Belated Happy New Year – Trip to England and Norway Part I

January 18, 2011


Yes, she was scared of it

So much has happened since I last wrote that I have absolutely no idea where to start.  I’ll probably start where Kirsten and I flew off to Europe on the evening of Tuesday 30 November.  We left Daddy at home to man the ship, so to speak, and he was going to join us in England 2 weeks later.  The start of the trip didn’t quite go to plan.  Daddy and I had no handover as he ended up sick in bed so I had to find alternative arrangements to get to the airport.  I had 2 wonderful friends who volunteered themselves the task and I ended up accepting Steve’s offer.  Steve was also going to be collecting us from the airport on our return so he already had our spare car seat.

I wasn’t sure how Kirsten would do on the flight as when we did the same trip 21 months ago she slept about 2 hours out of 10.  This time I was lucky. When they turned the lights off after dinner, almost midnight local time, I managed to get Kirsten to sleep and she slept for about 5 hours.  She woke in time for breakfast.  What helped is that we had moved back a row and had 3 seats between the 2 of us so that Kirsten could stretch out.  We landed in Heathrow but had to sit on the runway about 45 minutes while they waited for a “Gate” to open  up.  It turned out that Heathrow was the only airport open that day due to the snow in England! Kirsten just kept shouting “I want my Nanny”.  Who could blame her.  She’d just spent almost 11 hours on a plane, 10 of which were up in the air.

Our first full day in Highworth, Wiltshire (my parents) and I realised that although I’d done my best to stock Kirsten up on winter clothing England was having a harsher winter than normal and she was going to need more vests and a better coat.  We went to a shop called Matalan and Nanny bought Kirsten a wonderful big sparkly pink coat with scarf that Kirsten literally lived in for the next 5 weeks.  We had a week in Highworth and caught up with numerous members of family.  Due to the snow there still weren’t as many as originally planned but my Mum did have 18 for dinner on Sunday and we all fitted around the dining table.  That was quite a feat!  Thank you to all the family members who did make it across that first week.  There were many that I hadn’t seen since my wedding reception back at the end of May in 2002 ( you read right, wedding reception.  John and I eloped so had the reception 6 weeks later).  This, of course, was also their first opportunity to meet Kirsten although they had all seen plenty of pictures on our share site etc.

On December 9 we flew with Nanny (my mother) to Oslo, Norway to visit my Grandmother.  I hadn’t seen her in almost 10 years and the last time I’d been to Norway was just after I met John and I took him for a long weekend to meet the Norwegian side of the family.  We had 4 full days in Norway and made the most of them.  Kirsten and I had an overnight quick trip down to Larvik to meet my best friend from my year at Folkehogskole in Seljord, Norway, back in 1990-1991.  We have stayed in touch for 20 years.  The last time we saw each other was for a couple of hours in 2007.  I went with John to Denmark on a business trip and Irene, my friend, took the ferry from her home town of Larvik to Hirtshals and met us for dinner.  What more can I ask of a friend.  This time I got to meet her 3 children, Hoda, Ali and Heidar.  I hadn’t seen the youngest 2 and I’d not seen Hoda since she was 6 months old when I went over for our 5 year reunion in 1996.  She was definitely no longer a baby.  There was no language barrier between the children and Kirsten got on great with all 3 of them.  Thank you to the entire family for being so hospitable with the 2 of us.

 Back in Oslo by Saturday lunchtime and that evening we caught up with my side of the family.  We were staying with my Grandmother, but my Aunty, my 2 cousins and 4 of their children all came making us 11 for dinner.  It was chaotic but again great to catch up.  Before dinner we all dressed up and went up the hill behind the house and went sledging.  My cousin, Eli, pulled Kirsten all the way up on the sledge and then took her down the hill.  It was when Kirsten realised she was going to have to walk back up the hill afterwards that everything went downhill.  Kirsten found during this trip that with all the extra clothing she was having to wear it wasn’t as easy to walk so in that case why should she!

