Friday, March 30, 2012

party plans

tired!  at some point after greg got home this afternoon i must have allowed myself to sit down and take my eyes off henry, because now i feel tired.

and probably i should choose to go to sleep at a decent hour because tomorrow is a big day.  the day that william turns into a 4 year old! the explanation point is mine, not his.  his anxiety about this has not ceased.  "this is my last day as a 3 year old,"  he said tearfully.  still, he's excited for cake and ice cream, a party, and presents.  we will have neighbors over to help celebrate-- they were gracious in accepting-- something we are noticing about them.  also, one said, "as long as there is coffee, you see that we are happy to come."  coffee it is-- real coffee, not instant.  and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  a vanilla ice cream and a swirly kind.  the ice cream will be william's favorite part of the cake and ice cream, unless something has changed that we don't know about.  he and i went over there today to buy candles and found one package in the entire store waiting for us, plus some balloons, cashews, little chocolates, some meat, bread, cheese, and of course, the fish for tomorrow's dinner.  greg went over the other day and got bacon for breakfast-- william's self-proclaimed "favorite growing food."

well, that's all for tonight.  i leave you with a picture of him when he was about 6 weeks old...

Thursday, March 29, 2012


i'm happy to report we all survived the day unscathed.  well... henry cut his mouth before greg even left this morning and he fell off a kitchen chair once, but a total trooper that boy is.  he survived his tumbles basically unfazed.  also he did not swing from the kitchen lamp, as i predicted he would, though he did try no less than three times.  it did take william until 10 p.m. to fall asleep, but he wasn't tearing around the place at that hour.  we ate plenty of bananas and leftover rice today, but not in the order i mentioned yesterday.  so, it all went off better than expected.  

here is william cutting his lemur's hair...  
the last time he did this, lemur lost a significant amount of body mass.  he was more careful this time. 

finished product.

i took them on a couple hour's walk, and took a couple of not-so-exciting pictures along the way...

and then this.  which would explain the 10 p.m. bedtime for william...

and now i must move william from our bed to his and hope i don't wake henry up in the process.  maybe this will be the night he sleeps through until morning...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

instant coffee monkey eggplant holiday

today greg came home at noon so i could go meet with william and henry's teachers before school begins next month.  it was a beautiful day to ride my bike over there, but i was running late.  i have this notion that may or may not be true (sort of like our notion that all danes drink instant coffee-- i'm starting to think that's not true), that the danes are very punctual, and so i fretted about being late, but as greg was running late from work, i could only pedal faster once he did take over my post for me.  

it was a good meeting.  my arrival time didn't seem to phase them-- i was probably mostly on time (i have sort of temporarily given up the notion of knowing what time it is when i'm out as i don't have a watch and i don't have a cell phone).  they seemed to know what they're talking about.  i'm really very excited for the guys to go to this school.  i've heard good things about it and the school seems happy to take these monkeys off my hands for a few hours a day.  henry is supposed to begin next monday, which he'll mostly do (they are big into gentle transitions here, and i suppose when it comes down to it, so am i).  but then they're closed that wednesday, thursday, friday, and the following monday-- all apparently for easter (there's maundy thursday (the last supper), good friday, easter sunday, and easter monday (a way to have a third day off for easter).  wednesday is just an extra day the school decided to take off i guess).  just one of the many extended danish holidays.  when we arrived here, many neighbors were gone for the late winter or maybe early spring holiday.  now they are going away for the easter holiday.  in may we have general prayer day (aka store bededag, aka all prayers day, aka great day of prayers, aka common prayer day: a collection of minor christian holy days rolled into one). on the 4th; ascension day on the 17th; and whit monday on the 28th (i.e. the day after whit sunday, or, the day after the pentacost).  

tomorrow greg goes to sweden for a conference.  he's back on friday late afternoon.  so in case i don't have a chance to post tomorrow night, here is what it will likely say: didn't shower, found out henry could swing from the kitchen lamp the one time i ventured to use the bathroom, ate cold leftover basmati rice for breakfast and lunch, bananas for dinner, yet somehow dishes piled high in the sink. both boys running wild at 10 p.m. can't wait for another fun day tomorrow.  

