Looking back upon a lovely summer and fall

We spent all of June and the first half of July in Denmark. Nathan was busy first with his thesis, and then with his ‘first job’, but despite that busy-ness, we managed to fit quite a few cosy summer family days into the first part of our Danish summer. Those days were spent with friends in Copenhagen and with family in Ejby, where the in-laws helped us take some sweet family photos of the four of us on one of our visits. Bjørn Loui had some relaxing days at day-care (where some of the other kiddos were already on holiday), Sabine and Oakley played in the garden, and Nathan worked. All the while we planned our summer trip to the states, and got our place ready to rent out for the summer.

And what a trip we had! We took off in the middle of July for a month to the Pacific North West, flying in and out of Seattle. The trip was built around Nathan’s mom’s wedding to her college sweetheart, and we went to that beautiful ceremony in the second week of August. Before that however we met Nanna and Kelly in Seattle, ‘tetris’ed Nanna’s car full of our luggage, stroller, baby seats, and running bike (Bjørn Loui), and took off on our own to Oregon for 10 days. We stayed with 4 lovely sets of folks and got to experience Portland, and Oregon’s farmland, from a wonderful set of different perspectives. We also got a sneak-peak of Kelly’s family while we were in Portland, and cherished the open-arm welcome we received. Portland is a beautiful and vibrant city, and it’s full of life, positivity, and enough hipster coolness to keep us on our toes. We could totally go back again, and spend days in the vintage second-hand shops, interspersed with snack-breaks at the multitude of quirky and convenient street-food carts that dotted the city. After Portland, we went on two different farms visits, one a collective with an AirBnb Tipi, and the other the hobby project of two amazing women and their precocious 4-year-old son. The collective had a quiet and hidden little creek running through the bottom corner of its property, and we made sure to spend as much quality time down there as possible. It reminded Nathan of being home in Canada, though it was an extra treat to harvest blackberries, play pirates, and hunt for Crawdads from the comfort of our blown-up queen sized mattress – à la paddle boat. We helped out where we could, and enjoyed the heck out of each of our Oregon stays.

We met Nanna and Kelly again on the Oregon coast, and saw a different, slightly touristy side of Oregon. The beaches were windy, the sights were impressive, the s’mores were messy, and the water balloon fights were epic. We made the most of our quality time with the soon-to-be-wed Nanna and Kelly, and continued our trip up the coast, and across the Olympic Peninsula to the wedding on Whidbey Island. The wedding was a rare, and intense, treat. Nestled among the red and fragrant Arbutus Trees, we spent some wonderful, and full, dayS (re)connecting with family and friends. Nathan got to introduce his mother’s, and father’s relatives to his Danish family, and as a bonus we all got to meet a good deal of Kelly’s Smith clan. Sabine pieced together a more complete picture of the man she loves, and we both came away from this wedding with a greater sense of connection to North America that our family will always have. The ceremony itself was beautiful, and everyone in attendance can rest easy, knowing that the emotion displayed there was authentic and sincere. This nuptial is a bond for life, and we know that Nanna and Kelly will have a golden time of it :)

After the wedding, we took Nathan’s brother David – now in Vietnam, read his blog here: https://thebookofdaveblog.wordpress.com – along for the final part of the trip. The boys crammed as much quality time in as possible, filling the days with cards, water balloon (and raft) fights, and celebratory excuses for Ice cream cake. We stayed at a lake-side cabin that Nanna and Kelly had found, and the whole experience was lovely, though too short, David left for Vietnam a couple days before we flew back to Denmark.

And then it was time to leave, we spent two more days at a kooky retro-fitted train caboose on the sound, and cosied it up with Nanna and Kelly, s’mores, Steak and IPAs, and some Harbour Seals. The trip home went fine, the only real complication being our underestimation of the insane traffic on every possible entrance into Seattle. We’ll miss our family and friends, and we’ll remember the connections and memories we made, but all the same, it’s nice to be home.

Once we got over the hangover of our Jet-lag – Nathan being the quickest (by necessity if not actuality) – we (Sabine) quickly planned Oakley’s Baptism. It was the last baptism seen to by the families Priest. The same pastor that had stood for many of the core church-related events of Sabine’s (and Nathan’s) lives. He over-saw Sabine’s confirmation, our wedding, Bjørn Loui and Oakley’s Baptisms, as well as Simon’s funeral. The ceremony worked to re-tether us to Danish life, and we invited friends and family to our garden and terrace afterwards.

