cathgrace @cathgrace

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You know my family supports my particular brand of crazy, when they are willing to carry a butter churn through the airport for me, and take is as carry-on luggage. 😂 This was my Norway souvenir, we found it in a little antique store that was in the mountains out of the way, and I just couldn't leave it behind. I think the owner thought we were crazy Americans for buying it to take on a plane, and the airport counter girl asked us "planning on churning some butter?" As we carried it up to the counter, but I don't even care. It's over 150 years old and was an antique already before it went out of use as a churn (I think it probably stopped being watertight, or cream tight I suppose...) and 50 years ago a folk artist painted it up (it has dates on the bottom) The owner laughed at me when I said I wanted to use it as an umbrella stand, and sold me the churn stick too, just in case I suppose. 😬 I absolutely loved the folk art pieces we saw in museums and the Stave churches, so I'm pretty excited to have my own little bit of Norway to keep with us! #luckyfish #homeagainhomeagainjiggityjig #antiques #antiquefinds #butterchurn #norway #folkart #handpainted #treasurehunt #souvenirs #amishparadise #churninglotsofbutter
And we're off! We're on our way back to Madrid, after an amazing trip! I'm super excited to get back to Tiger Lily, and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting to move forward a little more on a/the house, but this trip to Norway was so much more than I ever expected it to be ❤️. Also, our plane has a female pilot, how cool is that? In all the traveling we've ever done, this is our first lady pilot. #airforcefamily #airforcelife #militaryfamily #militarylife #norway #madrid #bucketlist #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #parentingteens #expatlife #citizensoftheworld #travelbug #roadtrip #seetheworld #onourway #klmairlines #howisthismylife #luckyfish #homeagainhomeagainjiggityjig
At the Heddal Stave Church, they have a little living history farm up the road that's part of the cost of admission. It was pretty cool to see the beautiful Norwegian embroidered native dresses, and the interior of a folk art painted building from the 1600s. The interesting thing about the paintings were, they know the name of the artist, and even though there's writing, he was illiterate and just copied the look of the letters (and folk artists were like 3rd class citizens back in the day, so even though his art was fashionable, he wouldn't have been treated very well as a worker.) #airforcefamily #airforcelife #militaryfamily #militarylife #heddalstavkirke #heddalstavechurch #roadtrip #norway #bucketlist #norwegiandress #historicalcostume #historybuff #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #citizensoftheworld #expatlife
This morning first thing we hit the Heddal Stave church during the light of day, so we could take a tour of the inside. Since it's Sunday, and the church is still in use, we had to wait a half hour before we could go inside, (so we were able to go up and see a living history museum they had set up first. I'll post other pictures of that.) The Heddal Stave Church is the biggest of the extant Stave churches, and it really was impressively large for an all wood structure. It was beautifully painted on the inside, and carved with Viking style motifs, but the graffiti made me laugh a little. People have been destructive jerks for a really long time. 😂 I wish I had been brave enough to photograph some of the people who came out from having attended church, since there were quite a few of them in Norwegian traditional dress, including this guy with swagger that looked like Hans of the Southern Isles. 😂 3 sweet babies in lovely little white gowns had been christened that morning, so there were whole families dressed in these stunningly embroidered dresses. (But I didn't want to be rude and take pictures of people at church.) #airforcefamily #airforcelife #militaryfamily #militarylife #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #norway #heddalstavkirke #heddalstavechurch #stavechurch #roadtrip #bucketlist #howisthismylife #luckyfish
The Heddal Stave Church is our last Stave Church stop on our Norway visit; we are in a cute little cabin for the night in the middle of nowhere, with the plan to head out to Heddal in the morning, but we couldn't find anywhere to eat a 10:00 at night dinner, so we happened to drive past it on the way out to look for food. (we eventually ate gas station hotdogs, because we are highbrow like that. 😬) Anyway, by the time we were driving back to the little farm that had our cabin, the sun was going down, and Paul suddenly pulled over on the way because we just couldn't pass that sky behind the Stave Church (that was lit up beautifully) without stopping to take some pictures! #heddalstavkirke #heddalstavechurch #luckyfish #howisthismylife #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #roadtrip #norway #stavechurch #sunset #militarylife #militaryfamily #airforcelife #airforcefamily
This morning's Stave Church. There used to be thousands of these wood churches (originally built in a Viking style) all across the Nordic countries, but Norway is the only one with any of the originals left in the whole world (and they have 28 remaining) this church was built in the 13th century, but was "ruined" (according to our book on Stave churches) in the late 16th early 17th century by them updating it. (Only in Europe is something that was altered 400+ years ago ruined, vs also a historical object. 😂😂😂) it was so pretty inside, and in amazing condition, (the colors of the folk style art were still so vibrant even after all this time.) #luckyfish #howisthismylife #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #stavechurch #norway #roadtrip #militarylife #militaryfamily #airforcelife #airforcefamily #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #historybuff #bucketlist
