Dining

Kreative FM Podcast Episode 3: Beware of Wild Animals

by Lindy

Listen to the latest episode of Kreative FM by clicking on the image link at the very bottom of the page.

Episode 3 Show notes:

Thank you for listening to Kreative FM! If you have any feedback, questions or ideas for future episodes, email us at kreativefm@kreativehaus.com. You can even email us an audio file or suggested media we can play on the show. Also interact with us on our social media sites: @kreativehaus / @nbhaus.

We’ll aim to have a new episode in two weeks! Topic: TBD

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– Lindy and Jonathan


New Signature Cocktail: Subdued Excitement

by Lindy

I’ve invented a new signature cocktail inspired by Bellingham, Washington’s (my hometown) unofficial nickname, “The City of Subdued Excitement”. I’m almost, nearly, completely excited by my new concoction!

The Subdued Excitement cocktail is comprised of:

  • Kirkland Signature vodka from Costco (Seattle company)
  • Organic grapefruit juice
  • Frozen rainwater (preferably from the Great Northwest) in the form of ice cubes

The Subdued Excitement cocktail is simple, natural, outdoorsy and a little tart – just like Bellingham-sters like me!

Feel free to substitute organic apple juice for the grapefruit juice if it’s too exciting for you.

It’s perfect served in these 2 oz. red party cups because it wouldn’t be prudent to over-indulge. (Unless of course you’re not driving and you don’t have work in the morning.)

Shout out to our sponsor! Good Times 2 oz red party cups – perfect for sipping or shooting!

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Kirkland Signature Vodka

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Norwegian Vacation Part 3 – Lillehammer

by Lindy

“Norwegian Vacation – Party of Five”
Lillehammer, Norway
April 8 – 12, 2013

Lillehammer was the last leg of our epic journey to Norway and it was beautiful! Rugged, mountainous, peaceful, outdoorsy and quaint. The weather was chilly with snow still on the ground, but it was just what we wanted. Every native Norwegian was tired of the prolonged winter, but we relished it! (Since it was only four days until we were going back to the predictable (boring) sunshine in Southern California.)

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Spring Weather Report for Lillehammer, Norway

Our Air BnB host Mari rented out her quaint, artistic condo overlooking the valley and snow-capped mountains and it was breathtaking. Our temporary home on the hilltop was very relaxing and family-oriented. The girls enjoyed playing video games and sleeping on bunk beds, just like home. Highlights included: visiting the Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum), exploring downtown Lillehammer, eating at Nikkers Restaurant, touring the Norwegian Olympic Museum and going sledding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort. Since we were there in between the official Winter and Summer tourist seasons, many things we were interested in doing were closed, which was a bummer; I really wanted to go on a dog sleigh ride through the wilderness. Regardless, we had a nice, relaxing time interspersed with adventure.

Lillyhammer, Steven Van Zandt Photo Credit: Rubicon/NRK

When we had been in Larvik, many people told us about a popular TV series called Lillyhammer, featuring the town of Lillehammer. They all recounted how funny the show was; a NYC mobster played by actor Steven Van Zandt gets put in the FBI’s witness protection program and he chooses to go to ‘Lillyhammer’ because he saw it in the Olympics and there were a lot of hot chicks there. It showcases the culture shock he experiences and his attempts at adapting his mobster lifestyle to the town. Ironically, when we ate at Nikkers restaurant in downtown Lillehammer, we talked to the waitress who said that Steven frequently ate there when they’re filming and that he’d just been there. Now that we’ve been to Lillehammer in person as well as seen the show, we’re hooked on watching all the episodes!

