Tag Archives: Sweden

Getting back on the bike

This weekend Sofi and I were in Laholm for a cycling training camp with our club, Hisingens CK. There were rides planned for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I rode all three days, but unfortunately Sofi couldn’t get time off work (being a teacher and all), so she came down Friday evening. Continue reading

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Our Weekend, Week 2 (plus week 1 catchup)

We’ll start at the beginning…of the new year!

2016 started with a very tired and lazy day for us, as it usually is the day after New Year’s. You can read about why we were tired and our plans for NYE here. We had a great evening, and my dad was with us in Sweden for a few more days, which meant more freezing temperatures and another frozen ride for him! We also played boule at Boulebar in town (on Saturday 2nd) and then ate some French cuisine there after we had played. Sofi won both games, well done to her! 😀 Unfortunately we then had to go home and it was so cold! We ended up squatting on the bench at the bus stop so our feet weren’t on the ground and our ankles weren’t getting a chilling wind on them!

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I finally got my saddle for my new bike, so my dad and I took some pictures of that one day while Sofi was meeting her friend Alex who has now moved to Brussels.

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After my dad left, on Epiphany I went for a long ride in -12°C! It was organised by Komet Club Rouleur (the guys who do the Thursday sprint sessions we do in the summer), and the plan was to do 120 km, but I knew that was daft when it was so cold, so I turned back early and did 70 km total. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but I was glad to not have been out any longer as well!

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After that, Sofi and I both started back at work on the 7th, for two days before the weekend. On the Friday it snowed a lot though, and I was hoping it would snow overnight as well so I could have a snowy ride, and a snowy ride I had! I rode for 40 km in the snow in the forest. It was -5°C and there was a LOT of snow. It was really fun, especially on my cyclocross bike (I had used my mountain bike in the snow previously). 😀

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On the Sunday, Sam and Caroline dropped Leo off on their way to Norway to ski. We were going to have him all week!!! I was wanting to have another ride, but I felt a little bit unwell…not sure if it was similar to what Sofi had or because I had been out in the cold for too long the past few days. So it was a day spent working and wrapped up on the sofa for all three of us, which Leo particularly liked!

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During the beginning of the week, the temperature started to rise, causing the snow to melt, but by the middle of the week it was getting much colder again and we even got new snow. So it was nice to see the shift from white to green to white again. The temperature was consistently cold during the nights though, and now the water in the harbour has frozen and you are able to walk (and skate) on it!

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During the week, we made a delicious Spinach and Ricotta tortellini, and we will post the recipe this week! 😀

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So, finally at the weekend of week 2! Friday was our last day with Leo, and we love looking after him because he is easily the best, sweetest, most well-behaved dog ever! Sam and Caroline were coming back from Norway in the afternoon/evening, so we offered to cook them dinner for when they came to collect Leo. We made our delicious Vietnamese Bun Cha with sticky tofu, and they loved it as much as we did. We weren’t sure what to make because we thought they could be starving but at the same time they might have gone to a fast food restaurant on the way back so might not want something too heavy. So we went for something that is both light and filling! 🙂

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For dessert we had ice cream and made a warm raspberry sauce to have on top of the ice cream with some chocolate pieces and crushed cashews. Delicious!

On Saturday, Caroline and Leo were competing in an agility competition, and we said we wanted to come and watch (and support them). So we went with them in the morning and stayed until after Leo’s run. It was amazing watching all these dogs (and their owners) compete. There were dogs of all sizes, and some of varying degree of ability. Leo came second in the first competition (he was joint first on point because he had no faults, but was second based on time). 🙂 In his second competition, he was unfortunate to jump over one obstacle the wrong way, causing him to fail. (The dogs run out of a tunnel towards the obstacle, but are supposed to go around it and then jump over it from the other side and enter the tunnel again.) He did so well otherwise though and was very quick – it would have certainly been another podium for him were it not for that 😦 Caroline clearly is a dog expert – Leo really is well trained! 😀

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After we got back, we made a butterscotch tart to take round to Malin and Evan’s for dinner. I also did a 45 min high-cadence session on the rollers, because I was finally feeling better again. (I also did a session on Friday before we started cooking.) Malin and Evan had prepared a delicious Moroccan meal for us, with spiced rice (with sultanas), chick pea balls, and two sauces. Yum! We then had the butterscotch tart for dessert with some vanilla quark on the side.

