Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elliot's Turns 3! (with Hand, Foot, Mouth)

In Granada, Nicaragua for her 3rd B-day!

Elliot turned three on October 17th, while we were still in Nicaragua. We had discussed, in her presence, that we would pretend her birthday was the 18th because we were traveling on the 17th and it wouldn't be that fun of a day. So, the morning of the 17th we are leaving the hotel and I say, "oooooh, Elliot, your birthday is tomorrow!" and her response is, "no it's not! It's TODAY!' I guess you can't trick a 3 year old. So we celebrated with chocolate, a swim, manicure/pedicures at the Hotel Spa Granada, a visit to an active Volcano, and a trip across the boarder. It was a pretty great b-day for her!

The next day we were going to have a big party, but it got cancelled because she had a pretty bad case of Hand, Foot, Mouth. Her bestesst friend and the family still had a party though since we all had the illness comin' for us anyway. It was a wonderful night celebrating a WONDERFUL little girl!

  1. She laughs a lot.
  2. She is very sensitive and caring. She loves to share.
  3. She is extremely tough...nick named SCARFACE :)
  4. She gives the best hugs.
  5. She will always dance!
  6. When she talks it lights up a room, ESPECIALLY when she talks in spanish.
  7. She loves to help out in the kitchen, chopping, washing, and cooking.
  8. She will go anywhere with me. She loves to be out and about.
  9. She can swim like a champion!
  10. She is just herself! A funny, down to earth, loving, fantastic, chunky, spunky, wild, crazy, wonderful little nugget!

Enjoying the handmade chocolate!

Mani Pedi time!

And then we chilled poolside.

Not feeling her best, but it was still a great party! (see if you can count her scars!)

Cashier's Table or mini kitchen also crafted with love by Travis.! THANK YOU!!!!!
Beautiful wood crafted gifts made by her best friends daddy, Travis.

And we wonder why we ALL got HANDFOOTMOUTH?!

Elliot with her Bestie, Ruby.

Oh, how the time flies....

Rainbow themed and on the healthier side...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rainy Season Craft Days and Pajamas

Rainy season is getting a little old, but thanks to the little libraria in Huacas we can still have craft day! This one was put on by our good friend Amy Jacobs. Another beautiful project to adorn my house! Brooklyn is pictured here in her favorite clothes, lol, pajamas!
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Monkeys on the Way to School

We love seeing monkeys on the way to school! They are out in full force right now, on campus, around our neighborhood, and in the trees by the beach.
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Science Report on the Frog - He Did it with ZERO help from mom and dad!

"Helping out, stopping the polution could bring fungus disease back and kill more frogs. Detailed research needs to be done to determine what will happen to the frogs when polution is gone. As of yet there is no captive breading progra. In the future one should be set up. This will bring the number of frogs back up. What can we do? Try to reduce emmissions, to prevent global warming further developing. Let people know about the current situation of the frog. Make the world aware!"

- Part of a sience report on the frog :)
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Old School Memory

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My brother Owen loves to photo shop! LOL Brody was only a few weeks old. I look so tired! I miss that couch. Thanks Owen for this awesome memory!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Goodbye Monster - TEAR!

Our brave little doggy. So silly, jumping and barking at the fan, playing soccer with big rocks, chasing skunks. You were always so stinky and you barely had any teeth left! You barked at everything and made us feel so safe. You were scary to everyone but us. It was your obsession with chasing little creatures that got the best of you in the end. Those darn poisonous toads, too much even for the mighty. We miss your love. We miss you Monster! We miss you so much!

A Day in Brooklyn's Class

Brooklyn is in the cutest 1st grade class! I love the teacher and I love being in the adorable classroom with all the good energy of these little minds. This was an especially fun day because they were studying the world map and I got to make a cake with my new fondant recipe that rocks! Being a mom can be pretty darn fun!

I even learned a little about world geography while carving out the map, it was pretty tricky with the islands. So fun!

1 stick butter
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
6 cups powdered sugar
A dash of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Mix well. If not the consistency wanted, add more powdered sugar a half cup at a time (should be texture of play do). Roll out on a powdered surface till thickness wanted. Then lay over cake. If you want colored fondant add a dash of food coloring and knead.

