Friday, July 15, 2011

USA and Stykkisholmer - maybe the nicest town in Iceland!

It has been a LONG time since I have written and at least for now there are no pictures to add. Life has just gotten busy as they say:)

We flew to the USA for about 10 days over Memorial Day weekend to celebrate MamaZee's 90th birthday with the whole family. It was the most splendid visit, fun, relaxing and got to spend lots of time with family that we haven't seen in ages. After the birthday weekend we had a chance to stay with MamaZee, visit more with Tobi, Bryan and families, a great treat. We then headed to Chicago to see Terri, Zelia's great grandmother and Lauren and Ian as they waited for little Hemingway to arrive.

For the first time since moving to Iceland we were sad to say goodbye to the US and our family and coming back was challenging. Zelia was back in the groove in leikskoli and I began rehearsing for my grant project during Lazer's naps. The rehearsing is going super well and I now have gotten the rights to the music I will be using and have 2 out of the at least 3 sections of the work. It is exciting.

Before too long Lazer and I were back flying across the Atlantic to meet little Emita (Heimingway) while Zelia stayed with Jacob and Terri came for a visit. They had a great time exploring Myvatn (I still have not been there!) and hanging out at home. Lazer and I were busy exploring the streets of Andersonville and then we headed to NJ for a great time with Baki, Angie and the kids. I have not spent this kind of time with them in years and the kids were SO much fun. Lazer sat with Myles, was awed by Topper and loved to pieces by the girls, he even took a few steps on his own! All in all he did a great job and even cut a new tooth while away.

Coming home to see Zelia and Jacob was SO exciting, I could not get enough of her!!!! From the bus stop we headed over to VOX at the Hilton for a delicious brunch. We stayed through Monday and played while Jacob worked and then we drove home.

On Wednesday afternoon we got in the work truck with Jacob and drove 3 hours to Stykkisholmer where he had to go out on Thursday and collect samples. We arrived into the most beautiful and sweet town, built up on a hill overlooking Breidafjordur, a fjord filled with 100's of little islands. After checking in to the B&B we walked into town for dinner. There is a really nice harbor which made me realize how much I missed walking around the harbor in Isafjordur. There were LOTS of people out and about, tourists, a full camping ground, a few restaurants, just lively. The houses are cute and over all it felt to us a bit like Maine.

Jacob left early the next morning and when we eventually got up and out we headed straight to the pool. The weather was stunning, blue skies and heading into the upper teens. We played at the pool for a good long while and then got some soup at the bakery. It was so hot in the sun, Zelia stripped while eating. Later in the day I walked to the Library of Water which is spectacular. It is built on the top pf the hill overlooking the fjord and the town with huge windows. The space is filled with towers/tubes of glacial water collected from around Iceland and the floor is filled with words in Icelandic and English about water and experiencing it. I was in there just with Lazer on my back while Zelia dozed in the stroller. Lazer kept saying ah, ah, and the echo in the space made it sound like he was singing - now that's the piece I would create in there. It is open to the public for free, offers a writing studio and holds activities like yoga for the community.

After that we headed back to the harbor and while Lazer was fast asleep in the stroller Zelia and I ahd fu watching the bi kids jump of the pier into the water. Some of them were in dry suites but not all. It looked like so much fun and Zelia was mesmerized. When we turned to look the other direction they were loading up the ferry which heads to the westfjords and it was exciting to see the cars bot drive on and be lifted on to the ferry. And then....we got to watch Jacob come in on his boat.

The day before Zelia was quite concerned that Jacob was going to go out on an old boat and insisted that he not and that he go out on the new red boat, not the old yellow boat. While we were driving Jacob was pointing out a shipwreck of an old boat and she was anxious that that not happen to him!

After helping Jacob document the sampled we packed up, went out for burgers and got on the road. It was a great trip and actually felt like a vacation.

Tomorrow I will be running my first 10k and then we will head out on the peninsula to the light house for a night of camping. Next week we leave for Reykjavik and begin the ring road camping trip for 2 weeks!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

video update

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

catch-up pictures

Planing for the garden. Zelia also got her own little planter from MamaZee and she planted carrots, onions and radishes. She loves watching them come up, radishes first, then carrots and still waiting for that onion. She says the little leaves look like butterflies and some like hearts.