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Yesterday (Sunday), Sofi finally trained for the first time this year as well! She had been feeling better on Thursday/Friday, but I told her to wait a couple more days just to be certain. We did a tough Sufferfest session (me on the rollers, her on the turbo trainer), and then Sofi went out for fika with her friend Sanna. I stayed at home where it was warm – it was -12°C again yesterday!

For dinner, we made a delicious leek and cauliflower pasta bake we had been meaning to make for aaaages from a Jamie Oliver magazine we bought last January (the same one that had the original Bun Cha recipe actually!). It was absolutely delicious and we made enough so that it would last us a few days because I was meant to be at a meeting with my cycling club tonight and will be out at meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with the cycling club as well. We will definitely post this recipe next time we make it, because although there are a few different elements to prepare before baking, the flavours and textures are well worth the effort!

We booked some flights to go and see Sofi’s friend Alex in Brussels for April, to coincide with the Tour of Flanders! Our spring is certainly looking very busy…

Tonight we went for a walk along the river and had a little fika before coming back to dinner and writing our blog posts. We are both exercising tomorrow morning: Sofi will run and I will cycle, and then we will both do a short circuits session. Hopefully we can stay fit and healthy again now and get back to regular training and delicious food!

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We hope you all have a good week!

/Jason

P.S. If you haven’t read our post about our goals for 2016, do that, and tell us what your goals are as well.

Our Weekend, Week 51 – Almost Christmas!

Not many days left until Christmas now, so I thought I would catch you all up with what we’ve done since last weekend, and what our plans are for Christmas.

Yesterday we had our annual Christmas party, but we made it a bit smaller this year, and made some proper vegetarian Christmas food and just one dessert. (The past two years we have had some sort of snacks available and lots of desserts!) We also made our delicious mulled wine and winter Pimm’s again, and I think everyone had a great time. 😀

Today we drove down to Sofi’s parents in Skåne with Lisa and Tommy, and stopped off for a nice lunch in Falkenberg on the way. We will be here for a few days and will celebrate an early Christmas on Tuesday with Sofi’s parents, brother, and Lisa & Tommy. On Wednesday we will fly to England to celebrate Christmas there.

It will be nice for Sofi to have Christmas food in both Sweden and England, because the food you get is very different, and I know she’ll love it. For me, so long as I get Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes I am happy…otherwise I would rather eat more “normal” food than Christmas food…but what I am looking forward to though is having English Christmas desserts: minced pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake. These are probably my favourite thing about Christmas in England, and my mum has already made the Christmas cake and will make a Christmas pudding for Christmas Day 😀

So with all that food going down (and probably some alcohol as well), how will we avoid going up in weight too much and also keep our training going? Well, we have taken our running and cycling gear with us. We are planning on having a couple of runs down here in Skåne (one short one tomorrow probably, and then one long one on Tuesday – there has been a lot of talk about doing about 20 km), then I will cycle in England and Sofi will run and cycle in England.

There is always a lot of free time around Christmas (if you’re not working), so there is definitely time for exercise! We’re not planning any intense sessions, more steady sessions just so we get out and don’t put pressure on ourselves to go fast in case our bodies are tired…and weighed down by all the food! I’m looking forward to our run on Tuesday and then getting some rides in while we’re in England.

 

So our week looks like this:
Monday – Christmas shopping, short run
Tuesday – Early Swedish Christmas, long run
Wednesday – Flight to England
Thursday – Christmas Eve party at my sister’s, long ride (hopefully)
Friday – Christmas Day, rest day
Saturday – Boxing Day, ___ ride
Sunday – Sale shopping, walking round shops

 

We hope you have a very merry Christmas, we’ll post something again soon!
/Jason

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Our Weekend, Week 25 – Midsummer

Happy Midsummer!

This Friday we celebrated Midsummer in Sweden. It is a very traditional festivity in Sweden, and you celebrate the summer solstice. You dance around the Maypole (if you have the energy to make one) which is a wooden pole you decorate with leaves and flowers. You eat very traditional food; herring, salmon, new potatoes and strawberries for dessert. You also have to drink “snaps”, basically flavoured vodka. Swedes tend to retreat to the countryside and various archipelagos to celebrate, no one wants to be in the cities 🙂

It is the one day a year where everyone wishes the weather is nice so you can be outside all day. Unfortunately this year the weather was quite bad. It rained heavily in the morning and  mid-day and it wasn’t until the evening it got better.

