Thursday, January 31, 2013


this morning was nearly an exact replica of yesterday morning except that today greg was still home when william threw up, so greg took henry to school and william went into his room and took a nap in his snowsuit.  so it's a little strange, but i won't call it a pattern yet, that william has twice thrown up right before walking out the door to go to school and then, excepting his nap this morning, been generally well for the rest of the day.

tomorrow is 'car day' in his class, where the kids get to bring toy cars from home.  he is excited for it, so hopefully that will be enough to keep this whatever-it-is bug from coming back.

here he is tonight, excited that i cooked up the rest of the bacon we bought yesterday...

i think i'm going to declare a couple weekend days beginning tomorrow, but maybe i'll surprise myself and post.  otherwise, see you in the near future.  goodnight! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


this morning we were nearly out the door when william threw up.  so, perhaps he didn't miss out on the stomach flu after all.  because greg had already left for work i gave him an old ice cream container just in case and he sat in the burley while i got henry to school.  fortunately and surprisingly that was the only time he was sick for the rest of the day.  when we got back home he laid on the couch for awhile, but it seemed more like he was only doing it out of obligation to a mom who was treating him as though he had the stomach flu.  eventually he ate again.  he got up and played.  so... who knows.

i had designated today to be my homework day.  aside from everyday homework, i also have a ~90 page 'easy reader' book to read by monday.  this would be no problem if it were in english, but once again, i am also simultaneously reading my danish-english dictionary along with each sentence.  okay, not each sentence, but certainly i'm using it multiple times a page.  this makes for slow reading.  in addition to my need to focus on danish lessons today and the fact that a pretty healthy william was home with me, he is also off his '45's' (his daily forty-five minutes of cartoons) for the week because he had sooo many cartoons when he and we were all sick.  i was determined to stick with this and also determined to do my homework and start the book, so i found this cool site where he could listen to online kids stories for free... for any interested caretakers out there.

when we went to pick henry up from school we ran into one of his teachers who was taking something to the garbage.  she was wearing short sleeves and laughed a little as i arrived and got off my bike.  i realized later it was probably because i looked ready to head out on a scientific expedition to the arctic with my huge coat, winter boots and rain pants (just in case), whereas the weather today made it possible to take the garbage out with short sleeves and find the whole outing rather refreshing.  i'll admit i think i was sweating under my down hood, and i can't quite fathom why i am so slow to make the transition between cold, cool, and warm weather clothing given that nearly my entire life has been spent in a climate with four clearly defined seasons, each demanding a certain type of attire.  well, maybe tomorrow if it's still this warm out (i'm guessing maybe the 40's), i'll switch back to a sweatshirt and rain jacket.

later, for dinner, i was determined to do something with eggs, as we had nearly two dozen (they come in cartons of ten here though) sitting in the fridge.  i found this really good recipe... here, click here.  i modified it a bit.  i put in the pan, in this order: bacon, a shallot (at least, i would say it is a shallot, but i've only ever had shallots that look purplish or reddish on the inside, but here, the ones we've gotten in our vegetable box are simply white inside), boiled, quartered potatoes (a good addition), a bunch of arugula, salt and pepper, a can of tomatoes, just a little honey, three eggs, and crumbled feta cheese on top.  and stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes.  yum.

i think william's having fun there.

well anyway, maybe you'll have it for dinner tonight too.

Monday, January 28, 2013

cheer up, sleepy jean

sometime in the middle of the night we decided henry was staying home today.  there wasn't really a question that i would skip class and be the one to stay home with him, but this morning greg suggested he stay home with him instead and i go to class, since he was feeling too sick to go to work, but not so bad that he couldn't watch henry.  so i went to class to try to learn the difference between skal (shall) and vil (will) (not as easy as you'd think... even for you lawyers out there).  but of course, henry was not so sick by morning as he was in the middle of the night (i.e. his fever was gone), which probably wore greg out more than a round-trip bike ride and a day in the lab would have.

