Sunday, May 27, 2012

Syttende Mai

Or in English, the 17th of May. Otherwise known as Norwegian Independence Day. Westby, WI, the town next to great-grandma's farm always has a celebration. Apparently they like to celebrate with cardboard head cut-outs. My favorite is the one of you and Thisbe as Ole and Lena, two factious, infamous Norwegian Americans. It is also the name of delicious cafe in Westby.

You and Daddy had to make a stop at the Lefse House for some sausage wrapped in a lefse called polse. Lefse is a type of potato pancake which you usually eat with butter and sugar. Some of us who are not of Norwegian descent found this polse to be rather gross but I couldn't complain because it was only a dollar! And in what other town in America are you going to find a little shack called the Lefse House?!?! 

We had good times roaming the streets of Westby looking at all the Norwegian crafts and poking in the stores and learning about rommegrot and eating it too! It was pretty yummy for the first three bites!!! This was my first celebration of Syttende Mai and I would recommend it for anyone's bucket list.  

Lisa who is a cousin or more like aunt of your father has a bakery in LaCrosse, WI. She makes the most delicious cakes imaginable. Seriously, the left over red velvet cake she brought to the farm was incredible! And it was adorably decorated with a gnome and the word UffDa! which is a Norwegian term of exasperation. The last picture is the type of Rosemaling from the region in Norway where the Jothen family came from. Rosemaling is a decorative painting style from Norway.  

So not only did we get to hang out with our mid-west family for a week, we also got to learn about your Norwegian heritage. And I have a lot to learn! However, I have already dubbed myself an honorary Norwegian for two main reasons: 1. I attended Syttende Mai festivities and 2. I have hosted and nourished two part-Norwegians in my body. I think both those reasons are pretty solid. I can now claim to be a teeny tiny bit Norwegian.



Friday, May 25, 2012

Wisconsin Walking

The weather for our week in Wisconsin was beautiful, blue skies, light breeze, 70s. It was quite conducive to nightly walks after dinner. One night, we took Grandpa's stroller from the 1940s out because that's what we do here... we have each and ever summer since you were born, well last year it was during the early spring. This was Lucy's first ride. HOWEVER because I'm a lazy and  tired and didn't want to power two separate rides, we stuffed you both together into the single seater.

Our nightly strolls up and down that ridiculously steep and winding hill helped to even out the consumption of all those cheese curds. If you squint you can see us as a dot at the bottom of the hill in the picture (although that is not the bottom of the hill, it keeps going for quite awhile).  

Somehow we are never bored at the farm. There is always something to do, even if it's walking up and down the road in a vintage stroller enjoying the early evenings together. 

Our #1 reader aunt Molly is out in the wilderness for the next six weeks traveling across the U.S. camping with limited Internet access. My goal is to have a whole bunch of posts for her to catch up on when she gets home!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's the last week in May and this is my first update. It's been a busy month. Looking at the 2800 pictures(!!!!) and 35 videos from our travels is simply overwhelming. We left on Friday, the 11th of May in the wee hours of the morning (3:40am to be exact) by dinner time we were eating with great-grandma and Tina and Michael in Elwood, IL. We left for the farm on Sunday, Mother's Day and spent the week in WI. We left to come home on Saturday night May 19th at 8pm drove through the night and arrived at Nonni and Nonna's in time for Molly's graduation party by 1pm and her graduation ceremony on Monday.

Yes, your father and I are insane but somehow you and your sister were quite adaptable and flexible during the entire trip. During the initial 12 hour drive out to Illinois, Lucy was perfect for 11 1/2 hours and the last half hour was hell. We can't complain about that. You and Lu slept through the night as we drove back to Maryland. You both had your moments of exasperation and we had our share of meltdowns. But you also allowed our families to enjoy your presence and your spirit. Lucy was calm and you, Nora were an adorable ball of energy. You both loved to play and explore all the new places. I was generally impressed with how you both behaved and seemed to take in the experiences with curiosity and liveliness.
Yesterday we get back to Westminster and you both crumble and fall apart. Perhaps unhinged might be a better description. After traveling and meeting and playing and being tossed from this house to that one and sleeping in different places and completely off schedules. There was not one shred of normalcy. Then when we walk into our home last night at 7pm, you and Lu couldn't hold it together a minute longer.

So today was our first full day back in our own home and I thought you two would be relishing your time in your own space. But instead you both were cranky and over-tired and just plain unhappy.

Then your father came home and suddenly we were complete again. Lucy squealed in delight. You ran around jumping up and down  like an excited puppy. We had a delightful evening making dinner together and hanging out with our awesome neighbors who took care of Stan and Lazer for us. I realized for the last 10 days all of us have always been together. We need to get back into our routine again. Ms. Patti's tomorrow, library, playgroup, grocery shopping, church. It will take a few days, I'm sure.

However, you both taught me an important lesson today. Our house is a place we live, our town is a place where we experience daily activities, our yard is a place where we imagine and weed, our possessions are things that entertain us. But. BUT. Our home is anywhere and everywhere the four of us are together.

I'm glad we could take our home on the road for a few days and bring love and laughter to our families.

Here are a few pictures that make me feel happy and renewed in a way that only the farm can do. Don't worry, I will do more detailed updates very soon.