We went down to Skåne to visit my parents and brother and to see my sister and Tommy. On Friday we ate a traditional Midsummer’s Eve lunch and then my parents and brother went to see friends and we stayed at the house and had a nice barbecue (once the sun came out – Jason and Tommy even made the most of it and went for a paddle on the lake while the food was cooking). In the evening we played games and just hung out 🙂 A very nice Midsummer! Since Jason is not Swedish he doesn’t really care what we do. There are few things that are more Swedish than Midsummer though, and I love the food you eat! (Note: Not vegetarian – Jason had special food for him. 😉 )

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On Saturday me and Jason had a very nice, long ride to Båstad (which is on the west coast of Sweden) where we ate lunch and then we cycled back over Hallandsåsen (a ridge that goes across Skåne and Halland). The weather was perfect! And there is nothing better than spending hours outside on the bike with my love ❤

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We cycled 120 km and then Jason had a swim in the lake 🙂
My ride, Jason’s ride.

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In the evening we just had a nice dinner (made pizzas!) and cleaned our bikes. One person very meticulously and another one less so 🙂 We then watched the sun set across the lake my parents live next to. It was a beautiful evening.

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Today Jason drove back to Gothenburg and I am staying behind for a day to go to Malmö tomorrow and have dinner with my friends that live down here!

Have a great week everyone,
/Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend – Week 17, 18, 19…oops, lots to catch up on

So, we have been even worse at blogging lately. We really don’t know where our time goes at the moment, but it clearly isn’t going to our blog to share our love with all our followers. We’re sorry about that! So here is a catch up for the last THREE weekends. 🙂

It is now spring in Sweden, and we have both recovered from our colds. It also means that we have more hours of daylight and are able to ride and run in the evenings, when we can. So this is what we have been trying to do lately. Our focus is a bit more on running at the moment, as we are running Göteborgsvarvet (the Gothenburg half marathon) in two weeks’ time.

Week 17
So two weeks ago (week 17), we went for a 13 km run over both bridges in Gothenburg to try and find our running form again. (Jason’s run, Sofi’s run.) It turned out to be quite a windy run, but we came in with an average of 5:25/km, which is Sofi’s target pace for the half marathon. On the Sunday I (Jason) went for a nice bike ride with my club, HCK. Then we relaxed in the evening, eating homemade scones, and prepared for the short work week to come (the Friday was a bank holiday).

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Week 18
I actually took the Thursday (April 30) off work, as I was wanting to cycle down to Skåne because we were going to be there cycling over the weekend. The weather was against me though, so I managed 130 km in the wind and rain, and had to throw in the towel once I got to Falkenberg (just over half way). I had cycled in the rain for over 4 hours, so I was pleased with my perseverance, but I was probably risking another cold (if not hypothermia) if I carried on. Sofi was able to leave work early, so took an earlier train than expected so I actually got on the train she was on at Falkenberg! Once we got off the train, I was saddened to see that further south they had blue skies and dry roads…oh well, there’s always next time! 😉 But my main thoughts were on cleaning my bike, so I did that once we got to the house and she looked much happier afterwards, chilling by the lake.

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On the Friday we went to “kosläpp”, which is where the cows are released from their barns for the first time since winter. It is quite a big thing in Sweden, and it always attracts a lot of people (but that could also be because of the cinnamon buns and milk you get for attending). The cows are always happy and even jump around. It was my first time seeing it, so I thought it was really fun (despite a fear of cows). After we got back home, I did a 50 km ride against the clock – this is my little time trial/test route where Sofi’s parents live. My legs were knackered from the ride on Thursday, and it was a bit windy at points, but I averaged 33.5 km/h and was really happy!

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On the Saturday me and Sofi cycled around and over Söderåsen, a big national park just south of Sofi’s parents’ place. Sofi suffered in the head wind, but did well up the hills! There is a big ravine in the forest, and we wanted to see it, so after a short food stop, we cycled up there and took some photos before heading home. This time it was Sofi’s turn to throw in the towel, as we were doing a sportive ride the next day so she jumped in the team car 18 km from home (OK, so we called her dad and he picked Sofi up, but it was like our team car) 😉 So she did 83 km in total, but I soldiered on the whole way back and did just over 100 km.

