Thursday, August 20, 2009

Almost Friday

It's Thursday - almost done with the first back-to-school week. Things have gone pretty well. I love having my own class this year. And what a great class I have! They have been so good - it's been really fun having them. They can talk a little bit too much sometimes, but they're all really sweet and polite and nice to each other.

And my days at school are so much more calm. It's so nice to have just one class to concentrate on. If I don't get something done one hour, I can get it done the next hour, or the next day. Everything seems so much easier. It's probably a bit because I've been working at the school for a year already and know the ropes a bit better, too.

The kids are back to their football games and orienteering practice. This week, Espen has football training 3 days, games 2 days and he's going away for a tournament this weekend. Seven days of football!

Everything would actually be going quite well, except for the fact that I decided to have a 40th birthday party after all. We were at a friend's 40th birthday party last weekend, and I got inspired. It is fun to have an excuse to get friends together. Gaute and I are not very good at having people over, so we kind of need a push to do it. So - I sent out invitations and invited about 40 people for next Saturday, the 29th. And it seems like most people are coming. It's kind of a mixture of friends from work, friends from our neighborhood, and friends who I've known for a while. Should be fun - except WHAT THE HELL! I'm going to have 30-35 people here next Saturday, I've been busy every day and night this week, meaning that I have nothing done for the party. I'm going to cater the food - just have a buffet which doesn't need to be kept warm - otherwise I would lose my mind. And, I'm asking some people to bring cakes so I don't have to worry about that. But still, there's a lot that needs to be organized. I think we'll need to rent tables and chairs and I need to get some kind of tableclothes and decorations. Not to mention enough plates and napkins and silverware for everyone. And, around here, you can't have a party without coffee, so I need to figure out how to do the whole coffee thing. And the alcohol, got to have enough alcohol. I'm sure it will work out somehow, but I really need to get pretty much everything done this weekend. I kind of wonder what I was thinking - but I'm sure it will be a lot of fun! I'm glad so many can come!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Working again

I started back to work on Tuesday. It was kind of an easy slide back into work - sort of a "working vacation". All of the teachers at Ekeberg went to an overnight retreat at a hotel about an hour north of Oslo. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday doing some "team-building" exercises, which were somewhat okay. The fun part of the retreat was the social aspect, though. The food was very good (and free) and we had a fun time hanging out Tuesday night. I really like everyone I work with! This is Norway, though, so of course I got to bed way too late Tuesday night (actually 3 o'clock Wednesday morning). Breakfast at 7:30 the next morning was tough.

And today was back to reality again. Work - at work. Today was a full day (from 8 until 4) of planning for the upcoming school year and all of that kind of stuff. The hard part is the fact that there are six of us in my 3rd grade team who have to come to a consensus. By about 2 o'clock, I'd had more than enough. But, I made it all the way to the end...And tomorrow we have pretty much the whole day to get our classrooms ready for the first day of school, which is on Monday.

I saw some of my students today. Although school hasn't started yet, the afterschool/vacation program is open. It was really good to see them - they were excited, and so was I. I wrote a letter to each of my students (actually, they all got the same letter) telling them that I hoped they had had a fun summer and that I was excited to see them again when school started. I sent it to them in the mail on Monday, and the one's I saw today were pretty happy about that letter. I ran into one mom who also commented on it. Nothing like kissing up to the kids and their parents before the start of a new school year!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Birthday weekend in Prague

Still haven't managed to post the rest of my pictures from our trip to the states, but I want to write a bit about the trip to Prague while it's still fresh in my memory. What can I say - it was wonderful! didn't let me down. I picked the top-rated hotel for Prague on their website, a place which had gotten glowing reviews. It was so wonderful - it was a beautiful hotel and they treated us like visiting royalty. After being picked up at the airport by a driver holding a card with our name, we were driven to our hotel in a Mercedes. Then, after checking in we were given a personal tour of the hotel, ending in the rooftop restaurant with views over the whole city. There we were given complimentary drinks and appetizers while the concierge showed us on a map where the highlights of the city were. The room was gorgeous, big with fabulous views. That evening they showed up to turn down our beds, and the concierge had a birthday cake for me!

