Tuesday, March 31, 2015


we have a seven year old, folks!  

the lovable kind who puts up with his little brother, likes to build things and listen to nearly any story you will read him.  

he planned out this day with his dad yesterday.

a six a.m. wake up (though in reality we were all up at seven).  french toast for breakfast.

we borrowed a car.  if the weather was nice, we would drive to his favorite place in denmark: stevns klint. but it was like this, from morning to present (9:07 p.m.)...
what you're not seeing in this picture is the snow that lasted for about an hour this morning and made us decide to go with plan B.

well, first presents.  this had been on the schedule for later in the day but his brother kept suggesting it, kept suggesting it, kept suggesting it.  william was convinced.

and of course he got a little help from henry... 

plan b was to go to the same place we went to for henry's birthday.  basically a big indoor playground.  with sandwiches from the deli counter at the grocery store...

then home to play battleship (a new present) and skype with grandparents.

an earlyish dinner of finger foods...

"everyone smile!"

and then cake...

henry offering us his own cake creation.  cake made from balled up cake.  "who wants the cake i made?"  "um.. just you henry, just you."

doesn't he look a little older today?  

our sweet guy with the big heart.  happy birthday william!

Monday, March 30, 2015


wrapping presents for his big brother's birthday tomorrow.

 today was windy, windy, windy with plenty of clouds. 

but the wind kept moving the clouds out of the way so we were constantly moving in and out of sun and shadows.

child's pose... 

 greg and william went into copenhagen today to buy a bread board for william's birthday.  i imagine something like a cutting board, but it's an electronic gadget.  probably you know more about it than me.

when they got back, we baked a cake... (notice the light and shadows in these next pictures)

after the boys went to bed, i went out for a quick walk before the sun went down (after 8:00 now with the time change).  it was still quite windy.

neighboring co-housing

tomorrow... a seven year old. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

items approved without debate: baby animals, outdoor picnics, and time changes

we awoke to an overcast sky.  then rain.  

as i got ready to head out to the grocery store, the rain stopped.  my phone kept saying it was 8 degrees celsius (or 46 fahrenheit), which i just couldn't believe until i got out there and felt it for myself.  at 9:45 in the morning it was hard to believe it was already that warm.  though it didn't get any warmer during the day, and 46 is where we'll stay all week (and where we've been for who knows how many of the previous weeks... at least approximately.  the 40s seem to suit denmark, to the exclusion of most other temperatures, night or day), but to not have to wait for it to inch its way up was a nice change.  or maybe it's that we first leave the house at 7:30 on weekdays.  adding a couple hours must make a noticeable difference.  except that today it really wasn't a couple hours because in the middle of the night, the time changed. 

on my way to the store-- lambs!  can you see them?  

bear with my middle-of-the-road phone quality zoom for a closer look...

and on my way home... can you see just the smallest speck of white in just about the dead center of the picture?

 well now you really have to suffer my choice in phone cameras.  it's a swan, sitting on her eggs in the nest she, and presumably monsieur swan, have made (though i haven't seen him around on my trips from the store)...

busily eating... too busy to look up for a picture...

speaking of eating, william had a friend over today.  henry insisted on having an outdoor picnic.  it lasted a few minutes after this photo was taken and then a glass bowl broke into many pieces on top of the sandwiches after one of the boys put it onto his head and it slid off.  the price we pay for letting three little boys picnic without proper supervision...
no one was harmed in the breaking of the bowl.
and now that one of our hours has been legally taken from us, i must finish this post so we do not set a precedent of omitting poirot from our post-daylight savings time activities.

2324th Council meeting TRANSPORT Brussels, 20 and 21 December 2000
Directive on summer-time arrangements
The Council, having approved the amendments to the proposal for a Directive on summer-time arrangements which were voted by the European Parliament at first reading, adopted the Directive as amended by the Parliament.
It should be noted that, in view of the expiry of the 8th Directive on summer-time arrangements on 31 December 2001, the Commission submitted in June 2000 a proposal for the adoption by the end of the year of new arrangements from 2002. Summer-time arrangements, which have been maintained over the last twenty years or so, are renewed for an unspecified period and the last Sundays in March and October are the dates definitively adopted. The Commission will oversee the repercussions of the new Directive and will submit a report to the Council after five years. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

tell you all about it

the goal today (my goal) was to keep moving.

cancer treatment can leave you feeling all kinds of tired.

one of the main types of tired i feel happens on days when i don't do much.

another of the main types happens on days when i do a lot.

the former feels like a physical weakness, like i don't have much strength.  maybe how you'd feel the day after the stomach flu.

the latter feels like how you'd feel after a hard workout, a big race, or a day of serious manual labor.

as you can imagine, i prefer the latter to the former.  even though it doesn't take a hard workout or a big race or all that much in the way of manual labor to cause it in my case, it's a much more satisfying feeling of tired than the weak-tired feeling.  so i generally try not to succumb to the lure of cozying up on the couch for too long, because it's not going to feel good.

sometimes accompanying my tired is a very low-level, flu-like feeling, if that makes any sense.  imagine that having full-blown influenza is a 10.  crank that same feeling down to about a 3 or a 4 and that's what i'm talking about.  often that feeling is enough to make me want to just sit on the couch and take things easy, but of course, as i explained above, that doesn't help matters.

a long explanation to say that this morning i was feeling that flu feeling and decided to push through it.  so the tops of kitchen cabinets got wiped down, cabinets reorganized, countertops cleaned off.  i did the yoga i was supposed to do today and the yoga i was supposed to do yesterday.  and now, i'm sitting on the couch with that satisfying worn-out muscle feeling, wishing, yes, that it would take more to wear me out (or-- that i could have a down day without all the energy disappearing, or even, that i could find a good balance), but knowing too, that i'm working at a different pace than i would be in some alternate, non-existent, cancerless world.  as long as i'm moving, i'm not dissatisfied with the state of my energy.

and of course, i'm so happy to be with these guys...

little h...

big w...

and we're (un)officially on easter break.  all four of us.  how good is that?!

tell us all about this flower... if you know... like.. indoor.. outdoor... ??

and a happy 40th birthday to my older brother, who was about this age when i first knew him...

