Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas came early

As last year, and the year before that and... (you get the point) Christmas came early this year as well. My plans are there from early November, baking the seven kinds of cookies required for being a proper housewife and mother, knitting presents for everyone, make my own candles of beeswax, sew new curtains in subtle but Christmassy colours, scrub the fllors and ceilings and so on.

At least we got a tree

What did I manage to do? Well, I made ginger-bread cookies - twice. I made it to a cookie-and-sweetie making date with a friend. But arrived two hours late and with a baby M who would not sleep. We ended up chatting, cuddling the wee ones and eating sushi instead. 

I managed to order Christmas cards about a week before Christmas Eve, but wrote snd posted them the day after they arrived from the printers,and due to a fantastic address list saved from last year, I do not think that I missed anyone. See- I am organized sometimes.

With ligths...

Christmas Eve came and went without any hatches, so I guess I had nothing to stress about, but next year I will be having a project plan in Excel starting late October, and be so organised that even Pappa Kas-the perfect planner proud.
 That is if I can get started in time.Perhaps best to put a reminder in my calendar already now, as to not forget my perfect plan for a perfect Christmas 

and it was decorated before the 24th

Merry Christmas to you all- a week late. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Baby it's cold outside

Well, not anymore. We’re up to minus 3 Celsius, which is 15 degrees warmer than last week. 

We’ve just had exotic visitors from far far away. Amama Socco and Aixite Sebas came from the warm south to inspect their new granddaughter, Baby M and to catch up with their “oldest” one Little H( which is two and a half).
Mmmmm, chocolate
Amama and Aixite had eagerly followed the weather forecast for Norway on various websites and had become a bit concerned when the temperature started falling below zero and snow was starting to fall.  We tried to hide these minor details for them, as we thought they might postpone their visit if they knew the truth about the December weather. 

Before they came we prepared by buying spikes to attach to their shoes so not to slip on the ice. We stocked up on firewood, and found extra hats, gloves and other necessities.

When they arrived I was impressed by their good spirits, they dressed in layers and went out on walks and played with Little H in the snow.
I was extra happy that we could show them some of our Christmas preparations and they both had Christmas porridge (boiled rice and milk with a bit of vanilla). A tradition is to hide and almond in the porridge and whoever finds it gets a small pig (!?!) made of marzipan.

See and Learn Little H
Aixite Sebas also decorated gingerbread cookies with a precision I have never seen. Every M&M was placed carefully on the cookie in the desired pattern before glazing was applied as to test the symmetry and color coordination of the small chocolates before they got glued on the cookie. I started to understand where Pappa Kas’ sense of detail and thoroughness comes from…

After a week of cooing over Baby M and running after Little H they went back south with tales of cookies shaped like pigs and reindeer, almonds hidden in porridge, kids playing outside in minus 8 C, and real pine trees with lights outside everywhere.

They must think that Norwegians are mad about Christmas. And I guess we are…

Proud Amama and Baby M

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Ginger Galore

It’s the time of the year when you can make and eat cookies, drink mulled wine and watch soppy Christmas films all you want. 
I love this time of year and all the preparations. Not to say that I am keeping on top of things, but every year the planning, the illusion of the home-made presents makes me tingle with joy.  This year is not any different, but with two small girls I should lower my expectations.

On Friday we made Ginger bread cookies together with the “Skinheads”, who are not so hairless anymore. I guess I should go back to calling them Hanna’s post-natal group. 
This was the start of a weekend of gingerbread cookies. We baked and tasted on Friday, we ate at least a kilo of cookies on Saturday and then we made some more on Sunday.

Christmas is all about traditions and we have now managed to make a tradition of baking gingerbread cookies together with Sergio’s Senoritas (Ashley, Audrey and Adriana). We operate by the rule of when something is done three years in a row, becomes a tradition.  So now it is. 

Little H is not the most patient of girls, and she got really disappointed when we were not going to bake something she could roll into small or large buns. She was however good at handling the rolling pin, and extremely good at eating the Smarties and the other sweeties we had to decorate the cookies with.
So now our cake-jars are filled with hearts, stars, reindeer and small gnomes, all with a more than healthy tan  and dressed in icing, sprinkles and Smarties (most of them pink).

So what to bake next? 

