It"s a Crazy Wonderful Life

This is a blog about my family and the crazy life in the Sims Household. We have 5 children, ranging from 14 to 5, and seem to be going in all different directions sometimes. The purpose of this blog is to help keep our friends and family up to date on what is going on in our lives.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Finally back to Normal

Well, I think our clocks are finally back to normal. The first few days that we were home, the kids were waking very early in the morning, but the last 2 days have been better. I am slowly getting the house back to normal as well and catching up with all the laundry.

The last 2 days have been beautiful outside and we spent a few hours at the pool enjoying the sunshine. I really missed the sunshine while we were on our trip. Those days that Mr. Sun did visit were great, but not often enough.

I was amazed when we got home by the weed invasion in our front yard, so I spent a morning just working in the yard. The kids helped me do the weeding and Kaylee mowed the lawn. I was very relieved to get that done. The yard looks really nice now.

Last nght Mike and I went out on a date. We haven't been out just the two of us for several weeks, so it was really nice to get away. We went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I know it has been out in the theatres for weeks, but like I said we don't get out too often and when we do, we don't often go to the movies. I really liked the movie though the idea seemed a bit far fetched to me. As I expected, there was a lot of action and I have always loved Indy.

Well, I guess I am off. We have church and meetings today, so I need to head off to the shower.

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's a Crazy, Wonderful Life in Pictures

I have created a sharing site for my pictures with You can find it here or at the link on the side of my blog. I am very excited about this fun way to share our life in pictures. On the page I have also included links to the Photo Books I have been working on using the shutterfly website. To view them, just click on the book and it will take you to the viewing site. It is my new favorite way to scrapbook. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chronicles of Norway Pictures

I just wanted to mention that I have added pictures into all of my Chronicles of Norway posts. If you have already read them please look again to see the pictures.

Some Norway Funnies

I was washing the dishes after dinner one of the first nights after we arrived in Norway. One of the kids said, "Mom, where's the regular dishwasher." I replied "In Norway, it's me." They were shocked that there wasn't an automatic dishwasher.

When we visited the Castle in Oslo, Kyle and I needed to make a trip to the restroom. This is what I found.

Without the usual boy and girl pictures on the doors, I was a bit uncertain, so I made an educated guess. I figured Damer must be dame which is girl, so we went in. Inside the restroom were 2 stalls and just after we walked in a man came out of one of the stalls. I immediately blushed and asked "Am I in the wrong one?" He was also foreign, I think he was Asian, but he said yes I was in the wrong restroom. I rushed out completely embarrassed and ran into the other restroom only to find a urinal right inside the door. Now I was even more embarrassed, but at least there were no men using it when I walked in. Feeling again secure with my original educated guess, I laughed for the sake of the man who was in the women's restroom and didn't even know it and I took Kyle back into the restroom for the "Damers". Once again breathing a huge sigh of relief that the men's room was unoccupied when I entered. This was one time I wish I would have invested in a Norwegian/English dictionary.

Final funny for today. After a long day and a chaotic trip to the mall. Jacob was sitting in the front seat next to grandpa. In all the innocence of youth he looked up at grandpa and totally out of the blue said "We're not always this annoying." I busted out laughing. If I remember correctly this was just a few minutes after he pulled the "Need Assistance" alarm in the restroom at the store. Jake is about the sweetest and most loving kid ever. He is very busy, very active, sometimes causes trouble, and can be annoying and loud sometimes, but to hear him say something like this completely unprovoked had us all laughing for days.

Chronicle of Norway (Part 6) Our Trip Home

Well we are home. And tell me why am I up typing this at 5:00 am? Who knows, my clock is off a bit I guess. Or maybe it is because the kids' clocks are off. The boys were up at 2 am ready for the day. I couldn't get them to go back to sleep, so I have been up with them ever since.

