Thursday, November 23, 2006

Live from York

Just a quick update - I'm writing this from York. I'm having a great time. It is beautiful here. Everyone you turn are beautiful old buildings. And so many great stores. They have the Gap and Borders, for example....

The apartment we rented is really nice. It's nicer than our house, actually, and in a great location. I'm so glad we decided to rent it. The people staying in the dorms are hating it.

The course that we're taking is fabulous. All of the professors are so good, and everything is so interesting.

And one last thing - the food here. I can get English muffins, and good sharp Cheddar cheese. And in the sandwich shop next to the school, they sell individual sized custard pies!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What a dad

I'm leaving for York in just a few hours, but I wanted to write one last blog praising my husband. It occurred to me today that if Gaute was leaving for 2 weeks and leaving me alone with the kids right now, I would be doing a lot of complaining. Especially considering the fact that we are responsible for planning a "European evening" for Espen's class on Tuesday. But Gaute has not said one word. If anyone has been complaining, it has been me, because I have so much to do before I leave.

Gaute is taking it all in stride, and I think he's looking forward to being alone with the kids for 2 weeks. This morning he changed Espen's sheets and discovered that the stitching was coming undone on his duvet. He then whipped out the sewing machine and fixed it. I've been looking at that stitching for a long time, without ever doing anything about it.

I'm looking forward to my trip. I am really going to miss everyone, but I am not worried about them. They're in good hands.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

And the latest....

Espen had is 6 week checkup after his surgery. They confirmed what we had already noticed - that his eyes are worse now than they were one week after his surgery. His eyes don't point inwards anymore, but slightly outwards. And he's still seeing double. It's about the same degree as before his surgery, but the opposite. Before, he saw most double when looking down, now it's worse when he's looking up.

Once again, they're telling us that they don't understand why this is happening...

At this point, they don't see any immediate danger, so they want to just wait a while and see how it goes. He has a new appointment on December 18 with the head of the department. Hopefully, he'll figure out something. They still don't know what is causing this, though, which I don't like. Now Gaute and I are wondering if maybe they should do the MRI and all of those good tests again to see if anything new shows up. We'll wait to talk to the doctor in December, though.

The good news is that Espen is feeling great and doesn't really see what the problem is. He is managing just fine - he doesn't even realize that he often tilts his head backwards to see better. The opthamologist who saw him today mentioned first that he might need prism glasses and he was all ready with all of the reasons that this is not a problem for him. After testing him, she decided that the glasses wouldn't help, though, since his vision changes so much depending on which direction he looks in.

We'll see what happens...It would have been so nice if everything was fixed by that one operation...


The day has nearly arrived for my big excursion to York, England. All of the students from my English class are going to be spending two weeks there, at the Norwegian Study Centre. During the last few weeks I have been dreading the trip more and more, mostly because I don't want to be away from the kids for that long, but also because I've had a lot going on with school, and have felt pretty overwhelmed. Yesterday I finished the last paper which was due before my trip, and finally felt like I could start thinking about going. And now I'm pretty excited.

Everyone who has been to York says that it is beautiful. It is, apparently, the second most visited city in England after London. I'm travelling with four women from my class who I have a lot of fun with. We're renting a car together, which means that I get to try out driving on the left side of the road :-O. We have also rented an apartment together - Click on Riversmead on the lefthandside of the page - that's where we're staying.

We're going to be there for two weeks with a car and an apartment. We can drive around and explore a bit of the countryside. We can also go to the grocery stores and buy food - I think that will be pretty fun. Not to mention hanging out at pubs. Our apartment has a washing machine, too - yea!

Yesterday I bought Wuthering Heights which I'm going to read again. I'm finally going to see the Yorkshire moors.

I'm going to miss my family, and I'm sure they'll miss me, too. My cell phone bill will undoubtedly be huge. But now I'm looking forward to, rather than dreading my trip!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Drama at Ullevål stadium

We went to a soccer game last night - Lyn vs. Brann. We got free tickets - again - really good ones! Brann, which is the team from Bergen, was in 2nd place in the series. They haven't won the series for something like 45 years, and it was looking like they might have a chance this year. Lyn has been pretty middle-of-the-road this year. Everyone thought Brann would win, even though they were playing on Lyn's home field. BUT - Lyn won!! They played really well, and Brann played really bad...And, the Brann fans couldn't deal with that, and started throwing garbage on the field. The police were there, and were worried that a fight would break out after the game, so they had all of the Lyn supporters stay in their seats an extra 15 minutes after the game so that the Brann supporters could leave. Those soccer fans from Bergen are known for getting a little too into the game....

