Tending the wounded

Since Friday evening, the Svendsen household has washed approximately 72 loads of laundry, changed approximately 189 green diapers and gone through approximately 49 pairs of clothes.

That’s right – our poor little Per Christian is waging his first serious battle against a stomach bug. And it’s horrible, just horrible.

Thankfully, his fever is back down again, he’s finally drinking a bit of flavored water and he’s starting get some hours of long, uninterrupted sleep. I’m personally going a bit stir-crazy in the house, but – as usual – am trying to suck it up for the Greater Good. (Note : This does not imply that I’m doing it quietly or without complaining to Pappa Per. Some things cannot be helped…)

I suppose we’re lucky we’ve made it this far without too many sick days beyond the usual colds and runny noses. But I’m definitely adding another bullet point to my previously-published list of You Know You’re a Mommy When…..

  • You know you’re a mommy when you calmly hold your baby as they’re vomiting all over your new blouse, and your only concern is that they know they’re loved in this moment and that you’ll do anything you can to help them get well again. Blouse be damned.

But even illness cannot stop us from photographing our handsome meatloaf:

Pappa's multi-tasking skills

TV time with Mommy and Sesame Street

Laundry load #33 and counting

Per Christian's food for the past three days

Mommy & Pappa's food for the past three days

Another QOTD


Following up from my first quote of the day post….

Thought spoken out loud to Pappa S on a regular Thursday night.  Lesson learned – always keep more than one bottle of wine around, just in case….

From the archives, Part II

Last May, I posted these fabulous photos highlighting the similarity between Pappa Per and Son Per. If you didn’t take a peek then, I suggest you do so now – they’re uncanny in their resemblance.

Truth be told, it’s always been easier to see Per Christian’s paternal gene pool than anything from myself. They’re both blond, they’re both handsome, they both have the same endearing curl of hair at the top of their forehead… At first glance, Per Christian is “papa’s gutt” through and through.

But spend enough time with the lad and you’ll start to see a bit of Mommy poke through. The kid has a fierce stubborn streak, equaled only by his equally fierce giggle fits. He’s also a creature of habit, just like Mommy…. first thing every morning after his bottle is his summary inspection of the dishwasher and the shower rack and the book case. Once everything is in (dis)order to his liking, he can then go about his day and see what else is new.

And now, I see another trait Per Christian has inherited from Mommy — stomach sleeping:

I missed this so badly when I was pregnant and unable to sleep sunny side down. But from the day we stopped swaddling him at three months old, Per Christian has been turning on his belly to sleep. Very rarely do I see him sleeping on his back at night – if he does, then I know he’s truly exhausted and too tired to even flip over.

I don’t know any sight as a parent that’s as touching as watching my son sleep.

So here’s one more for all the adoring grandparents in the audience:

Over the river and through the woods…

…. except there were no rivers, and there were no woods. Ooops.

The Svendsen family packed themselves up for a 13km hike in the hills behind our house this past weekend. The scenery is dry, dry, dry – just as you would expect on this arid, volcanic island.

But then, in the midst of it all the dust, we stumbled upon a small Norwegian oasis of trees, shade and picnic benches. Actually created “in honor of the people of Norway” from the mayor of Mogan. Unbelievable…

And every once in a while, we turned a corner and – BAM! – there’s the water again. Getting out and about reminded us that we live on this incredible island, which is an honor we sometimes forget amid the daily grind.

The summer season is really beginning now, we can feel it in the morning air that’s lost its briskness and the shade that’s lost its cool. I expect we’ll be taking a lot more of these weekend hikes with our little chap:

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Two scenarios

Scenario One : Mommy and Per Christian go to the grocery store in the middle of the day. He’s well-rested from his morning nap and ready to charm the world. Per Christian happily sits in the front of the shopping cart, mischievously reaching for and grabbing things off the shelves every time I turn my back. Despite these setbacks, the cart is filled with wholesome fruits, vegetables and various other items that perfectly correspond to my carefully prepared shopping list. We spend less money than expected and leave well before any cranky restlessness sets in.