let me tell you what we had for dinner in case you also received an eggplant in your very unlocal box of veggies this week.  this cheesy mexican eggplant recipe from  i, too, was unaware there was a website devoted strictly to eggplant recipes.  this recipe called for two eggplants, but we only had one, so i added some cooked kidney beans and cooked white beans to it to add some substance.  also, the "taco sauce" we purchased at the store (labeled as such) turned out to be salsa.  i used plain tomatoes (canned) instead of marinara sauce, topped the whole thing with chopped leeks, and probably added a hundred times more cheese than it called for and omitted the rice, because we are fairly maxed out on rice for the time being (and guess what we're having as leftovers tomorrow?!).  anyway, it was good!  we also added avocado after it was all said and done, as well as greek yogurt.  

here's the bottom line.. if you're ever going to make one of those (baked) layered taco salad dishes-- you could prepare the eggplant as suggested in this recipe and add it as one of the layers and it would work.  people would eat it.  you would be somewhat innovative in the area of layered taco salad dishes.  i think this is worth keeping in mind.  

alright.  time to rest up for my two day kid-a-thon.  here are the monkeys today, working on the radiator...


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


we are still an hour off in this house.  william is not even pretending to be going to sleep, and it's 9:30 p.m. i still feel like i'm getting up at 5:30 in the morning.  that makes for a tired me, right as henry is upping the ante.  climbing on the kitchen chairs, reaching into drawers, eating markers, sand, grabbing hold of greasy bike chains, anything he can do in the two seconds i dare turn my back on him.  

"danger to self": note the scraped fingers, the scratched up nose, probably a small bump or two on the head.  
he is simply a danger mouse.

let me tell you what we had for dinner, because you might have a big bulb of fennel this summer that you don't know what to do with.  we made carrot and fennel soup from 101 cookbooks.

except, we didn't have wild rice.

do you remember when i went shopping with the russian chemist and his wife and we went to the roskilde bazaar?  well, i was so happy to finally see something sold in bulk that i lost my common sense and bought this:

needless to say, we haven't needed to buy rice since that day.  so, first substitution in that recipe-- basmati rice instead of wild.  

then, i read the recipe wrong and added three cups of uncooked rice, rather than three cups of cooked.  so after 15 minutes of simmering, i no longer had a soup, i had a big pot of basmati rice with carrots and fennel.  but, it was good that way.  i would recommend it.  i would also recommend her suggestion of adding a poached egg to the top because you're not going to feel like you had enough protein if you don't.  so if it's been a long time since you've tried poaching an egg, now is the time to try it again.  it might not look pretty, but it will taste good.  

i also bought a little olive oil.

Monday, March 26, 2012


so we didn't notice that yesterday felt any shorter, but today, we really felt the loss of that extra hour of sleep.  fortunately for them, unfortunately for us, the guys have not had to adjust.  to bed a little bit later last night (so we were as well), up a little bit later today (which we were not), and again tonight, everything's pushed a little later.

when greg got home this afternoon, we were both feeling a little bit of a waste of a day.  but such another nice day it was, so we decided to enjoy it, while also claiming some small victory today-- finding the post office and mailing a letter that's been needing to be sent.  we were also on the lookout for a package for william, whose 4th birthday is coming up on saturday.  the post office does not deliver packages.  but if it comes from the u.s. they do take the time to open it up and see if there's anything worth taxing (say, something over $50) and anything worth taking (e.g. food).  unfortunately the package was not there, but we went into the center of roskilde (having lured william into the burley with the temptation of a bagel sandwich) and i was able to sneak away to the toy store for a quick shopping trip.  it is fun to shop for a 4 year old.  it will be mostly battle loot this year. and a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and as a birthday dinner, fish, mashed potatoes, and broccoli and carrots baked with bread crumbs and blue cheese-- his requests.

today i asked him if he wanted to help me count the number of days he had left as a three year old.  this was probably a bad choice of words on my part.  after a few seconds he turned to me with tears welling up and said, "i'm just sad that i'm not going to be three anymore... i'm excited about my birthday because it's a fun party, but i'm feeling anxious about being four."  so much change for this little guy in the past month and a half.  such big feelings for an almost four year old.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


this morning when we woke up, greg looked at his "smart" phone, compared it to the clock in the kitchen and determined that we'd slept until almost 8 a.m., which meant, with last night's time change, we had technically slept in until almost 9 a.m.  which felt like a sluggish way to start springing ahead.  about an hour later, when we compared it to the clock on the wall, we realized that not only is greg's phone quite smart, so is the digital kitchen clock.  both had automatically updated themselves.  we'd really only slept until almost 7 a.m., and with the time change, almost 8 a.m. much better!  some years, you really notice that you've lost an hour, but it didn't feel that way today.  maybe because we narrowly avoided losing two.  

