Saturday, May 31, 2008

Almost done

I had my Social Studies oral exam yesterday. I think it went fairly well. It was pretty nervewracking, though. When we got there, we had to choose between two different essay questions. Then we had two hours to make an outline. Then, using our outline, we were to make a half hour presentation of our response to the essay question. I felt like I knew quite a bit about what I was supposed to talk about, but I got so nervous, so hopefully I managed to say something intelligent.

But, now it's the weekend, and it's really sunny and warm. And I only have one final left, and it's an oral exam in English, so I'm not too worried about it. And then I am done and officially a teacher!!

Speaking of being a teacher, I have no found out for sure which grades I will be teaching next year. I'm going to have 2nd grade, and English in the 4th and 7th grades. I'm pretty happy about that. I really wanted to have English with older kids, which is what I'm getting, and I think it will be kind of fun to have little kids, too. I'm not sure yet which subjects I will be teaching the 2nd graders. Ekeberg school had a big planning session scheduled for the afternoon and evening of the 3rd of June where the old and new teachers were to get together and agree on who would teach what subjects and things like that. The teacher's union in Norway is striking right now, though. Not all teachers are on strike, but they're slowly but surely taking more teachers out on strike, and yesterday they announced that starting on Tuesday, all of the teachers at Ekeberg school would be striking as well. So, needless to say, there will be no planning session. I'm kind of bummed, because I was really looking forward to getting to know everyone, but that's the way it is. And, I will be happy if they get their goal of a wage increase! We'll see how long the strike lasts. It's already been going on for a week, and more and more schools are on strike. Not the kid's school yet, though, although they're dreaming and hoping....

Sunday, May 25, 2008


When we were up at our cabin at Easter, I managed to leave my iPod up there. I use my iPod A LOT, so it was somewhat of a crisis. I took back the old one that I had given to Anders, but I've been really missing my good little Nano. And I really needed to get it back before we leave for California. Since every weekend until we leave on vacation is filled with various activities, Gaute decided to take a quick trip up to the cabin this weekend.

I've been doing my usual - sitting in front of the computer with a stack of books by my side - so I didn't feel like I could go. Espen definitely didn't want to go if I didn't "have to" go. And Anders decided he'd rather stay home, too. Which left Johan, who wanted to go, but not if Anders was staying home. So Gaute told him he could bring a friend, and he was so excited!!!! He invited his current best friend, Benjamin. Anders and Gaute were at an orienteering race yesterday until about 1, and Gaute, Johan and Benjamin left after that. They're headed back again today, so it's a short trip. But they found my iPod!! There's quite a bit of snow still up at our cabin - here's the picture Gaute took with the webcam up at there yesterday.

Since it was just the big boys and me left here at home, we decided to do something fun, too. We went out to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Oslo. I've been to the Hard Rock in Paris, Washington, D.C. and New York, but never here. I thought they would think it was pretty cool, and they did. Lots of cool rock-n-roll artifacts and music videos playing throughout the meal. And they even had a kid's menu, so Anders could have his favorite, "mac and cheese from restaurant".

After dinner, we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. They had just recently shown the three first movies on TV here, so they knew all about Indiana Jones. It was a pretty exciting movie - we liked it a lot. All together, it was a pretty fun evening. (As long as I try not to think about how much it cost...)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Nordberg Grand Prix

Last Sunday was Nordberg Grand Prix, the soapbox derby. It has gotten to be a huge event, and the prime minister was there to hold a speech and everything.

Espen decided he was too old this year, but Anders and Johan were there in their car again - christened California Cruiser this year!


It's Friday - yippee! There's something pretty fantastic about Friday afternoons. Even though my only big plans for the weekend are studying, it's still nice to know that I don't have to make any school lunches tonight and that we can sleep in tomorrow. The weather is even fairly decent - I think I'm going to go out on the deck with a glass of wine in just a few minutes :-)

I've been studying like crazy the last few days, trying to get a grip on the stuff I'm supposed to know. I was on the computer from 8:30 until 4:00 yesterday, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown last night, because I felt like it had been a waste of time. But then today I had a great study group, which really helped a lot. The other three in my group are fantastic and we really help each other out. I feel much calmer now, and feel like I might actually be able to get a decent grade on my exam next Friday.

At about 10:00 last night, Gaute and I looked outside and noticed how incredibly light it was. It's been cloudy lately, so the fact that the days have been getting incredibly long has gone unnoticed. Until last night. I went out and took a picture - and here it is:

And now it's time to go make pizza - Friday night, you know...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Great concert

The concert last night was great! We actually considered not going (!), because there had been so much going on during the weekend, and we were pretty worn out. We decided that would be way too lame, though. And we were very glad that we went, because it was a great concert! Both Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are great, and the music they make together is wonderful. And even though Gaute didn't get to see his favorite band Led Zeppelin, he got to see his favorite lead singer, at least!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cold 17th of May

Yesterday was the big day - the 17th of May. Last weekend it was really warm and nice. Yesterday it snowed! We had to be up at the school at 8:00 in the morning, and it was cold, snowing and windy. Brrr....After the flag was raised and the 3rd graders read the speeches they had written, the kids walked in a parade around the neighborhood.

