Vikings and Re-Discovering the Joy of Play

Living in Germany definitely has its advantages, which is good, because I need SOMETHING to make up for the loss of 24-hour Walmarts, houses that are all on one floor, breakfast diners, and NO central heat or air conditioning. I mean, did you know that most Europeans have refrigerators about 1/3 the size of an American one? They practically go to the grocery store every day. Right now I have the meme of the Dos X guy in my head saying, “I don’t always go to the grocery store, but when I do, I forget to wear deodorant.” I digress.

But about the advantages: one of the best is easy travel. Whereas a day trip stateside MIGHT take you into the next state, a day trip here might take you to any of the six countries that are located within a three-hour drive from my house. And whereas a stateside vacation might take you to California or Florida, we decided to take a cruise up to Norway.

Now, I’ve read blogs from plenty of people who hate to cruise with children. I LOVE to cruise with children. First, for the price. There are cruise lines that allow children to sail free (and I always choose those cruise lines when I sail with children), which helps greatly. And, when you book at the last minute, as we invariably do because scheduling leave can be tricky, the prices can be lower than a hotel room alone. But a cruise ship is so much more! 24-hour food, something new to see every day, transportation from place to place happens while everyone is sleeping, gourmet meals, I never, ever hear “Are we there yet?” or have a back seat screamer… or three. And there is always food. So if I have my choice, I’ll cruise every time we vacation. Mostly because I can eat at any given time of the day or night. Did I mention the food?

But anyway, Norway. Which means vikings. I made some costumes. My viking girl costume can be found here. For my son, I assembled leggings, a tunic, cape (we recycled the medallions from the gladiator cape), and ankle bands (cut from a deer skin we found at a thrift store).

So I made the costumes, we headed up to Norway, blah, blah, blah. We got to the first town: “Perfect scenery! Let’s shoot here! Let’s HIKE up the mountainside! We’re young and adventurous!”

After my husband and I finally agreed on the perfect backdrop and began outfitting the kids, it began drizzling.

The kids, astonishingly, were not so thrilled about being dressed up and doing a photo shoot in the rain… They weren’t even inspired by the spectacular mountains, moss, and rock formations. Or even the promise of food back on the ship. I guess looking fierce and warrior-like is not fun when your hair is  matting in a slow, cold wetness. They were good sports, but after a couple of shots, our viking princess asked, “Can we be finished with pictures?” I felt guilty, and agreed.

The rain stopped as we walked back down the mountain. And then, “Wow! A water fall!” Shoving a twinge of guilt to the back of my mind, I dressed the kids back up. The rain began again, as if on cue. This time, tourists stopped and asked to take photos with the kids, which the children thought was hilarious. The kids were hamming it up for a bit, but after one picture too many, my daughter again asked if we could go.

I suddenly had this vision of myself starring in one of those trainwreck reality TV series like Honey Boo Boo or Toddlers and Tiaras. A feeling of burnout and fatigue washed over me. I didn’t want to take any more pictures, I didn’t want to make any more costumes, and I was starting to doubt my own sanity.  When Zach and I talked about it later, we realized that we had drifted from what had originally inspired us to begin this undertaking in the first place – a desire to capture fun pictures of the children at play– and taken the first steps into forcing them to pose for us. We went to the children and apologized for being selfish and making the photo shoots “boring.” We all agreed that dressing up is still fun (hooray!), and we promised one another that we will mave more fun learning and playing in the future.

Viking themed stylized children's photo shoot guide



For the processing, you can get this and other Lightroom presets from my Etsy Shop.

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