4 hours of complete quietness can soothe the mind of a mother who just spent 6 weeks in constant company with her 3 kids.
4 hours of complete quietness can soothe the mind of a mother who just spent 6 weeks in constant company with her 3 kids.
In the middle of your nap, you used to call me. Not that you could say any words or knew my name, after all you were only a few months old. But your small complaining sounds told me that you needed me.
We’re spending our summer away from home. Summer in New York has never been my thing; too hot, too humid, too many tourists in town and too many friends out of town.
– The scent at the back of your baby neck.
– How you always rub your hairy little head against my cheek when I’m holding you close.
– How you stop crying the minute you are in my arms.
– Your smile, that starts on one side of your mouth, moves to the other and ends up as a wink of one eye.
– How even the smallest clothes were way too big for you just two months ago and how now they don’t fit you anymore.
– Your little hamster cheeks that seem to be growing every day and how I feel like squeezing them all the time.
– How I cried when the doctor at the hospital told me that you had to spend your third night away from me (and how much better I felt when I saw how you loved laying in that warm and cozy light box).
– Your little hand that always wraps around my finger when I’m nursing you.
– Your first babbling sounds that are still so calm and gentle.
– How you fall asleep in the same room as your sisters every night, and how full my heart feels when I see all three of you laying there side by side.
– How you always fall asleep when your daddy is carrying you around.
– The warmth of your milky breath when you once again fall asleep on my stomach.
– The little smiles you make when you’re asleep.
– How you like to be warm and tuck yourself close to me and fall asleep when you’re done eating.
I write these words with one hand. My other arm is wrapped around the warm and soft body of a tiny baby who for the 7th time today is nursing herself to sleep. Though I’ve been here twice before, with a newborn on my arm and yet another cold cup of coffee on the table, I had forgotten that nursing is a full time job, that it hurts more than anything, and that it’s also the coziest thing in the world.
The first time I was pregnant, I worked at a fancy fashion magazine, wore high heels, pretty dresses, worked late, went to photo shoots and attended dinners and parties with a non-alcoholic cocktail in my hand.
Before Giving birth to my first daughter, I imagined myself as the very organized type of mother who would write down every new milestone, fill out baby journals and preserving all those little steps and memories that together would form my daughters childhood. Turns out I’m not.
When I was a child, I wanted my name to be something else. Something more adventures, something that would make you think of girls who lived in forests, who could speak to animals and who were never afraid of the dark. For a while I thought of myself as Tusnelda (a rather weird and quirky danish girls name), but throughout my teenage years, I settled with the name my parents had chosen for me. I’m named after my father’s grandmother, and even though I never met her, that seemed to make sense to me.
With Thanksgiving over, most of the turkey eaten and the first Sunday in advent upon us, we have slowly started our first Christmas preparations. I’m trying to make the month of December more about little moments together and less about presents, Santa and wish lists (you can read about our Christmas calendar of great moments right here) and doing easy crafts together is an all-time family favorite in our home. →
Last year December came without me having done any kind of Christmas preparations, and on the evening of the 30th November I realized that I had only a few hours to prepare some kind of simple Christmas calendar. So instead of going for the traditional 24 small packages I went for this. A Little Tree of Great Moments. And even though there were no presents to open up, the girls ended up loving it.
Inside my belly is a little girl growing. She will be my third daughter, the last part of my own little trilogy of sisters. I’ve known about the sex since really early in my pregnancy. Both because I somehow always felt that having a boy just wasn’t and option and because of a blood test that gave me the option of finding out.
When I was young, I always told people around me, that I was never going to have any children. I guess that’s what a lot of twenty-something girls tell themselves and their surroundings. But for many years I somehow seemed to believe it. None of my girlfriends had gotten pregnant, we were all slowly reaching our late twenties and more focused on carries, work goals, pretty dresses and having fun than on starting a family.
· A short text about why skipping school can sometimes be okay ·
Today I let my 1st grader skip school. Not that she was feeling sick, had thrown up at night or had bumped her head. She just didn’t feel like going, which is really rare for her because she loves school.
I guess it was just one of those mornings.
• A small text about how a park and some spring weather helps me find the ease of motherhood •
Once again I have discovered something that I seem to realize every year when spring arrives and forget again when autumn kicks in. As the weather gets better and allows you to spend more hours outside, being a parent gets so much easier.
