28 Oct 2007

A Post Of Firsts

We bought our first Halloween pumpkins ever in Norway this weekend! I was so excited that we were able to find pumpkins at all, that I chose to ignore the fact that a) they were already in various states of softening and decomposition, and b) we had to pay through the nose to get our hands on these tiny suckers.
Despite the rain and generally dreary weather, the boys had a ghoulishly fun time in the garage, carving out their masterpieces...

...even if Mike may have been a tad too inspired by his oh-so-busy life here in Norway...

I had fun in the kitchen, toasting pumpkin seeds (my first attempt, but definitely not my last. Yummy!) and baking pumpkin cookies, courtesy of my friend Morag's fantastic recipe. They turned out pretty well, considering I had to do without a few of the recipe's key ingredients. Improvisation was the name of the game. I couldn't find chocolate chips here (gasp!), so I put some baking chocolate in a Ziploc bag and gave Benjamin a hammer. Presto - chocolate chips!

Another first for me is my being tagged to do the "7 random things" meme by the lovely Painted Maypole. I never really realized how hard these memes can be! I now have a new appreciation for the work behind them. But, ready or not, here I go...

1. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 28, something many of my friends - not to mention my husband - find very odd. In fact, it was Mike who signed me up for Young Drivers of Canada on my 28th birthday. Yes! I felt co-o-ol sitting in class with a bunch of pimply 16 year olds! Life in Canadian Suburbia would have been difficult to manage without a car, I see that now, but at the time we were living in the city, and walking seemed a fine alternative to me. Of course, I had not yet experienced the carting of diapers on an icy sidewalk in the middle of winter.

2. My pet peeve is that people assume that just because I chose to get married, I automatically took my husband's last name. Let me rush to say I have no problem with anyone taking their spouse's name (be it husband or wife), I just don't like people making assumptions about it. And while I'm venting, what's with the salutation title Mrs? Why on earth would a stranger need to know my marital status? Ms. will do fine, thankyouverymuch.

3. I love George Clooney. 'nuff said.

4. I'm naturally introverted, but have - through sheer luck - found fantastic friends in Canada, who have taught me to be more extroverted. My first instinct is always to huddle up at home with a good book by the fire, but I push myself 'out there', to be social. And when I go, I usually have the best time. And even though I'm loving our stay in Norway, I sorely miss my friends and can't wait to see them again.

5. Travelling is not new to our family. Benjamin, Christopher, Mike and I were all born in different countries (Canada, Norway, England and Denmark, respectively). Before we met, Mike lived in Japan, while I've lived in Greece. And we were married in Costa Rica, the place we called home at the time.

6. Although Norwegians are supposedly born with skis on their feet, I only started downhill skiing three years ago. I suck at it, but I love it. The exhilaration of speeding down the mountain can't be topped. Although my ego does take a bit of a bruising when, full speed ahead, I am easily beat by 3 year-olds barely out of diapers...

7. I started my blog as a log of our adventure here in Europe, partly for our friends and family in Canada, but also as a journal for my children when they are older. I did not anticipate what a revelation the blogosphere community would be for me. It's been a thrill to discover the multitude of incredibly talented writers out there, and get insight into their lives, all around the globe. Not to mention the appreciation I feel when they take the time to read and comment on my craptacular little blog on life Norway style.

And now...I'm supposed to tag 7 others to do this meme, which I do with some trepidation. If you are not into it, I promise I won't take it personally. But you may want to keep this one in mind if you're doing the NaBloPoMo in November. I would love to read 7 random facts about the following ladies: Alm from Come on Along!, Kellan from On the Upside, Lisa from Take 90 West, the lovely writer known as She She, Alpha DogMa who cracks me up on a daily basis, Carrie from Third Times a Charm?, and my very first blog pal, Linda, from another good thing.

My final first of the day is an award given to me by the lovely Kellan of On the Upside.

This award is "presented to awesome blog owners who keep their readers excited about their posts. Their blog posts are interesting and worth reading and keep their readers looking forward to each and every post."

How sweet is that? Kellan's own blog is a consistently hilarious tale of her life with four gorgeous and funny children in Texas. She has a wonderful "half full" attitude, and always looks for the upside, even when it is not obvious. Thank you so much, Kellan!

I know lots of bloggers who are deserving of this award, but as my children are hollering for lunch (the nerve!), I would like to present this award to the following two fantastic bloggers, whom I am so happy to have 'met' here in blogosphere: Victoria from Best To Keep Your Eyes Open, and The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch from Gifts From A Broad. If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading these blogs, I highly recommend them!

And those are all my firsts this Sunday. Hope you're all having a good one!


jen said...

that golf pumpkin is outstanding.

and i love the wanderlust you write about - the dedication to being free to roam through the world.

