Sunday, 28 November 2010

Soon six months after Little H’s arrival, I am starting to get into a proper routine, but there’s always the occasional surprise to throw us off schedule. The margins are small from
us leaving the house stress free strolling down to meet the other mummies with no spit-up anywhere and our winter hats the right way round, to wearing my sweater inside-out and Little H covered in a facial cream of milk, porridge and snot (It’s her own recipe and I bet it is good against the winterly temperatures we're currently having).

If you know us, you have probably heard the story about Pappa Kas forgetting the wedding bands he (he would say we) had been entrusted to bring safely to church for Tio Ini’s wedding…. - and other amusing stories of how forgetful we are. Another classic is how we went to spend the first night in our new house, having traveled by bus and train, and then walked 3 kilometers uphill with two 80 liters backpacks full of essentials in minus 5 degrees and snow, only to discover that the house keys were back in Oslo.

I will therefore proudly retell this 100% true story.

We were recently in Ikea to buy a carefully selected chest of drawers - obviously out-of-stock... Well, no excursion to Ikea is a waste of time, there’s always candles, napkins, meatballs and other must-haves to stock up on. While standing in the queue at the tills, we had a crisis situation. Little H, who has yet to understand the appeal of the Swedish furniture-and-stuff-everyone-can-afford heaven, was at the end of her tether, and did not politely want to wait in line so that her parents could pay for their essential must haves (candles and napkins).

Pappa Kas took Little H up from the pram and held her in his arms. It did not help; he was just showing the other customers that we had a screaming toddler. Pappa Kas then firmly planted the dummy in Little H’s mouth to stop the racket, only for Little H to spit it three meters away in distaste. Then, as the super mummy I am striving to be, I opened the side pocket of our baby-all-essentials-bag, took out a small Tupperware box, opened it and found a clean dummy within seconds. It went so quickly that the young couple standing behind us, who had cast annoying glances at our singing angel only seconds before, dropped their jaws in amazement before the girl said: “wow! Look at those organized parents!”

I have never been so proud.

Happy Hanna in her new potty-like chair.
Thank you Ashley, Audrey and Adriana!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Time flies when you’re having fun and it is certainly flying by Concorde when on maternity leave. Before the weekend we had agreed on a long overdue catch-up with two of my non-mummy extremely stylish and yummy friends. One of them said before Little H’s arrival that I had to be weary of becoming one of this mummies dressing in a boring and mumsy way. I am very glad that she has not seen me walking around recently. The slippery pavements have demanded hiking boots, which is not even allowed lower than 400 meters above sea level. I have walked around shameful but safe, and always with mascara on, as if that counts.

Needless to say I spent some time on planning the outfits for this highlight of the week(Little H’s also of course), but whatever I planned in my head it did not work out. Why? All potentially wearable items were in the laundry basket full of smelly spit up. I am so behind on the laundry that I did not even have one pair of clean jeans. So no skinny black jeans, high boots and a tunic –cardigan combo (yes I know how mummy is that! - but it was my best bet).

Just when I had settled on a neutral but not entirely mumsy outfit and Little H was dressed to impress in home-made Lady B Couture, I heard a deep rumbling from her tummy followed by a volcanic eruption from the nose and mouth region. Suddenly we were covered, not in lava, but lumpy, cod liver oil smelling leftovers of milk, banana and pear yoghurt. It was only one thing to do, go downstairs, change and settle for second best, which if I had had time to think, I would not have left the house in pre-preggers.

We finally managed to leave the house smelling just faintly of sour milk and cod liver but relatively stain free. That is until I discovered lumps of what could be porridge behind Little H’s ears. Funnily enough, she had not had porridge for a couple of days. It could definitely explain the smell.

Mittens does not only keep hands warm,
but works perfectly to cover up delicate ears
when the hat it too big.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Winter has arrived and with its cold and snow comes the challenge of maneuvering out-and-about with Little H in her pram. It is hard work, and could suit as a new discipline in the Winter Olympics. Imagine slalom, downhill etc. with prams. Just think of the entertainment value!
Either the snow is not removed from the pavements so you are pushing the pram through the snow and sleet (while swearing), or the snow has turned into ice and you slide sideways.
A few days ago we had planned to go Christmas dress browsing for little H together with another mummy and her little one. She had already seen a dress for her daughter and was determined to get it, while I just wanted to have a look. I had not really thought of a Christmas outfit for little H, more a full plastic cape/ bip construction to try to avoid porridge in all possible places, but its fun to shop! – if you can get to the shops without too much hassle that is.
Cheeky H

On the morning of our big shopping excursion we woke up to a couple of centimeters of sleet and snow. As sporty mummies we agreed to challenge the elements and go anyway. My main reason not really the shopping, but that I really need to shake the muffin top before the festive period with all its temptations start. How can I deserve my coffee treat if I take the car 4 km to the city centre? There’s no other option than walking.

Well, we ended up having a really nice day, browsing the shops for small dresses and having a good chat about the things that mummies talk about; snot, type of porridge, passing wind and how to avoid poo sneaking out of the diaper and up the back. We’re talking about the babies’ here-not us. We also felt very brave and we had truly deserved our coffee treat.

Imagine Pappa Kas' matching tie
 No dress was bought for little H that day, but I saw a puffed sleeved taffeta creation that her grannies would be delighted with. I am not sure I can find an outfit to match though, neither a tie for Pappa Kas...

After the experience of pushing through the sleet, working hard not to swear out loud, I decided to swap the wheels around and put the small loose ones at the back for sturdier bigger fixed wheels at the front of the pram.
Good idea, it worked a treat, until the day after when the road had turned into ice. I was sliding down the hill towards the baby swimming class (how yummy is that!-baby swimming), losing all control. On the way back home one of the other mummies said that it looked as if I was drunk “driving/pushing” the pram as I was sliding around so much. I have now put winter wheels for Little H’s pram on my Christmas wish list, so until the 25th of December (I hope) we’ll have to take the Super Car and swap to boring small non fat lattes instead of the usual “double chocca mocca”.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

There's always an excuse...