Rather tanned, but I love the colour scheme 
Pappa Kas, Ashley and Little H in full concentration

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Enjoy the silence

We’re slowly but surely getting to know Baby M. She loves milk, she likes a bath (with a couple of drops of nice baby oil. She prefers purple to pink, but is not really fussed about her clothing (yet).
She does her business regularly, she grasps and pulls Little H’s hair when it is dangled in front of her. She loves kisses and cuddles and is not a fan of sleeping alone. She likes her dummy and finds comfort in it when times are tough.

But perhaps the most important trait inherited from her mum is: She loves to sleep! Last week I phoned my mum worried that Little H had given Baby M a concussion, as M had been sleeping for 6 hours straight.

This weekend she slept through five hours in Ikea, a man playing bagpipes close to her pram and a pre-Christmas dinner with eight grown-ups and seven kids.

How long will it last?

I don't care what I wear

Going for a drive
Having coffee with the girls

Friday, 16 November 2012

Passport problems

When I was a toddler it was enough that my name was listed in one of my parents passport and then I was free to travel abroad (not alone of course). Now even dogs and new-born babies need their own passport.  I have been told that the one for dogs does not have a picture on it, how is it a proper passport then? Does it have Paw-prints?  

The criteria’s for a valid passport photo are: White background, open eyes, no hat or other head-wear, no specs, but otherwise I think you can pretty much get away with a murderous glint in your eye and a wry smile as long as it is not seen as making a grimace.
Not valid

So since we’re an international frequent-flying family we had to get Baby M a passport. As you might know Pappa Kas is not one to wait until the last minute, like myself, but rather carry out boring tasks immediately. Which I agree on is the way to do it, but as the queen of procrastination, I postpone or forget 50% of the things on my “to-do” list.

Off we went to the passport office with Baby M’s birth certificate and her highness herself. She behaved all the way. She was in deep sleep, like her mum in front of the TV at 10 pm, and could not care where she went as long as she could be cuddled up inside a soft sleeping bag at the bottom of her pram.
At the police station we picked a number, went to the photo booth and thought easy peasy. We’ll just wake her up, take the photo, sign the papers and be out of here in no-time.

Then we went to work. Baby M was still asleep and so we had to wake her. We opened her warm and comfy “sleeping bag”, we took off her hat, and we spoke softly, whispered in her ear: “Please wake up, if you do we’ll reward you with warm milk and a dry diaper”.We pinched her cheeks slightly and blew her softly in the face- all to no response.
So we lifted her up, tried to tickle her, speak a bit louder, cuddled her toes and resorted to more drastic measures such as taking a cloth soaked in cold water and dampen her cheeks and neck with it, praying that she would not get a cold.

Again no response. Then our number was called and we took sleeping M to the lady at the desk. We tried to explain the situation, but with closed eyes, no passport photo was to be taken, and no passport issued.
The lady gave us well-meaning advice: blow the baby in the face, speak to her, rub her toes, lift her arms and so forth. It did not work the first time so it did not work now either.

Our parking ticket was about to expire, we had tried very hard to wake her ladyship, and had almost given up, when the little queen glanced at us and clearly signaled: “give me milk now, or I’ll never open my eyes again”.
By then everyone in the queue, both the ones to register their weapon(s) and  the ones there to renew their passports or both, had commented rather loud on how “the boy” (ARGHHHH, it’s a girl!!!) was sleeping so well and how mean it was mean her parents to wake her up for just a photo.
Just as the parking was about to expire we finally managed to get Baby M to open her eyes, and after much struggle get her photo taken:
This is what she will look like on her passport, poor little thing.

I have to add that no baby was harmed in the process and she is now in deep sleep again for only to emerge from her coma when milk is served. 

Have a nice weekend! 

Lady B 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

And then they were four

Time flies when you’re being pregnant, and it has been flying even faster after baby Maya arrived.

She came at supersonic speed on Monday the 22nd of October, just as her mummy had ordered. The due date was the 31st, but there was no way I could wait for that long. I did everything I could to speed up “the delivery” (Other mums know what those tricks entails…).

What more can I say? We're still in a daze, getting to know the little one, adjusting to a new little Lady's preferences. And of course Big Sis, H (she's still our Little H) has had her world radically changed, with all the challenges that present.  