Scenario Two : Mommy and Per Christian and Pappa go to the grocery store on Saturday, the timing of which is based on Pappa’s work and Premier League schedule. Per Christian happily sits in the front of the shopping cart, giggling at Pappa who is mischievously reaching for and placing unknown items into the cart every time I turn my back. I start to wonder whose cart is next to me, its only recognizable feature being the handsome little boy in Osh Kosh overalls grinning up at me. Because of these setbacks, the cart is filled with only some of the things from my carefully prepared shopping list, and more likely includes beer and spicy sausages and cases of wine and Cava and strawberry cheesecake ice cream and frozen pizzas and – wait – who put these totally-addicting-and-therefore-totally-forbidden potato chips into my cart?! We spend way more money than expected and leave well after Per Christian’s cranky relentlessness has set in.

Scenario One is certainly enjoyable and much more peaceful. But, truth be told, Scenario Two is a lot more fun and results in a lot of laughter between Mommy and Pappa.

Which scenario is it in your house this week?

A lesson in personal space

Dear Son,

We understand that you enjoy being with us. We give you love and support, and we make you feel safe and secure. Plus, we’re oftentimes pretty cool people when you allow us enough sleep.

We also love to be with you. Your giggles lighten our lives and start our days with smiles.

But sometimes….. maybe, just sometimes…. you could give us a bit of space?

Pappa’s shower time in the morning just took on a whole new dimension.

Then again, scratch that. We’d have to be crazy to miss out on all this fun!

A recent conversation

Mommy : “Good morning, Per Christian! Did you sleep well last night?”

PC : (standing in his crib and pointing to the ceiling fan) “Dubbidida dubba da da gugu ga!”

Mommy : “Oh, was it too cold in your room last night? Was the fan too cold for you?”

PC : (now pointing to the door) “Dubbidida dubba da da gugu ga!”

Mommy : “Oh, you want to say good morning to Pappa? Let’s go visit Pappa while he gets dressed for work.”

Pappa : (speaking in Norwegian) “God morgen, lille gutt! Har du sovet godt?”

PC : (this time pointing at Pappa’s shirt button) “Dubbidida dubba da da gugu ga!”

Pappa : “Oh, you want to help Pappa get dressed for work? Such a sweet boy, thank you for helping Pappa with his buttons!” (Pappa passes PC back to Mommy so he can re-button his shirt.)

Mommy : “Per Christian, can you say bye bye to Pappa before he leaves for work?”

PC : (waving his hand at his own face) “Ba byyyyyyyye… ba byyyyyyye….

Mommy and Pappa melt.

Such a good start to the day.

Weekend getaway

Per Christian’s farmor and farfar were skiing at Mt. Blanc this past weekend and invited us to join them. I have no false illusions about this invitation – it means, in reality, that they wanted to see their grandson while they’re in Europe, but they’d be happy for his parents to tag along as well.

Unfortunately, Pappa S is a Very Important Man, and couldn’t escape the rigors of hotel life to make the trip. But being the typical loving, supportive wife that I am, I left Pappa behind in Gran Canaria and took Per Christian anyway.

It was Per Christian’s first introduction to the snow, which is quite surprising given that he’s 50% Norwegian material. Even the 50% of his American material has spent a great deal of time in the Russian tundra, so the poor chap is seriously lagging behind in cold weather experience.

Here are a few photos from our weekend getaway. Hope you all had a good weekend also!

Wanted : Genius solutions for Casa Svendsen

Okay peeps, here’s the deal. The Svendsens have a house here in Gran Canaria that needs some tender loving care. Our greatly-anticipated bombardment of guests begins later this month and continues throughout the summer, so it’s time to get serious and finally unpack those boxes lingering in the basement. We need to transform Casa Svendsen from a temporary rental into a semi-permanent home.

However, anyone who knows the two Svendsen parents also knows that we’re not much of a DIY couple. We admit it completely – we’re really more of a “Can’t we hire someone to fix this for us?” kind of pair. You’d think that Pappa S (being from the hotel industry) would have all kinds of secret knowledge about how to fix/organize/decorate things, right? But no, that’s what he has employees for.


And as for Mommy S? Well, let’s not even go there…

So we need help putting this place together and I’m totally at a loss. Therefore, I’m hereby relying on the much-lauded magic of social networking to fix our problems. Write in, comment, send photos, send finely-worded insults about our lack of decorating prowess – whatever floats your boat and is at least mildly constructive.