Submitted by: Bridger Larsen

Totally works!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Turtle Traffic - The Mass Arribada

No Flash Photography, but supposedly red lights don't offend them in their efforts to lay over 100 ping pong size eggs. Thanks to our guide and her red light, we were able to catch this one shot!

This is an experience unlike any other! Arribada is Spanish for arrival, and these sea turtles arrive by the thousands! They arrive during the last quarter of the full moon cycle, and for 3 nights the turtle mommies come ashore to lay their eggs on this single stretch of beach called Ostional. The eggs stay nested under the sand for about 45 days and then, out pop baby turtles. From there they have to make the treacherous journey to the sea. Not all the make it to hatching. In fact, the first two nights the sea turtles lay their eggs, the locals of Ostional LEGALLY harvest the eggs. This is because, after much research, scientists discovered that the first two rounds of eggs didn't survive because other turtles were destroying the nests while digging to lay their own eggs. The income created from harvesting these eggs supports the local economy, and in turn they conserve the beaches and protect the third night of egg laying from illegal poaching, scavenging animals, and tourists. They are vigilant in their query to protect the turtles, so much so, we weren't even aloud to take flash photography. Surprisingly, the turtles aren't bothered by our presence, or even our touch!

If you can believe it, 4X4 and dirt bikes drive across this rinky-dink bridge! As you can see the river below is quite impassible. Later that evening on our way back we got to watch a tractor pull out a car that thought they could make it through. Whhhhhhaaaaaat were they thinking?! Unless your car turns into a submarine, don't try that at home!

Getting down to Ostional was half the battle for us. This grand event happens throughout the year, but the most turtle traffic occurs in the months of August through October. The rain may usher in the turtles, but it also causes rushing rivers to become completely impassible. We took the long way and left right after school. The stars alined for us and luckily we made it just before dark and in time to see the Arribada in full force! It is estimated about one thousand came ashore for that night, and at one point they had no where to go except over our feet! They were beautiful creatures, so hard at work to perpetuate their posterity. We were all thrilled to see it!

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The journey home was not so lucky for us. We stopped for dinner and before we could even order, Elliot slipped and hit her head on the corner of an iron railing. She fell hard and split her forehead pretty good, enough to cause a geyser of blood from her forehead and send me into a complete panic. It's really quite embarrassing, my reaction, and at one point I might even have yelled, "somebody call a dr." She did need stitches, but we weren't able to get her medical attention that night (big surprise here), and by the next day a butterfly bandage did the trick.

Within minutes of being home from her check-up at the Dr.'s office, to make sure everything was fine, she fell down and smacked her goose egg in the EXACT same spot! Her forehead tripled in size, she had swelling between her eyes, and the bruising that ensued for the following week gave her two fully black eyes. She's just about all recovered now, the last of the purple under her eyes is barely visible for the first time today. It was a 2 + week recovery all in all, but I think even she would say it was worth it just to see those turtles!

Little Nugget Friends

Ruby and Elliot. Hillarious together! They both have a passion for food, sunshine, singing, and full out play time. We share play dates every Tuesday and Thursday. You'll never guess Elliot's favorite days of the week ;)

The love to eat!

Window Art pens making face art. So cute!

Swimming time!

Red and Blue go together like Ruby and Elliot. So sweeeeet.

Wow! Fun paper bracelets. Only in Costa Rica, ha.

Decorating rainbow cookies on our make-believe cooking show.

Nothing better than beach time...

Ruffle Muffins

Princess Lolly Pop with Princess Helvecta. Love the makeup RU!

Elliot's 3rd b-day bash. It was hampered by Elliot's horrific case of Hand Foot Mouth. When you have a best buddy, they're gonna get sick anyway, so they are by your side through thick and thin.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Earth Shake

“M 5.1 5.5 2011/07/23 13:54 Depth 25.0 km COSTA RICA 07:54:19 AM at epicenter”

No Biggie - But I my first thought was, "thank goodness Tom just got back from PriceMart and we have a start on our food storage." Seriously. A little more motivation to get it stocked up with all of life's necessities in a natural disaster. That is, if we aren't under water ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our Little Angel Elliot Lives On!

