Friday, June 26, 2009

June 26, 2009 - Four Months Old!

Grace is 4 months old today. She is growing so much. Grace is now officially teething, trying harder and harder to get back to her rolling over days, talking up a storm, and generally charming the pants off of everyone she meets.

We have many stories to tell and pictures to share from the last week, but not that much time on the internet right now. So for now, here is Grace at 4 months old and I promise a really big, long, picture-filled blog sometime soon (or at least when we get back to Kenya). Tomorrow is Grace's baptism and her big party to meet her extended family and friends on this side of the ocean. We are really excited!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009 - Lost and Found

Kristoffer just contacted the train police again and someone turned in our camera bag - with both cameras still in it! Only in Copenhagen...Danes are such good people! We will claim it on our way to the airport in a few hours. Couldn't be happier..and will soon share pictures of our last week here!


June 18, 2009 - A Week in Review

This past week has been really great and busy for us. First we had Kirsten's 60th birthday weekend, complete with a full family reunion at her birthday party which was a lot of fun. It was a great way for so many people to meet Grace and we really enjoyed seeing people we hadn't seen in a really long time. We also found out that Kirsten and Hans are expecting another grandchild which makes 3 in one year for them - Hans' son Tommy's wife is due in August and his daughter Tina is due in January. More cousins for Grace! We really enjoyed celebrating Kirsten's birthday with her and I think she was happy to show Grace off!

On Monday, after all the festivities, we sadly said goodbye to Kirsten and Hans and came to Copenhagen. We have been staying with Kristoffer's cousin Klaus, his girlfriend Mette, and their baby Claudia who is 4 months older than Grace. They live in a great and convenient part of Copenhagen so we have easily been able to take the bus and the train around the city to visit a lot of friends. We were able to see all of the "Als crew", Kristoffer's best friends from childhood (all of whom came to the US for our wedding) and all of Kristoffer's good friends from university as well. It has been a busy few days for sure. Yesterday the weather was so nice here - finally! (it has been cold and windy and gray since the first weekend we were here) - so we were able to spend the whole day walking around the city and took a great nap in one of Copenhagen's beautiful gardens.

Now we are packing up and heading to the airport in a little bit for our departure to Boston. We look forward to our two weeks there and to Grace's Baptism next weekend.

Right now, you may be thinking: sounds like a lot of great stuff happened, where all of the pictures to prove it?! Well, the only bad part of our trip happened on Tuesday when our camera bag containing our video camera and our really good digitial camera went missing. Either it fell out of the stroller or someone stole it because one minute we had it, and then an hour later we realized we didn't have it. We have reported it missing to the transportation police and are praying that it turns up, but that is not very likely. If you found two really good cameras, would you turn them in? Jackpot! So of course, we are bummed about the cameras (one was a wedding gift and the other was last year's Christmas gift to ourselves) but I am even more bummed because there were about 200 pictures on the camera that I had yet to transfer to the computer - all of them from Kirsten's birthday weekend and our first evening in Copenhagen. Also, there was some great video footage of Grace on the camera. So frustrating that all of that is gone now! I guess we'll be shopping for new cameras in the US next week :(

Grace was 16 weeks old yesterday and approaches the 4-month marker next week. She has been sleeping well and is cuter than ever - trying harder and harder to sit up on her own, making TONS of noise, and being SO flexible with our crazy travel schedule. We are so lucky to have this baby! Let's hope our next two flights go well...

Farvel Danmark...mange tak for bes√łget!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009 - A Day in the Life of a 15-Week Old

I have morning excercises with Hans:

Next is play-time with Far:

And some more play-time with Farmor:

Then I take a nap with Mom:

I also get to meet some of Farmor's friends, like Solvaj (and her husband Eli too!):

For dinner I hang out with Mom and Far's good friend Elsebeth:

I love to cuddle with Mom before bed:

Needless to say, my life is good.

June 11, 2009 - WFP on the road

One of Kristoffer's colleagues, Marcus, who is the WFP Spokesman for East, Central, and West Africa has a very interesting video blog of WFP work in Tanzania. If you take a look at some of the clips, it will give you a really good idea of the work that Kristoffer is also doing in Kenya and is extremely similar to what he sees when he goes to the field. Marcus is not only Kristoffer's colleague but someone we socialize with on occasion; he is a funny and interesting guy...he does very good work for WFP.