We were there with all three of the kids. The game wasn't over until 10:00, and the kids thought it was pretty exciting, with police and garbage and having to stay in our seats. And they also thought it was really cool that Lyn won!! And, I did, too.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The saga of my hair

I just got back from the hairdressers. I was there last week, too, and had them color my hair. It had gotten pretty blonde due to multiple highlighting jobs. It was too light, and my roots were really starting to show. But last week she made it too dark. I didn't feel like me, and I couldn't get used to it.

Today I decided to go back to a different hairdresser (one I've used before and was happy with), and I had her put som lighter highlights in my hair. I'm pretty happy with it right now. What do you think?

The new steps

Gaute pointed out to me that I never published a picture of how the steps for our deck actually turned out. So, here they are....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

First day of school

One thing that happened in August which was very exciting was that Johan started school. He was very excited, and he really likes it a lot! On the first day, all of the first graders meet up in front of the school, and the principal (far right) calls the kids names one by one, and they come up and shake hands with the principal, and then with their teacher. Johan's teacher is named Kikki - she's the one holding the sign that says D. He is in class 1D.

The first day only lasts for one hour, and the parents go into to the class with the kids. Gaute and I were so proud that Johan picked up the "raise your hand" thing right away. He's sitting next to his current best friend, Alexander.

Anders and Espen also had first days of school on August 21st. Espen started 6th grade, and Anders started 3rd grade. Now we have 3 kids at the same school!!

The latest

We had another appointment at the hospital yesterday, and they set a date for Espen's surgery - Monday, September 25th. They really want to do it as soon as possible, and actually moved another kid's surgery back a few weeks, so that Espen could take his spot.

Espen seems fairly calm about the whole thing, but I can see that he's a little freaked out. He makes some comments every now and then. He'll have to be out of school for a week (he doesn't have to stay at the hospital, though), but he doesn't want his teacher to tell the class that he's having surgery until the day of the surgery.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cross-eyed Espen

I'm pretty sure that anyone reading this already knows what has been going on with Espen this summer/fall. We are so happy that they haven't found anything seriously wrong with him.

But - they are going to have to do something about his eyes. He is still seeing double all of the time, and his left eye is still going in toward his nose, although that varies a little bit. The latest - we were at the hospital yesterday - is that they are going to operate on his eye. The have to "slacken" some of the muscles attached to his eye so that his eye goes back to where it should be. It's outpatient surgery, so hopefully it won't be too big of a deal. The bad thing is that since they don't know why Espen's eyes started going cross-eyed, they think he might have to have more than one surgery. The doctor called today and said that they want him to come in on Monday for an appointment with the surgeon and several other doctors. They are going to make the final arrangements for the surgery, and we will find out more about what they are going to do. He is apparently quite an unusual case, so we've had lots of different doctors looking at him.

I'll keep you posted.


So much has happened since I last wrote anything on this blog. I barely know where to start. I think I'll just start making lots of different blogs for different things. Follow along.

For now - here's a picture of the boys when we were doing some orienteering at the end of August.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Family values

So now we're in California. And we're not alone. Josh and Melanie and their kids are here, and my friend Erin is here, and Tess and Jahdiel are here. Plus the daytime visitors - Molly, Bubba, Granny. There are a lot of people here - and I feel bad for Mom who is hobbling around on her broken ankle. But - it is so nice to see everyone, and so nice to have everyone here at the same time.

That said, Erin and I are taking off today. We're goin' SHOPPIN'. It's nice to see everyone and all, but priorities must be made. And then tomorrow pretty much everyone except the old folks and the kids are going to the Oz Fest. (And, yes, Erin and I are among the old folks...) But still, it's nice to have the family gathered together...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gaute's summer vacation

Gaute is not coming with us to California...That doesn't mean that he won't have a fun-filled summer, though. He is, among other things, going to build stairs for the deck (although we will miss the rotting pallett we've been using for the last couple of years). He got a headstart on his work on Sunday, and his good helpers Anders and Johan were right there. It will be pretty exciting to see how it looks when we get back...

