Photos, finally, and Ayyam-i-Ha! (and owls)

I know that it is about time  for a post with some pictures, and not just some pictures, lots!  And it’s finally here!

Now, to prepare you for this post, I have to tell you that I love owls.  I LOVE owls.  Anything owly and I like it.  Automatically.  And I’m incredibly thankful that they are “in” right now because they are everywhere!  So I am busy collecting as many owl things as possible, so I have enough so that when they’re not stylin’ anymore, I can still have my owls.

So, it’s Ayyam-i-Ha!  I know that doesn’t mean much to a lot of people, but for the Baha’is, it’s party time!  It’s sort of our version of Christmas, although there’s nothing specifically religious to observe or celebrate.  In the Baha’i calendar, there are nineteen months, with nineteen days in each.  This leaves four “leftover” days in the year (five in leap years!) that fall on Feb. 26th through March 1st which are earmarked for Ayyam-i-Ha, a time of celebration, being with loved ones, doing service, helping others and anything else nice you want to celebrate.

This year, I hadn’t had much planned.  To be honest, I got a bit caught up in Valentine’s Day, and the end of February really snuck up on me.  My family did a “Secret Camel” (it’s a long story, but it’s basically the same as secret santa) exchange, but I sent my gift off weeks ago, to make sure it got there in time, and kind of forgot about it after that.  To help out our camel-partners, we each made a list of things we’re interested in/would like to get as gifts and sent it to my mom who was doing the coordinating.  Somewhere in my list was, of course “anything with owls.”

My parents have had a box of some things I left behind when I moved that I’ve been wanting recently, mostly because my laptop battery was all but dead, and I ordered a new one to their place to send to me (because even with the shipping, it’s less than half of what a laptop battery would cost me over here).  So I was really excited when the box came, and it also had Ayyam-i-Ha goodies in it!

Now that I had some little gifts, I wanted to make sure Andreas had something to open, too, so I whipped up a quick little surprise…Let’s start with that one.  To preface this, I made this, for Andreas’s sister and her husband when they were expecting their little girl:

owl

It was big and bouncy and…well, big.  Andreas loved it.  So, for Ayyam-i-Ha, he got:

baby owl 2

This little guy!  He’s maybe eight inches tall, very round, and bounces off of everything Andreas throws him at.  The most impressive part is that I knitted him up from start to finish in less than four hours.  You can just call me Speedy Needles.

Anyways, this was only the beginning of the owly goodness!  The package included this lovely lady (which Andreas also loves):

baby owl 3

So sweet!  And her eyes have cellophane in them, so they crinkle.  I have a feeling the baby will enjoy this one.

But that’s just the beginning!  What the package mostly consisted of was the afghan I crocheted after Andreas and I got engaged, which we are now using to cover the couch, since the couch is not a particularly pretty color…

Catan blanket on couch

If you don’t want to cuddle up onto that couch with those owls and all the pillows, I think there’s something wrong with you.  But wait!  The owls aren’t finished yet!

Owl calendar

We’re pretty excited about our new calendar!  Especially now that we actually have social engagements and have things to write on it!  Another gift consisted of this, and Skittles (YAY! Skittles!):

Owl candy dish

I’ve been looking for a good candy dish for a long time now, but haven’t really found the “perfect one.”  Luckily, my mom did!  It’s owly AND green.  That gives anything double-score in our eyes!  We also got some candles which was wonderful!  We’ve been candle-fiends recently, partly because we don’t have any little lamps in the living room yet, and partly because we just love them.  We got some nice simple candle-holders from IKEA (where else?) and I’m falling in love!

And last, but definitely not least was my present from my secret camel!  The day before we opened the presents, we went to visit Andreas’s sister because she had cake leftover, and what better reason is there to get together for an evening than cake?  Anyway, she gave us the lovely gift of a baby-book!  It’s something we both wanted to do, and knew we wouldn’t keep keepsakes or write mementos if we didn’t have a structured book to put them into, so we were so happy!  And my secret camel (my little sister!) included the following in her gift! (along with a generous skein of green baby yarn!)

