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Mom's Danish Adventure

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

 Mom came to Denmark!!
  This Christmas, Mom came to visit for her first European adventure! 'twas quite a quick trip with her coming from December 15-19, but we squeezed in a lot in this time. And here's how it went! ...
Day 1
  At Mom's arrival early Saturday morning, Claus and I picked her up at the airport, stopping at the bakery to pick up the necessary Danish treats for her to try. These special breakfasts are always the best. Bread, honey, coffee... Yum. So we had a nice breakfast with the family before starting off on our site seeing. 
  First we went to see the Little Mermaid, got a little "lost" but that just allowed for more site seeing. Luckily, the snow at least stayed for the first day before melting away and being a bit gross for the rest of her trip. From the little mermaid, we walked to Nyhavn... A much longer walk than I remembered, and showed mom the infamous Copenhagen postcard scene. It was decorated really pretty for Christmas too and had some Carolers around. We grabbed a Fransk hotdog for a quick bite before heading to meet Maria at Christiania to check out the Christmas market. On the way in, we stopped in to check out Church of Our Savior, to find that they were having lessons and carols in a couple hours. So we went to Christiania for a little bit but the big market had a crazy big line that we didn't want to wait in. So we went on to the church for a beautiful service of Danish Christmas songs. We tried to sing along the best we could! This was probably my favorite part of the trip. I'd been missing the lessons and carols at Christ the King so this satisfied that a little! 
  After this lovely service, we went back to Nyhavn and had a super good meal at somewhere we can't remember the name of. Haha
My beautiful mama at Christiania,  the bus stop, some pretty church, and  some canal that's not Nyhavn.
Here's at Nyhavn... 

Day 2
  The next day, we went to a traditional church service at the family's church, where Christopher sang in a little thing honoring Saint Lucia. The kids in his class all came in with the girl in front wearing a candle head piece, and sang songs for this saint. After the service, we had æbleskivers, glögg, similar to the Swiss gluwein or mulled wine, and coffee, sang around the Christmas tree, and Santa came! Was pretty cool seeing these traditions. 
  After church, we went in to the city for some shopping and checking out the Royal Copenhagen shop. I also took her to Charlie Scott's! Charlie made us some delicious Irish coffee and we talked a lot. Well Charlie talked a lot! She, of course, did her motherly duties of telling my bartenders to look after me and keep her updated. 
Outside Virum Kirke! (Virum Church)
At Charlie's 
We had a lot of coffee, cakes, muffins, and flødeboller while she was here! Therefore, lots of cafe pictures! Haha
Day 3
  On Monday, we went to Tivoli to see their much talked about Christmas decorations. It was not a disappointment. We just walked around here, enjoyed the lights, shopped a little, and had a super ridiculously good, fattening waffle/ice cream delight... Chocolate covered waffle with coconut and ice cream on top. Insane. Then continued the eating theme and took her to my favorite Thai place. A Thai place in Ocala had become a mother-daughter tradition so I thought I'd continue in Copenhagen! 

  On one of the days, I gave her an introductory course to the bike culture and we cycled to Virum station. We had a really good laugh at a near fall that I almost got on camera! This was right before the crash!
Day 4
  On our last full day, we dubbed it our "royal day," with plans to tour the Rosenborg Slot and have afternoon tea at a very popular place in the city. Although the tea didn't work out since it's popularity prevented us from getting seats, the castle was a huge success. We really enjoyed everything in here, especially the queen's jewels. Instead of tea, we took a different route and had another Fransk hotdog instead. We did have some coffee and treats at Emmery's though, another great bakery, and got to see my favorite street performers, Concrete Orchestra! Love those guys. 
  We also tried to find the Royal Library but didn't have much luck there. So we just headed home and worked on Christmas presents, FaceTimed with friends and family, and cuddled in our Christmas pjs! :)
  On the last day, Mom was flying out at 12pm so we didn't have time to do much that day. I just took her to the airport and had some (MORE!) coffee before she had to catch her flight. It was soo nice having Mom come for Christmas. It had been the longest we'd gone without seeing each other so it was awesome she got to come, have her first European adventure, and spend Christmas with me. I told her it wouldn't have felt much like Christmas without some family time. We had lots of laughs, traditions, walking, firsts, food, and coffee! 
I had such a great time with my mama. 
Can't wait for the next visit with Mom and Dad (and whoever else comes along!) 
Vi ses, Mor!
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Something about December