And, just for the record, we are going to have a vacation with Gaute when we get back from California. He's not just going to be working all summer. We are, for example, going here at the end of July...

We'll miss you, Gussie!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


My biggest boy, Espen, is flying to California by himself early tomorrow morning. I've been feeling pretty laidback about it up until now. All of the sudden today, it really struck me. Maybe it's the rainy weather, but I just started crying thinking about it. He is so excited - he can barely contain himself. He's really excited to see everyone, but he's also excited to be able to do this all by himself. Flying all the way to California by himself. I feel so proud of him...But I'm really going to miss him.

I love you, Espen.

Friday, June 16, 2006


I am done! Finally after weeks of studying and taking finals, I am done.

I had my last final today, an oral final in Norwegian. We pick a subject, and then have to explain it and talk about for 20 minutes. I picked parts of speech - it was like a dream come true. I have a BA in linguistics - parts of speech is something I can talk about. I felt like it went really well, although we'll see if it was good enough for an A - the two teachers who were there were really testing me the whole way, and asking follow up questions, and asking me to give examples. But, regardless, I am done! My summer vacation has officially begun!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

All about me...

I should be studying for my final tomorrow, but I found some fun stuff...

You Are 33% American

America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!

You Belong in San Francisco

You crave an eclectic, urban environment. You're half California, half NYC.
You're open minded, tolerant, and secretly think you're the best.
People may dismiss you as a hippie, but you're also progressive, interesting, and rich!

Your Inner European is Swedish!

Relaxed and peaceful.
You like to kick back and enjoy life.

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 20% Conservative, 80% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Your Italian Name Is...

Luciana Giordano

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I looked on my calendar today - it appears as though Father's Day is on Sunday. And, once again, it appears as though I haven't managed to register that fact before it is too late. Living in Norway is not good for a procrastinator like me - I can't just run out to the store and pick up a gift or a card to send to the states - I really do need to plan ahead. And they don't even celebrate Father's Day and Mother's Day at the same time in Norway as they do in America - I don't stand a chance of being reminded in time...

So, umm, Happy Father's Day...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Motivational problems

The weather has been so nice the last few days. It's been foggy in the morning, and then around 10 the sun breaks through, and it's blue skies the rest of the day. It feels so good to be outside and working in the yard. And sitting on our deck - I am so happy that we finally got that finished last year. It is really nice!

This nice weather is making studying really hard, though (I feel like these dumb finals are about all I've been thinking or talking about for the last month). I just want to be out enjoying this nice weather now that it has finally arrived. Friday the 16th - that is when my summer vacation starts!

Friday, June 09, 2006

An update

Just an update - the kids are outside playing football (it is the opening day of the World Cup, by the way). They're speaking English :-)

English as a second language

I've been speaking a lot of Norwegian lately. It's gotten to be so natural to me - I speak it all day at school, with my neighbors, when I'm picking up the kids from school. I didn't really realize how much Norwegian I was speaking until today, though.

My friend Elizabeth has three kids, all of whom are good friends of my kids. Her two oldest, who are the same age as Anders and Espen have always spoken English with me. Today her youngest, Emma, Johan's good friend, called and asked me in English if it was okay if Johan came over to play. It kind of threw me - because my kids NEVER speak English to me anymore, and here was little 5-year-old Emma doing it.

We used to speak English all the time at home. I remember when my friend Astrid told me that she was so happy, because it only took her kids a few days to pick up their English again when she took them to her parents in England. I couldn't really relate, because my kids spoke English all of the time.

Well, those days are definitely gone. I brought the whole English thing up while we were eating dinner tonight. I told the kids I thought we should all speak English when we are at home, AT THE VERY LEAST. The thing that crushed me was that they had a hard time. Not Espen, I guess he got a good enough dose when he was younger, but Johan couldn't remember how to say table in English, and Anders was also struggling.

That's it - from now on this is an English-speaking household. I am American, and my kids are GOING to speak English like Americans! (I might have to get Gaute to stop speaking English if that is my goal, though....)

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Okay - I think summer has finally arrived in Oslo. It's still not as warm as it was during the 2 weeks of REAL SUMMER we had in the beginning of MAY, but I just finished mowing the lawn in my shorts - and that is the true definition of summer.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Poor little guy...

