Finland: the testicles of the eurozone

Scott's unrelenting awesomeness (second marathon) giving us an other excuse to travel

"Finland~ where 4 am looks the same as 10 pm, and both are indistinguishable from noon."
~first sentence in my journal from our time in Finland

"Mom!  Finland is a GREAT place!  The power hasn't even gone out today!  We should stay here forever, probably."  ~Kylie

"Internet speed in Finland... over Wifi... while streaming Youtube: 15x faster than the hardwired DSL at my house in Naples.  *sigh*"  ~Scott's status update

"Finland has so many foods!  We had dinner that wasn't pizza OR pasta!!!" ~Avalon

"Your words should be better than your silence.  If they aren't, stay silent." ~Finnish saying

That actually sums up our experience fairly completely.  If you're just here to get Finland's vibe, you can probably close this window now.  If you're more the 'I like pictures & sexual innuendo type', feel free to continue reading :-)


Enchanting parks everywhere

I love you guys :-)

A stuffed reindeer carcass!  Let's pat it for an hour!

Quite possibly Kylie's favorite part of the entire vacation
At first we just thought EVERY kid we saw was returning from a fishing trip.  Turns out it rains so often they have an outfit for it, much like the requisite snowsuits I had growing up.

One of many games of tag with Aunt Christy, who is unequivocally the best
Is good you came in summer.  Winter can be verrrrrrry depressing

This actually isn't innuendo.  What is it?  I'm not sure.  Let's make it a fun multiple choice question!  This is:
a) a map of the eurozone
b) a low resolution picture that was all I could find
c) what happens when you let Europeans design something
d) the best thing to ever happen to Sweden
Admit it: now that you've seen it *without* Norway, you can't un-see it
This isn't really innuendo either.  I should have come up with a better heading.  So what is it?  An awkward family moment.  We took a boat ride to an island zoo (awesome!).
It's a traffic light for boats!
almost there!  also awesome!
...and then this happened:
The girls saw (and became enamored with) this peacock.  Which, unfortunately, Avalon kept calling the "he-cock".  As in, "Momma look at that pretty he-cock!" or
That sure is a big he-cock, huh Kylie?" 
"When I grow up, I'm gonna get a he-cock!" 
"Yay, yay, the pretty he-cock is following us!"
* sigh *

Lastly (but not leastly), we came across this in our "what to do in Finland" brochure:
Finland, it's a bold move presuming I'll *love* having my calf bitten while kneeling on a toilet and leaning out a window


Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence, every time I write your name, I smile.  It's your daddy and my daddy all rolled into a tiny little you. I'm so glad you're here.

This has been a hard year, little man, so very hard in a lot of ways.  I was the sickest I've ever been... my back has gotten so bad the doctor said I might never run again... I couldn't be there for your Gramps when he lost his mom... and I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite people in the world.

It would have been so easy to dismiss 2013 as a year we'd have been better off without.

...and then I held you.  I touched your little cheek and kissed your tiny nose and everything hard and sad just melted away.

Thank you for being the promise of sunshine I could daydream about when everything seemed dark.  I thought losing my Nana would shatter me.  Thanks for being with me during that goodbye.  I took care of myself for your sake even when I wouldn't have for my own.  Thanks for that, little prince, and for giving us the gift of having a newborn in Italy.

Our neighbors are thrilled with your birth, and bring us food constantly so that I'll have plenty of milk for you. Men stop in the street to smile and pat your cheek.  Cashiers leave their registers to hold you.  Restaurant owners exclaim "auguri!" and come over to kiss your little feet and hands.  I've fallen madly in love with you, little one, and this section of Napoli has, too.
I ate approximately half of this

Every day my heart feels full to capacity... and every night it must get bigger, because the next morning I wake up and somehow love you even more.  I'm thrilled that you are here, sweet boy, and I couldn't love you more.  ...at least until I wake up tomorrow :-)