Friday, December 17, 2010

8 is grrrrrrreat!




My little Maxwell is now over 8 months, and discovering all kinds of new stuff.
He's a crawling machine! His favorite foods seem to be toasted rugbroed (dark, heavy rye bread) sopping with butter and topped with smoked lox.
He also loves drinking water from a real, big boy cup. None of that sippy-cup stuff for this little dude.
People continue to say he's got Daddy's eyes and my smile. Fine by me! However our cards have played out, he's totally friggin' cute!
No teeth to report yet, but he's got a fever for the first time and that might (or might not) be a sign of things to come...
He does a super-duper High Five to melt your heart and is intrigued by Mama's attempts at playing Patti-Cake with him.
Peek-a-boo makes him giggle, as well as Mama or Daddy making animal sounds or blowing on the palm of his teeny hand.
He's an active one, my boy, and he can get from one side of our living room to the other in no-time flat. He especially loves chewing on our spatula and 'catching' this adorable, hand made ball that was a gift from some of our dear friends, Jannik and Andrea. I swear he gets this look of pride when I roll it onto his lap and he jams his arms around it to secure it.

My little rascal definitely whines and cries to get what he wants-- don't know quite what to do. Each little whimper just tugs so hard at my heart-strings. Also, he's just not a gifted sleeper. Any suggestions are very welcome!


What's new with me, you ask?
Well, as of yesterday, the 16th, I finished my last exam for the semester! Whoo-hoo!
Now, all I have left to crank out is my master's thesis, which I am co-writing with a classmate and very close friend, Possum (well, Steph's her real name--see previous post for her cute mug shot). It will explore a public institution that serves the start up and entrepreneurial crowd in Barcelona and is called Barcelona Activa. Basically, DK is start-up heaven... However, the lasting success rate is not so heavenly. Barcelona Activa's business model has tripled the long-term success rate for start-ups in their area and we want to explore the possibility of applying a similar model here. We'll see how it takes shape...

I have gotten a part-time job with one of those rarer CPH-based success stories. The Anti Sleep Pilot is a very cool new technology that calculates driver fatigue and, thus, helps prevent traffic accidents. You might be surprised, or not, to know that tired drivers are as dangerous as intoxicated ones. My job isn't so glamorous: I'm a proofreader of all English documents-- from the product manual to website content. We were recently featured in the New York Times: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/anti-sleep-pilot/. How's that for pretty darn awesome?

My totally adorable chubby hubby, you want to know about?
He's wonderful! We've joined a gym for the winter. Now, our hot dates are basically when we can get his little sister, Julie, to babysit for an hour or so while we go work out together. Awwww. How romantic.

Early this past summer he ended up getting his friend, Marie, a job at his work. Let me just say, that not only has she won a coveted DK communications award for her work making the national Nature Day a wild success, but she's now shifted departments and sits in Bjarni's office. Those two have so much fun! I'm happy that for my husband, work is not really one of those 'four-letter' words, if you catch my drift.

He's been sneaking some fishing in here and there, and although I know it's been too long since our last visit to the great outdoors and our little church in Sweden, it does help for him to get out and cast his line once in awhile here.

In one week, we will be facing the final countdown for our departure to the US. We'll celebrate Christmas, Danish style, here on the 24th-- with family, roast pork and duck, sauteed red cabbage, a creamy rice pudding with cherry sauce, and singing around the tree. Then, we leave at the crack of dawn to hop a flight to SF on the 25th. If all goes as planned (we do have a layover in Minneapolis), then Christmas also awaits us and our exhausted bodies on the West Coast.

We can't wait. I'm nervous for this long-haul with baby, but with my husband, the rock, at my side I know we'll do just fine.

Happy Holidays, ya'll!

(Our camera has yet to turn up, so you get some very low-res pics off my web-cam...)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

7 up



I know, I know: this post is overdue. Maxwell turned 7 months last Friday.

I do have some good excuses at my disposal, however. For one thing, I have had an awful sinus infection the past 10 days. I'd never had one before and man alive! if they aren't killer. That headache that feels like someone is squeezing my skull like I used to do to my Barbies' heads till I laughed at how ridiculous their narrow faces looked (kinda how that actor, James van Der Beek, from Dawson's Creek looks...). I couldn't even bend forward to spit out toothpaste without wincing. And, then comes the drainage. I will leave out details here, but I'm still recovering.

Secondly, we cannot get Maxwell to sleep well at night. The once sleeping boy-wonder has just not gotten back on track since his first bout of bronchitis back at 4.5 months old. Naturally, he did also pick up a stuffy nose this past week to show his Mama some solidarity.