• A bit about why it has been quiet and a month seen in pictures •
Lately I have felt lost for words. Not so much when it comes to chatting with friends over a cup of coffee or talking with my children about how their day has been. But when it comes to putting words down on a piece of paper (or into a document on my computer) I have been feeling like I had nothing more to say. For weeks it felt like I would never get back into it.
• A bit about growing up in a metropole and my love for urban gardening with kids •
I want my children to grow up with hands that are dirty from digging in the soil. I want them to know how a tiny seed can grow into a flower or how a plant can grow tasty vegetables. I want them to know that you should take good care of trees and I want to teach them to see the beauty in a single flower.
Being close to nature and growing up with green fingers can be hard when you live in a busy metropolis. But we do our best, and accept that sometimes that means making a mess indoors. →
• A list of things that help me be off line •
A few months back, a friend of mine posted a drawing on Instagram which her daughter had been asked make in school of her family doing their favorite things. The girl had drawn her dad with a football, her brother running around and playing with his friends and herself sitting with all her dolls. Her mum was standing in the background looking at her phone.
Right away I decided that a similar picture would never be drawn by any of my daughters.
• A bit about seeking silence when your life is full of noise •
I have always been a big fan of silence. The non existing sounds of lives lived around me, the monotonous noise from waves on the beach, the sounds you hear when you lay still in the grass on a warm summer day, or taking a walk on a snowy Sunday morning. Being in my zone without letting anyone disturb. After almost 7 years of motherhood you can easily forget to take notice of the silent moments, because nothing is hardly ever silent when you spend most of your time with two talkative girls and an energetic husband. There’s the constant requests for food, a toy or help to go to the toilet. An argument that has to be stopped. The loud noise from two girls playing. The many daily chores that need to be done. A little person who falls and hits her knee. A temper tantrum that started because of unknown reasons. Being a mother is a challenge bigger than any other and seeking some of that unfamiliar silence is sometimes the only thing I feel can keep me sane.
• A small list of all the things we love right now •
Slow mornings, a hot cup of coffee and a walk through our neighborhood. It’s all the small things coming together. Not that I couldn’t make a list of all the things I hate right now, but I try and focus on the positive side. That’s why making list of all the things we love right now, always gets me in a good mood.
• About being a mother to a daddy’s girl •
I can still remember when I first realized that Eleanor was turning into a daddy’s girl.
Alma was just a few weeks old, and Eleanor was three and a bit. Every time I was nursing Alma, Eleanor would sit next to me hiding under a blanket while silently crying over the loss of her position as an only child.
• A bit about my attempt of making some positive morning rituals •
Friday morning, and the first week of being back to everyday life and morning routines is almost over. The two weeks of vacation really slowed us down and getting back into days with a bit more hustle and bustle and many more plans hasn’t exactly been easy. Despite sleeping for 12 hours every night my daughters still feel tired when we walk to school in the morning, and yesterday was the first time my eldest was late during her whole time as a 1st grader.
Where the end of 2015 was full of energy for my youngest, 2016 has put her in a state of hibernation. Staying in bed, hiding under the blankets and being cozy on the couch seem to be her thing these days where the temperature is hitting way below zero, and just talking her into going to the playground seems like hard work.
• A list of all my little new year resolutions •
Yesterday I bought a new woolen coat. It’s not the pratical I-could-cross-the-northpole-and-sit-3-hours-on-a-bench-at-the-playground-in-minus-degrees-and-stil-not-be-cold kind of parka that I was planning to buy, but it is more or less everything else. Classic design, great materials, a beautiful color (not black, which is a huge deal to me), from one of my preferred brands (my wardrobe only consists of about 5 different brands) and on sale which didn’t exactly make it cheap but at least made it possible for me to buy it. It was also the first piece of clothing I have bought for myself in about 6 month and I know it will be a part of my wardrobe for many years to come. And since buying lesser things in better quality and in a classic and long-lasting design is one of my new year resolutions for 2016 I quickly convinced myself that this was a good decision.
I’m normally not the kind of person who will come up with a lot of new year resolutions, but for some reason I have a whole list this year. Nothing big, just small things I really want to do or not do in the upcoming year. And since a few of them are very easy to bring into your everyday life I thought I would share them here with you. Who knows, maybe some of you will be inspired.
• Some thoughts on a mother’s urge to keep all the little memories alive and a look back at some of our favorite 2015 moments •
To me, motherhood consists of a larger collection of small moments which together constitutes my life with my daughters. In all those moments lay my happiness, my fears, my sadness, my love, my anger, my biggest struggles and my admiration for being able to see these two little babies slowly form their own personalities. One thing that I really fear is for those small moments to slowly start fading or even worse, to escape my memory for good.