September was a whirlwind, Bjørn Loui went to day-care, Nathan went to work, Sabine went to school, Nathan took paternal leave (kind of) and Sabine stayed home with Oakley (kind of). Nathan finished his summer contract, with the firm he wrote his thesis with, and officially started a 3-month paternal leave in October. He’s since built up a small group of fathers that see each other every Tuesday, and he takes Oakley to baby-father Cross-fit every Thursday, where Oakley is the giggling kettle bell – it’s a hit. The stay-at-home-dad activities vary, but range between sleeping, baking, goofing, and coffee-ing. Various degrees of productivity are tossed in as well, and Nathan has the (perhaps optimistic) idea that he’ll be able to apply for full-time work as well tackle a mini (Ski Jump related) building project. Sabine is excelling at school, having aced her first exams. She is now working on an interesting ‘car-free-neighbourhood’ city planning project, and is balancing the academic and real-world concerns of multiple stakeholders with different goals and ideals – she’ll do great. Sabine has built a study and project group of 4 casual and steadfast classmates, and they look forward to completing the project before Christmas.

In between all of this, Sabine and Bjørn Loui designed a fire-crab costume for Halloween, we took a friend’s kiddo to Tivoli and saw a 400 kilo pumpkin, and we were the lucky recipients of a 3 day visit from Nathan’s Cousin:). Caroline and her two friends stayed with us one sunny weekend in November, and they were a delight! Together with Bjørn Loui, Oakley, and Nathan, they went sightseeing in the city, delighted in street-food at Papirøen, and when the sun went down at 4 experienced early Christmas lights on Strøget. We also shared 3 cosy dinners, and just had a lovely time.

Bjørn Loui is now old enough to have playdates with his friends, (from day-care of the neighbourhood) and we’re making sure to plan every weekend to include one or two. Sabine and I are also inviting friends over whenever possible, and we’ve had some simply wonderful evenings. Bjørn Loui and Nathan go to a gymnastics class every sunday morning, where the focus is on safe tumbling, and as much wild climbing, jumping, and rolling as the wild(er) parents can get away with leading – Nathan being very much included in this of course, together with a neighbour/friend.

We hope you enjoy looking at the highlights of our summer and fall, we’ll see you for one more post this Christmas :)

Summer in DK

 

Summer in the USA – Highlights

 

Baptism

Fall

Another 3 months, 4 trips and 1 thesis hand-in

We cannot believe that Oakley is 5 months today! Time flies and the little sweet one is really not that little anymore.. but still very sweet!

Oakley is now rolling and moving around in circles (flailing-army-crawl-style), and we have just started feeding him mashed veggies at dinnertime. He is still a champ like always, and loves coming along with us to anything. He is a huge fan of his brother, and will giggle at almost any goof show BL is putting on!

These last three months he has joined us on four trips: First on a lovely ski trip with his grandparents to Italy, a day trip to Århus and one to Sofiero in Sweden, and last week a week to the island of Bornholm.

Nathan has managed to hand in his thesis and will be defending it next week. It is quite exciting… and a bit scary… that he is done so soon. After the thesis defence Nathan has been hired to do a series of workshops implementing the thesis results in the cooperating firm – and then we are off to the US for a month and a very exciting wedding on Whidbey Island!

Below are our accumulated photos from the last 3 months. Even though Nathan’s phone broke just after last blog post, we have put together quite an album! We hope you will enjoy!

Italy ski trip

Århus trip

Sofiero Trip to Sweden

Bornholm Trip

6 busy weeks

The last 6 weeks have been busy. We have had a lovely visit from Nanna and Kelly, Nathan has started to catch up on his thesis work and Bjørn Loui is back in Børnehave. The little one is still a champ – He sleeps and eats and talks and smiles, and is just a lovely extension of the family!

Since busy busy.. this post will be short on words – but long in pictures. We hope you enjoy this picture parade of the growth of our tiny baby to a smiley goof :)

Tiny pants

Nanna & Kelly visit

A dangerous spider pirat (Fastelavn)

Growing goof

A new sweet little one has arrived

Our new sweet little one arrived Sunday morning the 22nd of January in a bathtub in our living room. Measuring in at 4,1 kg and 54 cm, and very cute, he finally decided to join the outside world with us – after waiting an extra 12 days…:)

His birth was a completely wonderful goof show. While pursuing a wealth of alternative labour induction techniques, Sabine ended up having a week of oxytocin “high”, and was still getting goofy laugh attacks multiple hours after the midwifes arrival. After giggling her way through half of her opening phase, the oxytocin bubble exploded into an intense couple hours of active labor, heavy duty contractions and lioness like roars. At 5.50 in the morning we both brought up a beautiful baby boy – born in his “sejr skjorte” (amniotic sac, “caul”) – to a great big hug.