he tried getting henry down for a nap and fell asleep himself only to wake up abruptly and find henry brushing his teeth in the bathroom.  so no nap for henry even though last night he'd been up (as in up up... which, if you haven't been the caretaker of a very young person, is kind of like getting up in the middle of the night to do some aerobics... but dragging a bedfellow along with you).  even tonight, getting him to bed, there was no dropping to sleep exhausted.  there was only the usual external and then internal struggle to first resist and then to make sleep happen.  as if nothing i've just relayed to you above added up to make him more tired than he otherwise would have been.

maybe that's just how it is with kids.  i guess i have plenty of memories of the things i used to daydream about while trying to get to sleep at night as a kid... like flying on a magic carpet... that happened to be equipped with walls (safety purposes)... or going to the mall... or... brookfield zoo... with The Monkees.

william's also been a sleep fender-offer... ever since he was about 2 days old.  i used to worry because he was getting nowhere near the amount of sleep the baby books claimed babies were supposed to get.  i think that's the only reason he has such a good attention span-- he demanded we entertain him 12 hours a day.  he differed from henry in that regard, who at least took sleep seriously in those first three months.

well, sleep... i should stop talking about it and go do something about it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

watch out for falling tires

well, we thought about going to copenhagen this morning but changed our minds.  greg was still feeling down with his cold.  and it was just as well that we didn't, because in the hours surrounding henry's nap, he was feeling pretty sick too.  the only outing then was a trip to the grocery store by henry and me.  and the temperature then still felt safely below freezing, though it is above freezing now, or at least it was an hour ago, when snow turned to rain.

yes, snow.  whatever i said yesterday about no new snow on the ground is now outdated.  we woke up to new snow and sometime in the afternoon it began snowing again.  all in all, it was just enough to make us feel slightly guilty for not shoveling our part of the sidewalk.  wishfully thinking tomorrow's forecasted mild temperatures will just take care of things for us.  we'll see.  but today, it was coming down, though not even the prospect of catching falling snow on his tongue could convince our older one to get outside.  he's always quite busy with his toys or playing with his brother.

today he created a lego game that he played with greg.  he built a lego game board, gave them each hats as tokens (and he's never even heard of monopoly!), and built a little lego top as the spinner.  they took turns spinning and going around the game board, accumulating points (first to reach 17 won).  if the top fell down after being spun, it counted as a number (apparently decided by the players based on how many revolutions they thought the top made) and they'd go that many spaces around the board.  a player might land at the mailbox where he could hang his hat on the 'tusk of doom' (a stinging horn), at the ATM machine at the bank where he could look inside for a letter.  or he might land at the coffee machine and have a cup of coffee, but he'd have to watch out for dr. octopus's arms that might get him (wrenches for hands!!!).  after the coffee machine was a spot with a flame, a fire extinguisher, and a sign that would say one of three things each time someone landed there: "watch out for falling tires"; "watch out for rolling tires"; or "you're free to pass."  if the player got one of the first two messages, william would drop (or roll) a bunch of lego tires onto that part of the board.  if the player's hat fell off the board, he had to go sit on spiderman's slide in the middle of the board and wait for his next turn.  after the sign/tire obstacle, at the next space, he'd have to jump over a wall, which would land him on a spring which would 'boooiiiiinnnngggg' him onto the top of a map.  the map said 'flyv hvor du vil' ('fly where you want'), which allowed the player to go directly to any place on the board, including to lego spiderman, which is where they collected their points.  if the top stayed up after being spun that meant the player got a 'trip around the world' which could get him all the way to spiderman for a point, but on their way the players always had to stop and read the sign to see if they were free to pass, or to see if they had to watch out for tires, which could land them up on the slide. william was the first to reach 17 points, so he won the game.

right now they're working on a helicopter that's been long in the making...

