Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 16

I figured I'd take a quick minute to update on our 16 week pregnancy post. We are currently in ireland staying at the oldest castle in the country, Ashford Castle and its beautiful!! Pics to come of course! :-)

Here I am in front of one of the six fireplaces we've already counted...

How far along: 16 weeks, 1 day
Size of Baby S: 4.5 in, 3.5 oz
Fruit/vegetable comparison (according to Baby Center): Avocado
Sleep: Pretty good! Who wouldn't sleep good in a castle?!
Movement: Nothing yet...but according to the pregnancy book I'm reading right now, it won't be too long!
Unglamorous body changes: not showing much still and just look like I have a muffin top right now... :-/
Maternity Clothes? Nope.
Showing: I can definitely see and feel the bump, but it doesn't look like much through clothes.
Food cravings: I wasn't craving anything, but when I saw these in a random market I had to have them...don't ask how much I paid! I'm embarrassed to admit it.

What I miss: Queso blanco from Escalante's in Houston. Jason and I started making a list of places to eat when we are stateside in March and it made me crave Mexican food!
Anything making you queasy: Nope.
Strange experiences: I am noticing the shortness of breath that the baby books mentioned, especially since we are walking around so much!
Milestones: Scalp is developing! I wonder if we have a baby boy if he will have the same distinct hairline that Jason and his dad share. :-)
Best moment this week: Too tough to make that call on vacation but getting this ornament and these little booties is definitely up there...

Looking forward to: Starting to show and going back to the hospital Jan 16 for the gender reveal!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Week 15

How far along: 15 weeks

Size of Baby S: 4 inches, 2.5 ounces

Fruit/vegetable comparison (according to Baby Center): apple

Sleep: Good!

Movement: Nothing yet

Unglamorous body changes: Noticing blue veins more prominent across my chest and legs...hope that's temporary!

Maternity Clothes? Nope.

Showing: Yes! In certain tops... I put on a tighter top after spin class and was shocked to find a bump had materialized in it. :-)

Food cravings: Raspberry anything - fruit, jelly, candy.

What I miss: Hmm...turkey lunch meat that doesn't have to be heated up.

Anything making you queasy: Nope.

Strange experiences: I had to take the bus this week because Jason is in offshore training. On Monday, I ate my usual breakfast (small bowl of cereal) and then got on the bus. By the time we arrived at the office (which is only about 25 min away) I wasn't feeling so good and ended up getting sick. The rest of the week has been okay because I am sitting closer to the front, facing the direction we are traveling, and only eating a couple crackers before arriving at the office where I ate the cereal.

Milestones: Senstivity to light and able to tell gender if we had an ultrasound... guess we have to wait until Jan 16 for that one!

Best moment this week: Spin class. I am excited to be working out again and getting back into a routine that I know will keep me and the baby healthier. Also, seeing the baby bump and having my sweet husband smile with excitement and make me pose for a picture. :-)

Looking forward to: Leaving today for London and Ireland in just a couple of hours! It's our last "single" Christmas and we are looking forward to the trip!


Friday, December 21, 2012

We Moved...And We're Expecting Postcard

In lieu of a Christmas card this year since we just got settled in Norway and didn't have our stuff for a few months we sent a "We've Moved and We're Expecting" postcard instead. Hopefully it will suffice and we will get back on the Christmas card ball next year with our new little one. :-)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Julebord (Christmas Party) Roundup!

Since we had our last two Christmas parties this past weekend, I figured it was a good time to do a Julebord (Christmas Party) Round-up to remember them all.

The season kicked off with Jason's work group Christmas party right after our Expat American Thanksgiving (read here). The following weekend, Dec. 7-9 we tackled three Christmas parties in three nights.

The first we had was my ConocoPhillips Subsurface Christmas Party. The event took place on a boat (bust into song - "I'm on a boat!") in the Stavanger harbor.

The managers kicked off the evening by wearing bathrobes and singing a specially written song for everyone. There was a Norwegian heritage behind the white bathrobes (something about a little girl in white maybe, I can't recall). It was pretty entertaining!

Jason got to meet a lot of my coworkers and we enjoyed visiting with all of them and having our first traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner - pinnekjøtt (salted and dried, smoked lamb ribs), kålrotstappe (mashed rutabaga sometimes mixed with carrots and/or potatoes), and riskrem (rice porridge mixed with cream and served with a red berry sauce). They also served fish soup which was delicious, but everyone told us it's highly unusual to serve fish soup and pinnekjøtt together...

After dinner they did the traditional men's and women's toasts. A man gets up and speaks for a bit to toast the women followed by a woman doing the same to toast for the men. Both speeches were very funny and we enjoyed them!

We stayed and visited with some of my coworkers after dinner until it was time to head back to our apartment. Here our some of the girls in my work group  (the lighting wasn't very good unfortunately) and our beautiful walk home to the apartment.