Well on Tuesday morning we got up at 4:00 am (that is 8 PM on Monday in Colorado by the way) to get ready to leave. I couldn't believe our time in Norway had already come to an end. We packed up our final items, got dressed, and had a bite to eat. It is about a one hour drive to the airport from where mom and dad live and dad went along to show us the way. He drove his own car so he could get back home. Thanks dad!!

We arrived at the airport at about 5:30, checked our luggage and were on our way through security and passport checks to the gate. Our plane left for London at about 8:00. The flight was packed this time. The kids were pretty crazy, but we tried to keep them occupied. It was only a 2 hour flight to London, but we knew what was ahead. We had a 3 1/2 hour layover in London Heathrow which has to be one of the worst configured airports I have ever been in.

We got off the plane and there was a small seating area there before going back into the terminal and we decided to spend as much time there as we could to avoid the crowds in the main terminal. We spent about an hour and a half there and the kids were able to run an play. Then we headed to the main terminal to wait for our flight to start boarding. Mike took the boys to buy snacks and then I took the girls. As I was headed to the shop to buy treats I noticed it said that our flight was boarding. I said WHAT? we still had about an hour and 15 minutes before I flight was scheduled to leave. We bought our snacks and went to gather Mike and the boys to head to our gate.

What a surprise we had when we got to our gate. We found out we were going to be bussed from this terminal to another, then we would have to go trough the security checkpoint in the new terminal again and walk to our gate. UGH!!!! what a mess. After we finally arrived at our new gate it was utter chaos. Nobody knew what was going on. It took forever for them to get us boarded and we ended up being about 45 minutes late to leave London. With 5 kids this was a nightmare!!! But they gave us a box of chocolates when we got on the plane, so that made everything all better. (not really)

The kids on the bus to "the other terminal".

The plane ride was the longest plane ride ever!!! I swear that 9 hours just absolutely dragged on and on and on. The kids didn't sleep much and I swear Jake and Kyle had to go to the bathroom about every 15 minutes. But I watched most of 4 different movies. We kept the kids occupied with the movies the plane offered, Disney channel the plane offered and our own Ipod movies, Dvd player, DS, and gameboys, and lots and lots of treats. They did pretty well, but it wasn't easy.

We arrived in Denver at 4:00 in the afternoon, but we weren't done yet. We had to go through customs and passport checks and claim our baggage. It took almost an hour before our luggage was all gathered and we headed out to meet Pete and Mel and our car and Mandy. (Mandy was sure excited to see us) Thanks Pete and Mel for coming to get us. We loaded up our 10 suitcases, 6 carry-on bags, my purse and Mike's computer, all the kids and we headed home. We arrived home at about 6:40 pm. All the kids except Kaylee were asleep in the car. We carried them in and all our stuff and everyone fell asleep except Mike and I. We finally headed to bed about 9:30. We had been up for 25 1/2 hours straight. We were beat.

Kyle woke me up about 2 am. I coaxed him into my bed where he slept for about an hour. Then both he and Jake were up for good. No matter how I tried, they would not go back to bed or sleep so I got up with them. I figured if I'm up I might as well be typing, so here I am. I think I am read for normal life to begin again. I am sure I will be tired for a day or two while I get back on schedule. But it will be fine.

Our trip was such a wonderful experience. I am so grateful that we were able to do it. It will be an experience the kids will never forget. Mike and I are already starting to plan our next trip (for just the two of us). Hopefully we can go in about 5 years. That is what we will plan for.

P.S. I ate WAY too much chocolate, ice cream and deserts while we were there. I managed not to gain any weight though somehow. Yay!!!

Chronicles of Norway (part 5) Sunday and Monday-Our Final Days

Sunday was a completely laid back and restful day. It rained like crazy so it was a god thing we didn't have much planned. We went to sacrament meeting and spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing games. I was again amazed at church. The ward is very small and takes in a large geographical area. Some people drive an hour or more to get there. The meeting of course was conducted in Norwegian. Thankfully one of the elders in the ward again translated for u s. There were some technical difficulties and our headsets only worked for a small portion of the meeting, but I was amazed to find that regardless of the language, the spirit still spoke to me. I didn't understand what was being said, but I knew that it was true. When the congregation sang the hymns in Norwegian. I was again touched by the spirit. It was such a great feeling.