henry is sleeping peacefully for now.  hopefully the worst of his cold will be gone when he gets up in the morning.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

return of the blog

well, i'm back.  so let's just hop to it.  i could start the blog back up like that.  or, i could tell you, with all honesty, how fun it was to have my evenings completely free to do whatever i felt like doing.  i guess i should update you on the illnesses in this household.  i think we're all over the stomach flu now.  william never really got it in the end, or he had the mildest version of it for about three hours.  as of today, greg's got the sort of weird, sore throat, feeling bad thing i had before, during, and after the flu (though only the sore throat remains for me now).  tonight henry has a fever to accompany the cough he caught from william who stayed home on thursday and friday with only questionable symptoms at best.  they were more like get out of school free days, which we normally wouldn't go for, but this time we did.  mercifully, our illnesses were staggered most conveniently, the stomach flu was only good for about 24 hours per person, and no one missed more than two days worth of work/class/school/what have you.

okay, enough about us being sick.  everyone's sick right now.  you don't need to hear anymore about this family's germs.  and (going back to that honesty thing)... on none of my sick days was i too sick to type up a few words and hit 'publish'... so, sort of, i was playing hookie.  which i don't expect anybody minds.  probably it was nice to have a little break as the reader, too, though i want to emphasize to everyone-- this is not mandatory reading.  (i'm going to put that up on the side of my blog, just in case anyone ever feels guilty for not reading this.)  so for both our sakes, i think i'll institute a couple weekend days on the blog... as in, days off, though not necessarily on the weekend.  i have to figure out a schedule that works.  we'll see.  any thoughts?  days you absolutely just don't want to read this blog?

but tonight, on this weekend day, we went on a nice walk, if you don't count the times william and henry had each other yelling and crying at one another in the burley.  it's still very cold here.  it hasn't snowed (significantly) in forever, but the snow that came so long ago is still on the ground.  tomorrow though, and maybe everyday until next fall (is the rumor), it will be above freezing, so tonight was arguably our last chance to enjoy the real cold of winter, walk on the snow, really appreciate the warmth of our winter coats.

getting ready to go

in the burley

okay, i thought i had a partner in getting this house put back together tonight, but i think he has fallen asleep, so i should end this and go do the dishes before a little feverish guy wakes up unhappy.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

sick days

i think i'm going to institute (on this blog) one of the great policies denmark has to offer-- sick leave.  just for tonight.  maybe the next night or two.  just so we can all get enough rest to get back to normal.  our illnesses have been staggered, fortunately, but we are all in some state of sick or recovery.  except for henry.  he seems to be all better.  okay.  so, for you regular readers, just a day or two, then i'll be back.

to good health! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

sick all around

william is the only one of us who has not succumbed to the stomach bug.  but, we did get a call from his teacher today to tell us that he should probably go home early due to a sore throat.

so we'll pass that one around too...

for now, enjoy a random picture from october

Monday, January 21, 2013

sick plural

i called greg around four today to find out when he thought he'd be home because, i told him, i'm feeling kind of sick.  he told me that, unfortunately, so was he.  so i took a tylenol (or some sort of european equivalent) which quickly kicked in.  he got home and laid on the couch.  the tylenol never really worked for him.  but i'm clearly dealing with some sort of cold, and he may be fighting off what henry had, though he has not thrown up yet.

it was a very cold day today.  not according to the thermometer.  it was only maybe in the low twenties (F), but there was a lot of wind, which hasn't been the case lately, so that the body never had much of a chance to hold onto any of the warmth it produced.

classes were semi-understandable and our main class was canceled for tomorrow, though i should still go in for math (where today, we talked about grammar... as it should be).  at home i made a cream of a lot of vegetables soup, which turned out to be more like coarsely pureed vegetables with a soup-like consistency.  oh well.  henry seemed to go for it.  i tried putting him to bed on the early end of his normal tonight because he took a 35 minute ( = very short) nap today, but i might as well have served him a cup of coffee with his dinner because it was well over an hour before he finally fell asleep.  william, however, went right to bed with greg, claiming he too felt kind of sick.  he does have a cough.  tis the season!

now greg is up, too uncomfortable to sleep.

it will pass.  just like this cold weather.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

more apple juice!