It is said that children born in the caul (est. 1:80,000) are bound to lives of luck and destined for greatness. Moreover Danish folklore says that children born on Sundays are gifted, friendly and endeared by others. We are thinking that this little man has an alright starting point for life ;)

 During the birth we were fortunate to have the company of Sabine’s childhood friend Sigrid – dubbed “saftevand sygeplejerske” (juice nurse… doesn’t translate to english so well..) – as well as a super cool midwife who trusted and enabled us to do our thing and have our “own” natural birth.

Below are some pictures from the little sweet one’s first couple of days with family and friends.We will keep you updated in the coming weeks :)

The brand new sweet little one

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Proud brother

2 days old

Crawling, standing, walking and climbing

This fall Bjørn Loui has progressed by leaps and bounds. When we left to Canada in the summer, our little man had just learned how to ‘commando crawl’. He became so good at that goofy little movement that we thought he might never learn how to crawl for real. When we were there we met many Canadian babies that were 4-8 months older than him. They were all walking, and Bjørn Loui became very inspired by them. He spent the summer learning how to lean on and stand up against a variety of different things: From our legs, to tables, chairs, walls, and other babies, Bjørn Loui used these props to stretch his way up and reach for the sky. But after all that, he still didn’t seem to care about crawling, or even sitting for that matter.

Well, when we were in New York with Nathan’s family Bjørn Loui took his first (assisted) steps together with Nathan’s Aunt and mommy Sabine. He was very excited about this, and we thought that he might skip crawling and just go right on to walking.

We came back to Denmark in the start of September, and shortly afterwards Sabine invited her mommy group over for some cookies and cake. Two of the visiting babies could crawl, and Bjørn Loui (after an entire summer of not giving a lick) was VERY interested. We think that he took notes, because over the course of the next week he quickly learned how to crawl for real, abandoning his faithful commando squirm for proper ‘all-fours’ crawling.

Now that he was a crawling baby, he spent the rest of the month, and all of October exploring his world. Crawling gave him more options, and he was able to reach more things. Our little apartment quickly became ‘messified’ as he discovered all the new things that had come into his reach. He also continued to stand up on anything he could, and he began reaching like a periscope for whatever we were silly enough to leave within 5 cm’s of the table edge. Needless to say, he dropped plenty of things on the floor before we fully respected his extended reach and mobility.

So we baby-proofed the apartment, cleared all of our things away from the floor-to-hip level, and in response, Bjørn Loui learned how to climb.

Whoops, we’re getting ahead of ourselves… he actually learned how to walk before he learned how to climb. Yes, when we were together with Sabine’s family for ‘Morten’s Aften’ dinner Bjørn Loui took his first real steps. Nathan had been playing a lot with him this fall, standing him up and letting him stand unassisted for a few seconds before catching him as he fell. Bjørn Loui had started to get quite good at this, and could stand for half a minute sometimes before falling back onto his but. That evening, while the rest of the family was finishing dinner and chatting, Nathan set BL up in the middle of the room, sat down in front of him, and Bjørn Loui walked 6 steps into his daddies’ arms. It was a huge moment, and it was so wonderful that it could happen with the family in attendance.

After that, we tried, and tried again and again to recreate the moment. Bjørn Loui did not disappoint. Though it felt a little bit like cheating, he continued to walk/run the 5-8 steps into our waiting arms. It continued like that for about a week. We encouraged him to walk with his ‘walking wagon’, and he took it upon himself to walk himself with his own stroller. It’s been almost a month since Bjørn Loui took his first giggling steps. He now spends most of the day standing up against the wall, or pushing himself up on our legs, and walking about. He has still not quite figured out how to stand up without a crutch of some kind, but once he’s standing he walks about on his own initiative. He’s also very controlled about the entire process now. He falls over quite a bit, but he is able to set himself down in a controlled manner most of the time.

He has also learned how to crawl up on our chairs. It started two weeks ago. He crawled up, after some spiderman like antics, onto our comfy chair in the living room. At that time the chair was right by our bookcase, and he took it upon himself to push and throw all of daddies books down onto the floor. We moved the chair after that, but he has since continued to climb up, and giggle because he knows it’s naughty.

