Let it Go

Let it Go, Let it go

Inevitably when anyone says the phrase, “let it go,” I immediately start singing the song Let it Go in my head.  I can’t help myself.  Today I had to remind myself that there comes a time to let our kids go and spread their wings.   My eldest Jake started college today.  A start reminder of how quickly the time comes to let them fly.

Let It GO

As our kids get older, it isn’t easy to give them the independence they need to be successful.  We have a visceral reaction as parents to hold them tight and make sure they don’t stumble.  If we always catch them when they fall, how will they learn to pick themselves up?

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There was a great article circulating on facebook this week.  The article titled “Stop doing these 8 things for your teenager this school year” by Amy Carney is genius and spot on.  I won’t regurgitate the whole article here, but will share some real life examples and why they’re important.

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One of the eight items she lists is making their failure to plan your emergency.  Another is to not bring them their forgotten items.  This morning, we experienced a mix of both of these.   Goalielocks needed to print something for his science class and bring it to school.  Unfortunately, Goalielocks forgot about it until right before he had to catch the bus.  The boys’ bus has been coming between 7:15-7:30, so they have to be their early in case the bus is early.  Hubby didn’t think there was enough time to print it out and make the bus.

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Oh the fireworks, the world was ending in Boynton this morning.  Although Goalielocks is in 8th grade, the majority of his classes are for high school credit this year.   He simply cannot afford to throw away the easy points.  Nevertheless, my Hubby didn’t give in and he was right.  If they missed the bus, my hubby would have to drive them to school.  This would be at least a 30 minute drive each way.  Goalielocks left the house in a huff angry that he would miss these points.   It was easy to remind him, however, that he had plenty of time the previous evening to print it up.

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Since we didn’t relent and he went to school without the form, he had to accept responsibility for his failure to plan.   He’s an industrious kid and had to solve his conundrum on his own.  Guess what?  He did!  Goalielocks texted his friend, who was able to print up a form and bring it to school for him.  We didn’t rescue him this morning, so he had to figure out how to solve his issue.

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If we solve every problem for our kids, they will never learn how to solve their own problems.  We won’t always be there to help them or guide them, so it is key that they learn to problem solve independent of us.  Our boys also do chores, they can cook themselves a meal and the older two do their own laundry.  The Mayor, who just started middle school this year, will learn how to do his own laundry.   When they leave our house as an adult, they’ll leave as independent men that can run a household and make their own decisions.

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Memories

I’ve been using Shutterfly to house and print my photos for the last eleven years, so many of memories are housed there.  In fact, I’ve been on Shutterfly longer than I’ve been on Facebook.  That’s a long time.  One of the thing, I love about Shutterfly is the memory emails.  Much like Facebook Memories, Shutterfly now sends email with a link to your old photos.

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Today’s memories email from Shutterfly was of memories from 10 years ago.  What a fantastic trip down memory lane.  Ten years ago, Jake was starting 3rd grade.  This year he’ll be starting at Palm Beach State.  The Mayor was a doll at a year old and Colin was almost four.  Now both of them are in middle school.

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You can see how digital photos has evolved since 2007 when comparing the quality of photos from 2007 to 2017.  Their are several super cute, but super grainy pictures of the boys.   Admittedly, part of the problem could be that they simply were unable to sit still long enough for me to get a quality photo.  However, they haven’t changed that much and the photos should still be super grainy if that was the case.  Grainy or not, the photos from 2007 are a wonderful trip down memory lane.

 

Flam A Picturesque Hamlet

Flam is a picturesque hamlet at the end of the Aurlandsfjord.  Surrounded by mountains and the beautiful fjord, you couldn’t imagine a more beautiful, serene or more Norwegian place.  On the surroundings hills and mountains, the farmers let their sheep and goats roam freely to find the best grass.  It was even more beautiful that I had imagined.

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Our first night in Flam, we met our family at Flamstova for dinner.   Our dinner was incredible, but the kids had grown weary from sitting at the table.  My cousin Jessica and her husband Jeff volunteered to take them out to see the sheep in the pasture.  With the kids gone, we could enjoy the remainder of our dinner in relative silence.

