Thursday, December 31, 2009


As is customarily done here in bloggytown, today's blog will feature my New Year's Eve 2009 round-up.

Let's start with the blog itself. Dear readers, this is your life:
  • About 5000 people have stopped by my blog in 2009. Admittedly, most of them were probably either me making sure a new entry had posted right, or the same 20 people checking to see if I have updated yet, but still: 5000 makes me very happy.
  • Visitors to my blog come from 33 different countries. Of course, 67.80% of you live in the United States, 13.60% are from Norway and 5.00% from the United Kingdom, so thank you, family and friends! 0.60% of you (or two) live in Egypt and have adorable daughters named Rachel and Miriam. Thanks, Heisses!
  • 41.60% of you Americans live in Utah, and of those, 13% of you live in Spanish Fork. In fact, I bet if Stat Counter let me look even closer, we'd find that most of those 13% live within two blocs of my house. Thanks, ward!

Looking at the posts themselves, your top three favourite posts (with the most hits) from 2009 were:
  1. A few things and an extravagant Project Cheer
  2. Project Baby and Guest Blogger Week: Carina
  3. Project Baby: Guess the Gender Giveaway!

So, from this I surmise that my readers like it when I bare skin, have other people write my posts for me and give prizes.

Nice, readers. Very classy.

Ok, so look for more of those to come in the future!

(I suppose I could also conclude that y'all like babies.)

Back in the real world, 2009 was a pretty busy year:

  • I went back to school full-time. And worked part-time. And fell into an exhausted heap on the couch every night.
  • We discovered my cute daddy has cancer.
  • We found out that I was finally pregnant!
  • I celebrated my very first 29th birthday. (Look for more of those to come in the future too.)
  • I finally graduated!
  • We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in Stockholm, then spent two weeks in Norway.
  • We found out that we're having a boy!
  • We flew to Ohio for a wedding and visited friends.
  • We celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in grand style with Nick's family. Total number of hours spent on the freeway: 21. Total number of candy bars handed out on Halloween: 800+. Total number of people at Thanksgiving dinner: 17. Total number of hours spent playing games (board or video): incalculable. Total number of nephew brains devoured by zombie uncles: 2+ resurrect and repeat = an infinity.
Did I mention that I was pregnant for most of this?

And so the very last evening of 2009 will be spent in absolute bliss: Bombay House take out, an empty house and just me and Nick and a 12:02 bedtime.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas: Christmas!

In a few short hours we will be off to Nick's parents for four days of Christmas fun. I should continue my running around like a chicken with my head cut off as I attempt to get us all packed and ready to go, but I just wanted to sit down for a minute, eat a brownie and tell you about a few things that make my heart happy today. These are the Christmas gifts that matter most of all to me:

  • Nick. He will always be at the very tippy top of my list! And really, who wouldn't love a man who bends over backwards to make sure I get to keep all of my Norwegian Christmas traditions (Skomakergata, pepperkakebaking, Askepott og adventskalender) just because he knows they make me happy? And who bought me the nativity set I've been dreaming of since we first got married early, so I could enjoy it for all of December. Isn't it pretty? And let's be honest: even without all of these things I've just mentioned, we could be so perfectly happy living our life in an empty cardboard box together. As long as I have Nick, I can do anything at all.
  • Friends. I don't know how we did it, but somehow we've managed to land ourselves some of the kindest, most generous and considerate, fun-loving and outstanding friends known to man. If I could only figure out what the recipe is to having friends like ours, I would let you know!
  • Family. Both Nick's family (who have really become my own family over the past four years), who we will be spending Christmas with, and my own lovely family at home in Norway. We have a Skype date set for this afternoon, so we can open presents together via webcam before Nick and I leave town. It's an amazing thing that we can do that from opposite sides of the world.
  • Our little baby. With all of the times we weren't sure if we'd ever be able to be parents, the fact that we're now only weeks away from the arrival is nothing short of a miracle and the greatest Christmas gift I could ever ask for.
  • Finally, while I rarely talk about my faith on my blog, I have to express my gratitude to the Heavenly Father who has given me all of these fantastic gifts and all the happiness that fills my life. I know that He has watched over me through difficult times and led me to where I am today. I'm equally thankful for His son and the incredible gift of his sacrifice and atonement. This world would be so different without Him.

I hope you have a fantastic Christmas, filled with all of your favourite things, whoever and wherever you may be.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas: parties!

This has been the year of the Christmas parties for us, with five in the last two weeks alone. Lots of food, lots of fun, lots of staggering home and collapsing on the couch in a heap of pregnant exhaustion and overindulgence.

Our pre-Christmas party season culminated last night with a Charles Dickens themed dinner, hosted by the illustrious Stepper. Because, y'know, everyone with a two-year old and a four week old baby wants to cook a full turkey dinner for 12 people. The food was fantastic, the company, if possible, even better (and all dressed in Victorian garb) and we even played parlor games. Other than Sufjan Stevens playing in the background and a few references to The Cure during our game of charades, it was just like spending an evening in the company of Mr. Fezziwig and friends.