I have researched, scouring the internet for help, advice, tips, anything. I read parenting expert Elizabeth Pantley's the No Cry Sleep Solution. We have both laid with him for hours while soothing him, offering bottles of water, humming the Itsy Bitsy Spider on repeat. We've simultaneously worked with the little rascal on longer daytime naps. (It seems he's an incurable powernapper.) All to no avail. A few days ago there was one fussy spree in the middle of the night that lasted 2.5 hours.

Enough of the pity-party.



With 18 lbs of pure muscle & chub to work with, Max is getting closer to crawling. He just needs to figure out how to lift his head whilst he lifts his baby butt and he'll be scurrying around like a little Tasmanian Devil. Right now, as soon as the hiney goes up, the head bows down in his version of Downward Dog.

Other new things he does:

In a rather unrefined way, he releases the round ball into its appropriate hole (as long as I hold the shape sorting toy at the right angle).

I can barely strap a diaper on him during changes with all his rolling this way and that.

He's totally intrigued by the mysterious power of on/off switches.

He giggles when you move eyebrows up and down in a "what's cookin', good lookin'?" sort of way.

He sits up unassisted like a champ.

He stuffs his own pacifier in his mouth. (And, takes it out which is so totally annoying when he's trying to fall asleep. We've taken to placing itty bitty gloves over his hands while he sleeps to keep this problem at bay.)

His eyes are still brown toward the center and dark blue around the outside.

He's got his Mama's temper. At least, that's what Daddy says. And, boy does he have a short attention span. Ten minutes with a certain toy is just about his limit.

Other things he especially loves:
Books, Sofie the teething giraffe, his shape sorter, playing peek-a-boo, a singing barnyard toy that Grammy sent all the way from California. He has started to kick with his feet to hit the musical buttons. (Can you say future soccer player?)

Now, I've never been a mother in the US of A, but there are some interesting cultural observations I've made anyway:

My home nurse came to talk to my mother's group (a group of foreign ladies who have babies here in CPH-- from Taiwan, France, Wisconsin, and me) about solid foods and baby nutrition. According to her, I was already behind on starting Maxwell on dairy and meat at 6.5 months. In Denmark, infants start receiving daily doses of both at 6 months! I know that's not what we Americans typically do.

I was also told to start giving him iron drops. We left for Sweden the next day, so I waited to purchase the drops until we made it to the pharmacy over there, and lo and behold. they don't give their babies extra iron unless it's for special reasons as prescribed by the paediatrician. Go figure.

In Denmark, babies often start solids with mashed potatoes and carrots. The French mom in my group was asking me about this because she had done this and when she relayed this information to her mother back in France, she responded with horror, "Oh, no! You don't give potatoes to an infant! Not until she's a year!" Hmmm...

Babies are shuttled outside to sleep here. You take your baby to the backyard in his stroller, make sure he's warm enough and protected from the elements and let him sleep like, what else? a baby. (Well, not like Maxwell the baby sleeps. Ideally, your baby'd nap longer than 20 minutes at a time.)

Not many pictures this time around, at least for the time being. We have misplaced our camera, but hope to find it soon, when we get a little more sleep and stop seeing double...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Cheese Stands Alone



1. wildebeest or gassy baby?

When you are wrangled from sleep at 5 am to the sounds of a fussy baby that you just fed an hour earlier, it's undeniably hard to champion the beauty of motherhood. I had placed him in our bed after a (2nd) feeding at 4 only to wake up with Daddy admonishing the wee one for practicing his crawling dynamics way too early. At some point Maxwell then grabbed a tiny fistful of Mama's locks and yanked away. And a "Top o' the mornin' to you, too, laddie!"

Turns out it was gas.


2. Also, try this conversation on for size:

Imagine an agreeable little family on a walk on an idyllic little forest path when Mama breaks out into song:

"The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell.
High-ho the derry oh, the farmer in the dell..."

Much to her surprise, as her angelic voice drifts off in falsetto at the end of the last stanza, "... high-ho the derry-oh, the cheese stands alone," her ESL husband asks,

"And, why, pray tell, does the cheese stand alone?"

So he didn't use "pray tell", but after careful reflection I drew no conclusion.

Why is the end goal of joyous, circling pre-schoolers to be the cheese who stands alone?

How terribly sad.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

6 is the number!




So, he's 6 months today. What a big boy.