 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Driving from Larvik to Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Driving from Larvik to Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Driving from Larvik to Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Tunnel; Driving to Lillehammer from Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Frozen Lake; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Three Sleeping Sardines; Driving from Larvik to Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Icy Rock Wall; Driving to Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Roadside Chapel; Driving to Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Fresh Snowfall in Lillehammer, Norway

Our visit to the Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum)

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Art Sculpture; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Unicycle; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Attempting to Walk a Straight Line with a Simulated Sobriety Test; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Bicycles Galore; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Vintage Bicycle Bells; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Wooden Bike; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Taxi! Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Pink Polka Dotted Moose Antlers; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Biker Dude; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Tire Swings; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Nature Walk; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Massive Machinery; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Gigantic Tunnel; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

“Nature Calls!” Norwegian Outhouse; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Acclimating to the Snow; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Camp Fire Hut; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Annika’s Car; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kiersten’s Car; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Brendan’s Car; Norsk Vegmuseum (Road Museum); Lillehammer, Norway

Norwegian Olympic Museum

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Neubauer Kids Take Gold, Silver and Bronze! Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Brendan’s First Gold Medal! Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Olympic Museum; Lillehammer, Norway

Making Ourselves at Home in Lillehammer

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Undaunted by the Snow; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

You Can’t Separate Her from the Internet or Her New Norwegian Hat; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

International Dance Competition With Mari’s Daughters; Lillhammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

The American vs. The Norwegian in the Michael Jackson Dance Competition

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Feeling at Home; Lillehammer, Norway

Walking around Downtown Lillehammer

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Quiet Streets of Downtown Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kiersten Camoflauged with ‘Moods of Norway’ Shop Tractor; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Moose Sighting; Nikkers Restaurant; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Moose Sighting; Nikkers Restaurant; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian Movie Stars; Nikkers Restaurant; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Traveling Troll; Nikkers Restaurant; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Party of Five; Nikkers Restaurant; Lillehammer, Norway

Sledding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

No American Flag in Sight; Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Ultimate Cross Country Skiing Destination; Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Map of Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Traveling Troll and Kids Sledding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort, Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Neubauer Boys; Sledding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Tandem Sledding; Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Pushing the Kids Over the Cliff. Sledding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sledding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

The Race is On! Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sjusjoen Ski Resort’s Lodge Buffet; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sjusjoen Ski Resort’s Lodge Buffet; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sjusjoen Ski Resort’s Lodge Buffet; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sjusjoen Ski Resort’s Lodge Buffet; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Nordic Explorers; Sjusjoen Ski Center; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Nordic Explorers; Sjusjoen Ski Center; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Pipe Sliding, Crash Landing at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Pipe Sliding, Crash Landing at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Pipe Sliding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

“That’s All Folks!” Pipe Sliding at Sjusjoen Ski Resort; Lillehammer, Norway

It’s now been a month since we were in Lillehammer and it’s almost like a dream that we were even there. It seems like such an idyllic place to live and I loved being in the homeland of my ancestors; the culture, landscape and values of Norway seems so suited to me.

This completes my travel series on our ‘Norwegian Vacation – Party of Five’. We had a memorable two week spring break vacation in Norway and look back on all the photos and adventures fondly. I hope to see Norway’s beauty again in another five – ten years and suspect we will be even more adventurous then, as the kids will be a little older. I’m glad we went with our kids at their current ages though as they were able to soak it in with open minds and have the experience shape their young lives in a positive way. I would highly recommend a Norwegian adventure for other families as well. (Just save your money!)


Norwegian Vacation Part 2 – Family Reunion

by Lindy

It’s been over 100 years since Lauritz Anton Kjønnerud (Kenrud is the Americanized surname) and Elise Marie Hagan left their homes in Larvik, Norway – the southern coastal region. (Home of Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki adventurer.) They left Norway (independently) in the early 1900s for better lives; times were tough in Norway and America promised a land of opportunities. Lauritz and Elise are my maternal great-grandpa and great-grandma. They were married in Couer d’Alene, Idaho on August 30, 1913 (exactly 90 years before my wedding anniversary on the same date!)

I am fortunate that my grandpa Andy (Lauritz’s son) and uncle Kern (Lauritz’s grandson) maintained contact with some of our family in Norway and that I’ve had the chance to get to know them throughout the past 10 years; especially with the ease of email and Facebook. The Sons of Norway in Seattle helped to reconnect my grandpa with his Norwegian relatives after Lauritz and Elise died, leaving him and his brother orphans. Kern has also passed on the letters between the families in Norwegian and old photos of their first homestead in Bellingham, Washington. Having the opportunity to see these has left a lasting impression on me and I’m honored to have this legacy to share with my children.

