Monday, December 28, 2009

Off to the cabin

Christmas is over. It was, as usual, a high-technological Christmas for the Langaas family. Two iPhones, two mini-laptops and a Wii. No one has any reason to complain, at least. And thankfully, they're not.

Unfortunately for them, we have a low-tech cabin, where no laptops or game consoles are allowed. (Actually, iPhones are allowed, though. And we do have a TV and DVD player there.) The plan for the next few days is to do lots of skiing and relaxing. Everyone got new books, too, so there will be reading.

We are going to celebrate New Year's the same way we have since we got the cabin. A yummy dinner of cheese fondue followed by bottle rockets and other cool fireworks in the snow. It's almost always super cold up there this week after Christmas, and it's supposed to be just as cold this year. And sunny and nice. With lots of snow. Should be a good week.

We'll be back on Saturday - and then back to work/school on Monday. Two weeks vacation isn't that much, actually.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas eve

It's been snowing hard since I woke up this morning. Very Christmas-like in Oslo this Christmas Eve. I got the rest of the baking done this morning, now I just have some presents to wrap and then I can relax. I recorded Christmas Vacation last night, so I think I'm going to force the kids to watch it with me. It's important that they're familiar with all of Chevy Chase's greatest works.

Yesterday, while Gaute was "working", I took the kids to see A Christmas Carol. I really liked it a lot, but Anders and Johan thought it was pretty scary. Johan held my hand through most of the film, and Anders had his eyes closed a lot of the time. We saw the 3D version, but what I didn't think about until we got there, was that 3D is not easy for Espen. His eyes can't focus well enough to be able to get the 3D effect. The movie actually looked better without the glasses on than with them. And if you've ever watched a 3D movie without the glasses on, then you can imagine how much fun it was for Espen.

The plan is to go see Avatar on the 26th, and I think we'll see the 2D version.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wasn't really sure if I was going to pull it off this year, but it looks like we might have Christmas after all. We got the tree up and decorated last night, the gingerbread house is all set, and I even made some Christmas cookies today. Yesterday, I did had a marathon shopping trip, and I think I have everything now. I'm trying to convince myself that what I have is enough, and not rush out tomorrow to pick up a few more gifts. The kids' stockings are big, though...

Tomorrow, I'm taking the kids to see A Christmas Carol. The last few years, we've had tickets to see the Nutcracker on the 23rd, but this year, I didn't get my butt in gear early enough, and it was sold out. So, we'll be seeing a movie this year instead of a ballet. The kids are probably happier, but I know they think it's fun to get all dressed up and go to the opera house. I know that I like it, at least.

Merry, merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas vacation

Today was the last day of school before Christmas vacation started. It feels weird to think that I have 2 whole weeks of vacation ahead of me. Probably won't really sink in until Sunday night when I realize I don't have to turn on my alarm...

I still have A LOT of Christmas presents left to buy, and we don't have our tree yet, but I think Christmas will come, regardless. And I'm starting to think that homemade Christmas cookies are overrated.

Thank God for vacations!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Home alone weekend

It's Sunday evening and I'm just waiting for the potatoes to finish up so that we can eat dinner. Swedish meatballs, boiled potatoes and broccoli for dinner. With a bit of lingonberry relish on the side. Very Scandinavian (think IKEA).

Gaute and the boys were up at our cabin this weekend. They got back a few hours ago, and it seems like they had a good time. There's a lot of snow up there right now, so they had a nice x-country ski trip yesterday. That is, everyone except Espen, who claimed that his arm was still bothering him after he got the swine flu vaccine. He kind of lucked out on this trip, because he had a semi-legitimate excuse for not going skiing.

I stayed home, because we had our work Christmas party on Saturday. Since Gaute and the kids left Friday afternoon, I had the whole weekend to myself. Heaven! It's not often that I get to be alone these days.

The Christmas party last night was a lot of fun. But, in true Norwegian style, everyone drank way too much and the party didn't break up until the early morning hours, so today I've been lying on the sofa watching back to back episodes of Big Love and eating frozen pizza. Ah, yes, quite the Sunday!

Back to work tomorrow. Only this week and next week and then it's 2 weeks of Christmas vacation. Yea!! These next two weeks are pretty low maintenance, too. Not much planning that needs to be done from my side. Lots of Christmassy events, which should be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas play

Just got home after a 12-hour day at school. Whew - I'm pretty worn out. Not feeling good today, either, which makes a long day that much worse.

But - my class had their Christmas play today, and it went really well. They did a great job - I was really proud of them. I think they had a lot of fun, too! The parents had cake and coffee with them, so we hung around and chatted for about an hour afterwards while the kids ran around, and it was nice getting to know people a bit better. It seems like they're pretty happy with me and with how things are going in the class, which is always nice to hear :-). I got a very nice gift from everyone, too. On evenings like this, it's fun to be a teacher!!

