Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sankthansaften at the Lake

Today was our Sons of Norway lodge's celebration of Sankthansaften or St. Hans Aften ["St. John's Eve"] or Jonsok ["John's Wake"], all ways to refer to the Scandinavian celebration of Midsummer's Eve.  The summer solstice is June 21, but Norwegians celebrate it on June 23 (and our lodge waited until today to take advantage of the weekend).  Like many holidays, Sankthansaften has pagan roots but became a Christian holiday that, by now, is mostly a secular event: an annual excuse for Norwegians to party.  They go to beaches or rivers to fish and play in the water, they barbecue pølser ["sausages" or hot dogs] and roast marshmallows and drink alcohol, and they light bonfires and enjoy the evening sun.

What Norwegian-American wouldn't want to add this to his/her calendar?!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Princess Has a New King

Faithful Reader, you may recall that, after "graduating" from fifth grade (and thus moving on to a new school building for sixth grade) last year, Suzanna got a Betta fish, whom she named Huckleberry Fin.  She has been a good pet owner, faithfully feeding Huck and cleaning his tank and "playing with" him (i.e., talking to him, watching him swim around, moving his little tank around the room so as to involve him in her games or let him watch her at play).

Well, this year Abigail graduated from fifth grade, too . . . so guess what she got today?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

High Seas Expedition

If you've been following the saga of vacation Bible school this week (here and here), you'll be happy to know that it ended much better than it began.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Biblical Bane, Bevy of Blonds, and Belated Birthday

Okay, today was a mixed bag.  We just returned last night from a long weekend in Missoula (remember?), so there's laundry to do and a lawn to mow and flower beds to weed and water and tasks at the office to go tend to . . . but that's all on hold for one annoying reason and one delightful one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On the Road for Father's Day

Just as Hillary got to begin her birthday yesterday by opening presents, so did I get to begin Father's Day this morning with wonderful gifts.  Unfortunately, because today was all about driving home from Missoula, there wasn't much Father's Day celebrating to be done from that point on; we had to pack up, get our luggage out to the vehicle, check out of the hotel, buy fuel and coffee, and hit the road.  But that's okay because

(1) I got to spend the whole day (albeit while confined to a vehicle) with my children and my wife, the woman responsible for my being a father; and

(2) Susan told me that, soon after we get back home, we'll have a Father's Day celebration to make up for today.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sons of Norway District IV Convention, Day 2 . . . and Hillary's Birthday!

It was a big day today: the convention (and my work as a delegate, a committee member, and an election teller) came to a close; our daughters enjoyed another full day of adventures without their parents in Missoula; and Hillary celebrated her ninth birthday with gifts in the morning and a painful earache in the evening.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sons of Norway District IV Convention, Day 1

After doing committee work yesterday and attending opening events last night (remember?), I was ready to begin serving as a lodge delegate during the convention's business sessions starting this morning.  Since this is my first Sons of Norway convention, I didn't know quite what to expect, so it was a day of "Oh, that's how they run this" moments for me.  For Susan (who, as an alternate, simply sit in the back of the room and observed), it was a day of working on her latest Hardanger project.  And for the girls, whom we signed up for the children's activities offered by convention organizers, it was a day of fun in Missoula.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Committee Service, Memorial Service, and Alcohol Service

The Sons of Norway District IV convention (remember?) officially begins tomorrow, but I had to be here today because I agreed to serve on a committee for the Board of Directors, and the committees' work is done the day before the convention.  So, although this is just my second year of Sons of Norway membership and my first time at a district convention, I was put to work considering and responding to resolutions to be brought forth on the floor during the convention tomorrow and Saturday.  Trial by fire!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sons of Norway Has Sucked Us In!

1.5 years ago, our family attended a lutefisk supper served by the local lodge of the Sons of Norway, a fraternal organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Scandinavian heritage and culture.  On a whim, I signed us up for membership; and the very next summer, we attended our first Norwegian language and culture camp (Camp Trollfjorden) at Lake Metigoshe on the border of ND and MB.  Last fall, the lodge recruited Susan, Suzanna, and me to serve as officers.  Just a few days ago, we returned from our second summer at Camp Trollfjorden, after which I was asked to serve on its board of directors.  And today we drove to Missoula, MT because our lodge elected me as one of its delegates (and Susan as an alternate) to the Sons of Norway convention for District IV (which includes ND, MT, SK, and AB).  All this in just 1.5 years!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Camp Trollfjorden, Day 4

Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of camp just flew by.  This morning we packed up, had a quick frukost, attended church with the other campers at Metigoshe Lutheran Church (located just across the road from the retreat center where Camp Trollfjorden is held), said our goodbyes, and then hit the road.  We had a long day of traveling and frolicking ahead of us, adventures best shared with you, Faithful Reader, via photographs!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Camp Trollfjorden, Day 3