(Note: the “Where’s Waldo?” impersonation in the photographs below was generously made available by our local resident baby model.)

Ready… set…. go!

ISSUE 1: The Non-Existent Third Bedroom

We really, really wanted a house with three bedrooms so Per Christian would still have his own room when we have guests visiting. Our son is a loud, grumpy and restless sleeper – he was booted out of our room when he was three months old and thank goodness for that! In order to sustain any sensible amount of personal sleep, we need to keep this kid out of our room and in his own space.

However, we’re having no luck finding a suitable house for rent with three bedrooms in Arguineguin. We do, however, have a soon-to-be office space that could be used for a temporary nursery during guest visits. There’s no door and it’s entirely open into the upstairs hallway, so we need to do something to partially seal it off or prepare it somehow for part-time office space and part-time baby sleeping.

How do we turn this bland space into something suitable for double-duty office and baby space? How do we section it off so there is some semblance of a separate, quiet room for PC to get some sleep?

ISSUE 2: Protecting PC from the Stairs (or, more accurately, Protecting the Stairs from PC)

Our little meatloaf is now a very agile and mobile meatloaf, zooming around our non-carpeted floors with great gusto. And like all good parents, we’ve put up a baby gate on the first floor stairs down to the basement, and we also have a gate that will soon go up on the outside terrace.

However, the stairs from the second floor to the first absolutely confound me. They’re kind of “recessed” in a way, so that any traditional baby gate (the ones that screw into each side of the wall or railing) would only begin from the third or fourth step down.

This makes no sense to me! Stylistically, I’ll agree that it’s a good look, but if we don’t figure out a gating solution soon I fear the baby police will be knocking on our door. How do we manage to install a gate from the very top of these stairs so that mommy doesn’t have a stroke every time Per Christian goes zooming down the hallway?

ISSUE 3: Making the Most of our Tiny Kitchen

The kitchen is a particularly painful predicament at Casa Svendsen. When we originally moved here, we thought its demure size wouldn’t matter that much since we’d be eating every meal outside on the terrace anyway (we were very smug back then). The reality, however, is that it does actually sometimes get chilly here (notice I did not say “cold” – I wouldn’t dare insult my Norwegian or Russian friends by labeling this as “cold”), so we need to take advantage of our inside kitchen space.

We have insanely limited cabinet space, and I’m even a bit embarrassed to show their pathetic-ness in these photos. I thought these swinging metal shelves would be a great solution, but I can’t seem to find a system that actually works. The dishes are in disarray, the pots and pans are a disaster, the overhead food storage is a mess… and my poor little spice collection – boo hoo!

How can we arrange this kitchen to resemble the pictures of organized tranquility I see all over Pinterest these days? We haven’t even unpacked the majority of our kitchen gear yet – I’m having a hard time understanding how it will ever fit in here!

(Note: we live on an island in the middle of the ocean, people. There’s no miracle mecca like The Container Store to answer our prayers. However, anyone with brilliant ideas and willing to ship them our way, be my guest!)

ISSUE 4: Turning the Place Green

My green thumb is actually more of a greenish-brown color, as if it was sliced open and then left to fester for too long. Nope, it ain’t green, my friends.

My sister and my father have skills in this area that you wouldn’t believe, but they’re selfish and didn’t pass along that part of their DNA to me. My entire relationship with green plants can be boiled down to one pathetic attempt at a few planters outside our balcony in Oslo. Those poor flowers died a sad, lingering death, and I fear that I was to blame.

We now have this large terrace and I have great plans for it. Great plans! I want one of those cozy outdoor areas that make people linger and drink lemonade, the kind of place that feels cool in the shade, even when it’s boiling hot outside. How do I get that? I mean, is this dirt even useable? Do I need, like, tools and stuff? I know this seems ridiculous, but I’m serious! Total and complete ignorance beyond a vision in my head. Where does one even begin?

So there you have it – four issues that need solving! Please post below your (semi-helpful, or at least fully-humorous) suggestions for either (1) what we can do personally or (2) who we can hire to fix this for us!

Ciao, farewell, and hasta luego from our resident “Where’s Waldo” star!