today was one of those rare consistent days.  we awoke to sun and it stayed with us until evening (well after 7 now).  a beautiful, almost warm day.  we decided to pack a picnic and go on a bike ride through farmland, north of roskilde.

upon entering trekroner (co-housing central), on our way out of town

preparing the fields

taking a break from field-feeding
greg, well ahead, after i stopped for the swans

for those who do not believe denmark is a hilly country, i would urge you, should you ever find yourself in this area, to hook a burley up to your bike, fill it with a couple of kids, and ride into the countryside.  the hills will reveal themselves hundreds of yards (well, meters here) in advance and you will whisper some variation of "oh nellie" under your breath.  at least, that was my approach.  but of course, we already knew there were hills in denmark as we seem to live on a hill which sits upon a hill.  i just know there's a rumor going around about a flat country.

we made our way to ågerup-- a little town inland.  found a park, had a picnic, played.

greg's confidence jumping into the air, makes it look as though he might be standing on the ground.

one thing we have noticed here is that dogs are very well behaved.  yes, there are some barking behind fences as you pass by, but mostly they walk casually behind their owners, off their leashes.  never bothering to run up and greet you or some other dog they might pass.  at the park today, just such an illustration of the trust people put in their dogs to make the right choices, always.  a little girl and her (leashed) dog, who surely weighs more than she does... 

on the way home, we switch... greg gets the burley.  he is faster with it.  we see the same windmills as yesterday, only this time with more farm fields between us...

and a promise of things to come...

Saturday, March 24, 2012


today held the promise of 10 (i.e. 50) degree weather, with sun.  all morning it was cold.  maybe 3 or 4.  and froggy.  by 1 p.m. we were on our bikes to a goodbye party for a guy in greg's lab who'd finished up his Ph.D.  my eyes were watering on my bike, it was so chilly.  i figured the sun had given up on trying to burn up the fog by this point in the day and had moved on.  

about an hour into the party, the view of the fjord was this...
frogs. everywhere.

two hours into the party though...
the sun's cloaked persistence paid off.

william and henry were the only two little ones at the party, and something that is surely universal-- it is difficult to fully engage in the conversation and general flow of the party when you are continually saying, 'one second here, hold that thought... henry, nej tak, NEJ TAK! (no thank you, NO THANK YOU!)' 

but, it was good to meet people from greg's lab and the general risø campus.  it seemed to be an almost even mix of danes and non-danes.  there were two people from russia, the host was turkish, her roommate italian, her other roommate from northern jutland (denmark's peninsula, which might actually make him a foreigner to the zealand danes), us scrappy americans, and the guest of honor, a czech.  

on the way home we rode through a neighborhood not far from greg's lab.  for that reason, it would be nice to move there when we have to leave our current abode this summer, but it doesn't have a grocery store (or doesn't appear to) and it's also pretty fancy, on a hill, overlooking the fjord.  and unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries before we got there, so i couldn't photograph it, but i'm sure we'll be over there again.

a few photos i did get on our way home...
the windmills are part of risø.  in the far distance, greg's lab on a little peninsula of the fjord.

farmland between home and work

a bike path the entire length of the trip-- this road is one of the main highways too.
tonight we move our clocks forward, so when you think of us, we're plenty of hours ahead of your thought.

