Friday, February 27, 2009


So, at the beginning of this week we decided to take Zelia out of the dagmamma she was going to. It just wasn't working and we could not keep doing it. So Tuesday night there was a simultaneous decision made by us and the Dagmamma, independantly. Now we had to rethink and see what we could do. We put the word out and got the name of a girl who was going to be returning from Norway where she had been working as an au pair. We contacted her and at the same time, by chance another dagmamma had an open space suddenly - huh! I contacted Harpa right away and by Wednesday morning we were there visiting. It was a great morning. Harpa is very professional, wanted to know what had happened in the first place and laid out a plan of attack for us, gave us a contract, a list of clothes she needs there for the week and her hot food menu!!! When I mentioned that we don't give Zelia sugar, her response was, I don't give them sugar, salt, strawberries, peanuts, kiwi or margarine - I had found the right match for me:) she has her 7 month girl, another girl who will be a year in a week and an 18 month old boy, all who are settled in and happy. Oh, and the first day we went she had fish for lunch so, really what more could a little Zelia want. We left feeling VERY hopeful, and I realized how strained I had been with the other situation.

Anyway, it has continued to be great and we move into the next phase on Monday, when we leave her for 10-15 minutes, come back and take her home and then do it again the next day. We'll let you know.

As to things she is doing more and more:
dancing, always dancing when she hears music, the funny thing is that all she needs to see is the Itunes on the computer and she begins - sometimes she sings
she plays peekaboo all the time, but says "beh" as they do here. She will initiate and hide her eyes with her hands sometimes, at times for a very long time.
she loves pulling out the soup pots and sitting inside them, and she really likes going for a ride.
I have given her some crayons and take them out for a short moment everyday. Once or twice she has put some color on the page, but she is more interested in eating them:)
she LOVES to say halo on the phone, and is waving goodbye to everyone
she seems to be on the verge of walking soon. She stands more and more on her own, sometimes clapping and even dancing and twisting.
AND she stands near the washer and hands me the wet clothes to hang up, then sometimes she starts putting the dirty clothes in - so so so so sweet

Well, this afternoon we are going to swim with Heidy and Alexander and then go back to her house for coffee and cake with Sunna. After that to Icelandic class and finally dinner at Taian's new place. Last night we had dinner at the other apartment for the last time since they are all changing their living situations and it was a riot seeing Zelia with Traian. She has always rally liked him, but yesterday she sat on the floor and played and played and even wanted him to pick her up!

Oh yes - she is clapping, and will clap and put her hands on her head when we sing in Hebrew:)

Konur Dag, Bullur Dag, and springadag

Sunday was Women's Day. It sort of is like a valentine's day and a mother's day. When Jacob went into the bakery on Saturday and spoke with Ruth's daughter she wanted to know if there was a Women's day in the US, he said no just these other two days. She was a bit surprised and wanted to know when the women who were not mothers or not in relationships were celebrated - it is a VERY good question.

I don't really know what different people do, but the hotel was offering a two for one meal in honor of the day, so I gather going out to eat may be part of it.

Then the holidays continued. On Monday was Bollur Day, on this day in Isafjordur the children dress up in the evening, go to people's homes, sing a song or two and get some candy. Also, all the bakeries are filled with all kinds of bollur (rolls). Mostly they are sweet and the specialty are rjomi Bollur, cream filled rolls, but there were some covered in chocolate, filled with jam, covered in caramel and there were berlinners, that are just like sufganyot (a round donut filled with some jam and sprinkled with sugar)! We got only one group of kids, there were about six of them and Jacob got up to get them some candy. They sang a song and were laughing and Jacob thought they were laughing at him since he didn't speak Icelandic. but all of a sudden the group parted and this little 7 yr old boy had taken off his costume and was sitting on the steps in his long underwear. His big sister got him dressed and they left. Zelia was shocked by the entire display, but also entertained.

On Tuesday, which was Fat Tuesday, here called springadag (that's not exactly right). Ad Springa means to explode - because you eat so much. The university Centre had a meal prepared for the students in the old yellow house that we have been in before. the traditional food is yellow split pea soup with some root veggies, carrots and rutabaga and salted lamb, either in the soup or as a side. We had a nice evening and the food was delicious, all made by Pernilla who works for the program.

Finally Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and I am not sure that much happened. A while back the kids would make or have little pouches filled with ash and they would try to hang them on their friends' backs when they were not looking. So, it's not too serious of a holiday. Our Icelandic teachers were not sure if kids do anything anymore for it.