While I was at the grocery store this afternoon, my cart overflowing with organic food (I checked my bank balance before I went to the store and found out I had more money than I thought. I couldn't let that situation exist any longer), I got a phone call from Johan's preschool. He had just thrown up, and I needed to come and pick him up.

My first thought was not "poor Johan, I hope he's okay", but "shit, this really screws up my carefully-laid-plans". You see, tomorrow and the next day are the crazy days from hell. Tomorrow I have one of my mammoth 6-hour finals, which means that I am out of commision between 9 and 3. But, Korsvoll School has decided to have their before-school day tomorrow, of course, which means that Johan will go to the school and meet the rest of the kids in his class and his teacher. At the same time, there is a meeting for the parents. I LOVE stuff like that, and I am going to be stuck in a dumb room taking a dumb test. Gaute is going - but he will never be able to tell me what they said - "it went fine" is about all I'm expecting.

Last week, our neighbor, Astrid, died. We were all sad - she was a great lady and we will miss her. But she was 92, and she was doing really well until the day she died. She had a stroke, went into a coma and died a few hours later.

Back to our story - Astrid's funeral is tomorrow. So, after Gaute goes to that meeting at the school, he has to hightail it home, change into his suit, and go to the funeral. Then, when that is done, it's home again, back into regular clothes, and off to work (at this point, it'll probably be about 2 in the afternoon). Then Espen has a football game at 5, and then Anders has football practice at 6. At 8, I'm going to a meeting to plan Anders's summer program for his class. And, I don't even want to get into the day after tomorrow.

The stomach flu usually doesn't last long, right? Gotta go, he just threw up again...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Norwegian Christianity

So....I was home by myself again this weekend. Gaute took the kids to the cabin again so that I could have the house to myself and study. I really did get a lot done - hopefully it will pay off when I have my final on wednesday (yes, it is another 6 hour final with essay questions...)

We've had two long weekends in a row here. Norway is very religious (ahemm...) so they have days off for all of the big religious holidays, like Ascension Day and the day after Ascension Day (last weekend) and Pentecost Sunday - and Pentecost Monday, of course (this weekend). I'm not complaining, but I think the religious significance is lost on most people. The kids in school LOVE it! Unfortunately, the college students still have to study for their finals, though...

Anyway, everyone is home now - except for Espen who is at a Lyn game. I'm taking a few hours break to eat dinner and say hi to my family. I might just get back into study mode after they go to bed, though. I would hate to get a bad grade... Plus, I think what I'm studying is really interesting. It's Religious Studies, which I think is fascinating. Now I finally understand what people have been talking about all of these years....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Finally...some pictures from our trip to Bergen

Hi - I haven't had time to write much lately, and I know that some of my fans have been missing me...

I'm in the middle of a month of finals. I had one last week, one TODAY, one next week, and one in two weeks. I am really looking forward to summer vacation!

I promised to post some pictures from the confirmation we went to for Gaute's niece, Runa (his sister's oldest daughter) in Bergen. Unfortunately, my camera died on that trip, so I don't actually have any pictures of his niece. I do have some pictures from when were walking around Bergen with Gaute's brother and his kids. (But I took all of the pictures so there are none of me. Sorry, Molly.)

Gaute and Sindre at our hotel: Anders on the dock at our hotel with the famous Bergen wharf in the background. The boys with their cousin Roe searching for crabs and starfish.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Still breathing

For those of you who wondered if I survived my take-home exam, I would like to confirm that I am still alive. Barely...

New football player in the family

Johan is going to start playing on Korsvoll's football team in a few weeks. They got the gang together for a picture which will be published in the team brochure. See if you can figure out which one of these little guys is Johan....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Take-home exam hell

I'm currently in the middle of a take-home group exam in math. Can it get any more hellish than this? Feel sorry for me...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Spring is here

When we got back to Oslo after Easter vacation it was spring. The snow is melted - well almost everywhere, at least. The crocuses are blooming. We're all riding our bikes around the neighborhood, and the sun is shining bright.

I love spring!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Here is what my Wednesday looks like this week -

Woke up with Johan next to me, and Gaute nowhere to be seen. When I fell asleep Gaute was next to me, and Johan was in his bed. I didn't remember any switcheroo during the night, but when I got up I saw Gaute in Johan's bed. Hmmm... Time to have a little chat with Johansen - that's the second night in a row he's come into our room at night - although when he doesn't wake me up, then it's not really such a big deal. :-)

While taking my shower I made the decision to blow off my religion class today. My excuse was that I was going to prioritize, and write a paper which is due on Friday instead. Which means that I have no excuse not to write the damn paper...

