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.


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!

Weekend at Bernie’s

I’d had some experience now taking care of Per Christian alone while Pappa P is traveling. And, like I mentioned here and here, it hasn’t always gone smoothly.

However, this most recent weekend was a glorious exception. Pappa was away on business and then a self-invented “while-I’m-in-Europe-I-might-as-well-see-some-football” kind of trip, so I’ve been on my own with our little two-year-old for the last five days. And – miracles upon miracles! – during that entire time, nobody was ill, nothing stopped working, nothing burned down and no body parts were lost.

Miracles, indeed.

I bought myself one bottle of white wine on Wednesday and am only now having my last glass. One bottle for five nights of drinking alone – that’s about normal, right? I don’t even know anymore.

I think this was arguably my first single-parent weekend that went off without a hitch. Enjoyable, even. Per Christian is at such a great exploration age, he loves his cars and trucks and trains and books (as long as they’re about cars and trucks and trains), and I’ve found no better entertainment for my son than a body of water and a big pile of rocks.

It’s parenting in high-gear, folks, and I’m finally catching on.

They’re forecasting a spot of rain for Canaria tomorrow, which I’ll welcome with open arms. Just as long as Pappa’s plane doesn’t get delayed – miracles can only last so long and I’m not taking any chances.

Our new foster dog Kira loves little blond Norwegian boys

Our new foster dog Kira apparently has a thing for  Norwegian boys. Don’t we all?

Saturday morning pj's

Saturday morning pj’s

Destined to be a runner!

Destined to be a runner!

Water. Rocks. Dog. Several minutes in a row of quiet amusement.

Water. Rocks. Dog. Several actual minutes in a row of quiet amusement.

Sunday morning pj's

Sunday morning pj’s

"Helping" mommy with the dishes

“Helping” mommy with the dishes

I don't know why our son looks like a girl here - maybe time for another hair cut?

I don’t know why our son looks like a girl here – maybe time for another hair cut?

New dog, same dog-walking technique...

New dog, but same dog-walking technique…

No day is complete without mommy being suckered into ice cream

No day is complete without mommy being suckered into dishing out some ice cream…

The little things

A friend here recently shared a quote with me:

The greatest thing about being a parent is all the little things your child does everyday that make you smile… the worst thing is not being able to remember them all.

So perfect, and so very, very true.

In an effort to not forget, we’ve put together a somewhat random list of the goofy 2-year-old things that make us laugh these days.

(Note of Disclaimer – I  just read J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which scared the beejeezus out of me about ever having a miserable teenager in the house. I may need to reread this list in 11 years to remember that I didn’t always want to disown my offspring…)

Anyway, The List:

  • Min! Min! – This morning, I took CIMG2594a taste of Per Christian’s oatmeal and he pushed me away saying, “Det er min!” (it’s mine). Yesterday, we visited Pappa at work and all the writing apparatus on his desk were “min, min!” That being said, he’s surprisingly good at sharing, even with The Holy Grail of his life these days (hint – it begins with “ice” and ends with “cream”).
  • My son is a bossypants in multiple languages. If I sit down for even a minute, he’s pushing me off the chair saying, “come on! come on!” If I linger too long with some other parents, he’s out the door yelling “vamos!” at me from the car park. If I read his mind incorrectly and give him the wrong yogurt/fruit/bread/juice/etcetcetc, he says, “nei! denne! denne!” (that one!) while pointing to god-only-knows-what. And heaven help us if we’re Skyping with Gran and Grandad in the U.S. when it’s time for his Curious George cartoons – then he waves wildly at the computer camera and yells, “Byebye! See you!” every 30 seconds until we end the conversation. Our little Fidel is living up to his reputation.
  • My son has a harem of three little girls that he loves from his barnehagen. They are – (in descending levels of infatuation) “Mila!” (aka – Jamila), “Ikke-berg!” (Ingeborg), and “Isa!” (this one he gets right, more or less). If he’s in a grumpy mood in the morning and I need to get him going faster, I just remind him that one of these lovely ladies is awaiting his arrival at the barnehagen (if he’ll just hurry-the-F-up, ahem…). It puts a smile on his face and a skip in his step every time. Men are such simple creatures.
  • Despite his love of the ladies, Per Christian can still CIMG2600hold his own with the big boys. At least he tries. I watch with a mixture of pride and fear whenever he plays with a group of older boys, who are all so much taller and more solid and less fragile that my son. He might not run as fast or climb as high (yet), but he doesn’t ever quit. He loves to chase and be chased and always pumps his arms like he’s just about to cross some imaginary finish line. We used to think the arm-pumping was strange, but now I think it makes him destined to be on Oxford’s Blue Team of something-or-other.
  • Every meal time ends with him saying, “ferdig!” (finished), followed promptly by, “ball! ball!” No matter how much or how little he’s eaten by then, the Mommy feeding window has closed and the meal is over.
  • We have a bit of a clothes fetish going on at the moment. Not a specific type of clothing, just the need for clothes in general. You’d think a young boy being raised in constant sunshine and warm weather would basically live in his diaper or bathing suit. But not our fastidious little man – he demands shirt, pants, socks and shoes. Always. I sense it’s only a matter of time before he starts demanding french-cuff shirts and raiding his Pappa’s cufflink collection. Like father, like son
  • His fussiness about clothing extends IMG_0547(naturally) to his hands. A smudge of morning oatmeal on his little pinky elicits a loud-pitched, “Oh nei!” A bit of yogurt dribbling down his hand? “Oh nei!” A trace of dirt under his nails? “Oh nei!” This attention to detail does not, however, extend to his face. Our kid is the one excessively washing his hands in the sink while his face is happily covered with chocolate ice cream.
  • After months of repetitive ABC singing, our little parrot is starting to catch on. His melody is actually pretty solid, but the letters are somewhat random in their order. There’s nothing quite like waking up at 7am to the sound of your child singing, “ABCFGHK…QMNP….XYZ!” Sing it loud and sing it proud, my son.

