Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How old am I?

I was born at 12:02 AM on July 18th in England. This means that, given the 7 hour time difference between the UK and Utah, I have technically been 32 since 5:02 PM this afternoon in Utah. However, there is an 8 hour time difference between here and Norway, where I have celebrated the majority of my birthdays, and there my birthday officially started at 12:02 AM Norwegian time, which is 4:02 PM in Utah. So in Norway, I have been 32 for almost six hours when I post this.

And yet, somehow as I sit here in Utah, I am 31 and will be for the next two hours and twelve minutes. Does this make me ageless? I am going to say yes.

So happy birthday to me! (I think?)

How I spent my birthday eve.
I tried to take an official birthday photo for you, but it seems those only look presentable on your actual calendar birthday in your own timezone. Otherwise you end up looking like a horse-man. Or maybe that's just me? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Knitting carrots

We are very casually (and with little dedication) making a play kitchen for Espen. To that end, I spent Espen's nap time on Saturday knitting up a couple of carrots to add to his pantry. I am so pleased with them (they are so cute!) that I think I'll make some more play food soon. He already has an apple and a pear and a cupcake that I knitted in various spouts of adorableness, but now that he has an actual kitchen in the works, my motivation is a little higher to make him some more.

I used this pattern from Flutterby Patch, and am seriously feeling the siren call of those chubby little dolls for our little Squiggle when she arrives. Aren't they just the kind of doll every little girl should have?

Espen and his baby sister

I used to feel fairly horrified at the thought of becoming a "Mommy blogger" and the idea that I would lose the ability to offer interesting opinions and insights to a world of tunnel vision and "isn't my kid cute?" blog posts. Well, now that I'm expecting my second child and we have already firmly established that my kid is, in fact, adorable, I am forced to face up to the reality that tunnel vision has truly set in and I'd frankly rather discuss potty training than current events any day. So a Mommy blogger I am, and a Mommy blogger I will be. And that's OK, because I have honestly never enjoyed my work and my life as much as I do as a mother.

Anyway, that was a rather lengthy way of warning you to not expect the baby-posts to stop anytime soon. Are you in?

One of the questions we've been asked the most about this baby is how Espen feels about it. I was pretty nervous about it at first, because Espen is the kind of kid who just needs his mom and dad, and as an only child, he doesn't like things that take our attention away from him. Case in point: the laptop or our phones, which he's always asking us to put away. Well, babies can't really be "put away," so I knew things could get a bit rocky when the baby comes and Espen realizes he's going to have to share us. For ever.

So we started talking to him about the baby from very early on in the pregnancy. We told him that there was a baby in mama's belly, and he told us that there was a robot in his. Then we asked him if he wanted a baby brother or a baby sister, and he wouldn't even consider the possibility of a brother. He has just been convinced from the start that he is having a baby sister, and of course, it turns out that he is absolutely right. 

These days Espen mostly seems excited for her to come, even though I know he doesn't quite understand the ramifications of adding a sister to our family. He asks when she's coming, and knows that  we have to wait for "Mama's birthday, then Daddy's birthday, then baby sister will come before Christmas." And he certainly knows that Espen's birthday is after Christmas! Sometimes the wait is too long, and then he sadly crawls into my lap and asks if his sister is lost, which is very sweet and a bit heartbreaking! It's so hard to explain time to a two year-old, even if he knows which picture will be on the calendar when she gets here. Maybe we'll make a paper chain countdown for him when the wait is a little bit shorter.

How about you? How did your family prepare older siblings for the arrival of a new baby? I'd love some ideas!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lavender from the garden

Somewhere in the mid 1980s, my six year-old self wholeheartedly approves of this decision to spend the morning picking lavender, but likely wishes I was more romantically dressed.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Our ultrasound revealed two awesome things today: 
  1. I am a week further along than first assumed. Yay!
  2. We are having a little girl. Oh wow! 
We are going to have a daughter. A little daughter who, we discovered today, likes to lie with her arms above her head and her ankles crossed. Until this morning all I've really known about her is that she is most active in the afternoon and doesn't like it when the laptop rests against my belly. Now I find myself planning all of the things we're going to do together, books we'll read, things I'll teach her, and I already know that she is not getting her ears pierced until she's at least eight, thank you very much. Not my girl. 