Sunday we actually had most of the day to ourselves.  We were due out for dinner with my Mum’s best friend to celebrate her birthday in the evening but until then we could do as we wanted.  I wanted to visit Sognsvann which is a lake a couple of miles from my Grandmother’s house.  We decided the easiest thing would be to take the bus along the main road and just walk from the bus stop to the lake.  Kirsten, of course, was getting cold just from sitting still.  There was a little outdoor cafe open at Sognsvann so we had hot chocolate, hot dogs and warm waffles to eat.  The locals were finding it interesting watching Kirsten scream but when it was explained to them why then they understood the reasoning.  The difference in temperatures between Phoenix and Oslo were quite a bit for a 3 year old to deal with and I feel Kirsten did brilliantly.  On leaving Sognsvann we took the tram down to Oslo centre, walked through the main station and then took the bus back to my Grandmother’s house.  Kirsten doesn’t get to go on public transport  at home as there isn’t really any close by and she’s always asking to go on buses and trains so we tried to make the most of it for her.

As I mentioned before on Sunday evening we walked down to my mother’s best friend’s house to help celebrate her birthday.  My Mother and Anne have known each other since they were children and lived almost next door to each other.  Anne’s daughter is also my Mother’s goddaughter.  She’d invited a number of friends over for a dinner party, and of course, we were invited too.  Kirsten was the only child, but I may be a biased Mother, but again I think she did wonderfully.  Thank you Anne for inviting us.  We had a lovely evening.

 Monday Anne had been kind enough to take the day off and said she would take us wherever we wanted to.  I had never been to Hadeland Glas so this was where I wanted to go.  For those of you interested in finding out more here is the link:  In all my time spent in norway I had never been there.  Now I went in the cold of winter and the scenery was spectacular and when I get back to Norway it is definitely on my list of things to do again.  It is similar to an outlet mall except built around a glass factory.  They also have a lot of the Norwegian porcelain there too.  Again another on my list of things to do is to visit Porsgrund next time.  Hadeland Glas is located at the end of a lake so the scenery is spectacular.  If you get the chance to visit Norway add it to your list of things to do as well.

Tuesday morning and it was time to say goodbye.  The temperature was also about -18C (-4F) so cold but unlike anywhere else that I know the flights were all on time leaving the airport.  We just had to be de-iced prior to take off!

OK that’s it for now.  I’ll try and do another post in the next couple of days which will start up with my husband’s arrival on December 15, 2010.


Kirsten Iceskating

November 3, 2010

I know, I know…two posts in one day but I have a lot of catching up to do as I want to make sure when I go away in 4 weeks’ time everything is completely up-to-date so that when I get back I only have to post about what we have done during the trip.

Kirsten was given a pair of ice skates by her Norwegian Great Grandmother last Christmas.  To me she is known as Mormor (Norwegian for Mother’s Mother) and to Kirsten she will be referred to as Oldemor (Great-Grandmother).  Some of you will know and others won’t that when John and I moved to Arizona back in 2002 I decided to take up the sport of Figure Skating but stopped when I discovered that I was pregnant and hadn’t been back since.  Kirsten had started to mention that she wanted to go iceskating and not because I had made the suggestion to her but because she had a number of bedtime stories that mentioned skating and a number of the programmes she watches on tv also mention it occasionally.  The other Thursday, 21 October, Kirsten had an early release day at school and it was also Parents n Pups at the icerink.  This meant that during the Learn to Skate session for children part of the ice is set aside for parents to take their toddlers (2.5 – 5 years old) on the ice for a group lesson too which I thought would be perfect.  I had already confirmed with the ice rink that it wasn’t sold out in advance ie people signed up for the complete 6 weeks, so that Kirsten and I could do a drop-in class (just turn up).  On the Monday after swimming (which is right by the rink) we had popped into the rink and had both pairs of skates sharpened.

