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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!

 

Mommy and Lily’s morning strolls

 

Oh sleep. Why are you so precious and yet so elusive these days? I knew sleep was a major topic in the world of babies, but I had no idea HOW completely and utterly devastating it is (both physically and emotionally) when you can’t figure it out. We’ve spent the last 6 months trying to figure out how to get Lily on a good sleep schedule. We’ve made enormous strides in nighttime sleep but naps are still all over the map and lately she’s been in a wake-up-at-the-unholy-crack-of-dawn phase.

 

In order to encourage a long first nap we’ve been going on a lot of morning walks. Whether it is successful on any given day is hit or miss, but the late summer/early autumn weather has been lovely and I’ve really enjoyed bundling Lily up in her wrap and exploring our neighborhood with her.

 

We finally found a walking path from our house to a beach!

 

 

Lily is fascinated by sheep. Well…any animal really, but sheep are in good supply around these parts. A little while ago a bird migration flew through the area and she couldn’t stop staring wide-eyed as the big black cloud of birds undulated in and out of the fields chirping loud enough to wake the dead.

 

 

Lily’s First *Real* Beach Day
Lily has been to the beach many times before for walks/naps in her wrap, but this was her first outing where she was actually aware she was somewhere new and different. She sat in the sand for the first time (and miraculously didn’t eat it!) but really enjoyed trying to pick it up in her hands. She adorably got a little concerned when we buried her feet and cried when we got ambitious and optimistic about summer and dipped her toes in the ocean. Too cold!

 

Kite Festival

 

Every summer the Hellestø Kite Festival is held at Hellestø Beach. We’ve wanted to check it out every year since we found out about it, but for one reason or another we’ve never been able to. This year was the year though! We even had a little bit of sun and blue sky, although it returned to being gray, windy and cold pretty quickly so we didn’t stay much more than an hour. Lily seemed to enjoy all the colorful kites waving in the wind as she huddled inside her wrap. It was something fun and different to see, but I definitely think it will be a lot more fun when we can come back with older kids and join in on the kite flying. Adding it to the bucket list for the future!

 

 

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!