Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Best Wednesday Ever

Not much can top the Wednesday that Madi had (hence the blog post title). I'm pretty sure it was her favorite day ever so far and for good reasons - animals, jumping, ice cream, and she saw her favorite band in concert! Sounds like a pretty good day, huh?!

I figured I would let her tell you all about it this week... :-)

My day started out like any other day - drop off at barnehage by Daddy, pick up that afternoon by Mommy. But when we got home, Mommy and Daddy were racing around packing up the diaper bag and all I wanted to do was be held after a long day without them. Is that so much to ask?! A pacifier got stuck in my mouth as they hurried about and next thing I know I am being strapped into that awful torture device [carseat] for who knows how long.

Then things started to go my way... they took me out of the torture device and I was free to run around. I heard them say something about Baker Hughes Family Day, but I was distracted by the pigs and goats and bunnies (which I got to feed!!).

Next they took me to the most wonderful place ever - a jumpy thing and a trampoline! I ran around with the big kids and held my own very well, if I do say so.

I was having loads of fun when I was dragged off and given the most delicious dinner ever - my first hot dog. It was amazing.

Afterwards I got to pet the sheep and goats. One almost tried to head butt me, but Daddy intervened. He should have known he was just playing around - come on Daddy. Oh well.

Then I was given my very own ice cream! And I insisted on holding it myself. So. good. But Daddy started asking for bites (even though he had already eaten his own). But I'm super nice so I let him have a couple (huge) bites of mine.

I started getting really tired so I didn't fight the torture device this time around. I drifted off to sleep and instead of being gently woken and laid down in my bed, Mommy took me out and laid me in my stroller. She thought I might go back to sleep - ha! I needed to see where I was and what was going on. Next thing I knew, I couldn't hear anymore. These pink things were put on my ears and I got the idea (after Mommy and Daddy kept swiping my hand away when I tried to take them off), that perhaps I needed to keep them on. I obliged.

Loud music started playing and lights were shining everywhere. I watched for a long time in Daddy's arms, then Mommy's arms, then Daddy's again and finally I decided I was done being passed around and only let Mommy hold me. I started to drift to sleep a couple times, but knew these crazy people had to have kept me out for a reason. Then. Out of no where. The most amazing song ever.

My favorite song in the world started playing!!!!!

Mommy and I sang and danced and I smiled through my sleepiness and then watched the loud and colorful fireworks in the harbor.

I fell asleep in the torture device immediately and this time when Mommy took me out she laid me down in my warm comfy bed and I fell back asleep right away, dreaming of the best Wednesday ever.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Art of Marriage - Coming to Stavanger!!

The past few weeks Jason and I have been staying busy in the evenings. We are now ready to reveal what God has put on our hearts to coordinate here in Norway... and we hope you'll keep it in your prayers!


A few years ago, Jason and I were struggling in our marriage. It was a rough patch and fortunately due to some fantastic people that God placed in our lives at the right time, He was able to save our marriage. We recently celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary and are still in awe and amazement at what God can do for marriages.

One of the main turning points for us was attending the Weekend to Remember by FamilyLife. Bret and Elizabeth Hern (who we visited in Budapest last October) were some of those key people that helped us get our marriage back on track. They have been working hard to promote The Art of Marriage, which is sort of a spinoff of the Weekend to Remember that was made to be more easily shared. Instead of an overnight conference with a speaker, it's a video series that can be done as a small group study, a Sunday school class, or even a 1.5 day conference.

We obviously have a soft spot for marriage conferences as a result of our own experience and journey. The idea was planted in our heads last year that it would be great to try and have The Art of Marriage here in Stavanger! However, with a new baby and returning to work, it didn't seem like we had time for anything else. But we felt the Lord urging us to re-consider. That we should reach out of our comfort zone. And frankly, we just couldn't stop ignoring the idea after praying about it off-and-on over the past few months so now...(drum roll please)... It's happening!

The Art of Marriage is coming to Stavanger!