One morning earlier this week little H and me were preparing to go to our weekly mother and child pilates class. We were running late (what a surprise) and I was determined to take the new Super Car.

As Pappa Kas will confirm I have been postponing driving alone with Little H in the (Super) Car for weeks.I have made many excuses some more silly than others, but for me walking 8km with the pram to get some exercise instead of taking the car is a very valid one. The muffin top needs to be shaken now and then, and especially now when the festive season is coming up.

The excuse for not making Pilates on Tuesday, the REAL one, I promise, cross my heart, was that I could not get the garage door open. Seriously, I could not open the gate. It was really stuck. I have seen Pappa Kas do a hit and push trick earlier, but not bothered to learn it. But now when I also realized that the garage door was the portal, not only to a comfy mode of transport in icy weather, but also the gate to warmth and coziness- all our firewood is in that garage, it became more important to be able to get hold of the treasures.
No firewood to snuggle in front of the fireplace, no car to drive to pilates? What to do? I sent a message to my fellow pilates mummies and told the truth – car, garage, stuck, impossible – but also: “coffee after the class? We’re out walking anyway...”. A bit shameful we arrived at the café before everyone else, so when they arrived, smug after downward dogs and baby massage, it looked like we had been sitting there all morning. I promise we had just arrived; the half drunk decaff-Soy-mocca in front of me must have belonged to someone else…

Monday, 8 November 2010


When planning for maternity leave I had many highflying ambitions. Early on I tampered with the idea of studying for a Masters Degree, but after having talked to some of my friends ahead of me in the family game, I put that one on the shelf- at least for now.

Then I looked to other rookie (yummy) mummies out there and then random internet mums, colleagues and friends were spied on to find out what they were doing while on this year long holiday. Holiday my a**, I have never been so busy!

I was aware of the nesting period while pregnant, had heard about redecorating living rooms and new kitchens, but suddenly die hard party vixens became domestic goddesses knitting socks, making home-made crisp bread and writing blogs… Well, this seemed achievable, so this is where I have set my ambitions. So far I am struggling somewhat, but practice makes perfect and I still have five months to go before Pappa Kas becomes a Domestic Daddy.

Ambitious fellow citizens of Drammen:

Ambitions - Donkeyboy


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Castro-Nyhus family takes a road trip

We have finally bought a ”proper family car” as Pappa Kas calls it and we are now the proud owners of an Opel Astra, twelve years “younger” than the previous one, no kidding. All I can say so far is that the car is nice and shiny, the seats a bit hard, meaning not so worn out as in the old one, and I am not ashamed of driving it. Our neighbour the carsalesman must be pleased. We have been a shame for the neightbourhood carpool for years, on the other hand, we did not buy the car from the neighbour, so perhaps we’re still in the bad books.

To test the new wonder, we decided to take a proper Sunday trip like we used to do on random Sundays (the ones not spent cross country sprinting) when I was growing up.We invited Little H’s Great Grandparents along and off we went. We speeded down the highway towards Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway, which has a nice pier and a charming city centre. The sun was out, however the temperature was a little bit on the chilly side, but Little H was behaving and the Great G’s were in good form. We were all set for a nice day out and about.

Great Gran Laila, Great Granddad Magne and the girls

After cruising down to Tønsberg we parked and went for a walk, with a proud Great Gran in front pushing little H in the pram. I was glad to get some assistance as it was cobbled streets all the way, and also quite a few shop windows to browse in. Mental note to self; check out the shops in Tønsberg for the post-Christmas sale.
Talking of fashion; With Little H’s generous sharing of left-overs, yes, the spit up continues, I have now decided that if I buy something new it has to cost a maximum of 150 NOK and be washable on 50 degrees Celsius. Obviously this does not apply to shoes. How I am going to get a Christmas-night-out outfit within those guidelines, I am not sure. Perhaps exceptions can be made for past bed-time wear? Oh, that sounded naughty, let me rephrase: for me to wear on social occasions after Little H has gone to bed, - not that much better...

Back to our Sunday trip; We walked around for a bit hunting for a decent coffee and the possibility of a sweet bun, and found this charming little coffee shop Bare Barista, really sweet staff, nice coffee and home- made cakes and pastries. Pappa Kas’ order was: “get me anything with chocolate” (as always), and as the dutiful wife who knows him well, I made sure he got his daily (over)dose with a piece of a deliciously looking dark chocolate cake and a hot chocolate to drink.
 It was very close between the tables and I sat in constant fear of Little H throwing up in the hair of the lady on the table behind us while Pappa Kas had her over his shoulder to trigger her burps (he must like to challenge faith). If I had held her, I am sure that there would have been a dry-cleaning bill coming my way courtesy of Little H’s well timed wet burps onto some charming well meaning lady’s cashmere.
Choc Shock

When I caught Pappa Kas spoon-feed Little H with lukewarm hot chocolate, it was time to return to the car before the little angel got enough sugar to fuel her high pitched high energy screaming.

Sweet Great Gran proudly pushed little H back to the car, while I had a final browse trying to remember where the good shops were for next time.

In the car on the way home Great Granddad was eager to share his extensive local knowledge of people and places with the younger generations. Pappa Kas listened attentively and nodded at the right places, taking it as a lesson in Norwegian history as we drove the scenic route Great Grandad pointed out and named large and small farms, distant relatives’ summer houses and other places of interest. Sadly neither myself nor Little H got all to take in all of this locale knowledge as we were deep asleep in the back seat…

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