a night that didn't go as slumberly as we had hoped.  we were up sometime before two changing pajamas, a baby sheet, putting in a new load of laundry, arranging towels on bed number three (ours), where he did, at some point, once, maybe twice, throw up again, but which, fortunately, we had our ears tuned to, so we were not caught off guard.  at some point, mid-morning, the kitchen rug and my leg were both hit, but then it ended.  he took a long nap, and other than a mostly absent appetite at dinner, seems to be doing better.  he was never too sluggish, never feverish, and so far, has not seemed to pass anything on to any of us, so maybe it was all the combinations of food from yesterday.  when we were theorizing about it late last night, greg reminded me that he'd also been snacking on raw onions as the pizzas were being made.  that probably didn't help matters.  

but finally, the last load of laundry is in the dryer.  everyone is asleep but me.  and i am nearly there myself.  a couple pictures from dinner, and then goodnight... 

 when you're sick you get juice and a straw...

and if your brother gets juice, chances are you're going to convince your parents to give you some too... 


Saturday, January 19, 2013


okay.  a short post.  william and henry had a good sledding adventure with one of william's friends today.  we had our american neighbors over for a (homemade) pizza dinner, and homemade kettle corn from them, and homemade burnt chocolate chip cookies from me.  and then, trying to get henry to bed, laying down with him in william's bed, when suddenly he throws up everywhere and it is nearly ten o'clock and we are changing sheets and stuffing pillows and pajamas into the washing machine and giving henry a bath and re-brushing his teeth and william is helping himself to cartoons on the computer and i am trying not to mind about the fact that much of our post eight p.m. friday and saturday nights have been unexpectedly comprised of getting our kids to sleep unusually late.  well, well.  no problem.  we're hoping henry just ate too many cookies.  but anyway, it's 11 now.  time to go to sleep. goodnight! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Post title

today was a flashback to graduate school, and I spent the afternoon in the basement tightening bolts. fortunately, I earned my PhD in righty tighty, lefty loosey, and I was well prepared.  knowing that I am now a 'scientist', I felt that I needed to show off what I learned at UW, so I undertook to finger-tighten a screw with my left hand, upside down, blind, behind an 20cm tube.  lucky for me I had a fifty percent chance of turning it the right way, and I got it.

meanwhile Regan and the boys went sledding around the backyard, 

 having more fun than a barrel of monkeys,
 and wearing themselves out for an early bedtime.
with that goal in mind Henry and I went for a ten mile run, hoping that it would ease him to sleep. by about mile eight it did.  sadly, his snores turned to cries when I accidentally laid him into bed on top of his half-asleep brother (how could I have known he was already in bed?). perhaps W is a bit too lumpy.  anyhow, he could not be consoled other than to have Regan hold him, so now they have gone to sleep, and here I am awake and snacking on everything.  

which brings me to this thought: there is something wonderful about marathon training, and that is perpetual hunger.  it really makes you enjoy your food, and cold water never tasted so great. now that the cat is out of the bag, I assume that you will join me in KĂžbenhavn May 19th?  26 miles, and then after a nap you eat a whole pizza and two bags of chips.  this reminds me of something that one of Regan's friends pointed out, which is that being vegetarian is not necessarily healthy -on account of oreos not having any meat in them.  well marathon training, likewise, will not necessarily lower the cholesterol.

ramble ramble


Thursday, January 17, 2013


today was much more sensible in terms of temperature.  the frost clung to the trees, but it gave up its mid-air suspension, also, it seems, its hold on noses and mittens and spider webs (though perhaps i didn't look closely enough to know for sure about that last one.  they did not, however, stand out to me today, like they did yesterday).  

from inside the house this morning.  already the day was clearer... 

greg and i both deemed the morning 'picturesque,' taking our own photos capturing the snow-covered landscape.  here are his, taken on his run to work...

and mine, after dropping the guys off at school...

 and in the afternoon, when we came home, henry and i did some sledding in the backyard...

i pulled him...

and then he pulled me... kind of.

later they all acted like monkeys...

what a wonderful thursday, winter and all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ice frogs

remember that time i posted about how crazy the fireworks were, and then the next night they were even crazier?  well, what was i saying yesterday about the weather?