Please visit The Art of Marriage - Stavanger website for more information about the event as well as a link to get registered to attend (And feel free to come visit Norway to see us and attend - we will even let you stay with us! ;-) )

We are excited, nervous, a bit anxious, and curious to see how The Art of Marriage will be received here in Norway. Please keep the event and us in your prayers as we work to coordinate everything and try to publicize as much as possible to reach people!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Bittersweet Endings and Beginnings

This was a tough week! Sally, our amazing nanny for the past eight months, finished her job with us and moved back to Australia. She was absolutely amazing and we feel so blessed to have found her and had her watching Madi. She was one of the most kind, generous, loving, and honest people. And she loved on Madi so much!! We're sad to see her go and sad that it's going to be awhile until we get to see her and meet her future little one, but a great excuse to visit Australia, right?!

We surprised Sally with a few baby / goodbye gifts, including the same kitty that Madi loves and cherishes (and that we have spares of in case anything were to happen to kitty). We hope Ms Sally's future little girl loves her kitty as much as Madi!

And then Sally surprised us with a beautiful flower arrangement and a Willow Tree to add to our collection.

It was tough saying goodbye and we are going to miss her dearly. She is going to be an amazing mom and I hope we get to meet her little one someday!!

The second tough thing was this Friday - it was my last Friday off with Madi before returning to work full-time. I feel blessed to have had a job and boss who allowed me to work part-time since January. But now that Madi is starting barnehage (daycare), there's not a reason for me to continue part-time.

Madi and I made the most of our day together! We gambled on the light rain and headed to Stokka to feed the ducks. She did a great job walking and the sun came out giving us a win on our bet!

Afterwards we walked up to the mall for a cup of coffee and a snack. We enjoyed walking around the mall together and relaxing before heading home to naptime. We spent the afternoon playing indoors before going and picking up Daddy from the office to grab pizza for dinner.

It was a wonderful day, but definitely went by too quickly!

And tomorrow - eek, tomorrow! - Madi starts her first day of barnehage! They have a transition time so we will only go for a couple hours tomorrow, then half day Tuesday, and depending on how she's doing with the transition, a full day Wednesday.

Please keep all of us in your prayers as we transition to this new routine (and battle four canine teeth all poking through Miss Madi's sore gums today...)

Have a great week!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Norwegian Summer Fruits

Is it too late for me to be writing about summer fruits?! The rain is starting to appear more and more here in Norway, but I think August still counts as summer, right? Good. :-)

One of the neatest things about renting our house has been to watch the flowers throughout the summer. I wish we would have taken weekly shots or something because different ones bloomed at different times and disappeared. Definitely a project for next summer!

Along with the gorgeous flowers, we've also had some fruit bushes and a fruit tree. We weren't sure what they were at first when tiny fruit began appearing, but after some research we learned we had black currants, red currants, gooseberries, and a plum tree.

We've been able to gather lots of fruit (especially from the plum tree - I have spent hours picking plums...) and make some delicious treats. We've had to freeze a lot of the fruit because we weren't using it fast enough.

If you have any recipe suggestions please let me know! (And please excuse the poor iPhone-quality photos...)

Black currant popsicles - Madi approved.

Plum bread
Top: black currant, red currant, gooseberries
Bottom: never-ending plums

Romanian plum cake from a friend who we gave plums to

Plum jam - our first attempt at jam-making!

Plum muffins

Plum squeeze pouches for Madi.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Madi: 14 Months

This month flew by so quickly (although I think I am guilty of saying that every month...). Daddy was offshore for a lot of it and so we got to spend some quality Mommy-Madi time together. There were some tough moments, but for the most part you were an angel while he was gone.