• About saying goodbye and moving on •
Yesterday we slept with the windows open. After a month of christmas celebrations, cozy afternoons, house guests, pine trees, presents, hello’s, thank you’s and goodbye’s, it felt like we needed some air. I normally leave our Christmas decorations out until after New Years, but this year it felt wrong and with 2016 slowly crawling upon us, I decided that today was the day to take them down. While the girls were playing in their room and I was drinking a cup of coffee (which as usual had turned cold while I was preparing a snack for the girls and helping my youngest go to the toilet) I said my goodbyes to snowflakes, stars and tiny christmas trees. Afterwards I put on my winter lipstick (yes, I have one favorite color, that I always go back to when my skin turns winter-white), enjoyed the scent from the white hyacinths I bought on my morning walk and started thinking back on the year gone by.
• About how life sometimes can get a bit easier if you try and pick your battles and letting things go •
Despite all it’s wonder and beauty, motherhood can be quiet hard at times. I wish I could say our life was mostly smooth sailing, but it’s not. Instead I try to navigate my way through treenage tantrums, moodiness and small annoying things that suddenly turn into big scenes. And although I know everything would be easier if I embraced the choppy waves in hugs and endless love, but l find it hard to be that kind of person.
• A few thoughts on thankfulness on this my first Thanksgiving ever •
I often forget to be thankful for all the little things. Like a new pair of wooly socks, my husband heating up the bed (he travels a lot and it’s so cold when he’s not here) and my children playing and laughing out loud together. That extra cup of coffee on a sunny Sunday morning and our home at night when my kids are in bed, my husband is quiet and I get to be alone with my thoughts for a little while.
• My favorite Apple pie recipe •
As the temperature dropped outside, we decided to stay in on a cold and grey Sunday, which turned out to be the day that we would welcome colder weather, winter jackets, red cheeks and running noses.
In an old notebook I brought with me from Denmark, we found our family Apple pie recipe, which we normally would bake in our little summerhouse kitchen using only apples from our own garden. Little busy hands made for happy hearts when we after a few hours of baking all sat down together and celebrated the season, the birth of a new cousin and the upcoming holidays.
I love the nostalgic feeling that always sneaks up on me when autumn starts knocking on my door. It makes me dwell in old memories and think back on days and years gone by. Like today, when I realized that I’ve been married for more than six and a half years, and I remembered how I used to think that any adult older than 35 was half dead all ready. I’m 37 and I feel quiet alive. I also remembered how my husband, my eldest daughter and I visited New York exactly four years ago, while we were still living in Copenhagen. We borrowed a crazy apartment on the 15th floor of some modern building that had panorama windows overlooking Central Park, and every morning my daughter and I would get up really early and go sit in the window and look down at all the beautiful golden colors. While we were staying there my husband and I decided that we wanted another child and 9 month later my youngest daughter was born.
Today is a day of remembrance in this country, and maybe it has rubbed of on me a bit. Central Park holds a lot of great memories for me and my children, and so this was where we decided to spend this day off school. In a sea of golden colors and huge piles of leaves, we had our last picnic of the year, took a final ride on the carousel and spent hours making a beautiful leaf collection. Right now 20 small fingers all covered in glue are transforming all the leaves into a little piece of art and a small herbarium.
Soon the kids will be asleep, and I’ll spend the rest of the evening working on my two new creative projects that I one day hope to be able to share with you. I’ll drink some tea, do some research and listen to the wind chimes that are hanging outside our window that I have come to love so much.
Today is our 1 year anniversary of living in New York and I thought it called for a bit of an update.
Even today while I’m ill at home, and my husband is in L.A for work and my daughters are both very concerned that Halloween with an ill mother is not going to happen or be fun, we still love living here. There are moments (like yesterday and today) where I miss my “village”, and everybody feels too far away, but most days things are great.
Here, one year after we started out on this adventure, I felt like sharing some ups and downs about moving to New York.
We love the slow way of living that we have engaged in. I don’t mind that small things can take a long time, and I accept that some days I don’t even get as far as putting on mascara.
We feel that this change of scenery has made us look differently upon so many things. At people, at relationships and at social connections. New York has turned both me and my kids into more open people, and should we ever move back, I hope to bring this with us.
I miss our friends, sharing a glass of wine with a bff or a Friday dinner with people we know so well and are comfortable with, that we don’t have to tidy up the living room before they come over.
