So much to do, so little time to do it?

March 10, 2012

I think I mentioned that I went back to work middle of January after over 10 years of being at home.  This has been a huge learning curve for the 3 of us.  I did allow myself to get a cleaner and she helps for a few hours once a fortnight (every 2 weeks).  We also have a landscaper come in to help with the pruning of the bushes in the back yard once every other month but for the most part I continue to try and run the house myself.  How’s that going I hear you ask?  Well the blog is even more behind the times than ever now and for that I apologise.  Since last writing Kirsten and I had a wonderful week in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan staying with our friends the Kelly family that we met on the Disney Cruise.  I am sure, for those of you who read my daily diary you will remember the trials and tribulations of the family during the cruise and the fact that they had to leave the ship in Cabo.  Everyone is doing fine and we were treated as part of the family.  I keep telling them thank you as we had such a great time.  Kirsten, not used to having siblings, was in her element with 4 for a week.  By the end of the week she even had their names rather than calling them “brother” which I thought was cute.  Jennifer certainly kept us busy for the week on top of keeping her household as close to routine as possible and this included:  bowling; a trip to a Jungle Java; visiting local parks; a gymnastics class for Kirsten; and of course the Henry Ford museum

We had hoped to see a real snowfall.  It was a little funny to watch Kirsten hop from snow pile to snow pile yelling “snow”.  Hey, don’t forget she’s from the desert.  She’s seen real snow once in her lifetime before this.  We did get all excited when there was a severe weather warning threatening 6-8″ for the penultimate night but when we woke up there was a few inches of very wet snow that disappeared in a matter of hours so that was no good.

Now we’re getting ready for our next trip.  This one is to go back and visit the family simultaneously celebrating my big 40!  I can’t wait to see my sister and meet my nephew for the first time.  He turned 1  on February 3rd.  Some of you may remember the birth announcement I posted on the blog last year.  He was born 3 weeks after we left from our last visit back at the start of 2011.

Apologies if I’ve forgotten to share anything with you.  I know it’s going to be a while before the next time so please take care.

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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:  http://www.hadeland-glassverk.no/english/  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.


The Heat Is Rising

July 10, 2009

…in more ways than one.  The tension between myself and Kirsten as we try not to get angry with each other and the mercury in the thermometer.  The high today is supposed to be somewhere between 108-110 (42.2-43.3C) and then tomorrow, Saturday, we are supposed to be about 112F (44.4C) and then Sunday up to 113F (45C).  At one point they told us we were going to be up to 116F (46.6C).  Thankfully that has gone down a little to 113, but we will wait and see what happens.  Of course every time the dogs are let out for a potty break Kirsten wants to go out so we fight while I try and explain to her she cannot go out and play on the grass or the swing.  She’s too little to understand and yesterday she forced her way out until halfway across the grass to the swing she sat down and yelled with her bare feet waving in the air for mummy to come and get her (yup the grass was hot…it’s synthetic not real).

It’s 4 weeks until Kirsten starts preschool and I haven’t even started thinking about what she’ll wear and how I’m going to label everything so I suppose I’d better get started on that.  I can’t believe that she’s starting “school” and the heat will still be way up there.  Thankfully she won’t be getting any outside time until the temperatures cool down, but hopefully she’ll get so much stimulation it will tire her out.  She will also continue with her swimming lessons on Wednesday mornings and we are now looking into gymnastics as I’ve found somewhere about 20 minutes from home.  We had hoped for her to do trampolining, but as the only class is the same afternoon as swimming we don’t think that’s a good idea yet.

John’s parents have now booked their tickets to come out to visit so we now have 7 weeks of guests through September, October and November.  My parents come out first on 4 – 20 September.  I then have 24 hours to change the sheets and then my youngest brother, Conrad and his better half Marie-Claire arrive on 21 September – 5 October.  John’s parents arrive on 29 October – 17 November.  John, Kirsten and I are hoping that we might get across for a trip to San Diego the second week of October to explore and visit Seaworld, the Zoo and of course, Legoland.  There are no definitive plans there though so we’ll just wait and see.

Well have a good weekend everyone and make sure you stay hydrated in this heat.


UK Trip = March 21 – April 7, 2009

April 23, 2009

We’ve been back in Scottsdale a little over 2 weeks but we had an amazing trip to England.  We arrived on Saturday 21 March having left home late on Friday 20.  The flight with Kirsten was interesting, which was exactly what we had expected.  Thankfully Sigrid came prepared with baby wipes, changes of clothes etc.  In the 9.5 hours of the flight Kirsten slept a grand total of about 2.5 hours in 2 sessions and managed to throw up over herself just as the “seatbelts on” sign was turned on!!  Need we say more.

We spent the first part of our trip in Worthing with John’s parents, who bless their hearts, even moved out of their own room and into the guest room so that we could have a little more space.  Our first full day, Sunday, was Mother’s Day in England and John’s family had also arranged a gathering.  This included us meeting family members from John’s side that we’d not seen since our wedding reception at the end of May 2002.  There was even one family member, William, that Sigrid had never met.  During the course of the week we included:  a day trip to Brighton to visit the aquarium with Karen and Guy (John’s sister and husband); a walk to Conrad and Marie Claire to see their flat (Conrad is Sigrid’s youngest brother and they bought their own flat in Worthing almost 3 years ago); 2 visits to see John’s grandparents in their home; a visit from John’s Uncle John; and a trip one morning into Worthing itself with a short walk along the sea front.  As you can see almost no time to just sit back and relax but we do have plenty of memories.

