Thursday, June 26, 2008

And The Fun Continues

With school out for the summer I wondered what would we do to keep ourselves busy our last week in Oslo. Well, its been no problem. Kayleigh had Anna and Elsa over for a sleepover one night. We also went to see a production of the Jungle Book at Frogner Park with Meagan and her kids. The play was in Norwegian (of course) and was not Disney like at all. We'll chalk it up as a cultural experience. We did get free bananas.
We had a barbecue with our new friends last night at Frogner Park. One of the things I've wanted to do. We had our one time use disposable grills which we really enjoy using. The weather wasn't very good but it didn't stop kids from rolling down the wet, grassy hill. Go KJ! We introduced The Aussies to smores and they really liked them. Chloe said she wants to have a smore party for her friends when she get home; very cute.
We only have 3 more days in Oslo before we leave for Italy. It's hard to believe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oslo Fun!

Monday Kayleigh and I met our new Aussie friends at the bus stop and headed to the Norske Folk Museum for a Mid Summer's Festival. It was pretty entertaining with lots of activities. The kids hit the arts and crafts table and made crowns. After, they spent a long time at the play scape. We watched and sampled a lefsa demonstration. (It was some of the best lefsa I've ever eaten.) They went on a carriage ride. The museum also had different musicians performing too. Many people were barbecuing.
Mid Summer's Eve is a fun time in Scandinavia. I don't know much about it but it is common for people to people to celebrate late into the night on their boats out on the Oslo Fjord. There are also lots of bonfires and picnics. Everyone is enjoying the longest day of the year. It doesn't get dark?!?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Club Penguin

Saturday night we had dinner with Alex, Zhen and Reyes. On the walk to Friday's KJ was busy telling Alex all about Club Penguin, a game she plays on the computer frequently. She loves it! Alex seemed very intrigued asking lots of question. It was quite cute I must say.... After our delicious meal of American fare, Kent suggested a tour of Club Penguin by KJ.
We are all wondering if Alex, Zhen or Reyes have themselves a penguin yet?

Hat Trick

Frigg Farta ended the season on a winning note defeating their opponents 4-3 after being down 3-0 at the half. Unfortunately, I missed out on all the excitement. The game was played at the Roa field which is far from home. KJ and Kent got a ride and there wasn't any room for me.
When they returned after the game Kent said something about a hat trick and Kayleigh in the same sentence. I had to think for a minute.... Wow! KJ had a hat trick... that's 3 goals in one game! The team came back and won! I think Kent was as excited as Kayleigh and I did get a great replay of the game.
Playing soccer for KJ this spring was so great. The girls and their parents were all so friendly not to mention it was really good for her game too. Norway has some outstanding young soccer players.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Schools Out for Summer!

June 20 was KJ's last day at Uranienborg Skole. Her classmates all from various countries will be will be going to different schools except for 2 kids who started at the end of the year. They are ready to transition into regular Norwegian classes. They attended Uranienborg because of the special Norwegian class and will return to their neighborhood schools.
They had a party and said there good-byes yesterday. When Kayleigh came home she said she felt kinda sad since she'll never see her teachers or her classmates again. I'm glad she felt this way, not that I want her to be sad. I know she had a good experience and will have nice memories of going to school in Oslo.
Early on I remember her commenting that everyone should speak English and English is the best language. A few months ago she began speaking more Norwegian and she said she wants to continue to learn more. Where do we find a Norwegian class in Portland?
We are feeling bittersweet that our time in Norway is coming to an end. If we stayed longer KJ would be in a regular fourth grade class and be fluent. It would be great to see that but we are looking forward to seeing Mackay, friends and family, our house and Portland!!!
Oslo is a wonderful place but it's not home.....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What a Game!!!

