Monday, August 31, 2015

Third Weekend

Snegler are so good, that it would be easy to eat them daily. However, probably they are not entirely we generally save them for a weekend treat. This, our third weekend here, started with the tall snegler (as opposed to the short and wide ones) on Friday afternoon as a treat after school.

These are a bit more difficult to cut in half and share, but, they also seem to have more of the gooey center part in them than the other variety. So. Good deal all around!

Friday evening we again partook of Disney Sjov (pronounced Disney Show, but means Disney Fun). The boys were a bit disappointed that it was again the 101 Dalmations cartoon, but were excited when Donald Duck came up second. Each kid has his or her own way of settling in to watch:

Saturday morning was brunch again at the Højskole. Corn flakes with strawberries again! And sausages! And pancakes! It is all so delicious. Anders has a hard time with the concept of "brunch" though. He says he is going to eat breakfast, and then he will eat a late lunch before dinner. I've discovered that the pancakes (which are so much like the Swedish pancakes my grandma Ruth used to make for me!) are absolutely amazing with brie and strawberries. And cafe-au-lait. I don't know what you call it here when you mix your kaffe half and half with milk, but, I've taken to drinking it that way. In part, because it's very good. But also, because then I can have two cups! And also I'm drinking milk, so, that's a good thing too. Svea absolutely loves the sausages! They are like lil smokies, but cooked differently somehow. I'm not sure what they do to them, but they are amazing. I always have to be careful because the little hands tend to take all of mine. I cannot believe how much the kids are eating here! They go back for seconds and thirds often; and not just little bits. I think they will all grow a foot before we get home.

We had our first ride in the car with all of us! It took about 15 minutes to get in the car...The back seat is tight with three car seats (the boys are in boosters, but here the boosters are full-back seats) and the seatbelts were a challenge! But we got in, and Jeff did an excellent job driving the manual transmission car. He has been practicing by himself and with friends a few times, but this was the first time all of the family was there.

After brunch, we went to the alarm 1-1-2 fair in Skodborg, about 8km away. There were fire trucks and ambulances and such things.

This one the kids were able to go up in, but the boys opted not to. It went quite high!

The boys got to sit in the front seat of a fire engine, and Anders even got to sit at the wheel.

Svea was a bit frightened by the sirens, so she wasn't quite as big a fan of this fair.

There were lots of opportunities for the kids to get involved and see what kinds of things they could learn about the various emergency vehicles, and they got to try to spray a fire hose as well! Their teacher -whose husband is one of the firemen- was there to help them, as the pressure was quite strong.

And this truck, we're not sure what it was for, but I think I would be nervous to see it coming at me! There were big screens in the front, and lots of equipment on top. It sort of looked like a storm-chaser.

Inside the fire station, the coats, pants, boots, and hats were all lined up very neatly along the wall so that they could be grabbed quickly in an emergency.

Upstairs was storage...and it was interesting to see that there were things you might not associate with emergency help on the shelves...

For example, that is a snare drum. Because of course it is.

This weekend, the students didn't have any particular plans so they could go home if they wanted to. About half of them left, so the meals were quite quiet with those of us who remained. Many of the teachers did not come to the meals this weekend as well. There is always one teacher who is "on duty" for the weekend, and that teacher makes sure that meals get made, dishes get washed, students are OK, and so on. Otherwise, most of the teachers weren't around.

For dinner we had hamburgers and french fries! Jeff has been wanting hamburgers for a couple of weeks now, so it was exciting that that was on the menu this weekend. Svea was eating mayo on her fries, just like I like to do.

Sunday was brunch again! Yes! Torben has really taken to the job of filling the water pitchers and getting glasses for the tables. It's fun to see his servant heart when it comes to meal times. One of his favourite games is "restaurant" and he loves getting the drinks for people at real meal times as well. A couple more of the teachers were back for this, and one of them has twin girls who are 7. The four twins had a fun time playing tag in the ping-pong room after lunch.

