Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Into the City to Meet a Friend

Today Addie got to ride the school bus for the first time, and so did Ben, Garrett, and I .  The school likes for parents to ride the first time so kids know where to get on and off the bus.  The boys and I took this opportunity to spend the day in the city.  We rode the bus to Addie's school and then we took the T-bane (subway) into the city.  I was a little worried about traveling around the city with the boys in the double stroller.
 The boys were so good on the T-bane.  They sat in their seats and ate pretzels and looked out the windows.  I was so proud of them.  We got off the subway and headed to our friends' house.  We had a wonderful morning snacking and talking and drinking tea.
 When it was time to go Ben decided to try out our friends' ear muffs.  He is such a silly little boy.
 We hit the streets with our friend, another expat who has been here for a couple of months, and explored her neighborhood a little.  We walked by this fish market and stopped to let the boys see all the fish.
 While we were walking around the boys fell asleep, sound asleep.
 The sad part is we were on our way to the playground to let them play.  We decided to just keep walking and run a few more errands.  My friend showed me a great health food store, the first one I have seen here.  They had a lot of neat organic items and bulk items.  I am slowly learning my way around different parts of the city.
 From the city we took the T-bane back to our part of town, took the stroller through the grocery store to pick up a few things and headed to Addie's school to catch the bus home with her.  When we got home Garrett slipped and fell on the ice.  He was so pitiful sitting on the ground, between the ice, the stiff boots and the bulky snowsuit he was trapped.  Of course I stopped and took a picture of him and then helped him up.  This black ice is going to take some getting used to.

I was so worried about how this day would go, but with all of my preparation it was great.  I did get up at 6 AM to make sure that everything was ready to go.  Jon now thinks that I should get up at 6 AM everyday, we will see how that goes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Throwing Snowballs

When I finally rolled out of bed this morning at 7:04 I was excitedly told it had snowed!  Addie had already been outside to play in the snow.  Have I mentioned that Addie and Ben are up at 5:30 pretty much every single day?  They get a lot done early in the morning, like playing in the snow.  When it was time to take Addie to school I started the process of getting all of us ready to go out in the snow.  I knew this was going to be a challenging part of living in a cold climate.  I am sure the process will get faster, but right now it is not fun.  Ben does not like his snow suit.  He doesn't like anything bumpy (bulky) and his first reaction to a new pair of snow boots or hats or anything he doesn't like is to take it off.  Since all of these things are not an option here I just put them on and hold him down until he gets past it.  Thankfully he is adjusting well to all of the layers and he stayed nice and warm and dry while he played.  
They were having so much fun throwing snowballs at each other.  This is something they have been talking about since we talked about moving here.  

The boys started to gang up on Addie, I am sure this will not be the last time that happens.  The only rule is no snowballs in the face.  Ben is still working on that rule, poor Garrett has already taken more than his share of snowballs right in his little face.  In Ben's defense Garrett is really short and it is hard not to get it in his face.

This short bit of playing did teach me a couple of things, 1) we LOVE the boots from Nannie and GeeGee and the snowsuits for the boys, they stayed completely dry.  2) We need better gloves for the boys, something they can move their hands in to make snowballs, but that are water proof,  3) I need some waterproof boots for myself, and 4) Addie might need to start riding the bus.  I don't think getting to school 20 minutes late is going to be okay every time it snows here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trunk or Treat and Shiver

I knew we would be getting here in time for Halloween, but before our large shipment of household goods got here.  We bought these costumes in the US and put them in our air shipment.  I did forget to put in bags for the kids to collect their candy in so tonight we used good ole pillow cases.  I wasn't sure before we got here if Norwegians even did Halloween.  I knew they were going to have something at Addie's school, but I wasn't sure what it would be like.  Apparently Halloween is getting bigger here, there are Halloween stores in the mall and lots of scary costumes.  

Getting ready for Halloween was a lot of fun.  As soon as we put this dinosaur costume on Garrett he started chasing Jon and I around the house.
 Ben LOVED his pirate costume, he even had a place to put his sword.
 I am finally learning how to do Addie's hair.  I know nothing about curly hair and have had to learn.  I struggle putting her hair into an updo because it is thinner than my hair and so very curly.  I finally found a twist that works for her.
 I love my princess, pirate and dinosaur.
 We were getting ready to go to a Trunk or Treat at Addie's school.  I knew that Halloween would be different here because of the cold.  All of the kiddos had an extra layer under their costumes, and we did bring coats, hats, and gloves with us.  Ben had taken my gloves within minutes of getting out of the car.  This little man is the SLOWEST walker ever, he takes after his daddy.  Because of that he is always having to catch up.  I loved his little hands holding his hat on while he ran today.
 They were all holding hands and it was just precious.
 On the way to the school we noticed all of the trees have dropped their leaves.  The leaves have been falling since we got here, but today the trees seemed to have given up.  There are piles like this under all the trees in our area.  
 Addie was the most practical of all the children and wore her jacket over her dress.  Here she is taking a swing at a piñata.
 Garrett and Bennett sat down for hot dogs for dinner.  Ben's hands were cold so he only took one glove off to eat.  
 The boys enjoyed the donut on a string game.  This is a hilarious game for kiddos.  The kids saw a little girl in a Brave/Merida costume and they were entranced.  Every time she would walk by they would point her out.  Ben also got very excited about a Power Ranger we saw.  
 I finally made Garrett put his coat on when I couldn't stand it any more.  He was so mad at me.  It was so cold though.  I am realizing that we are going to be so cold this winter. It is still going to be a shock to our system as it 
His costume got the most looks overall, especially when he had his coat on and his little tail stuck out the back.
 Even Daddy got into the action 'carrying' Ben's pirate hat.
 When we got home we dumped out all of the candy and everyone got a couple of pieces.  There was some good candy.

