Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Year of Madison Rose

I discovered the Collect app a couple days after Madi was born and knew immediately that I wanted to capture a picture a day for a year. The app automatically formats them into a calendar which I printed in large copies to display at her First Birthday party. I continued capturing for a month or so after she turned one, but didn't make it past July consistently to continue.

Here's June 2013 - July 2014 capturing a picture each day of Madison Rose Stingerie! :-)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Toy Despair and Beach Fun

This week was a sad one as we had to say good-bye to Aunt Lil. She arrived just before the Fourth of July and was here for close to three weeks. She got to watch Madi during the day while we were at work and we spent the weekends taking her to see this beautiful country! On Monday, we shared our last cup of coffee for awhile and a blurry final picture (Madi didn't get the memo that it was still too early to be running around yet... ) :-(

Earlier in the week, Lily had noticed some strange behavior from Madi. She texted me mentioning nightmares and being scared of a stuffed puppy. I hadn't the foggiest idea what she could be referring to at first. When I got home Lily showed me the culprit of Madi's nightmares - her Fisher Price Learning Puppy. She used to love this puppy! I had to see for myself. Then we had to show Jason. Then we had to capture it on video. So yes, you read that correctly. We knowingly upset Madi multiple times with the learning puppy (all in the name of documenting, right?)

Isn't that the saddest face ever?!

I showed the video to my mom and after being scolded by her for our cruetly was informed that she and Madi played with learning puppy almost every single day when my mom was here in March. Could it be that Madi was crying because she misses Grandma?! :-)

The weather this week was incredibly hot! Like, hottest temperatures since 1905 I was informed by my Norwegian co-worker. And since there is no central AC anywhere and fans are sold out everywhere, the only logical thing to do is go to the beach!

On Friday, I met some friends at Gladmat downtown. It's an amazing food festival that we visited pretty much every single day last year since we lived downtown. We had fun walking around with Courtney and Xaden and then Jennifer and Brandon. Madi and Xaden got lots of compliments walking around together about how cute they were! And of course I took zero pictures. I blame the gets to you! Thankfully, Courtney was able to sort-of get a picture of the kiddos! They preferred each other's snack canisters...even though they were identical and even held the same brand of puffs...

Today was quite sad...we had to say goodbye to Daddy. He flew offshore today and will be gone for hopefully just a week (maybe less, hopefully not more!). Fortunately, we should be able to Skype him while he's gone (if his flight ever leaves - it might still be waiting on weather :-/ )

Hope you have a fabulous week! And if you're in the Stavanger-area and want us to take dinner off your hands, we will gladly oblige. ;-)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Madi: 13 Months

I'm a bit late in posting this... I was debating whether or not to continue doing these monthly posts since (a) my DIY monthly onesies were only up to 12 months and (b) they are a bit time consuming doing an afternoon of picture-taking, editing, etc. However, the reason I began blogging was to capture memories of our lives that I print in a book each year. This is the easiest way for us to share little tid bits and stories and have a way of remembering them. So you're stuck with more Madi for now. :-)

I've changed the format a bit to be easier than a photo shoot each month. ;-) I'll just grab a photo I like from that month and share on it memories, skills, likes/dislikes, etc. on the picture with stories below. I had seen this idea on a few blogs, including my Pi Phi friend Vanessa over at Sunflower State of Mind. It's super creative and was perfect so I hope she and the others don't mind me copying them!

Photo courtesy of Aunt Lilia

Your Daddy's birthday present arrived the week after your wonderful birthday party. We've had a lot of fun riding around the block and watching you enjoy it! You even took the remote control and tried to drive yourself one time. It's going to be so much fun watching you grow with your ride. ;-)

Last month you started doing pat-a-cake, but could only clap your hands. Now you are able to do the whole song's motions (albeit slightly behind the song sometimes).

We decided to give you a spoon one day and watched in amazement as you dipped it into your yogurt and actually got some of it to your mouth! Since then we've let you use one each morning for yogurt or apple sauce and you are pretty much able to feed yourself with just a little help from us.

I don't know if it's because you are working on all four molars at the same time or just don't want to go to sleep, but you've been a little pill lately at bedtime. We have the same routine since forever and these days you may not even let us read you a book and others you wait until singing time to start fussing. Once you go to sleep you are fine, but sometimes you are needing extra snuggles before you'll calm down.

FaceTime is a regular activity with all of our family in the States. We turn on the guided access feature because all you want to do is grab the phone. You give the phone kisses and run around with it talking and waving it. It's funny to watch on this end, but I am sure your poor grandparents are quite dizzy talking to you! :-)

You are starting to test limits and our usage of the word "no". Previously when we would say "no" sternly you would get a sad face and even cry sometimes. Gone are those days! Now you get the absolute cutest smile ever on your face when we tell you "no"! It's hard for Mommy and Daddy to keep a straight face sometimes when you do that to us.

We went on a lot of hikes this month! Your Aunt Lilia came to visit and we felt it was our Norwegian duty to drag her to all of the nearby hiking spots. We did Månafossen, Preikestolen, and even Kjerag (Part 1 and Part 2) while she was here!

This month flew by so quickly (I think because we were all having so much fun with your Aunt Lil!). It was such a blessing to have her here with us and for her to get to spend so much time with you! We're missing her like crazy since she left last week.

Miss Madi - you are still such a joy and so much fun! You never ever stop running around or making us smile. It's fun to see you develop into a little toddler, but it's sad to think how quickly a year has already flown by! We love you so much and appreciate how amazing you are handling these molars. ;-) Love, Mommy and Daddy


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kjerag: Part 2

If you missed the first post about Kjerag you can catch up here.