I love that we live just a short walk from the amazing Brooklyn Bridge Park. Not many weeks go by without us going there at least once.
I miss nature. Not nature like in Central Park or Prospect Park, but real nature like the wild forest we go to when we’re staying in our summerhouse in Denmark.
One of the things I really want to do this second year in New York is to explore the amazing nature this city is surrounded by. We haven’t been good at doing this so far.
I love that I have been given an opportunity to spend this much time with my toddler. Even though having her at home half the week can sometimes drives me crazy and make me feel like I’m wasting my time, I think it’s the best investment I have ever made in myself and my family.
I have won over some simple fears I had when we first moved here. Like how do I take the subway on my own with 2 kids and a stroller and a hundred stairs.
I still don’t like going to the doctor here. Things are done in another way and although a check up is much more thorough here, there are things I still don’t fully understand with the healthcare system.
Politeness is highly regarded, and my kids have learned to always say thank you and please which I really like. On the other hand, the rude people you sometimes bump into on the street are so much more rude here, than I have ever seen in Denmark.
We get to celebrate Halloween in one of the most crazy Halloween settings you can ever imagine.
We might not get to see our family every month, but when we do see them it’s for 10 nights instead of just one or two, and even though it can sometimes end up being a bit intense, it means that my children really get to know their grandparents.
Exactly one year ago, we said a final goodbye to our old home. After months of trying to figure out all the practical things, and two weeks of intense packing, arranging and trying to get settled with the idea of leaving my beloved Copenhagen behind, we took off to London to spend a few days with my in-laws before moving to New York the day before Halloween.
During the last 8 months I’ve been asked lot of questions about moving abroad with small children, and since I haven’t always been the best at answering, I’ve tried to collect and answer some of these questions here:
What is the most difficult thing about moving?
It’s in no way easy to start a new life in a new city where you don’t know a lot of people. Both on a practical and on a personal level. You end up spending a long time trying to figure out how to deal with really simple things like how to make sure your child gets the necessary vaccines. My youngest daughter is in pre-school a few days a week, and spends the rest of the time with me taking art, music and yoga classes and going to the playgrounds. Even though I love spending time with her, it took me a while to get settled with this. I actually started Little Kin Journal as a way to accept that I would be spending most of my time in a child’s universe. It was my way of getting devoted to my new life and taking a step away from the life I used to live.
Do you miss your family?
Yes. But not as much as I thought I would. My parents have visited a few times, and my daughters and I spent almost 2 months in Denmark this summer, which we plan to do every year. In some ways, I think our relationship has ended up being more balanced since we moved. Because of the distance I can no longer rely on my parents to help solve my problems.
How did you decide on the area where you live?
That was a tricky one. When my eldest child was about two years old, we stayed in Manhattan for two weeks. She got stressed with the crowds and constant noise, so we knew that wouldn’t be the right place for us. Half a year before moving, we took two months off work to try out New York and figure out if this could be our new home. We ended up in one of the most child friendly areas of Brooklyn and we live really close to an amazing public school. Brooklyn Bridge Park is only 10 minutes walk away and we are 3 subway stops away from the Lower East Side in Manhattan. These things mean a lot to us, and even though we have to pay more for our apartment than one the same size in another area, it’s well worth it.
What do your children miss the most?
Their grandparents and our summerhouse. In the beginning my 6-year-old missed our old home a lot. My daughters were five and two when we moved, and neither of them were really attached to their friends. I think it’s much harder to move when children get older. I know some Danish people in Brooklyn who moved here over two years ago and their 13-year-old boy still misses his friends in Denmark every day.
Does your everyday life looks the same as it did in Denmark?
No, It doesn’t. If you want a good full-time day care in New York, it’s almost as expensive as a full time salary. At the moment my youngest is in pre-school (which is much more learning based than day-care) a few times a week, and for the rest of the time she’s home with me. A lot of people do it like that here, or you hire a nanny to take care of your children during hours they’re not in daycare. Since my husband is working a lot and his work requires a lot of traveling I take care of most of the practical things at home and with the children. The weekends we always try to spend together.
Did you keep an option open for moving back to Denmark if you didn’t like it?
We told our 6-year-old that she had to give it two month, and if she didn’t like it by then, we would move back home. A week after moving she said, she never wanted to move back home again. Before moving we decided to evaluate every year. In May this year, we decided to stay another year, and just a month ago, we decided to stay for at least two more years. My youngest daughter is starting school here next year, and both her and I would really like to see what that does to our everyday life.
