Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thirty second weekend

Spring is here! Officially, of course, but it seems like it's also here weather-wise. We had a really fun weekend, though it started out as potentially sketchy. Torben was home with a fever, and Anders was showing early signs of possible pinkeye (we learned it can be dormant for two weeks after you get it! ugh) and we were scheduled to go out of town to visit people Jeff's known for two decades. We were debating on and off about whether it was wise to go, but, also strongly feeling the pull to see more of Denmark than just the town we live in, we were leaning toward going, but also feeling like we didn't want to pass germs on to friends. They said "we want you to come" so we packed our bags in about 15 minutes, loaded up the car and headed out on Saturday morning. The town they live in is near Viborg, and they live on a small farm in town. It turned out to be such a great weekend trip!

The weather was beautiful, and we took several walks to the new park they built in town about a year and a half ago. A while ago, the school was closed down, so the people in town got together and started a Friskole and worked together to create playgrounds and other community buildings to make sure the town stayed vibrant. It was so neat to see what can happen when people work together to create something for the greater good of the community. It was also one of the coolest playgrounds I've ever seen.

 We got to see this baby calf. It was born on Friday, the day before we got there. They are expecting three more calves in the next few weeks as well. The farm is small, they have ten cows -plus some new babies- and chickens.
On one of our walks, Svea was fascinated with the large rooster in one of the neighbor's yards. She was the perfect height to see it through the fence!
 This church in town is from 1050. Almost one thousand years old! That is so hard to believe.
 All the new playground equipment was surrounded by fresh, clean sand. Svea thought it was fabulous for playing!
 This particular piece has two chains hanging down, and you're supposed to stand on the seat -where Torben is sitting- and hold the chains to move yourself back and forth. He wasn't quite tall enough to do that, though, and this seemed to be fun enough.
 This one is sort of like a teeter totter. On one side you hang from handlebars, and the other sit (or sometimes stand) and then it spins in a circle and you also go up and down. I got dizzy just looking at it, but they all seemed to be having fun!
 This is a slightly smaller version of the teeter totter, which was easier for the boys to get on by themselves. It also spins in a circle.
 Svea loves these bouncy ones. She is able to make them move even if she's sitting alone, so that makes it fun for her as well.
 Of course, the bigger kids would stand on them to bounce back and forth.
 Climbing bars, ropes, and a climbing wall made it fun to get up into this rope "nest" about 8 feet in the air. Both boys really loved it, and you got a nice view of the whole park from up there.
 I think Svea's favourite part of springtime is the crocus. She knows the name, too, which is more or less the same in Danish, and gets very excited whenever she sees them.
 Anders was quite proud of himself for climbing up the climbing wall to reach the top.
 Not sure why he looks sort of forlorn here. Maybe he was ready to take a little break.
 This one was a fun swing. The boys either sat in it or stood in it, depending on how fast they wanted it to go.
 Svea's trying out the leg press. I don't think she's quite strong enough or tall enough to actually make it work, though! It was kind of fun that there was a parents' exercise area in the park as well, so you could get a workout in while your kids were playing.
 The stationary bike was another part of the workout section of the playground. Svea tried to ride it also, though she couldn't reach the seat and pedals at the same time.
 This was a fun hill to walk up, and you could see so far from the top!
 They even built a maze in the field. It's got about a year of growth now, so it's still fairly easy. As time goes on and the plants grow taller, it will be harder and harder to get through. Svea was short enough that she got "lost" in it. She couldn't actually get lost, since it's about the size of our livingroom, but they all had a fun time playing.
 She fell down on something, and started calling out "I fall down! I fall down!" so Smilla went and rescued her.
 This playhouse is at the playground for smaller children, outside the preschool. Anders, Torben, and Malthe liked climbing onto the roof (it was hardly taller than they are) but were told it probably wasn't a good idea, since the roof wasn't made to carry much weight.
 Inside the fort, there were some old tires, and several milk crates, and various sand toys and whatever else kids could want to help with imaginary play.
 This photo takes in the whole structure. On the left is the small fort - play house- and on the right is a covered fire pit with cooking grates and benches. I'm sure this school has campfires outside as often as the boys' school does. What a fun place to be a kid!
 Svea loved this dog! She is just a puppy still, but strong, and about Svea's size. So she wasn't quite sure what to do -she wanted the dog to play, but then got scared when the doggy "ate" her arm or licked her coat or whatever. It was cute to see them walking around together, though. And what a well-behaved dog!
 It was sort of tough to get all the kids smiling and looking at the camera together, but it sure was a beautiful day to be at the park!
 Here is Anders in the farm courtyard playing with the dog.
 I don't know where this small door leads; it was in the side of a building we walked past on our way to the playground. It was quite short, though, and seemed really quaint and fun in the side of the building.
 This bench invites you to stop and rest awhile.
 Here's Jeff and Malthe playing on the grown up teeter totter. I tried to push them around once; it was harder than I'd expected!

 Svea thought she'd try out the treadmill also. It was cute to watch. I think she needs more practice.

 I love this picture of Anders and Svea walking along the rock wall. She was trying to do it by herself, but it was a bit bumpy, so he went over and held her hand. They walked back and forth for quite a while.
 The dog saw all the pictures I was taking, and looking right at me waiting for a turn.

 This game was fun but also short-lived. Milk crates probably aren't strong enough to sit in to ride down a slide...but the kids all had a great time trying it out!
It was quite fun for the kids that Caspar's kids were visiting their grandparents while we were there. Malthe is just a couple years older than the boys, and the three of them really had a fun time playing together.
We had lamb roast for dinner at their house, and it looked and tasted just like beef! Jeff and I were quite surprised -it didn't taste at all like the lamb we've had other times here. For breakfast, just about everything was homemade -the muesli, the yogurt, the apple juice. We had saft vand also that was made from elderberries from their garden. They both have full time jobs, yet still manage to manage a farm and make their own foods. It was so fun!

Sunday afternoon, we stopped by some other friends houses on our way home. First was a short drive, only about twenty minutes, to Stine's family's house. She was in Jeff's class when he was here long ago. Her son is 11, and the kids had a fun time playing with him as well. They have a little play house in the back yard (it seems every house here has a playhouse and a trampoline in the back yard) and Svea loved playing in it! She found a doll stroller and walked her dolly all over the yard. They have a cairn terrier like Bjorn, so she enjoyed playing with him as well. Though she got a bit scared when he barked at her because he wanted her to thrown the ball. Apparently a 2 year old isn't quite fluent in dog yet.

We drove another forty minutes or so and stopped to see Rasmus and Megan, who we know from Macomb. They were both graduate students at WIU several years ago. Rasmus was paired with us for the "community partners" program where they'd match an international student with a local family to share holidays and meals with since so many of the international students don't get to go home during the year. He brought Megan to our house as well. They are delightful people. They've moved back to Denmark now, and recently had a little boy, so it was fun to see them. They reminded us that when they'd come to our house, Anders and Torben were about the size of Owen! So, it's been a while. It's always fun to see old friends.

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