There was some fun candy too! I'm not sure I could eat one of these, but they are fun.

Everyone got out of the costumes pretty quickly when we got home.  I love this little man and his long underwear.  
 And just for fun here is a photo from last year. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Our Ordinary Saturday

Our ordinary Saturday didn't start out so ordinary.  We had a couple of more visitors this morning, I thought Addie was telling a story when she said there was a deer in our yard.  
 This poor girl didn't last very long, she jumped the fence pretty quick after she saw the crowd in the window.  
 Here they are trying to be sneaky.
Not much later Garrett started pointing out the window.  Jon thought he was just being silly until he looked out and saw this guy with his antlers hanging out.  He didn't come into our yard, but he did give us quite a look from behind the fence.  
 Then it was time to get ready to go, here are the kiddos sporting their new Angry Birds socks.  I love that all three of my kids can get by with the same sized socks, we only had to buy one package and they all got a pair.  I thought there was going to be a fight over the red bird, but Addie was very gracious with Ben.
 This morning we decided to see how far of a walk it is to Addie's school.  The way we drive and the way we would walk are two different things so I wasn't sure if it was a possibility or not.  We really enjoyed our walk into town this morning, I probably will not be ready to take on that walk to school any time soon, but it is good to know it can be done.  While we were in town the kids stopped to play at this little play area.  It is torture for the kids because the McD's is right next door, but we were just there for some playing.  We did get a couple of treats,  the kids had their Angry Birds suckers and Jon and I each got our favorite pastry, YUM. 

 We had never been in town on a Saturday morning like this, apparently Bekkestua is the place to be.  There were people all over the place, I found quite a few stores I didn't realize were there, and the kids got to meet Scooby-Doo.  The cartoon channel plays Scooby-Doo every day here, Addie and Ben have really started to get into Scooby-Doo, Addie's favorite is old school Tom and Jerry.  I love the retro cartoons.  I loved that Scooby was out today.  
 On the walk home we got this vista.  Today was GORGEOUS.  I am starting to realize why it is so important to enjoy the sunshine when you can get it.  These grey and dreary days, one right after the other can start to get to you.  When it is nice out here it really is one of the prettiest places I have been.
I love all of the old red farm houses here in Norway. 
 Addie and I picked up walking sticks for the way back, she put hers to good use.
 Of course Ben and Garrett decided they needed walking sticks.  Garrett did not quite understand the concept, but he was still cute.
 During nap time I was able to make a trip to the mall all by myself!  This was a normal event back in Texas, me going out while everyone else slept, but here in Norway that has been harder to accomplish. I have been to the mall several times now I was ready to make some purchases.  Shopping here takes a lot more concentration on my part.  There are no stores that I recognize here, except for Toys R Us and H&M.  The rest of the stores, and there are a lot of them, needed to be explored and evaluated for pricing and quality.  I have been looking at snow suits for the boys since we got here.  We have traditional ski pants and jackets for them, but they are not very high quality.  Addie's school sent out a great article that they had translated that evaluated all of the brands of snow suits.  I had also received several recommendations from other Ex pats and Norwegians about what to get.  I ended up finding both Garrett and Bennett's sizes in the Reimatec brand at Barnas Hus.  These were expensive, but well worth it if there are going to keep my little guys warm and dry.  Norwegian children wear their snowsuits a little baggier than I am used to seeing, but I like it because you can fit a lot of layers under there if you need to, or you can just throw on your suit to go out and play, like Garrett did tonight.  I hadn't even cut the tags off yet, but he was ready for some fun.
My finds for the day included a hair dryer (can you believe I haven't blow dried my hair in a month), a cool basket and an Advent calendar with hooks under each number.  I was so excited to find the calendar because I have started prepping for Christmas and this will be perfect for our family, and it was on SALE.  If you know me at all you know I love finding a bargain.  This calendar and super cute basket were both half price making them a good deal even by US prices!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our First Snow