Did you have things like schools, daycare apartment, work etc. settled before moving or did you just figure it out when you got there?
We had most of it settled before moving, except from daycare for my youngest, which is very different here, than in Denmark. Before moving, my husband went to New York for a few weeks to sort everything out, and after spending the first two weeks looking at a lot of awful and expensive places, he found a fairly spacious and very light apartment just one block from one of the best public schools in New York, which happened to have an open spot.
Do you ever regret moving abroad with small children?
No, and even if moved home tomorrow, I couldn’t imagine being without this experience. Before moving here, I sometimes questioned why we didn’t do it before we had children, but I never think of that anymore. I believe every family would gain and learn a lot from living abroad for a few years, and I think most children will end up seeing it as a positive experience.
I used to think that spring was my favorite time of year. As a spring-child, I’m born to love the feeling of new things blossoming. The ease with which April and May seem to flow by while days get warmer, evenings get lighter and people you love and cherish get sun kissed noses and start spending all their time outdoors.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve changed my mind. Fall has moved to the top of the list of my favorite seasons, and though I love barbecuing in our summerhouse garden, swimming in the sea or drinking my morning coffee in the summer sun, nothing beats the melancholic and gloomy feeling, that comes with falling leaves, the first fall storms and the woolly sweaters you suddenly feel like wrapping yourself and your children in.
I love red cheeks on my children’s faces when we have been outside playing in the park all day. I love kicking the fallen leaves, and throwing them in the air and letting them rain down on me. I love sitting on a blanket under a tree, enjoying one last picnic before the winter really kicks in. I love freshly picked apples. I love New York all dressed up in the most amazing rusty red colors. I love drinking my coffee hot again. I love to watch my children explore nature in another way that they did during summer. I love to watch squirrels bury their acorns for winter. I love that I can wear wooly sweaters, light jackets or even a long pair of pants without sweating and overheating. I love that I can wear shoes and boots (this morning i walked out only wearing sandals, and I was actually feeling cold). I love that it’s now ok to stay in all day and do little projects like drawing, painting and sewing with my kids. I love pumpkins and houses all dressed up for Halloween. But most of all, I love that fall will be followed by winter, which will be followed by spring, then summer and then fall again, and that i’m living in a city, where seasons are so explicit and changes so radical as here in New York. Those are the things I love about fall
I have always dreamed about growing my own vegetables. When I was a child, I knew of nothing better than eating a fresh carrot that still had it’s top on, and I remember days spent in my grandmother’s greenhouse, watering and cleaning the cucumbers and tomatoes and then afterwards going outside to pick bowls full of tasty strawberries. At the age of 86 my grandmother is still growing vegetables in her greenhouse and if my youngest daughter had the chance, she would happily eat every single tomato in there straight from the vine.
Before moving, I got to live out a bit of my dream in our summerhouse garden, where our old fruit trees and bushes would keep both us and all the deers stuffed full of fruit all throughout fall, and many a fruit pie has been baked with freshly picked apples and pears in our little cottage-kitchen.
When we moved to New York, I assumed nothing homegrown would find it’s way to our home anymore, except maybe a bit of basil.
This was until I discovered the Green Markets Farmers Market New York. Here, small family farmers sell their locally grown products directly to the consumers. The concept was founded back in 1976 and today more than 50 markets take place every week. Once a week, my youngest daughter and I will take a trip to one of the many markets and load up on freshly grown fruits and vegetables, homemade jam and locally produced honey. For me, taking the subway to the Farmers Market somehow seems like a bit of a contradiction, so instead we will pack a lunch box, take out our comfortable Mutsy-stroller and comfortable walking shoes and go visit markets in new neighborhoods and do some exploring along the way.
Come winter, we might stick to our local Farmers Market, which is only a few minutes walk from Alma’s pre-school, but for now, we love combining the trip to the Greenmarket with a long walk and some city exploring.
Read more about the Farmers Market New York or the amazing community gardens which are also run by Grown Nyc right here.
I would love to be able to say that I’m the type of mother who always tells my daughters the truth, but that would be a lie. Like so many other mothers that I know, I sometimes end up using a little white lie to avoid long and logical explanations that my child won’t be able to understand.
In case you need some inspiration for your next white lie, or you simply want to shake your head while dwelling in my bad parenting, here’s a small list of the little white lies I tell my children.
– I can’t lay in your bed until you sleep tonight, because I have to go vacuum the whole apartment, but as soon as you’re asleep I’ll come in and lay next to you.