After getting settled in on Day 1 and getting underway with our classes and activities on Day 2, we found ourselves already wrapping things up today on Day 3!  Time really flies when one is busy all day and night, and today was another full day of activities.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Camp Trollfjorden, Day 2

At this camp, Day 1 is about getting oriented, Day 4 is about wrapping things up, and Days 2 and 3 are about learning and experiencing Norwegian "stuff."  We eat Norwegian food, sing songs in Norwegian, take Norwegian language classes, create Norwegian crafts, learn Norwegian folk dances, and experience programs on various aspects of Norwegian culture.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Camp Trollfjorden, Day 1

Our family enjoyed ourselves so much last summer at Norwegian camp that we decided to go again this year.  Camp Trollfjorden ["the troll inlet"] is one of several language and cultural camps offered in our district of the Sons of Norway.  It's open to children and adults alike, and it's held at Lake Metigoshe, ND at the Lakeside Christian Center, a retreat facility operated by Metigoshe Ministries.  That's about a five-hour drive for us, but we left even earlier so there'd be time for exploration of some sites and cities along the way.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

91 Years Young

Susan's grandma Laura will turn 91 years old on Saturday (remember her 90th birthday?).  However, we won't be around that day to celebrate with her and other family members; we'll be at a Norwegian language and cultural camp at Lake Metigoshe, ND (more details on that in upcoming days) through the weekend.  So we had a mini-party of our own with Laura this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Norse News and Notables

Our family enjoyed Norwegian language and cultural camp last summer (recall Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4?) so much that we decided to go again this summer!  Preparing for that has me in a Norwegian frame of mind, so I thought I'd share some recent Norse news and informational tidbits with you:

Monday, June 07, 2010

Some Assembly (and Cursing) Required

Over a year ago, I bought some shelves (remember?) to mount on the wall in Hillary's bedroom for display of knick-knacks, photos, trinkets, books, CDs, etc.  Without as many dressers as her sisters have, Hillary has never had as many horizontal surfaces for displaying and storing such things, and we needed to reduce the cluttered look of her over-crowded bed table and dresser top.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

School Lunches, Part III

In an effort to combat childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama is promoting her Let's Move! campaign, part of which focuses on teaching children about proper nutrition and healthy eating.

Sadly, many children do not get healthy food, or are allowed to choose non-nutritious food, when they eat at school every day.  Faithful Reader, you have already read about that problem in Part I and Part II.  Well, First Lady Obama is using her position to address that issue, too, with her Chefs Move to Schools program.  It encourages trained chefs to "adopt" their local schools and teach students, teachers, food service workers, even parents and community members about healthy and delicious food, proper nutrition, and cooking techniques in a positive, engaging manner.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Nordic Fish from Chile?!

Susan and I have a friend's barbecue to attend tonight (his name is Josh, so he sent us an invitation to "Josh-ecue 2010" . . . not just a barbecue, methinks, but an event!), which put the kibosh on our having a Scandinavian Saturday supper tonight.  So Hillary and I made a Scandinavian dinner instead.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Remind Me Again: Who's Getting Married?

Late this afternoon we attended the wedding of the daughter of one of Susan's coworkers at church.  That my-mom-works-with-you connection is why we were invited; I had never before met either the bride or the groom.  It was a lovely and simple wedding: a pianist but no organist, congregational hymns but no featured vocalists, a thoughtful but succinct sermon, and we were out of there after 35 minutes (yep, Lutheran).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Italian Food in Southwestern ND

Our family just went out for dinner with our friend Kelly, and we tried a new restaurant that was great! The Days Hotel Grand Dakota Lodge and Conference Center recently completed a construction project that added suites and conference rooms to the east side of the building but that also included some interior remodeling and redecorating. In the process, its restaurant The Red Pheasant became The Spaghetti Western, and its menu changed from offering standard hotel restaurant fare to featuring fine Italian cuisine.

Hillary had an Italian meatloaf sandwich on ciabatta bread. Suzanna and Susan shared two items: a tossed salad with pepperoni and fresh mozzarella cheese and a dish of gnocchi with shrimp and mushrooms in a wine sauce. Abigail and I shared two items: deep-fried artichoke hearts with a cheesy tomato sauce for dipping, and a Monte Cristo-style sandwich that had mozzarella, pancetta, and basil leaves on bread with the whole thing dunked in batter and deep-fried and served with a marinara sauce for dipping. Kelly had the gnocchi, too, and the six of us shared three desserts: a chocolate lava cake, a turtle cheesecake (with chocolate, walnuts, and caramel sauce), and a frosted brownie served à la mode.

Sound delicious? Well, it was! Next time you're in Dickinson, we'd be happy to take you there for a meal. If we go on a weekend night, we could have their risotto or a slab of their slow-roasted prime rib and then walk across the hall to the Dakota Lounge for a pitcher of their famous Long Island tea. Just sayin'.