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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.

 

A little bit of August

After Chris’ family left August mellowed out a bit.

Well… I guess mellowed out is relative. I got back into wedding season full swing at work, so not much happened apart from cake, cake, CAKE!

Here are a few highlights from the month when I wasn’t up my elbows in frosting:

  Chris on a beautiful sailing day taken by a co-crew member.

The only photo of my vegetable garden this summer.
Check out the bottom left corner. Potatoes! I managed to grow some potatoes in leftover compost bags this year and got the biggest kick every single time I tipped over a bag and out came rolling little golden balls of potato. I felt SO Little House on the Prairie :)
Other successes this year: radishes (as always), rainbow carrots (finally got them to grow long rather than little stubby nubbins), regular orange carrots, green beans (accidentally planted bush beans instead of pole beans, and holy cow did we get beans! We had to give some to our neighbors to keep up with them all!), and spinach.
Other non-successes this year: Broccoli (again), brussels sprouts, beets (again). Will have to figure that one out for next season.
First ultrasound of our little one that actually looks like a little baby rather than a lima bean!
Pregnancy “highlights” up to this point:
  • Lots of nausea, but only one bout of throwing up! I call that a win!
  • Falling asleep on the bus on a daily basis.
  • Meralgia Paresthetica in my left leg. Basically, my growing uterus is pinching the lateral femoral nerve in my pelvis, resulting in Novocaine-like numbness in my thigh that, when I stay standing too long, transitions into a burning sensation all the way to my knee. My doctors had no idea what I was talking about except for my chiropractor. The things no one ever tells you about pregnancy, eh?
  • Cravings: Carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Basically…the more pasta the better.
  • Aversions: Strangely, chocolate. Most detestable? Chocolate cake both in smell and taste. Go figure.
Double rainbow over the sheep farm.
Our landlord LOVES crab fishing. One day he surprised us with a bunch of freshly caught crab claws and home-baked bread to make crab rolls. So delicious! My mouth is watering again just writing about it!

 

One of the highlights of August was the wedding of our dear friends Yrjan and Desiree. They tied the knot up in Bergen in an ancient old church and had their reception near a gorgeous fjord so Chris and I got to have a lovely weekend trip out of town for the event! The whole wedding had a Norwegian/American flair with so many personal details to Yrjan (Norwegian) and Desi (American). It was a blast! It also happened to be the day after our 4th anniversary, so the trip was a perfect way to celebrate.
Our hotel was an amazing surprise! We stayed at the Bjornefjorden Gjestetun, which was one of the three hotels closest to the wedding venue and happened to have the cheapest price. We booked it with no expectations, except to have a convenient place to stay during the wedding but wow did it turn out to be a cozy escape!
Particularly this view! When we walked into the room the first time we just stood there in awe. We were BIG fans of waking up to this each morning!
I think we are going to use this hotel whenever we need to stay overnight in Bergen in the future.
Oh yeah…and I made the cake :) Congratulations again Yrjan and Desi!! You guys are the cutest newlyweds ever!Photo by Photogen Inc.
If you are interested in checking out their GORGEOUS photos from the wedding, check out Part 1 and Part 2 here!
An island called Bjergøy

 

While Chris’ family was in town our dear friends, Joanna and Johannes, invited us to join them for a weekend at their hytte (a Norwegian vacation home) on an island north of Stavanger called Bjergøy. As soon as Chris got home from his Arctic adventure we loaded up the car and made the gorgeous drive up there.

 

Norwegians LOVE their vacation homes and from what we’ve seen they escape to them quite frequently. Some are up high in the mountains and some are out by the coast. This particular hytte used Johannes’ family home where he grew up when he was a boy and it has remained in the family ever since. In fact their last name, Bjerga, comes from the name of the island (Bjergøy) generations and generations ago. Talk about some cool history in an absolutely idyllic place!

 

 

We swam in the fjord, we kayaked, we gardened, we laid in the sun, we picked raspberries, we played games, we grilled, we made s’mores with Reeses peanut butter cups, we had deep discussions about the intricacies and complexities of life and death, and most importantly we bonded with family and friends.

 

Nemi did NOT like the fact that we were swimming in the water and whenever anyone was out there she would leap in too and swim circles around us herding us together and keeping us safe. Such a good dog :)
Farkle!
Sampling the plums fresh off one of the many fruit trees on their property. Seriously so perfect. 
The growing baby bump! We still hadn’t broken the news to anyone there yet (including Chris’ family!) so I was all about the baggy shirts to try to keep it hidden until we were ready to spill the beans (even though we snuck in this one photo). Luckily no one noticed and I wasn’t so nauseous that I couldn’t hide it, although I later learned Joanna suspected. I suppose it was getting a little hard to conceal by that point! We finally told the Hills the night we got back from Bjergøy with a fun dinner reminiscent of the way Chris’ mom told his dad she was pregnant with Chris with “baby chickens” (aka cornish game hens). We thought we were pretty clever and it was fantastic to finally have it out in the open! Needless to say, they were pretty excited at the news :)

 

We absolutely loved our time with Joanna and Johannes that weekend and were so glad Chris’ family got to know them. Bringing close friends and family together always seems to create treasured memories and this time with the Bjergas will always be special for us. The Hills got a great taste of why we love it here in Norway so much: a peaceful atmosphere, beautiful scenery and truly amazing friends!