First Baby Gifts

Baby’s first presents!  I keep cuddling the sleeper.  I can’t help it!  And finally, there was also two more big skeins of wool from my mom, which I already have plans for!  But first, I have to finish this little number:

baby clothes

Everything is so exciting right now!  Happy Ayyam-i-Ha!

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Danish Courses: Take Two!

This Wednesday, I started in my new course at Studieskolen.  The last course I took wasn’t really what I was hoping for, as you might remember from my whiney posts about it.  It was a mix of everything and had us practicing vocabulary, pronunciation, writing, reading, listening, and speaking in general.  It’s a well-rounded course, and I’m sure if you build up from knowing absolutely no Danish and go through the courses from the beginning, it makes a lot of sense, but for me, it didn’t.

Because I learned to speak by listening, speaking, reading, and writing a bit, I can get by in daily life really well.  I can have conversations, and my accent, while definitely there, is decidedly not American, and I think I can blend in pretty well.  What I can’t do very well, is write.  It’s not just the spelling, but I’m completely missing any knowledge of Danish grammar.

So I talked with my teacher from my last class, and she switched me to a class for written Danish in particular.  The first day, he did what was a review of basic sentence structures to most of the class, but for me, it was all new.  I was hurriedly scribbling notes, filing away the new vocabulary (like the Danish word for “substantive clause”) and trying to soak up as much as possible.  I felt like everything we learned was completely new to me, and I was so happy about it.

This is what I wanted.  So even though I spent hours on the homework today (and am pretty sure that I got about half of it wrong), and I’m still not finished, I’m really glad.  When I was in my last course, I would think to myself “this is what school was like?  This is awful.  Maybe I don’t like this after all.”  But today, I really felt like I was back in school, struggling a bit, challenging myself, and feeling like I was learning a ton!

Although I hope that not every class will be quite as overwhelming as Wednesday’s was, I’m so glad to be learning new things, and to feel like I’m on a track to quickly improve my Danish skills (a track I need to be on since I decided to take the big Danish test in May).

To end, here’s a picture of me sitting curled up with my homework today (I’ve missed this so much!!).  If you look closely, there’s evidence of the baby (in the form of my protruding belly) at the bottom.  I’ve got a homework buddy!

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Valentine’s Day 2013, or The Best Valentine’s Day of My Life, Including When I Was in Elementary School and Got Cards with Candy Attached

So, since Andreas and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a day late, and therefore, the blog about it would be two days late, I went ahead and figured that it was okay if it was six days late, too.

Like I said last time, I wanted to make Valentine’s Day a big deal this year!  Not for any particular reason other than I like to make things a big deal sometimes.  As for all that stuff everyone says about Valentine’s Day being just a highly commercialized day to celebrate and do things we should be doing every day: if that is your opinion about Valentine’s Day, keep in mind that Thanksgiving Day is not even a smidgen of a bit different, so don’t be so grumpy!

Our day turned our perfectly.  Seriously, I can’t remember having just a nicer evening together (except for maybe our wedding…but this time, it was just us which made it even better).  The one thing that was not perfect, were the pictures I took, so I’m not even going to try to edit them into something pretty, but I’ll show them anyway!

I did some planning a couple of days beforehand, and went out to buy red candles (and keep them hidden away!).  I also planned to make cream puffs, which I made for a knitting group several months ago and Andreas was crazy about, and Valentine-themed cookies.  I also made red punch, and decided that since I was going to be busy baking all day, that we would order pizzas for dinner, from the pizzeria around the corner.

Andreas came home a bit earlier than I expected, so I shut him out of the kitchen while I hurried to finish my special treats!  It actually turned out really well, since he likes to watch the news, and check his emails and Reddit in the evening, so he got to do that while I worked.  Then, when he went out to pick up the pizzas, I set up in the living room 🙂  He also came home with a bunch of tulips, which was exactly what we needed to make everything perfect!