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On the Sunday we woke up early to cycle FIK Trampen, a 100 km sportive that was starting near Sofi’s parents’ (it is a good area for cycling, as you can probably tell – that’s one of the main reasons I like going down there so much…that and the team car and carers – well Sofi’s parents looking after us anyway). We started the ride just before 8 a.m., and it was 3°C when we started…a bit nippy! The longer we cycled, the warmer it got. Sofi was still really struggling on the bike though, and after 45 km, we considered heading the short way back to the finish, but Sofi decided she would rather try and find her form again, so we carried on. After a few km though, Sofi got a puncture in her rear tyre – her first! 😀 After fixing her puncture, we carried on and Sofi seemed much stronger, but we still kept the pace steady just to be safe. After 80 km we stopped at a food station and decided if we would finish the ride or not (we were a few km from the part on the course nearest her parents’, so it would be easy to get a lift now). Sofi wanted to finish though, and I wanted to help her do that. So we told her dad when we would be finished, and we carried on riding. It didn’t get easier though, despite having strength, Sofi saw the distance marker on her Garmin nearing 100 km and was wondering why we weren’t near the finish – that made her lose focus, motivation, and seemingly all capability to ride her bike! But we kept going until Sofi’s dad drove past us and pulled up ahead of us. Sofi wanted to give up, but me and Bosse, her dad, told her it was max 3 km to the finish, so realising he wouldn’t let her in the car she carried on, and even found her legs again for the last 3 km! She was totally finished once we arrived at the finish though.

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I was so proud of her for wanting to carry on, and she showed such stubbornness perseverance and strong character. 🙂 Oh it was about 20°C when we finished, so the weather was nice! My power meter ran out of battery though, but the figures would have been low anyway. (My ride, Sofi’s ride.) We then went back in the car, and after some lunch and a shower, we got on the train back to Göteborg…where we then had to cycle 5 km home, but it went well and we weren’t totally done in.

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Week 19
Last week, at last…makes me wish I wrote these all at the right time so I didn’t have to do them all at once! Last week was a big recovery week for both of us following our exploits over the long weekend. We both trained on Wednesday though, I had a very easy recovery spin of 40 km, where I kept the power low, but put in one interval just to feel the legs. Sofi did a nice 8 km run with an average of 5:18/km, so a tad quicker than her target race pace. We both felt a bit drained all week though, so rested while we could. I also got a Giro care package from my mum – two magazines to read as prep for the Giro, and my racing license came as well! So it wasn’t too hard to rest with the magazines to digest.

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At the weekend though, it was back to Skåne, but this time to Helsingborg to run a 10 km race called Springtime with Lisa and Tommy. My sister Jasmine had also booked flights over fairly spontaneously, so she would be there as well 🙂 We arrived on the Friday and carb loaded with a delicious pasta meal we all made together.

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The race was on Saturday afternoon, so after a chilled morning collecting our numbers and buying some bits for the evening, we went to a lovely salad bar called Holy Greens and bought some salads to have for lunch. I also had a beetroot juice to boost performance! Then it was race time! It’s quite funny looking at me, Sofi, Lisa, and Tommy together before we go for a run because we have different amounts of clothes on – it was the same when we ran the seeding race in March. I always have the least, then Sofi, then Lisa, then Tommy. This weekend, it looked like I was dressed for summer, Sofi and Lisa for spring/autumn, and Tommy for early/late winter!

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The race was quite a tough course, and me, Sofi, and Lisa had originally said we would start together, keeping 5:00/km tempo, and dropping each other if the others got tired. After 1.5 km of flat, you run uphill for 1.5 km, so that was when the gaps started to form between us. I hadn’t expected it to feel as…nice(?) as it did, but I loved keeping my steady pace and picking people off left, right, and center as I went up the hill. At the top of the hill, the gaps between us had become a bit larger, so I pushed on and upped my tempo a bit because it was nice to find some running form again! There were still a few steep hills though, but I did my best to bounce up them and get them out the way 😉 After the last hill, it was down and then flat past Lisa and Tommy’s place (where my sister was cheering us on from), so I upped my pace a little, but couldn’t squeeze out much more. I was running next to/behind/in front of the same guy all the time, so we exchanged a few words of encouragement and pushed on to the finish. I finished in 47:23, and was really pleased with myself. Lisa came in 2 mins later, and Sofi another 2 mins after that in 51:31, with Tommy another 2 mins after that! How funny! We were all really pleased with ourselves, but I think Sofi was disappointed with her time, but she seemed to recover the best the next day, so maybe she had more in the tank than she realised. But she can run a fast 10 km on a flat course – this was good training for the half marathon, and she was well over her target pace! 🙂

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After some recovery food and showers (and me watching the Giro!!!), we prepared for some friends of Lisa and Tommy to come over for dinner. Dinner was really nice, with a couple of salads and some barbecued food, as well as a few (OK, a lot) of drinks. We then played some fun games before the night was over and the beds called for our tired bodies!