What happens when you call 911 in Costa Rica? In our case, nothing. In response to my husbands plea, "We need an ambulance, my daughter isn't breathing," was, "The road to Surf Side is closed, so we'll have a dr. call you back in a few minutes." Lesson learned - We are our best emergency response. My friend and I are going to be hosting a First-Aid class at Country Day School in the fall so that I can be better prepared, with knowledge and resources.

This is the story as I recounted it the afternoon after it happened...

"Yesterday Elle got a little congested and she seemed to be developing a cough. We thought we would watch it for one day before taking her to the dr., as they seem to be even less informative here than they are in the states...i.e., "it's a virus so we can't give you an antibiotic. You can give her some cough medicine to ease it and run a vaporizer in her room, etc., etc." We also got 8inches of rain in less than 8 hours, bringing the total to 47 inches in 3 days!!!. It seemed as if the sky was a faucet running on full blast. Mudslides, falling trees, and bridges were giving way because the earth was so wet and heavy.

We had some friends over for dinner. They are moving soon, and at 5pm without ANY dinner planned, I just called her and said, "you have to come over and have dinner with us before you move!" We discussed Elli's cough during dinner and how it seemed to be getting worse. She went home to look for a nebulizer and steroids, but could only find the medicine. I thought we could make it through the night, no problem, until the road cleared and we could go to the dr. in the morning. When they left at 8:45pm we had a tree down in our driveway and a friend called to say the only road out of our town had a mudslide across it. I was thinking the rain was so beautiful, and all the while it was wreaking havoc. We got our kids to bed and settled in for some grown up time with a movie.

At 9:30pm I heard Elle wheezing. I ran into her room to see she had panic stricken across her face. She was kneeling up and flailing with her arms out in front of her as if she was actually trying to grab the air with her fists. She could get out a short wail of "owee" as she grabbed her throat. That was the last sound I heard from her for a few minutes. Between her bedroom and the living room, which is only a few short steps, she had turned ghostly white and her ribs and throat were laboring for breathe with no success at all. I yelled at Tom that she wasn't breathing. He said we needed to put her in the bathroom and steam it up -
911 would have been my first reaction had we been in the States, but here the turn around is so long we just had to get her some air first. By the time the shower was running her body was all white and starting to turn a shade of white I can't describe, her lips were purple, her head was thrown back, and her eyes were rolling into the back of her head. Sheer panic at that point for both Tom and I.

Not sure what happened for the next few seconds, but somehow, she was in the shower with Tom fully clothed and I had rushed out the door to call my neighbor. I know that sounds so weird not to call emergency, but I knew the road was out and I had to get her to breathe. I called my friend that had been visiting that night, and she came straight over with some nebulizer steroids, even though she had no nebulizer. While I waited for her to arrive I went back to the shower to see the purple had faded back to white and she was able to cry again. I wrapped her in a towel and went into the living room to call a local dr. and let in my neighbor who had by then arrived.

I can't even recall the conversation with the dr. because Elliot stopped breathing again. We got the stove running with boiling water to which we added the steroids. We stood in the cold of the freezer (because we were told it shocks the airways to breathing.) We had about 5 cycles of this (stop breathing - stand over boiling water - stand in freezer - start breathing again - back to sleep.) In the meantime, Tom DID call 911. Of course, as we anticipated, there was nothing they could do because the road was out.

Out of desperation, even though it was so late, he called Dan Clegg who was a great strength to him. Tom was crying to him as he explained the situation. On about the 4th cycle of thinking she might suffocate (although after the steroid steam none were as bad as the first fit) Tom finally got a hold of an emergency dr. about 20 minutes from our house. He said for Tom to drive his Motor Bike (they are good for something!) down the beach to pick him up and he would come over with the nebulizer and a shot of steroids. Tom went out and I finally felt some hope and relief. That hope slipped away when he came back only 10 minutes later because even the beach was impassible. Little trickles had become rivers and there was no way he could make it. We were stuck with our little breathless Elli and prayer. Of course we had been praying all along! I just kept telling her that Jesus needed her to stay with us because we all love her and need her so much. She vomited between her fits, I think her abdomen was just that strained from trying to breathe. It was thick and I had to pull it out of her mouth with my finger to keep her from choking on that. Once we figured there was no help besides God and us we had the idea to boil some of the liquid steroid in a table spoon and have her breathe that directly. It worked! The steroid helped the swelling in her airways go down enough that she could breathe with great effort. It also made her cheeks turn all rosy and she had sparkles still stuck to her face from the princess dress up earlier in the day. She looked like an angel! After 15 minutes she woke up and smiled (12:45am at this point.) She said between her still labored gasps for air, "mommy - my - hair - long - like - yours?!" I was so relieved and filled with immeasurable love and gratitude for her. She grabbed my cheeks and looked at me with eyes of someone who knows that living is a gift, "mommy - (gasp) - I -(gasp) love (gasp)- you." We talked and cuddled until 3am and she finally fell into a settled sleep. She still hadto sleep sitting up because her breathing was very much still labored, but she was getting it.

