Around Here


| Friday, 23 January 2015

-We are knee deep in what I hear is called "The 4 Month Sleep Regression" (or progression, depending on how you look at it.)  After treating us to a few weeks of longer sleep stretches, we've regressed… a lot.  Apparently, Jasper is now cycling through sleep cycles like we do except he doesn't know how to get back to sleep between them so that means he's waking me up every hour or two for help.  Yes, it's awful.  Yes, I'm tired.

-On the positive side, Jasper is SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW.  He is learning so much and his little personality is starting to come through.  He loves to 'chat' and is really busy fine-tuning his hand coordination.  It's quite cute.  He's also drooling like crazy and loving gnawing on his toys which makes me wonder if teeth are on the horizon.  It is seriously cool watching a little human grow by the second.

-We booked our flights to Croatia!  I'm so excited about this and it feels good to be back online, researching and planning our upcoming destination.  Planning is a loose term here - we are flying into Split and out of Dubrovnik and we have 11 days.  I'm booking accommodation for the beginning and the end; the middle, we'll play by ear.  Again, any tips are welcome :)

-My hazy days have been spent binge-watching Jane The Virgin which is surprisingly charming.  I'm also loving the new Joshua Radin album.

-I accidentally left my Kindle in Canada but I finally have it back and can pick up Big Little Lies where I left off.  I'm not hooked yet but everyone raves about it so I have high hopes.  I'd love a book set in Croatia (or its former republic.)  Anyone have any recommendations?

-Joe has upcoming work trips to Texas (Jasper and I are staying back) and later, in Scotland.  We're pondering having J and I meet him in Edinburgh.  I've only spent time in Aberdeen and it's definitely not a favourite destination for us but I'm keen to see a little more of the country.

-We are in full winter mode here in Stavanger which means rain, wind, hail and more rain.  Blah.  This last week, the temperatures dropped and we saw actual sun and blue skies.  We've been taking some long walks in hopes of remembering what fresh air feels like.

-Google has been emailing me about renewing my domain name.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to get into my Google Admin account to update billing information. If, come February first, this web address ceases to exist, I guess it means I haven't figured it out and I'm back to

-Two friends whom we met in Gabon now live in Norway and we're hoping to meet this weekend for a little reunion.  I'm looking forward to reminiscing and introducing them to Jasper.

What is new on your end?  I'm missing the blogging world and my online friends - hope you're well :)

2015 Travel Planning


| Thursday, 8 January 2015
A few random photos of our Spring trip to Italy last year 

Since we arrived in Norway, we've always had a trip in the works.  It was practically my full time job: planning, researching & booking travel.  Last year, as my belly grew larger, our itinerary slowed down.  We took our last trip together at the beginning of June (to London) and aside from trips to Canada, we stayed put in Norway.  The stationary time was actually quite nice but my feet are definitely getting itchy.

Every year seems to present some type of obstacle when it comes to planning - the past couple of years we didn't know if we were coming or going.  I suppose that remains the same this year.  Joe's contract is up this summer (can you believe that will complete our full 3 years in July?!?!) and we're not sure what the future holds for us.  (I know, I sound like a broken record.)  We could see our time here extended or we could see ourselves moving on to insert anywhere in the world here.  Both Joe and I are rather indifferent about the whole thing, probably because that has been our status for almost our entire stay here.  Regardless, we have at least part of the year to get back on the road.

With the addition of the third member of our family, things have changed a little bit and we have the little guy to consider as we make our plans.  While we may be veterans in the travel world, we're rookies in the 'traveling with an infant' world and there is bound to be some trial and error as we find our footing.

Currently, we're working on a trip to Croatia this spring!  I get excited just typing that sentence!  Our exact itinerary is far from being finished but we're researching possible destinations within the country and ironing out how to spend our 8ish days.  As usual, the more we learn, the more we want to see but we're hesitant to try and pack too much into our first big trip with Jasper as we know our pace will be slower and we want it to be enjoyable and successful.  Dubrovnik is a must and we're thinking of flying into Split as well as taking an excursion to Plitvice Lakes National Park.  As it's early Spring, the weather is supposed to be pleasant but not hot so we're not sure about visiting the islands.  We normally take the 'less is more stance' but I think we'll be doing it even more so now.  Have you visited Croatia?  I'd love your tips!

Aside from that, Joe has a week long trip to Texas in February but Jasper and I are staying back in Stavanger.  We hope to do a couple of city trips over weekends - on the wish list: Vienna, Salzburg, Edinburgh, South of France, Munich and perhaps back to Copenhagen & Berlin.  So much to see, so little time.

What are you looking forward to seeing in 2015?

Here We Come


| Monday, 8 December 2014
Our 2014 holiday card - Minted, of course.
I've written a few posts about transitioning to parenthood that never seem to make it passed the 'Drafts' folder.  They seem to get wordy and as I reread them I wonder, "Does anyone really care to hear this?" So I'm going to scrap them - not entirely, I'll look back on them later when I can reflect on these early weeks with Jasper but I'll spare you.

The truth is, I'm now a Mom.  SURPRISE! (Ha)  It consists of everything one imagines motherhood to be.  We have good days and we have bad days.  Sometimes I feel like we've got a handle on this whole thing and the next we're flailing a bit.  But generally, we're doing ok.  Jasper is still alive, growing, learning, keeping us on our toes.  This week, he turns 10 weeks old.

