No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

24 December, 2012

14 December, 2012


Winter arrived in Copenhagen about two weeks ago and doesn't show any signs of departing. A huge snow storm visited last weekend and has left us with slush and muck all over the streets. It's been consistently below freezing each day as the dark settles in. The sun isn't coming up until around 8:30 and leaves us too early at 3:30.

One of the perks of working in Denmark is paid child care days. Every worker is given two days per year, per child, to spend with them as they wish. These days are different than child sick days--if your child is sick, you just get to leave, no strings attached. James took his 4 child days this week. The cold weather kept us mostly indoors, but we did attempt a trip to Tivoli that turned out to be fairly miserable. Woody was just too cold. The only smile we got out of him was when he got to eat æbleskiver (a Danish Jul treat that are sort of like pancake balls) and watch an electric train go around. The rest of James's break was spent indoors playing with trains, playdough, Legos and watching Bob the Builder. I also hosted a little Christmas party for my mothers group, which is where the first decent picture of me and Xavier came from since he was born.

30 November, 2012

So deliciously fat!

Growing faster than his big brother did, Xavier is already into many six month clothes at just 11 weeks old. We sure love his sly little grin.

18 November, 2012

Urban mini-van

We got a new bike!  The logistics of transporting two kids in the city, and our love of all things bike-related, meant it was time for us to upgrade to a beloved Danish cargo bike. 

We bought a Nihola, the most popular in Copenhagen, because it turns easily and is a comfortable ride. Something like 30% of all families with two or more children in Copenhagen own a Nihola.  We aren't alone on the streets. They may look massive and impractical to someone not from Denmark, but here they fit seamlessly into the flow of traffic in the cycle tracks.  The 7 gears and free-wheel make it easy to ride despite the strong Danish wind.

The included seat can hold two kids probably up to age 12 or so, although, adults can scrunch in too.  Woody sits comfortably on the seat and I put Xavier in a cushy bassinet in the bottom.  

A weeks worth of groceries is much easier to pick up now that I don't have to balance bags on my handle bars.

It can even carry our Craigslist purchases.  This is Xavier's new crib we bought from someone in the neighborhood.  So easy!

Felix loves the bike.  The hood keeps the cold and wind out and he can happily munch a snack while watching the world go by. 

16 November, 2012

This little boy

Twenty-one months old! Almost two?! Unfathomable.

This little boy is charming. 
He delights us with his wit and sense of humor everyday.  He also gets our humor, letting out big belly laughs when things aren't the way they are supposed to be.

This little boy is all boy. 
He loves trains, planes, trucks and tractors.  If it moves, digs or makes noise, he thinks it's the bees knees.  Puddles? Yes. Tools? For sure.  In his world, there is no time for clean clothes and wiping faces.  He wants to move and shake until he is too tired to go on.

This little boy is sweet. 
He blows kisses and gives the best hugs.  He likes to be cuddled to sleep and say good morning to us first thing. 

 This little boy is social.
He loves playdates and his nursery school.  Even though he is entering the "mine" stage of toddlerhood, he is gentle and willing to let others play with his things.  He lights up when other kids are around at the playground. He watches and learns from the older kids, which is probably why he speaks as much Danish as English.

 This little boy wants to be a big boy.
He watches what others do with great focus, and then mimics their actions.  He wants to cook in the kitchen, fix the bike with Dad and put on his own shoes.  

This little boy is at home outside.
The sand, the trees, the dirt, the hills...this is where he longs to be.  When he is outside there are no temper tantrums and "no"s.  He is free and wild, just like he wants. 

This little boy is messy.
He can turn a clean house into a hovel in 30 minutes.  Despite his ability to accurately cap a pen or turn a screw with a screwdriver, he can't manage to get the food only in his mouth and not on the floor or himself.  Digging through cupboards, boxes and baskets is his idea of a good time.  

This little boy loves his brother ferociously.
He treats Xavier as the best gift he has ever received. 

Around the house

We are slowly, slowly coming out of our self-imposed house arrest as we adjust to life with two little ones.  Here are just a few pictures of what we've been doing the last two months.

I finished my big cowl neck scarf while breastfeeding...lots of hours logged!

This little guy gets plumper and plumper everyday.

It's flyverdragt (snowsuit) season again in Denmark.  Even though there is no snow, every kiddo wears one of these until the sun returns in June.  This is a too-big hand-me-down from a friend and you can just feel Felix's excitement for it.

Woody's first pumpkin experience was a hit.  He didn't want to touch the slimy seeds, but was very curious about how I cut it.  We placed it outside our door with a candle and every morning and every evening he would check to see if it was there and wave hello to it. 

I had great intentions of dressing both boys up as gnomes for Halloween, but it turns out toddlers aren't so complacent when it comes to costumes.  My mother's group had a Halloween get together, so I did manage to get this little one into his costume.  I knit the little hats and Woody still loves to wear his.  

Arne and Carlos

The blogger app for the ipad doesn't let me edit photos and text the way I like, so I have to upload photos but then switch to my laptop, which explains why there are random posts with no explanation.  I don't find much time to sit and write these days. 