On Sunday afternoon, a group of retirees arrived at the Højskole for a week-long program they will be attending to learn about the different types of Danes. Dinner was a much bigger process with 80 additional people! The ping-pong room was turned into buffet tables, and we had roast pork, potatoes, broccoli salad with currants (Svea loved the red currants! she ate half the garnish) and salad. The potatoes here are very good, and our kids had a good time eating them...

It was a fun weekend. The kids got lots of time to be outside and play, and we had some relaxing time at home as well. Jeff and Anders discovered a "short cut" to the grocery store that includes a walking path. It seems faster than walking along the main road. It may or may not be shorter, but it's a pretty walk along the path.

I finished my third reading this weekend as well. Another interesting book about making the most of the situations you encounter in your everyday life. It's kind of fun having so much time to read.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Overwhelmed by Play?

I love when I pick up the boys from school and ask if they had a good day (always "yes") and what they did, and the response is always "play, play, and play. That's always going to be my answer." They play with toys and books inside, and with sticks and dirt outside; their lives are surrounded by "play" -and yet I can tell they are a bit overwhelmed. It's stressful on a little body to be listening to another language all day and having to work hard to understand. And also to be at school all day when they have never done that before. Everything is new. Exciting and new, but new. Seeing the world through 5yr old eyes is a different way of looking at things.

Walking home earlier this week, Anders spent the entire walk trying to convince me that I should let him use his Kroner to buy a phone. "I promise I will be responsible, mommy." "But you don't need it." "But I can be very responsible..." etc. All the while, Torben was crying (no, wailing) because I had inadvertently thrown away the two bites of pancake he had saved in his lunchbox from Grandparents' Day and was planning to eat them tomorrow. Over and over again. "Why did you think of throwing those away?! I saved two bites of pancake to eat today! We only get pancakes twice a year! Only on Grandparents' Day!..." etc. It was a long walk.

We often hear phrases such as "I don't get any time to (insert some variety of play) when I have to go to school all day!" or "I didn't get any time to play Lego today!" or "we haven't gotten to watch tv in DAYS!" It is hard to learn about choices, and what to do with our time. They get home from school around 3:30, and dinner is not until 6:00, so there is a good 2 1/2 hours of time to play whatever their little hearts desire. I've discovered, though, that they need time to decompress after school. All that playing makes them tired. And they don't understand that their bodies are tired, even if they don't actually feel tired. That is an interesting lesson to teach to them. Svea, on the other hand, loves to go to bed! That girl has always loved her bed. When it's time to sleep, she takes herself there. (this will probably change some day, but for now we embrace its ease)

Though they are overwhelmed, it seems, by the changes in our lives here, they seem to be embracing the change as well. "Did you have a good day?" is always met with "YES!" And I was not at all surprised to see them dressed this way when I got to school yesterday afternoon:

"Mom! We were playing in the tree! Come see!"

"I can't get up this time...I need the wheelbarrow. We used that on the stump to climb up..."

Dinner was early so the students could go to a concert, so we had more playtime after that before bed. Then the waterworks and wailing started again, overwhelmed by completely non-overwhelming things. I am putting them here, because one day they will be funny -to look back and say, wow, it's hard to deal with a lot of change at once, and it really can make easy things seem like too much.

We asked them to clean up the play room -primarily the Lego and Duplo. They decided one would take the little Lego, and the other the big. The box had come untaped, though, and even though they told me it was undone and I needed to tape it, I simply tucked it back together. They filled it with Duplo...then I went to move the box, and everything fell right back out. Now they were both crying at me. I'm trying to teach them to laugh about things like that. But apparently now is not the time. Tired kids don't learn lessons very well, I've discovered.