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After dinner, I got him to dance with me to the love-themed oldies playlist we had on in the background.  Now, dancing with Andreas means me holding his hands while I dance, or basically just hugging, but it’s one of my favorite things.  Then we managed to catch an action-y movie that was on TV, cuddle, and eat our treats.  It was a really simple evening, but the anticipation, the special decorations, and just knowing we made that evening special for each other was really, really wonderful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

There! I know that was probably more mushy and less interesting than what everyone hoped to read, but I was thrilled with how the day went, and I wanted to share!  More non-valentiney posts to come, soon!

The Second Time Around

Now that my blog is over a year old, I can really feel myself lapping the same bends.  I remember what I posted about last Valentine’s Day, and although that’s a weird feeling, it’s also super great! This is probably the longest I’ve ever stuck with a project, and I’m really proud of myself!  Although to be perfectly honest, I’m probably not as proud of myself as Andreas is of me.

This year, we’re putting off our celebration until the 15th, seeing as we have other plans for tonight, and I feel like making Valentine’s Day a big deal.  Last year’s Valentine’s Day was really low-key, which was fine, but this year I’m needing some excitement, and an excuse to bake something fun!  Every year around this time, I remember an old episode of Arthur, where everyone had the winter blues.  To cheer themselves up, they each came up with a new holiday to celebrate, and started arguing over whose was the best, but before they could decide, they realized it was almost time for Valentine’s Day!  So that’s how I always see it now, relief from the winter blues, and this year, I really need some of that.

So my real Valentine’s post will be a little late, but it’s coming!

In other news, I went for another run today for no other reason except that the only thing that sounded worse than going out in the -2 degree weather for an hour of exercise was staying inside where the jackhammer (which is attached to the arm of a backhoe, by the way) was slowly drilling its way through the concrete foundation of our apartment building just below my window into my skull and chipping away at my sanity.

PS- it’s really, really hard not to be dripping with lovey-dovey lists about why Andreas is the best person for me ever, and how great everything is right now, and how I have not just one, but one and a half Valentines this year, so please appreciate my restraint.

Running Again (with an extra sports bra this time around)

So back in the summer/fall, I did some posts on my running!  The program I was on worked really well for me, and I was really happy with the results.  Finally, I loved running!

But then…it was November.  And it was cold.  And we moved (to an area I didn’t know).  And I stopped.  And then I found out I was pregnant.  Now, part of my reason for starting running this summer, was to get into the habit so I could just…continue on during pregnancy and stay fit!  But the habit was already stalled, and I was sick and more tired than I imagined.  I was not going to brave the Copenhagen cold and run.  No way.  Forget that.

Lately, I’ve begun feeling a bit better.  The nausea subsided, the tiredness…well…occasionally that’s better, too, and I started venturing off the couch to actually do some things.  And then, of course, I got a bad cold and retreated back to my corner of the couch.  But I couldn’t get running out of my head.  It was so ingrained in there, I started to have dreams about running.  I would run, and run, and I would feel great.  I woke up and I’d think, “I really miss running.”

So at my first midwife appointment, I asked her advice on whether or not it would be a good idea for me to start up again, and I got the green light.  Basically, she told me to folow my instincts.  If anything felt “wrong” or heavy or uncomfortable, I should take it easy.  So a week later, and almost completely recovered from my cold, I decided to try it.

Two sports bras and a slice of clementine later and I was…..gagging over the kitchen garbage.  It was not a good clementine.  But I rallied, ate an apple, pulled on my shoes and went out.  What I didn’t realize was that it had also snowed two or three inches overnight, which doesn’t make for the best running conditions, but I went on, and once I got to the park (about a 20-minute walk) the snow wasn’t melting on the paths, and I felt I had enough traction to start running!  And it felt good!