At soccer practice Tuesday Isabelle, the team leader asked if Kayleigh wanted to play in both games this week; Thursday and Friday. I guess families are busy since it this is the last week of school and some of her team mates can't play.
Personally, I'm kind of a burned out soccer mom but when we asked KJ she jumped at the chance to play Thursday and Friday.
Well, after tonight's game a recap is definitely in order. The forecast called for a rainy and windy day and that it was. Foolishly, I thought perhaps the game would be called off due to bad weather. I knew better so off we went to meet the team and carpool to our opponents field. KJ commented that she loves playing in the rain and I guess she does. Frigg Farta had an outstanding game! All the girls played brilliantly making nice passes and playing stellar defense. The score was 5-0. Yes, Frigg had 5. Kayleigh wound up with 2 goals and was very excited.
On a side note. One of the girls... Villja, who is really good forgot her cleats. She wanted to play in her Wellies which is not allowed. She and her pappa disappeared and turned up right at game time. Villja was wearing Isabelle's running shoes which were huge and they were stuffed with socks to keep them on her feet. It slowed her down a bit but she still had a good game. What determination!
I wonder if tomorrow's game will be nearly as interesting or as entertaining?

New Friends

One of our regular stops is to our neighborhood library. They have one shelf of children's books in English which includes picture books up to young adult novels. It isn't much but Kayleigh has read all the Harry Potter books and several books by Roald Dahl.
Yesterday we stopped by to return Harry Potter. As we were browsing through the books we heard English. Sure enough, it was a fellow mom with her three kids. Before we knew it we had new friends. Meagan is from Australia and her kids are Chloe 8, April 6, and Conner 3. They have been in Oslo since January and are leaving in July. The same time frame as my family. Meagan's husband is working here and they live next to Kayleigh's school. The kids are home schooled as Meagan is a teacher so that is probably why we never met.
We really hit it off and ended up chatting for a long time in front of the English book shelf. Eventually one of the librarians told us that we'd have to leave so others could have a chance to look at the books. Funny, I think we're the only ones who check them out.
We checked out our books, said our good byes and exchanged phone numbers and decided it would be fun to hitch up next week with the kids.
Our little trip to the library ended up being a pleasant surprise.

Father's Day 2008

Happy Belated Father's Day to all you dad's out there. I know my dad was taken care of very well by my sister and her family in Austin. He loves Texas and is getting a healthy fix of his favorite food group... red meat.
We video chatted with the Ausinites and Bismarcker to wish dad a Happy Father's Day. Sorry Andy if I forgot to send a happy day your way....
My husband had a lazy day. KJ made him a super cool poem including some great art work. She also gave him a baseball hat. (Norway style) I made him a card and bought him a couple of "real beers" which are hard to find here.
He decided to skip church, there's a surprise and have some quality alone time. He did take KJ to the church picnic which was indoors since it was raining. It was a swell time. They even had smores!
Tootie and I were busy cooking the crisp, guacamole and southwest stir fry. It was a fun and lazy day.

Tootie Does Oslo!

Oslo is a wonderful European city to visit. There are truly many sights to see that it is hard to decide. I had a fun time showing Mom around. Here are the spots she visited.

* Vigeland Park and the museum: my favorite. I think she liked it a lot too.

* Literature House: I had never been. This was started by Norli which is the largest
bookstore in Norway. They have authors come and speak and have different programs
going on. There are several stages and conference rooms. There is also a bookstore
and a cafe. We thought it was a great idea but not much to see.

* Strolling around the palace and Karl Johan's Gate which is always fun; great people

* Oslo Fjord Cruise: KJ, Mom and I went one afternoon; it was beautiful and in-
teresting. We had a guide who had a lot of information to share. We also had a
glass of wine and hot cocoa for KJ.

* The Viking Ship Museum: We took the ferry over to the Bygdoy Peninsula where the
museum is located. Everyone loves seeing those old Viking ships.

* Telenor and lunch with Kent: Dining at Telenor is always tasty but where is the
dessert? Those Telenor employees must be healthy?

* The National Gallery and The Nobel Peace Center: This was a Kent/Tootie outing.
They both enjoyed the sights not to mention spending quality time together.

* Sex and the City at the Gimle Theatre: What a cool theatre! It was a great evening.
We had cosmopolitans; very appropriate and yummy. After the entertaining flick I
took Mom to San Leandro's a tapas bar Kent and I had been to. I love tapas. We
dined on olives, tortilla de patata, calamari, shrimp, manchengo queso and ham from
Spain and of course vino.... Lots of fun. Did I already say that?