Monday, December 10, 2012

   There really is  something about December that takes you back to so many memories that bring you joy and comfort. During this time, I keep being reminded of so many that I wanted to write down for whoever wants to read, but mainly for me to have forever. (Just in case I have some terrible memory loss, memories just fade, etc.) So here they are in superlative form!  
Most Musical
  Listening to the Amy Grant Christmas cd brought me back to so many great memories. I always loved decorating the tree with this cd playing, listening to dad play Christmas songs on the piano (especially while I was falling asleep in my bed), and playing songs together on the guitar. 
Best Mother-Daughter Tradition
  Another tradition I always looked forward to was Mom, Trudy, Amy and I going to the Nutcracker every year... Getting dressed up in our little Christmas dresses, watching this awesome ballet (I think it rivals the royal production), and going to see my friends backstage afterwards. It was always a treat going with them.
  One of the funniest Christmas memories was the year Mom and Dad pulled a little Christmas prank pretending like Dolly (the best dog ever for those that don't know) saved our Christmas from the Grinch's attempts to steal it (while I was in high school mind you). Was a funny, creative gig they pulled that year. I guess they were feeling the need to shake things up a bit. 
 Best Parties
  Ah, then there were the Christmas parties my parents hosted several years. These parties were amazing! I was in elementary school I think when they did them but they'd decorate the house wonderfully, have tons of delicious food, and so many great guests. It was a pretty impressive ordeal. (Mom, Dad, maybe you should try that again! Could be fun, eh?) 
 Most Beautiful
  This goes to our Christmas in Vail. With the prettiest Christmas village, snow, skiing, fireplaces, and family, this Christmas takes the cake. Was so beautiful. Still think about the pictures I'm missing from my camera I left on the plane. :(
 Most Treasured
  Last Christmas we got to spend it with Grandma Jeanne. For as long as I can remember, we've had the tradition of having our Christmas morning at home, going to Papa and Mimi's for lunch, then to the O'Connells for dinner. This year though, we went to Alabama and am so glad we did. We got to spend it with Grandma Jeanne and Grandpa Bill for the first time, and Stump, Linda, and the kids all came. Was such a good time, and even more memorable that it was our last Christmas with grandma. So grateful we got to make those memories. 

  Other random memory snippets are always having delicious Christmas egg casserole in the morning, driving around to look at Christmas lights, going to Lessons and Carols at church, Amy's Christmas parties, bonfires with the friends, baking lots of cookies, Christmas Eve punch, seeing Scrooge at Amy's church, and so much more. 
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Dancing, Royal Ballets, Snow and Cookies

That beautiful time of the year, with lights, decorations, candles, presents and that awesome Christmas spirit is here! I'm experiencing it in a different way than ever before... It's a dream-like Christmas in Copenhagen with lights all around the city, store windows filled with beautifully decorated displays and of course the snow-covered land. It's beyond beautiful. 
  This snow has just been unreal to me. When it first fell, I kept being surprised when in the corner of my eye I'd catch white stuff covering the ground outside. Cycling around, I felt like I was riding through one of Dad's Christmas villages he always sets up so nicely. Then while cleaning the other day, I kept having to stop and just watch it fall. Listening to Christmas music with this incredible snow falling outside made cleaning so much better. I just love it. Except when the snowflakes attack my eyes while cycling. That can suck.
             The first day it stayed on the ground, we all went outside and sledded around and had some snowball fights. Christopher and my snowball fight was an interesting one that just wound up being me standing completely still while he stood three feet away to throw the snowball at me. He was not happy if I ran or dodged. So, I surrendered and I let him have the snowball fight he wanted. 
  Oh, super fun new memory for the books... The other day while babysitting the little ones, I turned on the Christmas music (despite Christopher's extreme objection at first, preferring the tv) but I pressed on and he eventually caved to join the fun. Clara Louise and I just danced and danced, all around the room. She never wanted me to put her down so I just held her to dance. We waltzed and bounced and spun and swayed to the Christmas music turned hip hop on the radio. It was an interesting transition. 
  Yesterday, Maria and I went to the city in hopes to get some Christmas shopping done before seeing Tornerose (Sleeping Beauty) at the Royal Theater. We didn't exactly get what we came for but we at least came up with our ideas, got coffee and (THREE!) cakes, and I got the sparkly something I wanted for New Years! :) Come five o'clock, we were ready for the ballet to start. It was at the Gamle Scene (the old theater) and was beautiful inside. The costumes and sets were amazing too. Unfortunately though, we were a bit underwhelmed by the ballet performance. I think we were just expecting more from a royal ballet. But, that's certainly not to say it was bad. It was definitely still a good ballet and a great experience. Surely I'll be back to see another ballet there while I'm here. 
  Today we spent the day with Lotte's family having æbleskivers, a very popular Danish Christmas tradition that's little balls similar to pancakes that you dip in powdered sugar and jam. Following this tasty treat, everyone assisted in the cookie making... Which was quite the process involving a crazy attachment to the mixer (similar to the ones you'd squeeze playdough through if anyone remembers those!), where it made the dough come out in long, starlike rows that we cut and shaped like wreaths. They taste and look just like those in the tins with all those shortbread cookies. Then we made some really good coconut cookies as well. 
  It's been so nice getting to experience Christmas in a different country and learn the traditions they know and love. 
Til next time, folks!
But not before checking out these awesome pictures :) 
First snow
Woke up to this view :)
Det Kongelige Teater



