Happy Birthday Farmor

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To those of you who are just joining the blog, "farmor" is the Danish word for grandma (the father's mother) and Joanne prefers that title over grandma. If Elliot is looking slightly puzzled, it's because Shawn is waving Mac (the dog) in front of the camera to get his attention.

A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to farmor in Canada from everybody in Copenhagen. We hope you have a very nice day.

The End of Baby Elliot

My maternity leave ended on Sunday so this week has been quite busy. A few hours ago I just realized that I haven’t made arrangements for Baby Elliot’s Birthday, which is coming up in less than 2 weeks. So as soon as the kids were in bed I sat down to create an invitation. When he turns one he is officially a toddler (in my book anyhow), so he will have to lose his cute nickname that Sienna gave him long before he was born, i.e. “Baby Elliot”. I don’t think we will be calling him “Toddler Elliot” instead. He will just be known to the world as “Elliot”.

By the way, I have also found the time to update the missing posts/pictures from our trip. Scroll down or click here: Belize , Honduras, Inside the Carnival Legend ,and The Florida Aquarium.

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Melanie

A few days after we left for Canada Sienna and Elliot got a new little cousin in Denmark. Melanie was born on October 11, and her parents are Maibritt and Jacob (my younger brother). Sienna and I went to meet her for the first time yesterday. She was very cute, but not in the mood for pictures. She would either make herself cross-eyed or put her hands in front of her face or yell at us. I managed to get a couple of shots while she was napping and a single one before she covered her face with her hands. Congratulations to Maibritt and Jacob on their beautiful new baby girl.

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Thanks Guys

This will probably be the never-ending story with me, but I am still far behind on the pictures. I am sorting like a crazy and will soon return with some of the missing ones, but before I do that I just want to express our gratitude to Kim, Chris and Lucas, who spent a week with us at the cruise and thereafter endured our company for another 5 days while we stayed at their house in downtown Toronto. Amazingly enough we were still good friends after spending all this time together.

Thank you so much for everything guys!

A big thanks to Kim, Chris and Lucas. See you next year!
A big thanks to Kim, Chris and Lucas. See you next year!

Airlines

In my book airlines generally have a pretty bad track record. It is extremely rare that thinks run smoothly and when we weren’t able to check in for our return flight on Wednesday I already started having bad feelings. Shawn called KLM and they did confirm that we were checked-in on 4 seats together, but when we arrived at the airport in due time, those seats had been given away to someone else. Everything was somewhat chaotic because they had canceled the previous flight and now they were stuck with 400 passengers too many. They managed to get us on a flight with Air Canada via London, but we had to run from terminal 3 to terminal 1 with two tired kids and well over 200 kilos/450 pounds of luggage.We could never had made it if it weren’t for Shawn’s good friend Oliver, so once again a BIG THANKS to him (he also always meets and greets us at the airport when we fly in).

At terminal 1 the Air Canada representatives didn’t think it was a problem that they could only seat us one by one (we had a seat in the middle row on 4 different rows). They thought that we should just be grateful they came to our rescue and found seats on a sold-out flight. Fortunately the air hostess was very friendly, and she managed to get us somewhat together so Elliot and Sienna didn’t have to handle the 7-hour flight commute to Europe on their own. The airplane was much smaller than KLM’s, but much never and nicer, and the kids slept reasonably well so other than the initial stress it actually ended up being a quite tolerable journey for once.

Sienna has already mentioned many times that she misses Canada and the family and friends there, but both the kids were still very happy to be home and were jumping around once reunited with all of their toys and their rugbrød (i.e rye bread which is only made properly in Denmark). Our 8 suitcases and 5 carry-on bags were cleared out an put away in record time (less than an hour) and now everybody is working on overcoming the jet lag while the washing machine is working on the first of approximately 20 loads of laundry it has coming.

I wanted to demonstrate the enormous amount of luggage we always bring back, but I had the wrong lense on my camera (too much zoom) so I had to run halfway through the terminal to get all the luggage (well over 200 kilos/450 pounds) in the frame, and there wasn't really time for that.
I wanted to demonstrate the enormous amount of luggage we always bring back, but I had the wrong lense on my camera (too much zoom) so I had to run halfway through the terminal to get all the luggage (well over 200 kilos/450 pounds) in the frame, and there wasn't really time for that.

Happy Birthday, Daddy/Shawn

October 28th is Shawn’s birthday and this year he was turning 35. Sienna and Elliot had arranged for a big bouquet of birthday balloons for their daddy and I picked up cupcakes from the cutest little store down the road. We spent all afternoon and the evening at our friends’ house – Steve and Daisy, and their son, Bryant. Jen and Seb, and Adam and Ethan also joined us and everybody had a really good time. Thanks again to Daisy and Steve for a spectacular dinner and a big load of delicious snacks and thanks to everybody for all the nice gifts for Shawn and the kids.

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The Florida Aquarium

After the cruise we had a few hours to kill before we headed back to Canada, so we decided to check out the Florida Aquarium, which is right outside the port. I went inside with the kids while Shawn stayed with all of the luggage. It was difficult taking pictures when I had to attend to Elliot and Sienna at the same time, but it is a pretty nice and big aquarium.They had some huge stingrays and a very big and very ugly fish(bigger and longer than Sienna). They also had alligators, starfish that you could touch, parading penguins, and lots of colorful fish and jelly fish.