There are of course a ton more, and the tragedy is that I can’t remember them all now. What about your own little ones? How will you remember all the daily miracles?

Cutting of the hair

I’ve been known to travel a good, long distance for a haircut. Especially with curly hair, I consider it a worthwhile investment in my own personal happiness to get a class-act cut. Every time I travel to the US, I scope out salon reviews in advance to locate curly-friendly stylists within driving distance of my destination. Last year, over the Christmas holidays, I drove 1.5 hours outside of Orlando to just such a salon. My father was horrified. And I still threaten Pappa P that I’m going to make a special return trip to our wedding site in Amalfi, Italy just to get my hair cut again by the fabulous-o Andrea.

Totally worth it, in my opinion.

Naturally, I’m now subjecting my son to the same level of insanity. I am fiercely protective of my son’s storybook curly locks. My friends, husband and family tease me about it relentlessly. But I don’t care. How can I not be careful when this is what’s at stake:

So not just any hair salon will do for my little one, no sir!

With Pappa out of town, I packed the two of us into the car today and drove 60 kilometers away to this shopping centre in Las Palmas. Now, I realize all you slightly-more-sane people out there think that’s a long way to drive for a kid’s haircut. And you’re probably right. But I’d been searching all over for one of those fun-themed kids’ salons, and I finally struck gold:

Cars and trucks and toys and songs and films…. oh my!

With so many distractions, my typically-restless little boy was completely struck dumb. He sat quietly in his green army truck “salon chair” for the entire ten minutes of the haircut. This is approximately 7 minutes longer than he’s ever sat anywhere since he started walking five months ago.

The result….?

Curly locks still in full force = a happy mommy and a content little boy!

(And let’s be real here folks – the haircut is really all about mommy’s pleasure and actually has very little, if anything, to do with the kid….If you haven’t learned that by now, you’ve been missing out.)

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!

Fashion trend alert!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls….

This fall’s hottest fashion must-have is a pair of brown suede shoes! Here to model the latest styles straight off the Parisian toddler runways is our very own P&P star…

(UPDATE MARCH, 2014: Photos have been removed due to privacy concerns)

Modeling agencies may kindly contact P&P staff directly for any future employment inquiries. Good behavior and actual smiles at the camera cannot be guaranteed at any time.

(Note to concerned grandparents everywhere… we do usually dress our child. But we bought him a new pair of fall shoes and he is 100% head-over-heels bonkers about them. Anytime we open the closet doors, he emits a high-pitched screeching noise while pointing to his new shoes. Even in the midst of getting dressed in the morning…. what’s a mother to do to keep the peace but let her son walk around in his diaper and new shoes?)


Just like Pappa

I seem to remember something from high school psychology class about an Oedipus complex among young boys – how they’re subconsciously in love with their mothers and therefore jealous and vengeful towards their fathers.

My son, apparently, has skipped that lesson. I wrote here about how Per Christian loves his morning bathroom time with Pappa. More recently, he’s started waving bye-bye and giving kisses to Pappa as he leaves the house every morning (kisses are apparently exclusively reserved for Pappa – Mommy gets no such lovin’).

And now, here’s the latest Pappa-pantomine to come into our little one’s head…..

Even more impressive is how Per Christian’s already following Pappa’s lead about where to put the underwear when he’s finished with it…

(NOTE – my husband does actually place his underwear in the laundry basket on a daily basis. But someone’s mischievous little hands have recently started pulling clothes OUT of the basket and spreading them around the house for Mommy to pick up again. Is the father or son to blame here….? You be the judge.)

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….

You should see the other guy….

This morning, I was imagining in my head a conversation between Per Christian and his little friends at the local barnehagen. It went something like this:


Nameless baby at barnehagen : “Dude, you look pretty messed up today. Scrapes and bruises everywhere and – wait – is that a chipped tooth in your mouth?!”

Per Christian : “You bet it is. And you should see the other guy…”


Random mind ramblings aside, it is true that our little warrior now has a two chipped front teeth. He slipped while furiously crawling around the terrace the other day and went tumbling nose-first into the cement floor. All I heard was a resounding “crack!” of something or other, and then lots of heart-breaking tears.

The tears finally dried and the blood was finally all wiped away to reveal a cut on his upper lip and two cracked front teeth. He’s eating normally (“with great gusto” is how he normally eats…), so I’m assuming the injury isn’t painful any longer.

I asked the doctor during a routine appointment what I should do about the teeth, and he just shrugged and laughed. “Get the camera,” he said. “You’re going to have a lot of goofy photos for a while.”

So here’s my attempt at capturing the injury for y’all:

Oh well, what can I say? This kid may be injured, but he’s still way too squirmy to pose for a photo!