Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in Norway

DAH! Of course they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Norway. Or at least they have no right to. Actually today on the Norwegian news they did a story about a Norwegian family celebrating Thanksgiving. They had a turkey and the dad came in the room and said, "Happy Thanksgiving"in English. LAME! Get your own holidays and your own language! They've also started to celebrate Halloween here too, but it too is LAME because only a small portion of the population celebrate it and some are even against and look down on those who celebrate it. We didn't get a single trick-or-treater. (OK, I'm not naive. I know a lot of America's holidays are imports from elsewhere but those people actually live in America!)

All 3 of the boys in our house have been throwing up and/or had loose stools all week so I forgot about planning a Turkey Day Feast. Truth be told, we have no $ and had to borrow $20 from Phoenix's savings to buy milk today. It's not that bad, Ben's paycheck will be in our account in 2 days. (Part of the problem is that it took 4 months to get my work permit so I have yet to get a paycheck. But it will be 4-months worth when I do get it!).

So our Thanksgiving consisted of fiskegrantang and vafler (so Norwegian!) and 3 things we were thankful for today

Ben said
1- the phone call from his friend in prison
2- that this same friend was allowed to leave prison to visit his dying mother
3- our family

I said
1- that Rio didn't puke today
2- that Connie sent a thoughtful text message to me
3- our family

Maybe I'll blow Ben's paycheck on a turkey and all the trimmings after all! We'll see. But I need more family and a football game and a parade for it to really feel like Thanksgiving. Ah, traditions are good!

I did get to skype with my parents, brother and his lovely wife who made a fabulous feast. Oh how my mouth watered as I read what was on the meny!!!! But my favorite was when my soon-to-be-41 year old brother stuck his nose in the camera and we could see his nose hairs! DON'T GROW UP SCOTT! 

Thanksgiving = best FOOD holiday. MISS YA AMERICA.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rio's girly hat

Rio's great grandma on his dad's side really wants a grand daughter. She is OFTEN buying Rio especially girls clothes (in my opinion)- a pink striped turtleneck, a turquoise shirt with pink lettering, a turquoise jacket with hearts, this hat...among other things...sorry, not trying to say that boys in blue and girls in pink is the law...i LOVE my hubby in his pink polo or pink tie, but that's different!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Body Art

Sipping smoothies

Feeling Holy

Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø

Friday, November 14, 2008

Of darkness, Finnish chocolate and a kid who won't sleep

Poor kid has a comb-over already!
Since it was already pitch black when the kids woke up from their naps, we kept the lights off and had a dance party. 

We put on our head lamps, even the kids, and all our reflectors too (vests, arms bands, teddy key chain reflectors too---we have so many because it dark for so many months here) and danced to some good house music (Deep Dish)!!! 

For dinner today I had 8 pieces of the best chocolate in the world, FAZER KELATAINEN, (Finnish chocolate with whole hazelnuts), hot chocolate and two slices of homemade bread with white cheese. And it was delicious. The kids had some left over chili and then we all enjoyed gingerbread cookies and milk for dessert. Hey, its Friday and there is a snow storm raging outside and I don't feel guilt about any of it!

So my non-sleeping child. Rio. 1 year old. I don't know what has happened in the past week and a half but it is me driving nuts, like on the verge of a mental breakdown. Yes, I have screamed at him. I am just so frustrated!!!! He whines when he's awake and won't stay asleep at night but is HAPPY AS A CLAM at daycare (something that brought me to tears AT daycare this week!). 

Long story short and some advice later, I really think he started daycare too early (9 months) or too late (meaning that if he'd been used to it since he was really little maybe we wouldn't be going through this). I think he needs a lot of attention and I should respect that and not tell him to "get over it". Arg, that quote comes from my MIL who thinks I spoiled him. Plus, Rio only nurses before bedtime now (by his own accord) so I think he really misses the closeness. 

Oh, and suddenly we have to hold Phoenix's hand in order for him to fall asleep. I don't what has happened with him either in the past 10 days. I've worked hard for 3 years so that he wouldn't have any dependencies when it comes to sleep but suddenly he freaks out when we leave the room and then Rio wakes up know the rest of the story. 