On Sunday night I made a list of the things we still wanted to do. Amazingly it was already our last day in Norway. The time went so fast.

On Monday morning, we went first to the Vikingship Museum. This was so cool. The ships displayed in this museum are over 1000 years old. They were found in Norway and dug up, transported and put on display for all to see. The workmanship was so fine and detailed, I was truly amazed. Following the Viking Museum we headed down to see Akershus Festning, the fortress and castle in Oslo. The parking was all full so we decided to do something else and come back. It was a good thing because just as we turned away, the skies opened and it was pouring rain for a good hour. So we went over to Sentro Station, the train station in downtown Oslo, to the souvenir shop. The kids all had some Norwegian Kroner to spend and they had fun choosing their souvenirs.We walked up the Karle Yohan Street again to Burger King, where the kids had lunch. Then Mike and I had to have a kabob. While it wasn't quite what I expected, it was pretty good and Mike really liked his.

Next we went back to Akershus. Thankfully even though it rained on us as we were leaving Yohan Street, the rain stopped and we were able to enjoy the castle and the grounds and fortress. We were actually able to tour the castle that is hundreds of years old. I can't remember for sure but I think Mike said some parts were built in the 1300's. The castle was so cool. Our next stop was Holmenkollen Ski Jump. I know we've been there already, but I had to go back and buy the sweater that I fell in love with when we were there the first time. I should have bought it the first time around, but I thought I would find it again someplace else. Little did I know these sweaters are not sold in EVERY store in Norway. Anyway thank goodness for Sally (our handy GPS device) we made it across town to Holmenkollen and I got my sweater. It was a very expensive souvenir, but to me it speaks of Norway. This is the sweater I chose.
Here is a picture of us eating Norway's favorite treat. Diplom-Is Ice cream. That is the Diplom-Is sign in the middle. Next we headed off for some more shopping. Dynes. Mike and I were in desperate need of new dynes. For those that don't know, a dyne is a down comforter. Mike and I each have our own on our bed. We do not use the typical sheets and blankets setup on our beds, but we use a fitted sheet and a dyne. It is the way the Norwegians sleep and I was quickly converted to dynes when I received one when I married Mike. The best part of sleeping with a dyne is that we never fight over the blankets. Anyway our dynes were coming up on 15 years old and we decided it was time for new ones. We browsed the other night to get an idea of what we wanted and how much it would cost. Again not a cheap purchase, but totally worth it in the end. There were 2 different dynes we had been looking at the previous trip to the store and when we got there this time, one of them was on sale for more than half off. That made our decision very easy. We bought the ones that were on sale, chose some new covers and we were done.

We headed back to mom and dad's house and had a great chicken dinner. I finished up all the packing and mom took the kids to the store. There is a grocery store only about a block away from the apartment. They took the soda bottles in to return for the deposit and bought some chocolate. More chocolate.

We got the kids settled in to bed, though not as early as we would have liked, and then the adults played a couple hands of Golf. Golf is a new card game mom and dad taught us. We played it many nights during our trip. Then we were off to bed. Morning would come early as we needed to leave by about 4:30 am to get to the airport.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chronicles of Norway (Part 4) Saturday

Well we had a super fun filled day on Saturday. It started a bit earlier than all our other days while we were here. We headed out at about 8:30 with Grandma and Grandpa towards Halden. We did a bit of souvenir shopping and took a quick tour of downtown Halden which is where Bjorg grew up.

Halden is a really beautiful little city and the old downtown area was so sweet. We stopped in a little bakery for some pastries and walked through the park. We also walked over to the foot bridge. Bjorg showed us the schools she went to, where she went to church, where she played as a child, where she worked as a teen and where she went to the movies and other such things. It was really fun to visit her history this way. Halden is also the final resting place of Mike's MorMor (mother's mother) and his MorFar (mother's father) so we took a quick trip to the cemetery to visit their graves. It was a beautiful little cemetery on a hill.