Kellan said...

Those pumpkins are simply fantastic! Mike was "inspired" - but it is a great pumpkin and my husband would love that one. We are to do our pumpkins today. And I LOVE pumpkin seeds - yum. Don't you love them?

I loved the answers in your meme. I also love George, and I love to snow ski - we go every year, at least twice if we can. And ... I too have found extreme delight in blogging. It has been a gift - like you describe - for me as well. I never saw it coming - all it has to offer!

And ... thank you for the nice comments - you are very kind and I always look forward to seeing you on my blog daily and visiting yours! I have truly enjoyed getting to know you, your family and your adventures. I have two memes already (one just like this you are forwarding to me) - so I will include your "forward" when I do those two other memes (sometime this week) - thanks so much for mentioning me and thinking of me! I truly appreciate your friedship!

Have a really good day! See ya soon. Kellan

Who She She said...

I love the pumpkins -- very impressive! We're going to carve ours today. Owen's trying to decide between scary & funny. I'll just be glad if everyone comes away with all 10 fingers still attached.

Thanks for the tag (and the always kind words) -- it's my first!

hokgardner said...

I love the pumpkins. My husband takes his pumpkin carving very seriously. I'll be posting pictures of his creations once he and girls carve them later today.

Amd the 7 things are very interesting. I'm a natural introvert, too. In fact, husband and I had a bit of a tiff last night about our non-attendance at a halloween party. I told him could go without me, which he didn't like.

Rimarama said...

Heidi, we are kindred spirits - I did not get my drivers license until my early twenties.

Your pumpkins are gorgeous! (Um, I mean that in a very professional way.)

Jennifer said...

Those pumpkins are incredible! Ours look...nothing like that. *grin*

Badness Jones said...

I'd have paid a fortune for the pumpkins too...Hallowe'en was one of the things Ireally missed when I spent a year in Britain - burning Guy Fawkes in effigy didn't really cut it for me as a substitute. Great post!

Julie Pippert said...


Are pumpkins nothing to Norwegians this time of year?

I am so used to them being such an integral part of fall life!

I am no downhill skier. I've tried numerous times and done fine but have been mowed down by snowboarders (young males) every time, resulting in weeks of recovery LOL.

Love, love, love love love Costa Rica.

Also, I feel compelled to do research so that I may address people properly. I nearly died yesterday when some addressed a female Dr as Mrs. I can't explain why it bothered me so much but it did. "Dr!!!" I hissed, correcting, and the man changed his form of address.

Using My Words

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! I was out of town or would've gotten here to comment sooner! I'm so pleased.

I enjoy your blog very much too. Your life in Norway seems so different from everything I am familiar with and I like hearing about it.

I have especially enjoyed this post, (and not because you mention me!) because it's a little more personal than normal and more about you than your lovely family.

Your pumpkin carving skills are enviable.

theotherbear said...

Great pumpkins.
We don't really have Halloween in Australia. I have tried carving pumpkins though and scared myself silly when I left one on the mantelpiece and tried to sleep with that evil grin looking at me all night *shudder*.

Aliki2006 said...

Great firsts!

And great pumpkins, too!

Beck said...

What fun pumpkins... I still don't have my driver's licence, although it's becoming more annoying not to have it..

Kathryn said...

Carving pumpkins and baking pumpkin cookies? Don't ya just love fall? Love it!

sandy shoes said...

That's funny... I'd have expected that pumpkins might be hard to find in Norway, but you mean to tell me that chocolate chips are NOT A STAPLE? The horror!

Good on ya for making do.

I'm totally with you re: Mrs. Nobody can tell a man's marital status from his form of address, why should it be different for women?

Alpha DogMa said...

Okay, now that my love hiatus is ending, I'll get on this ASAP. Great pumpkins!

familymclean said...

Wow, what a great blog and post! What a neat life you have and the adventures, I want to be like that!
And I must say as well, those pumpkins rock!

Sue said...

Wow, those are AMAZING pumpkins. I don't understand the pumpkin seed love. Everyone loves them. They just taste like - salt. If you put salt on them. Without the salt they taste like - I don't know. Little bits of cardboard?

What a fun list. I love, love, love to ski. Such a rush. I feel like such an old lady, skiing, when all the youngsters are boarding, but I love skiing too much to waste a day on the slopes learning to board.

Kyla said...

Those are great pumpkins! My boys craved a Spongebob pumpkin, but his eyes kind of got botched. LOL. But they had fun!

No chocolate chips?! How will you survive? ;)

Karen MEG said...