We are all delighted and I will make sure to share highlights and lowlights from our life in the future.

We’re now a happy family of four, two Castro-Nyhus girl, one Nyhus mum and a Castro dad,  a spicy mix with a lot of temper, tantrums and happy blissful moments. 

Lady B

Very skeptical when seeing her mum for the first time... 

Happiness 1

Happiness 2

Happiness 3

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Little H takes a road trip

I think I have been writing about Little H the animal lover a few times, but it is amazing to see her connect with manky, smelly pigs, sticky goats, dogs with bad breath and so forth. We try to have activities on her terms and when the opportunity of visiting a zoo and amusement park (Kristiansand) came up, we thought why not? We packed the car with enough clothes to last us a week, and drove the 3 ½ hour to get to Kristiansand. Well, since Pappa Kas drives the Spanish way, we barely spent 3.

At the hotel in Kristiansand the only thing we did, was to sleep and have a fantastic breakfast. The badly behaved H (where does she get it from?) sang out loud and clear in the breakfast room: “Naranjas de la Chinana, Chinana, Chinana” (Oranges from China) with a rather loud voice, to her mums despair.
I do not mind her singing this song every time she gets orange juice at home, but in a breakfast room at a hotel with a high percentage of exactly Chinese and Japanese guests, this was NOT funny. I tried to hush on both Loud H and Pappa Kas, but I think that both of them found it equally funny and continued singing. Kids…

The lions
We got to the zoo park by opening time and decided to prioritize the animals rather than the other activities. Little H was so excited! We saw giraffes, zebras, chimpanzees, lions and tigers to name a few. But H was forever on the search of the crocodiles. I do not know where she had gotten this strong wish to see a live crocodile, but eventually we found at least four and she was happy.

We wondered around to see the animals until it started raining cats and dogs. Basque / Spanish people do not handle rain very well, and I must admit that it was rather sad walking around with a sleeping H in the pram, getting soaked despite rain jackets, so we made our way back to the car and drove home.

I do hope that we were not caught in a speed camera or two as we made it home in 2 ½ hours.

Self portrait in Arendal
Sceptically watching the lions

Touching sticky and smelly goats (as usual)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

I can hear your heart beat

Being pregnant second time around has not been a breeze, but as it is coming to an end (well, I am still 10 weeks or so away from D-day),and I have notices that I have started to appreciating the strangest things, such as that I can still see my toes.

I went to see a friend the other day, which I had not seen in a month or two and the words that met me were: “Wow, you’re huge”, quickly (almost) saved by: “In a pregnant sort of way”. The fact is that I feel huge and heavy and spotty and old (my back aches). I want to sleep all the time and crave orange juice with a dash of tonic, which is very refreshing by the way. You should try it.

On Monday Little H came with me to the doctor for a check-up, and I explained her that we were going to check that Little M was fine. Every time I asked her why we were going to the doctor she said: “Baby M OK/baby M ha bra”.

At the doctors Little H got to lie down beside me on the bench, and the doctor confirmed that she did not have a baby in her belly, which H nodded to and agreed upon. Then the doc asked where the baby was. Little H immediately bent over and gave my bellybutton a kiss saying; “there / der”. Ah, a mother’s heart could melt.

The doctor then wanted to check for the heartbeat and both Little H and I could hear it clearly; the fast rhythmic beats. H thought that the sound came from the belly itself and put her head carefully down on my tummy as to listen better.

My heart melted. I cannot wait until these two girls meet in person.

Orange juice and tonic- seriously addictive

Friday, 10 August 2012

Life is a Musical

Do you remember how it was to start school after the summer holidays? One year you were new and the youngest, the next you were older, wiser and more confident.

It seems like the same happens at a nursery. Little H is suddenly one of the oldest in her group and has taken charge from what we hear. Oh, dear…

Apparently she is bossing the younger ones about, taking their toys, occupying the swings (a recurring theme), but also taking their hands and showing them the ropes of the place. Showing leadership skills at the age of two? Or is she just being mean?

But it is not all bad. We have always known that she is a show girl, but for the past week or so she has totally let her talents for musicals come through. Life with Little H has always been like a musical, filled with spontaneously singing and dancing.