Phoenix and hats update

I wrote an earlier post about Phoenix's love of hats and the game that he plays with the big kids at daycare. Now they're no longer allowed to play that game. The daycare doesn't want Phoenix to be seen as a "clown". I guess they think that since Phoenix isn't as fast as the other kids he can't chase them down so eventually the big kids will turn this game into more of a "teasing the kid with DS" game. I totally respect the daycare providers for being so concerned about my child but a little part of me is sad that they took something fun away from the kids and Phoenix. On the other hand, hopefully they'll be able to find another "more respectful" game to play. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mental Health Day

Chocolate chip cookies, a glass of milk and a Cubs shirt. 
(Phoenix wore his Cubbies T also today. Had to REPRESENT!)

Thank you, Rio, for being sick today. I needed a day off! Not because I'm sick of work (I actually enjoy my job for once!) but I needed TO SEE THE SUN for a few hours and the election hoopla!

I suck. I didn't vote. I didn't do the absentee ballot thing like I should have. Just never got around to it. But I counted on Obama winning Illinois anyway. We were up late last night watching BBC and looking up results online. This morning I jumped out of bed to continue watching BBC. I admit, I got all wrapped up in the emotions of it...of disenfranchised people finally getting the dignity they deserve, John McCain's speech was beautiful (those rednecks booing was kinda funny too), the diverse group of people in my home turf gathered in Grant Park cheering and crying together, the students I taught on the south side of Chicago and how meaningful it must have been for them, voting for the first time in this historical election. I thought of Obama's book title "The Audacity of Hope" and the reality of those words. This world can be so cruel yet people still find hope. I am amazed. He has the world on his shoulders though. Both the demands of being "the first black president" and pleasing his other supporters as well as the whole world it seems. 

At 8am my time I felt like I just had to call someone. But everyone in the US was sleeping so I called Jackie, an old friend who just moved to Germany. It was so good to talk to her and share the strangeness of experiencing this momentous occasion from a foreign country. I was quit emotionally exhausted after the conversation but very thankful for her friendship.

Then Rio and I went to a parent meeting in his daycare. Afterwards I called my best friend Anna and wished her a happy birthday and now I've baked a batch of chocolate cookies. I tried a new recipe. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rio's Birthday and Jehovah's Witnesses

Yeah! Today we had a great party in honor of Rio's first birthday. In my opinion, it was a success! The guests liked the food, the kids kept busy playing or making masks and EVERYONE CAME! We had 24 guests (+ us 3) in our tiny apartment! It was so fun! Only one thing was missing...Rio's father.

Ben's dad is a Jehovah's Witness so he doesn't believe in celebrating any holidays. BUT I JUST HAD TO CELEBRATE RIO'S FIRST BIRTHDAY! I think it is important to pause and reflect on the past year, the good times and bad and all the growth (physical and emotional) that has taken place. Also, I wanted to share this moment with all the people that helped me through the challenges of Rio's first year. I was so touched that everybody came. 

Ben and I have been married for 12 years and out of respect for his beliefs, I have stopped celebrating holidays. Sure, I show up to most of the parties but my heart is always troubled. I feel guilty spending "our money" on gifts for people. I strongly believe in the Christian faith, but I don't agree with JWs that it is ungodly to celebrate holidays. I think traditions are important because they bring people together, even if just for a moment. I struggle with how to respect Ben but still respect my own beliefs. Is it really that important? Its just a couple days a year. I can just give it up. That's way today was important to me. I had a BIRTHDAY PARTY, a real birthday party, with a BIRTHDAY cake, a BIRTHDAY song and we accepted BIRTHDAY gifts. I didn't try to hide the fact that it was a celebration. (Poor Phoenix...his first birthday party was called an "AUTUMN PARTY" so that I wouldn't offend Ben! I SUCK!)

Ben was totally fine with the party, even though he wasn't apart of it. He helped me prepare by cleaning the whole house by himself (YES! HE IS AMAZING!) and watching the kids without complaining while I cut fruit and vegetables. 

OK, I still feel a little bit guilty though. Why did I do something, spend time and money on something that EXCLUDED MY OWN HUSBAND, THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN? Arg, such is life!