Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 - Annual Year End Blog

Time to say goodbye to 2012.  

Best parts of the year included: Noah's adenoid surgery last January which has allowed him - and us! - to finally get some sleep and finally making our move to Tanzania.  We are very grateful for the Nordic School community that is a great environment for our children to play and grow, while also learning Scandinavian languages and culture.

Difficult parts of the year included navigating our transition to Dar, Kristoffer's adjustment to a new kind of work, and the tragic loss of my newborn nephew, Kyle.  We remember him in our thoughts and prayers everyday, and especially pray for Christine and Kevin and Zoe.

We hope that 2013 is a really big year for us.  I hope to learn to scuba dive and to travel much more within Africa, especially if this is our last year living there (and we are not ruling out a trip up Kili). I want this to be the year that I finally get in shape.  Now that I am all caught up and organized in terms of photo albums and baby books, I also hope that this year I finally do something with the last 6 years of video footage we have taken.  I hope that we make progress on our children's book project that we are working on with my friend Sarah.  

Kristoffer says, about 2013: EVERYTHING BETTER.  He hopes to learn to sail.  He hopes for some clarity about our future after 2013.  He would love to do something nice for his wife (that was a direct quote - I'm excited!), publish our children's book, lose weight and get in better shape, and to end poverty.  Good thing he isn't aiming too high :)

This is what Grace has to say about the new year:

When Noah was cornered about the new year, he would only say, "Nene! Nene! Nene!" So I hope my mom knows what that is all about, because clearly he has high expectations from her!

We wish all of you a happy, healthy new year.  This year we learned that you can never quite predict what will happen.  You can't fully plan.  As you experience life you have to do the best you can to enjoy it when it's good and get through it when it's hard, appreciate your loved ones, and somehow make the world a little bit better than you found it.  That is my wish for my own family, and all of you.

Kwaheri 2012....Mambo 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30, 2012 - Christmas Kids

A Very Merry Christmas Eve and Morning in Denmark...

~ Trip from Denmark to Boston on the 26th was smooth and easy.  Yippee! ~

Christmas with the Mueller Family on the 27th followed by another day of family fun...

Highlight was Grace getting Buzz Lightyear - the toy she wanted most for Christmas - from Uncle Mark, Aunt Carrie, Matthew and Nathan.

Mueller nice to be all together but also incredibly sad without Kyle.

Making reindeer cookies with Zoe

It is nice to be in America to start a new year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 - Christmas Eve

We are having the nicest time staying at Rasmus and Jytte's house, and have also had two nice visits with Farfar and Marianne.  Last night we were at their house for a full-family dinner, including Morten and Lexi from London and Mikkel's family with 7-week old baby Karla (she is the sweetest thing).  

We start our Christmas Eve festivities in just about an hour.  The night of the 24th is when Danes have a big Christmas dinner and exchange gifts. Because we combine traditions in our family we still have a Santa Claus morning tomorrow (one sack of presents for the kids and stockings for everyone).

Here are some Christmas scenes and faces - although sorry we didn't take that many! - of the last few days. 

I know I am not alone, particularly in my family, in feeling pretty emotional this Christmas.  It is hard for me not to think about Kyle constantly...or Newtown almost as often.  It is a joyous holiday mixed with some pretty serious grief this year.  The Christmas album of John Denver and the Muppets is my favorite, and these lyrics from one of those songs, have been on my mind, bringing me a little bit of peace. I share it with you, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.


The Peace Carol
The garment of life, be it tattered and torn,
the cloak of the soldier is withered and worn.
But what child is this that was poverty-born, the peace of Christmas Day.

The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree.
The light that shines for all to see, the peace of Christmas Day.

The hope that has slumbered for 2000 years,
the promise that silenced 1000 fears.
A faith that can hobble an ocean of tears, the peace of Christmas Day.

The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree.
The light that shines for all to see, the peace of Christmas Day.

Add all the grief that people may bear, 

total the strife, the troubles and care.
Put them in columns and leave them right there, the peace of Christmas Day.

The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree.
The light that shines for all to see, the peace of Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012 - Tour de Danmark

Last week we began a tour of family and friends in Denmark.  It started with Morten & Linnette visiting us for dinner one night in Varde (no pictures, sorry to them!).  That was a lovely, albeit way too short, visit (aren't they all!) because we hadn't seen Morten in three years.  

Then we went to Silkeborg fo one day to visit Lars, Barbara, Luna and Saga.  I don't know what was sweeter: Grace and Luna becoming instant friends or Kristoffer and Lars wrestling in the kitchen?

Next came a lovely day with Farmor's family, including Oldemor, Kristoffer's uncle and aunt Gert and Kitte along with their children and grandchildren, as well as Kristoffer's brother and his family.  Grace was in heaven with her big cousins, Nikoline and Josefine.  This day included a really great lunch and a big family snow-ball fight!

After that great day we packed up and drove to Copenhagen.  We stayed with Hans' daughter Marianne - mange tak til dig, Marianne!  We got to visit with Marianne, Simone, Martin and also Tina, Thomas and Louie.

In the next two days we visited...

Christian, Marlene and sweet baby Jonathan.  We were meeting Marlene and Jonathan for the first time and hadn't seen Christian since he came to Kenya when Grace was 6 months old.  It was a great visit!

Next up: Malene, Silas and Julius (Casper was in Finland!).  This was a particularly sweet visit because they are our friends from Nairobi and I think it is the first time that we have ever connected with Kenya friends outside of Kenya (correct me if I am wrong?).  It was great to see that we all do exist outside of the expat life!

On Tuesday morning we got to meet sweet Baby Lily with Morten and Elsebeth (also got to see Thomas and Bode).  That visit was cut a little short because Grace was a bit sick.  We ended up taking her to see a doctor where we discovered she has a bad cold but not an ear infection (despite pain in her ears) and conjunctivitis.  She is much better now, and even though it was not much time Uncle Kristoffer got to hold Lily for quite awhile.

Kristoffer went without us to dinner with some university friends - Stig and his family, and Soren and his girlfriend.

On Wednesday we packed up and said goodbye to Marianne.  On our way to Rasmus' new house we stopped to visit Kis (96 years old...Farfar's pictures as I stayed in the car with a sleeping Noah) and then for a quick visit with Oldemor.

Grace and Noah are quite happy to be with their cousins again (we are thrilled to have full-time babysitters!) and we will start Christmas festivities Friday evening when we see Farfar and Marianne.  Farmor and Hans and Oldemor will also come on the 24th to celebrate Christmas here.  

Other than the cold, gray weather and our runny noses, things are going so well for us in Denmark this trip!  It has been really nice to reconnect with old friends.