Friday, March 23, 2012


have i mentioned before that every now and then i feel incredibly lucky and hopeful?  is it a realization? or a feeling?  i don't know yet.
do you remember being a kid and trying to decide between being an architect, an artist, a flight attendant, a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an interior decorator, and an author?  and all of those options seemed possible, it was just sort of a matter of choosing which one you wanted to be the most.  and then as you got older you realized you weren't very good at chemistry, or drawing straight lines, that your creative writing was missing a bit of brilliance, and your mind was always tricking you into thinking the plane was about to go down?  the options narrowed.  you think-- were they even ever real to begin with?
i remember my stomach sinking every time i'd hear garrison keillor's voice on the radio saturday evenings, the year before i started law school.  saturday evening meant sunday was quickly approaching, which was the day before monday, which meant another week of 7:30-4:30 with exactly 1 hour of lunch (too long) to be taken at exactly 11:30.  that my years could just go on this way, neverminding that there might be seasons changing outside-- i would just be on a loop.
do i understand the vantage point from which i'm writing this?  well, i understand that feeling claustrophobic in a 40 hour per week job that gave me a longer lunch than i needed and paid me something to live on is foolish compared to the experiences that others are having, experiences i will probably (fortunately) never have.  and that there is so much going on right now, and really always, that have people feeling like the world has just stopped for them so what are people like me doing going on writing as if nothing had happened.  fair enough.  i think i haven't lived long enough to know if this is just how it works or if i'm just too tired right now to hold it all or analyze it all or do anything about it, besides complain with greg about people who are just "standing their ground."  i have a responsibility to be a decent person, at the least, when i'm not doing more to do good, and to raise my children into decent adults, so that maybe they'll do good in their lives.

it feels a little frivolous to write about how lucky i feel, but for my own life, and having been that person once to have said, how can you carry on like this when the world just suddenly stopped, to know always then what it feels like to have a heart break, i just want to cling to this feeling that anything good is possible, from today forward, for me, greg, william, henry.  (except that i still probably won't be a flight attendant, architect, doctor, artist...thankfully.)  for now though, i feel like we've escaped the loop, and it's a happier place to be.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

a long but lagret day

a long day, that started with this frog... 
william and i shared him this morning.  he came from the super best bakery yesterday when greg took william and henry to get milk.  these bakery detours are getting a bit out of hand.  

so what was long about this day?  nothing in particular.  we stayed around the house and the guys played in the sandbox in back of some of the flats here... something we only discovered yesterday.

in the process, i met two new neighbors, both working moms of kids older than my kids, but still, there was plenty of common ground and it was fun to talk to them.  much of the conversation followed a path similar to other extended conversations i've had here-- first, the ubiquitous weather conversation-- and look, another beautiful day... at least in the afternoon...

then, the explanation of what we're doing here and how long we're staying.  finally, a back and forth about the differences between the u.s. and denmark:

outgoing, friendly americans compared with introverted danes.  ("had you moved into an apartment in copenhagen, none of your neighbors would talk to you.")

the cheap cost of food in the u.s. compared with the expensive cost of food in denmark (i bring up the joke about americans liking their peanut butter, which is rather expensive, but not impossible to find here... and isn't it true? don't we all like peanut butter?)

the expensive cost of daycare in the united states compared with the cheap cost of daycare here. 

12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave in the u.s. (granted, some employers will pay) compared with the year of paid maternity leave in denmark.  

the diversity of americans compared with the uniformity of danes ("except those danes that live in the south, oh and what about those northern danes?!") 

and i learned that danes don't usually hire babysitters so they can go out for a decent dinner every now and then, a possible explanation for the relative lack of restaurants around, and the fact that the ones which do exist are so expensive-- everyone here has kids so no one eats out.  and confirming the sad reality that greg and i will not go out for another three years.

greg, meanwhile, learned that they grade their cheeses here, based on stinkiness.

from mildest to stinkiest, the grades are as follows:

lagret (the mildest)
mellemlagret (mellem seems to equal medium, but mellemlagret is more stinky than lagret)
ekstra lagret (extra lagret, but even more stinky that lagret)
gammel (gammel = old) oleg (name of a guy)
oleg's grandfather (the stinkiest)

the more stinky the cheese and the longer it sits in your fridge, the more it will make your fridge stink.  that's logic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

they saw their shadows

what i've been waiting for-- a blue sky with a warm sun.  one of the nicest days, weather-wise, we've had since moving here... at least that's the way it feels after four cloudy, cold days in a row.  
that is me, not a cloud, blocking the sun

i'll let the trees tell you today, what i'm always saying... 

so despite the sun, the wind keeps us in our cool weather clothes.  a juxtaposition of sun, sand, and hooded jackets...

