Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Five

"Friday, Friday gotta get down on Friday! Everybody's looking forward to the weekend!"
You're welcome. I hope Rebecca Black is now stick in your head because that's what came to mine the second I typed Friday this morning.

I've been sharing so much about our travels lately, but I don't want to forget to share about life! That's a huge part of this blog for me! Finding a balance in life, sharing our day to day, our travels, my health and fitness journey, life events and more. The day to day may seem mundane compared to traveling the world, but sometimes it's the routine of a normal week that brings me such joy. Plus there's really no such thing as "normal" in the Gougler house!

Now let's get to it, top five moments from the last week!

one. Zoo Boo


Last Friday, Ali and I decided to take the girls to the zoo! I let my friend Chelsea know that we were going, so she met up with us along with her 3 kiddos too. One thing we forgot when we headed out to the zoo is that it was the first day of Zoo BOO!!! We completely forgot so our girls look like they're dressed for summer not Halloween. On the plus side, we weren't overheated and the kids weren't miserable in costumes! It was 90 degrees and humid y'all. Typical Houston fall. On the plus side, we got to enjoy the Zoo Boo activities like trick or treating and decorating pumpkins in the pumpkin patch! We also got the best picture of Chloe and Renee yet! Usually it's Ren going in for the hug or kiss, but finally Chloe is showing how much she loves her bestie.

two. It's Race Weekend!


Saturday morning, Rachael and I met up at Memorial Park for an easy 5 mile run. We met up a little later to try and mimic the start time for our race this weekend. Unfortunately it was warm and humid last week and this week looks like it'll be the same plus the possibility of rain. Plus if it doesn't rain while we're racing it is going to rain today and later tomorrow, so humidity will be super high. We'll survive though. I'm going to throw it out there that our goal is to finish under and hour! The weather conditions aren't proving to be on our side, but I think there is still hope. I'll obviously post our race day victory tomorrow!

three. Saying See Ya Later


One of my dear friends is packing up and moving across the country this weekend! I've pretty much spent the last 4 years of my life seeing her ALL THE TIME! I met Caitlin through the gym I work at, so for several years I spent more time with her and Lauren then I did with my husband. I stood by her side as married her best friend. She came to the hospital the day after I gave birth to my baby girl. We've been there for each other day in and out. Listened to each other complain about dumb things our guys did. Gabbed about how amazing they are when they get things right. Talked about life plans, dreams and goals. We've been through so much together. Even though I dropped my hours at the gym, it didn't make us drift apart. I know that even though she'll be in North Carolina, we'll always be friends. Plus I can't wait to go visit and play at the beach! I love you Caitlin...drive safe!

four. BOO! Halloween Fun! 


Fun fact: Chloe hasn't actually been trick or treating yet! She's been to Zoo Boo the past two years and they have a few candy stations, but that doesn't really count. We've also been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, but it was a month before Halloween and it's still not quite the same as trick or treating around a neighborhood. I think Chloe is excited! I know she loves her costume and she loves that Momma is going to dress up with her. Stay tuned to see what we're going to be. Now that Chlo is 2, I feel like we can really start holiday traditions! This year we were Boo'ed for the first time and Chloe was so excited to see a bucket of treats on her porch just for her! Then we got boo'ed again with a Mickey Mouse bucket and she was in love with it. We had fun shopping for some fun boo goodies to pass on and continue the fun!

five. Beauty Rest


About a week ago, I received a package from Influenster and Beautyrest that I was pretty excited about. It's a Beautyrest Sleep Tracker which essentially turns your normal bed into a smart bed. There are two sensors that go under the mattress below each person's pillow and they connect on a smart box that is connected to your internet. Every night it measures your sleep cycles, heart rate, breath rate and time asleep to give you an overall sleep score. How neat is that? I'm loving waking up in the morning to see how I did the night before. I can tell when I get better vs worse scores right away. It's also fun to compare with JP to see who did better! I always seem to be asleep for longer, but my REM and deep sleep is lacking so I wake quite easily. Now my sleep goals are to get more deep sleep and REM sleep so I don't wake up as often. I would feel much more rested if I could manage that! You can see in the chart above that I'm not getting the full light to deep to REM sleep patterns I'm supposed to. Instead I'm only getting deep sleep at the beginning of the night and REM later on. Most of my charts look like this! I'm going to share some more updates on Instagram so stay tuned!