We're headed back to Oslo again today (we'll spend another night in a hotel along the way, and go in the rest of the way tomorrow.) Today's landscape has been completely different than everything else so far. We are way up in the mountains with snow still on the ground, and yet it is still green with layers upon layers of moss, heather, and lichens. The ground is spongy to walk on, and you can pick all the greenery up in your hand as it's in sheets on top of the earth, not buried in it; this is how I would imagine Iceland looks in the summer, and I'm struggling to think of something to say other than "beautiful" over and over again. #luckyfish #howisthismylife #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #norway #nature #roadtrip #parentingteens #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #snowinjuly
We're honestly visiting Neverland, it's the only logical explanation. (We literally saw 30-40 waterfalls yesterday, as the snow melt comes pouring off the mountains. It's so amazing to see such green and luscious earth pouring water from every height.) Also we went through 150+ kilometers of tunnels yesterday, including a 25k one that had caverns with light cast on them, one that had roundabouts in it because multiple tunnels joined up with it and they needed intersections, and one that looked like the tunnel that Coraline crawls through to get to the other mother.) #nature #airforcefamily #airforcelife #militaryfamily #militarylife #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #norway #roadtrip #waterfall #expatlife #citizensoftheworld #howisthismylife #luckyfish
We had an amazing time at the Gudvangen Viking Market today; we got off to an awesome start when the manager let us in for free because we were so dressed up, we got to help man the rowing crew of a small Viking boat, and we had an amazing lunch of reindeer stew. We've never been to an all Viking event before, so we didn't know what to expect, but everyone was so kind, and really excited to chat with us, and we just felt so welcome even as the weird Americans that came just because! (We kept getting asked which Viking group we reenact with. 😂) Everyone who was attending as a merchant was so excited about what they do, and their love of their own history and country, it was infectious! We've been invited to go to a bunch of other festivals, but I think we'll probably miss them all now because we probably won't be back to Norway in this next year, but there was one English guy from York that gave us pointers on some WWII museums to visit when we go to England next month, so that will be awesome! It was pretty much historical costuming nerd heaven, and we didn't feel out of place at all! #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #worldtraveler #fjords #norway #parentingteens #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #gudvangenvikingmarked #gudvangen #vikings #historicalcostume #vikingcostume #maker #makersgonnamake #sew #sewn #sewing #handmade #handsewn
So remember that one time we were in Norway, went to a Viking festival dressed like Vikings, and helped crew a Viking ship as we rowed it up a fjord? I realize that might not be a bucket list item on everyone's list, but it pretty much made Isaac's life, and was one of the coolest things I think we've ever done. (Cool being relative since I mentioned the mines of Moria and the princess bride in my instastories today, so we're obviously a little bit on the nerd cool spectrum...) #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #worldtraveler #fjords #norway #vikings #vikingship #militarylife #militaryfamily #airforcewife #airforcefamily #parentingteens #werevikings #bucketlist #isnerdcoolathing #thegreatgriffithmigration2017
I was feeling restless in the cabin after dinner, and suggested a walk; the air had gotten chilly enough we all needed jackets, but because of how far north we are it was going to be light until 10:40, so we had time to wander on a hiking trail near our camp. You wouldn't believe it, but walking through the wilds-ish of Norway we stumbled across a feast of wild strawberries and a raspberry bush that was in season. The strawberries were tiny, but tasted just like bigger ones (the growing season here must just be so short they don't have a chance to get huge) and the raspberries were perfection in tiny packaging. I was sitting there eating these tiny wild picked berries, watching the sun hit the mountains and reflect gold onto the water of the fjord, (with seagulls squawking overhead,) and for one brief second life was perfection. I can think of a handful of times in my life where I had a moment that felt transcendent (one that immediately comes to mind was while hiking the Inca trail; our guide placed a small brown speck covered in white powder, (that he had pulled off a plant) onto my hand and squished it to rub red into my palm (it was cochineal) and I couldn't believe that I was standing in that place, having that experience right then, as a fiber artist - chills.) anyway, tonight gets to be filed away with those sorts of memories, to be called upon when I'm feeling frazzled or like the kids are killing me right then. ❤️ also, a mosquito bit me on the top of my head while I was transcending and now I want to rip my own scalp off, so 🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ #seetheworld #bucketlist #parentingteens #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #worldtraveler #expatlife #norway #fjords #makingmemories #militarylife #militaryfamily #airforcelife #airforcefamily #wildberries #howisthismylife #luckyfish
We are VIKINGS!!! We are staying in the cutest little cabin tonight, and it's right on the edge of a fjord, so of course we all had to go in! I'm the bravest because I started it, but I'm even more the bravest because I had to do it twice, because the first picture Paul took of me looked like Dolly Parton, (because I didn't have a real swimsuit so I was just in a sports bra, and it was no bueno. 😳) anyway, I had to sink in again after already getting dry. 😱 this was definitely ICE runoff. (Ignore Isaac, he was being too cool.... 🙄) #seetheworld #bucketlist #parentingteens #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #worldtraveler #expatlife #norway #fjords #icewater #wearevikings