Then we went home for a about half an hour, warmed up, put on more long underwear, and headed downtown for the big parade there. The weather was, thankfully, much better than it had been up at our house.

And we weren't the only ones there....

Friday, May 16, 2008

By the way...

...that nice spring weather that we had a few days ago - it's gone, gone, gone. It's cold and rainy now. :-(

And, one other thing happening this weekend. Gaute and I are going to a concert on Sunday. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. I bought Gaute tickets for Christmas. Back then it seemed like May 18th was ages away...

This weekend

Johan had another football game last night. He was goalie (we say keeper) again. He is a natural! He did such a good job. I was really proud of him. He and Anders have spent many hours up at the football field (Korsvollbanen) kicking the ball around, and the results are showing up now.

This is a pretty big weekend. Tomorrow is the 17th of May - Norway's Consitution Day. Kind of like Norway's 4th of July. The day will be just as crazy as it always is when you have 3 kids in elementary school. We have to be up at the school by 8 am when they raise the flag. Then there's a parade around the school, followed by the big parade downtown. Then in the afternoon there's a big to-do at the school. We're all pretty worn out by the end of the day.

Tonight is a big game - Lyn against Stabæk. Stabæk is currently ranked as the number one team in Norway, and Lyn is number three (!) so it should be a good game. The 16th of May is a big football day in Norway. All of the teams play against each other, and it's fun to go to the games.

Espen won't be joining us at the Lyn game because he's playing a game himself. His team is in a cup, and the game starts an hour after the Lyn game. Kari and Grim are going to go watch him, and Gaute and the boys and i should be able to catch the last half hour or so.

Time to go make some cookies and cakes for tomorrow!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Johan has a set of twins in his class, a girl and a boy (Axel and Siri), and they had a birthday party yesterday. They invited the whole class, and they asked the girls to dress up as boys and the boys to dress up as girls. The girls had no problem dressing up as boys, but not all of the boys wanted to wear dresses. Many of them did, though, including Johan. He makes such a cute girl!

In other news, Gaute was lying pretty low last night after getting one of his wisdom teeth pulled yesterday afternoon. He's had a sore tooth for about a week or so, and finally went to the dentist yesterday. A chip of his wisdom tooth had come off, and underneath it was a big hole! The dentist decided it was best to take it out before the whole tooth broke off. He saved the tooth and brought it home, and it was not a pretty sight!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Last weekend it was really warm - as warm as gets around here in the middle of summer. Today it's cooled down a little bit (62 right now at 3:30), but it's still sunny and nice. And all of the spring flowers are blooming.

Like our cherry tree -

And the tulips along the fence -

Today I got started on studying for my oral exam in Social Studies. It's still over 2 weeks away, but there's a lot of stuff we need to know. I want to use a few hours every day, so that I'm not cramming at the last minute. We can take 30 pages of notes with us, so the key is taking good, organized notes!

Tonight we're having homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. We haven't had it for months, and Anders made a special request. We're eating really early tonight. Anders has a football game - he has to be there at 4:30. And then Espen has a game at 5:30. I think I'm going to make Norwegian waffles for dessert when we get back. I have a great new recipe for them, and I make them at least once a week for dessert!

This American Life

I have to make a plug for This American Life, a fantastic radio program that I download and listen to as a podcast every week. I just listened to the show from last week, and they explained in an easy-to-understand way all about the housing crisis. I knew a little bit about the subprime mortgage crisis, but only in a very general way, and this really opened my eyes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Some pics from the last week

Things have calmed down a lot. I have turned in both of my term papers. Still have two oral exams, but that's "just" a matter of studying - much better than writing!

I want to post some of the pictures that I've taken in the last week - here they are:

Last week I took the kids to Burger King. It was a big treat since we don't go there often.

I took Anders and Johan and our neighbor, Sebastian, on a bike ride. The river below our house is really full. Tons of snow in the mountains this year which is all melting now. Up by Lillehammer they're having lots of flooding. Luckily none around here, but the river was really full, and it was cool to look at.

Last Sunday we went on a hike - the weather was nice, but when we got up higher, we ended up walking through lots of rotten snow. Our shoes got all wet, but it was fun. Our goal was a cabin maintained by the Norwegian Trekking Association. No one was there when we were, but it is possible to rent it out to stay in overnight.

The next pictures are from Johan's performance in A Midsummer Night's Dream - the neverending play. He was very cute, and he did a good job, but it lasted WAY too long! And no one knew their lines...