One boy wailed "I didn't get to watch any tv today!" -so Daddy gave him a piggyback ride upstairs to get ready for bed. This caused the other boy to wail "I want a piggy back ride!" Then there was the feeding the baby and she needed a new pj shirt, so I asked one of them to get it for her. Torben got up first, then Anders tried to beat him to it (thinking, probably, that whichever of them was the most helpful would get a Kroner or two), except he slipped on a pair of shorts on the floor and fell down, three Stooges style, so he cried, then got up to run, somehow beat Torben to the closet to get the shirt so Torben started crying "I was getting it before Anders fell down mommy! I was TRYING to be helpful!" Just one thing after another. Teeth were brushed without incident. Then we sat down to talk with them before sleeping time. We talked about how it's hard work for our bodies to learn so many new things, and how it makes us tired when we have to try to understand things in a new language all day long, but that it's so important for our brains to learn it now. "I don't want to go to college!!" This was my favourite one. And it was totally out of nowhere. We were not talking about going to college, or even school, at that point. But apparently the thought was just too much. "I just want to stay home all day and play Minecraft" When they are distraught, it's important to listen and try to help them; but sometimes what they say is so funny it's very hard not to laugh. We let them talk more than normal this evening -apparently there was a lot on their minds.

The walk to school was uneventful, though we talked about how it really looks like the tractor is going to dump his loads of dirt onto the street, instead of into the waiting truck. They are clearing out an empty lot that's on our way. We've been watching the progress each day as we walk to and from school. A couple of weeks ago, there was an abandoned set of stairs. It looks like at some point there was a house there, but it's been gone for a while. Now the cement stairs are gone, and they are leveling out the land. So we stop and watch for a while, curious to see what it's ultimately going to be. There are many houses for sale here right now, so it seems unlikely they would be re-building a house there, but we'll see.

Svea has taken a liking to one of the travel mugs she found while digging in the kitchen drawers. She carried it with her on our walk this morning. Then, I made the rookie-mom mistake of using the cup to have some coffee. She screamed the whole way home while I drank it. When we got home, I poured my coffee into a mug and gave her the empty travel cup...which apparently wasn't good enough. She went to the fridge, got our her milk, and attempted to fill the cup herself.  There's no way that could go wrong, right?

Thankfully, although she knows how to open the carton, she's not quite adept enough to unscrew the lid. So I gave her just a bit.

We are working on getting just the right shadow picture of our family out for a walk...

I think we will keep trying, though this one is close. And we all look so tall!

Here's to hoping for another excellent weekend, full of play, snegler (mmm...snegler...), walks, and fun times with the family. We'll start with breakfast at the Højskole. The boys loved that we got to eat breakfast there -with cornflakes and strawberries!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Language, and Second Reading Completed

Day 1 of "primarily Danish" school seemed to go well for the boys! As we suspected, they already understand quite a bit of what is being said -even if they don't necessarily realize it yet. They still respond to Jeff in English when he talks to them in Danish, but their responses indicate they definitely understand. So that is excellent!

At lunch, many of the students (and teachers) were a bit late, and the lunchtime song started while I was filling a water pitcher...I was surprised and impressed that I was able to sing along to the words without looking at a paper! I still don't know what it means, though. When conversation is happening around me, the context helps to understand a bit of what people are saying, but, when someone is just speaking (sort of a monologue, as it were), I just can't quite listen that fast. During announcements after the meals, I pick out phrases here and there and can get the basic idea of what they are talking about -sometimes.

It still remains to be seen what language Svea will pick up while we are here. Since she has a rather limited spoken vocabulary in any language yet, my guess is that it will be somewhat of a mix. She says "thank you" like a pro, and we are trying to teach her that "tak" means the same thing. Another recent favourite is "apple" since there is generally a bowl full of them on the counter or a table whenever we are at the Højskole. We might run out of all our funds buying apples and bananas for this little one! I remember when the boys were this age and we had to hide the bananas, or they would eat the entire bunch as soon as we got them home. Svea eats the entire apple, except the stem. The stem seems to bother her quite a bit, and she will fuss and whine until we remove it. Then she eats the entire thing, core, seeds, and all. Perhaps one of these days we will see little apple trees sprouting out of her ears!