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An International Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This Thanksgiving was a first for many things: First away from family, first time hosting, and first spent with friends. It turned out to be a really great night sharing this tradition with this awesome group of people...

The Guests (AKA UN Representatives)
Maria (England)
Thomas (Denmark)
Jen (California)
Ewelina (Poland)
Anne Lise (France)
Charlotte (Denmark)

The Menu
Turkey and dressing (Thanks to Claus)
Sweet potato Casserole
Green bean casserole
Corn casserole
Mashed Potatoes and gravy
Vegetarian turkey (shown below) and homemade ranch dip
Bread and wine (Of course)
Cranberry walnut squares
Strawberry cheese pie
Pumpkin spice cookies
Coconut cake

After stuffing our faces in true Thanksgiving fashion, we did the traditional photo, chilled with some Christmas beer, then headed out to meet Bogdan, an Australian dude if I haven't mentioned him before, and friends for a really fun night. 
Thankful for these amazing friends and a really great Thanksgiving. 
                           Jennifer, Charlotte, Anne-Lise, Ewelina, me, Maria, and Thomas 
The feast!
The vegetarian turkey option

Thanksgiving FaceTime with the fam :)
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We Bought (tickets to) a Zoo

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Copenhagen Zoo

The old elephant house

There were lots of elephants to admire. 
And this one even did a little dance. 

Sibling love at the zoo!

These polar bears were HUUGE. Really cool to watch too.

Always LOVE the chimps. They're so entertaining and human-like. There was a lively bunch too, with some pouncing on others, one kicked another, they kept throwing the lettuce from the top of the cage into the audience... Rowdy bunch. 

I don't think one could be more relaxed...

A knights anole. I want it!!


Friday, November 9, 2012

 Home is where the heart isHome is wherever I'm with you
                 Home is where you are.
 Home is where I wanna be.   Home is inside you

Now for the good news I postponed from the previous post for a combination of organization, suspense, and getting the chance to use another cliche...
  After my travels so far, my original thinking that I would be so likely to stay in Europe have changed a little. As I began to realize during my American road trip, and I think I mentioned in my posts about it, it's really important to me to stay close to my family, especially when I have one of my own. So I started thinking that maybe the best thing would be to go and live abroad and explore until wanting to settle down with a family and all. Now these thoughts have become even more clear. Being so far from home has made me realize just how much I love and miss my family, and how I don't want to miss much more of their lives. 
  It's been interesting too because even in Zurich, where I was totally in love with the city, people, and country, thinking about living there seemed unfitting. I just felt like no matter how awesome the place, I wouldn't have my friends and family close enough to ever make it feel like homeIf only your friends and family could move with you right? 
  What kind of surprised me was the tinge of homesickness for the USA that I strangely felt. I definitely never thought I'd say that. I think again, no matter how amazing, beautiful, or exciting a country, nowhere will feel like home as much as where you were raised. Even just having grown up with the history, the culture, the language gives you so much more connection than I think you could get from a foreign country. Sure, you can take language classes, study the history of the place, and immerse yourself in the culture, but it seems like it would never be the same. (Plus that's a lot of work. Haha) And of course, you could absolutely still find happiness and make a happy home wherever, but it still seems like there'd always be missing something... 

