Friday, 29 July 2011

Little H the fish face

It’s a week today since the terror attacks and despite its terrible consequences we are trying to return to our day-to-day business. That is what everything is about now, to show that despite what happened we are strong, stand together and will not let one person’s cruel actions stop us. (Let’s stop before this is labeled propaganda).

Little H is untouched by the events and she “is up to no good” as usual as these pictures show.

How did you get fish in your face?

I have no idea mummy

I was just hiding

Just like that!

Applause please

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Don't let terror silence us

I remember the history books we had in school. They all had extensive chapters about World War two. A chapter had the heading “The day the war came to Norway” (9th of April 1940).

I believe that in our children’s history books there will be chapters with similar captions such as: “The day terror came to Norway”. And it happened only two days ago. The 22nd of July 2011 is now a day every Norwegian and people from all over the world will remember, and that will be spoken about for generations to come.

I was not sure whether to write anything about this horrible event on the blog, as its content is mainly lighthearted and about trivial things such as Little H’s shenanigans and how I strive to be a good mother.

But this cannot go unnoticed. Norway, the country I have always felt safe in, suffered a terror attack. It just shows that terror can happen anywhere at any time, but we must not let this change the way we live.

I believe in an open multicultural society, where we all are entitled to our own opinions and where we can discuss these openly. I believe in a society where people of all nationalities and religions can live side by side with tolerance and respect for each other. I believe in a society where people are talking and sharing beliefs and experiences without being afraid of the consequences.

Let us all stand together and not let one person destroy the goodness of Norway and the people living here.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Language Barrier

Pappa Kas and I normally manage pretty well language-wise with each other’s parents, but today was a day where it all got mixed up.

I speak terrible Spanish. Aitxite Sebas once said that I speak like Tarzan. I actually took that as a compliment; I thought he would say that I spoke like a monkey. Despite attending a couple of different courses my progress is slow. It comes down to mainly one thing- I do not practice enough. At home we have fallen into the trap of mainly speaking English between each other. It has always been that way. However we’re trying to raising Little H as bi-lingual, Pappa Kas speaking Spanish and me Norwegian with her. Of course that makes us pick up a word here and there but the vocabulary is somewhat limited and not very usable when not talking to someone older than two (or another monkey).

Today we had a hitch.
Grumpf and Gran
 It was a lovely day and I had taken some time off to spend quality time with the little “Lady” (she’s very stroppy these days, and I think that Lady is a suitable nickname for someone as fuzzy and determined as her).

Grandma B was suffering from Little H withdrawal syndrome, not having seen her “Little Princess” for about a week. We agreed to meet in the city centre of our lovely town -Drammen, for a stroll and a picnic by the beach (- yes, we have a beach in the city centre, and it is rather nice for the little ones. I would not be seen dead sunbathing there, but for the young, fit and hip ones it is a place to show off, and good for the kiddies when they get tired of shopping with their parents).

Before leaving the house I had spoken with Amama and aitxite about the possibility of meeting up in the town centre around 4 pm. What I thought I said was that I would call Pappa Kas (at work) and ask him to call his mum IF we were going to meet to avoid misunderstandings due to the language barrier… Apparently, what I said was something like: if I do not call, we will meet on the square around 4 pm.

So when me and her Royal (pain) Highness returned home and disturbed Aitxite in the middle of “the Tour” he got confused. After stuttering, pointing and playing pantomime (you should have seen it) I understood that Amama had gone to the square to meet Little Lady Stroppy and myself. Crap! When these things happen I go completely off my hinges, I called Pappa Kas and demanded that he sorted the situation, as if it was his fault... Then I got really really sorry and wanted to go and fetch Amama with the car, as she must be getting tired of staring at the pigeons and the pensioners on the square.

Amama and Little Lady H

But Little Miss Totally-Unreasonable was overdue her snack and would rather be placed in her bed (as if) than back in the car seat. There was no way I could take the car to go and get Amama. After calling Pappa Kas a hundred times whereby he called Amama for then to speak with Aitxite (standing next to me, but we were unable to go into details of what to do due to my Tarzan-Spanish and his limited Spanglish).

After countless telephone calls while trying to feed Little Miss Grumpf, we all agreed (I think) that Aitxite and Little (now) Miss Sunshine (funny how the mood changes as soon as she sees her grandparents) would walk to meet Amama. So now they’ve hopefully met somewhere, and what am I doing? In true Lady B style I am baking Amama’s favorite chocolate cake and practicing my Spanish verbs as to try to make up for all the trouble caused and to avoid similar misunderstandings in the future. ..