Yes, he seems to like the trucks, but honestly Jack's water and dog food are the most enticing things around.

He looks a bit like his cousin Ari in this picture!

Zelia in my rain boots, makes me laugh out loud when she walks around in them and can't bend her knees.

My Absolute Favorite Holiday - Pesach

As Pesach approached we began getting ready in several ways. I began working on a Haggadah at, we had our annual discussion about whether to really get rid of the hametz in the house, we awaited Dennis and Marie's arrival and eventually did a MAJOR cleaning. It was this MAJOR cleaning that answered that question of getting rid of our hametz with a resounding YES. So we packed it up and sent it to Olafia's house, in exchange for her mixers! This MAJOR cleaning had the unintended effect of getting Zelia very much into the Pesach spirit. Every once in a while we would sing a Pesach song to get her familiar with it and in general she became incredibly aware of the holiday, of what we can and cannot eat, etc. She asked me several times about baby Moshe as I had told her the story during the week.

Dennis and Marie arrived on Sunday evening in time for dinner and bed. The next morning Zelia went to leikskoli and we continued to get ready. In the afternoon, her closest friend Bella had a birthday party and I was glad to not have to deal with the issue of hametz there. While we were gone the table was set for Pesach and we were ready. Sadly the Haggadot I had worked on were just not quite right. It's an amazing site but still in its infancy, the layout wasn't good and there were a few pieces missing. So we resorted to the two rather "flimsy" Haggadot we had in the house and which I photocopied.

I lead my first seder and it went quite well. Zelia had fun singing (especially echad mi yodeah) and LOVED finding the Afikoman. We had all the usuals, homemade everything of course - chopped liver, gefilet fish, matzah ball soup (vegetarian) lamb, roasted vegetable, maror (grated horseradish with beets), haroset(apple and raisin kind), salad, meringues, little cocoa coconut balls and chocolate pie. For the second night Olafia joined us and we added some commentary from Uri L'Tzedek an Orthodox Social Justice organization. The readings were great and it reminded me that Soloveitchik has commentary for Pesach which I would very much like us to have. It's always especially fun to have someone who isn't familiar with a seder because it makes the conversation and questions around the seder more interesting. Funny, because an all Jewish group should be able to do this, but I think as a group we sometimes don't want to admit what we don't know. Dinner was amazing, Jacob made a delicious roasted chicken with a rice, roasted nut and meat stuffing - wow, I was happy to have that for several days afterward. Dennis made a yummy potato kugel and we finished it with a macaroon tart.

The following day we took them to Grettislaug and it was a spectacular morning, clear and blue skies. Zelia is totally in love with Marie and played with her non-stop for the entire visit, mostly pretend of course! Lazer was wary as always but will grow out of it eventually. He is newly scooching so getting all over the place and Jack could not get enough of either of them.

Not long after they left Herdis and Aude came for two days. The girls just played and played and Aude and I got to talk about dance. I received a grant for a project I am developing and would also like to stage a piece of mine in Reykjavik. Since she has been plugged in for a while she had lots of good advice.

Easter weekend was upon us and so there was no school or work on Monday either (Thursday and Friday were vacation as well). Instead Zelia was invited to another birthday party for a boy named Valdimar who lives 2 houses down. We had several conversations about not being able to Hametz there and so no birthday cake. Luckily the night before we had made our own chocolate cake and we brought some with us. But even better....they make this yummy meringue cake here with whipped cream between the 2 layers and Zelia dug in and enjoyed 2 pieces!

Over the week Zelia often asked what we could eat and whether things had Hametz in them, one day she sang a song Hamtez, Hametz, Avadim avadim...awesome.

