August 30, 2014


We made it! Raylan and I arrived in Lappeenranta on Monday evening.  After a long day+ of travel we were so happy to see Sam and to be 'home'.  We couldn't see much on our drive into town because it was already so dark, but once the sun came out on Tuesday morning, I got to see how beautiful of a place this really is.  The best part?...  I don't even have to leave our apartment to see the beauty! 

Photo of the harbor taken through my window over my kitchen table... Coffee time! 
Sam's team, Saipa had just gotten back from a week in Switzerland and Germany on Sunday evening so they were all pretty tired and naturally they have had two practices a day almost every day since I have been here.  The first evening after I arrived they even had a team dinner with sponsors so I feel like we haven't actually gotten to spend much time together.  Maybe thats just me being a newley-wed who just can't seem to ever spend enough time with my husband!

The morning after I arrived I went straight to my new University to get my class schedule and student ID information.  I cannot wait for the classes to begin!  I missed my first one on Monday due to my flight schedule.. oh well.  So I was super excited for my Friday morning class, so excited that I accidentally went a week early.  Lucky me, I got to sit there for almost five hours while Sam was at practice and workout.  Good thing I had my iPad with me so I could finish Insurgent, the second book in the Divergent series.   

Saipa has their first home game this coming Thursday vs. Ingolstadt (Germany) it is a CHL game.  It will be so nice to see him back on the ice, and hopefully see them win!  

Raylan is a happy puppy.  Her operations have healed nicely and she is almost back at 100%.  She has already explored many of the cites parks and even played in two dog parks.  She is obsessed with her new food here and we are so thrilled we do not have to coax her into eating each and every piece of puppy kibble!  She is not the biggest fan of our apartment due to the fact that she has to act like a kitty to see outside.  

Raylan perched on the window ledge, sometimes she just lays up there.
Just last night I went to dinner with a group of girls from the team and we had such a good time, I can tell it is going to be a wonderful season!   

Walk in our front yard.

My favorite food thief. 


August 18, 2014

I'm Packing My Bags.

I couldn't think of much to say tonight other than, I will be in Finland one week from today!  That means I have a lot to do between now and next Sunday!

Mostly, I have to pack.  Packing for 8/9 months is the worst.  I dread it for months.  Deciding what to bring, and what to leave back in MN.  Making sure all of my bags that I am bringing are under the fifty pound weight limit is always a tricky part of packing.

It that isn't bad enough, I have to spend a whole day running around getting Raylan's paperwork and forms for Finland filled out and then take them downtown to get the official stamp of approval.  She is doing very well since her surgery and I have no doubt that she will be ready to travel just in time for our trip!

I cannot wait to get to Finland and to see Sam and give him a nice big hug (& kiss)!  Raylan will probably beat me to him, but I don't mind being second.

Sam left for Switzerland to play in a tournament with his team today and will be there for four days, then travel to Germany for another game.  Sunday the team will be heading back to Finland just in time for Sam to come to the airport to pick me up!  I have never been lucky enough to have Sam actually be at the airport when I land!  It has always been someone who works for the team that has picked me up and brought me to our new home.  I can't wait to have it be Sam this year bringing me to Lappeenranta.   Oh yeah,  almost forgot, the tournament they are in is called the Champions Hockey League and has teams from all over Europe competing in it.  It is the same tournament we were in last season (the European Trophy), just with a different name.

While looking online today I found some quotes that are fitting to my life leading up to the time I leave.   I have posted a few of them below.

Can't wait to hold this guys hand again. 

August 13, 2014

one puppy. two surgeries.

Raylan thought it was a normal Tuesday, until I woke her up hours before we usually get up and brought her to the vet!  Today was a big day for Raylan, she got spayed, and she had a mass removal. 

Raylan taking a break from the cone.

About a month ago I noticed a small (it felt about 2cm in diameter) lump under her skin on the back of her left hip bone.  I freaked out and immediately took her into the vet to have a biopsy done and eventually had to also send it into a lab.  The results were 'abnormal' and inconclusive.  They suggested we have the lump removed.  They couldn't be sure what it would be on a dog her age, and if it was something dangerous to her it could cause potential trouble in the future.   They guessed it was an abscess of some sort.  So we scheduled that removal along with her spay.  