The following evening Jason had another Christmas dinner, but for employees only with another work group. He was under strict instructions to take pictures. You can see from below how well he took my instructions. ;-)

Sunday night we had a less formal julebord with some of our expat friends and a few locals. Siri, a Norwegian, volunteered to teach Erica how to make pinnekjøtt and the rest of us brought other traditional side dished to go along with the meal.

Our pinnekjøtt that evening was much less salty and we enjoyed it a bit more than Friday night's. Jason and I tackled making the kålrotstappe and riskrem. I give us a B+ on our efforts. And it was my turn to fail at picture taking. I got a couple - of the empty dishes after everyone had eaten. Guess they thought our efforts still tasted pretty good!

That Tuesday, Dec. 11 Jason attended another Christmas Party with the North Sea Baptist Men's Group. It worked out well that I had the Norwegian Christmas Traditions cooking making event that same night (read here).

That next weekend we attended the ConocoPhillips contractor Christmas party. Basically, most of the vendors that we use on a daily basis pool together to provide a party to us, the operator, as a way of showing their appreciation for us using their services and working with them. Sounds like a sweet deal to me! ;-)

The buffet dinner here had the same traditional Christmas food, but fortunately they also had pork and seafood (you can only have so much salty lamb in one Christmas season no matter how good it tastes!).

We enjoyed the evening of dancing and visiting with some of my coworkers and other ConocoPhillips operations people.

This weekend was our last round of Christmas parties! Friday night I attended the ConocoPhillips Young Professionals dinner with some of my lady coworkers. (Guests were not allowed to attend so Jason got an evening off from all the parties!)

Us ladies got ready together and then had Thad drive us over (thanks Thad!) to Charles & De in Sandnes where the dinner was located.

The food was absolutely delicious! I skipped the salad with raw salmon, but thoroughly enjoyed the main course - reindeer with potatoes and root vegetables. Dessert was a white chocolate mousse with sorbet. Yum! (Sorry the pics are not the best - just be happy I even took them before I scarfed down the deliciousness!)

Afterwards a bus took us back to Stavanger where they had tables reserved at one of the bars for our group. I skipped out on the bar portion and headed back to the apartment for a full night's rest. Yep, I pulled the "I'm pregnant and going to sleep" card. ;-)

Saturday was our last Christmas party hosted by Fernando (a coworker of Jason's) and his wife Carina. There were a few Baker Hughes people as well as some of the host couple's friends from the International School where their kids all attend.

Fernando and Carina are from Argentina and had visited their family there the previous week. Carina made sure to get the ingredients to make authentic Argentinean empanadas that were absolutely divine! Carina went all out and also made a traditional casserole with ham, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese baked together. Dessert was homemade cupcakes with dulce de leche icing and the traditional Norwegian kransekake. Everything we ate was incredibly delicious!

The party was also a White Elephant Gift Exchange - a new thing for some of the Norwegian attendees. Jason and I bought our Christmas gifts for the white elephant exchange the previous weekend at the Egersund Christmas Markets.

We brought an incredibly ugly troll doll (like there is a good looking troll doll!?) that we figured was a perfect Norwegian white elephant gift. Our second was a coffee mug and coffee from the market along with an angel Christmas tree ornament.

The exchange was a blast and unbelievably the troll doll got stolen the most times by the group!! One of the Norwegians said it would be a great addition to his winter cabin and his kids would love it. Who knew!

There were some pretty hilarious gifts - a 50 Shades of Grey tassle toy, a bacon wallet (which Israel actually loved!), and the troll doll - along with some more usable gifts. We ended up with a candle and an angel box.

The Kirnbauer's home was incredibly welcoming and friendly and we loved getting to meet some new people and see their beautiful house!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Loving the Stavanger Snow!

When it first snowed a couple weeks ago, every warned us that it was highly unusual to get snow and that it wouldn't last. Four days later we'd had freezing or below temperatures and the snow was staying put.

Here is the view from my window to the parking lot and the water behind it -

Jason got a great shot of the Baker Hughes parking lot with the freshly powdered cars -

When we drove down to the Egersund Christmas markets that next weekend, we enjoyed seeing the snow around us.

This past week we had two blizzard-like days of snow on Wednesday and Thursday. I told a coworker that there was a small part of me hoping for work to be cancelled. They looked at me like I has spoken Greek. They have never had a day where the office closed due to weather. I find this to be incredibly ironic since we had two snow days in Houston over the past four years and none of them actually involved it snowing!

Wednesday night we opted to take the train into Sandnes rather than driving and facing the traffic and weather conditions. We trudged through the snow to a delicious Indian restaurant recommended by one of my coworkers Hildegunn who lives in the area.