Check it out:


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 9, 2009 - New Faces and Places

The last few days have been action packed for Grace.  First, she had to say goodbye to Farfar and Marianne on Sunday morning after a great stay at their house.

Then we drove from Als to Flemsburg, Germany (Grace's first time to Germany and the third country she has been to after Kenya and Denmark) to visit Kristoffer's step-brother Tommy and his wife Mirja.  They are expecting a baby boy in August!

After Germany we went back to Als to spend a day and night with Uncle Rasmus, Aunt Jytte, and Grace's cousins Nikoline and Josefine.  She liked them so much and she was much happier than the day they first met her.  Nikoline was especially good with Grace.  We even went to visit the girls at school and they got to show Grace off to all of their friends and teachers.  A baby cousin from Africa was a big hit!  We are very happy that we will get to see them again for Farmor's birthday this coming weekend.

On Monday afternoon we left Als and came back to visit Farmor and Hans in Varde for the week.  Last night we went to watch Farmor play tennis and her friends got to see Grace too!  Today another one of her good friends, Lotte, came to meet Grace.

Then Farmor and Hans played with Grace for a long time.  Hans was especially working on helping Grace to actually get her thumb in her mouth and also to sit up! 

This afternoon we had a real treat when our dear friends Lars and Barbara came to visit with their baby Luna (10 months).  

Luna really wanted Grace to play.  Someday the two of them will get into all kinds of mischief together!

There is something very sweet about seeing two ex-military sergeants with their baby daughters!
We are having a great vacation and can't wait for Farmor's 60th birthday party this weekend!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 6, 2009 - Reverse Roll

Grace received a lot of attention today from Marianne:

and from Far and Farfar:

During the afternoon, she and I were home alone for a few hours and during that time she rolled over from her tummy to her back!  She has always only rolled the other way and I was very impressed!  At first she seemed pleased with herself and smiled widely, but then she burst into tears so I don't know if the experience was too overwhelming.  I was disappointed that nobody else was here to see it...but I swear it happened!

And while I missed getting her reverse roll on camera today, I did catch her father's attempt at getting her to walk.  I happen to think 14 weeks is a bit too young for her to be up and walking around...but she does look very cute anyway!


Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5, 2009 - The Essence of Grace

Grace is so sweet and cute these days. Even after she barely slept at last night (can't figure out why! and she was doing so well the previous few nights...), this morning she was having so much fun and was in such good spirits. These pictures really capture Grace at her best:

This one is my favorite picture because she is all curled up in giggles:

Today is a holiday in Denmark - Constitution Day - and all is well.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 4, 2009 - Growing up on Als

Johannes and Marianne live on the island of Als, where Kristoffer grew up.  It is one of Denmark's many islands and is a really beautiful place.  The last two days we have really enjoyed taking walks around the town of Nordborg and visiting different people.  Yesterday we visited Marianne at work at the school library, where she was very happy to show a sleeping Grace off to her colleagues.  Today we went to visit one of Farfar's friends where, again, Grace was a sleeping beauty.  There is something special about the air on Als.  We can't figure it out, but we always sleep extremely well when we are here, and Grace has taken on the trend!

We find that Grace is growing up so fast right before our eyes.  In the last few days, she has really mastered holding and controlling the movement of (sometimes hitting herself in the face with) a heavy rattle.  She is also really trying to sit up by herself.  Here you can see her sitting on Farfar's sofa, trying to sit up in her own seat, and also trying to sit up whilst eating her rattle:

This morning, Grace enjoyed playing with Farfar:

Today it was a little bit chilly here, so to go on our walk we got Grace all bundled up.  I think you can tell how much her father is enjoying his time off from work.  He gets to witness all of these rapid changes she is going through and he is really enjoying how interactive she is at 14 weeks old:

So far we are having a great time in Denmark!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 3, 2009 - Oldemor in Odense

We are now at Johannes and Marianne's house for the week. On our way here yesterday we stopped to visit Mormor Karen, Grace's "Oldemor" (great-grandmother), for a few hours in the city of Odense where she lives. It was really nice for her to have some time with Grace because on Sunday Grace was screaming so much she didn't even get to hold her! We had a lovely lunch, took a walk to Kristoffer's grandfather's cemetary, and even stopped for ice cream on our way home! Grace was so happy when Oldemor talked to her, and she can't wait to see her again for Farmor's birthday in less than two weeks!