We were in Sweden during the time when Raylan would have regularly gotten spayed.  We were not at all comfortable with our vet over there performing the operation.  So we decided to wait to have the surgery until we were back in the states.  We decided we couldn't do it before the wedding, because I would not have time to properly care for her amongst all of the planning.  So just in the nick of time Raylan got her 'time of the month' the week before the wedding! Yay! How fun for me, not gross at all, finally something to do with all of my 'free time' (please catch the sarcasm here).  That came and went, and after all of the commotion from the wedding I realized I now had to wait eight weeks from then to get her spayed, that would have been in September (Sam left in July and I was leaving in August)!  After some discussion with our vet whom we love, she decided it would be ok to do early, but we should try to keep it as close to our travel date as possible.  Raylan had the surgeries 11 days before we leave for Finland! Sometimes I think I do crazy things.  Then I realize that this is life and sometimes you just have to deal with the things you cannot change, things like time.  

I was a wreck bringing her in this morning and must have kissed her twenty times before I finally let the veterinarian take her away, that was at 7:30 AM.  

It felt like forever and a half later when I finally received a phone call with the great news that Raylan had done so well and she was just waking up!  The vet also told me that the mass was much larger than she had expected and tricky to remove.  She said much of it looked like built up scar tissue from some type of old trauma, but she couldn't be sure what it was.  

A few hours later (4:30 PM) I was able to pick Raylan up!  First I was given the whole spiel on post-op care and how Raylan did wonderfully.  I also was able to see the mass that was removed from her thigh/hip and I must say it excited my inner nerd.  

Sleepy puppy in the cone, she had to get the largest size!
Then Raylan came through the doors with a GINORMOUS cone on her little head and walked slowly over to me and wagged her tail just a little and gave me two big kisses!  I don't think I have ever been so happy to see her!  My eyes instantly shifted to the stitched skin on the shaved area where they removed the mass.  I could hardly take it.  Then I knew I just had to ask the vet to tell me about the larger cut that was under her body, because I would freak out if I saw it at that moment.  

Finally it was time to bring puppy home.  If she had her way we would most likely just be getting to the car.  She walked about two feet before stopping and insisting on not moving.  I eventually got her to the car.  As soon as we were in the car she started crying.  I was driving and could not comfort her, I felt terrible.  So of course I broke down and maybe cried just a little...  that felt like the longest 2 mile car ride.  She continued crying after we got home.  She accepted bits of a juicy steak I had just prepared for here and then laid down and continued crying.  OMG I was thinking, I cannot do this, I cannot do this! I have to stop the crying and pain.  Then I started feeling really guilty that I was the reason she was in pain, in fact I paid someone to do this to her.  Finally she stopped crying and we have been snuggling ever since.  

Thankfully I have been able to be with her every minute so she has been able to  be cone-free quite a lot.

We are hoping to get Raylan feeling 100% as quickly as possible and getting her back to being her playful little self!

August 3, 2014

Paul McCartney

When Sam left for Finland, he left me a little note.  On that note it said to please spend as much time with my family and enjoy every moment of them before I head over myself.  Being a good wife, I decided that I would spontaneously tag along with my family to the Paul McCartney concert that was starting in just two hours.  

This concert sold out in just twenty minutes, so we were unable to buy any tickets online.  We decided to just go downtown and try to buy tickets, somehow...  We literally walked around the whole Target Field and only found a few tickets for sale and not the kind we were looking for, certainly not four together (for my Dad, Mom, Sister and I).  Then we went to the box office.  The lady first said that she had not one seat available.   Thirty seconds later she said she had two (really great seats) and nothing else, we said we would take them!  This started the whole,  "I think Mom and Dad should go in."  Dad, "No way I am going in and leaving you girls out here, you and Katja go now so you don't miss the show". In the middle of this cute and typical conversation, we hear my mom a few cashiers down saying she managed to get two more tickets!! Yay, our plan worked, we were all going to get to see Paul!

We split up once inside, and the show was amazing from start to finish!  For a 72 year old man, he sure still has it!  He performed for three hours straight!  He only had one costume change (taking off his sports coat) but changed between guitars nearly every song, played multiple pianos, and even played us a little tune on the ukulele.  He is just so cute!  The best part was that his voice sounded just the same as ever!  It was the closest thing I have felt to jumping straight back into the 60's and seeing The Beatles myself.  

I grew up listing to their music, so naturally I love almost all of their songs.  Here is the set list for the concert tonight.  

As you can see he played quite a variety, and many crowd pleasers.  He played a song for his first, and third wife, one for Jimmy Hendrix, and one for John Lennon, thanked George Harrison for writing one, etc.  

Something else that was pretty cool was that he played with his original guitar that they used when they recorded the album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Overall, I liked the concert so much more than even anticipating I would!  I got full body shivers multiple times and will think of this concert every time I hear these songs for the rest of my life!

Glad I got to spend some time with my family! 

Target Field 

Dad and I
Great Britain, USA, and Minnesota