On Thursday after school Kirsten was forced down for a nap as I knew it would be a late night.  The class runs from 5.45 – 6.30pm and Kirsten is normally going up for a bath between 6.30-7pm so there was no way that would happen.  The staff at the ice rink welcomed me back with open arms and it was as if I hadn’t been away for the last 4 years.  I’m hoping to take Kirsten again tomorrow.  If she shows as much enjoyment then I suspect that we will stop swim classes and start iceskating class in the New Year instead.  I look forward to that too as it is something I can do with Kirsten, but ultimately it is Kirsten’s choice.  John also left work early so that he would be able to be there too.  Kirsten was wrapped up wonderfully warm as we used some of the clothes that I have purchased for our trip back to England over Christmas.  In actual fact she was so warm and toasty she just didn’t want to get off the ice at the end.  I’d layered her up with tights, leggings and snow trousers on the bottom half and on the top she had a cotton long sleeved t-shirt, fleece jacket and the snow trousers as they were actually dungarees and you can see she had her cycling helmet on her head and also mittens.  The mittens were the only item of clothing we had a problem with as they kept coming off.  Probably because she was holding onto me so tightly.

A Week of Firsts

February 24, 2010

Well we’re at Tuesday and Kirsten has worked out how to get out of her crib.  I know I’m one of the lucky ones in that up till now she’s been more than happy to stay put and because it’s so low she hasn’t been able to pull herself out.  She has now worked out that with the help of the toy box at the end of the crib she can get in and out and this morning she screamed “Mummy where are you?” to let me know she was awake and by the time I got to the top of the stairs her little blonde head was peeping round her door letting me know she’d got up all on her own.  I know I’ve got to convert to the toddler bed but I’m hoping I can hold off another 2 weeks until John goes to conference in Vegas so that there will be few disturbances during the night.

I would say we are pretty much potty trained now although Kirsten still has her constipation problems so the accidents we have are always for the same reason.  Today, for the first time, she actually asked to use the potty and was very proud of herself when she did what she needed to without having to be cleaned up.

I wish the puppy could master the potty training.  We leave the door open but about 8/10 times he goes outside to play then comes inside to pee and poop.  I’ve even put one of those training pads by the back door in the hope that it would motivate him, but oh no…  Of course Kirsten has had on/off flu/cold for the last couple of weeks and John started with it on Thursday and I’ve been fighting it off.  I realised I couldn’t take any medication day or night as I’d be no good for anything, but of course after taking Marbles out for his 4am potty break the other day obviously didn’t close his crate well enough and 30 minutes later there was some very excited yapping outside our bedroom door.  I just scooped him up and put him back in his crate downstairs.  He’s not sleeping with the older dogs yet as I don’t want to disturb them too during the night.

My next quilt is finished for Miss Rosie’s club.  Apologies that I’ve not put a photo up with this, and we have the fabrics and pattern for our next.  I had hoped to hold off a week or so to do some work on another project but as the meeting is being rescheduled, and as yet I don’t know till when, I thought I’d better get on with it to try and get it finished for whenever the meeting is.  My 4 previous quilts are all at the shop now for quilting and I could have the first 3 back in the next week or so for me to do the binding around the edges.  I promise I’ll get pictures up.

Well Kirsten is down for a nap.  The dogs and myself have also eaten lunch so I’m going to make use of the opportunity and take a break too.

Kirsten’s First School Report

January 13, 2010

Another thing I forgot.  Kirsten received her first school report in December entitled “Mid Year 2’s Observation“.

So hear it is.

Teacher’s Names:  Mrs Buchanan and Mrs Varley

Evaluation Key:

4 = Always; 3 = Often; 2 = Sometimes; 1 = Not Yet

Social Development:

Plays independently in classroom environment = 4
Enjoys outside time in the playground = 4
Interacts with others during playtime = 4

Work Habits:

Engages in play without being overly prompted by a teacher = 4
Sits in circle time with friends = 3
Gives verbal responses during circle time = 3
Helps clean up after playtime = 4
Follows simple directions given by the teacher = 4


Separates from parents without excessive difficulty = 3
Verbal skills emerging (verbally labels objects, colors and friends by name) = 4
Life skills emerging (sharing & taking turns) = 3


“Kirsten is a pleasure to have in class.  She plays well with the other children and loves circle time.”

John and I thought that this was a very good first report.  We have to remember she is only 2.5!!