I went straight from our doctor's appointment to buy these, probably the girliest thing I've bought in years: 


They were in part intended to tell Espen that he is having a baby sister (which he of course already knew), and in part just an instant celebration of this new little person who is going to turn our life upside-down. 

So very pink! 

Then I set about preparing how to tell Espen that the baby will be a little sister. While he was napping I procured a big cardboard box from a friend, and then somehow managed to shove five balloons inside and tape it shut. I feel like we should take a moment for you to appropriately marvel. OK? Moving on. Then I cut out circles from blue and pink construction paper, just to fun things up a bit. Let's be honest, this was a pretty ghe-hetto set up, but Espen is two and appreciates his mother's efforts. 

When Nick came home, we told Espen that the baby had sent him a present and brought out this enormous box for him. His response? "WHAT?!?"

"To Espen, from Baby"

Then his inner Englishman came out, and he remembered to read the card first.

Balloons move too fast for pictures. 

We opened the box, and out flew five pink balloons, announcing that "It's a girl!"

Seriously, look at those eyes.
Then the box needed to be played in, and Espen got a little crazy-eyed.

Nice gift, Sis!

The final consensus was that this baby sister is pretty awesome. Espen is still too young, I think, to understand that colors "belong" to different genders, even if we told him that "pink means we have a girl baby!, and honestly, it's not a point I really want to push with him. He did, however, understand that the balloons were a present from his baby sister, and if there's one concept his little mind can wrap itself around, it's presents. So if he wants to think of his little sister as an awesome girl who knows how to make him happy, then I think we've come a long way.

It's a girl, you guys!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's a....?

Image borrowed from Whattoexpect.com

Tomorrow is a big day for the North family, Spanish Fork division. I have mysteriously reached the halfway point of this pregnancy, and tomorrow is the day we find out if we're having a boy or a girl!

Needless to say, we're pretty excited around here. Except for Espen, who already knows that he is having a baby sister, regardless of what this doctor has to say. Either he knows something we don't, or we're going to have a very disappointed little boy on our hands tomorrow. Because, as Espen says: "There is a girl in mama's belly! It not can be a boy baby!" Cross your fingers for a happy big brother, no matter who's hiding out in there!

As for me and Nick, we're just happy and excited to be adding another little person to our family. We'd both really love the experience of having a daughter, and the thought of two little boys rampaging through our house sounds almost too good to miss. It's basically a win-win situation! 

I am sure I'll be back with the news tomorrow. We just have to make sure that all of the grandparents are properly informed first, and I have a fun little idea for how to tell Espen up my sleeve too. 

Until then, I found this old interview from my last pregnancy hidden in the archives of my good friend Stepper's blog. I'd completely forgotten about it, so it was fun to reread and see the similarities and differences between pregnancies, and just where I was in life three years ago. Go check it out! 

Anyone want to register any official guesses?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Goodbye, Granny.

Today is the day of my Granny's funeral. She was 98. I'm feeling sad that she's gone, relieved that her suffering is over, and happy and grateful to have had her in my life.

A very unflattering and chaotic 4 generation photo from the last time I saw my Granny and the only time she met Espen, summer 2011.

I can't think of Granny without thinking of the home that she created with my Grampa. I can't even begin to imagine a visit to Roseveth Farm without either of them in it. If I close my eyes, I can see her reading the paper at the kitchen table after breakfast, or making dinner to be served at 12:30 exactly. Not, as my grandfather once told her, at 12:29 or 12:31(I'm frankly surprised he survived talking to Granny like that). I can see her in her chair in the porch in the afternoons, or offering a special treat from her chocolate box in the evenings.

My Granny had one of the sharpest minds (and tongues!) of anyone I have ever met. She always enjoyed doing the cryptic crossword in the newspaper, and when her eyesight failed her, family members would read the clues to her and she would solve the crossword in her mind, almost always getting it right.

Although she was never really the affectionate kind of grandmother who would drop everything to dote on her visiting grandchildren, we always knew we were loved and welcome. When we came to visit, there would always be a chocolate bar, a packet of crisps (chips) and a 20 p coin for every grandchild on Saturdays. Even while we lived far away, but there were always cards and presents for birthdays and Christmas, right into adulthood. In fact, the last thing we got from Granny was money to buy Espen a book about farm animals for his 2nd birthday. And she would always make sure I got a Westcountry calendar for Christmas, to remind me of Cornwall and my family there, even when she had to rely on my aunts to do the buying and sending for her.

