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Big Laila came to visit again and she timed her trip to coincide with the most Norwegian of all days, Syttende Mai. That would be the 17th of May for those unfamiliar with the language of the Vikings. We made the trek to London, just like last year, to honor Norway’s independence day. Not wanting to let an opportunity go to waste, my mom took it upon herself to create a folkebunad for Lena to wear to the festivities.

This little costume was the culmination of many weeks work between my parents, my aunt, and my little brother. Have you any idea how hard it is to find a white blouse without buttons or a collar? I am fully aware as my mom informed me of every store they visited in search of this elusive item. They also discovered a little-known Viking shop in the bowels of Parkland, Washington, where they acquired the vintage key and pins. My mom’s twin (aka my second mother) was the seamstress and my little brother used his leather making skills to create the custom belt. I think he just measured his neck as Lena’s waist is about the same size.

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So on the day, we packed up the kids and the flags and subjected Lena to public humiliation by making her travel on the tube in costume. I’m pretty sure all of my mom’s wildest dreams came true on this day as she watched me usher my daughter into this long-standing rite of passage. And in the interest of full disclosure, I did look for black knickers and a red vest for Aksel, but came up short. So he was only halfway initiated in his Li’l Norse hat and Norwegian flag pacifier. Fear not, his time will come.

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We enjoyed our picnic lunch of brødskiver and Diplom Is in the beautiful sunshine while I used my telephoto lens to take stalkeresque pictures of all the people around us. I think there were more people in costume last year or maybe I was just distracted because I had two little ones with me.

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Lena suckered my mom into waiting in line for about 45 minutes so she could jump in a bounce house for approximately 30 seconds. Also, it cost £3 per child. My how we change when we have grandchildren! When I think of my mom, it’s all health food and exercise. When Lena thinks of Mormor, it’s chocolate and more chocolate.

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We wrapped up the day by eating pølse med lompe and spending five minutes convincing Lena to take a bite. As usual, she declared it utterly disgusting until she actually tried it, and then ate the whole thing. Kids are super fun.

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A big thank you to the fam for making this beautiful costume for the munchkin. At the rate she grows, this will fit her for another five years which means endless opportunities for me to force her into photoshoots. Hipp, hipp, hurra!

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