Finally, a few pictures of Johan's first official football game. This year is the first year they're registered to play in a series against other teams. Thursday was their first game. The weather was incredible - about 75 degrees at 7:00 pm - and they won - 6-3!!

This is his team:

And this is Johan - he was goalkeeper in the second half of the game, and he did a fantastic job!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Woe is me

Last weekend was pretty nice. I took several pictures, thinking I would post them here on my blog and write somewhat intelligible commentary to them. Then Monday morning came, and reality hit me like a brick wall. Two huge papers (which each count for half of my grade for the semester) due within one week, and a schedule in the evenings which makes me want to cry. Yesterday, to take an example, Johan was in a play with his after school program. It was from 3 until after 5 (they tried to do A Midsummer Night's Dream with 7- and 8-year-olds, and it took FOREVER). Then we ran - literally - home to eat a quick sandwich, before we headed back up to the school again. The 7th graders had a performance which started at 6. And in the meantime, Anders got himself up to his football practice.

Tonight's schedule is similar...

And, then this morning I realized that Mother's Day is on Sunday. I can't believe it!!! How is it possible that I manage to forget Mother's Day EVERY SINGLE YEAR! There's no way that I can manage to even get a card off in time.

Right now I'm feeling pretty low...A new 4-day weekend is coming up, the weather is gorgeous, and I'll be inside working on my paper.

Feeling sorry for myself is really lame!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Dinner AND a movie

We decided to go all out last night. First dinner, then a movie. And both were very good. We went to Mucho Mas, a Mexican restaurant (Molly, we were there last summer - this is in a different location, though). It tasted really good, and it's pretty cheap for Oslo (everything is relative...).

Then we went to see in the In the Valley of Elah. I had actually never heard of the movie, but we decided to go for it anyway. It was playing at a theater in Oslo which only shows good movies, so if you pick a movie there, then you're pretty safe. Plus, it's pretty easy to find parking there, they have really good, comfortable seats, and they serve wine that you can take in the theater with you! The movie was great - glad we chose it.

Today the kids don't have school, but Gaute has work and I have a class. The kids will be on their own for about three hours in the middle of the day, but, happily, that's not a problem. I really like having kids who are big enough to be on their own for a while. They all know how to use a phone and can call us if there is any problem. Gaute's office is only about 10 minutes away, so he can be home quickly if he needs to be.

I'm off to what will most likely be my last English class. Officially, it is the last lecture, but I saw that they have now scheduled another lecture for next Friday, since our teacher was sick a few weeks ago. I think I might drop that lecture, though. She's going to talk about something which is not relevant to my final, and I have become pretty cynical when deciding what I want to spend my time on these days.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Labor Day

Today there was no school. It was really nice last night to have no lunches to make. Making lunches for the kids doesn't take much time. This is Norway, so all they take are two open faces slices of bread with something on them. Anders and Johan almost always go for butter and brown cheese on one set for school and then butter and liver paste for the snack they eat at their afterschool program. This can vary at times, but not much. I had Espen start making his own lunches when he was in 5th grade and already have Anders geared up for doing it next year. Making lunches isn't the biggest deal, but still one more chore that has to be done. And I am so happy when I don't have to do it!

I've been working all day on my English term paper, and I now have 7 and a half pages which are fairly decent. And it's not due until May 9th. I'm pretty happy with that. We're having a workshop in class tomorrow (I have to go to school, even though the kids have the day off) about this paper, so hopefully I can get some more tips to make it even better. But then I need to start working on the portfolio I'm putting together for my Social Studies class. It's due on the 14th and needs a lot of work. Can't wait to be done with school - although the fact that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this English paper makes me feel much less stressed.

It's been rainy, yucky weather today. The kids have been hanging out with their friends, here and there. I wish it was nice weather so that everyone could be outside, but they have been very well-behaved. A few years, there is no way I would be able to work on a paper and have all of the kids and their friends in the house, but that is exactly what I have done today. That's a sign that they're all getting older, I guess.

I think Gaute and I are going to go out for dinner tonight. We rarely do - last time we were going to, we decided it would be too expensive and went to the grocery store instead :-(. It's nice to get out and share a meal without the kids, though. Espen, our official babysitter these days, readily agreed to watch his brothers. Espen is a fantastic babysitter. He really steps up when we need him to. The house is always clean and the little guys in bed when he has been watching them. He has even been known to read for Johan. We pay him about 10 dollars to watch them for a whole evening. Extremely cheap compare to what we would pay a "real" babysitter, but he's thrilled. We always let them buy some chips and Coke while we're gone, too, so Anders and Johan are quite happy, as well.

Not sure where we'll go tonight. Hopefully I won't be as nerdy as I usually am, spending hours online before we ever go out trying to find the most perfect place...