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Maihaugen


Have you ever been to or heard of an open air museum? For those of you in the States, think Colonial Williamsburg. They're also sometimes referred to as living history museums. If you're a history nerd like me, these are completely mesmerizing. You get to walk through towns like they were in different time periods. In some museums, there are actually people playing roles of those from that era. They never go out of character and help you immerse yourself into the culture.

During our stay in Lillehammer, we spent an afternoon exploring Maihaugen which is their open air museum! It's the largest open air museum in Norway outside of Oslo. It holds Norwegian culture from various eras and allows you to walk back in time to see how things were. Let's take a look at some of the most fascinating parts!




First there is an indoor walk through the history of Norway. It starts back in the stone age where humans literally left their mark in stones. {We've seen some of these marking in riverbed rocks!} It then takes you through Vikings, the bubonic plague, merging countries, the Industrial Revolution, Norway eventually becoming its own country, and more.



After the history walk through, you head outside! First you come upon a village of houses. Each house is from a different decade in the 1900's. There is also a town set up after the early 1900's. Emily and I wandered into one of the buildings and stayed for quite a while. In fact, they eventually came looking for us, but we were having too much fun. Let me show you why...


They had a photo backdrop like it would be in the early 1900's with props for you to take pictures! It was such a blast. I still can't believe that no one else wanted to come play with us!




Like I said, too much fun!


We continued walking around town and eventually came to an old train! This time Meena and I got distracted while exploring. Again, I'm not sure why no one else was fascinated! It was so neat inside. they even had some mannequins in the mail car pretending to be hard at work. They also had the passenger cars open to explore and feel what it was like to ride in one.




Eventually Meena and I wandered out of the train to see everyone waiting for us. This seems to be becoming a common trend for me but I don't care. I want to see everything! Next we started looking through the homes from the different decades of the 1900s. My favorite was the home from the 1930s. There was a character baking cinnamon rolls from scratch! The entire home smelt delicious as we walked through exploring each room.


Next we started walking toward the older villages. We came across an old fishing village from the 1500-1600s. JP even found a fishing pole and decided to give it a go...unsuccessfully.


There were tons of different villages and farms from the 1500-1800's throughout the property. The next several pictures are from one of my favorite farms, Bjørnstad, which was built in the 1700's.


It's so interesting how often beds were randomly located in main areas! I loved seeing the intricate details in the bigger main homes. In these cabins, there were also characters to explain the purpose of different rooms, the contents within the rooms and who lived there. I'd also like to point out that throughout the museum, there are plaques explaining the different buildings and about 90% of those have an English translation. It makes visiting the houses and cabins even more interesting knowing when and where they were built and what their purpose was.





I'll admit I don't remember as many specifics as I'd like to about the farms, but since I'm reading the Outlander series, seeing them was so eye opening. It gives me a much better mental image when I'm reading. Nerdy I know, but if you've read Outlander then you know EXACTLY what I mean!


The best part of the museum was visiting the Stave church!


The original part of the church was built in the 1200s, but has been extended several times over the years. The last extension was in 1730. It was dismantled in 1880 and reassembled in Maihaugen in 1921. If you've seen Frozen, then this style of church is what the church from the Coronation is modeled after. 


 
The outside is striking, but the inside is beautiful! There was another character inside the church to explain everything to us and answer all of our questions. She explained that different parts of the decor were added over the years, so you will see influences from various centuries. She also showed us the area of the church were the put the naughty children! It was hilarious since you know that would never go over well now. There was also a special area in the church's small second floor box where patrons could pay to sit. She said they paid to sit there so they could sleep through church without anyone seeing. I love a good fun fact!