This week he'll also board his first and second flights.  He'll land in Canada for the first time and he'll meet a bunch of people that have been impatiently awaiting his arrival.  As we organized travel a couple of weeks ago, it struck me that Jasper has never been held by anyone other than his parents and healthcare professionals.  The poor kid has no idea what awaits him.

It's been nice having this time alone as a family of three.  I think a lot of people assume that being away from our family and friends is a bad thing but honestly, for these early weeks as we adjusted, I've been thankful for the space.  Sure, there are times where extra sets of hands would have made all the difference and I would have loved our close ones to meet Jasper when he was teeny tiny but it gave us the time to get comfortable in our roles without interference.  But we're ready.  We're more than ready.

I can't wait to watch the grandparents and aunties and uncles see Jasper's big, contagious smile.  I also can't wait for someone else to feed me and my arms are excited for a break.  There's some trepidation for the flight - 16 hours of travel with a temperamental newborn - and a bit of anxiety as to how Jasper will take to all the ensuing excitement.  There will most certainly be overwhelming moments for him but I hope he feels the love.

While we're off for a white Christmas in Canada, I wish you the happiest of holidays whether you're at home or abroad.  (And apologies if you happen to be on one of our flights - Jasper is bound to be a traveler and I'm sure he'll get the hang of it soon enough.)

The November Blues


| Friday, 7 November 2014
November in Stavanger is difficult.  Day in and day out we deal with rain and wind.  The winter darkness is taking over, daylight savings time appearing to make it worse.  I look at the calendar and simultaneously think, 'how is it November' and 'it's only November 7th?'  These days the sun is setting at 16:30 and there are many times I feel like I've just gotten myself dressed and fed and it's nearly dark outside.

It can be quite easy to wallow in the November blues but in an effort to keep myself above water, here are some things making me smile these days:

+The opening of a Vinmonopolet (Norwegian liquor store) in our neighbourhood.  Alcohol is state run here and aside from beer in the grocery store, all booze must be bought via the Vinmonopolet.  Now we're never more than a 5 minute walk away.  (As long as it's between 10:00 and 18:00 on weekdays and 10:00 and 15:00 Saturdays.  Norway.)

+This post on Jess' blog on British English.

+Jasper learning to smile socially (as opposed to random upturns of the lips that are completely unintentional.)  I have to work really hard for them but the high pitched voice and exaggerated smile are completely worth it.

+My daily latte - taken with a shot of vanilla. The crappy weather seems to make it taste that much better.

+UnblockUs for giving me an American IP address and Hulu for keeping me up to date on Fall TV - essential with all the time I'm sitting around with an infant on top of me.

+Jimmy Fallon has been nailing it lately.  The Wheel of Impressions with Kevin Spacey, Daniel Radcliffe Rapping, Andy Samberg's Facebook Account, Wheel of Musical Impressions with Adam Levine --- pure gold.

+The rare days where blue skies (or grey) grace us and taking long walks with Jasper.  Fresh air does the body and the baby good.

+All the snail mail we've been getting lately.  Baby gifts and cards are showing up regularly and it fills my heart with happiness.

+WhatsApp for the ease of chatting and sending photos to friends and family back home and for simple conversations with the ones I love.

+Perusing the photos we had done when Jasper was one week old.  I can't believe how tiny and new he was and I love that we captured a few low key moments as a new family of three.  (Thanks Desiree.)

What's making you smile these days?

 Have a lovely weekend!

Jasper Magnus


| Monday, 20 October 2014

Our little Jasper was born at 8:06 am on Thursday, October second exactly two weeks ahead of schedule.  He was pretty little at 2.55 kg (5.6 lbs) but healthy and strong and as expected, we fell in love with him immediately.
As a first timer, we're told regularly to expect to go into labour late and expect it to be long.  We're also told to write a birth plan but be prepared to throw that plan out the window.  I felt like I knew what to expect yet at the same time, had absolutely no idea.  I suppose that's why despite a few signs earlier in the week, I was rather hesitant to acknowledge that I was in fact in labour Wednesday evening.

According to my birth plan, I hoped to labour as long as possible at home.  I would check in to the birthing loft on the seventh floor of the hospital where I would ask for minimal medical intervention and my healthy baby boy would be delivered by a wonderful midwife.

In actuality, my contractions began around dinnertime Wednesday evening and they went mostly ignored until I tried to go to bed when they became more uncomfortable and more regular.  I told Joe I was going to stay up and time them to see if there was any sort of pattern.  By midnight, I was pretty convinced 'this was it.'  We phoned the hospital sometime afterwards in which I told them I was still feeling good about being home but to expect us later.  The midwife advised us to come in when contractions were three minutes apart.

At four in the morning after a long shower, the contractions were coming much closer together (although still just over three minutes apart) and they were much stronger.  I knew it was time to go to the hospital so we somewhat frantically pulled our things together, trying to line up our movements in between contractions.  Upon arrival to the birthing loft, the midwife examined me and somewhat surprisingly exclaimed that I was already 8-9 centimetres dilated.

Three hours later, little Jasper joined us on the outside, not long after the sun rose over Stavanger.

Despite being told to plan for the unplanned, everything went exactly how I'd envisioned it.  I don't have any tales of woe that are so often recounted after birth.  While it wasn't easy, Jasper's delivery was manageable without drama or drugs.  His existence has continued down the same path and we now find ourselves two and a half weeks later, peacefully coexisting like he's been here all along.

Our first days together

Thank you for all of the well wishes over on Instagram.  
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