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz, Ralph and Andy Kenrud, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Elise on the farm, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Ralph and Andy (great uncle and grandpa) cutting wood, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz, Ralph and Andy Kenrud, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Fishing in Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz, Ralph and Andy Kenrud

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Ralph and Andy Kenrud, my grandpa and great uncle

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Elise, Andy and Ralph Kenrud | Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz and Elise in Bellingham, Washington

My husband and I visited my family in Larvik first in 2004 and then in 2011, some came to visit our family in Seattle and now we’ve just returned from our big family trip to Norway where we were able to spend quality time with most of the cousins and great uncles/aunts. It was an incredible experience for me and impactful for my children as well. Kiersten (5) is now smitten with her cousin Jakob and claims to want to marry him and Brendan (2) perpetually stuck by Jana’s side. They all played so well together despite the language barrier.

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Driving from Oslo to Larvik

We had five days of spending time with all the family, rotating visits to everyone’s houses. Highlights were having late night conversations with our accommodating hosts Kristian (cousin) and Heike, as well as tasting various new liquors with them, having a fun cookout at the beach in Stavern with waffles, sausages and lefse, spending a day with Kjell (great uncle) and Inger eating and reviewing ancestry documents, meeting a new cousin from my great-grandma’s lineage, Heidi, and hearing all the creative things she’s involved with at her job, seeing and learning about Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Rat Virgin’ sculpture in Skien on the Telemark canal, meeting younger Kristian and Ingrid’s new baby girl, Line, and Kristian taking the kids on a tour of his police station in Skien. It was wonderful seeing Beate (cousin) and Espen’s home and tasting a traditional Norwegian soup with flatbread and lots of butter. We also had a great time seeing Håkon (cousin) and Reidun’s home and getting to know them more. We also got to meet another cousin of Kristian, Espen and his wife Pham and their two lovely daughters. They had lived in the U.S. before, so there was a lot to talk about. Of course, there never is enough time and I’m sad we didn’t get more time with everyone. I’m certain we will visit them again someday though.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Brendan and Inger, great aunt, Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian dinner; Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Brendan, Jana and Heike; Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beate and Brendan + me; Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beate, Inger, Kjell and Kiersten; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Delicious Norwegian Jello Dessert

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Delicious Norwegian Meatballs, courtesy of Inger.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Lindy and Kjell reviewing ancestry documents; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Inger, Annika and Kiersten; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kjell and his grand nieces; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Lindy and Heidi; Larvik, Norway.
Creative cousins.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Lindy, Heidi and Annika, Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Frozen row boat in Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Hungry swan. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Playing on the beach; Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Rat Virgin’ Sculpture. Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Climbing up the ‘Rat Virgen’; Skien, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kids taking over the computers. Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Welcoming Kristian’s new baby girl, Line.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Ane reading to Kiersten. Skien, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Skien family. Beate, Reidun, Ane, Espen, Jakob, Oscar + me, Annika, Kiersten, Brendan.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Traditional Norwegian soup, courtesy of Beate. Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Legos are universal. Jakob, Oscar and Brendan; Skien, Norway.

Brendan and Jakob at the police station in Skien, Norway.

Brendan and Jakob at the police station in Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Annika, Kiersten, Baby Line and Ingrid.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Dressed for the weather. Stavern, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Staying warm at the beach. Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beach cookout, Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

The girls: Jana, Annika, Kiersten. Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Jana locked up in Stavern, Norway

The Guys' Jonathan, Brendan, Kristian. Stavern, Norway.

The Guys’ Jonathan, Brendan, Kristian. Stavern, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beautiful Norwegian girls, Ane and Julie. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kids’ table for celebration dinner. Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Bear hug. Kristian and Brendan. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Family photo with Håkon taking the photo. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Strong liquor.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Stronger
liquor.

Some of the things I loved about Larvik and Skien was the stunning, natural beauty, the crisp fresh air and the kind, authentic people. I enjoyed the traditional Norwegian meals with lots of bread, cheese, meat, fish and spreads on open-faced sandwiches and especially the meatballs and potatoes. I loved how everyone is active outside despite the cold weather; you can see bicyclers, runners, hikers and soccer players everywhere. There is a Norwegian saying we’ve learned, “There’s no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing.” So true! I became adept at dressing in layers and was quite warm and comfortable. I really like the cold-weather, Nordic fashion with a blend of rugged function and beauty. I also love Norwegian design and decor in their homes; it’s so natural, rustic and quaint with a lot of personal touches.

