My toddler’s one true love (in photos)

If you look at the world through the eyes of a 2-year-old, there’s a lot to love. There’s play-time and cuddle-time and story-time and bath-time. There’s the great outdoors, which in Gran Canaria means the beach and the sand and the water and never-ending days of sunshine. And there are special treats throughout the day – the simplicity of yogurt with Cheerios or red, individually-sized boxes of raisins.

These things are all great in my son’s eyes. But nothing – and I mean nothing – can beat the pure love, joy and spiritual intimacy my son shares with ice cream. He’s a completely unbiased purveyor of the frozen treat…. any flavor, any shape and any size will do, thankyouverymuch. It’s often messy and often requires a change of clothing afterwards. But it’s always, always beloved.

So without any further ado, here’s a chronological compilation of Per Christian’s affair with his one true love, past and present…

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Good thing they have ice cream in Istanbul, too!

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Glory days

I have no words to describe the complete and utter beauty of a true Norwegian summer. Long, sunny days spent lounging around the various lawns of our friends and family, followed by equally long, cozy evenings spent sitting around the picnic tables and feeding troughs of the same.

Such idyllic summers don’t happen every year in Norway, but when they do decide to make an appearance…

YES. A thousand times… YES.

Enjoy!

No fence is tall enough to keep this boy from his ice cream.

No fence is tall enough to keep this boy from his ice cream.

Per Christian gets his first guitar from Uncle C.

Per Christian gets his first guitar from Uncle C.

The downside of simultaneously having a 2-year-old in the house and train tracks nearby.

The downside of simultaneously having a 2-year-old in the house and train tracks nearby.

Boys... rocks... enough said.

Boys… rocks… enough said.

No, Tante Eline, you press THIS one!

Nei, Tante Eline, you press THIS one!

Farfar introduced his plane-crazy grandson to the world of Merlins (which he lived to regret at 7am every morning)

Farfar introduced his plane-crazy grandson to the world of Merlins (something he came to regret at approximately 7am every morning).

Nothing beats a snooze in the fresh sea air.

Nothing beats a snooze in the fresh sea air.

More boat time with the two uncles.

Norwegian-style driving lessons with the two uncles.

A wonderful day with the animals and rides at Dyrparken, just outside Kristiansand.

We spent a wonderful day with the animals and rides at Dyrparken, just outside Kristiansand.

Look, Momma... I'm adorable!

Look, Momma… I’m adorable! (And no, I do NOT need a hair cut!)

Cheeky bugger learned early how to cut the line for train rides.

Cheeky bugger learned early how to cut the line for train rides.

TRAIN! TRAIN! TRAIN! (Seriously, how can a little person physically generate so much noise?!)

TRAIN! TRAIN! TRAIN! (Seriously, how can a little person physically generate so much noise?!)

Tractor rides came in a close second to train rides.

Tractor rides come in a close second place to train rides (especially if Oliver is on board).

Fevik beach, where we spent our early mornings while the rest of the house was still sleeping

Fevik beach, where Momma and her Noise Machine spent some early mornings.

Cool enough for a long shirt in the morning...

Cool enough for a long shirt at first…

... but quickly warm enough for bathing suits

… but quickly warm enough for bathing suits!

The lovely Norwegian coastline and quiet beach

The lovely Norwegian coastline and quiet local beach.

Typical summer day in Fevik...

Just a typical summer day with our Fevik family…

... and typical Fevik-style entertainment.

… and typical Fevik-style entertainment.

Per Christian continues his auspicious musical education.

Per Christian continues his auspicious musical education.

The annual Fevik White Party begins!

The annual Fevik White Party begins!

The much-adored Uncle Per Fredrik.

The much-adored Uncle Per Fredrik.

Quick! Take a picture while his clothes are still white!

Quick! Snap a picture while his clothes are still white!

Ooops! Too late.

Ooops! Too late.

Thank you to all the friends, family, grandparents, chaperones, drivers and fellow revelers who made this summer holiday so wonderful. We’ve been incredibly blessed to take a slice of Norwegian summer back with us to Gran Canaria… until next year!

For the grandmothers

As I wrote about before, my mother gets a little antsy when too much time passes without photos of her grandson. I expect that my mother-in-law feels the same, but she’s too polite to actually say anything.

So for all the grandmothers out there (and the rest of Per Christian’s fan club), here are some highlights from his world recently. He’s about to celebrate his second birthday on Saturday – we wish you could all be here!

Ski holiday in Austria (Farmor was present, Gran missed out...)

Ski holiday in Austria (Farmor was present, Gran missed out…)

Per Christian's recent obsession with coloring (screaming "TEGNE! TEGNE!" was obviously learned at his barnehagen)

Per Christian’s recent obsession with coloring (screaming “TEGNE! TEGNE!” was obviously learned at his Norwegian barnehagen)

Per Christian's #2 obsession - this little mini stroller (girls probably put dolls in their strollers, our sons rolls balls around instead. Go figure.)

Per Christian’s #2 obsession – this little mini stroller (girls probably put dolls in their strollers, our son rolls balls around in his. Go figure.)

Out walking with Pappa

Out walking with Pappa

We asked Pappa for a new puppy, but he said no (which is only moderatly untrue...)