So on Tuesday we kept talking and she was quite sensitive about eating something different at school. So we took her in late to not have breakfast and saw that lunch was fish and potatoes, we asked that she not be given the rye bread. This was also her first day staying until 4 and one thing she really likes is the bread a butter snack at 2. I offered to bring her matzah and butter which she loves (well who doesn't) but she said she didn't want to eat something different from Bella. I spoke with the head of the school and asked if I could bring in popovers for everyone and she said yes. She has been amazing from the beginning and always welcomes us to share our traditions. So at 2 I came in with warm popovers for everyone and Zelia was thrilled. We even posed for a picture!

I brought all the hametz back tonight and we ate spaghetti!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Amama and MamaZee in Iceland

Waiting to eat at Icelandic Fish and Chips

A few weeks ago my mom came to Iceland for a visit. We planned for a friend to get her at the BSI bus terminal and for another friend to drive her to Skagastrond. It was exciting and we were anxiously awaiting her arrival - she was traveling through a bit of a snow storm. When they arrived we all ran to the door and all of a sudden I see MamaZee in our entrance way. My mouth dropped open and I think I hid behind the wall. In my wildest dreams I NEVER would have considered this possibility. As a matter of fact I had been talking to MamaZee about her visit in August!

Unfortunately the weather was not great, snowy and windy which made it impossible to get out and walk around. But we hung out inside, ate well, especially hamantaschen, delivered mishloach manot, and went to Zelia's school. On Thursday Amama and Zelia took the bus to Reykjavik on a great adventure which included chocolate milk and a hotdog. The rest of us piled in the car and made the drive. We met at the hotel.

The weather was a bit milder there but rainy. We did get to walk around, go to some museums and Friday it was especially nice, although not sunny. After a quiet morning, breakfast and lunch the bus came to pick up the ladies and take them to the airport. I think MamaZee thinks that we are crazier than ever...but she didn't get to see the sun so it makes it harder.

It was a truly amazing visit, I was so excited that she made it even though it was a huge effort and sometimes difficult. Can you imagine my almost 90 year old grandmother came to visit in Iceland!!!!! Unbelievable!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Little Brothers are fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lazer is 7 months and Zelia is house cleaning

Last weekend we went to a Red Cross sale and found Zelia some dress up clothes - she found these pink heels and it's pretty funny to watch her in them walking around the house.

Jacob found this hat for Halldor, but Zelia thought it would be great for Lazer.

Zelia has become quite a helper around the house, always wanting to vacuum some on her own and today she helped me put away her clean clothes. We are working on the bed making but it's a bit hard to get the big down blanket on the bed.

Here he is! Little Lazer man at 7 months and day.

Last Days with Uma

Yes, there are little girls in there!

Uma left at the beginning of last week but these ast few photos were still on our camera. We spent as much time as possible with uma, Roland and Shiloh. They bathed together each of the last days and we basically spent the entire two days together hanging out and playing. We miss them!

Zelia's first haircut

So, we decided to wait until Zelia was three years old before considering cutting her hair. Why? there is a Jewish tradition, Upsherin, that informs us to not cut the hair until three when their Jewish learning begin, this is often done on and then on Lag BaOmer - that's where I goofed. It was not Lag BaOmer and here we went and got her hair cut. I think I was so taken and taken aback that she ASKED for it and then kept saying that her hair is in her eyes and she wouldn't agree to barrettes, anyway, it happened and it was a bit exciting for all of us. When we got to the hairdresser's she got a bit nervous and was a little upset although she wanted to proceed. Halla cut her hair and was super nice about it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Holidays in Iceland

I could write all about them, but someone already did!

Eat, Eat, And Eat Some More

Bolludagur, Sprengidagur, Öskudagur
Words by Steve Ganey
Photos by BB.IS
Bolludagur, Sprengidagur, and Öskudagur: an Icelandic holiday trifecta of food and fun. They take place on the three days leading up to the start of Lent, and centre mostly around stuffing yourself with treats. These back-to-back holidays hearken back to the days when Catholicism reigned supreme in Iceland, and the purpose of Lent was to fast, refrain from luxuries, and basically make yourself suffer (because that’s what Jesus would’ve wanted?). So naturally, before the great misery of Lent, Icelanders would try to satisfy a month’s worth of indulgence in three days. Even after Iceland went Lutheran and never looked back, they kept the holidays because they’re just so much fun.