Amazing soup warmed us all up and afterwards we enjoyed our family-style dishes. In retrospect we shouldn't have ordered one dish per person because we were not able to even come close to finishing everything!

We skipped dessert and made our way to the Sandnes Kulturhus, where we had tickets to see The Nutcracker. It was quite different than the big production in Houston with a full orchestra and highly renowned dancers, but we still enjoyed the experience and the company with our friends.

After the show it was of course still snowing so we took advantage of the time before our next train to play in the snow!

Girl shots!

And my favorite - my and my amazing hubby!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 14

I decided to go ahead and start capturing pregnancy changes on a more regular basis. I am hoping to do these weekly, even though there might not be a lot of changes in the beginning. :-)

How far along: 14 weeks, 2 days

Size of Baby S: 3.5 in, 1.5 oz

Fruit/vegetable comparison (according to Baby Center): Lemon

Sleep: Good! I am having to get up sometimes in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and am other times woken up by a playful kitten making noise, but that's about it.

Movement: Nothing yet

Unglamorous body changes: I still have some acne from the first trimester that's irritating me, but nothing else.

Maternity Clothes? Nope.

Showing: Jason and I can tell there is a tiny bump, but it's not visible in clothes yet and one of my friends told me I was daydreaming and there is no bump. :-/

Food cravings: Salty. There is a possibility that I devoured an entire bag of potato chips on my own. And this wasn't the individual snack size people...

What I miss: Cereal. In Norway, everything is healthier. I would kill for a bowl of fruit loops or lucky charms just to get my intake of processed foods. ;-)

Anything making you queasy: Nope.

Strange experiences: Baby S apparently does not like my panty hose (a staple in Norway) and I had to make some adjustments so my stomach wasn't killing me at work this week.

Milestones: BabyCenter says he/she is sucking their thumb, kicking and moving around, and stretching out.

Best moment this week: Booking our tickets to fly home next March for a baby shower and to see our family and buy everything we need for our little one.

Looking forward to: Our 18 week ultrasound, which we received notice from the hospital is scheduled for January 16. I am also excited to finally look pregnant when I tell people I am expecting, but I can't complain about still being able to wear all of my clothes (and that they fit comfortably!)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Stavanger Home :-)

Since unfortunately we never heard back from House Hunters International after our initial follow-up email, suffice it to say it's finally time to post pictures of our humble abode since we've been living here for a few weeks now!

We visited a few apartments while we were on our site visit to Stavanger in October (read here). And we fell in love with the first one! It had all of our must-haves without us even speaking with Olav, our realtor, beforehand. We told him we wanted to put in an offer for full price if they would allow pets (and we even offered to put down a security deposit for them as well).

After some tough negotiating, we were able to come to an agreement with the owners and get the apartment and bring our kittens! We had debated if we were going to bring them and now that they are here, we cannot imagine life if we had left them. Both of them have adjusted superbly to their new homes as you can see evidenced here on their heated floors.

And now onto the apartment reveal!

Living room and dining room-


View from kitchen into living room/dining room-

Master bedroom and bathroom-

Guest bedroom (possibly for you?!? :-) Bear in mind it also will serve as a nursery... )-

And our city view from the balcony -

We love our new apartment and will love it even more once our sea shipment of stuff arrives after the New Year!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Norwegian Christmas Traditions

Last week Randi, an incredibly sweet lady who works at the Stavanger Chamber of Commerce, opened up her home to 10+ of us expats so that we could experience some traditional Norwegian Christmas cooking!

It's traditional in Norway to make 7 different sweets at Christmas time. Our group tackled making all of them (except for the bread which needed to rise to Randi made it the night before). 

She began out evening by introducing us to the traditional gløgg. It's a spiced drink that's traditionally mixed with cheap red wine and warmed up on the stove. (But since she knew there were pregnant ladies amongst us she made it non-alcoholic so we could all indulge. Thanks Randi!). It was absolutely delicious!! You add trail mix to it as well, which seems weird, but was actually quite tasty. 

Here is the delicious jule kake (Christmas bread) both with the infamous brown cheese and without. I wasn't brave enough to try the brown cheese yet... maybe when I am not pregnant. ;-)

We all divided up to tackle the remainder of the cookies. With all hands on deck we were able to get everything made and ready in just a couple of hours!

Ristopper (a chocolate and cereal puff concoction) - 

Kokosmakroner (a coconut cookie) - 

Brente mandler (toasted almonds) - 

Krumkaker (a pancake-like cookie that's rolled to a cylinder) - 

Chocolate sweets (milk chocolate and biscuits melted together) I didn't get a picture of the final product, but it looked a lot like the ristopper. - 

Marzipan balls with chocolate on top - 

Everything was absolutely wonderful and we all got to take some sweets home to our loved ones (and we still have a few left that Jason hasn't devoured...)

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