Then we were off to the big event, a family gathering and barbecue lunch at Bjor's Unkel Kora's home in Sweden. His little farm is just inside the Swedish boundaries a few minutes outside of Halden. It was the cutest little farm and farmhouse. Here we met Kora and his 3 sons, their wives and children. These children were younger and the kids enjoyed playing together despite language barriers. We also met Tonta Ranghild and Unkel Per (Bjorg's aunt and Uncle), Wenke and Arild (Bjorg's cousin and her husband), and we saw Tonta Gunhilde, Hilde-Gund, Guru, and Marit again (Bjorg's aunt, cousin, and 2nd cousins that we met on Tuesday). I probably butchered the spellings of all these Norweian names, so if I did, please be forgiving. The children had so much fun playing lawn games and visiting. Guru who is 12 years old, like Kaylee, helped with some translation between the kids. Jake and Kyle both fell in love with Guru and both said they were staying with her when it was time for us to leave. Visiting with all the family was so much fun. Most of the adults spoke at least a little bit of English so conversation was not too difficult. An the spread of food, in typical Norwegian style, was enough to feed and army. Then came the deserts!!!

After the BBQ we headed out to Svinesund Sweden to do some shopping. Prices of goods are much cheaper in Sweden than in Norway and amazingly the border is filled up with grocery store that are supported mostly by people coming over the border to shop. There are restrictions as to how much food can be taken back into Norway, but we weren't going to be buying that much. We just bought a bunch of Norwegian chocolate mmmmm!, and some other goodies to bring back to the states. I loved this picture of Jake and Mike. They are such STUDS!!Following our grocery shopping, we went to visit Tonta Ranghild and Unkel Per at their home. They set up the table and served us some Diplom-Is which is the local ice cream favorite there. It was quite tasty. Their little home on the farm is so cute. Next we went to see the cows. Kjell (Bjorg's cousin) is the owner of the farm where Unkel Per lives. The whole farming lifestyle and family setup in Norway is quite amazing. Anyway he took us in to see the cows. He has over 100 head of cattle that he raises. The kids fed them and got licked by them. They loved it. Next they kids went to look at the chickens. Jake in his hurry neglected to see the stinging nettle bush right next to the fence and put his arm right in it. True to Bjorg's warnings, the sting was immediate and intense. Thankfully cousin Kjell had some lotion that stopped the sting and made him comfortable for our long drive home. It was a long but wonderful day!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chronicles of Norway (part 3) Tuesday through Friday

Wow, I can't believe it had already been that many days since my last post. So here is a quick recap. Pictures will have to come later.

Tuesday was "F" day.

FERRY-we rode the ferry from Horton to Moss across the Fjord.

FORTRESS-we drove to Halden and toured Fredriksten Festing fortress, it was really amazing.

FAMILY-we visited Bjorg's aunt and cousins for dinner, then visited Bjorg's brother and his family. in Halden.
FOOD-Always way too much food. Wednesday-we went to the beach (Paradisbutka) despite the cold and visited the Norwegian Folk Museum. We ate lunch at McDonalds this day and would you believe lunch for our family cost an equivalent of $80 USD. OUCH! I don't think I will ever complain about the cost of things in the US again after being here. Thursday-it rained like crazy but we took a great road trip to Jevnakker to the glass factory where we watched them make vases, plates and wine glasses. It was amazing. The scenery along the road was breathtaking despite the gloomy skies. We also drove to Honefoss to see a pretty waterfall. Friday-We visited the Ski Museum and Holmenkollen Ski Jump in the morning then headed to the beach (Hukodden) again as soon as we got there the sun went away and the wind picked up. Typical for every time we have tried to go to the beach. Then we had lunch and headed to the Karl Yohan Street and walked along looking at the shops and walked all the way top the King's Palace. There were so many old buildings it was cool to see all of the architecture.

This is the King's Palace.

Our Family in Pictures