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Santa is becoming more real for my Finn and it thrills me. At 8 months, Ellie likes the sparkling lights. But Finn sings Jingle Bells and tells his Granny that Santa visits good boys and girls and that good boys and girls listen to their mommies and daddies. We celebrate Saint Nicholas Day in our family, just as I did when I was growing up. Saint Nick brought a new Christmas ornament every year and now that same collection hangs on our family tree.

In our house, Saint Nicholas brings a Christmas movie or music or a book, in addition to the ornament. I suppose he thinks it’s a good way to create a media collection that only comes out in December. That Saint Nick is one smart fella.

I was just explaining to Finn today that there is so much to look forward to in the next few weeks. In barnehage, the kids will participate in a juleverksted (Christmas workshop) and parties and other hemmelighet (shhh secret!) activities. They’ll be a Saint Lucia celebration in the barnehage and another open house and candle lit parade around our neighborhood that same night. Julenisse will visit barnehage and we’ll visit him again when we fly to Ireland to spend Christmas with Granny and Pop and Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.

The lights are dancing on our Christmas tree. There are white taper candles down the center of our dining table. A fire burns in our new peis (fireplace) through out the afternoon and into the evening. There’s even a bit of snow on the streets and a certain nip in the air. It’s absolutely lovely.

I’m back at it again, this little blog of mine.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with photos. And then watching helplessly as much computer crashes and then doing the work again. And I’ve been thinking about writing and how important it used to be to me. As I thought about starting up again, I was bothered by the fact that everyone has a blog and everyone has an angle. I’ve come to realize that it’s not really whether or not you want to read about my kids or the funny things my husband says or our life in Scandinavia. It’s about putting it down and having a place to go in the moments when my memory fails me, as it does so often.

I love my job. I don’t really think of myself as a mother. In fact, I met some new people this weekend — in a bar, on a night out with a friend, who is also a wife and a mother. I heard myself say that I have two kids. And clearly it must be true — there are two beautiful children sleeping in the rooms above me. I know that they depend upon me and that I’m responsible for them. I love them and they are mine. I feel I am their teacher. Their entertainer. Their guide. And I feel that I’m pretty good at these things. I’d have to be at this point, I suppose — because they are my world.

So sometimes when I am out in public, without my children, I am a bit lost. I feel nervous. I used to be so comfortable here, with people my own age or older. I used to say witty things. And I used to write. Not just telephone company advertisements or annual reports. I used to write the kinds of things I liked to read.

Here I am then, back in the world-of-blogs, not writing for other people — to write like I used to. But I’m a mother now, so instead of angst, or boys, or desire, I’m writing about a family and Christmas Carols and saying please and thank you.

Come along then, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Finn made great strides yesterday — stepping out on his own for the first time! Fergus and Ann Stewart were over for dinner and Finn was up past his bedtime. In his punch-drunk state, he just got right up and started to go! The first time he did it, I only saw him fall and then thought, “wait, what did he fall from?” His own two feet! I wasn’t quick enough with the camera last night, but we caught some of the action this morning.

Here are a few shots of our attic, now finally (mostly) cleared of the clutter. It includes an office/play area for Finn, a BIG (2 twins together) bed for guests and/or Finn romps, and the utility room which we’ve been working on since we moved in. We replaced the floor, took out an old shower closet, and added lots of shelves so that we could store all of our “off the boat from America” goodies. I designed this to have a “hang dry” area as well — because, as you can see, it’s our laundry room as well.

Here’s a somewhat uneventful video of Finn on his bike seat. We got this for him a few weeks ago and he loves to go for rides in the evenings. Tonight we explored a few neighborhoods nearby and went to the grocery store to pick up dessert: strawberries and ice cream.

Our mysterious internet source has appeared again, so I have the ability to post this video. We leave for France on Saturday. We’ll be there for 10 days, after which we travel to Newark (Pennsylvania, Connecticut) for Colin and Renee’s wedding festivities. We’ll be there for 9 days. Hopefully when we get back in August, the internet (and TV and landline) installation guys will have decided that it’s our turn.

I’m posting this video to show my mom and dad the back deck that I referenced in our ichat video conference today. It’s 75 degrees here at 7p and has been since 10 this morning. The sun is so warm and it’s more humid than home, which makes it feel so so so good.

We have intermittent internet here, but it’s enough that I no longer have an excuse NOT to post! We are enjoying a lovely Saturday. Finn slept in until 9:30 and therefore, so did I. We walked downtown for lunch at Ingredienser and then coffee and eclairs at Cafe Francais. It’s so wonderful how close we are to all of this — being able to get out and walk while the weather is nice is a great thing. Finn is adapting to life in his stroller and even took a very short nap in it this afternoon (which means only bad things for us, because naturally, he’s not interested in continuing once we get home).

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