We can sit around the dinner table when she takes our hands, sings and kicks her feet in tap-dancing steps. We can sit together reading a book and she suddenly jumps up in the sofa to start singing and going into a head stand. She is never shy of doing a bit of ballet on the bathroom floor, standing in downward facing dog in the kitchen or doing some sort of tribal dancing while using the bin as a drum.

So it comes as no surprise that the staff at the nursery and a few of the parents have started commenting on Little H’s rock ’n’ roll moves when they play music and her eagerness to sing loud and clear both when encouraged and in inappropriate situations as when the others are taking a nap or she is having her diaper changed.

Where does she take it from? And where will this end? Do I have to start making dresses out of old curtains and run down grassy hills? Or will she develop red curly hair and freckles and adopt a smelly dog?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Daddy come home!

Lady B and Little H had the house to themselves last week. Pappa Kas travelled far far away last Sunday only to come home this Saturday afternoon. That was almost a whole week away from his girls. It is not like he went on an exotic safari, but rather working away in the South of Spain – Granada.

Poor pappa Kas. The heat, the tapas, the wine, the swimming pool – it must have been hard for him to enjoy when he knew that Little H and I was sitting with our noses pressed towards the window looking out on the rain singing “Daddy come home!” – NOT.

Putting on mummys make-up
We had such a good girlie time. We painted our nails, we had discos where we danced ourselves silly. We had long lazy mornings with home-made smoothies for breakfast before walking to the nursery. Our dinners were quick and easy with lots of ketchup. When we went grocery shopping we bought everything we wanted, mainly all types of fruit, so do not worry about sweetie overload.

In order to tire out Little H, I arranged some afternoon activities. As Pappa Kas could do nothing to prevent H smooching her favorite boys I arranged some dates:

On Sunday we went to see Funny O, where we had burgers and the kids were giggling and tickling each other and behaving like the funny monkeys they are. There was a lot of hugging when we left, and I had to drag Little H away from Funny O in order to get home.

We went to play with Cool J, which H had not seen for weeks. There were some jealous banter over some toys, but you know Love starts with …. And there were plenty of hugging as well.

I decided that we could not hang with handsome boys the whole week, so we met up with cutie Anna and her mischievous sister Julia towards the end of the week. Anna and Hanna are very similar in age and they had a super time with each other while the mummies could catch up on gossip and have a good chat.

Little H is definitively having fun with Anna

The week ended on a high with half a day at the local playground where Little H did not want to get her cute little bottom out of the swing, making other kids and parents rather annoyed for not letting others kids use it.

By the time we got Pappa Kas from the train H had had such an exciting week that she had developed a fever. Oh dear, a whole week of fun can be too much.

Please Pappa Kas, when you go away next time, do not stay away for a week, BUT bring back as nice presents as you did this time.

How do you activate your kids when you are alone with them?

At the playground, dressed to the nines to impress the boys

Monday, 30 July 2012

Malo, malo!

That Little H is no stranger to bruises and scratches is nothing new. For a time we were so worried that she had poor eyesight since she kept falling over and running into things. The nursery staff and the doctor told us calmly that that was not uncommon in very active, curious 2-year olds.

So when we come to pick up H at the nursery and a member of staff takes us aside and needs to tell us what has happened before we see Little H, we’re calm as cucumbers. What is the worst that can happen? As long as she is not pulling other kids hair or giving them bruises, a bit of “self-harming” can only make her stronger.

Little H is now an expert (she thinks) at walking the stairs, and since her mantra these days are “I can do it myself / klare selv”, and due to her robust nature we let her climb up and down while we watch her with ice in our tummies.

The other day she fell down the front door stairs. It is only two steps down, but they’re made of concrete and stone with gravel at the bottom. I did not see it happen, but heard Little H cry, and it was not a pretend-to-be-hurt cry as it usually is. It was more of an I-am-in-pain-and -shock cry.

I was the first on the scene and swiftly picked her up from the ground. I started scanning her body for outwards injuries and what I found was some scratches from the stones and a rather nasty cut on her temple.  She was bleeding, but rather quickly soothed by all the attention she got from myself and her grandparents.
I cleansed her cut with cottonwool and water and soon she was very into cleaning it herself and the cries of pain had transferred into the moany sniffering she can be so good at. All clear.
Ouch, ouch 

When we got back out in the drive-way, Amama Socco was stamping her ballerina shoe clad feet on the place where H fell and saying: “Malo, malo, malo, malo (malo = bad/ naughty)” to the gravel.  It was rather like a native American  rain-dance for me unknown to such a ritual. Little H quickly got into the game of blaming the stairs and the gravel by shouting the same: Malo, malo over and over again. 