I've had quite a few people ask about the technicality of the hike so we thought we would put together some illustrations that help demonstrate the trail. The hike itself took us 2 hours, 15 min each way. (The sign posted suggests 2.5 hours.) It was a challenging hike, but definitely possible (even carrying a little one).

On the hike itself we had a few people commend us for carrying a baby. We saw one other person with a hiking backpack and little one. At one point, when I was coming down a steep area, I passed a group of British people and heard one of them exclaim "Oh my goodness, there's a baby in there!" I was on my game and quickly retorted "Phew, I thought she'd fallen out back there." ;-)

Here is a picture showing the three peaks that you ascend/descend on the hike - Litledalen, Storedalen, and Kjerag.

Jason started by carrying Madi up and over Litledalen up Storedalen and part of the way down. Then we switched and I carried her the rest of the way down Storedalen and up the final peak, Kjerag, and to the boulder, Kjeragbolten. On the way down we switched at the approx. the same places (Jason carried her up Storedalen a bit further on the way down making our split probably 60/40 Jason/Darcy for carrying Madi.)

Now we'll try to illustrate the path via pictures we took on the hike. (Thanks to Jason for drawing the trail on them!).

This is about 1/3-1/2 of the way up the first peak. The rest was just as steep before a short flat period and then the descent (just as steep).

This is a view from the top of the first peak. You descend and can see where you cross the valley and then tackle the second peak.

Unfortunately we did not get a good representation of the third peak. It was like this until you got around the corner and then it was straight up, similar steepness (but slightly worse) then the first peak.

The wind was pretty strong and that made it a bit challenging - at one point I was mid-step and did get blown backwards, but fortunately onto a flat part. I turned to see about help and Jason had his back to me taking pictures and Lily was down further. They definitely had my back. ;-)

Here's a view from the third peak. You can see Lysebotn to the left (just barely) and the other peaks, labeled. Pretty awesome how far we'd come, right?!

The rest was pretty flat... and windy... and never-ending, ha! It was another good 20-30 min after you ascend the third peak that you finally get over to the rock. It was very windy and Madi was getting a bit grumpy so we high-tailed it pretty fast through that part.

Finally, when it seemed like the flat and windy portion at the top would never end, we turned a corner and boom! There was the rock!!

And to illustrate the back, which is where you get onto the rock, Jason captured these pictures. I've labeled them to help see where you walk when you get on. Lots of people told us it was super narrow and you have to jump down onto the rock... it is a bit narrow, but not nearly what people made it seem. And you don't have to jump - you can take a long step and be fine. Basically, I think people exaggerated how intimidating it was... that or I'm fearless. ;-)

We took our time at the top, stopping to let Madi out, diaper change, eating, etc. We saw a couple ebbs and flows of people waiting to take pictures and went when there was no one in the cue. We were able to get shots of all of us on the rock.

But then we had a little punk photobomb a bunch of them...

And almost fell off! ;-)

Gotcha! Like we really brought Madi out onto the rock! Oh wait, actually we did...but only in the safety of our arms. :-)

What an accomplishment!! It was a challenging, but fabulous hike that I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting this part of Norway!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Kjerag: Part 1

This past weekend was the last one we had with Jason's sister Lily before she headed to the States. Keeping with our Norwegian hiking theme (we did Månafossen and Preikestolen the previous two weekends) we decided to conquer Kjerag.

We left Friday afternoon and took the ferry to Lysebotn. The route is basically the same as the popular tourist attraction, but we didn't have to deal with tourists. ;-) The boat makes frequent stops at small docks along the way that have people's summer cabins. The ferry is the only way to get to some of the places and when you are ready to leave, you just call them up and they will make a stop. How cool is that?!

The ferry ride also allowed us to see a view of Preikestolen from the fjord. It's crazy to think that just the previous weekend we had been hiking up there! The ticket collector was getting our tickets when we passed it and pointed it out to us - I don't think we would have recognized it otherwise!

Once we arrived in Lysebotn, we took a break to feed Madi and let her run around for a bit before making our way to the cabin in Sirdal.

The drive from Lysebotn to Sirdal was about an hour and it was an incredibly windy and beautiful drive and we stopped a few places along the way to take pictures. It was so fun for Jason that he woke up early Sunday morning to drive it with the gopro when no other cars would be around. That's dedication. ;-)

We enjoyed fabulous weather the whole weekend and took advantage of the balcony at the cabin. We ate dinner on the deck, played card games, and just relaxed.

We also had some entertainment. The three sheep below are a trio of trouble-makers! We watched the sheep herders (people and dogs) try and wrangle these three rebels every night we were there. It was pretty funny to watch a car, dog, and multiple people chase after them!

Saturday morning we woke up early to head to the start of the kjerag hike. We were anticipating the hike to take us a good 2.5-3 hours each way based on input from co-workers and friends. The sign averages 2.5 hours. I am proud to say that we made it in 2 hours, 15 min each way! And that's stopping to take pictures, trade off who was carrying Madi, and going at a comfortable pace.

Family selfie at the Kjeragbolten sign! (Madi discovered she could get water out of the camelbak and then refused to let it go most of the way down...)

Here's an example of how Madi hikes: (1) Ready to rock this. (2) Onward Daddy! (3) Passed out. Oh to be a baby and get carried in a comfortable chair the whole way. :-)

You'll notice I've left one critical part out... kjeragbolten! I'll be back tomorrow with some pictures showing the hiking trail and the infamous kjeragbolten photos that I know are the part you really want to see. :-)

Until then, I'll leave you with this gorgeous skyline that I snapped on the car ride back home on Sunday afternoon.

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