søndag den 30. december 2018

Harry Potter

The key word for this years Christmas break has been relaxation. No traveling and plenty of pajamas. Actually perhaps a bit much doing nothing, as it has been highly needed this year. But we did have one think on the agenda - to watch all the Harry Potter movies as close together as physically possible. Luca has refused to read the books and watch the movies, but after a couple of visits to Harry Potter world in universal studios he finally agreed:
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He even had his best friend over to watch movies 1 to 5. That did include a sleep over as there are physical limits to how many hours of movie watching you can cram into one day if you also have to eat and walk the dog
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And it has been nothing short of awesome!
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I read the books quite a while ago, but had forgotten many of the plots leaving some of the scenes to be a bit nerve wrecking. We did prepare Luca and Teresa for Dumbledore’s death though, as even I was almost chocked when it happened in the books.
And now we are in grave withdrawal from Harry Potter. It feels so sad to part😢

torsdag den 27. december 2018

Looking back at 2018

We have put another year behind us here in the US. And even though every day life seems to suck up much of our waking hours, there is still many many extraordinary things to look back at. So here we go:

As always January was cold - even more than usual with an intense cold spell, that had a Canadian zoo bring the penguins inside because it was too cold for them. And for the first time we got to see eye-cicles under poor baileys eyes, when we took him out for a walk. It was also my first time at the Detroit auto show - and well....... bringing me there probably belongs in the category of throwing pearls for swine. But the rest of the family liked it!

This time of year is the absolute prime time of synchronized swimming. And with Teresa swimming on a competitive team, it was quite intense. There were meets, and more meets, and parents being involved like crazy with making the swimsuits. And there were college applications for Ulrik. So overall it was probably not a bad thing that we could only stay inside.

Ingen automatisk alternativ tekst tilgængelig.

This early spring was all about traveling. Kristian and Ulrik got to go on their long awaited trip to Tokyo while Luca, Teresa and I ate our way through NYC in the company of my sister. And with the anticipation of both trips as well as how much we all enjoyed ourselves, the rest of March somehow just faded in comparison

In April we learned that Luca was quite a talented volley ball player and we got to spend the very first day of spring inside stinky gym in a middle school to watch his volley tournament. We also got busy with Ulrik being accepted into colleges left and right, but it didn't take us long to settle on University of Michigan, where we got to - ehm - enjoy their VERY persuasive take on making sure that the kids that were accepted would also chose this school eventually. And just when we thought spring was inevitable nature laughed in our faces and covered the state (and all the pretty little new flowers) in a thick layer of ice.

Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: plante og friluftsliv

This month was about 4 wheels! The 4 wheels you get to drive when you pass your drivers test (as Ulrik finally did) and the 4 wheels belonging on loud, obnoxious, gasoline stinking ATVs, that inhabit the otherwise beautiful lake shore by silver lake, where we had the most surreal camp trip of our lives

Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: himmel, ocean, sky, friluftsliv og natur

And along came the end of the school year. Where Ulrik graduated high school and we got to see the long awaited and rehearsed graduation ceremony, where e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e kid had to walk across the stage and receive their diploma. And with a class size of I-don't-know-how-many-hundreds-of-kids it was a long evening. But here he was. Our Ulrik. Graduating with honors.

We spent summer this year with visitors. Both my sister, and Teresa's friend Sarah, who we picked up in O'Hare after waiting for hours! (or at least it felt like hours........). They both celebrated 4th of July with is on a blistering hot summer day, where even the dog went into the water with us. And in between work and summer camps and synchronized swimming (but no camping trips this year) the girls and I also fit in a few days in Chicago with visits to the bean and Chinatown, before Sarah went back home to Denmark.Oh - I almost forgot - we also finally made it inside the Big House for movie night and re-watched Black Panther on the maize and blue turf

Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: en eller flere personer

The end of summer was a big experience for Luca who got to spend 10 days with 3000 other kids in the middle of the woods by lake Michigan. The so called Blue Lake music camp where he significantly improved his flute playing skills and also experienced the joys of the local insect life with arms covered in bites and stings! I got to spend a few days in Milwaukee with a former colleague, who needed help to set up some surgeries. But we did have time to visit the Wisconsin State Fair. And there is only one way to describe that: Cheese of course! (and cows, and Trump supporters, and bacon). And just as August was about to end, Teresa passed her drivers test in the very first try. And honestly - our life has changed tremendously for the better ever since she has been capable of getting herself around town to do sports or meet up with friends.
Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: Teresa Frikke-Schmidt, smiler, friluftsliv og natur

Start of school. And start of college = firstborn child leaving the nest! But we did see him later that month as September also included a trip to Orlando with my sister, where we got to visit not only Disney World but also Universal Studios. It was AWESOME!!!!!!! And by far one of the biggest highlights of the year. I have included the best picture of them all - Donald trying to smooch a completely unprepared Teresa:
Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: Teresa Frikke-Schmidt, smiler, sidder og indendørs

As the trip in September was the highlight for the entire family, I have to admit, that my own personal 2018 highlight was my trip to Korea. I went there to give a talk at a conference (which made me feel like a rock star due to the massive interest in the topic) but I also made sure to spend time enjoying beautiful Seoul. But the biggest experience was visiting the DMZ by the North Korean border - one of the top 3 travel experiences of my life. And I have already persuaded Teresa to go back to Korea with me in 2020.

Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: 2 personer, smilende personer, folk, der står
November was....... well November. The month that truly brings an end to the nice version of Fall, but where we got to spend Thanksgiving with good friends and were truly thankful for everything this year had brought us

Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: 9 personer, herunder Henriette Frikke-Schmidt, Tammy Barnes og Julie Hardy-Beaufay, smilende personer, folk, der sidder, folk der spiser, bord, mad og indendørs

And last but not last December

Where we are currently enjoying the subtle art of doing absolutely nothing for Christmas break but sleeping, eating, watching movies, and going for walks outside. And I have to admit that never in my life have I spent that much time wearing pajamas. But I think I could get used to it
Billedet indeholder sandsynligvis: indendørs

tirsdag den 25. december 2018

An unforgettable Christmas eve

The past few years we have been traveling for Christmas. Either down south or out west, but this year we decided to stay put. Both from a financial (#hellocollegepayments) and from a “we want a Danish Christmas” perspective. We even had another Danish family come over with my “name-sister” (is that even an expression you use outside of Denmark? I don’t know, but that’s what you call two people who share the same name in Denmark. If they are women that is) and her two little kids. Kristian was crazy busy all morning baking rye bread, making vegetable roast for Teresa, getting the duck and the pork ready etc etc. since we would have dinner early to accommodate the 2 year old. Her brother couldn’t care less about dinner obviously, due to his age:
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And dinner was wonderful with as many sugar coated potatoes as everyone wanted! But in between dinner and dessert Emily played a jumping game where she apparently aimed directly for the steel wires on our coffee table with her forehead...... and the cut was bad enough to need stitches🥺So off the two Henriettes went with a screaming toddler (which was completely my fault as she was quite cool until I, in a moment of acute brain failure, decided to take her to the mirror to show her what was wrong. I kind of forgot that this is not a good approach with toddlers😬 Oh boy, I was embarrassed). But we made it to the children’s ER where I hung out in the lobby with a 5 month old who was utterly transfixed by watching Coco on the TV, until his sister and her mom got themselves a room. The we hung out there for a while. Luckily the little patient had received some new books for Christmas, which came in quite handy. After a while another friend arrived, so I could take off and I could proceed with our Christmas Eve with the rest of the family at home. And as always - because he can eat more risalamande than anyone else in the family - Ulrik won mandelgaven.
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And then we pulled out the tree so we could “dance” around it. In reality it is more of a pathetic waddle as everyone has stuffed themselves so full that they can barely stand up. A beautiful Danish Christmas tradition! Bailey thought we had gone insane and tried to walk with us, then decided to block everyone by laying down right next to the tree with his chewbone, and finally he hid under the table as he didn’t feel appreciated I guess.......But he sure did like his Christmas present under the tree
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And Kristian also got very excited to have a little bit of Royal Copenhagen back in his life:
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So overall a traditional Danish Christmas - just as we intended. Except for the need to go the the ER. Nobody wants that for Christmas.

søndag den 16. december 2018

In the past week

-I have found the sparkling jacket that I will use over Christmas and New Years #so80s #unashamed
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- I have been trying to get a good use of my Christmas earrings as this is kind of the the only time of year to use them. These are from the Vatican. I bought them as little medallions and made them into earrings:
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- we have been going to the annual Christmas concert with the band at Luca’s school. They have gotten SO much better since last year and it is amazing to watch their improvement
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- we have hung lights in the bedroom. They are kind of cheesy and teenagy but I still love the look of them in the darkness
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- and today we went to get a tree. Bailey was more the ready to go tree hunting with us, but unfortunately the farm was already closed for the season! 😡 But doggo still enjoyed a trip by car
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søndag den 2. december 2018

Introducing Zen-riette

It is December! And as terribly long and dreadful and dark and grey November is, it still kind of sneaked up on me. One of the very first things that marks the beginning of the Christmas season in our life is the much dreaded visit to the postal office to send the yearly presents and US Christmas snacks to family in Denmark (and the dresses. Never to forget the annual Christmas dress for our 8 year old niece). I hate going to the postal office. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it! It always ends up taking hours and costing in the vicinity of 200$. And because of this I alter my personality to Zenriette. The woman who will not lose her cool no matter what. When I got there yesterday it was no exception. First Zenriette challenge was to park the car as the parking lot there already had so many cars that I couldn’t squeeze mine in. But lucky for me Kristian had picked up custom forms I had filled out at home, so I “only” had to find the right-sized boxes, get them packed, wait in line and pay.......
As if!Turns out those forms were only for military shipments. And the lady at the counter rolled her eyes and gave me another set of forms to fill out. Back to work, writing down addresses and contents and values. Back in line to wait. And then it was finally my turn again. With another lady who rolled her eyes and asked me if I really was sure I wanted to send my parcels as express deliveries as that was quite expensive! And that I reallyneeded to fill out another set of forms then. By this time Zenriette was slowly beginning to crack and reveal the sizzling green monster underneath who would have happily started spewing piercing sarcastic comments left and right. But I went back to filling out forms (here are the two wrong ones. The upper one is clearly for military purposes only, right? So easy to see🙄)
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1 hour and 15 minutes and 125$ later I was finally done. And since I had promised myself a visit to TJ Max afterwards - that’s where I went of course. I wanted to see if I could find something that resembled an advent wreath (usually only the giant door wreaths or graveyard wreaths are available). And believe it or not - I also managed to find unscented candles! And with a short visit to the pine trees outside I ended up with this:
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Quite nice if I may say so myself.