So, back to last Saturday. We headed over to Gisli and Gerdur's house for the big meal. Tanja, Danielle, Traian and Ronald (the current professor form Sweden) were there. The table was set with wheat cakes, sheep's' heads, pickled sheep's' testicles, sheep's' head jam (a sort of mold), hangokjot (smoked lamb), some shark that Jacob brought from when Aba was with us, and potatoes cooked in cream with peas, and mashed rutabaga. Oh, Tomas also made amazing looking spelt, veggie pizzas. Zelia was appropriately dressed for the occasion in her new Icelandic dress, that Sigga made for her for her birthday!!!!

We sat down, some of us a bit apprehensive, but here we were. So, it turns out that the sheep's' heads were quite delicious and this is coming from someone who doesn't even like lamb very much. The meat was tender and very mild. Now, get me right, I did not have a sheep's' head on my plate, that stayed on Jacob's and he would put small pieces of meat on mine to eat:) Zelia, of course, LOVED it and probably ate one and a half heads by the time she was finished. she also chipped in by unloading the dishwasher:)

It was a great evening and we felt very fortunate to have been invited - especially since it was the last opportunity this year to go to a Porroblot!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

more birthday videos

Here are some videos from the day of Zelia's birthday. One is her eating a tomato like an apple. She found it while playing in Danielle's kitchen. The second one is of her having her first cookie - she wasn't so impressed. The one below is Zelia saying "hado" into the phone. The last one is her favorite toy right now, a ride in the soup pot - she likes to get in on her own!

i pottini og porroblot preparations

After Aba left on Saturday morning, we all headed back to bed and watched LOST. It was so nice to take a little nap. Jacob woke and made bread and then we ran some errands while Zelia slept some more. After the shopping we headed to Gisli and Gerdur's to say hello and check out the preparations for the last Poroblat (pronounced Thoroblot).

I wrote about one a while ago, misunderstanding that it was something only for 10th graders and their parents...It basically runs through the month of Feb, but really the Viking lunar month named Porir. Blat is a feast of the gods. These meals are made of all the traditional foods, flat wheat cakes, boiled lamb's head, smoked lamb (hangikjot), sheep's' testicles (basically pickled in sour whey called Misa) and other innards...we were invited.

When we got there Gisli was making his famous wheat caked and gerdur was in the outdoor hot pot. She said, grab a suit from upstairs and join me - so I did!. It was drizzling a bit, but the mountains still had a little snow and the view was great. Eventually Zelia woke and so she joined us in one of her new birthday hats! She loves it in there and really liked being passed back and forth in the water.

We headed home for Jacob to finish his rye bread, hung out a bit and returned....
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Birthday videos

Zelia's First Birthday!!!!

Well, on Wednesday I began searching for cake and cookie recipes for Zelia's birthday. She hasn't had sugar until now and although she can have a little we are still trying to be very conscientious about sugar intake for all of us. So, Ima had sent a beautiful totally unrefined sugar (basically dehydrated cane juice) and I bought some agave syrup. We also had honey and maple syrup on hand. Jacob and I began searching online and asking people we know and decided on 2 recipes, Agave "sugar" cookies and a chocolate, sweet potato, zucchini cake. The next day I began the sugar cookies, and 2 hours later had beautiful cookie dough to work with. Now, all along I have images of Jeanie (of course) and her cookies and I am picturing her linzar torte cookies especially. But we have a problem, no cookie cutters. Aba kept saying just use a glass, but I wanted to look. We went into every store in town, but no luck. Our last stop that afternoon was in the bakery and I asked Ruth, the old Danish woman who owns the place, if she had any. She came back with some rounds and I chose two - continuing to think about Jeanie's cookies and the adorable heart cut outs...

Back at home I got to work. the dough was great. Luckily, Haley was chatting with me at the time and when I needed assistance (ahhhh, the time is up and they don't look done Hales. "Take them out, Andrea, they will harden quickly), whew. They came out, shortbready and delicious. I began using the regular jam in the fridge but then decided to use the jam Jacob had made - even better! Delicious and cute!

On Friday morning I got to work on the cake, roasted the sweet potatoes until they caramelized, mashed them, grated zucchini, Aba measures rye flour, spelt flour and white, honey, special sugar, etc. I halved the oil and sugar though. We put everything together and the batter was good! yay. Into the oven it went and Aba and I went to do some last minute errands - most importantly looking for flowers to make a birthday crown.

When we got back the house smelled good, the cake was ready but cracked on the top which made me concerned for the moisture in the cake. While Zelia slept I put the button on her dress - check out the pictures! (and worked furiously to finish Haley's mittens). Oh, the cookies got a little soggy from the jam - any advice???

Aba made Jacob a sandwich and we rolled her to school, still asleep, where Jacob and Aba were going to listen to a lecture on industrial ecology and I was going to get a few hours of work in.

I joined them back at home, where they were setting up, vacuuming and getting ready. After a nice soup lunch we headed to language class for an hour. The invite was for 5:30. Back at home the soup was cooking, hallah, in the oven and balloons being blown up. Then people began to arrive. Once everyone was here we said the brachot for Shabbat and then headed in to have soup. Tanja also made a delicious chickpea dish, yummmm.