That night we ate at the hotel restaurant, which must have the best view in all of Prague. It's a very nice restaurant, and we got all dressed up for dinner (I wore the dress I wore to Tess's wedding, and Gaute wore the clothes he WANTED to wear to Tess's wedding). We had a wonderful meal sitting outside on the terrace, watching the lights of Prague slowly come on as it got dark. There were even fireworks - not sure why, but I felt like they were for my birthday :-).

The day we got there, we just took a short walk around the castle, which was adjacent to our hotel. The next day, we decided to go for a guided tour of the city. It was so-so - the guide was a bit strange, but it was nice to get some background information on what we were seeing. It's a beautiful city, with a lot of history!

That night, we ventured out to try to find a restaurant. We ended up at a place with a great location, right on the big river which runs through Prague, but the food was pretty bad. After walking around the city after dinner, we decided to have dessert (and Amaretto) at our hotel restaurant, which was a good choice!

All in all, an absolutely wonderful birthday weekend (had a bit of a cold, but I didn't let it put a damper on anything!)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Birthday celebrations

Tomorrow is my birthday - 40! I've been dreading it, but I'm over that now. I'm actually thinking that it's not such a bad thing after all.

Gaute and I just dropped his mom and our kids off at the bus station. They're taking a night bus up to the west coast where Gaute's parents have their cabin (Gaute's dad is already up there). They'll be there a week - they were pretty excited. They really like it up there. It's right on a lake and really pretty. They like to go out fishing with Grim in the little row boat, and sometimes they get to go fishing out on the ocean in a real boat which one of Gaute's cousins has.

Since the kids were leaving this evening, I celebrated my birthday with them today. I got new headphones for my iPhone from Espen, a shoe horn from Johan and a barbecue scrubber from Anders. Good, practical gifts ;-). From Gaute I got diamond earrings - they're beautiful (he forgot that he gave me diamond earrings for our 15th wedding anniversary last year, but, oh, well...). And I will be getting the one thing I really wanted for my birthday, which was a new staircase down to our basement. The one we have is literally falling apart and looks terrible. We had a carpenter here the other day, so that will be under way before too long.

On my actual birthday tomorrow, Gaute and I are headed to Prague. I'm so excited!! Neither of us have been there, but everyone says it's a gorgeous city. We'll just be there for the weekend, but it's only a 2 hour flight, so we should have time to take in the main sights. We're staying at a super nice luxury hotel, too, which I'm excited about. The list of amenities is long...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Foresthill, pre-wedding

Our vacation was long and fun this year, and because we bought our fancy new digital SLR camera, I uploaded 1400 pictures to my computer when I got home. Needless to say, only a small portion of those pictures will be making into onto this blog. I've decided to break the trip up into different time periods and post pictures from those periods. (Those of you who are my Facebook friends have seen some of these pictures before, but you'll just have to deal!)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We made it back in one piece. We left L.A. Friday evening, about 9 o'clock. It was strange leaving so late at night. We usually fly out of San Francisco around 4 in the afternoon. I think I prefer the afternoon flights. Johan was so little that he managed to sleep during virtually the entire flight. The rest of us had a harder time. And, if you're like me and have restless legs when you're tired and can't stretch out and sleep, 9 and a half hours on a plane can be excruciating. I had a very hard time sitting still, and made MANY trips to the bathroom just to have an excuse to get up and stretch my legs. I finally dozed off for a while, but I think I will pay closer attention to departure times next time I book a transatlantic flight!

We got back to Oslo late Saturday night, and we all pretty much dove into our beds and slept soundly. Up and at 'em early yesterday morning, though. The kids were so excited to be home and have all of their toys, that they didn't know what to do with themselves. Anders and Johan started the day by going on a bike ride around the neighborhood at 5:30 in the morning! I think they managed to play with pretty much everything during the course of the day. Anders capped off his fun day by putting up the tent in the yard and sleeping out there last night. When I woke up (way too early) this morning, it was raining, and I thought I might see him, but he's still in the tent sleeping soundly...

I'm in the process of uploading the 1200 pictures we took during our vacation. I'm not quite sure how to share them yet, but I'll let everyone know when I come up with a good plan!