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It’s Kind of Gloomy

If Winnie the Pooh had been on-board the ship, I’m pretty sure he would have said that it was kind of gloomy. Although the Carnival Legend was build as resent as 2002,  the interior design was extremely murky and tacky throughout the ship. These pictures below are just to give you an idea. They are from the dining room and from a place called “The Enchanted Forest”. Sienna renamed it the spooky forest and it was her favorite place on the ship. Every night she would read her bedtime stories here. It was simply two corridors – one on each side of the ship – with some plastic tree trunks on the one side of the wall, tables and chairs on the other side, and some lights flashing here and there. It was always completely deserted and I have no idea what the designer could have possibly intended with this place, but at least he can rest assured that there is one person in this world who really liked his idea.

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Roatan, Honduras

Our last stop was a small island just of the coast of Honduras called Roatan. The weather was extremely humid and hot and we had signed up for an exciting “Pirates, monkeys and parrots tour”. After being instructed multiple times by our guide to discard all bags and bottles so the monkeys wouldn’t attack us, we showed up with another 200 tourists to take turns holding one small monkey. We waited in line while the monkey moved from one arm to the next, but to everyone’s surprise the monkey handler placed the monkey on Sienna’s head instead of her arm. Needless to say, she was fairly uncomfortable, but once it was off her head and on daddy’s arm she was very relieved. Other than monkeys we saw parrots, iguanas and humming birds. Baby Elliot tried to grab a parrot, which quickly turned around and snapped at him. Dad saved him just in time before he lost any fingers. We took a quick jump in the ocean before we had to get back to the ship.

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Belize

In Belize Kim and I went for some nice snorkeling and we also spent an hour on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere. Kim noticed that one of the sea shells were moving and it turned out that a little crab was living inside of it. It kept hiding, but she lured it out with some sea weed.The little elephant made from towels was one of many amusing creations from the cleaning staff. I guess it is a cruise thing that you twist and shape creatures with the towels, because they did the same thing when we were on the cruise down the Nile in Egypt.

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Cozumel, Mexico

I was expecting to be posting Kodak moment after Kodak moment on this trip, but so far there hasn’t been too many. The weather has not been great at all. It’s warm but it’s raining every other minute. Today we arrived at Cozumel, Mexico and as Shawn and Chris went off for some 4-wheeler/crocodile/ruin/snorkelling event, the rest of us tried to find a nice beach. We got caught in the pouring rain and since the kids were wet anyhow, we let them splash around for a bit. Elliot wanted to head out on his own, so he continuously tried to make it for the alley behind us. It didn’t help any that Kim had a serious talk with him. As it cleared up we found the only nearby hotel with a pool and a beach – just in time for another rain shower. Elliot and mommy had a little swim in the rain/ocean, but the resort wasn’t too minded towards kids, so we headed back to the ship after a short while.

This picture of Sienna on the "Carnival Legend" is the only decent picture I have so far
This picture of Sienna on the "Carnival Legend" is the only decent picture I have so far
Lucas, Elliot, and Sienna playing in the rain on Cozumel. Notice how Elliot is constantly trying to make his escape to the alley on the right.
Lucas, Elliot, and Sienna playing in the rain on Cozumel. Notice how Elliot is constantly trying to make his escape to the alley on the right.

Grand Cayman

Tuesday we arrived at the Cayman Islands, but unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs most of the day so we never made it to the nice beach. There was plenty of water around, though, so Sienna and Elliot enjoyed some serious puddle jumping. We also went on a semi-submarine trip, but the visibility wasn’t great due to the weather and the air conditioner was broken on the boat, so it was somewhat of a humid and stinky ride. Back at the ship the kids had some fun in the pool and after that they relaxed with a bubble b*th in the Jacuzzi with their dad. Other than that we are spending some quality time with our good friends – Kim and Chris and their son Lucas. For a short while we also enjoyed some local company in the shape of a goofy-looking bird. A few of the pictures below are from our one night in Tampa before the cruise, where Sienna had an evening swim in the hotel pool.

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Mixed Pictures from Canada

I’m behind on the pictures from Canada, but I’m working hard to catch up. Here are some various snapshots of Sienna and Elliot hanging out with some of the newer additions to the Ramsey family.

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Elliot and Sienna having fun with Owen, Kenzie and Logan at Farmor and Gump's house

Elliot and Sienna having fun with their cousins (Owen, Kenzie and Logan), their aunt (Ashley), and their grandpa (Dave).
Elliot and Sienna having fun with their cousins (Owen, Kenzie and Logan), their aunts (Ashley (centered), Angela and Crystal), and their grandpa (Dave).

Visiting Baby Tessa

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.

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Hanging out with Farmor and Gump

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).

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Keeping busy

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.

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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.

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My Little Troopers

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.

Sienna in the front yard of uncle Derek and aunt Crystal's house
Sienna in the front yard of uncle Derek and aunt Crystal's house
Elliot running around ouside uncle Derek and aunt Crystal's house
Elliot running around ouside uncle Derek and aunt Crystal's house
Elliot and Sienna playing by the pond with their sticks
Elliot and Sienna playing by the pond with their sticks
Sienna taking a ride on the sea monster
Sienna taking a ride on the sea monster
Elliot with a stick (these kids like their sticks)
Elliot with a stick (these kids like their sticks)
Sienna swinging VERY high on the swing
Sienna swinging VERY high on the swing