– If you pick up the pigeons feather from the ground, the pigeon will come after you, and try and hit you with a bird poop.
– When you’re asleep, the only thing mums and dads ever do, is to clean up and fold clothes.
– All the hot pink clothes are sold out in your size, and so are the blinking shoes.
– The toilet monster is really thirsty and hungry. Hurry out and feed him.
– The iPad has run out of battery and the charger won’t work until after dinner.
– The tooth fairy ran out of coins and instead she transferred the money to your bank account.
– If you don’t brush your teeth, they’ll fall out and you’ll have to live from boring things like soup and water the rest of you life.
– I never lie to you, so you would never lie to me, right?
A small list of 10 things we love right now:
It’s exactly 2 weeks ago that we returned to New York after almost 2 months of vacation back in Denmark. During this time, we stayed at our old summer house, which is still as cosy and Scandinavian as before we moved to Brooklyn. We enjoyed great times with old friends and family, visited Copenhagen where we used to live and walked around our old neighborhood, dropped by our old local cafe, and my coffee was served by the same girl as a year ago. It’s as if nothing much has changed since we left.
My girls and I have a new favorite, banana pancakes with no sugar, no flour and no other unhealthy things added. The inspiration came to me a few weeks ago, when a dear friend of mine served me a homemade brunch, which she prepared while cradling her adorable six month old baby. Among freshly baked buns, fresh fruit and large cups of coffee were some small and tasty pancakes, made only of bananas and egg.
I knew straight away that this concept would be a success with my pancake-loving children, and in order to make them a bit more filling and kids-friendly, I have added a few things.
This is the recipe we use when making a stack of delicious banana pancakes:
2 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon of oats
1 tablespoon of shredded coconut
1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla powder
1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
Coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying
Using a fork, mash the banana until they are almost a smooth paste. Add all the eggs and whisk together. Add coconut and spices, and whisk it all together. The batter will be a bit thick and lumpy.
Heat a small amount of oil on a pan, and pour batter on the pan. Move the pan around until the pancake ends up round and thin, and let fry for a few minutes on each side until light brown.
Serve with fresh fruit or greek yogurt or fruit jam.
Tip: The banana pancakes also taste great when served cold, and will make a great snack for a lunchbox.
It’s with a heavy heart we say our goodbyes to the month of August. To a month of Danish countryside living, to days full of sandy beaches, cold dips in the sea, summer rain and walks in the forest. To bright Scandinavian nights, barbecue-dinners, hours of talking with good friends and beautiful bouquets of homegrown grapes.
For me, August is one of my favorite month, mainly because this is the month where my second daughter was born. Celebrating her birthday always make me think back, and this year I have spent days wondering about motherhood and sisterhood, how my two daughters ended up being as different as they are and how I sometimes feel the necessity to change my life around to be able to see what’s really important.
Most women will tell you, how their life was turned upside down the day they became mothers for the first time. For me, it was with the birth of my second daughter, that everything changed. My first child was (and still is) the easiest kid you can ever imagine. It’s in her nature to be good, caring and to follow rules.
My youngest daughter, on the other hand, was a rascal from the moment she was delivered with and urgent C-section, and she continues to challenge me every day. She’s funny and loving and has a temper like 10 wild horses. She loves to be busy and amongst a lot of people and has a big need for a calm, safe and relaxing environment. She’s one of the good reasons why I chose to leave a good job in the fashion industry, and become a home-working mother in New York. Now every time the calendar says august the 1st., I’m reminded how different two sisters can be, the importance of sisterhood and motherhood, how a tiny person can end up changing your life and how you need to create the life you want for yourself and your children instead of just letting things happen around you.
And so, I spend this last evening of August looking back at all the good memories my family and I created together this August. September, I hope you’ll be just as amazing.
If I could decide, mornings would be a combination of blissful quietness, bright sunlight, large cups of coffee, space to let my thoughts and imagination wander off and with no more than a few words uttered.
But with two young girls and a husband who works in both Copenhagen and New York, (he wakes up to a full inbox of work related mails during the week because the Danes are 6 hours ahead), this is pretty far from my own reality. Feeding my family, getting the girls ready and dressed, packing lunch boxes and backpacks and making sure that I look halfway decent before leaving the house doesn’t leave time for much else than a quick coffee in-front of the bathroom mirror.
Though I have accepted that our mornings won’t be quiet and blissful before the day my daughters move away from home (and knowing myself and my husband, probably not even then) I’ll do whatever I can to try and minimize conflicts, stress and morning tantrums. And after thinking about it, I realized that this is probably why the messy top knot is the number 1. hairstyle in our house.