Wednesday's evening meal was a special one, chosen by the student who is from Germany. It was some of the traditional foods of her area, and it was very delicious. Schnitzel made of pork (and some of Halal chicken for the students who follow that tradition), cheese noodles which were an amazing white-cheese based macaroni with either nutmeg or allspice on top, green beans with feta, and coleslaw. I think the kids went back for thirds on the beans! They did not go back for more on the pork, because the pieces were about 1/2 plate size to begin with -and they finished it all. It was quite similar to the breaded tenderloin we make at home, but for some reason they loved this and do not care for ours. Hmm. Maybe they really are broadening their horizons here!

I finished my second reading book today. Dad is preaching on this at his church, and said it fits in well with what we're doing this year, so suggested I take a look.

A fantastic read! All about taking advantage of the doors God opens for you, and understanding that some doors will stay closed and we may never know why. Our life isn't scripted, and we have choices as to how we will respond to the opportunities placed in front of us. We still do not know what this year will bring, but despite being nervous about the opportunity, we jumped over the threshold of this particular open door and are so far having a great time with new experiences. I was just saying to Jeff this morning how great it is that the boys are so excited to get up each day and go to school. They play with the other kids even though they don't understand each other, and each day when we pick them up they are excited about what they did that day. They are looking like locals, too, it seems:

One thing that I'm not quite as excited about, and which I forgot about since living in a damp and cool climate, is all the slugs and snails everywhere. I know they don't hurt anything, and they're good for the plants and animals, but they just gross me out. And they happen to be everywhere after the rain. Apparently the brown slugs are particularly abundant this year. Jeff said he doesn't even notice them, the boys notice and say "hey look!" and I see them all and think "ugh, I really don't want to step on those..." Most of the snails seem to be the little ones, about the size of a quarter, but I happened to look out the window and saw this one today:
I should have put a ruler next to it to get a good grasp of the size. Probably 3-4 inches.

A "snail's pace" is a common phrase for things moving slowly, but these guys seem to cover a lot of ground! The photo was around 8pm, and by 10pm or so, he was nowhere to be found. In the morning, I saw one, maybe the same one, several yards down the sidewalk. Considering the actual size of the snail, this seems pretty quick.

Pouring rain! And blue sky! And black clouds! All at the same time, right outside the windows. It makes me smile. And now the clouds have passed and it's bright and sunny.

This particular photo of part of our walk makes it seem like we go a very long way!
We always turn at that white house at the end of the road. I like this perspective of "the big hill" we walk...the boys always comment (i.e. whine) about having to walk up that hill. Someday we will take them to San Francisco, and then see what they think about this "hill."

Well, now it is time to make toast, then tea, then put the clothes in the dryer so that later I can run the dishwasher. That's one thing that's taken some getting used to...the house is nearly 100 years old, and the wiring is old as well. Everything works very well -we just have to be careful to use only one appliance at a time or it blows the fuses. So far, we have been here 17 days and haven't blown out any fuses! But you have to plan what you're going to do. So this morning I heated water in the kettle for coffee, then turned on the washer when we left for our morning "commute", then came back and heated water for tea, made toast, and loaded the dishwasher. At home I often run the washer, dryer, and dishwasher at the same time -because when I think of cleaning up and getting housework done, I want to get it all done. It's a bit slower pace here, but that's OK, because the pace of everything is a bit slower and there is time for all of it.

Each day between here and the kids school, we pass several small shops. In the window of one is a sign that reads "It's a beautiful day. Don't let it fly away." It's so true. And something we so often forget in the hustle and bustle of daily living. I like the twice-daily reminder.  And it's only 99.5Kr, (less than $20) so, maybe I will get it someday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Daytime Rain

The sky looked a bit dismal this morning, and just as Jeff, Svea, and I walked in the door from lunch, it started pouring. As Papa Randy would say, it was "raining like the Old Testament" and it was nice to be indoors looking out the windows at it. When I went to get the boys after school, they were wearing different clothes (each student has a labeled bucket over their coat hook in which are multiple pieces of extra clothing -this comes in very handy) and had a plastic bag with their wet things. Even their rain coats were soaked on the outside and the inside! Apparently the sandbox was flooding, so all the kids were outside trying to put more sand in it -or something to that effect. It may have just been an excuse to play in the rain! The teacher mentioned that the boys rain pants weren't there, so the time outside was a bit shorter than it would have been, because they were "shivering". Oops. Yes, while cleaning the house I had found their rain pants earlier in the afternoon, and realized they would be better placed at school in the bucket, than at home on the shelf. Here, they play outside no matter the weather. It's great -especially when you remember to provide them with the clothing appropriate to the weather. As soon as we got home, the rain pants went into their backpacks for the next day.