* Church at the American Lutheran: Mom is very excited that we've started going to
church. There was blue grass music by Apple Blossom and KJ received a certificate
for attending Sunday School.

* Holmenkollen and the souvenir ski shop: Mom bought herself a Norwegian ski sweater.
I'm jealous and still drooling over the one I want. (The ski jump is the #1 tourist
spot in Oslo.)

Wow! We really did do a lot. I'm impressed but the best part of her visit was getting to spend time together. She got her share of the Gilmore Girls and Kent and I introduced her to Heroes. I think she liked it. We really don't watch that much TV. We also did quite a bit of home cooking. Mom made Kent a rhubarb crisp for Father's Day and cooked him dinner.
I think Tootie did Oslo quite well!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coffee Please....

I have found my favorite coffee spots in Oslo obviously so it was great to have a coffee partner in my mom while she was here. She was quite happy drinking lattes and americanos and sampling the baked goods with us. The places we hit included: Baker Hansen, (twice) United Bakery, Apent, and Kaffebrenneriet (twice). We decided Kaffebenneriet has the best americanos with warm frothy milk on the top. Baker Hansen has the best scones. Okay, I've mentioned that a few times. I think in my prior life I was a baker....
I'm definitely experiencing coffee/sugar withdrawal since Mom left yesterday!!!

Travel Fun

My mom had her reservations about making the long journey to Oslo to visit us. Her main concern was flying over by herself as my dad doesn't have much interest in travel unless it involves seeing his beloved children and grandkids. After a little convincing from me and several of her well traveled friends she decided to go for it! I'm happy to report her visit was very fun.... however before she even got off the ground in Bismarck there was a situation!!!
I received a phone call from my sister about 11 pm the night before Mom was coming. Apparently the plane out of Bismarck had mechanical problems so by the time it left she missed her connection in Minneapolis. As it turned out she was booked on later flights in both MPLS and Amsterdam and all was well. KJ and I were at the airport when she arrived. Flying internationally is difficult for most so I was impressed at the amount of energy Mom had. She was pretty perky her whole visit.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Norwegian Heat Wave

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten said the weather in Oslo the last 10 days is what Norwegians dream about. Let me tell you its been beautiful! We wake up with lots of sun and it is mild. I've been wearing shorts and t-shirts on our walk to school in the morning. I keep thinking this must not be normal? On Friday and Saturday it was 30 degrees celsius. (which is about 88 degrees F) I guess a front is heading our way with rain which will cool things off... Go figure my mom arrives tomorrow. Oh well, what are you going to so about it? We'll have lots of fun regardless of the weather. BTW, I'm a bit if a weather nut.
Here's a recap of our week of summer.....
Monday, KJ and I headed to H and M to buy some shorts and t-shirts. I only brought 2 pairs of shorts and KJ is growing! (H and M is one of the stores we can afford in Norway.)
Wednesday..... Kayleigh and her friends Anna and Elsa and I went to Frogner Park and they played in the fountains. We also checked out the pool and made a plan to go swimming on Friday.
Wednesday evening Kent and I walked back to the park so he could check out the pick-up ultimate practice we found out about on-line. It was successful! The players were all super friendly. Kent wasn't dressed to play and was even wearing sandals but that didn't stop him. I left because KJ was at home. When he returned he told us he had been invited to a tourney on Saturday.
Thursday..... Kayleigh played in a really hot soccer game and it wasn't a pretty one for Frigg Farta. So much for an undefeated season.
Friday..... We hit Frognerbadet. It was a super time. There are 3 pools and a huge water slide. The girls went down the slide numerous times. One of the pools is more for playing and splashing. There is also a baby pool across from it. On the upper level is the deep pool which includes lap lanes and on the other end are some very high places for diving.
Fognerbadet also includes a lot of green space if you want to hang out and have a picnic. I can't wait to go back!
Saturday.... Kent decided to play in the EZ Oslo Ultimate Tourney. KJ and I went to cheer him on. He had a terrific time. He was on the pick up team and they needed him. They actually almost won the whole tourney but ended up in second place. He met a lot of friendly people from all over and was happy to be playing Ultimate again. Rumor has it.... we might find Kent out throwing the disc back in Portland.
Sunday.... We went to church since there aren't many more Sundays we'll be in Oslo. After church we went to Sognsvann to hike a little. What a beautiful place! We ended up stopping at Oslo's new opera house on the way home. (It really wasn't on the way home.) All I can say is WOW!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Love Oslo

