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Happy Birthday America, Carrie and Erin!

It’s always strange celebrating American holidays here in Norway. Even though there are a lot of Americans here, it just doesn’t feel the same celebrating it outside of your own country where EVERYONE is BBQing, swimming, sporting red/white/blue, eating pies, watching parades and prepping for dusk and the impending fireworks. Pass any Norwegian on the street and they don’t know it’s a special day. The 4th is definitely a day that makes me miss the U.S. We Americans sure know how to have a patriotic holiday!

We got together with a bunch of American friends (and one honorary American friend) to celebrate the 4th with a mocktail night. It was also a celebration of Carrie and Erin’s upcoming birthdays. It was also the Yates’ last week living in Norway so it was also a farewell hurrah for them. Lots of reasons to come together and have food and mocktails.

The idea for a mocktail came from Barrett, as his “5th dream job is to be a bartender.” We also had hors d’oeuvres, American flag cake, and a giant pizookie with ice cream. Erin even managed to locate some poppers so we could have our own little “firework” celebration. God bless the U.S.A!

Crostini with goat cheese and bacon-onion jam.
Caprese bites.
It’s not Independence Day without fruit made to look like a flag!
Kjetil: Our honorary American
Happy Birthday America, Carrie and Erin!!
Aaah friends :)
Note the two babies in the photo. Little stinkers WOULD NOT sleep and after hiding in the back rooms trying to get them down and missing the party, we finally just gave up and let them join the festivities. Why is baby sleep so fleeting and elusive?
Chris and Kjetil modeling what the sky looks like at midnight these days.
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17th of May (and a bunad-clad baby!)
We celebrated Norway’s Constitution Day by getting dressed up, taking some photos in our backyard, napping and eating hot dogs and dessert at Carrie and Kjetil’s house, skipping every single parade. We felt super lame and un-celebratory not going to any of the parades, but the idea of missing Lily’s naps when every minute of sleep for her was so precious was too much to handle for us so this year we played the new parent card. Next year :)

 

We celebrated in our own way though. I found an adorable little bunad on sale before Lily was born in a 3-month size and hoped hoped hoped that she would fit into it on the 17th. And she totally did! The cutest little Norway baby that I ever did see!
Even thought I thought she was the absolute cutest, Lily had other opinions about having to wear so many layers. She reminded me of that little boy at the beginning of Frozen who, when his mom said he had to wear his bunad becuase it was the queen’s coronation day, said, “but that’s not MY fault!”
We managed to get a smile or two out of her though!
Our now-traditional 17th of May pavlova at the Olsen’s. (2 years in a row makes it a tradition, right?)

Gratulerer med dagen Norway!

 

Easter Egg Hunt

Some friends from church (Olsens, Glenns, Yates) collaborated to organize an Easter egg hunt for their kiddos the week before Easter. It was our first official kiddie activity as new parents and even though we’ve hung out with these friends on loads of occasions in the past, this time we felt like we were part of some secret club with a kid of our own! They even unexpectedly made sure Lily had some eggs to hunt, which I thought was adorable even though she slept the whole time and Chris and I did all the work :)

Baby-wearing mamas
Afterwards we all went back to the Yates’ house for Easter treats. In all the craziness of kids running around we managed to snap the photo below, which I love! Carrie, Erin and I all had babies within 6 months of eachother (Oliver 2 weeks; Lily 2 months; Joseph 6 months), and it was so comforting to have good friends in the same motherhood boat to uplift and support one another. Motherhood is rewarding, but very difficult and I couldn’t have made it through those first months without these ladies! Love you guys!

Happy Easter!

When the pregnant birthday girl wants sushi, she gets sushi.
Right around my birthday I got hit with a MAJOR pregnancy craving for sushi. Of course my one major craving of the entire pregnancy so far had to be a big no-no for pregnant women everywhere. Miserable!

 

Then inspiration struck one evening while browsing Pinterest: I can make my own pregnancy-friendly sushi!

 

I scoured the internet for tutorials and spent more time watching sushi-making YouTube videos than I care to admit, then we invited a bunch of our friends over to have a make-your-own sushi night for my big 2-7!

 

The idea was that each couple brought enough fillings of their choice to fill 3 sushi rolls. Chris and I provided the nori (seaweed wrappers), sushi rice and photographic inspiration for restaurant-style sushi. We set out everyone’s fillings and then each couple designed, created, named, and plated 3 rolls each. Then we had ourselves a sushi feast! Seriously…so much fun. Everyone was a bit intimidated by the idea at first, but as we got going they all got way into it and we ended up with some creative and delicious maki rolls! Just looking at these photos makes me want to have a repeat ASAP!
We used about every dish we own setting out all the fillings and plating all the rolls! Our kitchen and dining area could barely contain all the sushi!

 

Here is the recipe for the sushi rice we used. I definitely still need practice to make it like the pros (apparently professional sushi apprentices can take 10 years+ to perfect their sushi rice technique!), but I think it still turned out yummy :)

 

Fillings we used:
carrot
avocado
cucumber
mango
crab sticks
cream cheese
tempura fried shrimp
sushi-grade Salma salmon (for all the non-pregger people)

 

Toppings and sauces we used:
avocado
mango
kiwi
black and white sesame seeds
Eel sauce (apparently not actually made with eel)

 

Plus, some useful links and recipes to make your own:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This “Sweet Roll” made by Barrett was one of the biggest hits of the evening! Sugary, fruity, and desserty!

So fun, so delicious, so craving-satisfying and basically the best 27th birthday ever!

 

We live in a place where horses romp on the beach.

 

Some days are beach days, and there’s nothing else to be done other than to drive your toes into the sand.
(I would say “warm” sand, but hey, this is Norway ;) )
So we grabbed our new American friends, the Yates, and had ourselves a beachy afternoon at Hellestøstrand.
This horse was having a grand old time.
Partners in pregnant-hood. Erin is due the month after me.