Guests – Round 2

September 23, 2009

So my (Sigrid’s) parents left on Sunday night and Conrad and his partner, Marie Clare, arrived on Monday night.  They head off on a 4-day trip to New Mexico/Alberquerque tomorrow morning, Thursday.  Whilst my parents were here they did 2 mini trips.  Their first one was round the california border with a couple of stops by border patrol.  Their informative titbit is if you are going to check out Yuma the areas for sightseeing are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  During their second week they took a 2-day trip across to Globe which they said was amazing with plenty to see and do.  We also took a big family trip down to Phoenix Zoo on the saturday and great fun was had by all.  Pictures can be see on our shutterfly site.  Follow the link to the right of the page.

Kirsten finally had her head shots taken by the modelling agency last Saturday.  She woke up and was bloody minded so we weren’t holding out much hope and warned the photographer on arrival that this maybe no fun.  He said no worries he would take as long as needed and if required she could watch others having their pictures done and he’d just fit her in…so she was as good as gold and after about 5 minutes he turned round and said he had the perfect shot.  We were out before our timeslot as we’d arrived 20 minutes early and the previous person had also arrived early.

As for potty training…yeah right.  Kirsten tells us she needs to go potty as soon as she has gone.  We then go through the rigmoroul (not sure of spelling) of sitting on the toilet, wiping our bottom, flushing the toilet and washing our hands before putting on a dry nappy.  Every store she has to try out the restroom no matter what.  If she sees a door in a wall she assumes it has to be a restroom and decides she has to go through.   Please, please, please let it be soon.  She goes through the night dry and although sits on the toilet and potty (yup both) before going down for breakfast it’s not until she eats that she does anything.  I’ve even had her running round the garden for 5 minutes naked before sitting her on the potty in the hope that she would do something.  She also goes through her nap dry.  It’s eating and drinking that gets her to go.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I’m exhausted.

Kirsten is also learning the tricks of how to prolong going to bed…potty…you forgot to clean my teeth…not all the guests have kissed me goodnight….you didn’t read that book to me….I need the potty again.

Talk  to you all soon.

Third Full Week of School

August 24, 2009

So we’re coming into Kirsten’s 3rd full week. She and I are kept busy with her schedule and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be too much or not. We are as follows: Monday – gymnastics; Tuesday – school; Wednesday – swimming; Thursday – school and Friday is catch up.

Her naps reduced last week which surprised me but I think she was a little overstimulated then we went to the gym yesterday morning and on our return she went to bed. We woke her up as it came to almost 3 hours and 15 minutes and she was still settled in bed by 7.30pm (her choice) and slept until 7am this morning. We’ll see what happens this week.

This morning we have gymnastics. Last Monday she threw a tantrum halfway through the class wanting her snacks out of my bag. Kirsten likes to have food when she wants it rather than when we decide (a habit I need to break). It is exactly the same with drink and preschool commented on that fact.

I also think we’re very close to giving the potty training another go. We are changing the nappy even more as every time she does something she lets us know but she is now sitting on the toilet before bathtime rather than using the plastic potty as soon as she gets into the bath. I think I’ll ask my Mum for help when she arrives in about 11 days and maybe in the 2.5 weeks she’s here we’ll get it done. Who knows.

I’ve been taking pictures of all Kirsten’s artwork from school (almost a project a day) and I’ll get those pictures up during the week. Kirsten’s phrase of last week was “what are you doing here?” which is very funny to here when she says it to John as he walks through the door and comes home in the evening.

Well keep in touch.

Class Size

August 6, 2009

I forgot to mention in my previous post about Kirsten’s class.  There are 2 teachers, Mrs Buchanan and Mrs Varley and the class can hold up to 12 students, but right now there are only 7 which is great. I was concerned as Kirsten doesn’t integrate well with children her own age that she would be a shrinking violet, but by starting with a smaller class I think this is going to help.  She’s in the “young 2’s class” which is for children who turned 2 after February 2 and before end of August.  Next year the classes will merge and then will have the option of 2, 3 or 5 days a week and also a choice of 9-12 or 9-2.  Back to this year.  There are balloons put up on the wall showing the children’s birthdays and it looks as though Kirsten is right in the middle of them all.  There also appears to be a pretty much 50/50 split of girls to boys (well I realise this isn’t possible with 7) but there are 4 of one and 3 of the other so again perfect.  If you have any more questions let me know.