So apparently it was not H’s clumsy feet which caused her to fall, but the stairs and the gravel. It now gives her great satisfaction of stamping her feet and repeating malo every time she enters or leaves the  house. 

Malo gravel and nasty stairs

Friday, 20 July 2012

The in-laws are here

Every summer (the last three) since Little H arrived, we have been getting visitors / helpers in July. Amama Socco and Aixite Sebas flies from sunny Spain in the middle of the holiday season to visit for a couple of weeks.

The first summer they helped us tend the garden and carry around a colic-suffering little baby. Last year, they were life-savers when the nursery was closed for two weeks in July, taking H to the playground, to the beach, to feed the ducks etc. etc. etc. while Pappa Kas and I were working. Plus that they were helping around the house. And not to forget that Amama Socco also took charge of the kitchen and my tasks were solely to bake cakes for desserts.
Telling secrets with Aixite

This year they are here again and so far they have: planted in our garden, sanded and painted garden furniture, helped paint the hall and been to Ikea to get more stuff for Little H’s bed. In addition they have of course spent a lot of time with Little H.: walks, visits to various playgrounds, strawberry picking in the garden, playing football, preventing her from eating green tomatoes from the tomato plants, watching Sesame Street in Spanish with her (Pappa Kas has episodes from 1984 and they are a pain to watch – at least after the 20th time)- basically they have joined in on many of Little H’s favorite things to do.

Having fun
So what if she gets a lollipop, once in a while, an ice-cream a day (we did not think that she even liked ice-cream), a sweetie for breakfast with her milk and goes to bed an hour later than usual?
It is a granparents priviledge to spoil their grandchildren and when it only happens a couple of times a year, we are only happy to see how she enjoys being with her Spanish/Basque grandparents who lives far far away.

As for me, I am just hoping that they will come back next year, but they might not be so eager with two little Castro-Nyhus ladies on their hands. 

How do you survive July? 

Monday, 9 July 2012

From 3 to 4

Little H will no longer be the littlest member of the Castro-Nyhus clan from October onward. She is getting a little sister, and we’re all excited and a bit scared.

Like my mum said: “another baby, this will be interesting…”
I am sure it will. So far we have not really started thinking about the everyday life with two kids, we just know that it will be stressful with two toddlers, but if others can manage, so can we. A positive attitude, that’s important.

I do not really think that Little H understands what is going on. She can see her mums belly getting bigger, she is fond of babies and likes to stroke their hair and hold their tiny hands. And when we ask her where the baby is she points to my tummy and often hugs it. She has also taken to feed the baby by placing strawberries on my bellybutton. It can become quite messy.

What we are doing is to prepare Little H for being a big girl. She is getting a new and bigger room, just now it is just a room with white walls and a window, but she knows that it is hers, runs in there every day, turns on and off the lights and pretends to go to sleep in one of the corners.

We’d better get a move on and buy that bed. 

Thanks to Pappa Kas and Aixite Sebas for the wallpapering job

Monday, 2 July 2012

You know you’re a grown-up when…

You are invited to a concert and you ask “Where will we go for dinner before the concert?”
You arrive early at the airport to enjoy a glass of Chablis before departure
You have hand-cream in your handbag
You wear flat shoes (or trainers) on your way to work, for then to change into heels just outside the door
You don’t leave the house without wearing mascara
You start sentences with “When I was young...”, or “I remember the time…”
You switch from reading Elle Magazine to Red or KK

These are a few of my examples, and I am sure that some of you have others.
Do you have some to share?

PS: I love this blog: The problem with young people today

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Holiday with kids vs. without kids

Pappa Kas, Little H and myself (plus H's fluffy friends Lula, Sophie and Lucy Liu) have just returned from two weeks in Mallorca. We have been on a family holiday before, but not on a beach - relax- do-nothing-in-the-sun-charter holiday. And as this is what proper families do in summer, we thought we should give it a try.

