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!

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Postpartum

My little blog has been unusually quiet of late, I know this.

I could blame my writing void on the hoards of visitors we’ve shuffled through Casa Svendsen this summer, which would be entirely true. Or I could blame it on a case of writer’s block that even mediocre bloggers like myself seem to feel we’re entitled to on occasion. And that would be true as well. Writing is like exercise or sex – the longer you go without it, the easier it becomes to go without it.

But the truth is, quite lamely, that I’ve just been lazy. And maybe a bit down. Down and lazy, that’s me in a nutshell these days.

The entire Svendsen family loves, loves, loves having visitors and friends and laughter all around us. When it’s there, we’re happy. When it’s gone, we’re sad. When it’s there for the entire summer and then suddenly disappears… we’re inconsolable.

It reminds me of my mental state shortly after Per Christian was born. I was completely overwhelmed by the demands of a tiny, little meatloaf and the end of my former everyday life as I knew it to be. I didn’t even know where to begin. I don’t mean to make light of postpartum depression, it’s an evil and scary monster that I wouldn’t want to ever meet again. But it created in me the same empty feeling – the same inability to get off my ass and move – that I’ve been feeling since our house emptied out last week.

The only remedy to de-tox from the high of having so many visitors (and a hubby on vacation!) constantly around is to slowly inch back into my usual routine and schedule of daily life. All the mundane everyday tasks that were pushed aside now have to be dealt with — exercise, finances, meal planning, language studies, writing, entertaining my son myself since there aren’t any kids around anymore.

I start small and add a little bit more each day until I’m back on track with my “usual” life. And then I start enjoying the little moments that I would have missed with so many other people to look after — walking slowly with Per Christian into town for no reason at all (and marvel at how well our former meatloaf is actually walking!), cooking a down home country (but not guest-worthy) meal of spaghetti and meatballs, curling up in bed with my husband and watching old reruns of The West Wing…

So my strategy is working and I’m slowly coming out of my postpartum departure blues to enjoy life on the island once again. But in the meantime, who wants to book their next holiday at Casa Svendsen???? The guest room is open and I hear the management is very accommodating!

Opening day

There comes a time in every hotelier family’s life when all of a sudden – after weeks or even months of long working hours, late evenings and work-filled weekends – after all that, finally, finally things become very, very good.

(Cue Etta James belting out “At Last”…)

That day for Family Svendsen came June 1st when Pappa Per’s resort in Gran Canaria finally opened its doors and accepted its first guests. Per Christian and I packed our bags and our swim trunks and left the house and all our cares behind. Why yes, we’d love to spend a weekend in this superior oceanfront suite with pool and playground below, thank you very much

One of the perks of marrying someone in the hotel business are weekends away at their hotel. We didn’t even leave our little town of Arguineguin, but it felt like we were on holiday anyway. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all served at your leisure, drinks by the pool or up on the rooftop, someone stopping by to clean your room and empty your diaper trash every morning, endless hours of amusement for active 14-month-olds, jumping from one pool to the next and back again…

And best of all for all us mommies in the audience – a baby monitor that works while you’re sunning by the pool and junior is napping upstairs!!!

Now that’s what I call a holiday.

Below are my rough, completely non-professional photos of the newly-opened Radisson Blu Resort, Gran Canaria. Of course, we’re completely biased in our views since we’re related to the manager and all, but for me and little Per Christian, it was everything we’ve been hoping for – life is good!

Leaving town

Here is a standard sequence of events in the Svendsen household lately:

  1. Per Christian goes to barnehagen.
  2. Per Christian plays and cuddles with lots of germ-y babies.
  3. Per Christian brings germs home to Mommy & Pappa.
  4. Per Christian gets sick.
  5. Mommy gets sick.
  6. Pappa gets sick.

So, yep, fun times.

Prosecco & Pampers has been a bit more quiet than usual while this cycle plays itself out. Luckily for us, by the time we reach number six, it’s a new week and Per Christian goes back to barnehagen, thereby beginning the cycle at number one all over again.

It seems like as good a time as any to get out of Dodge, so I’m splitting town this weekend for an all-girls Mommy-palooza gathering in Amsterdam. Just four old married ladies, sans hubbies and sans babies, spending a few precious days to ourselves away from home. It’ll be my first weekend away since Per Christian was born 13 months ago, so I’m thinking it’s long overdue.

I’ve got friends waiting and a sexy new dress packed in my luggage – and the fridge is stocked with beer and frozen pizza for Pappa.

Amsterdam, here I come!

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!