Monday, February 18, 2008

Going black and white

We're lucky enough to have friends with talents, so on "Dad's day" at Cecilie's school Dave captured this shot of Cecilie and I being all deep in discussion - the subject was capital punishment, just kidding...

...but we did cover off who will be the next president, over the creation of valentine cards: she is undecided between John McCain or Barak Obama in case you're wondering, keeping her cards close to her chest, as she should...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

This Damn House

Many of this blog's early posts were dedicated to ups and (mostly downs) of the purchase/renovation/inhabitation of our house. In the process, it acquired its name: Big Yellow House. We acquired a subscription: This Old House. [For the benefit of our global audience, this is a magazine devoted to the care, renovation, maintenance and general obsession with houses built with no modern conveniences, but plenty of um, character. ]

Both Torbjorn & I are huge fans of old houses. I like to compare it to the idea of being 'pre-disastered' from The World According to Garp - the house has already taken a beating from previous inhabitants, and thus it will be more forgiving of our riding roughshod over it's feelings. But this tolerance requires a bit of forgiveness on our part as well, of all the just plain weird things about our home.

Tonight, we walked in carrying sleepy kids after a day out, and the entire house reeked of rotting potatoes. Enough that Lars wakened sufficiently to raise his head and demand 'what is that strange smell?' Only, there are no rotting potatoes anywhere! Another day, both grandmothers called our cell phones frantically insisting that house was about to blow, there was a strong smell of gasoline in the air. But even the gasman couldn't find a thing amiss.

Last February, the day of a pre-Valentines supper party we noticed an unspecified odor in the basement. As only the kids would be down there, we didn't worry. But over the next few days, the smell ripened into what could only be called "The Smell of Death"! It was to the point that Cecilie would tell perfect strangers that "a big animal has died in our basement, maybe a squirrel or a fox!" With my in-laws due to arrive within 2 weeks, let me just say, we tore apart that basement. Again: no source.

Then there are the weird squeaks in the floorboards. The whims of the plumbing: our system doesn't always play nicely with the other utilities. The upstairs radiators are fighting with the downstairs; the upstairs won't put out. When it rains, the basement walls seep (weep?) in a random sort of way. Not a single door in the house shuts tight, except for one new bathroom door. (And yes, that means not even our front door is very secure)

But oh, we're pretty sure this house likes us, and we love it, no matter what our differences. We love the 2-foot thick basement walls, we love the old oak floorboards, we love the original trimwork throughout the house, we love the big front porch. There isn't a straight line in our house, and that's ok. (Imperfection is a big theme in the Nilsen house...)

So yeah, we deal with the Smelly House, but things are good here in Paradise. Whilst we look for those elusive potatoes.

In case you were wondering...

For the past week, every night as I've put the kids to bed, Lars has shared this with me:

"Yes, Lars?"
"Some blind people drink beer, and some don't."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Performance Review

So, late at night, I mean truly in the middle of the night, you're up breastfeeding and what do you think about? Well if you're me, you think about EVERYTHING. 3 am feedings don't suit the naturally pessimistic and worrisome.

Anyway. I compose these lengthy and (ifI do say so myself) hilarious blogs, that convey the bathos of full-time mothering in all of its glory. I come up with great titles, pithy little phrases that crack me up even in my groggy state. And by morning, its all gone. Disappeared in an exhausted fog.

but I do remember that the past few nights, its been all about performance review. One of the things I loved about my adult life (pre-kids) was that I stopped caring about how I compared. But it sneaks in, when you're mothering. First little niggle is whether your baby is keeping up with the Baby Joneses. But the grownup in you, along with the books/magazines/websites, say that this is silly, and that "all babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace." Of course they do.

But that grownup in you doesn't get the same benefit of the the doubt.

Everywhere, there are less-angry moms, more patient moms, more involved moms, more chilled moms, smarter moms, working moms, moms using their brains, moms who've lost all the baby weight, moms who wear great clothes -- moms who wear makeup!, moms with very cool blogs, moms who write it the way I meant to say it, braver moms, more thoughtful moms, moms who don't drink, moms who get enough sleep, moms who know why their baby is crying, moms that exercise, moms who remember birthdays & get cards out on time, funny moms, moms who don't go overdrawn, financially responsible moms, moms who remember to make the kids clean up, moms who do great playdates.

the last week or so, I've been feeling that the whole world is doing it better than me. I think the exact phrase that comes to mind is decidedly inadequate. The delicates often get mixed up with the jeans, the toy room often doesn't get picked up, Lars asked me to 'stop growling', Cecilie made up a sad song that went "I thought I'd get someone who was kind to me; I thought I'd get someone who smiled; instead I got a grumpy one...". And I still haven't read The Kite Runner.

So: whaddya do for inadequacy? Put on the makeup? Lace up the running shoes? Give up caffiene for Lent? Start each day by apologising to my kids?

I'll tell you what to do: stop getting up at 3am.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Brother File

Here's our jack in the box; he's getting so big and really good with words...
...but sometimes he resort to growling, on one such occasion last week Kirsten asked "Why can't you use your words Lars?" and the answer was resoundingly: "Because my moth was just too full..." -full of beans we presume
Here is frown (as opposed to a growl) that really seemed to impress Annika! But typically he is an exceptionally sweet boy, if Cecilie pushes him around too much, or she doesn't quite "get it", his most used phrase is: "Helloooo sister, wake up!"
Being left alone and watching some TV in hand knitted jacket, this time from Farfar!

Nilsen Girls

First trip in the swing... she's extremely exited about it, of course
This one is just a loony one, what can I say...
She's really starting to be much more communicative, and we are mostly having a ball; please be advised that although her feet are "quite considerable" those socks are not exactly fully "on" her...
We had a sleepover at grandma's for Super bowl - Kirsten narrowly missed having a matching outfit so she got a rain check for this pastoral scecne...

The big sister story line...

This is from her princess parade last Sunday morning at 7.30 - the color coordination is something special and I also have a lot of affinity for the crocks - mittens combo
Three weeks into ballet and it is hard to imagine her NOT doing moves on her tippy toes
But this is my favorite - in full regalia (including glass slippers), on the monkey swing...
All charm, all the time (well, most of the time, or some of the time at least...)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Girl done good

In hand knitted jacket from Farmor
Not sleeping, swimming, with the fishes...
Our tough girl, getting value for money on these Gap overalls, anno 2002
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A little posing

Wrapped in a little Italian luxury

Chillin in the Lounge

Testing those sea legs

I am particularly fond of this Garth pose - cue Hendrix: "foxy, I am coming to git ya..."
All kitted out, with places to go
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