Of course I was prepared that this holiday would be nothing like Ibiza 2009, Venice 2007, Croatia 2006 or any of the other romantic trips (yes, Ibiza without the foam-parties can be quite romantic) me and Pappa Kas have been on together earlier. 
I do not know what I was thinking. Little H is little H and is in charge wherever whenever. 

The following scenario happened several times: 
After arriving at the beach 30 minutes earlier Little H started shouting "Casa Hanna, Casa Hanna", well, then there was no other option but to pack our 3 towels, 2 buckets, 4 spades, 2 float-able toys, 3 extra sets of swimming costumes, 4 different suntan-lotions, 2 bottles of water, various fruits and sandwiches, camera, books (very optimistic to bring books to the beach with a two-year old), swimming diapers, sunhats, sunglasses, first-aid kit and a lot more and head for home (casa).

I found this illustration (borrowed from Clevamama on Facebook). I think it perfectly sums up my experience of two weeks of holiday with and without kids. 

If you've been on a similar holiday. Do have tips that will make it easier next time? Because I am sure that in time we will forget most of this one, and think that it is a good idea to go on a beach holiday with kid(s) again. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Such a lady

Since little H was born I have been against her having a lot of girlie-girl stuff, such as pink frilly dresses, headbands and hair-clips (on a little girl without much hair- I don't think so) and having a battalion of scary dolls in her room.

For a very long time things were going well. She had no interest in dolls, she tore out any hair-clip and no one dared to buy her baby-pink clothes as they knew I would never let her wear them.

Well, now when she is a girl of two with her own opinions and knows what is expected of a girl her age, this has changed.
She has not turned into a small princess wanna-be, and she still takes her cuts and bruises better than most boys, but there are other things I had not foreseen.

1. Her new obsession with Hello Kitty. H&M has a lot of clothes with the face of the cute Kitty. I have nothing against that as such, but now Little H can spot the cute Kitty everywhere (and so do I), on small buckets on the beach, handbags, hair-clips, t-shirts and so on.
She squeals "Kitty!"whenever she sees her. Poor girl has only one pair of tights with the cat, and I doubt it will be a lot more...

2. Make-up
When I found teethmarks in my Dior lipstick I knew it was time to give it up to the new lady of the house. She does not use it on the lips, but smears it on her eyelids.

The other day I found her with my Touché Éclat (concealer) up her nose. Without the tip on. I am not a professional make-up artist, but can ensure you that neither lipstick or concealer is being used in this way by me.

3. Nail-polish
Her latest beauty-trick is pink Chanel nail-polish on her toes. Got to admit that the girl has taste. Love the colour. I have to confess that it was I applying it for her, but she insisted and her toes were very cute with the polish on. She now goes around wiggling her toes singing :"pink, pink, pink".

I am sure there are more examples.

I forgot to tell about the pony tail. Little H has short blond baby-hair, but the other day she found an elastic band and tried to make her little strands of hair into a pony-tail. Not managing herself I decided to help the frustrated girl. I managed to make a little pony-tail the size of a small make-up brush. To show her I took a photo with my phone.
When she saw herself she said with a wide smile: "Julie" over and over again. Well, she pronounced it: "Julle", but I instantly knew she meant that now she had a ponytail just like Julie from the nursery.

So now the question is: Mamma K, does Julie wear your lipstick as eye-shadow too?

Just asking as Little H can definitely not have gotten the pony-tail idea from myself as the hair is quite short.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Baby boom

It's just been Little H's birthday and what a day! We actually celebrated H a week to early as we were going on holiday and could not be away so that her aunt, grandparents and great gran missed the show. So it was not only Little H turning two that made the day very very special.

The 10th of June was celebrated in Mallorca with an ice-cream and a bath or ten in the sea. And H was happy as she can be.

Amongst friends and family the babyboom never ends which is of course wonderful. During the last 5 years we have been to wonderful weddings in Norway, Spain and in Scotland. Then, with a bit of an overlap, the babies started to arrive.

And on the 10th of June two more came along! Two wonderful little boys Little L and Little T were born. One in Scotland and one in Norway. The parents are dear dear friends of ours, so we are delighted.

But being in a place with limited access to Internet, the Facebook gratulations sent has been few. I hope you forgive us friends.

