically most women are ESFJ or ISFJ, which I personally don’t have any problem with seeing as I was raised by a bunch of them, but they already see from my appearance that I’m not conforming to social norms and that raises red flags to them even before I’ve opened my mouth).

No matter what I tell, it is something that either feels like a lie to me, or that is uncomfortable to people or both.

Most of the time I say nothing and let people think what they will. If they are so shallow that they judge me because Niklas fetches me things, then they’re not people I want to be around anyway.

Have you tried yoga or meditation?

Yes, thank you, it’s been 15 years now since this whole thing started – by now I’ve tried almost everything there is, but if you have an idea that doesn’t involve medication/massage/exercise/yoga – I’m all for it. Otherwise – just presume I’ve tried everything there is, except for really obscure things, so if you sit on an obscure treatment for scarring on the inside of the body, I’m happy to hear about it, but no homeopathy or new age-stuff, thank you. I prefer researched methods that work.

Oh, poor Niklas who has to cater to you all the time AND massage you, and then you write about this embarrassing thing on your blog!

As I recall, it takes both a sperm and an egg cell to produce a child and since he volunteered to mix his DNA with mine, we think of this as something we are both in together. Why should I feel bad that he massages me every night and has to fetch things for me? If it was the other way around, I would be the one doing the catering, and nobody would raise an eyebrow.

He usually reads my blog posts before I publish them, and he has approved this message.

In addition, there are plenty of more embarrassing things that people don’t talk about.

But why even say anything about it? This is such an uncomfortable subject?

Because I am certain I am not the only one who has these kinds of problems. Billions of women go through childbirth. It is most certain that some experience similar things that I did, that they get scarring, that they remain with pain.

I have no idea if I know some of them. I haven’t spoken about it. It is taboo – and all things taboo remain unspoken of, until someone breaks that taboo.

People/women don’t talk (or didn’t used to talk) openly about their periods, and about having pain.

People don’t talk about problems with their rectum (even though that can be really debilitating when you’re out and about).

People/women don’t talk about when their vagina hurts from all kinds of reasons.

Certain parts of the anatomy are taboo to talk about. It is perfectly fine at a party to say you have a headache, but it’s not fine to say you have menstrual cramps. It is perfectly fine to say you go to physical therapy because of hurting your knee, but it’s not fine to say you do it because you got an injury in a certain female part while giving birth.

Or you can just talk openly about it and watch people get uncomfortable and not get invited to any more gatherings.  I guess I’m the latter category now, because by now, I’m just so sick and tired about having to come up with excuses all the time for something that will never ever go away. That will be with me for the rest of my life.

…but then again, I’m ENTJ, so the probability of me discussing anything that bothers me physically and that I need help with is closer to zero! 99% of the time, I pretend everything is fine. Today just happens to be an anomaly, a day when I was just so fed up with explaining things that I needed to get it out of my system.

 

 

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