I made sure to take it really slow, and only run in about 3-minute spurts between walking, but I’m really glad I did.  I feel like I know now that I can, and while I might not run as much as I used to, it’s still an option, and I want to keep going until it gets too difficult.  It makes me really optimistic about the next few months, and I’m really looking forward to the weather improving, although if I’m being realistic that will probably coincide with getting too big and/or uncomfortable to go out running much.  I’m hoping, however, that once it gets a bit warmer, I can convince Andreas to come on long walks in the park with me.  I’ve never been very good at getting him to, but maybe with puppy dog eyes and a baby belly, I will be more convincing!

Overall, it was a great day so far, and I am really excited about how smoothly everything went!  I’d forgotten how good it feels to be out, and it didn’t hurt that the little baby bump was pretty noticeable under my running kit.  Today I really felt that “we” were going out there, and so even though the running was slow and easy, today felt like a big deal.

Identity Crisis of Sorts

Ever since I let it be public knowledge that Andreas and I are expecting, I thought that the blogging would pick up immediately!  I’d finally told my news, now I could write freely again, right?!  Except that I forgot about what happens to a blog when the blogger undergoes some sort of huge life change.  I’ve had vague ideas for posts, but dismiss them sometimes as “too pregnancy” or “too baby-y.”  I know some of the people who read this blog aren’t really interested in all that stuff, and don’t want me go to into any sort of detail.  I wavered on starting a new blog just for the pregnancy and baby thing, but the truth is, it didn’t work.  Guys, my life is changing, and so is this blog.

I want to feel free to post updates about how stuff is going.  I want to talk about how weird it is that all the baby research and reading I’ve done is suddenly null and void because we’re raising a baby in Denmark, and apparently you can’t get the same stuff here.  I want to talk about being nervous or being hormonal or being completely overwhelmed about what’s happening in six months.  I want to talk about my petty dilemma over whether or not to find out the sex of the baby next month.

And so I’m going to.  Because if I don’t, I probably won’t blog much at all.  Not that all of the posts will be baby-centric, but I know that once I get the blog rolling, it’ll inspire more of the other posts!  The ones that I used to write, about baking, and being an immigrant, and my knitting adventures.  When I first started blogging, I had the same mini-crisis.  I didn’t know what type of blog to be.  Should I be a food blog?  Or a crafty blog? Or a feelings blog?  And then I just said to myself “write whatever you want.”  And I did.  And it’s worked.  Someone always reads what I write, and even if they don’t, that doesn’t mean they won’t read the next post.  So I’m officially giving myself free reign to write about whatever I want to write about, and I’m hoping the lack of inhibitions will give me a little bit more inspiration, and I can get an American Hermit Crab in Denmark back on track!

Some Catching Up

Since I’ve been holding off blogging until I could spill my beans, there’s a lot I haven’t posted about here!  The biggest thing was probably when I went touristing Copenhagen, and spent the weekend in Stockholm.  A friend of mine is studying in Germany for a semester, and since he’s always been crazy about Scandinavia, he came up for a visit!

We planned this visit back in October/November.  I found out I was pregnant just after Thanksgiving, and a few weeks later realized I was going to be acting a tourist in the midst of my first trimester.  The day my friend’s flight was scheduled to arrive, I was probably the sickest I’d been.  I spent the morning hovering around the toilet until I had to leave.  Fortunately, the fresh air seems to calm me down a bit.  Unfortunately, the fresh air was also January air which was really, really cold.  The next few days, we spent exploring Copenhagen, a lot of it on foot.  I know my friend must have severely edited his list of things he wanted to see and do whilst in Copenhagen because I just couldn’t do it all, but even though we didn’t do everything it was still far too much for me.  Three days of traipsing around Copenhagen, and it was Friday night.  We were due to leave for Stockholm in a couple of hours and if my husband hadn’t been coming with us, I think I would’ve lost it.  I was exhausted.  I didn’t want to walk another step.  I didn’t want to wrap my scarf around my whole face anymore.  I didn’t want to see anything.  I wanted to curl up in a ball in my bed and SLEEP.