  So, come July, I'll be home at least for Amanda's wedding, hopefully Lindsay's in June, then likely....
Staying in the States!!!
Buut,  of course, you can never know for sure. ;) 

Now for two of my favorite songs about home...
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros- Home 

 Jason Mraz- 93 Million Miles 



Tis the Season

Thursday, November 1, 2012

... For cute clothes. 
It's fall y'all!
And I'm in Denmark, so I get to wear exciting fall outfits with scarves and all! 
If I can remember, I'll share some of the outfits I'm proud of on here.
This could be a nice addition to the blog too for some variety, eh? 
Here's the first I was excited about!

Friday night giddup...

Sunday afternoon attire 

I like this one :)

Terrible quality but you can get the gist...

Goofing around with different options...

The final choice

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Min Fødselsdag

Monday, October 29, 2012

  It's been a while since I've written again but have had a pretty busy couple of weeks. Last week, Claus was out of town from Monday until Thursday so I had a lot more time with the kids which was really nice. That whole week I felt like I was much more of an au pair than I have been; a lot of times I feel my main job is cleaning and don't get as much time with the kids as I expected. But it was so much fun and more fulfilling as well getting to take Christopher to school one day, pick up the two little ones from school another and make breakfast for them with just me, pick up Eva Kirstine from a play date another night... A lot more time with the kids. It's always nice getting Eva Kirstine by myself too, because like I mentioned before, she's usually more standoffish than the others, so when we get to have fun with piggy back rides, playing as ghosts and animals on the way home, making attempts at English and Danish conversation, and just goofing around in general is so nice. She was extra sweet today too. 
  Most of the other festivities I need to catch up on are my birthday festivities. On my actual birthday weekend, I had gotten back from Switzerland on Thursday around 8, at which I got a text from Maria to come out. Soo with backpack and all, I headed straight from the airport to where else buuuut.... Charlie Scott's! Haha we met several people out there and st chilled for a hit until Mischa finally made it out. This was her official last weekend before going back, to South Africa. :(
  We got pretty tired so I headed back a little early... I had a full day of cleaning ahead of me! 
  Since the family was out of town for the weekend, I slept in until 11 before starting my cleaning day... On my birthday. But it wasn't so bad and Lotte took off a couple of the extra tasks for my birthday. So that was nice. I was able to finish around 5 and went over to Rachel's for a bday dinner with her family... Not a planned dinner or anything but it was just nice to have dinner with them. Her kids are absolutely adorable too. Sometimes I feel like they love me more than mine because Clara and Faba are like constantly saying my name, singing to me, wanting to play, or wanting hugs. I think mine are just more reserved... More Danish. Haha they actually do speak less English and don't listen to as much American music as her kids... Maybe that's it. 
  Anyway, we had "burning love" which was just mashed potatoes with bacon, onions, and beets. How could that be filling right? Just like that rice porridge being surprisingly hearty, this filled us all up too. Clara had made me a little heart design and a rock with a heart, glitter and tape... And yes, the tape was part of the art so I couldn't take that off. They were basically constantly singing "happy birthday" to me. 'twas fun hanging out with them and it was soon time to go out. 
  Into the city we went to meet Maria and Jen and try out some new places. So we tried a place called the Rosengården, like that place I ate at in Zürich(!), then the Moose. Both were pretty cool, chill places, with lots of graffiti and foosball at The Moose, and a cozy, local feel at the first.  
  What could possibly be next but Charlie Scott's? So we went there and I think ended the night there. Possibily after trying somewhere else that failed and heading back to our one and only, where we got to play jenga and have super delicious strawberry drinks. We said our last(for now) goodbyes to Mischa that night too. Miss that girl already. 

Our jenga game. And Eugene. 