There was so much more to the museum. We probably went through a good 75% of the rural area, but it's so large and after a while the farms start to look alike. We enjoyed walking through Maihaugen and spent several hours there. Personally I could have kept going! I'm the history nerd of the family though and just find everything interesting. I just want to know and understand more about the people that came before us, what can I say?

If you find yourself in Lillehammer, Norway, Maihaugen is a must see! You can also visit the Olympic Museum while you're there. Click the link above to read more about Maihaugen if you're interested in a little more history.

Y'all, this is my LAST Norway post! Now I'm still not finished with our Scandinavian Adventure. We still have to visit Stockholm and Copenhagen! Stay tuned for more adventures.

In case you missed them, here are my Norway posts:
Sneak Peek | Start of our Adventures | Oslo Part 1 | Oslo Part 2 | Lilleputthammer | Hiking in Norway | Charlotte & Ole's Wedding | Maihaugen |

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

My NOH got Married!

NOH: Norwegian of Honor
If you didn't have one at your wedding, then you're totally missing out. But seriously, Charlotte is my Norwegian of Honor in so many ways. She has been like a sister to me for many, many years. I've known her since she was seven, but developed a much closer relationship when she moved in with my family as an "exchange student" for a year of high school. We've only gotten closer since then! She even lived with JP and I for 6 months while she interned at the Norwegian Consulate down the street from us. Like I said, she's a sister to me and I'm so lucky to have her in my life.

Now that the sap is out of the way, let's take a look at the first Norwegian wedding I've ever been too. It was beautiful and an experience that I'll never forget. WARNING: This post is long. I couldn't leave ANYTHING out. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do!


On Friday, Emily and I joined up with Charlotte's family and some other friends to help get the reception hall ready. Our main join was to blow up a million balloons and put together the floral arrangements for the center pieces!





Saturday morning started nice and early! The hair and makeup artists were there around 8:00am to get things rolling. Luckily we had coffee, mimosas and a full free breakfast at the hotel to help get us rolling.




The photo above and pretty much all of the amazing pictures in the post are by Lena Brit Photography. She was such a joy to work with and obviously did an amazing job!



At 1:30pm, the bridesmaids were all in our dresses, so we gathered all of our things and walked over to the Skibladner which is the oldest operating steamboat in Norway!





We had our own special room in the bottom of the boat to finish getting Charlotte ready and to wait for the big show to begin! Once we had the go ahead, we made our way up these tiny, steep and narrow stairs to the top of the boat for the ceremony. It was beautifully done. It was obviously in Norwegian, but I've been to enough weddings to know what was going on. One of Charlotte's friends performed a song as well that had me all sappy. I can't keep the tears at bay!





After the ceremony, everyone comes up to congratulate the bride and groom. Emily and I were kind of standing off to the side of Charlotte and Ole not sure where to go. Before we knew it, people were coming up to us after and introducing themselves! Apparently everyone wanted to know who the Americans were! It was kind of hilarious, but we loved it. It was a great way to meet everyone at the wedding and to say hi to the many friends and family members that we already knew.




After the ceremony, they passed out fresh strawberries and Prosecco to nibble and sip while everyone was congratulating the newlyweds and mingling. We had the chance after meeting everyone to walk around and explore the boat. It was so beautiful! We were also quite toasty from the gorgeous sunshiny day. So naturally Em and I were caught in an interesting position while cooling ourselves. Several people stopped to take a picture. Those weird Americans! PS Do you love our awesome shoes?!


Once we docked, we all headed off the boat. Emily and I were in charge of passing out bubbles. Everyone wanted Emily's bubbles and not mine. It was kind of sad. I swear my bubbles were just as good! When Charlotte and Ole exited, we all blew bubbles at them. It made for awesome pictures. Then we all followed them on about a 100 meter walk to the reception!



