Category Archives: Day-to-Day

Soaked Shoes? No Problem!

Tucked in a corner behind a door in our entry way hangs an item I didn’t even known existed before moving to Europe. And yet, in these months of snow and slush (and in the rainy months as well, in fact), it’s come to be a favorite.

Meet our shoe dryer.IMG_3919

Yes, it is a beautiful thing. Not aesthetically, of course. But when it comes to all those wet gloves and snow shoes that show up in our house this time of year, this little gadget is a lifesaver.

I mean, have you smelled a pair of gloves that your kid used while playing in the snow and then left in their backpack? Nasty.

And have you ever wondered how long it takes for a pair of snow boots to completely dry out on the inside after a busy day of throwing snow balls, building snowmen, and digging snow tunnels? Somewhere in the neighborhood of an eternity.

But this handy tool dries things out without warping or shrinking them like can happen in the dryer. Or without the noise of shoes in the dryer. Or the damage that can cause.

We just slip the gloves or boots over the ends of the hoses, and rotate the timer, and cool air blows for the selected amount of time.

And with two boys, we opted for the model that dries two pairs (shoes or gloves) at once.

A shoe dryer. Just another of the things we’ve learned to love while living here!

Three Years in Norway?!?!

On February 1, 2013, four weary travelers arrived in Oslo. Tired, jet lagged, and quite overwhelmed, yet relieved to have made it. And ready for whatever was to come.Well, we thought we were ready. What was to come was a lot. Ups and downs. Good days and frustrating ones. But through it all, we’ve come to love living here.

Happy Three Year Anniversary to us!

Then
Now

Back to School

William MY1 (7th grade) ~ Daniel PY4 (4th grade)

As of about two weeks ago, William and Daniel are back to school!

They’re starting their fourth school year in Norway (the first was only a half of a year, but you get what I mean…). We continue to be thankful for the education they are receiving at the international baccalaureate (IB) school in our city.

We get a lot of questions about the boys’ school here. While I cannot speak for others, our family’s experience with IB school has been great. The way they teach is less about sitting at a desk & looking at a book, and more about learning hands-on. I feel our boys are getting a well-rounded education and experience. The IB approach is a whole-learning focus, seeking to create lifelong learners who are inquisitive, thoughtful, involved, and engaged. Its focus does not isolate academic subjects, but uses units of study that incorporate a variety of subjects and concepts at the same time.

The boys love their school experience, and that makes us happy! They have good relationships with the teachers and staff. The classes are fairly small (in primary school there are typically 15 – 20 students). And I think another benefit is the multi-cultural aspect of international schools. A lot of their friends have at least one Norwegian parent, and the majority have one foreign/non-Norwegian/expat/immigrant parent. So they have classmates who come from all over the world. And their teachers are very international as well!

Daniel is now in fourth grade, or PY4. The PY (Primary Years) program covers grades 1 through 6. Daniel is excited that he is now in the upper grades part of the PY program. This means more responsibility and more self-sufficiency. This is a big change and challenge for him, but also a great opportunity!

William is in his first year of the MY (Middle Years) program, MY1. In American school it would be 7th grade. He is still in the same building as before, but on a different floor. He is changing classes, has a lot more responsibility, and must do much more without teacher guidance. This is the first year of foreign language, and he chose Spanish. He laughed yesterday as he said that he’s basically working on three language right now: English, Norwegian, and Spanish.

So we’re geared up and ready for a new school year.

Here’s a look at the boys’ first day of school each year since arriving in Norway…

February 2013
Daniel PY1 ~ William PY4

 

August 2013
Daniel PY2 ~ William PY5
August 2014
William PY6 ~ Daniel PY3
August 2015
William MY1 ~ Daniel PY4

 

Purple Lips

Zack was at a meeting in a neighboring town. William was being treated to a belated birthday celebration of burgers and movies with a friend.

And I had this little cutie all to myself.

We ate popcorn and candy, cuddled, laughed, and watched a movie of his choosing.

He talked about how much he loves his family. And jaw breakers.

And I thanked God for little moments like this.

Lørdagsjazz – Saturday Jazz

You never know the connections you might make on Facebook! We are in a few groups that have allowed us to meet some really cool people. And we met yet another one this past Saturday.I connected with Kelly in an expats group. And then I found out that she is quite the accomplished vocalist. So when I found out that she and her partner were performing at a local place this past Saturday, I thought it might be fun to check it out.

We had never been to Draaben before. We invited a couple of friends to meet us, and it turned it to be a really fun evening. I had been sick all week and started to back out last minute, but I am so glad I didn’t. We had a great time. Draaben is a cool place: not overly large, a bit more intimate, perfect for a concert like this one.

Here is a quick peek at a special number that Kelly and Werner performed especially for us. You can check out more from Kelly at http://kellydickson.com.

Exhibition

As I’ve mentioned before, our boys attend an IB, or International Baccalaureate School. IB schools teach using units or themes, in a more hands-on manner, and all revolving around a learner profile. The learner profile includes 10 areas: Inquirer, Communicator, Principled, Risk-taker, Balanced, Knowledgeable, Thinker, Open-minded, Caring and Reflective.IB begins with PY – primary years – which runs grades 1 through 6. William is in his sixth and final year of PY. As the final assignment of PY, the students participate in Exhibition. Exhibition is a chance for each student to choose a subject of interest, and then present it in a way that exhibits their learning and the development of the learner profile attributes.

Yeah, that sounded totally complicated. But William and his classmates had their Exhibition a couple of weeks ago, and they did an outstanding job!

So grateful to our friend/William’s art teacher, Lizz,
for her assistance and guidance in his art piece.

William focused on Diet and Nutrition. His exhibition included a research report, an interview with our friend Severina, surveys and mathematical analysis, a blog, a PowerPoint presentation, a cookbook, a running/race challenge, a summary of the race (written in Norwegian), and an art piece.

After all of their work is completed, they have an evening to present it to family and friends, share what they have learned, and answer questions.

We are very proud of our not-so-little-guy and the great work he did on his PY6 Exhibition.

Thanks to friends for coming to support William on Exhibition Night!

A typical day

One of the most common questions we get asked is what a typical weekday looks like for us. If you’re asking about the boys, that’s pretty simple.

But for us, every day brings different schedules and new opportunities.
Most mornings one or both of us drive the boys to school around 8:25. Often we will stop at the grocery on the way home. And then we have to pick the boys up a little after 3:00 pm.
What happens in between those hours varies. Many mornings we start by watching the news – language practice! A few mornings a week we work out. Mornings also include office tasks: paperwork, emails, and maybe a Skype call thrown in.
Afternoons vary. Some days we have meetings in the city. Once a week we attend a language conversation group for a few hours with 3-5 other internationals.

(One of our only consistencies is coffee throughout every day!)

And there are days like yesterday and today, where we find ourselves going in two different directions. Zack spent the day in Oslo yesterday. And now I’m on the train to Oslo.
So routine is a bit of relative term. We depend a lot on the calendar on our phones to make sure we are moving in the right direction! We have the occasional low-key day. But most days are a little bit hectic and quite a bit of fun!