Friday, March 27, 2015

party time

this moment with henry on his way to the dentist (who told us for not the first time they don't fill cavities in baby teeth in denmark, but who i thought was maybe kidding but who was apparently not because she did see the cavernous gap (which we promptly filled with sugar today) in henry's front teeth and still said they don't put fillings in baby teeth in denmark.  so there you have it.  apparently you don't need to fill cavities in baby teeth.  it's just one big dental conspiracy in the u.s.)... anyway, this moment, where we still thought maybe we'd be holding him down in the dentist's chair while they made him increasingly angrier, this moment where we stopped so he could watch the construction... it feels like days ago now... 

even this moment when we were back at home filling 85 easter eggs with candy...

seems like long ago.

w's party.  3 kids cancelled due to illness, which left us with twenty children from his class.  
as simple as it was (popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, carrots, cucumbers, and lemonade) it was certainly pushing our party work limits.

maybe because we had to pick up all the kids from school and try to safely guide them to our house on their bicycles.  i swear greg and i did a head count at least three times after we were all inside, just to make sure none had veered off course without our knowing.  

in denmark, presents always come first at a kid's birthday party

 then cake.  here is william's cake.  made completely of fruit.  courtesy (along with the photo that i stole off facebook) of our amazingly talented friend emily.
because you don't want to know what it would have looked liked had i tried attempting something like this myself.

one of the girls told me, 'the cake was the yummiest part.  not the candy.'  they were all about the fruit cake.  another girl gave such a sad look when greg started to disassemble it and cut the watermelon into pieces.  (how was there even a watermelon in denmark in march?  who knows.)

after cake was the easter egg hunt.  with twenty-some kids it takes only a few minutes to find 85 eggs hidden out amongst the trees on a gray, rainy day.  maybe the bright colors stood out more than usual.  and that was the last planned activity for the day... so it was pretty much free play/survival time for the last hour and fifteen minutes.

and we all seemed to have survived.

greg and i cleaned up the common house and then had emily and family over for dinner-- pizza and salad and, as henry called them, pupcakes (like, really, really good pupcakes) from emily!

and then there were plenty of tears as the boys broke down before finally succumbing to sleep/sugar crash around 9:45.

but tomorrow is a saturday.  the next day is a sunday.  and the next eight days after that are easter vacation.  so... it's all under control.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


i took a couple pictures of my grocery trip today in case all else failed.

but i also had this picture from this morning...

school time 

i went to the store today to get some things for william's party tomorrow.  our friend and former neighbor emily is making the 'cake,' which i'm looking forward to seeing and which i should have pictures of tomorrow so you can see it too.   we ran into each other outside the grocery store-- both buying things for tomorrow's party.  she was on foot.  i was on my bike.

when you only have a basket for a trunk, this is all it takes to be loaded down with groceries...
(looks a little bit like "what the world eats"... )
"what the world buys for a seven year old's birthday party: americans in denmark"

here's what it looks like all packed up...

the plastic easter eggs are in the black bag, which is looped around my seat so it doesn't fall off.  

will we pull off tomorrow's party?  and an early morning visit to the dentist for you-know-who?  i'm interested to know that answer myself.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

chocolate æg

this morning greg got a call from one of henry's teachers.  "i just want to make sure henry looks the same right now as when you dropped him off.  did you know he's missing part of his front teeth?"


i got some things done today in anticipation of friday's party.  (and also did day 4 of 30 days of yoga.)

then i thought about the suitcase we'd dropped off at the mall and that i couldn't leave it there forever, though i'm sure if i did it would probably eventually make its way to a good home.  this is one of those moments when a car would simplify things.  without one, from here it's either a long walk or two bus rides (four round trip) or getting it home with a bike and a burley.  i chose the last option.  i knew too that this afternoon william's after-school program was having an easter party that parents were invited to.  (well, i couldn't exactly decipher if it was for parents so i had to ask another parent.)  i decided around one o'clock to pay more attention to the details of it and realized that if i were to make it to henry's school to hook up the burley, then to the mall to pick up the suitcase, then back to henry's school, then twenty minutes trying to convince him to put on his winter suit, then over to william's school, and boil a couple eggs before leaving home for an egg rolling contest, i had to start moving.

the timing all worked out.  the repaired suitcase was waiting for me.  it fit somewhat in the back of the burley, which was good, because i wasn't sure if henry was going to have ride on top of the suitcase or inside of the suitcase if it hadn't fit in the back.  and it did take us a good twenty minutes to get out of his school after i arrived.  i pulled out the hard boiled eggs to try to lure him with the idea of an easter party but he was only thoroughly disappointed they weren't made of chocolate...

when we finally did arrive, william was out at the fire pit whittling...

which he did most of the party. we missed the troop heading out to a nearby bridge for the egg rolling contest, but that was just as well, as soon there were smores (sans chocolate) for the kids.  henry was only too excited to participate.

and ride on the carts...  

when it was finally time for us to go, william and i went to his cubby to get his things.  "i need to get back out to your brother since he's riding one of those cars around.  i don't want him running in to people."  nothing to worry about.  as we walked back outside henry was roaring past us on a three-seater with a couple of third graders.

a really cold, windy afternoon without the fire at your back.  but might as well spend much of it outside feeling like you've really deserved coming back to a nice, warm house.