The reception location was super neat and modern. It fit Charlotte and Ole to a T. The cocktail hour was held out in a beautiful courtyard. Chloe loved having the opportunity to run and jump and play! She napped on her daddy through entire reception after all. We all hung out sipping some drinks until Em and I were beckoned for some bridesmaid pictures!









After pictures were done and the bride and groom returned it was time to head inside and get started! 




Once everyone got settled, the speeches began! Speeches are probably the biggest differentiator between a Norwegian and American wedding. Anyone and everyone can give a speech as long as the tell the Master of Ceremonies that they are planning one. Charlotte's MC was her friend Mari and she did such an amazing job spreading the speeches out throughout the night. The night flowed beautifully thanks to her! 

Another fun Norwegian tradition is that when everyone clinks their glasses they must stand on chairs and kiss. If everyone stomps their feet, then they have to go under the table and kiss! 


At one point during a break in the speeches, Charlotte's eye hook on the back of her dress broke, so I had to sew her in! Lena Brit was able to snap the sweetest picture of me and Anna helping her!


After desserts, it was finally time for someone to give a speech in English. {Yes, all the speeches were in Norwegian...we were in Norway you know! It was hard to follow along, but our friend Siri was kind of translating for us!} Someone from the States had to take one for the team and give a speech. That someone was me. I'm generally the go to person when it involves public speaking. I'm not saying that I don't get nervous because I definitely do, but I guess I love the rush I get standing in front of a crowd.

Chloe started off my speech beautifully with just one word "pink". She's not a lady of many words yet, so she left it at that. I know that Charlotte totally understood her. After that I proceeded to give my speech from the top of my head while picking up and putting Chloe down! I tried to write my speech multiple times and just couldn't. Writing our family's relationship with Charlotte down on paper just doesn't do it justice. Plus once my speech was written, it would mean the wedding was practically here and that we would be leaving Charlotte with no "next trip date" in sight. I managed to get it all out quite eloquently and all of Charlotte's friends and family came up to me telling me how great I did which made me feel fabulous.


When the speeches wrapped up...a few hours later...the dancing was finally here!




We danced so hard that we were sweaty and hoarse! There was a mixture of American and Norwegian music. When the Norwegian songs came on, we would try to slip outside for some air and to cool off. Sometimes her friends wouldn't let us and I just danced along with them! But I made it out a few times and once I finally got my picture with Chris and Stefan, Charlotte's brothers who I know and love dearly!


And before the end of the night I snapped one with Lars who is Charlotte's cousin that I've known since like 8th grade!


I'm not kidding when I say my family is in Norway. Charlotte's family is my family and I love them so much. The wedding was amazing, but it also meant that it was time for us to part way and end our time in Norway. Do you know how hard that is? Saying good bye to family and friends at 2:00am after the most beautiful wedding was terrible, but we got it done. JP had to shuffle all of us out at two in the morning after twelve hours of wedding to the bus to get us back to Lillehammer.

We made it back to our house by about 3:00am where Em and I spent at least 30 minutes getting bobby pins and tangles out of our hair before showering and packing to go! We left to walk to the train station at 4:45am and were on our way to the airport at 5:25am. It was completely and utterly exhausting, but we made it.


To Charlotte and Ole,

I love you both so so much. You are both such special people to me, and I am so glad to have you in my life. The relationship we have is unique; I'm blessed to know that you will always be there for me and my family. I wish you both years and years of happiness. I know that each day you will continue to love each other more because I know the love you have for each other. I will never forget the day that Charlotte told me about this guy Ole. I knew he was special, but who knew that my baby girl would meet her husband at 19?! {Just like me and JP!} I've seen you both grow in your relationship over the years. The bond you have is strong. Always work to keep it that way. Continue to go on adventures, appreciate each other and live life to the fullest. Again, I love you both and wish you all the happiness in the world! Now can we figure out where our next adventure is going to take us? I need a date to know I'll see youuuuu!!!

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