For Father’s Day the kids surprised Shawn with a morning picnic outside in the yard as it was a bright sunny morning. Elliot blindfolded him with his hands and Sienna directed him to the correct position to ensure the surprise was unveiled at the right moment. The kids prepared the pancakes all on their own and had also made cute stone art as gifts.
For Mother’s Day we went on one of the family’s favourite forest walks. We brought along my mom to enjoy a beautiful day in the forest and to see if we could show her some of the little creatures that we normally find in this place, primarily tadpoles. The metamorphosis of the tadpoles is fast and influenced by many factors, so although we try to get the timing right we never know if we are going to find tadpoles or frogs. Although we visited earlier than last year we were not able find any tadpoles this time, only baby frogs and a salamander. We had fun guessing how long one of the baby frogs could hold its breath and Elliot also got himself a pet frog, which didn’t seem the least bit upset that I had unknowingly placed the picnic blanket on top of it.
On our last day in Brussels Sienna turned twelve. We celebrated her birthday at a little brunch place called “Oma’s”. Sienna had been hesitant to break her life-long tradition of going to Tivoli with mormor on her birthday, so Elliot and I put extra thought and attention into ensuring that she still felt like it was a special day. As it is very clear from the pictures, Elliot hit spot on with the present that he had gotten for her. The food was good too, although they were very cheap with the pastries so Sienna and I made sure to fill up on an excellent Crème Brûlée.
On Friday this handsome young man turned 9 years old. It was still very dark outside as we all got out of bed to start the day off with pancakes, ice cream, and sprinkles. After that, it was time to go to school. Elliot brought a homemade alligator pull-apart-cupcake-cake with him, which all the kids really liked. Upon his return from school there were more surprises. In his room, mormor was hiding in a giant box. She brought Lego and a cool/cute homemade moose. Elliot was also ecstatic to learn about the Apple gift certificate which Farmor had sent (thank you Farmor), and Sienna had crafted a personal greeting card with two of Elliot’s favorite foods, soy sauce and salmon. Finally, Elliot also found the time to color in the greeting card from great grandma in Canada (thank you great grandma). After a lovely and sunny afternoon, we headed downtown to meet up with Shawn for a game of petanque and some juicy burgers.
I hope that everyone has had just as nice and relaxing of a Christmas as we have. Good food and no stress whatsoever. Just happy people, lots of hugs, and an abundance of homemade presents. Merry Christmas.
Elliot opted out of having a big birthday party this year. He didn’t want any crowds (his words). Just cinnabons for breakfast, lots of uninterrupted Ipad time, and mormor and BC over for dinner and board games.
Homemade birthday cake, greeting cards, and presents. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Elliot prepared a delicious birthday cake for Shawn’s birthday this year, complete with 42 candles in it.
With a little bit of delay I celebrated my 40th birthday on the 20th of August. We started out in the afternoon with a cake and dessert buffet which I had prepared. The buffet was adorned by a timeline with pictures of my friends dating back 25 years (including the few ones who couldn’t make it). After the cake we moved on to the entertainment. It was produced by some utterly brilliant people and I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard and for so long. Finally, we sat down for an exquisite dinner, which I cannot take credit for as it was prepared by a professional and very skillful chef, Morten Vagner. Thank you to my amazing friends for making this event a bigger success than I had ever dreamed of.
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It was one very happy 10-year old who got out of bed this morning. She started out the day with some nice new clothes including some cool neon items, which she will need for the neon-themed birthday party we are throwing for her class at the end of May. She also got some rolling shoes from her cousins in Canada and she got a weekend trip to Barcelona from us. After opening the presents there was time for some cinnamon waffles with ice cream and sprinkles. After that she was off to school. To commemorate the day, she brought homemade party puppies to her teachers and all of her class mates. Before lunch I picked her up from school again, and as tradition goes we headed to Tivoli to celebrate the big day with Mormor.
We arrived in Canada just in time for Valentines day. Our friends Pakizah and Adam were throwing a Valentines party for the kids and we had a good evening catching up while the kids enjoyed some wall climbing and good treats.
December has been a fun month where we found the time to uphold many of our December family traditions. It was Shawn’s year to decorate the tree with the kids and it ended up looking very colourful. Christmas gift production was also at its highest ever, and we went through several roles of tape and paper as everything had to be meticulously wrapped. On top of the traditional cookie decorating, Sienna and I found time to try out a recipe from 1866 for “rustic crunchy vanilla donuts”. I don’t know what they are called in English, but in Danish they are called “vaniljekranse”. For Christmas Eve Sienna made some nice place cards and we had fun setting the table together. We were both really pleased with how it turned out.
On the morning of November the 17th we all got up early to celebrate that Elliot was turning 7 years old. He had a breakfast of his requested favourite (white toast) and he got to open presents which more or less all featured a Minecraft/LEGO theme. As he didn’t want a big party, but had specifically requested to do something low key with the immediate family, we went out to a restaurant and celebrated there. At the restaurant he got to open a few more presents while we waited for the food to be served. He was very pleased with how the day turned out.
Bedstefar Carlos turned 70 this year and everyone met up at a restaurant for a delicious brunch. After that, we went to the park nearby to play games, have ice cream, and enjoy the really nice weather.
Shawn’s birthday gift to me this year was a weekend trip to southern Sweden through an area called Skåne/Scania (the part of Sweden that was once part of Denmark until around 1650). We had a couple of days to explore and relax and enjoy each other’s company while the kids were visiting my parents for a mini holiday of their own. We had great weather and stayed at a spa hotel the first night where we enjoyed a relaxing dinner, a refreshing spa treatment, and great views of the Baltic Sea. We drove around the coast taking in the sights to a small town called Kristianstad where we stayed another night before driving back in the morning to pick up the kids.
When Sienna turned nine, she had the same traditional birthday as she has had pretty much all of her life. Breakfast and presents in the morning, then off to school with a tray of cupcakes (this time in the shape of little owls or birds of some sort). After school it was time to go to Tivoli to celebrate with Mormor. A great day as usual.
I found this super cute ice cream truck on amazon and it was actually the reason why Sienna and I decided on an ice cream theme for her birthday party. Very cute, but not very practical, seeing that it is difficult to put real ice cream on display. Instead, we made ice cream piñatas, ice cream cupcakes, and ice cream cookies.
On top of the Easter egg hunt we had in Sweden, we also had our traditional hunt around the house. This year, I had put four eggs of each color out in the backyard except for the orange ones where I only put two. The kids then had to pair eggs of every color and in the end decide which egg that didn’t have a partner. Sometimes they had to leave eggs behind because they had already collected a pair of that particular color, so this made the hunt less frantic and more challenging, as it required a bit of thinking and keeping track.