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It’s 2017…and we’re back!

Hello there! Did you miss us??

We’re finally back after a looooong hiatus from the blog. It has been a bit of a crazy year (plus some) as I’m sure you have guessed. As much as I loved updating the blog, the stress of running the bakery and raising a toddler had me at a breaking point where I had to cut everything non-essential. The pressure of trying to stay on top of updates was just too much and I needed to take a cold-turkey break so I could attempt to decrease the feeling that I was “not enough” in pretty much every aspect of life during that time. Luckily though things have since mellowed out significantly. Katrine and I decided in November to close Slikkepotten (more on that later) so despite all the hard work it has taken to actually shut down (and still not done), the crushing weight of it all is gone and I feel like I can finally take some time and mental energy to be creative again!

I thought the best way to begin again was to start with a new year and a new life!

2017 began with us preparing to welcome our new little baby boy into the world! The thought of two kids was overwhelming to say the least (at least for me. Chris was ready to have another boy in the family!), but we were excited to start this next chapter of our lives!

The photos were taken in the sheep field just behind our house by the amazing Desiree from Desiree Photography, who pretty much documents all our major family milestones these days!

Aurora

 

It happened!

WE FINALLY SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!

A few weeks ago there was a large solar flare which caused enough magnetic activity for the aurora to be seen in Stavanger. This has happened many times since we moved here, but for various reasons we always seem to miss it. To get the perfect combination of a powerful magnetic storm with a cloudless night, without a full moon, when we were actually available to leave the house and stay up all hours of the night was starting to seem like an impossible feat. We thought this storm was going to be another missed opportunity because we can’t exactly leave the house in the wee hours of the morning to go aurora hunting when we have a little one fast asleep. Normally there is too much light pollution to see it from our neighborhood and we’d need to head for a much darker location, which just isn’t feasible these days.

Around 1am that night though (please don’t ask why we were still up. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn’t always work out. We make poor decisions, ok?) Facebook lit up with pictures and reports of aurora sightings all over the place. I was freaking out a little bit because a friend of ours posted a great photo of the lights from the beach just south of us so Chris suggested he stay with Lily so I could go see them. I grabbed the camera and tripod and jumped in the car feeling horribly guilty and second guessing my choice to go because I REALLY wanted to experience our first aurora sighting as a couple, but I also REALLY wanted to see them and who knows when we would have been able to leave together in the middle of the night now that kids are in the picture.

I got in the car and backed out of the driveway. As I was pulling out, I saw something weird in the sky through the windshield. It took half a second, but then I realized what it was and SLAMMED on the brakes and leapt out of the car, dashing back into the house shout-whispering (because, you know, baby), “Chris! Chris! Chris! Get your shoes on and come outside NOW!”

It must have been a powerful magnetic storm because we could see the aurora clearly right out in front of our house even with the neighborhood streetlights! It was ridiculously cool! Granted, it wasn’t the crazy bright aurora that you see in photos and videos from much farther north, but it was clearly visible and at times we could even see it dancing! From what we’ve read you don’t get much better than that this far south in view of city lights!

You can even spot the big dipper!

We watched it for a good hour and Chris, being the pro photographer he is, captured these photos with a 2 minute exposure. They will forever be some of my most treasured pictures of the two of us. I’m beyond thrilled that we got to experience it together after all!

 

Campouts, glaciers and the tallest mountain in the Northland
Chris is the Young Men’s President in our ward/church congregation and back in August (yes I know…still catching up! It’s a never-ending battle) he and the youth went up north Jotunheimen National Park for a dual-stake campout for all the LDS youth in Norway. It was 5 full days packed with 10 hour drives, lots of gear, campfire food,  devotionals, treks across glaciers and summiting Galdhøpiggen: the tallest mountain in Northern Europe.
Tethering together to prepare to cross the Styggebreen glacier.
The summit of Galdhøpiggen
The view from the tip top of Northern Europe!
Devotional/testimony meeting.
Represent!
Building temples out of woodland materials.
The end of an adventure. 

 

 

A Summer in Sirdal
Our landlords are awesome. They are the sweetest family and are so helpful with whatever we might need as renters. They are kind and caring and we love living in their basement. To top it all off, they VERY generously offered us their hytte in Sirdal, a local ski resort, for a week for our summer vacation.  Hytte directly translates to cabin in English, but as is typical with Norwegian it encompasses much more than that.  Hytter commonly ARE cabins, but the word can mean all sorts of vacation homes as well.

 

Our landlords’ hytte was GORGEOUS! We spent a full week there with just the three of us and it was very, very nice to get away from it all up in the fresh air of the mountains. We spent our days relaxing (as much as anyone really can relax with a curious and energetic 5 month old around), going for walks when it was sunny, playing with Lily, spending time with Skittles, reading, blogging and grilling lots of yummy food on the porch overlooking the lake. Sometimes we take crazy vacations, but this one was chill and low key and exactly what we needed at this point in our lives :)
I mean…this view!!
This little trip was the sole reason I have finally been able to get caught up on the blog. I was able to sit and finish all the posts I wanted to write during Lily’s naps without feeling guilt for not doing the myriad of other projects I need to do around the house. Like cleaning our fridge. And organizing our bathroom. Yes, this ended up being a much better vacation than if we had stayed at home ;)
Lily spent the week practicing her sitting up skills. I can’t believe how big she is already!
Are we sure it’s the middle of July??
The Grill Master
This is how we do burgers in the Hill household.
And this is how we do babies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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