Both my girls have quite long and thick hair for their age, and though my eldest is getting good at brushing her own hair every morning, my youngest freaks out every time I try to brush out her messy and tangled locks. Getting the right hairbrush and using soft fabric hairbands has made my life a lot easier, but most times, brushing Alma’s hair out will still end up with me trying to catch a screaming child before she runs off and hides in her cupboard.
So I’ve stopped fighting with her. The days she feels like having her hair loose, she’ll let me brush it out, and the rest, I’ll just gather it all on the top of her head in a really messy top knot.
If anyone knows of any amazing tricks or kids friendly products for detangling long and thick hair, please let me know. Until then, I’ll choose my battles and accept that my youngest has a top knot on every single picture I take of her.
Though it’s small, extremely flat and most of the land has been cultivated by farmers, there are still plenty of amazing nature areas left in Denmark. Some of my fondest childhood memories have taken place at beautiful Danish nature spots such as the Wadden Sea, Mols Bjerge National Park and Raabjerg Mile.
When staying at our summerhouse, we have a few local and favourite nature spots nearby that we make sure to visit. One of our absolute favorites is Heatherhill, situated 6 kilometers down the road from our little summerhouse.
Heatherhill is an open, undulating nature reserve with broad heather-covered slopes rolling right down to the Kattegat Sea near the small town Rågeleje. The larger part of Heatherhill is swathed in beautiful heathland flora and purple heather.
We enjoy taking long walks here, studying the fauna, enjoying the expansive view over the Kattegat Sea, chatting with the sheep and going to the wild and beautiful beach for a swim and a picnic. If you ever end up in the northern part of Zealand, don’t miss out on this amazing area.
Here’s a short list of all my favorite Danish nature areas I still have a few places left to show my kids, but since some of them require quite a lot of walking in hilly areas that are not accessible with a pram we might wait a few year before visiting the best ones.
Be sure to visit one or two, should you ever stop by Denmark. It’s so worth the trip and is a great contrast to Copenhagen.
… we realized that living in New York doesn’t only mean great cultural experiences, it also means living close to a lot of great beaches.
… we ate sweet cherries for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
… we spent days climbing rocks in Central Park.
… we visited Brooklyn Museum (read about it here), and Eleanor fell in love with ancient Egyptian art.
… I took a trip down memory lane and revisited the year I spent in India all because of a little fruit I saw in our local vegetable market.
… we made crispy kale chips (see our favorite recipe right here).
… we spent a night on a plane that took us back to our home country for a long holiday vacation.
… we blew bubbles and barbecued in the evening sun.
… we picked petals from rose hip flowers and made our own kids friendly perfume (see how right here).
… we went to Lego Land and spent a whole day flying in Lego airplanes, driving in Lego cars and sailing in Lego boats.
… we picked flowers in our summer house garden and made plant studies on our wall.
… we visited old acquaintances in the countryside, and Eleanor fell in love with a huge horse and 3 tiny dogs.
… we visited the most amazing green houses and got inspired to do some indoor gardening when we return to NYC (you can read more about it right here).
… we celebrated Alma turning 3-years-old.
… I made Alma a Waldorf inspired doll for her birthday, and realized that making things with my hands is one of the things that makes me most happy.
… we tried to make friends with the Danish deers, snails and ducks.
… we picked lavender and wild strawberries in my grandmother’s garden, and enjoyed seeing a 3-year-old girl and her 83 year-old great-grandmother in conversation over a beautiful rose.
We’ve now been in Denmark for exactly 2 weeks, and even though the weather is far from great (we’re talking 18 degrees and rain showers most days) we’ve been spending as much time outside as possible. Both me and the kids have a great love for flowers and plants and no matter where this trip takes us, it seems like we run into the most amazing greenhouses and gardens.
I love living and bringing up my children in a big city, and we all enjoy the many possibilities this kind of life brings us, but how amazing would it be, to have a garden with a little greenhouse? Built out of recycled windows and filled with green plants, colorful flowers and homegrown vegetables.
As long as we live in New York, this will stay on my list of dreams, but I have decided that when we return home, it’s time take up some inside gardening with my girls.