In the morning when the road was clear, we took her to a highly recommended dr. When she tested her oxygen levels, even at that point when we thought we were out of the dark, they were still only at 92 (in a hospital 90 on a child will trigger an alarm) 98 is normal. The dr. administered a shot and two 20 minute doses of steroid through a nebulizer (mask over the face,) in addition to an oral steroid. By the end of a 2 hour session (with no waiting time as we were her only patients in the office) her oxygen levels were back up to 98 and she could breathe again. She is fine now and going strong, normal Elle!

I believe that the steroid my friend brought over saved Elli's little life! Had she not come over for dinner, I don't think I would have ever thought to call her for help. I don't think she could have made it all the way through the night struggling for breathe like she had been with all her might. It was as tender as a tender mercy from the Lord ever is. He is so good. She is with us. We are grateful! What a happy, strong little girl.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Stand All Amazed

I have been a little down for the last few days. Baggage. Lots and lots of baggage. The kind of baggage that is so heavy it breaks brand new luggage (attempting to bring workout equipment back to Costa Rica.) The kind of baggage that gets left behind and lost when Customs searches your bag and fails to close it back up. The baggage you have to clean and sort through when you move, for the 6th time in two years. Even with all that moving I still end up with THE PILE. You know that stupid pile, when you get to the end. There is always a shoe box worth of stuff that is just too difficult to manage and it finds a home in the ' junk drawer.' Today, as I finish unpacking my last box, I have no junk drawer. I got rid of the pile all the way to the last broken crayon.
Perhaps it is all this physical baggage I have been dealing with over the last week, or it could be the spiritual renewal I received going through an extrordinary experience with a family member last week that has caused me to reflect, but I have found myself running inventory of my emotional baggage. I decided to visit my spiritual/emotional junk drawer. The sad or negative energy that I have not been able to let go of for some reason or another and instead made a little PILE to store away in a junk drawer in my heart. I have to admit, it has been a bit painful and has made me extremely cranky.
There is one particular experience in my personal junk drawer that I have gotten out many times over the years. I have looked at it, relived it, prayed over it and still have not been able to find a place to put it, so it went back into the drawer in my heart. The spiritual experience I shared with my family member last week gave me the courage to look at it, hopefully, once and for all. I was ready to receive and give forgiveness completely so that the experience could come full circle, transforming into a process that has helped me learn and grow. The very next day I received a letter from a friend offering words about the experience that were like rain after a long droubt. It was love from a friend, and love from God. Heavenly Father answered my prayers. Of course for the process to be complete I am going to send off a letter too, one that I have written many times over but never sent. He is so acutely aware of us, it is almost unbelievable. The words come to my mind, "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Confused at the grace that so freely he offers me...."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Norway In A Nutshell

The handsome couple and the best hosts ever. Bob knew everything there was to see and do, so we didn't miss a beat! Debbie took good care of us and made sure our tummies were always full, if it wasn't for her, I may have passed out waiting for my carrot sandwich.

Many movies, books, and naps later, we finally arrive in Norway happy to see Bob and Debbie!

Our very first stop to the glass factory lends itself to some wonderful, cuddly moments.

Happy Reunion!
First night out on the town in Oslo.

The cold was quite a shock to my system!

Just the two of us for over a week. I was nervous, but it was amazing for Tom and I AND the kids, thanks to the crew of wonderful people back home looking after them!

Norway in a nutshell; I was going to give it a try but it is very much impossible! Even for the sake of blogging there were just too many great pics and experiences to leave out. So, I've subdivided it into the best moments to keep for our blog and blog book to follow. Let's begin with....


