Saturday, March 26, 2016

The best 6 years

We recently celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.  6 years, 3 apartments, 3 cities, and 2 kids.  It's been the best six years.  We don't get many date nights, essentially none if we rule out watching Star Trek after the kids go to sleep.  One sister in our ward offered to baby sit the kids so we could go out.  Our youngest had a bit of a hard time but the oldest loved it and so did we.

 We went to a low key grill and had a great time.  Since we don't get to go out to eat very often we decided to gorge ourselves.  We each had a hamburger, we split this sword of meat, the cheese ball appetizers and the cake. In hindsight we should have ordered more cake and less meat.



After that we went to Marks and Spencer at the mall next door to get cookies and Percy pigs :)  We're looking forward to year number 7 and all the excitement it will bring.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Family beach outing

The other day we went to the beach together (it is still winter almost turning spring, mind that, so cold and windy) because I wanted to go take photos. I usually go alone when Matthew can tend the kids, but this time he proposed going together. It was fun. Our older daughter run around in the water  until her boots were very wet. The baby fell asleep because of fresh seaside air. He was looking after the children and I took some photos. He said, "I spend all my days in cold concrete rooms and this is what you do - this is great!" It is great! There is so much beauty around everywhere! Here are some photos of the outing:





These two are my favorites, on is a little after sunset and the last one is some time after when the clouds lit up (best time!):


Fog and black and white

It has been really foggy here because of warm air coming in but plenty of snow still covering the ground and I have used it to the fullest, taking photos. Here are some that are my favorites:


Ode to existence:

The road to nothingness:

Sewer system being built for the nearby village (in 2016!):

Keila park in the center of the town:

 The local church that is centuries old:

I loved the reflection in the puddle:

Awesome single trees. Love them. Single trees and roads and paths.

A manor close by. The owners have remodeled the side building but this one is probably too expensive.

Keila-Joa waterfall that I often go and look at. It is super awesome:

A dude walking his dog in the morning in the park close to where we live. He was taking a photo with his phone and I took a photo of that.

I feel I become better step by step and it is just exhilarating to take photos, chase interesting sites, sunsets (sunrises are so hard to do with little kids, maybe more some day), weather conditions... It is my number one hobby for sure. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Leaping into the 20th century

This week we blasted into the 20th century and bought a TV.  Since we moved to Tallinn in 2010 we haven't had a TV and we didn't miss it.  Maybe we were too poor to buy one, or there was too much hipster in us.  Anyway something in us changed and now we have a TV. What is amazing, is that so many of the TV shows are reboots of the old classics.  Fuller house, care bears, magic school bus, goose bumps.  It's like the 90's never ended.


 It all started with this guy here.  A beautiful fireplace by some fancy Italian company.  In three years we never used it and we both disliked it (Maris more than me). Our apartment is well heated and having a fireplace in mid story apartments is never a good idea.  I was a bit hesitant to spend money doing something that would not increase the value of the apartment but we both agreed that it was a waste of space.  With two toddlers every inch of space is welcome.  The top of the fireplace has a grate where a ton of junk collected over time.  One day when it filled up with fish crackers Maris decided that it was time to go.  After discussing what would be in its place a TV won out over a book shelf.  Lucky for us the fire place was in high demand and we were able to sell it for a good price.


 

Maris scraped off all the wall paper.  I was too lazy.  We had a guy coming to do the remodeling so I just deferred to him.



 The project involved quite a bit of work including electrical work.



It would have been great to get a really big and really nice TV, say a 4K 65 inch.  It was too big for our budget and it would have been too big for our car.  Good thing we went with the smaller size, smaller pixel version.



 It's amazing how much better a TV is than a laptop, we probably should have joined the 20th century a long time ago.  We mounted it a bit higher than most would have.  This reduces the number of greasy finger prints on the screen.  We are still adapting to TV in the 21st century.  Utilizing the smart aspect of the TV has been much more difficult than I thought.  Amazon Prime needs a fire stick, i-tunes needs Apple TV.  Our VPN service doesn't seem to work on the TV which enables us to access US content in Europe.  They do have Netflix over here (just came online about 3 months ago) but the content is limited.  For example they only have two Star Trek movies!!  The US netflix has all the Star Treks.  Right now we might just call it quits and forget about the firestick, apple tv, and US content.  We figure that we can buy used DVD's for the shows we really want to watch and pray that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) passes and will end DVD region codes and open up more US content for us in Europe. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Done!


This week I defended my PhD dissertation!  It feels great to be done and it was a great experience.  I had kind and nice opponents, a wonderful supervisor and a lot of support from a lot of people, too many to name here.  If you've played a part in supporting me and you are reading this then pat yourself on the back.  The defense was about two hours and I felt pretty good up there.  There is a reception in October for those who received their PhDs, I haven't been to a graduation since 2001 so I am definitely going to go to this one.  For any looking for some light reading you can access my PhD dissertation here