On Wednesday we drove 2½ hours to get to Windsor where cousin Tessa, aunt Karen and Art lives. Tessa is the cutest and happiest little baby and she got lots of kisses, snuggles, and hugs from her cousin Sienna (she got a few smacks and scratches from cousin Elliot). Tessa lives in a nice and spacious house, but most of the walls are painted in dark colours that suck up all the light – not great for picture taking (when one refuses to put on the flash). Tessa’s room is nicely decorated in lavender colours, though, so we managed to get a few good shots in there.
Sienna and Elliot enjoyed themselves in the new surroundings and Tessa was her smiley old self all the way. Sienna particularly liked that she got to stay up real late to play games with aunt Karen.
Farmor lives together with Gump (Darryl) a little bit down the road from Uncle Derek and Aunt Crystal. There is always lots to do at their house. The pigs need to be feeded, vegetables need to be picked, wagon rides need to be taken, driveways need to be decorated, and birds need to be nurtured (the little bird flew into a window and Sienna held it in her warm soft hand until it was feeling better and was ready to take off again).
The kids have been kept very busy ever since we arrived – Sienna in particular. The other day she was carving pumpkins at farmor’s house, going for wagon rides with Gump and Kenzie and Logan, and she also found time for a bubble b@th with the twins.
Yesterday she went with farmor and mommy to a farm with all kinds of halloween activities. She started out by having her cheek decorated with a glittery pumpkin and after that she made a really nice scarecrow with farmor. Then all three of us went inside the big corn maze. We ran into several families that couldn’t find there way out. It must have been a little bit of the Viking survival instinct that kicked in, cause Sienna and mommy were the ones to find the way out. After the maze Sienna picked out a couple of pumpkins to take home and carve out.
In the afternoon we went for thanksgiving dinner at great grandma and great grandpa Ramsey’s house. As always, it was very busy and noisy there, but Sienna had lots of fun playing with Gavin and Ethan (Shawn’s cousin Andy and his wife Colleen’s kids). Sienna and Gavin are born only a day (or maybe it is two days?) apart.
I am little bit behind on the updates, but I’ll try and catch up today and tomorrow.
First off, I can tell that the 18 hours of transportation from Kaj Munks Vej in Denmark to Calton Line Road in Canada went amazingly well. I base this on the fact that the elderly lady closest to us on the airplane commented on our kids’ very good behavior 7 hours into the flight, and that the airline didn’t miss a single piece of luggage (for the first time in 3 years), and that none of the kids threw any tantrums whatsoever despite serious boredom, lack of space and overtiredness.
The past few days the kids have been enjoying the new surroundings and hanging out with the family in Canada. Sienna took one night to adapt to the jetlag, so she is back on her normal schedule. She spent all day and her first night at grandma’s/farmor’s house yesterday (“farmor” is the Danish word for grandma. It means “father’s mother” and Shawn’s mom prefers Sienna and Elliot to use this title rather than grandma).
Elliot is a little bit off his rocker. He is having lots of fun too, but he has a hard time beating the jetlag and he refuses to sleep in the night. He has also been bullying his older cousin Logan, ripping most of the plants apart and he almost stabbed one of the dogs at farmor’s and Gump’s house with a pen.
I am missing my photo editing software, so I am challenged on the picture side, but here are a few pictures of my little troopers playing outside Uncle Derek’s (Shawn’s brother) and Aunt Crystal’s house.
I think many parents have great difficulty realizing when their little ones are due for their first haircut. There is something about those first locks of hair which are so fine and so incredibly soft that makes it almost impossible to part with. Over time I have seen babies with some crazy and not so flattering hairdo’s and I’ve always promised myself that I wouldn’t let that happen to my own kids. I should have heeded my own advice and gotten the scissors out sooner for baby Elliot, because as you can see from below this little Blondie was out of control already. But I finally got my act together and with a little help from daddy and a banana candy (a dehydrated banana packed with healthy vitamins and minerals) we said bye bye to the sideburns.
Before a photo shoot I always ask my clients about the lighting conditions at their home. When they say “I think there is a fair amount of light here”, I can pretty much count on the fact that I am going to be challenged and that we are going to be quite far from having ample and good lighting conditions. This was also the case with my most recent client – a family of five. It was a nice and charming family living in a nice and charming house situated just north of Copenhagen, but there was no way I was ever going to make any magic happen with my camera at that location.
Thankfully the sun was shining and the kids were all teenagers that could take directions, so I made everyone go to an Open Air Museum just 2 minutes away from their house. The Open Air Museum is one of the largest and oldest in the world and it is spread across 86 acres of land and houses more than 50 farms, mills and houses from the period 1650-1950. The museum tells the story about the rural population of earlier times and tucked away in the back of the museum there is a very simple an old little barn house (or something along those lines… probably a garage like it would have looked in the 1800) which is made from really old wood. This particular spot is officially my new favourite photo shoot location in the world (or in Copenhagen at least). The light is cast ind the most amazing way. It doesn’t matter which way you turn, you are guaranteed great lighting and a great backdrop. I LOVE IT!