Bolludagur, this year falling on March 7, kicks off the celebrations. Translated as “Bun Day”, Bolludagur centres on eating copious amounts of chocolate-covered pastries filled with cream and jam. For children, Bolludagur comes with the added bonus of getting to spank their parents. Children must get up early in order to spank their parents in bed with a special “bolluvondur”, or bun wand, and yell “Bolla! Bolla! Bolla!” They get a pastry for each spank.

Next up is Sprengidagur, or “Bursting Day.” As you might have already guessed, the holiday tradition is to eat… until you burst. The customary food for Sprengidagur is salty mutton and split pea soup, and the customary amount is whatever you can fit in your stomach. Hopefully your Sprengidagur won’t be followed by a traditional stomach ache, or traditional regret.

The last day on this holiday marathon is the Ash Wednesday celebration, Öskudagur. Öskudagur could be described as Icelandic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes seeking candy, but without the extortion. Instead of threatening neighbors with petty vandalism if they don’t fork over the treats, this holiday takes a much more wholesome approach. Icelandic children must earn their candy by singing a song. In keeping with the theme of Ash Wednesday, children collect ashes in a small bag, an “öskupokur”, and as a prank, try to secretly pin it onto someone’s clothes. Öskudagur is also noticeably different from Halloween in that only children participate, so don’t expect to see half-naked college chicks dressed as naughty nurses.

So celebrate life and eat to excess! Bolludagur, Sprengidagur, and Öskudagur will surely leave you satisfied… and feeling very, very full.

Pic nabbed from Ísafjörður's finest news source,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Zelia singing in Icelandic

Laughing Lazer

Jack went to the Vet

On Tuesday we picked Zelia up early from school and we drove over the mountain to Saudarkrókur for our first family dentist appointment. this was Zelia's first visit and she HATES when people she doesn't know touch her so this was not that fun for her. Eventually she screamed so much that he was able to take a look inside. Then the VERY nice doctor gave her a ring that she LOVES.

Next on the docket, Jack's vet appointment. he hasn't been since we arrived and we wanted to see if there were any annual shots he needed, etc and to ask about his teeth. I have had him since he was 4 months old and I think since he was a year old the vets have been showing me his bad teeth. The vet in the US wanted A LOT of money to put him under and clean them...hmmmm, just wasn't sure about it all to be honest. So we were especially wanting to ask the vet here about it all. He looked, said they were bad but that his gums looked good, yay. He said he could clean them and right then and there sedated him and we watched as he scratched and chipped off the plaque with an ultra sound pick was wild, pieces like rock were coming off.

It is super weird to see your dog sedated and it brought up bad memories of putting Mikey down. His tongue was just hanging out of his mouth, poor guy. Anyway, when he was done and discovered two lose teeth which will have to be looked at later to determine their need to be pulled, the vet gave him the antidote to wake him up. t took longer than expected and Jack's irregular breathing pattern put us all on edge. But all of a sudden, he blinked, he moved his tail, he lifted his head and before too long was standing. Oh....the vet had at least one daughter who was 4 and so Zelia made herself quite at home playing with her.

So, for those of you who are dog owners, I know you are wondering what this whole thing cost us and I will mention he gave him a look over, a de-worming pill and a vaccine. We walked out $90 poorer and smiling!!!! can you believe it?

His teeth look great and although the rest of the evening was sort of slow for him, he didn't even bark when Ninette came to the door, but morning he was up and bouncing.

Headache Mystery - Solved

So, I drink decaf coffee with soy milk and sugar almost every day, until about 3 weeks ago when I decided to cut back on my sugar intake and this was an easy way...Before i knew it I was headache free. Huh? Kind of weird but I'll take it. It is cumulative though, if I have some on the weekends nothing seems to happen, but it is the only major change and I feel so much better. I am assuming it is drinking too much soy ilk that did it...I eat sugar in other ways and it is fine and I have several kinds of decaf so presumably it is not the coffee.