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Meanwhile the kids were in seventh heaven as they fed the sheep that ventured near the fence.  Colin had his first run in with the prickle of a stinging nettle he had picked to feed the sheep.  He learned his lesson and was more careful when he picked the grass.  The kids loved the animals we would see grazing freely throughout our Norwegian travels, but the opportunity to be up close and feed them was even better.

We made several more visits to the sheep before leaving Flam including a walk behind the fence to find some good fishing spots.  The boys, particularly the younger two, had to visit their sheep named Jeffry.  All of the kids enjoyed feeding and interacting with the sheep.   They loved to watch their silly antics as they ran down the mountain or assaulted their mother for milk.  It certainly isn’t something our kids are accustom to seeing.

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It was awesome to see the how freely the sheep and goats were to gallivant about the mountains finding the best grass.  Each morning the farmers would let their herds out and then each night the farmers would bring them back home.   How they got them to come down the mountain, I don’t know, but each and every night they’d return home from their pastures.

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Hidden Treasure

The drive from Stavanger to Oslo is, without any stops included, a 7.25 hour drive under the best case scenario.  When you’re traveling with kids and a post-kid bladder, 7.25 hours in a car, is never going to work.   The hubby and I planned on  stopping in Kristiansand, Arendal and Sandefjord to break up the drive and find some hidden treasures, but even with those stops the drive was long.

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Soon after leaving Arendal, I saw a sign for Olavskirken on the side of the road (E18) and I immediately asked Luke to stop at that site.  I had no idea the hidden gem that we had stumbled upon in the town of Bamble, Norway.

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Built in the Romanesque-Norman style, the old church Olavskirken dates back to 1150.  The church served as a Catholic church under the name St. Olav’s until the Reformation. Thereafter, it was referred to as Skeidi Church.  The old church was replaced by the new church built in the wooden cruciform style around 1845.

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When we pulled into the lot, I thought we were there to see the cruciform church until I noticed the ruins of the ancient church midway through the cemetery.  We all quickly lost interest in the new church and made our way towards the ruins of Olavskirken.

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The ruins were a complete gem of a find on our way back to Oslo.  We walked through the ruins noting the signs posted that spoke to the old church’s and the new church’s construction.   Moss and grass now cover the remaining walls and roof.  In the middle of the cemetery and surrounded by Norwegian forest, the scenery was magical.

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As we walked deeper into the ruins, we found a stairway that no leads nowhere and a room off to the side.  The room off to the side turned out to be the ancient chapel that is still in use today.  It was small, but beautiful.  After stopping on a whim, we had made a wondrous discovery.  Sometimes it is worthwhile to take a bit of a detour to explore as you never know what hidden gem you may uncover.

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The Viking Ship Museum

My favorite museum in Oslo was the Viking Ship Museum on Bygdoy Island, where you can see actual Viking ships recovered from burial mounds in Norway.   Growing up in Minnesota, we would see a replica Viking ship in Leif Erikson park up in Duluth.  The replica was impressive, but seeing actual Viking ships up close was beyond pale.

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The construction of the Viking ships showcase a level craftsmanship that is astounding on its own.  However, when taken in tandem with the wood carvings on the ship, the craftsmanship of the Vikings is unparalleled.   The intricacies of the carving are astounding considering the lack of modern tools.

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The Vikings present an interesting paradox.   Historians, and the people they conquered,  considered the Vikings to be barbaric marauder, but the Vikings were also expert seafarers and sophisticated craftsmen.  Inside the museum, a part from the ships, there are sleds, wagons and other vestiges of the Viking Age on display.   The Viking’s expertise is on full display through each exhibit.

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The ships at the Viking Ship Museum were constructed in the traditional fashion.  The Vikings passed on their ship building knowledge, a tradition, from generation to generation.  As a consequence, Viking ship builders picked very specific types and shapes of trees for their ships.  If you are a fan of the show Vikings or find yourself in Oslo, this museum is a must see.

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When I’m 64 – Happy Birthday Grandpa Tom!

Today we left Stavanger to head back to Oslo on Grandpa Tom’s 64th birthday!  This trip has been an unbelievably incredible opportunity to connect as a family and connect to our Norwegian heritage.  One thing my dad loves more than anything is his family especially his grandkids.  Of course, the kids love their Grandpa Tom to the moon and back.