That about covers it for movement. We have a walking, crawling, and climbing bundle of joy that enraptures us and happily (most of the time) demands our attention.

You can probably tell that we are quite excited by Bjørn Loui’s growth. He’s now 11 months old, and is the average size of a baby 2-3 months older. He’s quite long and is continuing to grow out of his clothes, but we suppose we should get used to that with our genes ;) He also has 4 teeth now, and his fifth and sixth are coming in this week. But you know, Mommy and Daddy are also up some different stuff, and we’ll tell you about it quickly.

After Canada we visited Simon’s friend Bjørn in New York City. We spent the night hanging out with Bjørn and his girlfriend Marcella on their rooftop terrace, and spent the day walking around Grand Central Park with Maïa. It was nice to see them, like a little piece of Denmark in the bustle of NY. After one day with them we took a train upstate and visited Nathan’s Dad’s family. We stayed with Nathan’s Aunt Anne and Uncle Kirk. We got to introduce Bjørn Loui to Nathan’s cousins Caroline and Maryellen, and Aunt Mary and Uncle Ben. We spent four days with them at the end of our trip and it was wonderful to see them, watch them play with Bjørn Loui, hear stories about Nathan’s dad, relax in their pool, and (for Sabine) ride their horses. The entire family was very flexible around our Bjørn Loui routines and it made it easy for us to relax in between our travel days. Our little man enjoyed himself with daddies’ family and we look forward to seeing them again. Maybe the girls will come visit us next summer?!

After our New York days we flew back to Denmark. Bjørn Loui was mostly good on the flight home, though the first 10 minutes were not our most favourite of our lives….:( The fall in Copenhagen centered on trying to build better Bjørn Loui routines. We’ve struggled a little bit with getting him to eat well. Some weeks have worked better than others, and we’ve found that he loves potato soup, lasagne, and… breastfeeding. He also enjoys throwing his food on the ground, and drinking from our glasses. He is getting better though, and he’s still growing like crazy, so we’re sure that we’ll get more food inside him soon enough. He loves eating food like berries by himself, so we hope that will eventually translate to eating more real meals :)

We went to France at the end of September for Simon’s birthday, and though it was a vacation with a lot of grief, we had some very relaxing and joyful moments with our little ‘guldklump’. We travelled together with Simon’s best friend Michael, his sister and Sabine’s family. Maïa met us at her parents place in Provence. We cozied with these friends and family in a beautiful setting with good food. After we visited the site where Simon passed, we drove with Sabine’s family to a winery outside of Callas. We spent 5 days at the vineyard and it gave the family an opportunity to grieve, and also to see Bjørn Loui at his best and… not so best. Nathan took on a lot of Daddy duty so as to give Sabine time with her family, and the two of them spent a lot of time strolling among the vineyards and forest. Bjørn Loui decided during this trip that he abhorred his thus far trusty hammock, instead falling asleep chiefly on Daddies’ chest in the carrier. Nathan loved this, and enjoyed the opportunity to walk BL to sleep amongst the local wilderness.

Back in Copenhagen, Sabine has once again started studying, and Nathan has started his ‘paternity leave’ in earnest. It’s been hard for Sabine to cut down on her mommy hours, but it’s been fun for her to start reading the tourism literature again. She is part of a very interesting program, and now is as good a time as any to get re-acquainted with the subject. Since coming back we have also had a couple of cozy get-aways to Ejby Strand and to Aunt Trine’s summerhouse with the girls.

Nathan hangs out with Bjørn Loui during the day. On Monday they go to ‘fars legestue’ in Nørrebro. It’s a very relaxed and fun collection of other dads and their babies. They meet every Monday that works for them, and it gives the babies the opportunity to play with other babies, and the dad’s the opportunity to see other styles of parenting and make some daddy friends.

On Tuesday Nathan and Bjørn Loui go to a fitness class for dads and babies, which is a lot of fun.

On Wednesday we get to tag out and pass Bjørn Loui off to his Bedstemor for the day. We’ve enjoyed giving the responsibility for our little munchkin over to someone else in the family, and we think that she has enjoyed our trust as well :)

On Thursdays through the weekend we make dates to hang out with friends, as well as other mommies and daddies. It is mostly Bjørn Loui and Daddy time, but Sabine can’t hold back some days and jumps back into mommy-town with a big smile.