We woke up on Sunday after a lie in and had a nice breakfast before heading north of Helsingborg along the coast for some sightseeing. The weather wasn’t that kind though, and we were being blown around the little village we stopped in, Arild. We then went to Flickorna Lundgren for lunch, and I had the most delicious vegetarian sandwich (mostly salad though!) I have had in a very long time!!!

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After that we went back home and hung out before me and Sofi got the train back to Gothenburg. For dinner last night we made a simple tomato soup and caught up with the highlights from the Giro and the football.

 

This week is another short week, as Thursday is another bank holiday. What are we doing this week I hear you ask??? Going to Italy to watch the Giro!!! We’re flying to Rome on Wednesday evening and meeting my mum there, then after sightseeing in Rome on Thursday (because I’ve never been), we’re driving to Fiuggi to stay there for a couple of days because Friday’s stage finishes there and Saturday’s stage starts there. I hope we share our hotel with a team! Expect lots of pictures – we are planning on running while we’re there, so maybe an evening run on the Friday and a morning run on the Saturday are perfect for spying on the pro mechanics 😀

We hope you all have a good week, and we’re sorry for neglecting our blog for so long!
/Jason and Sofi

Good Friday

Today we are flying to England!

However, we are flying from Copenhagen and went down yesterday to Helsingborg to see my sister and Tommy. Today when we woke up we had a nice and filling breakfast and then we drove to Pålsjö skog (forest) to do some hill repeats. The weather was warm and sunny and it was a sweaty session.

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Now we just had some salad for lunch and will get ready to take the train to the airport in Denmark.

See you in England next time and have a happy Easter!

/Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend, Week 9

This weekend started a little earlier than normal, mainly because my (Jason’s) dad came to visit us on Thursday evening, for the weekend! 😀

After picking my dad up from the airport, we came home to some delicious tofu burgers that Sofi had made (I helped before I left as well). They were a fusion between our Korean steamed buns and our normal veggie burgers. We made them similar to our breaded tofu, but covered them in sesame seeds instead of breadcrumbs, the buns were normal burger buns, and the fillings were various things we use in our steamed buns as well as homemade kimchi.

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I then made up my new bike, that my dad brought over from England: a Specialized S-Works Tarmac, and my main motivation for training this year. (Well you can’t have a pro bike and be the slowest in the chain gang!)

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On Friday, my dad joined me on my lunchtime badminton session, and then when Sofi came home in the afternoon we went for a little walk to Baka (our favourite café) for fika. For dinner, we made melanzane again (recipe coming soon, as we took photos of the finished product!), and some delicious ravioli with a pesto sauce…again! We can’t help but love making the things we love to eat, and my dad loves both melanzane and pesto, so why not 😀

On Saturday we had planned a long ride (as we knew the weather would be OK). Our friend Evan had said he would join us, but unfortunately Sofi was feeling a bit ill, so she stayed at home. (A wise decision, as it was very cold outside.) We rode 115 km, which included a nice pizza stop 🙂 My dad was a little tired from the ride (his ride), as he isn’t used to the Swedish cold, but we did fuel him with our peanut power bars, which And it was Evan’s first ride over 100 km, and he smashed it by doing 130 km! (He rode to us and home again.)

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We made the most of Sofi being at home and had her on baking duty so we had something to look forward to once we got back! She made some delicious Swedish cinnamon buns, which were exactly what we needed with a nice cup of tea/coffee and glass of milk!

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As you can imagine, we were a little bit tired after our buns – my dad fell asleep before even taking a shower – but we still wanted a nice dinner. So the three of us decided something fresh but more substantial than a salad would be nice. Me and Sofi had the perfect meal: Vietnamese bun cha with sticky tofu! (Recipe coming soon. 🙂 )

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Sunday was a lazy day, and the weather was atrocious, stopping us from doing any riding 😦 We had a lovely breakfast with fresh bread and croissants. The rest of the day was spent together, reading and watching TV. It was a great day for TV actually – Cav won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, and then Chelsea won the league cup 😀 (Stannard won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday as well, so a great weekend for British sport…well except for cricket and rugby…)

My dad left Monday morning, and it was back to work for me and Sofi. But we had a great weekend, and love when people come over to spend time with us. It won’t be long before we see my dad again – I go to England on Friday and Sofi goes the following Thursday 🙂

We hope you all had a great weekend! Did you get up to anything special?
/Jason and Sofi