  This weekend was just full of good times, looking back at it. On Sunday, waking up to a super beautiful day outside, Rachel, Maria, Jen and I all met up at Dyrehaven. After a difficult time finding Jen in this huge park, we finally rode around and got to enjoy the beautiful fall trees and weather until finding a nice little hill to relax. This herd of deer came so close to us at one point. Was pretty cool. We rode on up to the castle too so they all could see, and saw a really cool site. Looking down from the castle, you could see so many people running around, having picnics, flying kites, and taking in the nice weather, and then TONS of deer in the fields afar. I was in disbelief at how many deer there were. Maria and I talked about how it's really an interesting place because it's such nice nature yet there are so many people there that it's almost touristy, but somehow it keeps from reaching that commercial, touristy nonsense. Instead of humans coming in and taking over, it's just humans coming in and enjoying the nature as it it. 

The herd movin on in. 

The view from the castle. All those specs in the back... Yeah those are deer. Riding along side of the field was crazy looking over and seeing a field just filled with deer.

  After a while of discussing how excited we were about Thai food, and concluding that we were not in Sweden, Rachel, Maria and I were off to fulfill our need for Thai. Maria and I said how we'd decided about this Thai food place right when we woke up. Haha This place was not a disappointment. Mom and Dad, I'm definitely taking you here when you come. It may have Ayuttaya beat! :O 
  The four of us discussed a possible outing to the meat packing district, (which we will call MPD from now on to make life easier), but when Rachel, Maria, and I got back to my house we were too content on our "fat boy," with our ridiculously good hot chocolate, blankets, ice cream, and BLOCKBUSTER movie to go out... Or even to move to Rachel's when we found the DVD player was missing. Haha so we just found a silly Hugh Grant movie on tv and eventually passed out. What a nice, relaxing day! 
  Now, onto this weekend where the birthday festivities continued. This weekend was time for my family's celebrations. So on Saturday morning, after actually turning in early from a still crazy Friday night, I was woken up by Eva Kirstine and Clara Louise singing happy birthday to me. I went upstairs to find the traditional birthday rolls, cake, Danish flags, along with some American ones, and presents too! For some reason I didn't really expect the whole bit but I got it! So we had our nice breakfast and opened presents before Claus and Eva Kirstine had to go to a cooking class. They got me really nice running gear for the cold weather! Definitely something I needed. 
  In the afternoon, Lotte, the kids and I helped make the traditional lagkage, or layered cake, which could be described as layersnof angel food cake with peaches and bananas (our choice), a vanilla type cream, and chocolate on top. This!: 
And it was delicious

 As most of you Facebookers have seen, we got our first hail this day too. 
And for all you mysterious, non Facebookers that are reading my blog:

Maria and Rachel came,over to join for afternoon rolls, cake and coffee. We went down to my room to watch a movie, but once again, cuddled up on our Fat Boy with blankets and a movie, it quickly turned into nap time. I made our dinner for the night and made my favorite brown sugar, balsamic glazed pork tenderloin (http://www.candcmarriagefactory.com/2011/01/brown-sugar-and-balsamic-glazed-pork.html) halfway in the crockpot until I think it was fried from the wrong converter, roasted garlic zucchini (http://www.thegingeredwhisk.blogspot.dk/2012/06/garlic-roasted-zucchini.html), boiled potatoes and salad. Was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. 
  It was such a good day and I'm so thankful for all they did for me. It felt really nice to be given the full Danish birthday treatment! 
  That night, we attempted to go to a house warming party, but got all the way out there and considered going back right when we got off the train we were so tired. We got ourselves to at least stop in for a bit though. After meeting some people I'd already met a couple times, Ewelina doing funny dances in an apron towel, some delicious homemade pizza that was still necessary even after a day of eating, and barely being able to stay awake, Rachel and I finally bit the bullet (?) and called it a super early night and headed home. So early that it confused Lotte and made her think it was another break in or something. 
  It's nights like those when a bed, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks are all I want. 
  Now here we are today... An ordinary Monday. But some fun fall festivities are in store with Rachel that I'm excited about. And for Halloween, since the kids are missing it for swimming, I'm going to make them these treats if all goes as planned! (Rice krispies)

Oh, Pinterest. 

 Farvel for nu! 
"Bye for now."

Oh! Here's a picture of the beautiful scenery I'm blessed with on my run! :)
Is that a picturesque fall or what? Loove autumn here



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