The Oslo Pass – So You Can See it…all? 24 hours of museums, forts, parks, castles, gondolas and tricks. If you don’t eat, sleep, and definitely don’t sit down, you might just see 1/10th of what Oslo has to offer. Good thing it doesn't get dark.

Frogner Park - 80 acres of splendid park adorned with 212 bronze and granite sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland (1869 - 1943), and thereby also known as Vigeland Sculpture Park. The artists messages are simple and beautiful, as he demonstrates the human condition from birth to death in its many forms. STUNNING.

This famous statue, The Angry Boy (Sinnataggen), has become a representation of the city of Oslo. Look familiar to any of you mamas out there?

There are hundreds of statues lining the walkways of the park, but this one was a particular favorite of mine, it's just so close to home. In the background you can see the mama holding her child in the air. Breathtaking, happy reminders of our purpose here all over the park.

In my mind this statue represents the people of Oslo always looking upwards to the sky for some sunshine! It's few and far between, but the rays are well received when they finally get through to these folks!

Feeling the love! Sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, abstract and often gloomy. Gustav Vigeland created his statues so there was no room for misinterpretation. His messages were clear, beautiful, and often playful as he depicted many overlooked human conditions from new life, to the end of our journey and all that time in between.

We enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch while the sun peaked through. Ahead of us is 'The Fountain', which took Vigeland from 1906 to 1947 to complete. It depicts giant trees cradling infants and skeletons symbolizing from "death comes new life."

The center statue rising is the Monolith. It is 46ft tall and is made from one single granite slab that took 14 years and 3 artists to carve from the original clay model made by Vigeland himself. It is a figure of 121 human figures embracing and reaching together towards the divine. The message of unity and love is clear and beautiful, " together we achieve salvation."

Surrounding the Monolith is a circle of 36 sculpture groups embodying Vigeland's ever present message, " the circle of life."

Holmenkollen - World's most modern ski jump and museum celebrating Norway's long enthusiasm for the sport. Quite the view from up there, and we didn't even make it all the way to the top!

The Viking Museum - An unexpected treat. A culture where women were practically worshiped? Now who's not lovin' that!

A real life Viking ship unearthed! Norway's museum boasts the three best preserved ships of all time (the Oseberg, Gokstad, and Tune.) Didn't look very comfy inside, but it worked for them I guess. I gathered they were a crew of pretty tough people. They also used the ships as coffins, mostly for royalty, placing there revered loved one within the ship as well as all the riches, belongings, food, and animals they would need for their '"journey into the next life." THAT'S WHY we need a two year supply of food storage, it takes a long time to get to heaven by boat!

A few examples of their housing situations. Comfortable enough, but definitely no Hilton.

Lovin' the grassy roofs, Norway still has that going on today.

The Kon-Tiki Museum - In order for Bob's bragging rights of his photo with Thor Heyerdahl in the Ensign to be truly solidified, we just couldn't miss this stop. Tom was sick and we were all tired, but it was worth it! Thor Heyerdahl (1914 - 2002) to prove that early travel on balsa rafts was possible using only the currents. He finally succeeded crossing the Pacific Ocean in his reed boat, the Kon-Tiki in 1947, departing from Peru and landing 4,300 miles and 101 days later in Polynesia. "He proved that early man had mastered sailing before the saddle and wheel were invented."

One could truly spend a day in the museum admiring Thor's work represented there. It inspires me to think of how much humanity is capable if we set our minds to it!

Break time -

Taking a moment to rest our very tired feet in the bookstore after 24 hours of walking and sightseeing! Take note of Debbie's scarf, it is one of many she has acquired during her time in Norway. At the time her count was up to 5 or so, I wonder how many she's got now? Still 5 if Bob has anything to do with it!

In order to recover from the seriously delish choclate, buttery, doughy goodness, we HAD to get back to walking. yum, yum!

And....back to walking!

Gondolas and Hiking - We went straight up a mountain side to gather some breathtaking views and some really wonderful hiking. The fog rolled in and out while we were at the top, but we managed to hike around without getting lost and took in the sights of the wonderfully isolated cabins on the mountain lakes and streams above the city.