Now that I’m back in the U.S., I reflect a lot on my ancestry and the people who came before me, their journey, as well as what aspects of me are distinctly Norwegian (stubbornness, determination, outdoorsy, down to earth.) I like to think I’m Norwegian even if just 75% of me is and I can’t speak the language well and I’m the 3rd generation in America (on both my parent’s sides).

I’m happy to report that to honor my Norwegian great-grandparents, my uncle Kern has arranged for Lauritz and Elise’s names, where they immigrated from and their dates of arrival to the U.S. are going to be added to the last available rune stone at the Leif Erikson sculpture, a tribute to Scandinavian immigrants, at Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. The final stone will be added to the 13 existing runic-like stones arranged around the statue in the ancient tradition of a Viking ship. The stones display authentic Viking designs, and each stone holds plaques with the names of Scandinavian immigrants to honor their history.

leiferikson.org

Leif Erikson statue at Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle, Washington Photo Credit: LeifErikson.org

Leif Erikson International Foundation (LEIF) commissioned a new base for the existing statue and a display of some 850 immigrants’ names. (More names were added in July 2010, for a total of 1,767.) The statue base is a large granite stone approximately six feet high, in the middle of a plaza. It is encircled with upright, runic-like stones, featuring authentic Viking carvings and plaques with the names of immigrants, along with their home towns and years of immigration.

The base and tribute display were designed by internationally known artist Jay Haavik, grandson of the former pastor of Ballard First Lutheran Church, the Rev. O. L. Haavik.

The Norseman Leif Erikson symbolizes the courage to venture to a new land.- leiferikson.org

leiferikson.org

Lauritz and Elise will be honored on a rune stone like this.
Rune stone, Leif Erikson Statue at Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle, Washington
Photo Credit: LeifErikson.org

My next post will be about the concert we went to in Sandefjord, Norway to see Norwegian rock band Tainted Souls perform live. It was awesome!


Norwegian Vacation Part 1

by Lindy

Orange County, California to Norway
March 30 – April 13, 2013
Part 1 of the Epic Adventure

We had the most excellent two week trip in Norway! I’m compelled to recap our adventures before my memory completely fades, but I will break down our journey into a few different posts out of consideration for short attention spans. Although traveling with kids is not necessarily the most relaxing or fun, we feel it’s very important for our kids to experience the fun traveling and exposure to other cultures to broaden their knowledge of the world. I also wanted them to spend time with our Norwegian family and learn more about our ancestry (as much as what’s possible with a seven, five and two year old.)

This first post will cover the craziness that ensued just to arrive in Norway, the main highlights of our first two days as tourists in Oslo and I’ll finish the post with a thoughtful interpretation of a missing stage of life from the famous Vigeland Sculpture Park as told to me by our  Air BnB apartment host, Christian Krogh.

Throughout our trip, I took travel notes on my smart phone on a simple notepad app. It was the easiest and most accessible tool and as it’s an Android phone, it was easy to speak into the microphone to record my notes. The fun began at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning, March 30th. We had an 8:30 flight on American Airlines, so we woke up 4:30 am. Everything went smoothly and we were confident of our travel mojo on the runway waiting to take off, until the pilot got on the intercom to tell us that the plane had a broken part and we needed to go back to the terminal to inspect it. After inspection, they said they needed to shuttle a crew of mechanics from Los Angeles to fix the broken part, so everyone needed to get off the plane, get their luggage from baggage claim and go to ticketing for new flights. !!WTF?!! Didn’t they realize our luggage was practically 6 feet tall since there was five of us traveling?! And only two of us were capable of carrying it (oh, actually one because it was too heavy for me.)