So naturally I had to pull my own family out to this spectacular location the other day. Sienna was heavily bribed and she performed like a dream and looked ever so cute frame after frame. Elliot had an agenda of his own and was most certainly not cooperative. Unfortunately that seems to be somewhat of a reoccurring problem with this young man, but at least he hadn’t decorated himself heavily with snot and crusties and other goodies all over his face (for which I was thankful).
Well, enough chit chatting for now. As you can see, I did manage to get a few good ones of the little mr. Ramsey too. After picture taking it was time to sit down in the sun and enjoy some freshly baked brownies.
Sienna decorated a very nice balloon with a banana, a chair, a cross, and a Canadian balloon for her aunt Angela’s birthday greeting. Right before we were about to take a picture of the artwork, it blew up. Sienna was too torn up about the ordeal to make a new one, so mommy had to quickly make one featuring a girl saying “Happy Birthday, Aunt Angela”. In case you can’t tell, the girl is holding 4 balloons in one hand and a Danish flag and a Canadian Flag in the other hand. In Denmark it is customary to bring out the flag whenever someone has their birthday. I grew up thinking that this was the custom all over the world until a few years ago when I wanted to congratulate my best friend in the world, Brooke. We were living together in NYC, and I got up early to make her a nice breakfast. I neatly decorated the breakfast plate with little flags, thinking it was the most normal thing in the world right until Brooke said “what the heck is up with the little flags?”. That’s when I realized that birthday flags are only a tradition in Denmark.
09.09.09… today must be the coolest day of the entire year to have your birthday and in Copenhagen we are shouting a loud “hip hip hurray” for mormor. Elliot thought she might like to kick her birthday off with a nice little swim and some serious splashing. Sienna was ready with the obligatory birthday balloons and all the nice presents she and Elliot had prepared the day before. Well, I guess it was mostly Sienna that was preparing the gifts. Elliot was unhappy about not getting to eat the beads, but he had a great time pulling the lids off the crayons and he also managed to make a few blue strokes on a piece of paper. Sienna made a heart and a nice panda bear with purple pants and a green sweater from the beads. In addition she coloured the most beautiful Swiper of the century (with a rainbow coloured nose).
As mormor and Sienna ventured off for a small birthday party in Sorø (with David, Solise and Gabriel), Elliot decided to throw his own party on the kitchen floor. Wieners and raisins were on the menu.
Moster is one of tree Danish words for “aunt”. It is contracted from the words “mother’s sister”. The father’s sister is called “faster” and if the aunt is married into the family she is called “tante”. I don’t have any explanation for the latter.
Last Sunday we all met up at Vesterbrogade to celebrate moster’s 32nd birthday (which is officially today, september 4th). Moster is a very skillful drawer and she painted a beautiful daddy lion on Sienna’s cast, right next to Sienna’s artistic pink, blue, and yellow mommy lion.
Denmark is a nation of bikers, in fact 9 out of 10 Danes have a bike and 34% use it as a mean of transportation. Today it was time for baby Elliot to mount the beast for the first time. He just leaned back and enjoyed the ride as he went from mormor’s house to his own house.
Today I was unloading the dishwasher and I quickly had to drop something off in the bedroom. In the meantime my precious little helper decided to assist me in unloading the upper basket, so when I returned he was balancing on the dishwasher door while waving some cups and utensils around. The kid is weighing around 23 pounds these days so thank goodness for good German engineering… and little helpful souls, of course. By the way, he must have brought the coconut. I am pretty sure it wasn’t inside the dishwasher.
Sienna loves to jump and has been doing it ever since she was born. Yesterday she jumped a little bit longer than expected and landed on daddy. Unfortunately daddy was a lot harder to land on than the nice soft bed, so after 10 minutes of crying hard we rushed off to the hospital. I think Sienna’s loud yelling got us through the emergency room a bit faster, so only 2 hours later her little arm was wrapped up in a cast. Upon Sienna’s request daddy drew an “s” on the cast, mommy made a fish and a car, and Sienna made a pretty lion in bright yellow, pink, and blue colors.
We are back from our little trip to Norway. Despite the fact that the kids are still having some serious sleeping issues, we had a very nice time. The sun was shining and we got to see lots of dinosaur bones and funny statues at the park. The new opera house offered a lot of unique backgrounds for photo opportunities. Unfortunately Sienna was allergic to something in the Norwegian air and couldn’t stop sneezing. We got the best day possible and when we arrived back in Copenhagen it was pouring rain.