Please write/call Nathan if you want to hang out on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Bjørn Loui is awake in the middle of the day from 12 – 15:30, so that is the prime time for a baby/daddy date ;)

The last part of our trip

France

Home sweet home

Oh Canada

Our journey to Daddy’s hometown took 5 days, as we wanted to have lay-over-days in between flights where we could acclimatize ourselves to the local time zones. Bjørn Loui was, without a doubt, an incredible traveller. He did not whine on the planes, and was even-tempered when we were running around airports and going through security. He continued to be super interested in everything around him, and except for our initial disappointment with SAS’s lack of bassinets, the trip went very smoothly. We arrived in Daddy’s hometown, Rossland, on July 20th after two long plane rides, a train ride through the Rocky Mountains and a 6-turned-12 hour drive. The only thing we had not counted on was that Bjørn Loui really dislikes car seats.

The summer has run a very relaxed course. We did go to our favourite Slocan lake for a few days, but other than that our adventures have been limited to what we could fit into the – now longer – awake cycles of our beautiful little one. Bjørn Loui has tapered his napping down to only twice a day, which is crazy, considering that we had him on 4 when we first set out from Copenhagen in mid July. He now naps once in the mid morning and in the late afternoon. This gives us much more time to embark on small afternoon trips to the lake, hikes up some of the local mountains or huckleberry picking expeditions with Daddy’s family.

Bjørn Loui has met a lot of friendly Rosslanders, and Daddy’s friends and family have also visited. In the photos below you’ll see our little man visiting with Nathan’s Aunt Stefani, first cousins once-removed Janet and Jamie and Jamie’s partner Diana. Actually, for Bjørn Loui that would be great-aunt Stef and first cousin twice-removed Janet and Jamie ;)

And he has grown, if not in size then in ambition, skill, smiles, and goofiness. He is quite the scamp actually, treating bedtime like playtime. He likes to wake up mommy and daddy with kisses, giggles, and fingers in mouths, eyes and noses. From the first moment of wakefulness Bjørn Loui motors about on a mission. Not a mission with any particular goal beyond exploration of course, but a mission none the less. He smiles when he discovers new things, and is constantly voicing his opinion on the world around him. Sometimes he sighs, giggles, or gives blah-ba-di-bla bla speeches. Other times he grunts with exertion as he tries to climb something, or murmurs ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma when he wants our loving attention.

Bjørn Loui could ‘crawl’ like a commando before we came to Canada, and over the last 6 weeks he has also learned to rock back and forth on his hands and knees, crawl over a variety of different obstacles and has even recently learned how to stand. Besides moving and standing Bjørn Loui is becoming quite a fan of books. His favorite book is called “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see”. Every time he sees it his sweet eyes lights up, and he gets so excited :) He is also now eating three meals a day, and has graduated from finely blended oatmeal, mashed potato and other porridges to eating and enjoying whole peas, clumpier mashed vegatables, tuna fish, scrambled eggs, beans, berries, and fruit of all different sorts. This advancement at meal time has been very exciting for all of us, and most of it has really only happened in the last week or so. He also loves drinking water now, on his own, from a real cup. Believe it when we say that there are messy times to come with this little person. While he loves drinking water, he also loves taking the (plastic) glass in his hands and pouring it out on the table/himself or throwing/dropping the glass on the floor – and if we let him, he loves thrusting his hands into his food bowl and mixing around half of his treats before getting about a quarter of it into his mouth.

Today was his first experience with whole huckleberries (a wild, vastly superior relative of blueberries), and he loved it!! Nathan and Grandma Apple (a name we are trying out for Nathan’s mom, as she is “Granny Smith” after all) picked two large buckets of huckleberries while Bjørn Loui took his first nap. They arrived home to find Sabine and Bjørn Loui playing in the garden and they set their buckets down within reach of the little bear. After mommy fed him a couple berries he fell in love with them and just had to have more. He thrust his tiny hands into each bucket and put fistful after tiny fistful of huckleberries into his mouth. It was so sweet.

On Friday we are heading towards Denmark. On our journey we will take a pitstop in Calgary for one day, then fly to New York City, whereafter a train ride will take us to upstate New York, where we will visit Nathan’s aunt Ann and her family.. before we finally fly back to Copenhagen on September 4th. We will get back to you with part 2 of our traveling adventures :)

Before leaving for the trip

 

 

The grand journey