Things weren't going quite as well when I got home. All of the kids have now gotten the swine flu vaccine at school, Anders and Johan yesterday, and Espen today. And they're all feeling pretty bad because of it. Both Anders and Johan woke up crying early this morning because the arm that got the shot was hurting so much, and Espen was also in pain this evening. They're vaccinated for the greater good of the community, though!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I know - this is not the first time I write a blog post in which I apologize for not writing for so long and vow to get back in the saddle. But, who knows, maybe I'll keep it up this time. Just like I might start going to the gym to work out again...

It's December 1st. The kids opened the first window on their advent calendars today. They have the kind with a little chocolate for each day, as they have every year. Cheap and easy, and they're happy to get a little chocolate before school every morning.

This year, I had to get some advent stuff ready for my class, too. Advent is a big thing in Norway, and in elementary school, at least in the lower grades, December mornings usually start with an advent gathering. We sit in a circle, light some candles and sing Christmas songs and read Christmas books (it's pretty dark out still at 8:30 in the morning). I also got an advent calendar for my class where they get a little miniature book for each day. There are 23 kids in my class, so they each get one book, and then I get the book for the 24th. Perfect! We started today, and it was pretty nice.

I was home sick from work yesterday, for the first time in a really long time. I have a pretty bad cold, and yesterday I pretty much lost my voice. Not a good idea to try and teach with no voice. I was back at school today, feeling a bit better. I might have stayed home one more day, though, if it weren't for the fact that I feel like I've got too much to do to be able to stay home.

Because, tomorrow night, my class is performing a Christmas play for their parents. I think it will turn out pretty well - we've practiced a lot - but I'm still nervous. This is the first time I've been responsible for something like this. I'll be happy when it's over.

And now for some pictures from a hike we went on last weekend (these have already made the rounds on Facebook, but still...). The teenager you don't recognize is Espen's friend Harald.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


I feel like I need to write something here, I hope no one is upset by the fact that I'm doing it...

This evening, just as we were on our way out to T.F.I. Friday's to celebrate Espen's birthday, Josh called. He asked if I'd heard the news, and my heart dropped. Ryan, Tess's husband (the one you see in all of the wedding pictures I posted a few days ago), had an aneurysm in his aorta burst late Sunday night, and he died immediately.

I couldn't/can't believe it...Ryan wasn't even 30 years old. Strong and healthy.

When I got back from dinner, I got a hold of Tessy and talked to her. She sounded amazingly calm and collected. As she said, she may be in shock, but that's probably a good thing as it's helping her get through this week. It was really good to talk to her, and to hear that she was making it okay. My mom is up there, Keith has been there, and Bubba and Amanda have been there, too, in addition to Ryan's family and friends. It seems like she's getting a lot of support, which is great.

I feel really far away from everyone, and a bit sad that I didn't know anything about this until several days later. I realize that everyone has had more than enough to think about, but I've had this week off of work, and really think that I might have flown out. Not necessarily because I think anyone needed me to be there, but because I think I need to be there...

There will be a memorial service on the beach at sunset tomorrow evening. We will be thinking of you, Ryan, with love.

Zion, July 2009

And moving right along, we have now made it to Zion National Park in southern Utah.

Lots of red rocks...

And scary drop-offs

Nothing like an evening swim after a day out and about.

Josh, Melanie and the kids came down to join us. And we hiked The Narrows (of course).

And the next day Josh and Gaute hiked Angel's Landing, while us scaredy cats hung out with the kids.

They saw some California condors on their way up...

And later we all relaxed at the hotel pool.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Salt Lake City, July 2009

Still making my way through our summer vacation pics. It was a long vacation, and many pictures were taken. And here are some more of them.

On our way to Salt Lake, we stayed overnight in Elko.

And drove the rest of the way the next day.

We saw a box car on fire.

And stopped at the Bonneville salt flats.

The next day we watched Tae-Kwan-Do-Taige get a new belt.

Later, Espen and Tia watched TV together...

...before we celebrated Josh's 37th birthday.

The next day, we went on a hike up at Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

On the way home, we stopped at East High - now famous around the world as the alma mater of the High School Musical gang.

The next day was spent slippin' and slidin' in the backyard.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Foresthill, post-wedding

Still attempting to get through with posting pictures from our summer vacation, and I've moved on to some shots from northern California after Tess's wedding. (Beware, there are a lot of pictures here!)

Two of the cousins getting things organized at the Cousin's Club Hole.


Josh was worn out after the big festivities the day before.

The next day was the big film shoot. Picking the appropriate costume was fun..

And we're ready to roll...lights, camera, ACTION!

The next day was boys day out - climbing, of course.

Grunky came up for lunch one day.

And after he left, we broke out Catch Phrase - the best game ever!

Anders made sure to get in some quality time with Jenny before we left.

Sad goodbyes the day we left.