I don't even know how many years ago it was I pinned a picture of the Borgund Stave Church onto my "future plans" Pinterest board, but it was one of my very first pins. I always worry that as we check items off our bucket list, they won't live up to the hype, or that I will think it was a waste of our limited resources, and today was once again proof that reality often exceeds expectation as equally or more often than it falls short. The drive up here from Oslo was perfection, the church a jewel in the mountains, and the fullness I have in my heart for having the opportunity to bring my children here and share it with them, has been worth every pinched penny and sacrifice in getting here. No one should listen to me when I feel so lucky, (as I probably begin to fancy myself a deep thinker) but I just want to say; get out there, do the things you want to do now, don't wait until your kids are older or until you can "afford" the big trips. Later you won't remember or care about the super economy sized rental car, or the tiny hotel rooms with kids sharing beds, etc. You will just remember the adventure of it all, and they will remember that your family *did* things rather than just wishing for them. (And it doesn't have to be Norway, you can just hop in your car and go to that cave you always see billboards for, or go out and hike or bike with them.) #publicservicemessageoftheday #feelfreetomakefunofme #borgundstavechurch #norway #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #worldtraveler #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #parentingteens #bucketlist #seetheworld
This morning we left our hotel early to drive into the mountains, and I don't even know what to say, other than I wish I could have taken each and every one of you with me, to see what a camera couldn't pick up. The mirror like reflection on the fjords was on a spectrum of color like I've never seen before; the water was impossibly navy, the moss a thousand shades of green, the celebration of summer over harshness felt palpable. It's the first time in my life I felt like I was viewing some other time, in which I would not have paused for even a brief moment to wonder if a Viking ship was suddenly being rowed or sailed past me. I'll never have the beauty of the world in which we live cease to amaze, me in both its abundance and variety, but this place made me want to weep. #norway #fjords #itsabeautifulbeautifulworld #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #bucketlist #militarylife #militaryfamily #airforcelife #airforcefamily #fullheart
In case anyone is as fascinated by the tiger baby as I am, and is worrying about where she is in all this Norway travel, she's at a kitty camp recommended to us by our vet in Spain. If we had been in our house we wouldn't have sent her anywhere for this short a trip, but the hotel was just too wild card for my liking, since we can't control whether the "do not disturb" sign gets ignored or knocked off the door knob, and she could get out and get lost if housekeeping entered and she was afraid. She's at a camp that is run by an American lady, who married a Spanish person, so she and her teenage kids will speak English to her so she's not as confused by commands, and being spoken to, and they have a fully enclosed outdoor area they let one cat at a time play in, so she will still get her outside time, without being allowed to be a jerk to other cats. (Which she would do; she places herself between us and any other cat, and then hisses and spits at them. 🙄) we decided not to bring her with us since we were flying, and that's more stressful for her than it's worth for short trips. (For the record, she was in love with the swan, but it was hissing at her. Her dislike of other animals only extends to other cats.) #bengal #bengalcat #bengalkitten #catpeople #catpeopleproblems #catsofinstagram #ownedbyacat #ownedbyabengal #tigerlily #tigeristheboss #swan #blackswan
We popped over to the Norwegian Cultural museum after the Viking Ship Museum, and it was amazing. It's a collection of objects and buildings from all throughout Norway's history, including a 13th century stave church. It was amazing to see all the beautiful folk-art, painted furniture (I'm saving those pictures for their own post) the weaving, and historical buildings. There were even some living history displays, and we were able to buy some yummy flatbread. #thegreatgriffithmigration2017 #bucketlist #dreamcometrue #norway #airforcefamily #militaryfamily #expatlife #citizensoftheworld #stavechurch #summerinnorway
And we're off! We're between being able to do anything with the house, and work, etc. so we're off to Norway! #pcslife #pcsproblems #militarylife #militaryfamily #militarywife #airforcelife #airforcewife #airforcefamily #parentingteens #citizensoftheworld #expatlife #ilovemyairman #norway #allthevikingthings
Still sorry about the lighting, but here's the master closet/bedroom of the rental house. I'm not being rude about the size in calling it a closet, it's literally a closet and a bedroom at the same time. At the top of the stairs you turn right past the sink, and you are in the open closet, that then opens into the bedroom, with no doors or division of anything. It's all still attic space, so Paul can only stand in the middle of the room, and there's only one wall that can have a bed. 😂 it has a fireplace though, so that's a thing! Hmmmm I've just realized we could put the bed in front of the fireplace...... we would have given this room to one of the kids (except they would fight over the big room) or make it the guest room, except there will be little boys and the stairs aren't safe. (Also, this has enough closet space for Paul's uniforms) also, I didn't go to the house the same day as my cluster headache, I just am homeless and didn't change for 2.5 days. #spain #madrid #moving #airforcelife #airforcewife #airforcefamily #militarylife #militarywife #militaryfamily #pcslife #pcsproblems #masterbedroom