Archive for May, 2012

The disclaimer is that I might not actually get to all of those topics because I’m setting a time limit here, but if I had all day these are the topics that I think deserve coverage and that I’d want to share with the beloved friends and family who read this.

So, ”three seasons in a month” isn’t really anthing new to a Midwesterner, but our recent experience of back and forth weather messes with my head enough that I think it bears some recognition.

Season one: Winter. This was the status when we left Norway on the 5th of April. We really thought spring was coming — the tulips I finally got around to planting were poking up, the grass was starting to green, I thought about putting our boots away…

Luckily, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that spring likes to cry wolf, so you don’t really put the boots away untilJune. The first week of April brought a couple of feet of snow. No joke. It was crazy. I thought all of Trøndelag would be rejoicing in the new snow just in time for the skiing Easter holiday, which just goes to show how little I know about skiing. Turns out you can’t really ski on soft new snow that hasn’t had a chance to be packed down properly.

However, on the 5th of April, we stowed our down coats in the car and stepped into the airport, preparing to fly our way into season two:

Summer. It’s a rare April in Wisconsin that has one thinking about sunscreen, but that was indeed what we had. We would have had a wonderful time anyway, surrounded as we were with family and friends, but being able to play outside and take the boys to proper playgrounds almost daily was really a pretty thick layer of icing on the cake. We are so unaccustomed to thinking of temperatures that are frozen-custard-melting in April that, well, we just didn’t think of it. And the frozen custard melted. While friends-to-remain-nameless (Eric Michaelson) laughed.

As I said, the weather was really just a small piece of a great vacation. Celebrating Easter in a flower-packed church, hundreds of voices raised in ”He is risen, indeed!” was a highpoint. All five siblings being home at the same time was a highpoint. Bjørn and I having time to just be together with the kids was a high point. Watching the boys have what really might have been the time of their young lives made that all even sweeter. Karel had no trouble warming up this time around; at 6 a.m. the morning after we arrived (because we were up at 3 due to jetlag) he was asking when Grandma and Grandpa were going to get up. Grandma was totally prepared with enough toys to keep them busy for months, and I don’t think there was ever a time when he couldn’t find someone to read for him. Emil busted out the charm and had the crew wrapped around his little finger.

Last year when we came back to visit, leaving was hard. This time it was hard as well, but in addition to being sad, I felt more of an overwhelming gratefulness. How blessed is our little family to be accepted into the hearts and lives of so many others? How blessed am I to have friendships that pick up again, adding a kid here or there, despite years passing and locations changing?

Pretty blessed is the short answer.

When we came back to Steinkjer, thankfully the snow was gone. I really have put away our down jackets, although not until just the last couple of days. There are the occasional flurries early in the morning and still snow in the high areas around us, but I think it’s really Spring now. We’ve got basil, tomatoes, spinach and flowers all sprouting in egg cartons on the window sills, with peas and beans still waiting to be sowed. My friend Heidi just dropped off my very first rhubarb plant; it was actually my excitement about that that prompted this blog post to start with. My days of begging rhubarb off of people are soon to be over. The sun, the shy Norwegian sun, has been out, improving moods immensely.

We’re a ways off from running barefoot in the grass (which Karel wants to do now that we can actually see the grass), but I think we’ve got a few winter-free months ahead of us.

Love to all — Kim and boys. 🙂

(will post some photos soon! and will come back to the ‘Norwegian’ topic later. Maybe.)

Read Full Post »

The boys won today. They may not know they won, but they won. You know those days where every single hour of it is a battle? The toddler won’t sleep, the pre-schooler won’t get dressed, the mama is ransacking the kitchen for hidden stashes of chocolate… The walk to the ”park” (which doesn’t happen until 3 p.m. because that’s how long it takes for the mama to feel human and the preschooler to get dressed) starts well until the toddler insists on climbing in and through the fence near the road while the tired preschooler turns into a cat and insists on making a bed under a tree and sleeping there because that is what outside cats do.

Incidentally, once Karel has turned into a cat (which includes speaking exclusively in meows and crawling on all fours regardless of terrain),  I know that whatever chance I had at reasoning/encouraging/bribing  him to do what I need him to do has decreased from ‘maybe possible if I say the right thing’ to ‘oh my goodness I am going to have to carry them both AND the sparkesykkel. ‘

So after an entire day — which followed a night of severly interrupted sleep — of Emil laughing at me while as he does all the things he’s not supposed to do and Karel laughing at him, and of Karel telling me ”my ears were plugged up” when I ask him why he didn’t respond when I told him for the thousandth time not to jump on the couch, and the two of them bouncing not only off the walls and the bed but off each other during the hour long failed attempt at bedtime, I gave in.

8:50 p.m. found us in the car, destination: dreamland. At 8:53, I asked Karel if Emil was still awake and he said, ”uhhh… no.” (I then had to explain to Karel why I called Emil a silly little stinker. Or something like that.) Ten minutes later, Karel was out as well. It was a cheap victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Honestly. It’s a good thing I still think they’re cute.

For the sake of accuracy and posterity, there were some nice moments. Emil laughing and saying ”Wow! WOW!!” when a flock of seagulls were circling just above us, for example. Having them both snuggled in for a few minutes of calm book reading. Anytime Karel explains something to me…or gives me a crazy excuse. Having bedtime turn into a safari night-drive because of the six –SIX!– moose we saw. That’s a like a herd, right? One crossed the road right in front of us…but somehow Karel still claims he only saw two ears. Whatever.

These don’t change the fact that my voice is hoarse from calling them or that they will definitely be both going to barnehage tomorrow as early as possible…but, you know. For accuracy.

Bjørn, if you read this before you get home, be thankful I’m still phoneless.

Read Full Post »