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Happy, happy!

January 1, 2012 | Family,Forest City,Holidays,Iowa

Posted by Becky @ 12:09 pm | Comments  

Merry, merry!

December 25, 2011 | Books,Family,Forest City,Holidays,Home,Iowa,Norway,Winter

Posted by Becky @ 1:58 pm | Comments  

Upcycled goodies on Blue Door Shoppe

December 23, 2011 | Forest City,Iowa,My neighborhood

My friend Tora made this gift bag out of my daughter’s old jeans. Isn’t that cool? We also have some tote bags she made. She also makes other really cool things, and she has them on her etsy shop, Blue Doore Shoppe. Go check them out!

Posted by Becky @ 4:31 pm | Comments  

Gingerbread cookies

December 22, 2011 | Family,Food,Forest City,Holidays,Iowa

The kids got out of school early today, and it’s the start of our holiday break. We wrapped gifts and then made gingerbread cookies. Looking forward to some cozy family time. Wishing you all the best!

Posted by Becky @ 7:38 pm | Comments  

Poinsettia tradition

December 18, 2011 | Birthday,Family,Holidays

After Mom died in January, I wrote about how I’d gotten my last birthday poinsettia from Mom.

This year on my birthday, my husband and son came home with a beautiful poinsettia for me, and they told the story about how my mom had always given me one on my birthday. The tradition continues.

I love my family.

Posted by Becky @ 10:49 pm | Comments  

Letters to Santa

December 8, 2011 | Family,Holidays

Dear Santa,

Please explain to my first-grader that your elves don’t have the parts to make iPads. Or … something. (*cough* $499 *cough*)

And, please. Don’t let the pigeon out of the book! You know. The $14.99 book?

I’ve been good. Really, I have.



Posted by Becky @ 10:26 pm | Comments  

Sjømannskirken i Miami

November 8, 2011 | Florida,Norway

Congratulations to the new Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Miami! It will have its opening ceremony next weekend. HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit will attend. (The church is named after her.)

We have some good memories of Sjømannskirken i Miami. It’s where our son was baptized by Pastor Synnøve Wiseth during the Christmas Eve service in 2002.

It’s where our daughters were supposed to be baptized by Pastor Lasse Heimdal in September 2004. Because of Hurricane Frances, though, the church had canceled services, and the pastor and his family evacuated to The Norwegian Seaman’s Church in New Orleans. Before leaving Florida, he he baptized the girls in our home on Sept. 3, 2004.

Our coffee table (that we got from Beste Rise) was the altar, covered by a white tablecloth made by Beste Rise. The baptismal font was a Magnor glass bowl from Norway.

Great-great-grandmother Berta (Hestad) Hoem made Beth’s baptism gown (at left) 95 years ago for Ole Hestad, her youngest brother. Many people in the family have worn the gown including the children’s great-grandmother Rise, bestefar Anders and their pappa. Vågøy church in Norway featured the gown for its centennial Sept. 12 with mention of the first baby to wear the gown, Ole Hestad, and the last, our Elisabeth Marie.

Great-grandmother Petra crocheted Katie’s baptism gown (at right) in 1984 for a cousin. It’s the same one Andy wore in 2002.

Four major hurricanes – Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne – hit Florida over six weeks in August and September that year, something that hadn’t happened to one place in 130 years. Charley was a category 4 that hit Aug. 13. Forecasters believed it would come to Tampa, but it hit land just south of us. Frances hit on Sept. 5. We lost power several times for several hours at a time. We lost a large pine tree on one side of our house, even though Frances was “only” a tropical storm by the time it reached Tampa. Forecasters believed Ivan would come to Tampa too, but it stayed in the Gulf and hit Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Sept. 16. Jeanne hit on Sept. 26. We were without power all day. We were luckier than most and got our power back the same day. We lost an even bigger tree in our back yard.

After that year, one might imagine how truly terrifying it was to see Katrina moving its way up the Gulf. At one point, forecasters put Tampa directly in her path. That was the only time I thought about leaving town even before evacuations started. Turns out, she veered to the west.

We are so glad the Seaman’s Church was there for us — in good weather and bad. We wish them all the best with their new buildings!

Posted by Becky @ 3:34 pm | Comments  

We got to see King Harald and Queen Sonja

October 14, 2011 | Decorah,Iowa,King Harald,Norway,Queen Sonja

We’ve been planning for this royal visit since February. It finally happened!

My son, who wrote a letter to the king 5 1/2 years ago, believes they came to Iowa because he invited them. I’m perfectly OK letting him believe that. Poor thing, though, he’d gotten a fever and a horrible cold the night before we left. He was not at his top condition … but I hope he remembers seeing the king and queen as a special memory.

Here they are, practicing waving their flags and shouting, “Velkommen!” (See the crown?)

And … here’s our favorite queen and king.

Posted by Becky @ 6:11 pm | Comments  

NOLA: Olivier’s

October 11, 2011 | Traveling

We asked the concierge if she could recommend a nearby restaurant that’s quiet. Quiet? In New Orleans? (I’m sure she wondered, “What is WRONG with these tourists? Who comes to New Orleans for quiet?) She knows her restaurants. She recommended the perfect place, Olivier’s Creole Restaurant.

Except for some fairly loud, very well-dressed girls who showed up after the Hanson concert at the House of Blues (I somewhat expect to get struck by lightning just for writing that), it was very quiet with great drinks and delicious food.

Here’s our waiter, Chris. He looked up how to make a Zombie for us.

Here is that amazing food.

We went back the next day to get pictures outside. What a fabulous place!

Posted by Becky @ 5:15 pm | Comments  

Charming Marie in New Orleans

October 2, 2011 | Blogging,Music,Norway,The Snake Charmers,Twitter

Remember how I took Charming Marie to Norway? Well, I thought I’d take her to New Orleans with me last month. (Yes, that’s a blue cow covered with the Blue Dog.)

But wait! Looky here! There’s Marie … for real! She flew in from Houston for the weekend. I was in NOLA for a journalism conference.

That’s Ricky. He took our picture. Yep, it was game day. The Saints played the Texans.

More pix to come.

Posted by Becky @ 3:32 pm | 2 Comments