After she died, my mother and her sister counted over 70 diaries and journals that she had written and kept over the years, and in the week since her death, I've felt like I've learned things about her that I never knew before. One journal recorded things she remembered from her childhood, and my mother told me stories about Granny as a child in the nineteen-teens that only make me wish I could time travel so I could meet her as she was then. A few favorites:

  • Once, as a child, she was taking a little cousin for a walk in his pram. She came across some friends playing football (soccer) and joined in. It was only when she came home for tea and her aunt asked where the baby was that she remembered she had left him in the park!
  • Someone made her a pram for her dolls, but she filled it up with soil, so they gave her a wheelbarrow instead. 
  • Once, when an uncle came to visit, she emptied out her toy box by throwing its contents at him one by one. He drily commented that "I think that work is too light for you, young lady."
Dear Granny, I will miss you, but I'm so thankful you were mine. From table manners to how to show people how much you care, I feel like I have learned so much from you. I'll never forget you jumping up to kiss me on the head when I outgrew you, or your secret passion for Chinese food whenever Grampa was away. I'll always be grateful for how you made England and Cornwall feel like a second home to me. 

We never really said this while you were alive, but Granny, I love you. Goodbye. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Purple mountain majesties

This was the year where Nick and I introduced Espen to some of our Fourth of July celebrations, and this was the year where we started a few of our own. First up was a trip to the Balloon Fest in Provo to see some hot air balloons.This requires getting up at 5:30 AM and fighting crowds for parking elbow room, but is always so, so worth it, especially if you can make it early enough to see the balloons being inflated. The whole thing is just pretty spectacular: 

My boys and some balloons. Espen was too distracted to ever look at the camera. 

Lots of balloons and lots of people. 

Frighteningly delighted by fire. 

Some of the balloons all ready to go. 

Taking flight. 

Espen learned how to shield his eyes from the sun and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. 

From the sublime to the ridiculous: all of a sudden a pig floated past a giant coke bottle, all silhouetted against the sunrise. Salvador Dali would be proud. 
When we'd had enough, we drove downtown and parked in an undisclosed location half a block from the parade route, and walked to breakfast.

There are no pictures of said breakfast because we were all too hungry to stop eating long enough for a photo. Guru's, you did not disappoint.

Then we headed over to Nick's office where we watched the parade from a second story window along the parade route. With air conditioning, comfy chairs, a water cooler and our very own bathroom. It was a beautiful thing.

The Anti-social Parade Watchers' Guild
Waving to the commoners below. 
It was Espen's first Independence Day parade, and I'm pretty sure he now thinks this is how it works. And I think this is going to be how we will do it for as long as we possibly can. He could see everything, and had plenty of room to fidget and run around if he got bored, which was really great for us. We saw one or two toddlers run out into the street during the parade, and I just know that would either be Espen, or I'd spend the entire time worrying that he was next. Again, aristocratic parade viewing is the way to go! 

And here is a deluge of parade photos for you: 

Huge balloons continue to be eternally awesome. 

So many police cars and fire trucks! Espen was in little boy heaven. 

Espen dancing to a marching band and my eternally white legs. 

Being Norwegian/English does not allow for nearly enough feather-wearing.  Jeal. 

A somewhat creepy float from Macey's was made down-right hilarious when the marching band behind it started playing the Monty Python theme. 

We endured dirty windows.

More marching bands. 

Barbie's Magic Kingdom/Miss American Fork. 

And did we say that huge balloons are awesome? 
The rest of the day was filled with grandparents, naps and Nick and I even got to on a date while Grandma and Grandpa babysat Espen. Our patriotic movie of choice was the The Best Exoctic Marigold Hotel, all about British people moving to India. We really liked it, and our now daydreaming about escaping to India ourselves.

Thank you, America, for a wonderful day! Thank you, Utah, for not bursting into flames when the fireworks popped and crackled for three hours straight. And thank you, powers that be, for a great day with my little family.