He's rolling like Sonic the Hedgehog (90s reference) and looking so much like his father and bedstefar when they were his age. My little man loves porridge, broccoli, potatoes, pretty ladies (especially blonds), peek-a-boo, his pacifier, dancing, walks, Mama's arms, his stuffed dog and wombat (thanks, Michael and Aunt Possum, respectively!). Dislikes nothing I can think of aside from being frustrated with his mobility limitations when a favorite toy is slightly out of reach. As long as the mood is right, he's quite a jolly babe. Though, my new challenge is reading his very discreet (or, better put: yet to be determined) tired signs because my little rascal goes from cheerful and engaged to overly tired in the blink of an eye. Then, Not-So-Happy-Camper comes to town and Not-So-Happy-Camper is not a very cooperative bundle of joy to be around.

He is also still quite demanding of my attention during the day. To be honest, I must point the finger at myself in this situation; I am fairly certain he is merely accustomed to having had Mama's attention non stop and now that I've got school and another work project to attend to, plus other odds n' ends that I've taken back up (showering during the day, cranking out laundry, eating a proper lunch, painting a bit for my sanity, Skype-ing with friends), he's basically suffering through Mama-withdrawals. Poor little guy, only getting 99% of Mama's undivided attention.

Bjarni is back from a series of business trips and boy are we happy about that. He had a fabulous time out in the forests of one of Italy's national parks, il Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo Lazio e Molise. He stayed in the charming little town of Pescara, a town in which a special (and may I say, totally adorable) breed of dog roams the streets, is loved by all, and has the very important role of watching over the herds of semi-wild horses that inhabit the park and ensuring wolves don't make a meal of them. Indeed, for only 20 Euro/month you too can house your horse there.

Speaking of horses, I am LOVING my weekly lessons. The feeling of being back in the saddle and around horses is indescribable. My skills have vastly improved with just an hour a week over the past month. I am right on my way to being an excellent rider once again.

During Bjarni's international sojourns my in laws took wonderful care of me and the little guy. My father in law even prepared meals for me and brought them ready to reheat and eat! Somehow he knew exactly what I was craving: boller i karry (meatballs in curry, http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1694267-Boller-i-Karry-meatballs-in-curry-sauce-). And, Julie came to relieve me of the spunky spunkmeister so I could take a much needed nap. Thanks, family! Love you.

I am taking two super interesting courses this semester: Socially Responsible Consumer Marketing (SRCM) and Instant Innovation Camp. Discussing consumer behavior, the ethics around the hyper consumerism that precipitated many ills in the world, and how to change the game is thoroughly engaging and highly relevant. Instant Innovation Camp allows me and a heterogeneous group of international students to study the process of sustainable innovation (taking a sustainable new idea and bringing it to market). In both courses, we study what sustainability really means in terms of impact in the world, digging as deep as possible to truly discover, understand, and then take into account how a new product or marketing campaign affects the world. In SRCM, my group and I are researching and writing a paper on the ethics and responsibilities of marketers and their role in manufacturing demand (see the Fiji bottled water case in a nifty, easy to understand video at http://storyofstuff.org/bottledwater/).

For Instant Innovation, my group is working on developing innovative ways in which the Danish government can increase consumption of 'good' products: organic, local, fair trade, while also making consumers more aware, and thus work to decrease their carbon footprint with their purchasing decisions. Again, so cool and I'm so jazzed.

In addition, I'm working for the coolest company, ArtRebels (http://artrebels.com/), on a campaign for the government-run Entrepreneur's Fund. They want to make an online platform/campaign that will inspire more women, international and Danish alike, to become entrepreneurs in the country. Once again, so cool and I'm so jazzed to be working with such a hip, progressive company and on such a neat project.

I'm reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road and it's phenomenal. The way he depicts simple observations and juxtaposes them next to tremendously poetic descriptions makes turning each page thrilling.

The days may becoming shorter, the weather colder, but we're enjoying life and derive lots of pleasure planning our trip to California on Christmas Day.

We're busy, Bjarni's back from his many travels, Maxwell is a charming little booger, and we're all doing well. We only hope this post finds you all well, too.








Pictures: Maxwell chewing on Sophie the fabulous rubber giraffe, a slightly dark one of him noshing, the Italian national park, a special local poochie just lounging around, one of Max with my very good friend Steph (or who I call Aunt Possum, long story), and Max noshing with Daddy. Oh, and of course there's me on Lille Klaus (Little Klaus), a Norwegian Fjord horse at the barn.
You also get a special treat: Maxwell eating one- a banana!
video

Sunday, September 5, 2010

High Five!






Lots of good stuff to report here.