Those pumpkins are amazing! Who knew Mike was such an artist? I love pumpkin seeds too; they make all the carving worth it.
Memes are hard, but really fun. Good for you for getting your license when you did - it's so much harder than when you're a pimply faced 16 year old. I have a friend who keeps trying but is terrified. Yeah, that bugs me a about the surname thing too - it's funny though, around here a lot of women have kept their names, did you notice?
And you INTROVERTED? You've got me completely fooled my friend.

Mean Mommy said...

Wow! I'm impressed by your European pumpkins! :)

And I just did my first meme, too. You'd laugh at how long it took me.

Thanks for stopping by Mean Mommy!

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Those pumpkins are absolutely amazing. I have resisted so far this year. I hope the kids just plain forget about them. If they remind me, I'll offer them a piece of candy. That'll help.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I can't believe all the great adventures you're having abroad. I'm soooo jealous

painted maypole said...

those pumpkins put ours to shame. my husband had never carved a pumpkin before we had a child. never. I think he now only does it to appease me. whatever.

loved your random facts! thanks for playing along!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

I simply cannot imagine a world without chocolate chips...

Mrs. G. said...

That golf pumpkin is a work of art...glad the mushiness didn't stop you. Congrats on your award. I'm a new reader, but I'm already hooked. Happy Halloween.

LoriD said...

Your jack-o-lanterns put my large, firm $0.99 ones to shame.

And, no chocolate chips? There must be a business opportunity there. :-)

linda-sands.com said...

Thanks for the pumpkin carving inspiration and the TAG-- will get right on that posting and hopefully I won't offend and alienate any of the god folks who read you-- However did you get so many profile hits, woman?? TEACH ME.

BirdieRoark said...

We are carving pumpkins with some family friends tomorrow. I can say now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our pumpkins are totally gonna suck next to yours.

What happened to the simple jack-o-lantern? lol Now I feel the pressure to perform. Nothing like a little healthy pumpkin competition.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am very impressed with the pumpkins!

What a globe trotting life you have lived! I am jealous!

I was an exchange student to Japan in high school....but not much continent jumping since then!

We did go to Jamaica for our honeymoon....I suppose that counts! :)

Valarie said...

Your pumpkins are great! I love the end result of pumpkin carving, but the slime and the strings and the sticky, stinky goo are a little too much for my gag reflex to handle. Kudos to your carvemaster.

It is awesome that you and your family are spending time in Europe. What an amazing experience for your children.

Shan said...

The pumpkins look great!!

slouching mom said...

those are the most fabulous pumpkins i've seen in a long time!

carrie said...

I'm sorry, I can't stop thinking about George Clooney!

Thank you for the tag -- I'll get on it soon. Although, mine won't be as interesting as yours (hello? world traveler!) but I'll try to dig deep!

Love your pumpkins!

Lisa@Take90West said...

The golfing pumpkin is fantastic!!

I loved your meme, it was good to know more about you! I am introverted too, and would choose to stay home and read (or blog!) over going out any time. I love to be home! But like you, I always have a good time when I go. It's just the getting going that I struggle with!

And you're travels? I'll just say it...I'm jealous.

And I probably would've picked the beaches of Thailand over cold and rainy Germany!

I'll get to your meme this week...thanks for tagging me!

Cathy said...

Very impressive -- not just the carvings but finding the pumpkins!

pumpkin seeds ... yum

Gina said...

Very nice pumpkins!

I wish our son was a better traveller, but we have been quite poor and he gets motion sickness easily, so we have been putting off traveling for too long!

ALM said...

Omigod, omigod, omigod! Tagges for a meme! Does this mean I've finally made it as a blogger?!?! (only 1/2 kidding!)

Those pumpkins really are great... and make me feel all the more guilty that we didn't do one this year.

Stomper Girl said...

Speaking as an Australian I've always been bewildered by pumpkin carving - i can barely peel the darn things let alone make all artistic. Someone told me once that halloween pumpkins are a bit softer than the ones we eat here so maybe that is a help! Anyway, your look properly spooky and authentic and the golf one is especially great.

George Clooney. *sigh*. I know he would really like me if he met me.

Also I'm not even married to my man and people call me Mrs Fixit. Very annoying1

My Ice Cream Diary said...

How can you call your blog "craptacular" (I love that word) when your are giving to all of us stuck-at-home peoples the chance to see a lot of the world that we may never see?

Hae Yung said...

Golf pumpkin is great and I am assuming that it was Mike's work? We missed you here on Halloween.

I have to say I know all of the facts about you. I guess I do listen. I guess you have been busy on the blog sites. I haven't gone on to any except yours. This is totally new for me. Kids and your blog entries keeps me busy enough. I am happy to read how you are doing but I miss seeing you and talking to you.