Last year, my friend, Azusa, helped me knit Woody's Halloween Yoda hat.  She taught me some basic things and I've been learning ever since.  Knitting is quintessential Scandinavia.  Little girls learn at a young age and seemingly everyone I know has had some experience with this craft.  I guess the long hours of dark and cold in this northern region and the need for warm woolen garments pair nicely with knitting.  
A few weeks ago, some friends and I attended a knitting workshop at the Louisiania Museum hosted by Arne & Carlos.  These two are something of cult fame in Scandinavia.  They are a Swedish and Norwegian couple who are former knitwear fashion designers (sounds a bit like an oxymoron, no?) and have made their name in the knitting world with the creation of their Christmas balls (julekugler).  

The julekugler became famous after Arne & Carlos were commissioned by Comme des Garcons to create their winter window decorations in Tokyo. 

 They are kind and funny, which you can see in this video, and I suppose it is what has endeared them to people the world over. They live on a farm in Norway and travel around telling the story of their company and just knitting with people who come to meet them. 

They have also written a book based on their doll creations.  Can you see their likeness in yarn?

These are so cute.  I'd like to make one in the likeness of each of the boys.  I picture striped t-shirts, wild blonde hair, pants with holes in the knees and a jam-stained face for Woody's doll. 

They are currently on their way to do a book tour in the US and will be visiting Portland in February.  Even if you don't knit, they are really fun people to meet.  And you'll be able to understand their workshop in English better than I did in Danish.

24 October, 2012

Flensburg, Germany

A while back, before Xavier joined the family, we booked a trip to Flensburg, Germany for 5 days.  A German friend recommended it as a cozy village where we would be able to get into the woods and enjoy the harbor.  It was a little bit of those things, but mostly we learned that we no longer want to travel.... 
Flensburg is just 7 kilometers from the Danish border, nestled on a fjord in the Baltic Sea.  It was scenic and quiet, but a newborn and a sick toddler made it difficult to fully enjoy the peace.  Woody battled a nasty ear infection the whole time we were there and none of us got any sleep. 
The highlight of the trip was definitely a reunion with our friends, Emi and Andre.  It had been 2 years since we saw them last (in Hawaii!) and they were a bit surprised at how our family has grown in that time. We became friends in Japan and have kept in touch since they moved to Munster, Germany around the same time we left for Denmark.  We had tapas at a Spanish restaurant and huge plates of schnitzel with them at a local brewery. 

James brought back this local treat from a fish market one day.  Pickled herring, skin and all, with too many onions.  

Woody had some happy times during the day, but mostly we spent a lot of time in the apartment to help him recover.  But that wasn't relaxing for any of us, since we had to constantly prevent him from destroying the furnishings.  Seriously, this guy can take a place from clean to disaster in 6 seconds flat.  
Xavier was a peach the whole trip.  He's growing so quickly.

And finally, back home, just after visiting the doctor and getting medicine for his ear infection.  

We were so so tired after this trip that we swore we would never do it again. We could probably tell at least 10 more stories of woe from this trip (complete with flooding apartments and severely overcrowded trains), but I'd rather not recall the was that exhausting.  I'm sure we will travel again in the future, especially if we continue to live in cold, dreary Denmark, but I just hope it isn't with a sick child and in a place that isn't so kid friendly. 

03 October, 2012

These days...

Two weeks down with two under two by myself.  Phew...this is hard.  Each day is a blur of logistics, making sure both kids are safe, fed, slept and played.  That usually means keeping Xavier in the playpen where he can't be reached by his brother's loving (?) hands and Woody entertained so that he won't throw books and lego into the playpen.  Man oh man.  
Xavier is now an official US citizen!  Cutest passport photo ever?

Two cute boys asleep on me.  Everything else can wait when this happens.

X modeling the sweater I knit for him this summer. 

It's amazing how quickly this scowl can turn into.... and utter meltdown.  In the rain, on the street, in the bike, at nursery...toddler tantrums know no boundary.  Woody has become a full-fledged toddler, complete with messy hands, loving hugs and a permanent runny nose.  

We try to keep him as busy as possible.  He sure loves "dack-dors"!

06 September, 2012


Summer is slowly beginning to fade and the days of running around in just a diaper are sadly coming to an end.  There are leaves on the ground here and a chill at night has Woody sleeping in his new wool jammies.  

I've been doing lots of cooking and freezing of meals in preparation for the new baby.  Woody loves to help me in the kitchen.  He's an expert stirrer, but not so good at relinquishing control of the food when it's time to put it in the oven.  

Woody got a private skateboard/stroller escort in the bike lane all the way to dinner in Frederiksberg one night.  

 We are still getting out and about a bit, but I'm pretty slow on my feet these days.  Riding my bike is such a more comfortable way of getting around and I love that it's not frowned upon here like it was in Japan.  At 38 weeks, we rode to Norrebro to check out the street food fair with friend, Thyge. 

James and I had a rare quiet brunch at my favorite Cafe Paludan while Woody napped in his stroller.  

At 18 months, this little guy is gaining new words everyday and delighting us with his discoveries and responses.  He is equal parts curious and strong minded, gentle and goofy.  He's about to experience a big change, but so are we all.  

Despite the blonde hair, little Felix is becoming more and more of James's mini-me everyday.

Woody loves watching this video of himself "galloping" on his horsey.

This blog used to be mostly about our travels and adventures, but I feel those days are slowing down, at least for the time being.  It seems to be unabashedly about our kid(s)....I'll try not to overdo it.