Grandparents and Little Miss Stroppy

Monday, 18 July 2011

Fieldtrip - Little H goes rural

Mmmmmm Waffles
On Saturday the weather was fantastic. You would not believe it the way it was raining yesterday and how it is pouring down today. I guess that this is the typical Norwegian weather in July; unpredictable, often wet and clammy, with a dash of sunshine now and then. I think that I have read somewhere that the most profitable month for the sun-bed studios is July. I do not doubt it.

To make the most out of the little sunshine we had, we packed the car and drove to Blaafarvevaerket approximately 40 minutes drive from our house. The reason for picking exactly this place was easy: A children’s farm with animals, a small beach, nice walking paths, a spectacular waterfall and home-made waffles, in other words: something for everyone.

Pappa Kas and Little H

I was very excited to put little H next to a chicken, a goat, a piglet, and other foul smelling small creatures for wonderful photos of the grinning child and stroking the fur of friendly animals. Those photos would be this year’s Christmas presents already sorted. Good plan!
As soon as we entered the gate of the little farm little H’s sleepy eyes got wide open upon the sight of cows, goats, hens and a couple of pigs, all in more or less miniature sizes. It was just like in her book of animals, but smellier… We pointed and made animal sounds and behaved like idiots, all to Little H’s amusement. I think that we were more entertaining than the animals, for both Hanna and the other visitors.

Touching smelly animals

We tried to approach a small goat, no luck. We tried to approach a little rabbit, then a monster one, no luck. Little H was clinging fearfully to either Pappa Kas’ legs or her mums hair. After a while when Amama, Aitxitxe, Pappa Kas and myself had petted various sticky farm animals, Little H got a bit more confident and put a finger on the fur at the back of a goat. That is probably the closest she got to pet a farm animal that day, and none of the photos taken were suitable as Christmas presents.

We did not only visit the little farm, but we walked up a very steep hill, saw a beautiful waterfall, had waffles, walked down a very steep hill on the opposite side of the waterfall, realized that we had to turn around as the path ended. We then went up the very same steep hill past the waffle place and down the first hill we climbed up and to the car. I think that Pappa Kas was the only person who did not sleep in the car on the way home, and that was lucky as he was driving…

She's not reading the map for us again!

Friday, 15 July 2011

The working week is coming to an end and it’s time for a re-cap of a rather eventful week.

I do not know whether it was all the positive energy I was channeling by wearing all my favorite items this week (not all at once, I would have looked like a mix of a Christmas tree, a school teacher and a bag lady). But a drip here and there.

On Tuesday, while using my favorite black leather fits-absolutely-everything bag I became an Auntie. Auntie T, it has a certain ring to it hasn’t it? Little Laia was born, perfect, small, dark and healthy at a hospital in Northern Spain. Congratulations to Tia Eli and Tio Inigo, the proud parents.
Little H is now a big cousin and I am sure that she's proud. She looks and points at the baby photos on our phones and says (in true H style) - det det det det (“it” in Norwegian) which is how she express her likings of people, food, tractors and pigeons a. o. So she is definitely pleased with another family member on her own age.
Little Laia

My initial thought when I heard the news was: Hurraaaa! My second was: Oh Crap! My babysitters, Amama Socco and Aixixte Sebas might want to go back to Spain to spend time with their newborn granddaughter as soon as possible.
We knew that this could happen, but had our fingers crossed and hoped Laia would come on the calculated day of arrival . The Castro’s had had a family meeting before this summer was planned, and fully flexible tickets were bought and all eventualities were discussed.

Little H hard at work

I started toying with the idea of bringing Little H to work and lock her in one of the glass cubicles next to my desk or have her rumble around in the open landscape while singing and dancing (screaming and babbling at the top of her lungs while swaying back and forward and/or wiggling her bum). Pappa Kas would have to endure the same for a day or two. We share the responsibilities 50/50, in bad times and in good ones. Next week looked like a challenging one for us and especially for our colleagues.

I am sure that there was a Castro emergency conference call where an agreement was reached. The conditions were tough: If Amama & Aixitxe could be in telephone contact at least twice a day with the new parents and getting photos of the little angel (she sleeps all the time), and as soon as they got out of the hospital be available on Skype 24/7 they would stay with Little H for another week.
It’s all fine by me :-)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Monday and mood-lifting jeans

Yesterday was Sunday, a rather bleak, rainy and boring Sunday. Dark clouds and blue skies were constantly fighting but the threatening clouds definitely had the upper hand.