Castles, Forts, & Music, oh my! - I don't think I was the only one who was a little delirious at this stage of our sightseeing tour. The last few hour of the Oslo pass is a bit of a blur for me, consisting of the Viking night who was buried in the gondola, with a museum, under City Hall....Here are some shots of some magical moments that I can't quite place.

A welcomed opportunity to sit and listen to the orchestra rehearse. It was such a wonderful setting, highlighted by some classical music.

Beautiful Tole Art displayed on antique furniture. This museum depicted the progression of art and furniture in the home. Decorative paint started appearing on walls and furniture historically in homes once the wood burning stove allowed for better ventilation and less soot.

This is the museum's courtyard where the tole art was on display. We also enjoyed the random, but interesting, history of the knife and fork.

We stopped by city hall to see the inside, adorned with murals of Norweigan cultural history, but found the outside just as interesting. This darling family, dressed in their traditional dresses called Bunads, were there to bless their child. Many other families were there for the same purpose, and they were all dressed up in their Bunad best!

Norway's Resistance Museum - We all entered a little tired as this was one of our last stops. After a lot of reading and even a few tears on my part, we left feeling overwhelmed and grateful for the effort the small country of Norway put into the resistance. They were small in size and numbers, but great in perserverance and determination. Now I know where Bob gets it.

You can't see it that well, but this sign is over the door when you leave. It states, "Five years of occupation at end." The intensity of these words is lost in a single photo, but after feeling their struggle, if only for a short while, it brought tears to my eyes.

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They did not give up, and they would not give in. They stood for what was right, even through the bitterness of work camps, unemployment, and separation from their loved ones. My favorite example of their pride in truthfulness; 500 teachers refused to teach the Nazi curriculum. "We cannot in good conscious teach what we know to be unconscionable before God." Every last teacher was shipped to a work camp, they would not back down. Impressive to say the least. Truly one of my personal favorite moments of the whole trip.

Next Up - Tunnels, chocolate, Bergen, and more....

Part 2 - Bergen
Where quaint is an understatement.

Notice the lovely summer weather? 18 hours of sunshine doesn't make up for the 18 hours of 'sunshine'!

One of our favorite things about Bergen is the sea food and market on the harbor. One thing we didn't like, is for the same price you could feed a family for a week in Costa Rica. One plate of seafood pictured above = $50.

Debbie sampling whale....

Debbie wondering why she sampled whale.

Sitting down to freshly smoked salmon at the market.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate chocolate. Every time we stopped for treats it was such a drag. ;)

A little street shopping. Tom totally should have bought this, 5th grade would have gotten a kick out of it.

Day Trip from Bergen; Voss, Flom, and the Naeroyfjorden

We took a cruise on the Naeroyfjorden, the narrowest Fjord in the world.

The views were breathtaking 360 degrees and a hundred different shades of green. We were lucky to have a nice sunny day for the experience.

We took a minute on the cruise to have a quick lunch, which happens also to be the name of our candy bar of choice - KVIKK LUNSJ

The narrowest fjord in the world.

And I'm enjoying my $10 cup o noodle. I was unaware that in Norway they use gold flakes as flavor enhancers as opposed to MSG. You can totally taste the difference.

Norway is a land of many water falls.

At the narrowest part of the fjord, these two ships could pass side by side, with the land as close on our side as it was on theirs.

There were several small villages on the hillsides that were only accessible by boat. That's Pura Vida.

Debbie is embracing the local fashion by working on her scarf collection. Bob, undaunted by the price of food because he is satisfied with only one meal a day, is worried that the scarf collection will soon be taking over the mission budget.

On the way home from Bergen we stopped in Flam. We had some sunshine and actually saw someone take a dip. They must have been visiting from the North Pole. Tom was skipping rocks and his record was 16.

Chinese food in Norway.

Bergen 'Hop On Hop Off' City Bus

Great Grandma Burton's Home in Bergen. She left Norway as a young girl.

Up the gondola in Bergen.

View from the top.

2 Great Things About Norway:

1 – The major source of nutrition on our trip: Chocolate.

2 – Most common form of transportation: Our feet (which thankfully counters the effects of the chocolate.)

PART 3 - There and Back Again; What You'll See Driving Through Norway.

