Friday, January 28, 2011

The Laundry Room

As we continue the tour around our new house, let me welcome you to our small laundry room which is downstairs. Although it is quite tiny, it is able to fit a washer, dryer, sink, floor drain and a storage area.

As a housewife with a small baby, the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms are probably the most important areas of the house to me. We are using cloth diapers on Mary so I was excited and a bit nervous to try out our new laundry machine. 

As you can see, I did mange to get the laundry machine to work and I think I have sort of figured out the programs. I was unable to find a manual for it, although I did look online in addition to the cabinets around the house.

One thing that surprised me about cloth diapering was how passionate cloth diaper users are about various cleaning methods. If you look online, there are many different suggestions about the best detergent to use, the right temperature, the preferred cycle, which machines work well, how to add more water to make sure your diapers get fully rinsed... it goes on and on.

My method at home was to do a cold water wash with detergent to get the stains out and then to do a hot water wash with non-chlorine bleach to sanitize. After that I would run them through one more time with vinegar as a fabric softener (all I really needed was a rinse and spin cycle but I couldn't figure out how to get my washer to do that). Here I've opted out of the vinegar rinse cycle and instead stick with my original two. So far Mary hasn't had any rashes and the diapers look very clean when they come out. Yay!

Ok, that was probably way more than you wanted to know about washing diapers! Moving on to the dryer...

I was able to find a manual for the dryer in one of the kitchen cabinets and, as I flipped through it, I was surprised to note how charming our dryer is.

She appears to have quite a sweet disposition along with some fairly dreamy eyes. Unfortunately, she doesn't actually work very well. My guess is that she is a bit past her prime. Although I was able to get her to turn on and run some cycles, the diapers come out just about as damp as when they went in. Even after 2 hours of drying time.

And I had such high hopes for her!

So now I have resorted to air drying the cloth diapers as well as the rest of our clothes. Thank goodness there are lots of drying racks!

One other interesting thing about the laundry room is that there is a big drain on the floor (similar to one you might find in a restaurant kitchen in the states). This allows the water to drain out to the sewer in case there is ever a bad leak. Norwegians are very concerned about flooding and these big floor drains can also be found in the bathroom. It seems like a very good idea to me! I'll post pictures of the bathroom one a little later. 

And now I'd better go hang up some laundry while Mary is asleep! 


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bouquets in My Kitchen

The other day when we went to the local grocery store Woodley surprised me with a lovely bouquet of roses on our way out! He said he was proud of me for doing such a good job transitioning over to life in Oslo. They are so lovely and have been brightening up our dining room table for several days already. 

On a separate trip to the smaller grocery in our neighborhood I picked up some lettuce for our sandwiches and salads. I was surprised to find that the lettuce came with it's own little pot of soil and was actually still alive! It is so cute and reminds me of a bouquet as well. After watering it and placing it in the windowsill it feels almost like we have a little garden. 

I noticed that some of the side leaves had already started to wilt so I'm guessing this type of lettuce really needs to stay in the soil as long as possible to stay fresh and crisp. How smart for them to sell it that way! It reminded me of eating fresh lettuce from my friend Tory's garden last summer. Sadly it's not a very big head of lettuce so I think it's life on my windowsill will only last for a few days. It is so nice to be able to pluck leaves off of it though. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

My New Kitchen

As we are starting to get settled into our new house I thought I would post pictures of it. So far I've only managed to capture decent photos of the kitchen. It has a very nice layout and so far I've really enjoyed cooking in it. (I've now made 3 dinners!) Moving from left to right we have a refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, range, and microwave. I love the hardwood floors but we added the green mat for Mary to play on (on loan from Woodley's advisor). It is very nice and cushy and works perfectly since she is now mastering the fine art of balancing while sitting up.  

I especially like the refrigerator. It is very tall and narrow with lots of short shelves. I think it would be possible to store quite a bit of food in it, although I don't think I'd be able to reach anything on the back of the top shelves. 

The freezer also has a great design. I love that it is on the bottom and that it has four drawers which makes it really easy to organize the frozen food. 

One of the things our pre-furnished kitchen is missing though is dish towels. We've looked for them at two different grocery stores and so far haven't been able to find any, although we have purchased several things that we thought might work. As you can see below, we have quite a collection of "klut" or cloths. The one on the bottom was the first one we purchased. It turns out it is not very absorbent and is actually supposed to be used for cleaning the floor. We also have "universalklut" (multipurpose cloths), "parkettklut" (wooden cloths), and "fonsterduk" (which I can't find a translation for). Most of them appear to be designed to clean wooden floors (a good thing to have since we have a lot of wooden floors) and none of them are at all absorbent or good for use as dish towels. 

I think we'll now give up on trying to find kitchen towels at the grocery stores and we'll try Ikea next weekend. Mary really enjoyed playing with the cloths so at least they were good for something. 

Today I put Mary in the little jacket/cardigan that I sewed for her while I was pregnant. It fits her perfectly and she looks so adorable in it! It was the only girl item I managed to finish sewing so I'm glad I got around to putting her in it before she outgrew it. 

It might be even better if I get around to adding a button to fasten it in the front. 

And to finish up, a picture of one of our new favorite evening activities - skyping with friends and family back home!  