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Luggage Cart: (1) 50 lb. suitcase, (1) 40 lb. duffle bag, (2) big backpacks and (1) bag of car seats.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

7:00 am – Excited Traveler

7:30 am – Happy Traveler

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

9:30 am – Angry Traveler

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

9:45 am – Weary Travelers

But, we forged on and did as we were told. Round 2 with luggage, ticketing and security (not so easy)- we had new flights. We got to our gate and discovered our flight was delayed 30 minutes. No problem, we thought, we had time. The agent at the gate told us that the delay would make us miss our connecting flight, however, so we needed to be booked on yet another flight and there wasn’t showing anything available for us in the system. She recommended we go home and come back the next day to take the first flight out or that we could fly to London and stay the night there and fly to Oslo the following day. I would have chosen option #2 before choosing to go home and come back the next day. As a last resort she offered us the solution of taking a shuttle to Los Angeles airport, taking a red eye flight to London that evening and then flying to Oslo direct. We all agreed it was the best option, so we took it, however, we had to get our luggage out of baggage claim again, but by this point we were experts.

The rest of the flight details were a breeze once we got out of Orange County airport; they gave us excellent customer service throughout with food vouchers and bulkhead seating which were golden. I was so glad we weren’t pinched in the regular seats; the passengers were all trying to sleep and get comfortable in extremely cramped seats. I enjoyed watching Silverlining Playbook before drifting of into a nice slumber.

Some mishaps that occurred which kept us on our toes included our two year old son ‘doing his duty’ in his diaper right before landing and it went up and out of the back of his pants. Luckily, we had a change of clothes and did a quick presto-chango in the bathroom. Next, at airport security for our connecting flight in London Heathrow, he somehow gagged on his lollipop and started throwing up on himself just as we were taking off our shoes and laying everything out to go through x-ray. It was messy and smelly and distracting. Since we weren’t entirely focused at this point, we neglected to take out our iPads and other items from our bags to be scanned. Therefore we were flagged for closer scrutiny and Jonathan was frisked for good measure. But we pressed on and were rewarded with the most awesome indoor playground for kids where they could burn off energy while waiting for our connecting flight to Oslo. Our five year old peed her pants, because stopping playing to go to the bathroom is just a drag. Again, we were fortunate to have packed a spare pair of pants for such occasions – I’m a pro.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

London Heathrow Airport Hitchhiker

The final leg of the trip was a blur of shuttling, screening, waiting and various forms of transportation. We arrived in Oslo Gardermoen airport at 12:30 am Monday morning (eight hours ahead of California time) so we’d been on the go for over 34 hours at that point and still needed to retrieve our mound of luggage, go through customs, take the express train to Oslo Central Station and take a taxi to our rental apartment. We were all frazzled and extremely fatigued, but we made it happen. It wasn’t fun or easy, but we did it (with a lot of stares from onlookers.) We finally laid our heads on our pillows at 2:30 am (36 hours from start to finish) and although the kids were excellent travelers keeping their spirits and resilience up throughout, my daughters were in tears at that point saying that they didn’t like Norway and they wanted to go home.

I questioned our rationale for taking this big of a trip and assessed whether or not it was too ambitious of us. But we were certainly not going to go home at that point. After a solid night’s rest, everything looked sunny and bright again and we were ready to explore Oslo. We downloaded the Visit Oslo (tourist sites), NSB (trains) and Ruter Billett (bus) apps as well as Google Maps and our portable WiFi to navigate Oslo with relative ease. We also brought our Anker portable external battery chargers to help recharge everything on the go as needed.

Highlights from Monday in Oslo included: me slipping on a sheet of ice while walking to find a neighborhood restaurant that was recommended, eating pizza and a falafel at a “Friends” store when we discovered the restaurant and everything else was closed for the Easter holiday. Interestingly, the man at the counter asked me, “Do you want little or small falafel?” I said small and lo and behold, the ‘small’ was quite huge; I should have clarified before ordering.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Friends Store in Kvaernbyen Oslo
Everywhere we go, we take over the place.

Our tourist highlights that day was viewing the Palace and the changing of the guard and walking around the beautiful Aker Brygge harbor area and the kids played on an outdoor playground.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Oslo Royal Palace

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Changing of the Guard Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Rower water sculpture Aker Brygge Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Aker Brygge Oslo

We dined at a cozy restaurant called Rorbua that had a rustic and nautical decor. The menu had seafood and traditional Norwegian food and everything was delicious. We had a valuable economics lesson after that meal; it ended up costing us $200 USD! But still I’m happy we ate there instead of the alternatives of Big Horn Steakhouse or TGIF’s. I could justify and embrace spending that much on this fantastic dinner because we were still recovering from airplane food as well as an exteme case of travel fatigue.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Rorbua Restaurant Aker Brygge Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Steak at Rorbua