We asked Pappa for a new puppy, but he said no (which is only moderately untrue…)

Finally playing with the IKEA toy seen at every play area ever invented

Finally playing with the one IKEA toy seen at every play area ever invented

Hiking to Roque Noble

Hiking to Roque Noble

My handsome boys

My handsome boys

Chillin' with Pappa

Chillin’ on the terrace with Pappa

This is the one photograph I one with our son actually looking at the camera

I finally own one photograph with my son actually looking at the camera

Time for another haircut!

Time for another haircut!

Enjoying Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas

Enjoying the Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas

Penny for your thoughts....?

Penny for your thoughts….?

Per Christian ran up and down this beach all morning - the boy has running legs of steel!

Per Christian ran up and down this beach all morning – the boy has running legs of steel!

Momma love

Momma love

Just photos

The Svendsen family is finally – finally! – taking a two-week holiday off the island. We’re heading back to our old Oslo stomping grounds, then on to Bratislava for some much-needed time with dear friends.

We’ll be offline while we travel, so here are some recent photos of our full-fledged Fidel to tide everyone over until our return.

Old enough now to enjoy our neighborhood park…

… and crazy about cars at our local shopping centre:

Braving the heat in the pool at Pappa’s hotel

… and also in the sea:

I hand-on-the-bible promise this was Per Christian’s own idea:

Keepin’ it cool in Gran Canaria:

See you all again in a few weeks!

The sound of silence

We’ve had guests at Casa Svendsen for the past three weeks, and it’s been maaaah-velous! It’s always a pleasure to have friends and family around in Gran Canaria, and this past visit was no exception. Good times, good weather, good food and (too much…) good wine. Now our guests have sadly departed, and the house is eerily quiet again before the next entourage arrives in July.

I’m too exhausted and lazy to actually post anything of substance today, most likely the result of the torturous “Calima” heat wave we’re trying to survive this week. Besides that,  I’m busy dis-organizing all the things we properly organized and placed away over the past week. The house looked great with everything properly in its own place, but I can’t find a damn thing anywhere. So I’m going back to our happy little land of haphazard organization and will just hope for the best.

In lieu of actual substance, here are a few photos of Per Christian and his recent landmark days of excitement:

Hope everyone is staying cool and dry during these hot summer months!

Style by PC

For all us boy mommies out there, you know we have limited clothing options for our miniature men. Baby stores are filled with dresses of all shapes and sizes for the little ladies, but there are usually slim pickin’s for the fellas in our lives.

But I don’t really mind. Because me, I love me some baby boy overalls. Per Christian may haunt me later in life for forcing such style choices upon him, but that’s for future consideration. For right now, it’s hot, hot HOT in Gran Canaria, and my son is riding out our heat wave in the little boy style I love best:

 

*** NOTE : My son has a mysterious shoe fetish. As in… he is obsessed with pulling all the shoes off the shoe rack. All the time, every morning, without fail. Shoes belong on the floor, Mommy, not on the shoe rack. Duh….

Cheerios

I recently recommended Cheerios to a Norwegian friend for her six-month old baby boy, but she didn’t seem to know what they were.

So here’s an explanation for European mommies everywhere who might not be aware of this essential American baby food. Cheerios are popular across the U.S. for keeping children quietly occupied in the car, doctor’s offices and church services:

Happy baby, happy mommy!

That is all.

Still going strong at Casa Svendsen

It’s been a while since I posted as we’ve been busy with stomach flues, visiting friends and general Life. Here’s a pictorial round-up of the past few weeks with the Svendsen family in Gran Canaria:

Per Christian spent a day at the beach:

And rode his new bike:

And started taking his first brave steps:

Mommy & Pappa took our guests to Mogan (is that Bruno’s speedo in the background?):

And Per Christian wore a hat:

We did some more unpacking:

And planted some flowers (thank you Are & Sandra!)

One missing photo is our hosting of a barbeque for 20 people last weekend. There are no photos because – incredibly! – it was raining most of the day. Somebody is laughing at the irony of us not having rain for the six months since we moved here, except for the one day we planned a barbeque!

Now we’re ready for another fabulous visitor from my Peace Corps days coming next week. Let the fun continue!

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:

Avoiding grandma’s stare…

Since I first moved abroad in 1998, I have sometimes unwillingly taken a bit of time in between check-in’s with my family. However, if too much time has passed, I always receive a not-so-subtle message from my mother, requesting that I drop her a line ASAP that (1) I’m still alive, and (2) all my appendages are still intact enough to compose a brief letter home.

I’m expecting any day now to receive a similar message from my mother regarding photos of her grandson. It’ll read something along the lines of:

“It’s been too long, Marguerite, where are you hiding my adorable grandson?
Love, Mom.”

In order to preempt such a message, I hereby present the following recent photos to you all. There aren’t many, but they should reassure parents and grandparents everywhere that items both (1) and (2) above are indeed accurate.

And for those of you expecting some witty remarks more substantial than just photos, my apologies. I’ve been in a bit of a downward-facing funk lately and can’t seem to find the gumption to get anything down on paper. But the winds of change shift on a daily basis here at Casa Svendsen, so hopefully something will push through in the nearest future and get me back on track.

Until then….