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The picture above is of my parents at the BorgundStave Church, which connects to Husom via the Vindehellavegan part of the Kongevegan (King’s Road) that connected Oslo and Bergen.  My family and I made the hike, while my dad and brothers’ took the scenic drive to Husom.   It was marvelous to see my dad’s reaction to walking through his ancestral home.

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Aside from my Norwegian good looks and razor sharp wit, I got my love of music from my dad.  If you’re at their house ever, you know my dad loves his music and loves it super loud.   He’s a huge Beatles fan and truly was the only thing missing from our Paul McCartney concert experience.  His musical tastes run the gamut, but the Beatles are one of his absolute favorites and who can blame him.  Nobody could harmonize or envision the combination of chords to form the harmonies like Lennon and McCartney.    IMG_1701

In honor of my dad’s birthday, sing along to these fantastic hits from the Beatles.  Two are from the concert we attended and one is quick snipped from Youtube in honor of Grandpa Tom’s 64th birthday.

“When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four”

Birthday performed by Paul McCartney:

Ob-la-di Ob-la-da performed by Sir Paul

Heading South to Stavanger

After a wonderful stay in Bergen, we are headed South to explore Stavanger and the surrounding region. We loved Bergen and cannot wait to go back some day.

Heading South to Stavanger

After a wonderful stay in Bergen, we are headed South to explore Stavanger and the surrounding region. We loved Bergen and cannot wait to go back some day.

Last Night in Bergen

We had a brilliant lunch post Bergen aquarium near Bryggen with our family before J&B headed to catch the bus for Stavanger.  Tomorrow they’ll be on the hike of their life making their way up to Pulpit Rock.   Our waiter was incredible and bought us a round when the fryer broke and our food took longer than normal.  This was a great gift as beer and cider are extremely expensive in Norway even by South Florida standards.  The food was worth the wait and I enjoyed my fish an chips along with my cider.

 

Post lunch we hit the shops to find some useful souvenirs.  The Mayor found a nice knife he can use for fishing while Goalielocks selected a viking horn that sounds a bit like a kazoo.  The kazoo piece wasn’t intentional, so we’ll be looking for another viking horn for the house.   Jake got a nice Norwegian flag he can hang in his room.

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After two ciders at lunch, my favorite local coffee shop Dromedor was calling my name.   Not too far geographically from the tourist hub, but miles away in terms of its customer base.  This is a great local spot with quality coffee and pastries.   I have quite enjoyed their lattes these past couple of days in Bergen.

For dinner our kids wanted frozen pizzas, which was a complete godsend.  Food is extremely expensive in Norway and this was a perfectly economical way to feed the kids.        Post Pizza we headed to the wold famous fish market to meet J&M (my older bro and family), my grandma and my parents.

They were finishing up their dinner and afterwards we headed for dessert and shuffleboard.  We ended up at the same restaurant where we ate and drank yesterday as it had several shuffleboard tables where the kids could play and not interrupt all of the diners’ dinners.

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After two rousing shuffleboard tournaments, Priya and Zak and I emerged as champions.   Somehow I managed to figure out how to score a couple of points, which was enough for me to be successful.  The kids had a blast and enjoyed their desserts throughout the tournament.

After shuffleboard, we said adieu to our favorite spot, Bergenhus Bryggeri, and headed out to walk the city.   For the first time, we headed up Kong Oscars Gate where X&P found an awesome and cheap hot dog stand.  The group continued to make friends with dog owners and their dogs.   Norwegians love their dogs and take them everywhere.  Their dogs are meticulously groomed and extremely well behaved.

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As the sun started to descend in the sky, we headed back to our AirBnB to pack for our trip to Stavanger.  We have absolutely loved our time in Bergen and will be returning to this wonderful city hopefully soon.

A Little Treat

After a busy day of hiking and sightseeing, it was time for a little treat overlooking the harbor.  While the kids wanted ice cream, pastries and maybe some hot chocolate, the adults were happy to sit down and have a brew.  Better than a lollipop or any other treat, a nice, cold pear cider over ice was exactly what the doctor had ordered.

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My hubby, Jacob and my brothers enjoyed a nice cold brew.  It’s a bit crazy for all of us that Jacob is now able to legally drink with us while in Norway.  It makes us feel a bit old, but the shared experience of a beer overlooking Bergen Harbor and Bryggen is something he will never forget.

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