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Salmon at Rorbua

On Tuesday one of the highlights was Vigeland Sculpture Park where the kids played on the snowy playground, observed all the beautiful, naked sculptures and sledded down the icy steps near the phallic monolith in the center of the park.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Southern Californian girl at home in the snow.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Everywhere we travel, there must be a playground. Vigeland Park Oslo.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Universal playground fave. Vigeland Park Oslo.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Peek a boo. Vigeland Park Oslo.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Making friends in Norway.
Vigeland Park Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Vigeland Sculpture Park Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Here’s how we feel about traveling with kids.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Nordic Mama. Vigeland Park Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Girl huddle. Vigeland Park Oslo.

A rare photo of the the couple taken by their daughter.

A rare photo of the the couple taken by their daughter.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Traveling Troll at Vigeland Park Olso.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Sledding at Vigeland Park Olso.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Real life family sculpture. Vigeland Park Oslo.

We then went to the open air Folk Museum to see how Norwegians lived from the 1700s to present day.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Folk Museum Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Folk Museum Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Traveling Troll at the Folk Museum Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Folk Museum Oslo

Then we walked around the beautiful Opera House and took in the breathtaking views.

The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet House
Photo Credit: VisitOslo.com | Karianne Lund

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Statue of Norwegian Opera Legend, Kirsten Flagstad

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Opera House Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Annika at Opera House Oslo

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian ingenuity and determination. Opera House Oslo.

We ended the day at an outdoor cafe called Skansen and enjoyed a glass of wine, apple cake and ice cream near Akershus Fortress.

Akershus Fortress Photo Credit: VisitOslo.com | Nancy Bundt

Apple Cake and Ice Cream at Skansen Cafe Oslo

Our host at our apartment rental, Christian, wrote in his ‘Guide to Oslo’ notes that there is a theme of life throughout Vigeland Sculpture Park but that there was one mysteriously missing. He challenges his guests to discover what that is, but if they can’t, to email him for his theory. We attempted to find the missing stage of life, but ultimately had to resort to emailing Christian. Here is his detailed explanation of Gustav Vigeland, the sculptor, and the missing stage of life.

“Gustav Vigeland was undoubtly a great artist but not a very sympathetic person. He was very focused on leaving a memorable location about himself and his art. He never got married but had a lot of female relationships. Why do so many girls like the bad guys? He did not treat the women nice. In fact it is stated that he was confronted on several occasion for beating them up. The theme of the park is “Life”. The park is supposed to show all shades of life. The “Monolitt” is supposed to symbolize the male genitals. As you so in the park you have newborn babies and old people. However, a pregnant woman is missing. Why when the theme is suppose to be all shades of life? We don’t know for sure but what we think is that G. Vigeland did not think that a pregnant woman was a pretty picture to portrait. 

G.Vigeland had a younger brother that also was an artist. Gustav made sure that nobody credited his younger brother’s work. During the war the younger brother got the nazi occupation authorities to give him a small chapel to decorate. He did a great work in this chapel. When you enter the chapel there is a big box right over the entrance door to the chapel. Vigeland was asked why he had placed this big box over the entrance door. Anyone entering the chapel had to bow their head to get in to the chapel. The younger version of Vigeland said that “I put it there because when I die I will use it as my coffin. If my older brother drops by to see what I have made, I want to make sure that he has to bow his head.” – Christian Krogh

WOW! Talk about a fascinating art history lesson!

Next, “Norwegian Vacation Part Two” will cover our five days in Larvik, my maternal great grandfather and great grandmother’s hometown, where we spent quality time with family.


Kreative Ceiling Decor

by Lindy

Here is a photo we took at Elvira’s Restaurant in Tubac, Arizona last year. We go there about twice a year when visiting family. They always have unique, beautiful decor and I especially love the colorful blown glass covering the ceiling. In addition to the incredible ambiance, they have delicious Mexican food and margaritas.

Elvira's Decor

Elvira Restaurant’s Blown Glass Ceiling Decor

Elvira’s: 2221 E. Frontage Road Bldg. A; Tubac, AZ 85646; 520.398.9421


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