The breathtaking landscape of central and southern Norway is covered in cliffs, fijords, forests, waterfalls, and quaint countryside. Connecting the sleepy little fairy tale villages nestled in the mountains surrounded by clear lakes and streams, are roads dotted with tunnels carved strait through the mountain side. On such a journey, driving between the towering cliffs and the blue fijords, one will find colorful Norweigan homes and old Stave churches as picturesque as a postcard. With the sun shining brilliantly over the grassy, lush meadows or with a cool low mist draped over the water like a blanket, in all it’s forms Norway conjures in me a feeling of reverence and intrigue.

Grassy roofs is green living at it's best.

Land of the Troll

With Norway's diverse landscape, it is no wonder that story tellers of old have had fantastical visions and spread tall tales of a mysterious creature who lives at the top of the tallest mountains, resides behind a great waterfall, or lurks in the deepest, darkest of forests. He is a troll, and depictions of him can be found everywhere in Norway. Photo opportunity statues can be found around nearly every corner, and calendars, mini statues, postcards, and posters can be purchased for tourists to take home and remember the landscape of Norway that lends itself so well to such a tall tale.

Rain – Rain in Nor-Way, wearing coats long past May……..But it does explain the grassy roofs and perfectly rain kissed flowers.

Part 4 - Road Trip

Four gas station hot dogs and cokes which leave the body starving for real nutrition: $60. Filling the 12 gallon tank of our VW Polo for a 12 hour round trip driving tour: $144. One day supply of the world's best chocolate: $50. Marveling at the unrivaled beauty of Norway with really good company: PRICELESS.

Leaving from Bergen on our 1 day, marathon road trip.

We counted every tunnel we passed through, some several miles long. We didn't pass through one tunnel twice and our tally for the day was 62!

Coming down out of the mountains to this breathtaking view. We couldn't capture the scene in it's entirety with a camera, but from our view to the right there was a beautiful waterfall, and to the left of the valley a large cliff with another, smaller waterfall.

Once we dropped into the valley, the view looking back from where we came.

And we were warmly greeted!

Debbie started it with the crackers!

They looooved her!

Debbie found her new calling in life as The Goat Whisperer

mwah, cute!

We stopped in this little town to do some bike riding and enjoy it's wonderful energy.

Debbie in front of the darling stave church of Balestrand.

I was so happy to get my legs moving!

The following pics are all scenes from our bike ride....

We road through town along the fjord.

Back in the car and enjoying some chocolate.

Fairies and tunnels are necessary for getting around this water locked country.

Part 5 - Everything Else

Not a smell I get to enjoy very often in Costa Rica.

The glass factory on our first day

These guys are working with blistering hot glass, moving around in a synchronized dance from station to station to heat it, shape it, and cool it. Not one speck of protective eye wear, gloves, long pants, etc... Can anyone say workman's comp?

After a long nap and a shower, we are enjoying the beautiful Oslo view from Bob and Debbie's apartment on our first day. This is the 9pm sun, which looks the same at midnight, were it not for the clouds, it appears even brighter. That was a trip.

Tom and I made the treacherous hike to the top of Pulpit Rock. Check it out! Ominously close to the edge of a cliff thousands of feet....ok, so it's just a few feet up. We didn't have time to make it to the famous cliff, but we thought we could pretend. I think we got the poses just right.

We took this one for the kids.

Getting dressed up was half the fun of Norway. In Costa Rica, the second I put on clothes I'm glistening with sweat...it's not attractive. Lindsay loaned me all her clothes so I could be 'in style', still didn't come close to the high fashion streets of Oslo. It's no joke.

Just had to grab a shot of one of the many darling homes. They all have the most fabulous variety of trinkets lining their windowsills. I think they must offer a mandatory course for all home owners....decorating your windowsill 101.

This is a green car. Just drive, park, plug, and go!

Tom took this picture and then said I look like a "cougar" because of my wrinkles!!!


Relaxing. Park benches, walkways, parks, and endless days make for a lot of it.

These little shabby chic flower shops are EVERYWHERE, so I had to snap one. They sell fresh flowers, candles, baskets, and little ornaments. They are so cute!

This photo was taken at around 11pm.

We HEART Norway!!!!