We met another neighbor today. The woman directly across the street, who said she has lived in that house for about 55 years. Later in the afternoon, she brought over some flowers for us.

We had a fun visit from Karen and Erik -Jeff's host parents from when he was a Rotary exchange student about 18 years ago. It was fun to see them, and we made plans to visit their home later this fall.

Anders was singing (as usual) during dinner, and Jeff paused to carefully listen to the words, realizing that  He was singing 'hoved, skulder, knæ og tå'. Head, shoulders, knees and toes in Danish. They have also been doing a lot of counting this week. The teachers at the school asked if we are really interested in the boys learning Danish while they are here this year (we are), or if they should speak to them primarily in English and help them learn words here and there. Today will be the first day of the teachers speaking primarily Danish, and only resorting to English if the boys seem very frustrated. We are all (parents and teachers) pretty sure they understand a lot of what is being said already so I am curious to hear the boys' perspective on how the first day went.

At pick-up time, one of the teachers was sitting on the couch, and she said "I am dining in a restaurant" -ah, Torben's favourite game! We know it well. One of the other children was also a diner in his restaurant. Anders and another little boy seemed to be having a contest to see who could spin their chairs around the fastest. It was fun to see them interacting with other kids.

Dinner was a variety of different things -some new, and some re-versions of foods we have had in the last few days. There are a couple of different types of meatballs that are fantastic. Jeff makes one of them often at home, and the other is in a yellow curry sauce and served over rice. It's not something I would consider putting together, but it sure is good! Jeff said it's one of his favourite Danish meals. There was also some pizza with eggplant on it, and mini flakey pie crusts with turkey pot-pie type of filling, along with grilled carrots and grilled green onions. We skipped the pickled herring this time.

Tuesdays are Jeff's long evening, as he and one of the other teachers are in charge of "sport" after dinner, and then also of locking up the buildings after the evening coffee hour. This week the sport was soccer. Somehow he managed to find the prickle vines on the sidelines of the field and his arm looks like he lost a fight with a cat. Nevertheless, he said it was quite fun! After Svea went to bed, the boys and I watched a few episodes of Dora the Explorer. In the Danish version, she speaks Danish and English, so we thought that might be helpful for them. They thought it was particularly fun that we'd checked the videos out from the library -even if they were Dora.

We have had the windows open a lot during the morning and evening to let the cool air in. Apparently, the flies have also decided to make the living room their home! I thought I was winning the battle with them, but there are a handful of very resilient ones that are still causing me irritation. Quite amusingly, also, a blue butterfly flew in one widow, turned right, flew about four feet, and went out the other window. Apparently it was just checking things out. I wish it had stayed just a short bit longer to teach the flies how to go out the other window.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Company for Dinner

Today seemed to be all about company. At the boys' school, it is Grandparents' week. On two different days this week, some of the grandparents are coming to visit. They even had pancakes as part of the celebration! This was the highlight that the boys made sure to tell me about. And, they got to eat lunch outside at the picnic tables in the courtyard -they were pretty excited about that as well. They made art work out of boards, nails and string. Torben made a boat, and Anders made a bunch of diamonds connected together. He wants to add more string, though, so it's not just two colours.

Today was the birthday of one of the teachers at the folkschool, so two of the other teachers wrote a birthday song. We all learned it at lunch time. Those whose birthday it is have to stand up on a chair to be sung to. One of the students had a birthday last weekend, so he got to stand up on the chair too.

I am getting to where I can pronounce most of the words I see written -though there are definitely some that I look at say "there is no way that those letters should make the sound you say they make". I have even learned the sound of the three extra vowels, so that helps a lot too.