There was nothing else to do than to make sweet buns, snuggle and play with Little H, watch “So you think you can dance” (I love it!) on TV and knit ferociously on a present for Little Cousin L due to arrive in a few weeks. As if I am going to complete my “knit-work” it in time. Poor time-management yet again.
Brought the knitting on the train this morning, and I’m sure the ladies around were scrutinizing every knot and thinking what an amateur, and the young trendies thinking what a sad almost-middle -aged housewife. Tomorrow it is back to reading books with impressive titles (important for the image amongst the fellow commuters).
Well, this week I am going to wear and write about some of my favorite items. Yesterday, as I did not leave the house and was constantly close to snot, spit, spaghetti and other stain-makers I lounged around in my comfy trousers, t-shirt and cardigan. Nothing worth mentioning here really.

So today it was back to business, but since my carefully beloved item of clothing required extensive ironing, it was never going to happen. I had to opt for a newly acquired favorite. My dark, even suitable for work jeans got worn patches on their knees after my maternity leave, where I spent a lot of time crawling around on the floor. Good fitting jeans are not easy to find, especially if you do not want / can afford to spend an arm and a leg on them.

THE jeans (on a model of course)
The jeans should not be too tight fitting,but have a little bit of stretch for comfort, not too low on the waist, not too tight around the tummy as not to leave too much flab “hanging over”. The fabric should be soft, but still firm. They should fit nicely, but again not too tight over the bum. The list of requirements are endless.

Well, I have found (until now), the most perfect jeans I have ever owned. They tick most of the boxes above and has cool pockets at the back too.
These jeans are another item I love and they certainly cheered me up on a grey Monday. I even got a compliment from one of my colleagues, so those jeans made my day!

Do you have an item of clothing that makes you happy?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

These are a few of my favourite things...

For the next week I am going to use something I really love every day. Do we not all have favorite items of clothing, jewelry, shoes, bags – and other treasured belongings that we “save” in our wardrobe because we love them so much? What rubbish! I remember talking to a friend about this one time of how we women buy beautiful things but hide them so that they’re not to be worn out, broken, stained or marked in some way. Why? If you have beautiful things show them to the world and use them!

I got inspired by a blog I follow Girl about Oslo  and liked the idea so much that I decided to copy it and do the same.
My theory is that by my mood will lift, my heart will beat a bit faster and I will become more confident as I wear these things for the next week.

The most precious thing that I would really love to wear again is my wedding dress, but that will have to wait, but the shoes though? Hmmm, they might be used this week...

This is one of my most beloved items

I got the bracelet as an 18-th birthday present from my grandparents. I rarely wear it as I am scared or scratching it, breaking the lock or losing it. But whenever I wear it, I look at it and think that it is a lovely piece of jewelry and extra special to me as I got it from my grandfather, whom I hope is following my life from somewhere nice.

What are your favorite things?

Monday, 4 July 2011

They’re back!

When one set of grandparents go on holiday another pair comes along to claim their percentage of Little H’s unconditional love, wet diapers, dripping chin, tantrums (as when the strawberries are all gone) and all the singing and dancing (squealing and wobbling from side to side) . Granny B and Granddad G left to go on two weeks holiday the day after Aitxitxe Sebas and Amama Socco arrived. I do not think Little H can stomach the whole family's love in one go, so it is good to have one set of grandparents over at the time.

I believe Gran and Granddad have experienced some of the pain it gives to have their first grandchild far away (even though it is maximum a two hours drive to their cabin). We have kept them updated by teary (Gran) telephone conversations, a large number of picture messages and text reports.

Little H is fascinated by the Iphone, and amazed by the features, such as that you can hear grandparents voices, look at pictures of yourself, play music, take photos, use it as a keyboard (some kind of app. For kids) and hang up whenever you are tired of the voice in the other end.
We know people who gave their 1-year olds an IPad for their birthdays, but poor H, she has to settle for grabbing her parents IPhones whenever they are within reach.

Aitxitxe and Little H

Amama and Aitxitxe arrived with a broken red wine bottle staining all the clothes in one of the suitcases, luckily there were plenty of other bottles wrapped in bubble wrap which survived without any damage. My summer was saved.

 When Little H and Pappa Kas went to the airport to pick them up, little H was amazed to experience her grandparents in 4D after many months of only seeing them and talking with them via Skype. However, it did not take long before ice was broken and Little H and Amama glued together, touching, talking and gesticulating (two weeks into the visit, it is still the same).
Little H and Amama

And what do us parents do? Escape as soon as H is in bed, going to the cinema, visiting friends together, hand over little H to Amama if there is a whiff of something from her diaper. Who said that having parents in law visiting was tiring?

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