Because one can only include so much in a post, the stories will have to wait. For now, here is a glimpse of where we spent the past month... in Norway and Austria! We were blessed to stay with various relatives of Christian's while we took advantage of the final month he is in between jobs. The timing before baby #3 arrives could not be better, as we are certain there is no way we will attempt a trip like this with a 3rd small child.
NOTE: Please excuse the obnoxious date stamp on some of the pictures. We purchased a new point and shoot camera the day before we left for our trip and did not discover this glaring camera setting until we got back. Unfortunately, date stamping on a photo is a permanent feature. Lesson learned. The camera setting has been changed for the future.
The real low of our trip was caused by a combination of jet lag and a vomiting flu that Sommer began with in the middle of our 11-hour airplane ride to Europe. After recovering from that, things could only go up. This is what jet lag looks like.
There is nothing like a nap in "polar bear skin" to help you catch up on your sleep, simultaneously making you feel a little more Norwegian.
After a few days spent recovering from the marathon flight to Norway, we flew to Austria for almost 2 weeks for some warmer spring weather. These special cousins were our personal tour guides.
From the idyllic Bodensee lakeside town of Dornbirn we day-tripped to the Alps...
and to the lakeside...
and watched the flowers open into a fully blooming spring before our very eyes.
Along the way we learned to love Nutella (okay, we already loved Nutella, but it sure tasted delicious in Austria!)...
and my stomach grew, in what was hopefully unrelated to the consumption of Nutella.
We had a visit from some dear friends who live in Germany, and the girls all bonded over animals and playing in the rain.
When our children would sit still for brief periods of time, we enjoyed some fabulous Austrian cuisine, often in an unassuming off-the-road location.
Then back to Norway for our final two weeks where the family greeted us in typical Norwegian style with an amazing local selection of cheeses and jellies and liverwurst and cucumber spreads, among other things. The cakes were the most memorable.
We had the privilege of celebrating the 17th of May, Norway's Independence Day, with the locals. What a fabulous display of national heritage! The entire community came out to participate in the parade and the celebration. If only I had blog space to feature each of the the historical bunads worn by the people!
We toured museums...
and spent much of our time at the water's edge... on islands,
in the fjords...
and even on a boat!
Annike was ECSTATIC to catch her first fish, a good sized sea trout that she and Sommer devoured for dinner. It may have been their first decent meal in Europe because prior to this it seemed the two of them were existing solely on milk and gummy candy.
Oh yes, and ice cream. A good European diet. My sweet-toothed husband kept insisting we should eat as much ice cream as possible because they don't make it this good in the states. I had to close my eyes and hope that a month of poor nutrition would not permanently damage them in anyway.
Upon our return, the most common question we have been asked is, "How was it travelling with small kids?" Hmmm... not as easy as you might think. We had a LOT of stuff and our children were chronically overtired, which resulted in many naps taken in the car or other assorted locations. But overall our children rose to the occasion and were as flexible as we could expect them to be.