Espen woke up in a bad mood, which is unlike him. He hasn't gotten out of spring break mode, though, and doesn't go to bed until much too late. I told him that he was supposed to walk Anders home from school - which he does every Wednesday - and he threw a fit. Then I said that I wanted to take him out after school and buy him new football shoes. "Why do we have to do that today?? I want to play with my friends!" Then I got pissed off because he's been complaining constantly about his football shoes and how they're too small and too old, and bla bla bla. Then he refused to eat breakfast. Nice start...although he did manage to snap out of it and ate his food and admitted that he did want new shoes.

The two oldest left for school, and I told Johan that we could ride bikes to barnehage today - the weather is gorgeous! We rode over there - he wore his Lyn uniform to celebrate their victory on Monday - and I managed to drop him off without any major crisises.

I then sat down and managed to write a rough draft of the paper that I'm skipping school to write. I also vacuumed and washed clothes, so I was pretty proud of myself. When I realized what a good job I had done, then I lost all motivation to keep working on school/house stuff and decided to go shopping. I looked at lots of shoes, but ended up spending money only at the grocery store - although I spent more than enough there. I could buy lots of shoes if I stopped buying food...

While I've been writing this Espen and Anders have come home. They went straight out to the trampoline, though, and from the sound of it then Halvor is here, too. Soon I will have to go out and ruin their fun... Football shoe shopping time.

Tonight after dinner then the boys have to go up to the football field. They're taking team pictures, and they're all going to be on football teams this spring. Johan is especially excited. Then after that Gaute and I are going to a meeting at barnehage. Johan is going to camp next week for 3 days with his barnehage. Just the kids who are starting school are going. He's excited/nervous about it. The meeting tonight is to fill us in on what they need to take and what they'll be doing. Should be interesting...

Time to go bug my kids...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Just a little note to all of you football fans...Today Lyn is playing Vålerenga. Vålerenga hasn't won a game against Lyn for 25 years, so the chances are good that Lyn will be victorious. The games are always close, though, and last year Vålerenga won the series. EXCITEMENT!!

The game starts at 8 p.m. central european time, and we will be glued to the TV. If you go here, you can follow the game live...(it helps if you speak Norwegian, though.)

Heia Lyn!!

An update - the game just ended and Lyn won 2-1. Lyn is the best, and Vålerenga sucks!!

The Norwegian Easter Dream

Easter in Norway....Any Norwegian with respect for himself and his country knows that the place to spend Easter is in the mountains, preferably in a cabin. This year, we finally joined the ranks of Norwegians who take off for the mountains during Easter. Thursday and Friday before Easter are national holidays here, as well as the Monday after Easter. In other words, everyone has time off at Easter.

Easter is the time to take off to your cabin in the mountains, go on long ski trips in the bright sunshine, and eat lots of oranges and Kvikklunsj, a kind of chocolate which is similar to a Kit Kat, and which has become synonymous with Easter and skiing in Norway.

And that is what we did this year. Here is the proof....

We made it to the top of Jomfruslettfjellet, 1137 meters over sea level (3700 feet). Not very high compared to mountains in the U.S., but we felt like we were on top of the world.

There was also a ski race for the kids in the cabins in our area. The Langaas boys beat the pants off of the other kids. All three did a great job! Espen and another boy were the two oldest, so they raced against each other - it was a close race, but Espen won! He got the grand prize for the race, and was pretty psyched!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

heia Lyn!

Lyn is without a doubt the best football team in Norway.

Johan is a big fan of Lyn, too - he got a Lyn uniform for his birthday. Espen and Anders also got Lyn uniforms for their birthdays, too. Espen is a member of Lyn's supporter club, Bastionen.

Here is Lyn's website in English. The 2006 season is starting in April, and Lyn's first home game is against their arch rivals Vålerenga (nobody who supports them speaks English, apparently, since they don't have an English website). Both Lyn and Vålerenga are Oslo teams, but Lyn is from the westside of Oslo and Vålerenga is from the eastside. And the westside is the best side.....
Check back later...

And check this out while you're waiting.