For more photos from the hostess herself, go here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Orange and cloves

For me, a lot of Christmas has to do with smells. Fresh and endless baking, the scent of a Christmas tree, a mug of hot gløgg, all the spices that just smell like Christmas... the list goes on. One of the best "instant Christmas" smells for me, though, has to be oranges and cloves. And when we decided that my Scentsy wasn't cutting it anymore, Nick and I sat down and defaced two oranges for our olfactory pleasure.

Let me give you the incredibly simple and obvious recipe:

You will need:
- as many oranges as you want to decorate. An arrangement of even numbers looks more formal, odd numbers are more organic. Ha! (OK, that was actually slightly insightful. I amaze myself.)
- Whole dried cloves.
-Shove the spiky cloves into the orange. I've seen people do amazing patterns on these, mine did not quite fall into this category. Next year.
-Enjoy the insanely Christmassy smell. Especially on your fingers.

One of these is probably good for about two weeks. It won't go bad if you leave it for longer, the orange just starts looking a bit sad. In fact, oranges with cloves are traditionally used as advent calendars in Norway: you add 24 (or 25, if you celebrate on Christmas Day) cloves to your orange, then remove one each day until Christmas. It's a very sweet tradition, but the thought of keeping an orange full of an increasing amount of holes sitting around for over three weeks kind of gave me the heebiejeebies.

But that smell! Amazing!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Celebrate: Christmas and the tree.

One of my very favourite parts of December has got to be getting out the Christmas boxes and rediscovering all of the decorations that help make our home look and feel like Christmas.
When we first got married, we didn't really have any holiday decorations at all, so we decided that rather than rush out and spend a fortune that first year, we would buy a few things for each holiday for years to come. This year will be our fifth Christmas together, and I think choosing our special Christmas purchase each year is something that we both look forward to doing together. Added bonus: it takes off a lot of the pressure to buy all of the pretty, sparkly things that I want to take home with me every time I walk into a store.
So, for the rest of December, I thought it might be fun to take you on a little tour of some of the things that make our home feel like Christmas.

First up, the Christmas tree. How could we do it any other way?

If you click on the image to make it bigger, you'll see that it's kind of a mishmash of styles. We have some very traditional things going on, like the round baubles, and a few less traditional ones like the ribbon wrapped around the tree. Because Norwegian Christmas is hugely important to both of us, we have some very traditional Norwegian things too, like the woven paper hearts (which, in a fit of extreme adorableness, we made ourselves, thankyouverymuch!) and the Norwegian flags.

And no, that does not make us extreme nationalists and a threat to national security. :)
Lastly, my cute mama started a new Christmas tradition for us last year when we visited the Grand Canyon, and she bought us this little clay angel for our tree:

We liked the idea of adding ornaments from our travels so much that when we were in Stockholm earlier this year, we bought this hand-blown glass bauble and carefully transported it all the way home again.

It's a great way of buying something to remember your trip by without ending up with a barrage of fridge magnets or touristy t-shirts. Of course, now I love how it catches the light, and already have an ambition to go back to Stockholm and buy it a couple of siblings.

And finally, lest you think we're all ethnic, hand-made and internationally awesome, we also made one of this year's Christmas purchases these ornaments:

Five dollars for a set of six. From Target. And I think they are beautiful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A few things and an extravagant Project Cheer

Things have been a little quiet around here for the past month. On top of being out of town a lot, we've also both been sick. Nick with the cold-that-wouldn't-go-away and me with some abhorrent pregnancy-related nastiness. It wasn't anything serious, and without going into detail for all the internets to see, let me assure you that the baby is fine and I'm getting better quickly. Thank you, modern medicine!

I am planning to get some posts of our Christmassyness activities up pretty soon, but until then, I'd like to tell you about something lovely that someone did for me for Project Cheer. My lovely friend Emily was in town from LA for Thanksgiving, and kindly offered to do a maternity shoot with me. Now, I have pretty much spent the past six months hiding from cameras. Yes, pregnancy has made me feel that pretty. However, knowing from experience what Emily can do with her camera, I jumped at the opportunity. Because, really, who wouldn't want photos taken by someone who can make them look like this?

So, little Emily came over and we spent a few hours talking and laughing and taking photos. It was fun, low-key and relaxed. At least until she asked me to get my bare tummy out! I was admittedly skeptical, but trusted in Emily's magic working abilities, and now I'm so glad I did. Ladies and the occasional gentleman, I am proud to tell you that the glowing white orb you see in the top left corner of this post is my tummy. And I'm actually quite delighted with it.

Emily's act of kindness wasn't just being able to provide us with beautiful photos to remind us of this special, and frankly miraculous, time of our lives, or to allow us to share it with my family who live so far away. What she also did was to help me see beauty in myself and my ever-expanding proportions which, I think, is a little magical all on its own.

For more of our photo shoot, see here and here.