And speaking of angel - my little future Pi Phi! I had ordered a onesie from Pi Phi Express when I first found out I was pregnant. I am so thrilled that we have a beautiful baby girl who might someday be a Pi Phi too! We had to take some photos of you in your angel wings with your Pi Phi bear that Ms Chelsea got you. :-)

Here are some of the fun memories from this month -

  • You have not one, but two sleepovers. Well technically the first was Mommy's but the second was with Caleb and Ty and their mommy, Kara. Daddy wasn't too happy when he heard you had a sleepover with boys! ;-)
  • You completed your set of four molars (two top and two bottom at the same time!) and immediately began working on the canines. You are drooling like crazy again, chewing on your fingers, and being a bit picky with your food. Oh and a bit grumpy too sometimes!
  • Climbing is all the rage here! You've now gotten onto the sofa using my leg instead of your chair. And we got pictures of you climbing the cat's tower as well. Who knows what you'll conquer next...
  • You are started to get frustrated with us when we don't understand what you are pointing at, asking for, or trying to do. I look forward to when you can say more words (and simultaneously fear it). 
  • If we show you something or say something, you try to repeat the action or word. You are quick to catch on with doing new things and starting to get more sounds in your vocabulary.
  • You've always been fascinated with your shoes, but recently you started taking an interest in mine. You brought a pair boots into another room (a matching pair, I might add) and then proceeded to fill them with anything and everything you could find around you. Note to self: begin checking shoes before putting them on my feet.
  • You are much more generous with your kisses these days, which is great for Daddy and Mommy! However, you need to keep the snogging with playmates to a minimum please!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

A 6th Anniversary Letter

As I sit here thinking about today, our 6th wedding anniversary, I am in awe...

  • in awe at how quickly six years of marriage have flown by; 
  • in awe of how we've known one another and been together for a decade
  • in awe at how many amazing memories we have traveling together and spending time together; in awe at how much we've both changed since meeting as college students; 
  • in awe how we've continued to challenge one another and grow one another in different areas; 
  • in awe of how much I love you and how much more I fell in love with you when I saw a tender-heartedness in you that wasn't visible until you held our daughter for the first time; 
  • and in awe at God's amazing grace for us and how He's put the right people in our lives at the right time for us to still call each other husband and wife.

Marriage is hard. Second only to learning how to be a mother, learning to be a wife, a Godly and Biblical wife, is one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. And I'm so far from being finished! As our seasons of life change, my learnings and challenges have changed. As we grow together Spiritually, my eyes have been opened to my many flaws and weaknesses - my selfishness apparent in my reactions and attitudes.

Yet you still love me. In spite of all of that. You make a conscious decision daily to love me and cherish me. You demonstrate God's love for us through the way you treat others, myself included. Your patience is enviable and I doubt I will ever be on the same scale to even compare us. Your honesty and trustworthiness are infallible. You are Godly, hard-working, and self-less.

You also have flaws. And I choose to love you. I strive to be a good helpmeet to you as you lead our family. (And you are an amazing leader!) I am still learning. I probably will still be learning when we are old and gray.

But that's the beauty of marriage. Two people, man and woman, choosing to love one another day after day, despite the other's flaws. Choosing to stay together beyond what life throws their way. Accepting the challenges and painful refining to grow into better people who can bring glory to the Lord.

We've been blessed to have a wonderful marriage these past six years. I thank the Lord that He put you in my life. Happy 6th anniversary Jason! I love you!

Here's our 3rd,  4th, and 5th anniversary celebrations. I've decided to keep adding a yearly picture collage that I started doing last year. Apparently now that we have a kiddo we no longer have any pictures of just us - ha! Guess we need to teach Madi to start taking them soon (or watch herself so we can take them ;-) ).



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Busy, but Fun!

It was another l-o-n-g and busy week! I'm still single-parenting and just spent the last three hours trying to harvest our garden's massive amount of currants, gooseberries, and especially plums (more to come about all of those with pictures and recipe links!) But until then, here's the wrap-up!

Jason came home from offshore Monday night...and then left again early Friday morning! :-( He soaked up as much Madi time as he could those short days in between.

I promise we do not talk on the phone hardly ever (98% of our phone calls are wrong numbers and we usually text and FaceTime) - so I have no idea why this little duck is obsessed with using anything and everything like a phone...

Friday we had a fun coffee date with Ms Anna and her cutie pie Toby! Aren't these two precious?!

