Thursday, January 28, 2016

Anders and Torben turn 6

This week, Anders and Torben turned 6 years old. It is hard to believe they are getting so big! The night before their birthday, we talked about resolutions and they came up with one each that they would focus on. Anders' resolution was to not get quite so angry about inconsequential things -he has a tendency to get upset very quickly about things that are only mild irritants. Torben's resolution was to be good about going to bed -he has a tendency to stall and come up with excuses for a long time, and get very hyper as soon as the words "get ready for bed" are spoken. Anders said I needed a resolution too, and that mine should be to run more. Probably a good idea, but I don't see it happening. Although "more" than nothing doesn't necessarily mean much, so maybe I could handle it. So far, Anders has gotten upset only once, and Torben has three nights straight of going to bed well. So, maybe we're on to something!

We started off their birthday morning with Kaj cupcakes. We got one for Svea too, because she's too little to understand that it wasn't her birthday too. The green stuff was sort of strange, but the strawberry frosting and cupcake underneath were delicious! And everyone loves to start off their birthday with a cupcake!

 The tradition here is that you put up flags for your birthday. Even on the calendar you put a flag sticker on a date for someone's birthday. So we bought a package of flags for them to put up in the house.

 Turns out the window bars are an excellent place to mount a flag! It made the living room look festive, too, so that was fun.
 At about 9:15am, their friends from preschool arrived...16 of them! It was cute watching all these kids try to get their boots and warm suits off in the entryway before coming into the house. Two teachers, Ane and Pia, came with them and stayed during the party.

 What was so amazing to us, was that the kids arrived, took off their outside warm clothes, and then came right in and started playing. They didn't need any direction from adults, and though we had some games that you might play at an "American" birthday party, they didn't seem to need them. We had set out perler beads and plates on both of the tables, and kids wandered in and out making different things, some played with Lego out on the porch, others found some toys in the toy room. The two teachers and Jeff and I sat down and had coffee! The kids played for a little over an hour, then we brought out bowls of carrots (about 4 pounds!) and cucumbers (4) and they devoured those while we were finishing up the lunch preparations.
 When it was time to eat, they all found a chair and we brought out tacos -Anders' favourite. They could assemble tacos themselves, mostly, and I don't think it's a typical food to eat here so that was fun also.
 They all sat so patiently while food was being set out and waited for help when they needed it for putting stuff in their tacos. It was calm and fun!
 One teacher and one birthday boy sat at each table, with several friends. They drank over a gallon of softvand -juice mixed with water.

 After they'd eaten tacos and cake, played, and sung the birthday song, it was time for the kids to go back to school. We thought this was a fun picture of all of them who came. The boys had such a fun time! And it seems all the kids like the field trip you get to take for someone's birthday, and getting to play with someone else's toys is always fun!
 And then the parade back to the school. It probably took them 10-15 minutes with all the kids. With my fitbit, I've counted that it's about 2,000 adult steps to the school and back, so it's really not very far away. Makes for a fun outing.
On their birthdays, the kids often stay at home the whole day, so the boys opted not to go back with their friends in the afternoon. Instead, we stayed here and played with more beads (so many perler beads! They got about 15,000 more beads for their birthday!). They also got some mini canvases to paint, and Anders got a hedgehog clock to paint, and Torben got a foamcore dumptruck, so we brought out the paints they got for Christmas and they played with those also.

We went to the folk school for dinner, and they sang them the birthday song there too. We couldn't get them to stand up on their chairs like you're supposed to do, but they enjoyed having the song anyway.

All in all, they had a fun birthday.

We all seem to have a bit of a cold now, and that night Torben was awake for about 90 minutes in the middle of the night (consequently, so was I), so I decided to let them stay home the next day as well. Torben slept until 9:15! Anders and Svea slept until about 8, and we all pretty much relaxed on the couch for most of the day. Sometimes, you just have to give your body a rest. We figured out how to use one of my hair clips as a substitute mini screwdriver to finally put together the Doodle Robot that Torben got for Anders for Christmas, so the boys played with that while Svea was sleeping. It's pretty cool! They are excited that this week is "bring a toy" day at school, so they can bring it with them tomorrow.

Today they both made sure to go to school, because it is their turn to go swimming. Though they are a bit sad that they don't get to play outside on swimming days, they love that they don't have to do any of the cleaning up either! We had a dozen of the students from Jeff's floor here for breakfast this morning. That's always a bit chaotic when we're trying to get the kids off to school, but it was a fun time. The kitchen prepares rolls, and we brought eggs here to cook, and brought over coffee and all the plates and utensils. Jeff (all the teachers, actually) goes to the floor and starts knocking on doors at 7:15 to wake the students up, yelling "breakfast at Jeff's in 15 minutes!" or something equivalent, in Danish of course, and the students all get dressed and head over to a teacher's house for surprise breakfast. There's not much talking when they come for breakfast; I think most of them would prefer to be sleeping still.

Svea has started walking to the folk school for some of the meals. She is so proud of herself for being a big girl! She talks the whole time, "I walkin!" and "I big girl!" and the days when it was just her and I on our way to meet Jeff, she kept calling "Daddy! I comin! I walkin!" which was pretty fun.

Jeff asked me last night what's on the list of things/activities I want to accomplish while we're here. I probably better think thoroughly about that. Though we're just past half-way through our trip, the spring is coming and time is going to go by very quickly, and before we know it we will be on our way back home. We have visitors planned for April -at least two different visits-, May, and June, plus we have our makeup trip to Copenhagen from the fall. Jeff gave a talk last week at the church here in town, and as a thank-you gift they gave him tickets for all of us to go to Legoland! What a fun surprise! We were planning to go at least once, once it opens again in the spring. There is an option on the tickets to upgrade them to a season pass for less than the cost of a single ticket, so we are going to do that, and that way we can go several times. We know the grandparents will want to go with them, and if we have season passes, we can go for just a short time sometimes as well. It's about 45 minutes or an hour from here, so, not too bad. The kids don't know yet about that part, so it will be a fun surprise for them.

Though we are all missing various aspects of home from time to time, this has been an amazing trip so far for us. The boys especially are having a great experience with their school - play and learning the Danish language. Svea is at a really fun age for being home with her, and I'm enjoying having time off to pursue hobbies and read. Jeff is having fun being immersed in the folk school experience, and it's neat that the two semesters are so different with there being twice as many kids here this spring as there were in the fall.

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