Time for dessert and birthday cake. Tanja worked hard on making the flower crown, Gerdur whipped the cream for her cake, Jacob heated up the sauce for the cake Gerdur made and we still had another cake with coconut a friend brought. Three cakes each with a candle. Zelia wanted nothing to do with the crown, but loved the singing. So, we began, English, Icelandic, Hebrew and then it continued and was amazing...there is a video to see it all - 9 languages by the time we were done, Mandarin, German, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Finnish. It was incredibly sweet how everyone sang for little Z.

She got the most amazing and generous gifts as well, Icelandic sweaters, a dress, 2 beautifully knit hats, fingerless mittens, a track suite, tights,puzzle, cards and a gorgeous gold bracelet from her Saba Tom. What a night!

Zelia was up until almost 10:30 having a blast and playing with the balloons. She slept well, but we woke her at 8 so she could see Saba Tom before he left. She woke in a great mood, played with him in the bed and then joined us for breakfast. We walked Aba to the hotel and waited for the red bus to show. The weather is mild, no snow or rain or wind and he is on is way for a night in Reykjavik!

It was a great visit, that ended with a great night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

swimming continued


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Crazy Wind

When we came back from Nupur we started to unpack and look through all the goodies Aba brought for us - snow shoes, yay, thank you Terri! We had already discovered the maple syrup and candies and enjoyed them thoroughly in Nupur. The packages for Zelia we put aside for her actual birthday, but we did open one. Check out the pictures of the cutest overalls EVA, made by none other than Ima. We love them! here's to never buying clothes again, heeheehee.

Monday, Aba and I took Zelia on the bus (straeto) to the dagmamma and stayed with her for about an hour until Jacob showed up. I went to work and then two of them walked her to sleep, left her at the dagmamma and went for a hike. an hour later they returned very wet and pretty tired. Zelia survived the hour, with some tears, some playing and lots of hugs for shafan (her bunny). I met them back at the bus stop and aba and I took her to her 1 year check up with the midwife (I LOVE this country). Zelia is doing well, growing, weighs just under 11 kilos and is 70 centimeters long. She didn't get any vaccinations because she wanted to check with the doctor - she has had some that they give, not others, so between our list and theirs it will get resolved. Mainly they might need to order a HIB, since they give the HIB with Polio and Dtap(which she has had).

After the doctor Aba joined us for Icelandic class and as many of you have already guessed he knows quite a bit! Zelia slept through the entire class and we came home for a delicious steak dinner!

This morning Jacob dropped Zelia off and Aba and I went to get her an hour later. She did alright, didn't scream the whole time and seems to be getting used to it there. Tomorrow, Jacob will take her, we will come 2 hours later to walk her to sleep and then go for a hike. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009




Aba arrived in Iceland on Saturday morning without any delays and was in Isafjordur 3 hours later!!! We whisked him away to Bonus, then home to repack and then into the rental cal to head to Nupur. Poor guy was exhausted!!!! We arrived in Nupur a bit before Gisli and Gerdur and began getting things upstairs into the apartment. I have written about Nupur before, it used to be a boarding school and now is run as a hotel in the summer by Sigi, who works for the University Centre. Apart from having dorm rooms they have an apartment with a kitchen so that's what we wanted. Once we got in we put some veggie soup on and and had a lovely lunch together. In order to make food for the two days we headed down to the big kitchen to stock up on kitchen supplies:)

after lunch, we suited up and went on a great hike. Check out these photos for where we were walking. Zelia slept through almost all of the hike. The views were amazing, but sadly there was rain and warm weather so the snow was quickly melting:( The moss was green and plentiful and there were still berries on the blue berry bushes - they didn't taste good though, as you can imagine.

We headed back for some home made hummus, ricotta and gin and tonics as we prepared dinner. Steaks, monk fish, salad and a delicious cake with caramel sauce and whipped cream. I went to put Zelia to sleep and Jacob, Gisli and Aba headed outside to look at the stars in the clear night sky. I fell asleep and unfortunately missed what was, apparently, the most spectacular northern lights show!!!! I did get to see a bit toward the end though. It was the best I had seen eve if not what they had seen.

We slept until about 9, had a great American breakfast of pancakes and bacon, yummm. We packed up and went looking for snow to ski, not an easy search in this weather...We headed up a mountain pass, put on our skis, got Zelia in the most amazing Norwegian sled, where she was snuggled into a reindeer skin and down sleeping bag - not bad. We were on the mountain for about 2 plus hours and then headed back for an Icelandic lamb soup!

The weekend was fabulous, and being with Gisli and Gerdur was a blast - hope it was a good introduction to Iceland for Aba.