Mama Sarita got back in the saddle, and she doesn't mean the proverbial saddle. Yep, I'm riding again. Once a week, advanced class (uh, oh!) and for an hour each time-- a little overkill after a decade's length absence and a year of being out of shape due to pregnancy and childbirth. Nonetheless, it was exhilarating! I rode a stocky Irish Cobb by the name of Robin and We went out galloping across a forest nearby, through ponds and amongst herds of red deer. Amazing! (Albeit, I was saddle sore ALL over my body in such a severe way I could barely function 36 hours post-lesson. Gotta stick with it, Sarita. It WILL get better.)

Bjarni is back to work after a long vacation. Not easy to back into, but I must say he is enjoying the challenge and learning experiences. He gets to travel tons and though we miss him when he is away, we love to hear about the warm reception he and his project get when he is at meetings and conferences. He's recently been to rural Jutland (the peninsula attached to Germany) and will, in the next few months, head to Italy and Germany.

He's getting back into his 'saddle', as well. Mr. Baller-point-guard is back playing with his old basketball team in Fredericksberg (a small, independent city fully immersed Copenhagen).

Maxwell turns 5 months today! High five, Max! He's fast becoming the world's MOST traveled 0 year old. Sweden, Germany, next to Oxford, and then to the US...

I took Maxwell down to Stuttgart, Germany to visit my old friend from Dixon, Kara Forristall (nee Ball), and her little family. DeAnna took the train in from Munich, where she and her boyfriend had been to a friend's wedding. We had a 3 day adventure of chewing the fat, entertaining the boys (Kara's son, Silas, is too cute, and a 1 year old), and trying to get outta the house for at least a little trip about town. Let's just say, getting two wee boys into their car seats during a downpour whilst carrying, like, 3 diaper bags each and umbrellas to boot was not the easiest of undertakings. Kara is a mother-extraordinaire! I'm not just blowing smoke up her hiney. She does it all with creativity and grace-- an inspiration to me.

DeAnna totally hacked it with us (carrying babies, pushing strollers, changing pooped-out diapers, and even waking up at 3 am with me and a first-time sicky-pooh Max-- he had a little bout of Baby Bronchitis). Way to go, Jannie Love!

Tia D and her boyfriend, Aron, came to visit us in DK after the Germany excursion: after trying to narrow down what few 'touristy' (ick!) things we would do (lazy canal tours, Christiania walk, Carlsberg brewery tour) we ended up doing what we almost always do-- NOTHING! Nothing but quality down time. Talking, laughing, cooking, eating, drinking, and being utterly merry. Total indulgence. The only thing we lacked was our final Charlie's Angels counterpart, Sara, and her boyfriend, Uncle Cheddy.

The visit with Kara and my time with D were way too short. WAY too short. I miss my friends, my sisters so much everyday. I cannot wait until I can once again be foolish enough to take their regular presence in my life a bit for granted.

Maxwell is now beginning on solids. Auntie Kara gave us yummy organic pumpkin and although his little tongue often pushes spoonfuls out again or he blows bubbles with it, he does love it.

Stats: He's 15 lbs. He stands up like a champ and has been for the past month and a half. He rolls over from back to belly and belly to back. He is quickly learning how to take his pacifier and put it into his mouth. His eyes are definitely going a neat shade of creamy cafe au lait. He giggles regularly and is generally a very happy little baby. He loves being read to (Mr. Smarty Pants), and is so talkative sometimes we have to turn a movie off simply because we can't hear over his incessant babbling. People stop me on the street or in shops to remark how "sød", or sweet/cute, he is. He also enjoys having time in his own little baby world. For example, we went out on a family walk yesterday evening. Baby had apparently woken up from his nap in the stroller and Bjarni and I leaned over it to talk to him when he almost broke out into cries at having been the slightest bit interrupted from his skyward daydreaming.

Well, tomorrow I start my LAST semester of class; last two courses EVER. This is HUGE. I could have been Dr. Serup by now, man. Also, I will be working on a female entrepreneurship platform with two dear friends and peers on behalf of ArtRebels (www.artrebels.com)and the Danish government's entrepreneurship fund. Bedstefar will come in from the suburbs to watch his grandson for the few hours I have to be away each week. Good, quality male bonding!

Pictures this week include one of our house in Sweden with Bjarni's last minute house project: a fence across the front of our property-- oh, how I love a man who can work with his hands ;), one of Maxwell in his Snugli carrier (thanks, Auntie Mila!), at our first family camp-out on the east coast of Sweden, one with Faster Bjørg and Far, a few with Tia D (and Uncle Aron), and another playing around with Faster Julie.





Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fotos.









