Just like during last year ski trip, and like the year before, the weather here in Stöten is cloudy and the air is full cloud and fog and snow, especially at the top. And it’s windy. When we get to the top of the hill, our thoughts focus on how to immediately start getting down the hill, in between the trees, away from the wind.

This morning the snowfall actually turned into rain. By lunchtime we were all sodden and went back to our apartment to dry our clothes. But the afternoon brought snow again instead of rain, so we went back out.

The kids are enjoying ski school. And enjoying skiing – which was far from a given, since it’s Adrian’s first time and he can be quite cautious about activities where he can hurt himself.

We’re all at very different levels. I have decent technique (I think), but I am cautious and like relaxed skiing on easy slopes, preferably with nice views. Ingrid has no technique and mostly snow ploughs straight down, but likes “adventure” slopes with lots of turns and bumps. Adrian is a total beginner and goes up to the 2nd post on the beginner slope platter lift, then gets off and skis straight down. And Eric snowboards instead of skiing.

So we’ve been splitting up in various constellations throughout the day. The closest thing to skiing together as a family is when Adrian has ski school and the rest of us go down a nice green slope together.

It’s winter break in Sweden and we’re on a family ski trip to Stöten – with the whole family for the first time ever!

After the first half day, everybody is pretty tired. We don’t do this very often, so our bodies need some time to get used to this again. Eric had a ski trip with work recently, but it’s been a year since Ingrid and I last did any skiing, and it’s the very first time Adrian stands on a pair of skis.

Our bird feeder is incredibly popular. Most days we see dozens of goldfinches (steglits, ohakalind) and redpolls (gråsiska, urvalind) and siskins (grönsiska, siisike) on the feeder with sunflower seeds, and blackbirds waiting on the ground for crumbs to drop. Oddly, the more usual feeder guests – tits, sparrows, nuthatches – have become far fewer. Maybe the finches are more territorial and scare the tits away?

Nearby trees are full of twittering and tweeting. Walking past those in the morning is a pleasant way to start a day.

Now it looks like they’re hanging on our doorstep at night as well.

Adrian building with Plus Plus.

He built a catapult that shoots out Star Wars ships, each of which can shoot out five or more battle droids.

Adrian in a bath, playing with a sieve – giving himself showers with it and trying to drink from it.

In the evening, after the end of screen time, Adrian is often at a loss what to do. He’s figured out that I usually don’t want to entertain him at that hour – I don’t want to play games etc. However I can often be persuaded to do something vaguely educational, such as solving crossword puzzles with him. (SvD Junior has nice crosswords that are just right for him – not too large, not too hard, not too simple.)

It gives me an interesting insight into his mind. Synonyms that are totally obvious to me, he never thinks of. Clue: “titta”. Answer: “se”. And no matter how much I hint and steer him in the right direction, he cannot figure it out.

A Pokemon catching more Pokemons.

I needed a dose of nature so I went for a long walk.

(It’s a stressful time at work right now. Senior developers have been increasingly dissatisfied with our work situation, and just as we had started work on analysing and improving the situation, we found out the company would get a new CEO. That new CEO arrived a few weeks ago, and he of course has his own ideas about what needs changing. So everything is in a state of flux, but nothing is actually improving yet. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.)

It’s a snowless, cloudy day in February, and it feels like the whole world is the colour of muddy asphalt. And it is actually muddy as well, due to unseasonably warm weather – all of February is normally below freezing, and today’s forecast was +7°C. I stopped for a snack break next to lake Muskan (which you can see in the photo above) and while the ice was still thick, it was dripping and purling like a whole brook.

But it’s not all mud and greyness. With a bit of attention, I found specks of colour here and there. (Although counting my own rucksack as a speck of colour does feel like cheating a bit…) I also found out that lingonberries, which are quite tart in summer, get milder and sweeter after having been frozen – the taste brought lingonberry jam to mind.

Nothing brings the kids together like inspecting, inventorying or evolving pokemons.