Friday morning, while making lunches for three, calling out spelling words to two, reviewing an umpteenth algebra practice-test for one, and double checking a list of lists I have spread over the kitchen island, Dream Baby attempts to say his sincere and heartfelt good-byes for the weekend with tongue.

Nope it isn´t a Stock Club ski weekend to the mountains, no guy´s golf trip to Ireland, nor a work sponsored soccer game in Barcelona. This weekend THE Mommy is leaving for a change.

BUT I have mixed feelings.

And while Sr.´s kisses are really REALLY good, I am desperate for a get-a-way. So, I push him aside and focus upon the things I must get done.

Eliane, our seven year old has been invited to participate in a weekend long string seminar in Fagernes. She plays violin. In fact, we are learning together.

We have been studying for almost four years, and  have just about mastered Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Actually that´s an understatement, Eliane´s progress is beginning to sound like music. I on the other hand should practice a little more.

By the way, if you have no idea where Fagernes is, don´t feel bad. Neither did I, despite the rumors I  have been there for a Rakfisk (Raw Rotten Fish) Festival. To play it safe, I made arrangements to follow our instructor, and we are leaving as soon as school is out.

I kiss the children as they hurry out the door, and Eliane reminds me,

`Don´t forget the chocolate Mommy!´

 I promise her I will remember.

Eliane and I have one small piece of chocolate together every Saturday and Sunday morning.

 Since she was two, she would wake me by announcing,

`It´s coffee time Mommy´

as she walked into our room much too early.

Sr. and I both knew that really meant it´s chocolate time, let´s watch cartoons.

With everyone out of the house, I got our packing complete and loaded up. Then made a quick run through the house, sheets changed on four beds, and made sure Esten´s soccer uniform was ready for his game. I freshened the flowers, ran the vacuum, and then ran several errands in town, including a stop at the music store to purchase a mandatory music stand which requires either a brain surgeon or a ten year old to open. (I am clearly neither).

Anyway, with no time to spare, I pick Eliane up from school. And as we pull off to meet our violin instructor,

she asks, `Did you remember the chocolate?´

My heart sank. `Oooooh Baby, I did not, but I will.´

`It´s ok Mommy, we can pick it up on the way.´

The route to Fagernes from Lillehammer is an hour and a half drive through pages of a travel magazine. Rolling hills painted with the vibrant colors of fall.

There are waterfalls, lakes, and ponds along a road so narrow I become nervous with each car we meet.

Each time we pass a farm, and there are many, Eliane yells, `SHEEP´!

On occasion I spot a black sheep in the flock, and have the urge to shout,

I´m the Black Sheep of the family– (I LOVE John Anderson),

but  knew Eliane would not appreciate my humor.

Where´s my sister when I need her?!

Eliane asks, `Mommy when are we going to stop for chocolate?´

I explain I must stay behind the car we are following if we want to get there. Then we can sneak out.

I heard a satisfied `Okay´from the backseat.

Arrival was chaos. We checked in and found our room, a classroom in a school. We had sleeping bags and yoga mats with us. The bathroom showers were one floor down and contained neither outlets nor mirrors.

Are you beginning to understand why I was having reservations about my get-a-way!?!

As soon as we got our belongings in our room and made our beds, it was time for rehearsal.

 Sr. calls and wants to know what he and the boys are to eat for dinner?!!!

Meanwhile, Eliane and I were starving, and I was beginning to wonder if I had missed a memo about bringing our own food!?!

 Two hours later pizza arrived for us and when we finally found ourselves in bed, Eliane whispered,



`Ms. Kari  (our teacher) is staying in a hotel.´

`I know.´



`I think that was probably smart.´

`You are probably right.´



`You forgot the chocolate.´

`Hmmm……. I will get it in the morning. I promise.´

`Okay Mommy, goodnight, I love you.´

`Goodnight Baby, I love you too.´

The next morning while Eliane was in rehearsals, I snuck out with several other mothers for coffee,

and  remembered to pick up chocolate.

Eliane had asked for a roll of Smil (Rolos), and was ecstatic when I gave it to her. She ran to our room and hid her seemingly prized possession.

At lunch I notice a Talent Show Sign-up list taped to the wall, and to my surprise, Eliane is number two signed up.

I asked what she planned to do and she said,

` Sing of course´.

Of course I thought. She has never sung on stage alone. She is not in chorus, nor had voice training.

But she has recorded herself on my phone many times. That being said,  I begin fighting cold sweats and am VERY glad I picked up a bottle of wine when I picked up the chocolate.

You sleep on a yoga mat on a hard and nasty classroom floor in your son´s soccer ball adorned sleeping bag that is four inches too short while some child you are sharing a room with, who is too sick to be in public, coughs all freaking night, THEN you may judge!

BTW, I also changed rooms and upgraded our sleeping arrangements after my wine purchase.

I´ll get to the point… after the talent show, where Eliane surprised me by singing Tomorrow from Annie beautifully, we came back to our room. Our new room mates were were huddled in a circle with all their Lørdag´s Godt (Saturday Goodies), a huge tradition in Norway. They all had big bags and buckets of candy, yet Eliane only had half a role of chocolates. I guess she had eaten part of it already, but all the children shared their treats happily, as I sipped my red from a plastic cup of white.

No one mentioned anyone having more candy than anyone else, and when I announced lights out, everyone climbed willingly into bed. That´s when I found the other half of Eliane´s chocolates under my pillow.

She said, `Those are for coffee time Mommy´.

Eliane before her string seminar concert in Fagernes 2011
(I am already looking forward to next year´s get-a-way.)

Now scroll back up and listen to I´m the Black Sheep of the Family link!