So many babies in one time creates a crafty dilemma. How will I manage to knit outfits for both? I am working on it, really hard, but those of you who know my knitting skills know that it is hard labour and lots of love behind one of my creations. It takes months and months to create a small something.

So Baby T and Baby L- is it ok that you get your hand-knits for Christmas?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Lady B - the book lover

If you have been following my blog you might have discovered how I love to read. I have now added a page to my blog “Book Worm”- where I will write short summaries of the books I am reading and some words about what I thought. So watch that space.
Being a scatter-brain and even more than usual for the last four months, I have not read many books, but rather glossy magazines and stared into the wall, while my brain has been working full speed on various issues.   

The Lady B-book-lover is now back.

I have just finished “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami and am currently reading “The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco. They are both on my list of favorite authors, but Murakami is currently sliding down on the ranking. I might just have gotten an overload of his books. 
Eco is a man I admire both as a writer, philosopher and semiotican. I love the way he mixes history, mystery and literal references in his novels. His most famous book is “The name of the Rose”. If you cannot be bothered with the book, see the film. A murder mystery set in a 14th century monastery, focusing on the story itself and not the literary or historical references. A very young Christian Slater and an ever-bearded Sean Connery as main characters can tempt even the most skeptical viewer.

On the nightstand
I will write more about the “Prague Cemetery” when I have finished it. I can say that so far it is fascinating and annoying at the same time… Watch out for more.

Very soon the Castro-Nyhus clan will go on their first charter holiday (to “Syden”, a mystical and diffuse location), and one of the books I am packing is “ A visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. I am curious and excited about this one. Have you read it?

How do I find these books? I read J. Well, I pick up titles from friends, newspapers and magazines, write down title an author, and then investigate whether the book could be my cup of tea. I tend to stay away from the top 10 lists, but if it is a booker prize winner or someone I have heard about from friends with similar taste in books.

Part of our library- note books sorted by colour- madness?

BUT sometimes I am tempted and read a guilty read, a crime novel or other popular fiction. I often feel disappointed after, thinking that I could have read a classic instead of a temporary Swedish crime novel. But we all have our guilty pleasures, and variety is not such a bad thing.

What will you read this summer? Can you share any favorite books? 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Making a show

Little H is a drama queen is something that we all know. And she really knows when to put on a show. I do not mind her tantrums so much at home behind closed doors (it is healthy to have a temper and to clearly express ones feelings), but when she acts out in public it’s not always appreciated by her parents.

This episode takes place when Pappa Kas was to cycle an amateur cycling race. Little H and I came to the starting line for support. At the beginning H thought it was fun with the cyclists, the waffles, and the dogs loitering around.
Not as good as Mummys

Then she started to suspect that something was up… She clung to Pappa Kas, wanted to be carried by him, to sit on his bike, to put her water bottle on his bike and so on. Getting close to the start Kas had to be in the start area and no Little H or others without a bike were allowed in.
She started sniffling, she started to say “Pappa” in a sore and wounded voice. To stand on the other side of a fence was a no-no.  It was 10 minutes till start and H’s voice grew louder and louder. The pretend-to-cry show started slowly then ascending to maximum strength (read: extremely loud).

Pappa Kas and I decided that enough is enough and I tried to get Little H to say goodbye and good luck and then start heading towards the car park. This meant that we had to cross an empty football field, having approximately 200 cyclists standing in line behind us.

I kissed Kas good luck, took Little H under my arm and started walking towards the car. I pushed the pram with one hand and held H with the other. She did not just cry, or say” Pappa” in a sore voice. She cried and yelled while stretching her hands towards him. It looked like I was kidnapping her. At one point I had to set her down as I could not manage both pushing the pram and to hold a kicking and screaming two-year old. She lay in the middle of the pitch crying her heart out until I had gathered the strength to pick her up again.
I better stay on the bike so that I can come too

Sceptical, where's my seat?
 I normally ride in the back
I felt people staring so hard that my back was burning. I finally managed it across the field and got Little H into the car. Then the start gun went off. We had made a 10 minute drama for 200 cyclists. At least is shortened their waiting time.