we weren't in winter coats?  no mittens?  

okay, i'll take it, wind and all.  

and here is a little video of big guy henry... 

i wanted to impress greg with this video, but apparently henry did this same thing at a different park with greg where the slide was much higher and the stairs much more treacherous.  go figure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


i was really hoping i'd wake up this morning and find the sun shining.  i did not.  

coming from madison where the weather seems to follow a pattern and there are perpetual successions of blue skies, one day after the next, marked by the occasional gray and dreary day, or even occasional successions of gray and dreary days, this staccato motif of gray, blue, rainy, sunny, drizzly, with no apparent logic behind it except that the wind moves faster here, is difficult for me to embrace.  really it's the gray and rainy days that come so often that i can't get excited about.  

we should have considered a period of transition in seattle perhaps.  

so we stayed inside through lunch today, but since we were inside most of yesterday with all of the cold, crazy winds, we bundled up after lunch to look for yet another new park.  it wasn't exactly a surprise discovery as i knew there was a park near the viking museum, which is a couple kilometers from our house, but we hadn't been there yet and i felt like getting out of our immediate neighborhood.  

so, just to give you the full tour of roskilde parks, here are a couple of pictures from today's find:

like a gladiator!

with a view of the fjord

unfortunately it was much colder and windier that close to the fjord than it had been from where we started out, so i didn't think to pack mittens for the guys.  after about 10 minutes william suggested we go to the viking ship museum to warm up.  a spot we'd planned to go to last weekend but never got around to doing.  i was excited to see it so we walked over.

william said, "this is such a nice, quite place." and it was-- we were one of the few people there.

i wish i could give you some interesting information about the museum, the vikings, their ships, but i spent most of the time with a view of this little viking...

here he is in one of the two replica ships available for the public to venture onto...

and well-behaved william, sitting aft, watching a film that was playing about a replica viking ship that journeyed around... and that's all i was able to catch as i followed henry around...

outside the museum-- roskilde ship

one more.

goodnight! hope for sun and warmth tomorrow! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

good news bears

this morning's photo op: 
he walked away unscathed

so, some good news today-- on april 16th, wiliam can start kindergarten.  the same school as henry (ravnen-- the raven school)... two weeks after henry.  still a month away, but at least he has a spot and it's earlier than we would have expected, except that we knew raven was going to try to get him in as soon as possible.  thanks to pia and pernille!  if you're interested in getting a look, here's the website to their school:

if this link works: you will be able to see a typical outdoor outfit for all of the kids around here.  full body all purpose bad weather suits, and hats that pull over the entire head-- i think of them as little viking helmets, minus the metal and the nose guard.

in other good news, william found a few boys to play with outside today.  the kids were playing with swords and shields-- doing battles, if you can believe it.  i told william and he ran down from playing upstairs, got on his coat (very windy and cold here today), "battle boots," and (bike) helmet, went out the back door and quickly realized he'd need one of his swords, if he were going to participate in this battle, so he came back in and ran out the front door to get one of the various long sticks he's collected from walks, and basically chased after the boys until their mom came out and handed william a real (toy) sword and probably told her children to please include this kid who is desperate for friends, in their play (or maybe that was what i was thinking as i held my breath, hoping they wouldn't reject him, so confident and sure of the situation he was).

we now have a sword at our house that he was given to borrow, and you will see below, a short video of him this evening showing it off.

more good news: greg understood a short conversation at work today on the topic of butter, held completely in danish.

the good news does not stop: henry thoroughly enjoyed dinner tonight.  a stew of cabbage, parsnips, carrots, mushrooms, jerusalem artichokes, and sausage.  it called for lots of paprika, but we have none, so i put in lots of turmeric and cumin instead.  the lighting in this picture is not the best, but you might notice henry is stained yellow (as is our white kitchen table-- any suggestions for that???).

here he is after his bath enjoying wind in the willows... 

and here is william with the sword... 

tonight we (as in, greg) are making a sweet treat with muscavado sugar, which i've seen before in recipes but never tried.  but when i looked for brown sugar in the grocery store, that was what i found instead.  if you've never had it, it's got a very molasses-y flavor to it and according to wikipedia, it is nutritionally richer than other brown sugars.  also, they don't seem to use liquid vanilla extract here-- rather, a vanilla powder-- in case you were wondering.