We haven't taken pictures of Grace with Farfar and Marianne yet, but we have quite a few days for that still. She was very cute with them yesterday: talking up a storm and giggling so sweetly. Grace also slept for almost 5 hours last night before needing to eat; she hasn't slept for such a long stretch in almost a month so I am very grateful for that! We are so pleased that she has adjusted to Danish life quite well.


Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1, 2009 - Danish Days

We traveled from Nairobi to Denmark overnight on Friday.  Our 8.5 hour flight to London went well - we had the best seats for traveling with a baby and Grace was able to sleep in a baby bed for much of time and was generally very good, except for a little bit of crying on our dissent (she had just eaten before landing so it was hard to get her to latch on to help her ears adjust).  Kristoffer and I each slept a little bit, but I was so worried about her being comfortable and not crying loudly that I didn't sleep soundly so we were tired but fine.  There were changing tables in the airplane bathrooms so that was easy for Kristoffer to change her diapers and I took care of her feeding, obviously.  We had a 4 hour layover in London which went pretty well (except that we didn't have the stroller because British Airways wouldn't let us gate check it or bring it on the plane) and then another 2 hour flight to Copenhagen.  Grace also cried a little bit going up and down, but it wasn't too bad.  

Upon our arrival in Copenhagen, we bought train tickets to go from the airport to the central train station, switch trains to go to Esbjerg (a city in western Denmark), and then switch trains again to go to Varde where Kirsten and Hans would pick us up.  The plan would have been perfect had our second train not broken down!  We had to switch to another train and couldn't get all the way to Varde.  The train company paid for a taxi to bring us from Esbjerg to Kirsten's house, and our taxi driver turned out to be Hans's nephew!  Such a small world!  There was even a family from Boston (Medford, actually) on our train - they were here visiting relatives in a city called Kolding.  Even though we got to Varde a few hours late, Grace was excellent on all of the trains and she was very happy to meet her Farmor and Hans!  

On Sunday we spent the day celebrating "Pinsa" (Pentacost) with all of Kristoffer's family on Kirsten's side.  We went to his cousin's Aja's house for breakfast and then went to a forest park for a picnic lunch and playing lots of games.  Unfortunately, Grace was MISERABLE in the morning and screamed for a few hours.  It was not a great way to make a first impression, but everyone understood that she had such a big day the day before and was maybe adjusting to a new environment, new routine, new people.  In Denmark right now the days are so long because we are so far north, so the sun starts to rise at 4 am and doesn't set until around 11 pm.  It is a LONG day and that tends to throw us (me and Grace, at least) off.  Everyone was so happy to see Grace, but we hope that she will be better company in a few weeks at Kirsten's birthday party.  Nikoline and Josefine were so cute and excited to meet their cousin: 

When we got home from our big day with the family, Grace had taken a very long nap and was in much better spirits.  She enjoyed playing in the garden with Farmor:

Last night she slept pretty well and this morning she was listening intently as Hans spoke to her:
Today we went for a REALLY long walk around Varde.  This weather is the best that I've ever experienced in Denmark and it was a wonderful FREEDOM for us to walk Grace around outside - something we can never do in Nairobi!  I was an extremely happy mother:

 And Kristoffer, Kirsten, and Hans also enjoyed taking Grace for her first true outdoor walk:

After lunch today, Grace and I both took a long nap in Kirsten and Hans's beautiful garden and then we took Grace to the beach for the first time to get ice cream.  She was very happy about the mint chocolate chip we tried and also liked pulling on the knitted rope that her cousin Josefine made for her:

After her bath tonight, Grace relaxed a bit in Kirsten's comfy chair which she has had since she was pregnant with Kristoffer!  Grace liked it as much as her father!  Tonight she went to sleep around her usual time, 8:30 pm, so maybe she has adjusted to the change in sunlight (even though we are only one hour time difference from Nairobi).

So far, these Danish days have been fantastic.  Grace was a much happier baby today than yesterday. Tomorrow we will leave Varde and go to spend the week on Als with Farfar and Marianne.  Grace and I are both working on our spoken Danish and Hans's English has gotten very good.  All in all, the first few days of Grace's big trip have gone very well and we are so happy that we still have so many days here with our family!