When we went to greet Pappa Kas by the finishing line I was sure that people would recognize us as the mum who could not handle her daughter and the ill-behaving little girl…. We had practiced  shouting “Heia Pappa, Heia Pappa” for the previous two hours and when we crossed the parking lot this time  Little H was singing “Heia Pappa, Heia Pappa” at the top of her lungs with a cheeky smile on her face. People around were smiling and I was yet again a proud mum, thinking for myself “She’s the best”.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Because I want to...

I have not been blogging for a long time. Have I missed it? Sometimes. But not enough to get back in there. I guess the right time is now, as I have been wanting to "re-activate" my blog for a couple of weeks.
There is a Buddhist saying: "when the student is ready, the teacher appears". I like to believe that.
I believe that change, motivation and courage needs to come from inside, and that no outside factors can push you to do the right thing unless it comes from your own heart.

Well, so from all my heart- Here's a new blog post and it feels good!

Hmmm, trying a sophisticated intellectual look

No use trying to look smart with that big cut on my forehead

On the other hand, if I just put them on...

I'll be super cool!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The bugs bite…

I remember that I smugly told the whole world that Little H did not have as much as a hint of snots or diarrhea or any other nastiness after starting the nursery in August. That was back in November... After that we have had tummy bugs, constant green snots and it was all topped by a type of Pneumonia just before Christmas. So much for the Castro-Nyhus super-strong immune system.

Well, It’s a new year (not that new anymore, but still fairly fresh) and new bugs have arrived. It started with enormous amounts of ehrm.. what can I say in her diapers 3-4 times a day, then a little fever, then no eating, then fatigue and disinterest in anything else than a DVD with Winnie the Pooh in Spanish. Over the weekend it was all combined, now it is only the slight fever and the refusal to eat left. Winnie has been replaced by" The Dream Garden" (not any better).

We have tried everything, unhealthy yoghurts, grapes (a favorite), apples, Pappa Kas home-made vegetable soup, biscuits, buns, hot dogs (the favorite), different types of omelet and more not to be have on a weekday food, but she pushes the plate away and her lips are firmly sealed.

Yesterday she ate 3 spoonfuls of Spaghetti Bolognese and I had tears in my eyes of happiness. The doctor has been called and we’re going for a check-up on Friday, which seems far away on a Wednesday afternoon.

Little H is being proper taking care of by Nurse Kas

Any tips on food Little H can be tempted by?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Time to re-pack

2012, what is going to happen? Where will I go, what will I do, which people will I meet, what challenges will arise? There are so many possibilities, that even to start exploring them is daunting.
For me a new year is not really a new beginning, it is not a blank slate. I think that you take your baggage with you, because if you leave it behind somewhere and continue travelling without, you will quickly experience that you are missing something. 
What I believe is more useful is to regularly make a stop, breathe, open your bag and do a proper clean-out, getting rid of the things that is weighing you down.
So what do I want to leave behind? That is focusing on the negatives, so I will rather focus on some of the things I am keeping and some of the things I would like to add to my bag.

I am keeping:
  • Focus on spending time with my family and spending it well, creating long lasting memories for us all.

  • The happiness I feel when I am running, and will try to increase the frequency and regularity.

  • The desire to learn, to read, to explore, to be taught by others. My main focus being on continuing learning Spanish and learning skills useful in my job.

The time I spend with my friends. It is not that often you have time to meet the girls, be in the book group or go shopping with an honest friend who will not let you buy something because it is cheap if it does not fit. But I want to make space for these things to happen, not every week, but once in a while.

I would like to add:
  • Some time per day to use for creative writing, 30 minutes could be a start.

  • More structure to every-day life. Organizing a weekly grocery-shop, make a food plan (and stick to it).

  • Stop and smell the flowers. I know that mindfulness is all the rage, but years back I went to a meditation class once a week. It was one of the best things I have ever done. So I aim to bring meditation back into my life.

 It is not sure whether my bag is full or not by now, but let’s be realistic. I do not entirely know where I am going, why and when. Therefore I aim to always leave some space in my suitcase for things I might want to acquire in the future. You never know which direction the roads take after the next bend, and it is impossible to be prepared for everything.
What I do know is that I am travelling, and as far as I know have the right baggage, until the moment where I discover that it is time to re-pack again.

What are the important items in your suitcase? Anything you want to add in 2012? 
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