It will be hard to leave Oslo; it has become a special place to us. Here are a few of the places/things we'll miss... Vigeland Park, (probably my favorite place) Nordmarka, public transportation, all the cute dogs, polser and lomper, Seven Eleven, Bygdoy Peninsula, Oslo Fjord, Baker Hansen, fotball, the weather, KJ's youth group at ALC, long days in the summer, taking the train from my apartment for 20 minutes to go xcountry skiing and May 17.

I've included some pictures from last Saturday. We discovered the beach on the Bygdoy Peninsula after a short ferry ride. Kent and I also enjoyed a late night out while Kayleigh was at a friend's b-day sleepover.


We had a great time in Amsterdam with Dan and Teresa. Kent and I decided the best word to describe the city is stimulating. There is so much going on... it is great and overwhelming all at the same time. Maybe I'm getting old because I don't remember feeling this way the last time I was here as a 20 year old.
Sunday we checked out of our hotel after breakfast. Tonight we're camping out with Teresa. Dan is heading to Munich for work. KJ, Kent and I went to the Nemo Science Museum which was a blast. I got my soy latte at a local coffee shop on the way. D and T hit a couple museums on their own. Together we visited a church/house museum and then went out for a beer before Dan had to head to the airport. We also swung by a houseboat museum. After a tasty dinner at a cozy spot Teresa found, Kent and I strolled through the red light district where there is lots of stimulation... Teresa offered to hang with Kayleigh.
FYI.... KJ says Teresa is the best sleeper in the world. She can sleep through the 3 of us up in the middle of the night dealing with KJ's rash.
In the morning we went to have Dutch pancakes before we headed back to Oslo. the pancakes were quite the hit.

Sun, Bikes, Boats, Food and Friends

What a glorious day in Amsterdam! When we arrived late Saturday morning, we worked our way through the busy airport and found the train. Only on our way I spied Starbucks and headed towards the familiar green sign. Thoughts of soy and chai lattes danced through my head. There was a long queue. I quickly came to my senses and we headed to our train. I'm sure I can do better than Starbucks in Amsterdam I thought to myself.
Once we got to Central Station and exited the train we were suppose to hop on the tram. It was so nice that we decided to walk. I am proud to say we've become true city people because we walk everywhere. My sister and Andy would be proud of us too.
People on bikes were everywhere and there are bike lanes everywhere too. Why would anyone drive? Where do the bikes go when no one is riding them? They're basically all over and I mean it. I think people lock them up anywhere they can find a space. It was amazing to me. After a short 20 minute walk we made it to Hotel Agora, our home for the night. We checked in and had to hoof it up 4 flights of very steep steps. The room was large and over looked a canal. We were quite pleased.
Dan and Teresa arrived shortly and we headed out. It was good to see them. We decided to grab some food to eat on the go. This could be tough as there is food all over in Amsterdam. We opted for some vlaams frites (fries) My on-line info said to try them and they were delish. They offer you almost any kind of sauce for dipping that one can think of too. We also got a falafel.
First ...a canal boat cruise which was nice and relaxing. Second stop... pedal boating for Kent and KJ while Teresa, Dan and I have a beer at a sidewalk cafe. Before beers we spot them pedaling down the canal and hop on for a short ride.
After spending lots of time on the water we head to T and D's hotel room for some wine and treats. KJ tries to nap. We decide to have dinner at an Argentinian Steakhouse. (My dad would be happy) These steakhouses are all over. D and T think Kent could use some red meat. It was fun and the food was alright. KJ is weary but on the way back to our hotel we walk through the largest plaza in the city and take some crazy photos. I take KJ to the hotel to bed while the others party on.....