whatever it was like yesterday, i might as well have been talking about some tropical island.  yesterday wasn't cold.  today was cold.  (though i just watched a clip about siberia.  now that is cold!)

negative seventeen celsius, which only sounds slightly better when told in fahrenheit... just over a degree.  a single degree above zero.  as i wrote to someone in an email today, it felt like stepping into a walk-in freezer going outside this morning.  my mittens had frost on them halfway into the trip to the guys' school, or at least that's when i noticed it.  greg said he had frost on his nose on the way to work.  and the spiderwebs hanging from our carport definitely did.

generally, a frost, disguised as fog, hung in the air all day long.  it dawned on me at some point that this fog must be ice fog.  something i'd never seen before but only heard about in a book entitled 'going to extremes' (of all things)... a book about alaska, not temperate denmark.

the fog (also known as 'ice crystals suspended in air') before leaving the house this morning...

the fog when picking up the guys this afternoon... 

but given this lingering fog, you can rightly imagine there was not much wind, which is maybe why it felt like walking into a freezer.  and when you have all your proper winter gear on, it's not actually so bad.  it's the wind and flimsy jackets, no hats, and tennis shoes that make all the difference.  and all you (northern) midwesterners know this already.  this is your kind of winter weather after all (minus the ice fog), which can probably be blamed on the fact that we are living on a (not tropical) island.  william's class had a sledding day today.

so now let's quickly move beyond the weather before i call it a night.  it's so hard to get a clear photo of henry because he moves too quickly, but here's one where i caught him this morning at breakfast, actually posing for the camera in his moose pajamas...

and tonight before dinner, two guys playing together on the largest train tracks this house has seen in a long time, i imagine...

now it's time for a warm bed!  goodnight! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


winter is back in denmark, and it's apparently here to stay through february.  when i took these, it was negative seven (just under 20 degrees fahrenheit)...

that i was maybe misled by all the fact books telling me denmark's winters are mild (like, in comparison to the midwest's winters), is okay.  whatever it is like... even if this is just the beginning, there really are only a couple more months of it until we hit what will feel like perpetual early spring (if last year's february through june is any kind of bellwether).  

a couple cute pictures greg and william took from the nightly toothbrush race (which william, somehow, always manages to win)... 

it's only 8:37.  i'm going to get into bed and read my book (for once!)!  goodnight! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

our day

a bike ride to pick up the guys following an awkward classroom discussion (best case scenario, chalk it up to cultural differences, where i was on the (culturally) shocked end of it), to a little henry who fought, as he so often does, getting into the burley (no amount of turning my back bike light on and off could appease his desire to not sit down), to the grocery store with william hanging on to the side of the cart (which i think he's allowed to do here, though he does tend to bump into people the slightest bit with his helmet when he wears it into the store), back out to the burley and another struggle for autonomy from little henry, who is always on the losing end of such battles at his young age, and i'm always on the feeling guilty end that i so often cannot disarm him peacefully but eventually use the fact that i'm bigger than him to simply buckle his struggling self in, and pulling my backpack out of the back of the burley to wear it home so as to minimize the time he sits unhappily fastened after we've come to a stop in the driveway, and the shift in weight dumping my bike over and all the milks and mittens the boys refuse to wear in this below freezing climate spill onto the ground, and it's beginning to feel like one of those kinds of days when pulling into the driveway we find waiting for us, a package from back home and it lifts all our spirits and it is filled with food (and so much more) and i don't know how they did it because i swore you could not send food to this country from that one, but somehow they did!

william with very first (?) pez dispenser... 'do i eat the polar bear, mama?'  and later, as he's filling it full of candy: 'i once had a (pauses) Z.E.P. shooter." 

henry attacked the pirate's booty for awhile...

and a new calendar to replace the old, and peanut butter (have i given that impression?) and chocolate chips, which do not seem to exist here...

and space ships...

and beautiful cards...

and colorful paintings...

and clever prose...

just to name a few... 

thank you, thank you neighbors!  you made our day.