Later that afternoon my friend Kara and her two boys came over for a sleepover. Her husband is out of town as well so we figured it would be fun to hang out after the kiddos bedtime - and it was! :-)

This was also Madi's first sleepover...and it was with boys, hehe! Caleb and Ty are 2 and 3 and they are seriously some of the most adorable and well-behaved boys. They are so sweet and not rough at all with Madi so it's perfect getting the three of them together! We were so busy having fun we didn't take hardly any pictures! Here's a couple of the kiddos mesmerized with Frozen (of course!) -

Saturday we attended Adeline's 1st birthday party!! It was such a fun celebration! I made a collage card of pictures of Madi and Adeline to go with her gift. These two sure have had a lot of fun together in the past few months (and so have their mommas ;-) )

Sunday morning we went to church, but before Madi got her morning exercises done. I'm glad she's already learning the importance of stretching. ;-)

Church is serious business!

It was a good week, but we are ready (still - ha!) for Daddy to come home! Hope you had a wonderful week and are ready for Monday!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Sleepovers, Socializing, Sip and See

After Jason left last Sunday to go offshore, we found this cute note at bedtime in Goodnight Teddy. So sweet!

We've survived a week without Daddy, but we sure miss him! We stayed pretty busy though which helped the time fly by!

I've gone outside an picked plums a couple times and I have a feeling that's going to be an almost daily activity soon! We have a tree in our backyard and there are so many plums that the branches are drooping down from the weight of them! Most aren't ready quite yet, but there have been a couple good hauls thus far! And man are they delicious! Any plum recipes out there you can share?!

Tuesday night we had a sleepover. You read that right - a sleepover. Me, Madi, and three friends from work all about the same age drinking wine (don't worry, Madi only had one glass ;-) ), watching a movie (except not really because we were chatting), and sleeping. It was very refreshing to have a girls gabfest and everyone loved the short commute to work the next day. :-)

Thursday we snagged an invite over to Adeline's house (aka Madi's BFF). It had been way too long since these two had gotten together thanks to crazy summer schedules and it was so fun watching them toddle around together since Adeline has started walking now!

Friday we headed downtown to meet up with our friend Emily. It has been way too long since we'd seen each other so it was fabulous to catch up with her and walk around downtown. We tried a new place, Kanelsnurren Bakeri, and it was fabulous! Probably my favorite coffee, pastry, and sandwiches I've had in Stavanger to-date.

We had a lazy Saturday morning of playing with stuffed animals. The kittens were just plain lazy.

On Saturday I helped co-host a Sip and See shower with Courtney and Liz for our friend, Hilary. They moved to Norway towards the end of her pregnancy and baby Xander was born June 21, the day after Madi! We've loved getting to know their family and this was a fun way to welcome their baby boy after his arrival.

Courtney gets all the kudos for decorations and planning and she did a fabulous job! She's definitely got a talent for it and her cupcakes were amazing! Liz made a fruit skewers and a delicious dip and I tried my hand at Oreo pops. Everything went beautifully, but seeing this handsome guy was definitely the highlight!

I was able to sneak away from Madi for the shower thanks to Kemi and her family watching Madi! Kemi is a dear friend who adores Madi. She watched her every Tuesday when I was on maternity so I could go running and I think she was anxious to get some Madi time again!

Our busy Saturday didn't end there! I jumped at an invitation to Thad and Erica's because (a) I didn't want to cook, (b) she makes a fabulous grilled salmon, and (c) fabulous company. Heather brought her dog Sader and let's just say Madi has given and received a fair amount of doggie slobber via kisses she was so in love.

A couple of nights I needed some extra sleep so I strategically placed a pacifier in the crib after Madi had fallen asleep... I posted the picture on Facebook and was pleasantly reassured that my actions were acceptable after hearing from friends who place 4-5 pacis, books, toys, and anything else they can for a few extra minutes!

We've gotten a few chances to talk to Daddy, but we are sure ready to have him back. He's definitely missed around here!!!! Getting dressed is a bit strategic...sometimes you just let your kid play with your eyeliner. Or a box of teething sachets. Or milk cartons.

Madi and Mommy alive after one week of single parenting? Check. Hopefully just a couple more days...

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