I had started a good old poor me post this morning.  I was feeling down after a rough week with Ben, losing our stroller, almost no sun shine and still adjusting to our new life here in Norway.  Today the sun was shining bright and the boys and I were able to make a successful trip to Ikea.  I knew this move would not be all sunshine and roses, but this was my first time of real frustration.  We are past being brand new and now we are trying to settle in to our real life.  We are so blessed to have the opportunity to live here and meet new people and try new things, but there are aspects of the Norwegian culture that  make settling in a little more challenging for us.  On our To Do list this weekend is to buy 2 vehicles and make sure they have their snow tires ready to go.  I also need to buy Norwegian snow suits, woolen undershirts, wool socks, and all the other fun things that you need to survive a Norwegian winter.  I have been out in the stores a little and I have talked to several Norwegians and Expats and listened to their recommendations.  Addie's school even sent out an email with an article that compared all of the brands of kids' snow suits for durability.  It was originally in Norwegian so they translated it and sent it to all of us parents.  It is amazing the difference in quality and price on outdoor gear here.  At least I have figured out all of the kids sizes.  

We have had some fun this week.  Addie has been doing a lot of coloring.  Whenever she has the markers out Garrett wants to color too.  I love watching Addie color, she is so creative and she is so proud of her work.

 Garrett is a mess when he colors.  His enthusiasm is sweet, but the disaster that I have to clean up is not.  
 Thankfully the marker wipes right off of our table.
 We also had our first snow flurries this afternoon.  Addie was so excited about the snow, she wanted to go out and catch snowflakes on her tongue.  I remember taking a picture of her at Garrett's age doing this when we lived in Colorado. Time goes so fast!  
 We all got dressed quickly and ran out to enjoy the first few flakes of the season.  
 Ben did not want to be in any pictures, but I wanted to show how we have lost all of the leaves off of our vines on the house in just the last couple of days.  Ben was cold and ready to go in the house already, it is going to be a long winter with this little man.  
 Addie was precious in the middle of the yard spinning in circles.  And then as quickly as it had begun the snow stopped.  Addie was a little disappointed, but she wanted to stay out and play so I did get her and Garrett dressed so they were warm enough and let the play outside.  
I really am one lucky mom, I can't imagine my life without these three amazing kiddos.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Fall

We love to go the pumpkin patch, but here in Oslo we don't have pumpkin patches.  I bought these two pumpkins at a local florist.  I have seen more pumpkins lately in the grocery store, but they are priced per kilogram and I am not sure how much they would end up being.  These two are great for us. 
I was sitting in the kitchen this weekend and I saw this guy walk through our yard.  I asked some of my Norwegian friends and they said this is not that common to have a deer come through your yard.  I was so disappointed that the kids were sleeping, they would have loved to see this deer.  He jumped the fence before I could get a better picture.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pannekake Huset

Today was another glorious Norwegian fall day.  The boys got to try out their rain pants for the first time.  Garrett wanted to really test out his rain pants and boots.  They did very well.  I think rain pants are great and make rainy days much more fun.  I am going to look for a pair for myself.
We took Mr. Pat out to Bærums Verk.  We were able to go into several of the shops and see some fantastic products, many of them locally handmade.

 Jon was a good sport as usual and played outside with the kids.  Here he is showing off his amazing dance moves, taking advantage of the slippery stone. 
 The swollen river made a beautiful sight at the falls.

Downriver was beautiful as well, the leaves are just gorgeous here right now.
Jon and Ben making their way across the bridge.

 It wasn't really that cold today, but it was very wet.

 I still love the Norwegian wreaths.  I need to just go ahead and get one for the house, I feel like I have taken pictures of these all over town.
 The florist had brought her dog to work today, a sweet little French bulldog.  The kids were able to spend some time loving on him.
 Garrett was so happy to get to love on a dog.
 The next stop was the Pannekake Huset.  This place came recommended by a coworker of Jon.  They specialize in Belgian pancakes.  I never knew the Belgians did pancakes, I always think waffles.  We were not sure what to expect, but we were very excited when we saw what came out.  Addie got the bacon pancake.  The strips of bacon were cooked right in.
 Ben just wanted a plain pancake, he was happy boy with the real maple syrup they had on the table.
Pat was excited about his meal, we waited for a while before our food came.
Mr. Pat got the Amsterdam, apples and raisins, it was delicious.
 This was mine, mushrooms, cheese, and ham.  I wasn't sure about a savory pancake, but I was so thankful I went this direction.  It was delicious.  Jon got a banana, chocolate and ice cream pancake.  We decided that the next time we go we are going to share so we can each have half sweet and half savory.
 Gare Bear dug into his pancake with raspberry jam.  He did end up eating more ice cream than anything else.
 This is a great place to visit!  They open at noon through the week and 1400 (2 PM) on Sunday.  Our service was okay, but they were getting really busy as we left.  I would plan on going when they first open if you could.  We will definitely be heading back here.