Anyone experience this with soy? I know people experience all sorts of hormonal things from too much soy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Singing Zelia

Saba's visit and turning 3

yes, I am all over the place in this posting because the photo upload is not cooperating, however, I feel it is totally apprpriate for THIS 3rd birthday cake with pink frosting to open the spread.

And we will not forget the beautiful pink strawberry ice cream in the cast iron dutch oven...what a presentation!

Since December, Zelia has been waiting for Saba to come and has been talking about him at school and he made it! So wonderful for his second trip to Iceland for her birthday (3rd trip overall). He got in and hopped on the bus to come north, which gave him some much needed sleep. I picked him up in Blönduós and we went for a swim. It is always a nice thing to do after that flight and bus ride and not much sleep. Then we picked Zelia up from school and although she was her shy self it didn't last more than 5 minutes!

I had to show this because this is beautiful and we got it right here in Iceland.

Well, almost, everyone is asleep...even Jack, you can only see part of his tail.

Poor Aba was a champ getting in and out between the TWO car seats and figuring out the seat belt.

Seriously, the ride was worth it for the pool in Hofsós. It is so gorgeous. they are in the hot pot and you can see the bigger pool beyond. I got to do a few laps and seriously thought, oh if only Skagaströnd had such a pool, I would live in it. It was a wild drive through super thick fog. We opted against Grettislaug at the time because of the fog. Afterward we went to Saudarkrókur and got some lunch at Ólafshús, soup and salad for everyone and then to the bakery for treats. the spelt chocolate chip cookie was PERFECT.

Loves holding her Saba´s hand whenever we went anywhere.

We had a wonderful Shabbat dinner at home and invited Olafia. Jacob made a beautiful leg of lamb. Almost every night we would put the kids in the stroller and go for a long walk. On Friday we walked under the clear sky and million stars for about an hour and a half. The kids would fall asleep and Aba would talk about the moon and universe:) He also had a great show of northern lights which seems to be his thing and also something that happens quite remarkably around Zelia's birthday. She certainly seems celestial in that way...born on a full lunar eclipse and then strong northern lights at least for her 1st and 3rd birthdays.

Oh, do you think she likes it???? Man give this girl a bone to gnaw on and she is happy.

Saba brought Zelia the whole Whinnie the Pooh collection and everyone is listening. Funny, I SO remember Aba reading me stories, his intonation and everything...some things just stick.

I stayed home on Saturday to bake the cakes and the crew went out fishing. Each one caught a fish, well except for Lazer who was fast asleep.

Yes, Lazer is inside.

Apparently, Zelia felt like ignoring the no bike riding in the house rule:) The weather while Saba was here was so beautiful the bike came out and this was too funny to pass up.

Big sister, little brother. they absolutely love each other.

The kids began showing up on Sunday, February 20 at 3pm....I made pink play dough for them to play with. ALL the girls came in their pink dresses. Zelia was excited as we were getting ready, but wasn't sure what to do upon the arrivals.

Here she is, the 3 year old, in her new dress that Amama made for her - she loves it. Turning 3 was a little hard, she didn't want to do it, after 2 days she got used to the idea and was even talking about how next will be 4.

Hello crazy rolling toy from Uncle Baki and Aunt Angie!

Valdimar and Athena showed up. They live down the street, lucky for us!

This is Þórrún, Zelia´s teacher. Zelia cuddled with her almost the entire time, and we think she changed into all brown because of Þórrún´s brown shirt!
mmmmm, veggies, fruit and heittibrauð.

Zelia playing with Uma and Irena Lind.

Reading "When we are Six" (this was before the party).

Yes, this is my son in a Red Sox outfit, hahaha.
It was a good call earlier in the visit, because we found Saba a ride for Tuesday morning with the Mayor and on Monday after picking Zelia up from school we headed to Grettislaug and it was fabulous. We spent an hour in these lovely pools. The big one was SO hot.

Last birthday plan worked, full of veggies and fruit there was plenty of cake and ice cream left on the plates.

It was a wonderful visit with Saba, short, but perfect in a 100 different ways.