The kids are having a fun time playing with all the new toys here at Jens and Signe's home. They all three seem to love the "speed racer" helmet!

There are lots of Lego and Duplo for them to build with as well, and the my little ponies show stable that is the same as I had when I was a little girl. A couple of the ponies are also 1984-era, and are the same ones I had, so it's fun for me to see the kids playing with the same toys I enjoyed.
I need to get some pictures of the boys playing too, it looks like! They are having fun trying to build the various castles that are pictured on the Duplo box. It's a great learning experience for them, as they are just going by what the finished product looks like and trying to figure out what has to be done to make theirs look the same.

For dinner, we had several of the students from the folkschool come to our home. We were told there were four coming, and, as it turns out, by "four" they meant "seven" so we were cozy at the table. We had made some of the "cowboy caviar" to have as an appetizer with our tacos -some things get lost in translation so the recipe was a bit different, but we ended up with a terrific salsa of kidney beans, black-eyed peas, bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, cider vinegar, avocado, and cilantro. The cilantro especially took a while to figure out, as here it's koriander. When I say coriander, I am thinking of something very different from cilantro! But, we got it sorted out and it was a terrific addition to our meal. The students worked together to make the tacos. As it turns out, we got the music group, so they were singing while working. It really made for a fun atmosphere.

They also spied the trampoline out in the back yard, and it was amusing to see the line of them waiting for a turn to jump. A couple different times, Svea had a turn out on the trampoline as well -happy as could be.

We learned today that our bank account was finally approved, so that is good. We had to have that set up in order to get a phone number here. I believe that's all of the official things we need in order to be settled for the year. We are waiting for the Dankort -akin to an ATM card- but that should be along shortly now that the account it set up.

The walk to school is starting to get chilly -about 16 degrees (60s ish) and the boys aren't quite ready for it. They have gotten dressed in shorts and t-shirts, which is perfect for the afternoon when it's 28 (balmy 80s) but moan a bit about "why do we have to walk in this weather!" -they don't have any idea what's coming when the fall/winter gets here. They do keep extra clothes at school, so right now there are shorts, pants, and shirts as well as jackets and boots. You never know what the weather is going to do it seems. A few minutes ago the skies were cloudy and dark, and now it's bright and sunny. We got a thunderstorm over night, but so far have not seen a lot of rain during the day.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Second Weekend

Our second weekend here was again full of new adventures.

We stopped at the thrift store to look for a few things, and I came across some knitting needles, a crochet hook, and a small bag of yarn.
I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with these finds, but I saw some magazines at the bibliotek that had patterns and instructions in them, so maybe I will check one out and see if I can follow along.

Friday night at 7pm, all Danish homes with children tune into the television for an hour of Disney cartoons. We decided this was definitely a tradition in which we should partake.
Seconds before I took the photo, they were all seated nicely in a line. But, this is more realistic.

Saturday we got to sleep in a bit, and breakfast at the Højskole wasn't until 9am. It was the first time we attended for breakfast -typically we eat breakfast at home- and the kids were thrilled at the selections. Cornflakes with strawberries! Svea and I had skyr with various toppings. Anders asked if we could eat breakfast there every stay-home-day. 

The students and several of the teachers resurrected a long-ago tradition at the Højskole of walking to the town of Ribe, 22KM away. We decided that was a bit too far for little legs, and opted to stay home. Instead we walked to the bakery and bought snegler (sny-lar)...

These are so delicious! I'm sure they are very healthy as well...

On our walk, we passed the local church where we had the garden party last weekend. 
The top photo seems to be more of a chapel, and the bottom photo is the residence -part of which serves as a general meeting/coffee space for church gatherings.  

In the afternoon, we took another walk past the second church in town, and up to the library. Though it was closed, we were able to go inside and look around, and even check things out by scanning Jeff's yellow card. At the Rødding Centeret, there is the bibliotek, the biograf (theater) where the kids went with school last week, a cafe, the swimming pool (with water slide!) and various other venues for physical activity. It really is the "center" for all things. 
Anders took a much better photo than I did, but I cannot find his camera at the moment so we'll go with this. For a small town, especially, this is an amazing recreation center! 