We just have so many good ones we'd liked to share with ya'll, so this post includes more eye-candy for your viewing pleasure!
In the mix you'll find Max gazing at the fireplace-- he will lay and watch it endlessly, another of a dinner party we had during the time we spent in Roskilde with my in-laws, one of Bedstemor and Faster Julie playing with Max, and finally a choice shot of Bjarni and son proudly showing off the new floor & ceiling they installed in our outhouse, aka The Doodlery 'cause that's where we make our doodles!
Oh! And, there's also a favorite of mine of Maxwell with his long hair that sticks out over his ears all goofy-like. I call that his "Bill Murray 'do"... Think What About Bob, and I think you'll agree...










Greetings from Sweden. We are roughing it out here in Småland, Sweden and have been for the past 2-3 weeks. Although, I don't think Bjarni would quite call it 'roughing' it. No indoor shower or toilet doesn't phase us, but it would probably make most people think twice about spending their precious vacation time in our vacation house. We love it.

Maxwell turns 4 months today. He is just starting to teeth, so gets a bit grumpy sometimes and the remedy is usually a good nosh on one of our knuckles. We can't see a little white bud along his front gums, however and that makes me relax-- you see, I'm not quite ready for his beautiful toothless grin to grow up. Just give me a month or two more of gummy goodness, please.

He has discovered his little tongue and likes to blow bubbles with it pursed between his kissable lips and usually copies us when we take the lead. He giggled for us for the first time and, for lack of a better analogy, it seemed like we were really having a 'conversation' with him at that point. I mean, he smiles like crazy, but to get a real, honest-to-goodness laugh was something so grown up in a way. Smiles are great, laughs are spectacular! He is very outgoing-- loves to make eye contact and engage people and is showing signs of noticing animals, too-- but he is also displaying an endearing shyness. For example, when he looks in the mirror he concentrates, smiles, and then looks away. Or, when Mama makes kissing sounds and approaches him, he smiles and turns his cheek. I love it. He's too cute and he knows it. With Daddy's help, he pulls himself up to a standing position from laying down. Max's got wicked little baby abs, man!

On my front, I just went back to Copenhagen by train for 24 hours to take a final exam from last semester. Managerial Finance and Accounting, be gone! I am so happy to have passed and to have left that immensely boring 'foreign language' behind me. If I never have to open another accounting book again, it will be too soon. Good riddance Income Statements, Balance Sheets, and Absorption Costing! I am now officially caught up in school and it feels super swell to know I have not fallen behind in anything.
I am also (finally) enjoying summer vacation unfettered. Reading pleasure books (just finished East of Eden, thank you for lending it Sara Jean), and am now onto my very first Dicken's book-- Great Expectations. By page 30, I had already laughed about a half a dozen times. Not to sound high brow, but I truly only laugh out loud by really good humor, I mean, really, really witty and dry humor. Dickens does it. And it transcends cultures and centuries; a mark of a true master.
When we return from Sweden in a week and a half, Maxwell will be taking his first passport pictures because he and Mama are taking off for a little holiday adventure to visit old friends outside Stuttgart, Germany. My best friend, DeAnna, and I will meet up at a dear old friend's place there for a few days of good old fashioned girl bonding. Well-deserved on my part, if I may so brazenly say so. It goes without saying, I am SO excited.

Bjarni has been enjoying time off of work-- we often wonder aloud how it will be in the US regarding vacation time. We are used to having at least 6 weeks off each year. Hmmmmm. Evil socialists enjoying down time. Something must be awry.

This is getting too long.

Pictures you get this time around are of Bjarni and friends at their Colonihave (Colony-garden, which are summertime gardens and small houses that line the outskirts of the city for urban-dwellers), me and Maxwell like a kangaroo mama in front of my art, Max's toothless grin, sitting up like a grump, and a morning hair shot.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Newlyweds.



That's how we feel as we wake up on this first anniversary of ours.

I won't put words into Bjarni's mouth, but I feel immeasurably lucky. My husband is fabulous in that role and an even better father to our son. He prioritizes me and our family, works hard, plays harder, is so silly, has a great sense of humor, shares the same values as me, practices the art of communication, is adventurous, and healthy. Again, lucky me.

Maxwell and I just got back from spending a week with my wonderful in laws in Roskilde, and Bjarni just returned from a 10 day hiking and trouble-making trip with 5 best buds.

Today, we celebrate our anniversary by packing right back up and heading out with some great audio books and our love in tow for a month in our summer house in the Småland area of Sweden. (If you've ever seen My Life as a Dog-- highly recommended!-- it's the same area.)

You get some of 'Bedstefar's choice' pictures today-- from last Saturday's family gathering at Bedstemor's mother's house.