Here’s a small list of inside gardening ideas we have come up or found:
Grow herbs (Before we left for Denmark, we had an amazing basil plant, and we’ll definitely expand our collection upon return)
plant and grow bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts (These take absolutely no time to grow, which is really fun for the kids)
Grow plants from food we have in our kitchen. (We found some inspiration right here)
Grow a garlic plant (See how to do it right here)
Grow flower plants (We normally fill up our living room with cut flowers, but I’d love to keep whole plants)
Make a Mason Jar Terrarium (Find some inspiration right here)
Keep a journal of our inside gardening (Because it Eleanor loves to keep track and write down everything)
When I was a child, it was a common belief amongst most grown-ups, that enjoying art was for adults only. Luckily for me, my parents didn’t share this belief, and many of my childhood sunday’s or vacations were spent visiting museums and small galleries. I remember visiting The Louvre for the first time when I was 8. I was introduced to the Mona Lisa and one of Degas’s ballerinas, which I have loved ever since. I remember the first time I saw a Jackson Pollock hanging at a museum in Los Angeles and my dad introducing me to one of his favourite art movements, American pop-art.
In my mind, kids and art make the perfect combination, and I never hesitate bringing my kids to a museum. I believe that exposure to art in all ways can expand children’s awareness of the world and the society we live in, and open up their minds to a more creative way of thinking and seeing things. Visiting a museum might not be the same experience when you have to watch out that little greasy hands don’t touch the paintings, but I don’t mind, as long as it means that I get to hear Eleanor’s literal interpretations of even the most abstract paintings or Alma’s outbursts of enjoyment when she sees a piece that really speaks to her. I always make sure to visit a museum when my kids are well-rested and have had a good lunch, we never stay more than two hours and if the museum has a children’s department this is where we’ll end our visit. Some museums even have a children’s tour program, and if they do, we’ll always go for that.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite museums (and a few we have been recommended, but still haven’t had the chance to visit ourselves) :
Museum of Modern art, New York (Don’t miss out of the small but fun children’s play area)
Louisiana, Humlebæk, Denmark (this museum has a wonderful children’s department where kids can get creative themselves)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (take a look at their amazing family program to plan your visit)
Tate Modern, London (Prepare you child by visiting Tate Kids together)
Arken, Ishøj, Denmark (Every Sunday is Family Sunday with a lot of activities and an open creative workshop)
The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (join in on a family tour or visit the Family Lab)
Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (Remember to book online in advance, if you want to take part in one of their fun youngster activities)
Statens Museum for Kunst; Copenhagen, Denmark (The Children’s Museum of Art is open every weekend. Read more here)
Do you know of any kids-friendly museums we should add to our list? We would love to know…
…And if you like the combo of kids and art as much as me, then check out this Instagram profile @rockthatmuseumkids, which shares great pictures of tiny art-watchers from all over the world.
We’re finally back in Denmark, and even though the first day of our summer holiday has been affected by a good amount of jet lag, we managed to visit our favourite beach spot, have a lovely picnic, play in the sandbox, eat wild strawberries that we found in our garden and make our own kids friendly ” perfume “.
It was something I used to do every summer holiday when I was a kid, and seeing the many rose hip flowers on our trip to the beach, I decided it was time to pass it on to Eleanor. It’s really simple, and actually smells great (my 65-year-old dad was sure we could sell it).
All you have to do is to pick a lot of petals from the rose hip flowers, and soak them in water for a few hours. We added the juice from two slices of organic lemon to give it an extra edge. Eleanor spent a lot of time pouring the water from one bowl to the other, stirring the petals around and ripping the petals into a hundred little pieces…. Simply put, you just need to add water to the petals.
Dress by Christina Rohde
My kids are not the type of children, who’ll eat anything I put in front of them. Not that they’re picky, but my youngest doesn’t like anything sweet, and my eldest has always preferred not to eat meat. One thing they both love is vegetables, and even though they prefer the more kids-friendly versions like carrots, cucumber, beans, tomatoes, broccoli, belled peppers and potatoes they’ll happily eat other ones as well, as long as they are prepared in a delicate way.
A favorite at the moment is baked kale chips, which they’ll eat just as a snack or as a side dish together with small organic chicken sausages.
Here’s my quick and easy recipe for kids-friendly kale chips.
1 bunch kale
1/2 – 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Remove the stems and tear the leaves into large pieces.
Wash and dry the leaves really well before beginning.
Spread the kale into a single layer on the baking sheet.
Drizzle the olive oil over the leaves and toss the leaves around to make sure all leaves are covered. Be aware not to use too much oil, as this will prevent the chips from getting crispy.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake at 375 degrees F (175 degrees C) until the edges of the leaves turn slightly brown.
Let the kale chips cool down for a few minutes before serving.