On our walk, we also passed several other beautiful buildings. This one is one of the oldest in town-
It is several hundred years old. Several sisters lived here long ago. I just love it. It's one of the highlights of our morning walk. It reminds me of something out of a storybook.

It seems I am often behind the rest of the family, so I get a lot of photos like this. If I try to run ahead to get photos of their faces, they run to catch up with me. So, we'll go with these profiles of walking with Daddy instead. 

This looks to be an old barn or some sort of out-building. Again, it seems to me like the basis for a storybook.

These homes are newer, but I love them as well. The architecture is fascinating to me, and it makes for a beautiful walk.

Another building I love to look at on our daily walks is the hotel downtown.
I love how the trees are cut to be square. It just looks fun. Often in the afternoons, the outdoor tables are full of people relaxing with a coca-cola. 

Saturday evening was the first big party for the Højskole students. It was set up as a fancy dinner, complete with table cloths, candles, and the tables moved together to seat eight.

The kids had their own table, which was set the same except for the wine and wine glasses, and was conveniently located near the door so they could step outside to run and play between the courses. The meal started at 7pm, and the kids and I left at 9pm -approximately an hour before they got to the dessert course. It was a fun evening. The blue songbook was placed at each seat, and we sang several songs from it. I randomly opened the book when I first sat down, and came upon "I see trees of green, red roses too..."

The students in the music course provided some songs as a band, and one of the music teachers sang as well. The salad course was bread (of course!) and a salmon and shrimp salad with dill dressing. Then there was singing and performances by the students. The main course was roast beef and potatoes with a mushroom gravy, corn on the cob, and salad. 

We left approximately 9pm so the kids could go to bed. Jeff stayed until 2am, and the party was still going when he left! Not surprisingly, brunch wasn't until 11am on Sunday. 

Sunday, Jeff's host-mother from when he was an exchange student here 18 years ago came to visit. It was fun to see Karen! We (obviously) went to the bakery for wienerbrød (Viennese bread) to go with our kaffe.
Then we all went to brunch, where Anders and Torben got to have cornflakes with strawberries again! You'd think they were in heaven. I've never seen kids get so excited about cornflakes. There were also small sausages and pancakes -just like the Swedish pancakes my grandma used to make for me.

The weather has been gorgeous, and we sat outside on the patio for a long while after brunch. The boys played in the yard and we spent time talking with Karen while Svea slept. I asked about some of the trees that I'd not seen before, and learned there is a Magnolia and also a hazelnut tree in the yard. She explained that in the winter time, the branches of the hazelnut tree can be used to hang small ornaments or decorations on. They are very twisty and quite beautiful.

We were gathering quite a bit of fruit in the corner of the kitchen, and I found a large clay bowl in the cupboard. It looks like a still-life painting! So I had to take a picture. 
The boys were having fun pushing Svea around while waiting for us to finish talking. Of course, you have to wear a speed-racer helmet if you're going to pretend to race the stroller around the yard. She was having a blast with this activity as well -though watching a 5yr old push a 1yr old down a hill in a stroller (when he can hardly see over the top) is a bit nervewracking for the parents!

I happened to be looking out the window into the back yard last night and saw some new flowers emerging.

I'm not sure what these are, but I loved that the berries were green, turning orange, and then turning to red. The colors are so vibrant!

And the gladiolas just opened as well. Seeing them reflecting the sunset was stunning.

And that was the end of our weekend. The boys can now count to ten in Danish, and have learned to say "Farvel" (farewell), "Vi ses imorgen" (see you tomorrow), "tak" (Thanks!) "god morgen" (Good morning). And "nej!" (no!). They aren't very fond of this last word, naturally. They have made some friends at school and seem to be having a fabulous time here. Torben has a very loose front tooth, so it will just be a matter of time before the tooth fairy brings him Kroner in exchange. Tomorrow begins another week of what is sure to be new experiences. Jeff told me the chef is now back from vacation, so I'm excited to see what the meals at the Højskole will be.