And now I'm heading to bed for what I hope will be a more peaceful night than last night was. Yesterday Mary slept pretty well from 6 pm to midnight (only waking up every 2 hours) and then woke up every 30 to 60 minutes from midnight through 5:45 am when we finally gave up trying to get her back to sleep. Where oh where did the days go when she slept straight for 6 hours at a stretch?! Is it teething? The new location? The time change? We are dedicatedly reading our "No Cry Sleep Solution" book and dreaming of longer stretches of sleep. Perhaps tonight will be the night! (I can always hope...)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baby Mary

It's evening again here in Oslo and, after a long day out and about in the city, both Mary and Woodley have crashed early (7pm). We did manage to make it to church and enjoyed the English service very much. After that we spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with Woodley's advisor and his family. It was a wonderful snowy day and I just wish I had brought my camera along with me. 

Since I don't have any photos from today to share, I thought I would post a few of my favorite photos of Mary. Below is a brief recap of our past five months with her. 

Here I am around the middle of August, just 2 days before Mary was born. She arrived 10 days early so when this photo was taken I had no idea that my pregnancy would be over so soon. I thought I had weeks and weeks left to go. Judging from how large I was, it's probably a good thing she made an early appearance. 

The day before Mary was born was the first day of the Northwest Washington Fair. All through my pregnancy I planned to go to the fair and I'm so glad we fit it in before Mary arrived. Here I am less than 24 hours before she was born at the demolition derby! It was hot, hot, hot and I was pretty uncomfortable. I actually started timing contractions during the derby but since they were light I don't consider my labor to have really started until around 10:30 that evening. Looking back at the photos now, it's hard to believe how big I was! 

Hooray! After 11 hours of labor Mary was born at our home in Washington. It all went just perfectly and although labor was super painful, I couldn't have had a more wonderful birth experience. I was so thrilled when I found out she was a girl! Here's one of our first family shots. 

Mary Elizabeth was born at 9:26 am on August 17th, 2010. She was 19.5 inches long and weighed 7 pounds exactly.

About a month old

1.5 Months

2 Months

During her second month she really started smiling and we got some adorable photos!

Turning 3 months old

Mary's First Thanksgiving 

Enjoying the sunshine in California over Christmas (4 months)

Waving to her fans. :)

Wondering at the fish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on New Years Eve

Sporting her fuzzy hat that the Norwegian mama commented on a few days ago. It's so perfect for the weather here!

Tired girl

Expert thumb sucker 

Back at home in Washington and almost 5 months old. She loves standing up these days!

She is such a delight and she seems to get cuter each day. Being a parent really is a wonderfully fun job despite all the hard work. :)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Go' Morgen

It's now our third full day in Oslo and I can't say we've made much progress towards adjusting to the time change. We've decided on a new bedtime routine for Mary and we put it into place each evening - bath, p.j.s, goodnight songs, nursing, sleep - but she's still awake much of the night and it is oh so tempting to sleep in with her in the morning (when her body is finally really ready to sleep). Yesterday we managed to get up by 11:30 but today she and I slept in until 2:30pm. Mary has been waking up every 1 to 2 hours during the night for the past several weeks and since she has been sleeping for longer stretches (2 to 3 hours) in the mornings since we have arrived, I just can't pass up the opportunity to get a bit more sleep.

We do keep trying to get up earlier though. Each morning around 7am we gather at our new dining room table to eat our breakfast of Go' Morgen together. Go' Morgen is a delicious yogurt and muesli combo available in Norway. It comes with it's own tiny plastic spoon and a hearty mix of muesli. 

After peeling off the plastic cover and assembling the spoon you bend the container along the perforated line to dump the muesli into the yogurt. Delicious! This morning I had the melon and passionfruit flavor which was quite good. 

I contemplated waiting until daylight to get photos of the Go' Morgen with better lighting but I figured that that would be much less authentic. These days the sun rises around 9 am (I have yet to be awake at that hour) and sets at 4 pm. So our 7 am Go' Morgen fests always take place with artificial lighting.

Tomorrow will be our first Sunday in Oslo and we are excited to visit The American Lutheran Church of Oslo. To get there we will need to walk a bit and then take the T-Banen (Oslo's metro service) and then walk some more. Thankfully the service starts at 11 am so we won't have to wake up too early. God has been so good to us on our travels and everything has gone much more smoothly than we anticipated. It will be exciting to experience a church service in a new country with believers from around the world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hello from Oslo!

Hello! I guess I haven't posted for quite awhile and quite a bit has happened to our family since my last posting. The biggest events are that we had our baby last August. A girl! We named her Mary Elizabeth and she is now 5 months old. And the other is that we moved to Norway yesterday. My husband will be a student at the university in Oslo and Mary and I will be staying home and learning about Norwegian culture (and hopefully how to knit really well).

Above is a picture of the northern lights that we saw from the airplane on our way to Oslo. It was my first time seeing the northern lights despite having gone to Alaska to visit my grandparents for Christmas many times. Thankfully our trip to Norway went very well and Mary did a great job. We flew from Seattle to Iceland (7 hour flight) and Iceland to Norway (2.5 hour flight).

Unfortunately I'm having a bit of trouble posting photos so I'll have to look into that. As soon as I get it figured out I'll post a photo of Mary.

We didn't do much besides sleep today but since it was our first full day in Oslo we didn't want to push ourselves too much. When we finally got up around 2pm, we bundled up and walked down to the local grocery store where we picked up some essentials. I was excited to see a good selection of vegetables in the small produce department (including shallots and leeks). When we came out of the shop a Norwegian mother with a small baby stopped us a told us how much she liked Mary's winter hat and asked where we got it. We had to tell her it was from Gap in the U.S. I was pretty excited that Mary's winter fashions were approved of.

I'm happy to be back and hope to post a bit more frequently than once every 6 months. :)