Stockholm was alright, but I was ridiculously exhausted.  We saw Gamlastan, which was very quaint and cute, and probably my favorite part of the trip.  However, Stockholm was even colder than Copenhagen.  The streets were icy, the wind was cutting, and I couldn’t wait to turn around and head back to the hostel when it got dark (which was, luckily for me, right around 3 or 4 pm).  The second day in Stockholm, I was so hormonally grumpy and tired that I didn’t want to do a single thing.  If it was up to me, we would have gone to the mall, and just sat for the six hours between checking out of our hostel and boarding the train back to Copenhagen.  Luckily, the boys took charge, and we ended up getting a tour of parliament (because it was free and warm in there) which was another highlight of the trip!  It felt like a field trip, and I’d really missed learning about things in that way.

The train ride back to Denmark was also surprisingly good!  We three were sitting in a little group of four seats.  On the way there, we’d had the “compartment” to ourselves, but this time a young woman around our age filled the last seat.  It turned out she was from Germany, and was extremely prone to motion sickness.  The train had poblems and delays (and kept switching direction), and for some reason, Andreas and I also got motion-sick.  I’m pretty sure mine was related to the fact that I was nauseous in general.  Anyway, we all talked and laughed together, which was a great distraction from the fact that we were holding plastic bags at the ready.  It was a good ending to the trip, being able to sit, relax, and get to know someone new!

However, I think that I’ve learned to not plan trips while pregnant.  To be fair, I wasn’t even pregnant during the planning, but in the future, I think I’ll even be more aware about planning trips if I’m thinking about maybe trying for a baby.  Even writing this little summary of a blog post about the trip and thinking about how it was has made me exhausted, but I’ll end with a couple of pictures I managed to get without frostbiting my fingers!

Little Mermaid

 

gamlastan 1

 

gamlastan 2

 

I’m back! And I’ve brought a friend…

I am completely aware of the fact that I’ve been super absent lately.  It’s not because I’ve become so busy that I don’t have time for blogging.  It’s not because I’ve been so boring that nothing worth blogging about has been happening, either!  The truth is that I’ve had a secret, and I couldn’t write here without spilling all of my beans, so all you’ve gotten is my radio silence.  Believe me, things have not been silent.

I recently stumbled upon a quote by Paulo Coelho that goes like this: “Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once. ”  Now…Paulo Coelho was kind of an eccentric, but boy did he sure get this one right.  I’ve spent the last year learning now to deal with life when nothing is happening.  At all.  I’ve learned to keep busy, and I’ve learned that time alone with my own thoughts isn’t the worst thing ever.  I’ve learned a whole lot about Danish, knitting, baking, and a little about computer programming, but mostly, I’ve learned about patience.

This will surely come in handy now that I’ve started hurtling down the roller coaster hill I’ve spent the past year chugging up.  In the fall, everything started happening at once.  I got my visa in October, and we moved in November.  I’ve started language classes, and had to adjust (yet again) to living in a new country.  I “touristed” Copenhagen, and took a weekend trip out to Stockholm on what felt like the coldest days all winter.  But most of all, I’ve been working on something else…

Egg in a Nest

 

No, it hasn’t taken me three months to finish this teeny tiny project.  But it has taken me that long grow the mini-version of the baby we’ll be having in August!  So, all of a sudden, everything is happening.  Not only does that mean that the past few months have been really overwhelming, but it also means that I find myself having everything I’ve dreamed of having for the past few years (and some things I’ve been wanting since I was about 4).  Everything isn’t perfect at the moment, we’re working through challenges, and we know there are lots more to come, but we try to keep in mind that we’ve got the important stuff: each other, our wonderful families, a place to live, enough to live on, and now, the beginnings of our own little family.  What more could we ask for? (except for a TV…a TV would be nice.)