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Christmas break kicked off with a special visit from Lena’s class dinosaur, Dizzy. Each weekend, her teacher picks a different child to take home one of two dinosaurs. Come Monday, the dino returns to class with it’s diary of pictures and stories about everything he/she got up to over the course of two days. I’ve heard some rumors from the other parents about Lena being teacher’s pet but was a bit skeptical. However, when I realized we would have Dizzy for a full two weeks, I did have to wonder if there was some truth to the whispers. Lena, of course, was about to bounce out of her skin, she was so excited. And so, we began the grand adventures of Dizzy and Lena.IMG_7522

First up was a trip to the local pub as the real-life Father Christmas was handing out gifts. This same Father Christmas had come to Lena’s preschool the year prior and after an hour of being in the same room as him, she finally worked up the courage to glance in his direction. Not a big fan, this kid. However, this year, since she’s FOUR as she likes to remind us frequently, she was ready to do the dang thing. Up she went to have a little chat where she informed St. Nick that she “willy, willy, willy wants a Batman and Aksel wants a toy mouse.” This was news to us all as she had previously been begging for a “cinnagrella” (also known as an umbrella). Following in his big sister’s footsteps, Aksel vocally refused to even be in the same room as Santa and got utterly hysterical as soon as he caught a glimpse of the bearded giant. IMG_7525IMG_7529

The next day, Dizzy was treated to a park trip despite it being freezing cold. Lena was feeling mighty fancy in her new cap designed to look like a Christmas pudding. The great thing is that Aksel has the same size head as her so they can share headwear. Seriously, his dome piece is massive. Perhaps he’ll be a genius.IMG_7558 aIMG_7561IMG_7556IMG_7554IMG_7568 bIMG_7570

We did some cooking and baking with our triple-horned friend as well; making homemade pizza one night and loads of cookies the next. This is my friend Marleen and her sweet daughter, Cosi. She was one of the first friends I made when we moved here as the kids were in a baby yoga class together. Despite living far apart by English standards, we still manage to get together fairly often and I always leave feeling equally inspired and relaxed. I adore Marleen and in particular, her knack for making delicious food. She brought over two types of dough for the girls to bake and decorate – Ausstecherle and Vanillekipferln. The girls loved hearing how Marleen used to make these as a little girl in Germany and I am fairly certain they ate their weight in dough and frosting.IMG_7543IMG_7572IMG_7574IMG_7576IMG_7577IMG_7578IMG_7579

After everything was finished, we delivered some goodies to our friends in the village. I’m not sure if it was the sugar rush or the excitement of giving, but Lena was couldn’t stop bouncing around during this activity and nearly spilled all the plates of cookies several times. So it’s possible that we delivered a plate of fragments and crumbs but luckily, everyone was very gracious about it.IMG_7583IMG_7586

Christmas Eve we did our traditional Crib & Christingle service. Each year, the presentation is a bit different and this time around, they waited until the very end to call up all the children. Aksel managed to sit still for most of it and didn’t light anyone on fire with the Christingle so that was a success. Not quite a success was our attempt at a family photo afterwards. Lena is apparently incapable of just being natural in a photo.IMG_7591IMG_7595IMG_7598IMG_7605IMG_7608

Now on to something that still has me in complete shock and certain that the world must be coming to an end: I cooked our entire Christmas Eve dinner by myself.

Did you just pass out? Because I can hardly believe it either. And no one died of food poisoning!! It was, and is, a Christmas miracle.

I was dead set on having a traditional Norwegian meal and since Jason claimed he didn’t know how to do it, it was up to me. I secretly think he planned for it to fail and was fine with eating fish and chips for dinner because either way, he got out of cooking for the night. However, I would like to be a bit bold and brag on myself because I nailed it. And it was delicious! Special thanks to my mom for answering all my phone calls and ridiculous questions in the weeks leading up to it. I had to ask her how to boil potatoes and I am not ashamed to admit it. So you can see why this was an epic feat. IMG_7621IMG_7615IMG_7616IMG_7619

Our julemat menu: Ribber – salted ribs with sausage, peas and carrots, potatoes (cooked to perfection, I might add), gravy, Agurksalat – cucumber salad, Rødkål – red cabbage, and bread. Everybody ate it including Aksel who went all Viking on a piece of bone. And of course, Dizzy had a seat of honor at the table as well. It tasted like my childhood and it was glorious.IMG_7622

For dessert, I made Riskrem which is basically cooked rice and whipped cream with a berry compote drizzled on top. Lena and Jason didn’t like it but I thought it was delicious. It might be one of those things you have to grow up with; hence me feeding it my children starting now. Traditionally, there is an almond hidden in one of the bowls and whoever finds it wins a marzipan pig. They’re then in charge of handing out all the gifts (since you open presents on Christmas Eve). Big surprise, Lena won the pig and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. She also hasn’t stopped giggling about the pig’s “hiney crack” which makes for fun conversation in public.IMG_7625IMG_7630IMG_7634IMG_7635IMG_7613

With full bellies, it was on to the gifts. We try to just do one gift for each of us especially since our families always send a ton of stuff as well. Each of the kids got a Christmas-themed present. I can’t wait for next year when Aksel can use this advent calendar. I might steal it. And Lena was utterly enamored with her snow globe as it had all her favorite things inside – birch trees, a dog, and a red robin. IMG_7638IMG_7642IMG_7650IMG_7652IMG_7653IMG_7656IMG_7666

Earlier in the day, Jason had given me my gift as he apparently couldn’t contain his excitement anymore. It was an ergonomic ironing board and I can’t even begin to tell you how proud he was of this thing. I honestly thought he was joking and it wasn’t until several hours later that I realized he was serious. Lena made up for my lack of enthusiasm as she thought Daddy’s new surfboard was super cool. He’s a brave, brave man. Also, possibly a bit reckless.

However, he ended up surprising me with an iPhone and I was completely shocked, as you can see by my face. Tricky fella.IMG_7661IMG_7659

I mentioned earlier that Lena told Father Christmas she wanted a Batman. We have no idea where this came from but as Christmas got closer and closer, she kept talking about it. At the last minute, Jason decided to get one for her (sucker). I should have filmed her opening this as it was so over the top and ridiculous. Squeals, giggles, and full body shaking ensued. Good job, Daddy. IMG_7672IMG_7676

It was a very Merry Christmas indeed!IMG_7681

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