Friday 27 March we headed across to Swindon to Sigrid’s parents.  We took a detour to East Grinstead where we had lunch with Sigrid’s Great Aunt Pam and Great Uncle Don.  Pam has recently been knitting some cardigans for Kirsten.  One thin one for use in Arizona and a thicker one for while we were in England.  We arrived in Highworth (just outside Swindon which is actually where the parents live) around 5pm that evening.  Saturday morning we went across to Cirencester where Sigrid’s mother sells home produce at the Farmers Market on the 2nd and 4th saturdays of the month.  http://thecotswoldgateway.co.uk/farm-markets.htm  In the afternoon we descended on Nora and Steve at their flat in “Old Town” Swindon and even walked Kirsten to the local park where Steve and John played with the cameras.  It was like Kirsten was being followed by the paparazzi.   Sunday included a morning visit to the Swindon Outlet Village where we met up with Nora and Steve and Conrad and Marie Claire (who had arrived late the night before and stayed with Nora and Steve).  The afternoon was spent in Highworth having a large family reunion/birthday party for Sigrid who’s birthday was the next day.  Aunty Jenny (Sigrid’s godmother) and her husband Charles came down by train from London for the night and booked into one of the local hotels http://www.jesmondhousehotel.com/.  Sigrid’s Aunty Flora (one of her father’s sisters) and her Uncle Gregory (well actually cousin of her father) also came for dinner together with Chloe (Sigrid’s niece); Magnus (the older of Sigrid’s 2 brothers) and his partner Kim.  In total there were 17 for dinner and it was a 3-course sit down meal.  Nora had prepared most of the desserts.  There were 5 in tota of which I had one – Dime Bar icecream cake (and I now have the recipe), but I discovered that John tried all 5.  Dinner was spectacular!  Thanks Ma and Nora.

On Monday the day started out meeting Jenny and Charles for tea at the local bakery in Highworth and then Sigrid’s birthday outing was to Cotswold Wildlife Park http://www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk/.  There was a large group of us made up of:  Nora and Steve; John, Sigrid and Kirsten; and Conrad and Marie Claire.  It was a cold day but fun.  Tuesday we handed Kirsten over to Nanny Gregory and took a trip to Bicester Outlets  http://www.bicestervillage.com/bicester/home.asp.  We finished with lunch at a pub where we actually had a full english breakfast.  We went back to Highworth and collected Kirsten before heading across to Kim’s house and having dinner with Kim and her 3 children:  Jessie; Charley and Harry; and Magnus and his daughter Chloe.  Dinner was roast beef and yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings.  I have never seen so much food in my entire life.

On Wednesday John disappeared off to meet with some former work colleagues so Kirsten and I went with my Mum to Fairford WI Market and then in the afternoon I went to Tescos.  I can only compare it to Walmart – except it’s not.  The size is amazing and so is the selection of food.  I have to admit that it is a store I miss.  Thursday John and I explored the local area and managed to do some shopping!!  In the evening Aunty Anne (Sigrid’s mother’s best friend from Norway) and her daughter Margrethe arrived.  They flew in from Oslo for a long weekend and also stayed at the Jesmond.  At the same time Sigrid and John went out in the evening for a curry with Sigrid’s friend Kerry.  This is a tradition that we do every time we go back.  I think there were 10 of us this time.  Dinner was at the Biplob which is actually very close to Nora and Steve’s flat so this is where we parked.  http://www.biplob.co.uk/  Thank you Kerry for organizing this and thank you to:  Kerry, Mark, Nora, Steve, Emma, Gill, Jo, and Matthew for coming along and making it a very enjoyable evening.  Thank you to Emma’s partner Dean for staying at home and babysitting their 2 children so that Emma could come out and join us.  Unfortunately Friday was supposed to be a busy day meeting up with many of Sigrid’s friends, but Kirsten woke up with a full fever and cold which we later discovered was due to teething.  Sorry to Jenny, Annie, Jayne and Heather that we didn’t get a chance to see you.

Saturday we went out exploring.  John met up with Steve and they went off for some “boys time” whilst the women went to the Cotswold Woollen Weavers:  http://ds.dial.pipex.com/town/plaza/hk67/contents.htm which is about 10 miles from Highworth and then finished off in Lechlade at the River Thames feeding the ducks.  It was Chinese take out for dinner that evening.  Sunday was yet another family gathering this time including Aunty Julia and Uncle Tony.  Tony is Sigrid’s Father’s Uncle.  I think we had 13 for dinner that day.  As you can see many generations were seen in this trip.  This basically brings our visit to an exhausting close.  Monday was spent packing and hanging around at home (although Kirsten spent many hours in the garden playing).  It will probably be 18 months – 2 years before we make the trip again.  Thank you to everyone to helped to make it a memorable visit.