Sunday, August 31, 2008

Phoenix's first 5k

Go Phoenix!

Aw, he looks so small!

Looking forward to many more medals!

Ok, it was a point .5k , not a 5k, but it doesn't matter. We are so proud of him! He had had a fever the night before and was a little under the weather and hadn't napped, but he persevered and completed the race!

It was called the Hamna Race. Our little part of the island, which is a bit isolated from the rest, is called  Hamna. It is inhabitated mainly by families. There are 4 decent-sized daycares, one huge one and numerous home daycares all within 5 minutes of each other- and still there are waiting lists! So there were plenty of kids competing and lots of family-oriented events all day- from free breakfast to music and grilling down by the shore. It was a really fun day spent with our family and neighbors. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nystad family reunion

The Nystads + Ben's dad's mom

Tante Eva

We had to eat some traditional rice porridge with butter, cinnamon and sugar

That's a huge pot of rice porridge! Left overs are perfect for rice cream pudding

Bestemor Nystad and her boys

Ben's sister Eva Theresa came to visit last week. She lives in New York state, outside Rochester. The family, Ben, his sister and their parents, hadn't been in the same room together since 2001! We didn't do anything special...just a lot of hanging out. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Feeding the birds

Rio trying to keep up with his big bro!

Mama duck and her duckling

Phoenix smiling for the camera!

I love Rio's face here

I'm trying to do the Norwegian thing and bake my own bread. Norwegians love their bread. They have opened-faced sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. In our house we top our bread with caviar and hard-boiled eggs, liverpate, white cheese and veggies or chocolate-hazelnut spread! Yes, chocolate for breakfast! Ben adds mayo too. YUCK! Anyway, forget the low-carb diet here! It would be impossible for a Norwegian to give up their bread.

So I'm trying to be a good Norwegian wife and mom and bake it myselft, but I am FAILING! I've given at least 3 loafs to the birds. But feeding the seagulls and ducks makes for a fun Sunday evening activity!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Celebrating one year in Norway

Syltefjord, a 30-minute drive from Båtsfjord

Loads of hand-picked blueberries!

"Celebrating" the darkest day of the year with "Arctic Darkness" beer

Tromsø island, where we live

Me, my parents and Rio on the Norwegian coast

We arrived in Norway 1 August 2007. Now that a  year has gone by it is time to start reflecting...and time to start a blog! 

Our journey started in Gjøvik, a couple hours north of Oslo, visiting Ben's grandma on his dad's side. This was Phoenix's first time meeting a great-grandma. Our first meal was kjøttkaker ("meat cakes"), ertestuing (peas) and potatoes with lingonberries on the Norwegian. We loved it, Phoenix too!

Then we flew up north to Ben's hometown Båtsfjord and waited anxiously for Ben to find a job in the graphic design field. He had just graduated from the Illinois Institute of Art- Schaumburg in June. 

In the meantime, we enjoyed a decent summer and spent the days picking berries- blueberries, cloudberries, lingonberries and blackcurrent berries. Ben perfected the delicious suksesterte (a chocolate almond cake with a butter filling). I ate lots of Finnish chocolate (thank you Viola for sending me 1 kilo of Fazer Keltainen) and went on long walks while awaiting Rio's birth.

Ben got the news that he got the job while I was still in the hospital after Rio's birth. The job was in northern Norway, not Oslo like he'd hoped. But from day one he has loved working at Lundblad Media AS in Tromsø. 

We moved to Tromsø at the beginning of the 3 months of nearly complete darkness. It was a very hard transition for me- a newborn, a toddler, new location, Ben's new job, no network. But we came out of that dark period (literally and metaphorically) and once the sun returned we enjoyed our new friends and new experiences with the kids- sledding, hot chocolate and waffles in the snow. 

My parents came to visit over Easter. We did a lot of sightseeing despite my dad's bad knees and took the Hurtigruten (coastal streamer) north to Skjervøy and south to the Lofoten Islands. The best part was them spending time with their grandkids (geez I feel guilty taking them so far away) and meeting Ben's parents for the first time.

Summer came and went (lots of cool, rainy days unfortunately) and now both Phoenix and Rio are in daycare and I start my new job on Thursday working as a special ed aide in the daycare. 

YIKES! Did we really survive this year? Are we going to stay here or move back to the US????? We're not sure. But we do know one thing, no matter where we live we will always be a little homesick.