that's all for now.  take care!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

welcome to denmark

from solveig!
marianne, the priest from the church next door invited us to her house for dinner tonight.  female priests were ordained in denmark beginning in 1948.  the earliest of any state to do so-- denmark has a national church.  the denomination is evangelical lutheran.  membership is voluntary, and although some 80% of danes are members, she tells us that most use it like a hospital-- i.e. only when needed-- baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals.  because apparently many danes don't get married until after they've had a child or two, they might even combine a baptism and a marriage, just to knock out a couple of visits in one shot.  today was the first day we'd gone inside of the church.  there was a free concert there this afternoon-- music of the balkans.  children were welcome.  the first thing i noticed about the church was that it was much smaller inside than it lets on from the outside (and it's beautiful).  the second thing i noticed, in conjunction with the first, was that if children really were welcome they probably shouldn't have been. the space was... cozy, the musicians consisted of a professionally trained singer and an accordion player, already playing by the time we got there.  the crowd was noticeably older.  i knew henry wouldn't last more than a minute.  greg took him out about 30 seconds in to our arrival.  william quickly noticed a model ship hanging above our heads (apparently a danish tradition to have model ships in churches: when sailors were out at sea in a storm, they would pray that if they survived, they would put a beautiful ship in the church).  the ship, plus a large hole in the wall behind us kept him occupied for about four songs.  then he was ready to go.  we decided we would wait for marianne to come to us, so we walked back home.  soon after we got there, a delivery van was pulling up. the new phone book our fruit and vegetables were here! an exciting moment for the S Q-S clan. 

obviously none of this is from denmark.

our vegetables.  i have never seen a cabbage of this shape before.  
awhile later, marianne came over with her oldest daughter, 7 year old solveig, on their bikes.  we bundled up the guys and ourselves (a rainy day here) and biked over to trekroner, about 10 minutes away.  solveig led the way.  marianne knew of a co-housing unit that may be available for rent this summer so we did a quick tour of that site and then to her house just a couple of hundred yards past the co-housing development.  it was another fun and relaxed meal, good conversation, and three children for william to play with.  ice cream for dessert.  then a bike ride home-- like having all the windows down in the car and burning calories instead of fuel.

i think about how even in a bike-friendly city like madison, they didn't put a bike lane on north sherman avenue-- a major thoroughfare between the north side and downtown-- when they completely tore up and repaved that road.  and that is in madison.  what does that say about the country at large adopting cycling as a viable alternative way of getting around?  oy vey!

i'm going to put ultra-bike-friendliness down as one more thing to love about denmark (so that's being added to the built-in work-life balance and the affordable preschools/nurseries).

welcome to denmark!  thank you.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

saturday morning...

wake up around 7. breakfast... oatmeal (the fake-ish instant stuff, because that's what they carry in the stores here) with milk and coffee (the fake-ish instant stuff, because that's what they predominately seem to drink here (so it tastes better than the fake-ish instant stuff at home)) for greg. oatmeal with bananas, raisins, and ris drik (rice milk) for me, plus tea. one ant on a log plus peanut butter toast and hot chocolate for william. and a bite here and there of everyone else's breakfast for henry. quick, get the guys dressed, change a diaper, and ready (did you go to the bathroom, william?), bundled up, it's a cold morning but with a promise of a little warmth to come, and out the door right at 8:00. not another minute to spare for greg who is taking them on the saturday 5K run with persille and jon and others. last weekend he was late for the start and only caught up to them at the end. today-- they made it on time, and persille and jon were not there anyway. they finished fast, then ran to "the best bakery in roskilde" according to more than one person and then back home with sweet treats which are becoming as much of a tradition as this saturday morning run.

greg loves to run... to work, little 5K jaunts, marathons, anything. me... no. i can't say that i love it. though i don't actually run, so i suppose i might love it if i gave it a chance. i did run on a regular basis for about one year, at the end of college, and it was love-- if you account for the fact that love occasionally leads to disappointment. me, what i want, what i think i need, when i wish them a good adventure and shut the door and relish the fact that all of the chaos has suddenly ceased, is words. it's not often that i let in the silence that comes from turning off the radio for instance, and when i do, it's usually because i am trying to think of the words to put down here. i have serious doubts about my ability to meditate. though, like running, i'm sure it would be good for me.

so, they leave, and i sit and finish my tea, read (in the morning it's usually for input of current information, so now the internet, a newspaper if i could read danish), listen to the news on the radio. when greg mentions to me that i haven't had a real break from the guys in a long time (it's true-- i had only been away from william for one overnight before henry was born & never yet with henry) i know that a "real" break isn't a reality right now. but that's okay, i tell him. i just want to have time to read. and it's true. my favorite time of the day is when i am crawling into bed at night, turning on the little ikea light behind me and opening my book. it's something i hadn't been doing very much before we moved because henry was in our room, and if we turned on the light, it wasn't too long before henry would wake up. and yet we would have put him in our room here without thinking, but our room here is much too small to fit his pack-n-play. it is literally a bed room. so now after henry falls asleep we read to william at night in our room instead of his room and he falls asleep in there. then, when we are ready to go to bed, greg moves william from our room to his, and we have our room back. it's musical chairs as it's always been ever since william was a baby. we're used to it, but reclaiming that space and the time before falling asleep is something i love.

and then they are back with the treats. i am showered, dressed, and so we motivate ourselves to get out, although the weather, despite its early promises, seems to be turning colder. but we must get groceries today if we want them, because tomorrow the stores will be closed (excepting the bakeries in the morning). we will ride our bikes to the grocery store by the train station, one that i'd gone to with the russian chemist and his wife, but first, we stop at that "best bakery" for a loaf of bread and then a ride along the fjord along a path which greg's officemate recommended to him.

it's a dirt path, which is a little tricky for our road tires, but it does offer good views of the fjord and eventually leads us to the grounds of a mental institute, which, in my limited experience and outsider's perspective, always sit on the nicest parcels of land. but we don't stay long. it's getting cold. henry is asleep and so we decide to skip the grocery store in town. greg takes the guys home while i go to (where else?) the super best.

tomorrow, we receive our first box of fruit, vegetables, and eggs from the farm (though most items were not grown on this farm which distributes it to us-- not a csa-- but we will happily take it).

now, to my favorite part of the day. goodnight!

Friday, March 16, 2012

a change in the weather

this morning we rode over to visit the nursery and kindergarten where henry has been admitted. it's a little further than the others on our list, but only about a mile or so from where we're currently living. both guys seemed to love it. william found the first kindergarten room and stayed there while we toured the rest of the place. the director was friendly and welcoming and even decided before the end of the visit, in consultation with the kindergarten teacher, that she would call the pladsanvisning to see if they could get william in as soon as possible. the nursery and kindergarten are divided by age-- 0-3ish and 3ish-6ish, but the kids seem to be able to wander throughout the entire school, so our guys could visit with one another if they wanted to. they open at 6:40, provide breakfast for those kids who arrive before 7:30 (meals are økologisk she told me. the word i'm always looking for in the grocery store-- organic). otherwise, they can arrive anytime before 9 (or after 9:30 if it's going to be later than 9). they have a snack at 9. lunch at 11. the little ones nap (outside in prams) at noon. an afternoon snack, and then, because it's denmark, kids start leaving around 3 or 4 o'clock. they can stay until 5:20. all food is provided. diapers are provided. from february through april the kommune (county) provides a bus for them everyday which they share with three other schools to take small groups of children on field trips. yesterday, a small group of kids william's age went to københavn (copenhagen). wow! and this is all included in the low fees. there is no fundraising. no fees for supplies. denmark's child care set-up and work-life balance make it simple and cost-effective for both parents to work-- it's true! leaving there made me think, "i can see us not wanting to leave when three years is up." it probably didn't hurt that it was a sunnier, warmer day than it was yesterday.

after greg went to work and we had lunch and played, we went on a walk to explore some areas of our neighborhood we hadn't yet seen. the goal was to find a new playground.

burley ride.

which led us to...

a new park.

from there, on a dirt path through the woods...

to a clearing carpeted with flowers...

and a little boy planted down...

and a tree cutter...

sawing down trees to build a house like they did in "laura and mary" because "construction workers weren't alive back then."

which all eventually led us to the fjord...

and back home, to greg, already home and starting dinner.

a good day.