Things I want to remember about being a mother to an infant


A list of all the little things I want to remember about becoming a mother to you, my tiny child, my sleepyhead, my calm in the chaos, my two months old, my little baby Evelyn.

– 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.

Being a mother of 3

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  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.

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What to pack for the hospital when giving birth

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Although I still have a bit of time left before my due date, the other night I felt a large number of Braxton Hicks contractions. With my first two children being late, I’ve never really considered a baby arriving early a realistic option, but suddenly I realized that I’m not at all ready to leave for the hospital. So the following day was all about getting that hospital bag packed and ready for a possible departure.

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Preserving memories


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.

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On baby names and knowing (or not knowing) what to name your baby

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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.

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Our future is female

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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.

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Becoming a mother of 3

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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.

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Vacation catch up

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· A small  Vacation catch up from our first month in Denmark ·

It’s exactly a month ago that we arrived in Denmark for our long summer vacation, and since then the days have been spent catching up with family and friends. We have been horseback riding, digging up potatoes, had lots of picnics, gone swimming in the sea, been playing at a lot of amazing playgrounds, gone on a farmhouse vacation, visited an old museum city, had lots of ice-cream, stayed up late and slept in, celebrated my youngest’s 4th birthday, barbecued plenty of sausages and enjoyed the Danish country side.

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Quiet Sunday’s and cozy clothes

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· About flower masks and some lovely cosy clothes ·

Last Sunday we planned a family excursion for the whole day. But then life happened and for different reasons I found myself with a head full of thoughts. I know better than trying to do too much with two kids and a half-distracted mother, so a quick change of plans was necessary.

We decided to put some of the flowers we had bought on sale the day before to good use, and make flower masks.

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Skipping school

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· 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.

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How becoming a mother has changed me – part II

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• A little list of how becoming a mother has changed me •
A lot of noteworthy days have passed by while I’ve been absent here on the blog. My eldest turned seven, my youngest got accepted to pre-school and motherhood was celebrated on Mother’s Day.
It seems as if motherhood has the ability to constantly turn my life upside down. Just as I feel like something is working, routines are found and our everyday life is on a roll, a new thing, a change in personality, a wobbly tooth or a sick child can make it all change once again. A year ago, when I just started doing this blog, I wrote a list on how becoming a mother has changed me (you can read it right here), and during the last few months, I have been collecting a few more things that I wanted to add to the list. So here you go, a second part to my list on how becoming a mother has changed me.

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The ease of motherhood

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• 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.

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About motherhood

about_motherhood_brown_stone_brooklyn_little_kin_journal_4• Something about motherhood, me-time and spending time apart •
Last Sunday my husband took our children out for lunch. I had decided to stay behind and do a bit of writing, take a walk and enjoy my own company. My husband will be gone for the next few weekends, and I figured that now was the time to stock up on some me-time.
But a few minutes after they had left, my maternal instinct kicked in, and I started missing both my girls intensely.

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Quietness and a month seen in pictures

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• 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.

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Creative kids

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 •  Something about creative kids and a short list of ways to let your child explore their creative side •
 Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
Shel Silverstein
Before becoming a mother, one of my dream scenarios of having children would be them sitting at one end of a long table filled with paint, pens and paper. They would draw and do creative projects, have fun and talk nice to each other, while I would sit calmly at the other end of the table, writing and enjoying a hot cup of coffee.

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Urban gardening with kids

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• 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. →

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The art of taking it slow

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• About my favorite kind of Sunday and the art of taking it slow• 
There are things that forever changed from that moment when I first left the hospital with a tiny little girl in my arms. From that Wednesday morning in spring, I no longer had enough time for myself. My time alone, that I used to cherish and love so much, was drastically reduced to not much at all and surprisingly that was okay with me. It was like giving birth woke a whole new level of feelings inside of me that I didn’t know were there. Feelings of heightened joy and unconditional love, as well as fear, impatience and a deep longing when I was away from my child for more than a few hours.

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New York Flower Market and a little bit about one-on-one time

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• A visit to the New York flower market, and a bit about one on one time • 
With her well articulated language, her height, that is closer to a 9-year-old than one who is not even seven yet, her ability to sit down and read a book with out me helping or interfering, her eagerness to discuss anything I ask her and with her asking me “Mama, do you know who Justin Bieber is?” Which she did some day after a play date at a friends house, I sometimes forget that she’s still my little 6-year-old. That she still likes to hold hands, sit on my lap, listen to good night stories, ask questions about tooth fairies, and more than anything, get my undivided attention. 

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Our favorite children’s books right now

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• Some of our favorite children’s books right now • 

With a fresh cup of warm coffee, plenty of snacks and a warm blanket within reach, we enjoy spending hours and hours reading through our favorite children’s books. Me reading for both of my girls, them reading by themselves, or what I like most of all, Eleanor reading for Alma.

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Going off line

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• 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.

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Seeking silence as a mother

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• 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.

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What we love right now

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• 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.

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Daddy’s girl

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• 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.

 

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Tidying up the children’s room

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• A few thoughts on the struggles of tidying up the children’s room • 

Though we might live with less possesions than we did before our big move, this doesn’t seem to apply to the my daughters’ toy and book collection. Even though they’re good at a lot of things, tidying up isn’t one of them. There are evenings where I’ll have to navigate through Elsa-dolls, 20 teddies, half a tea-party and 200 small pieces of lego just so I can say goodnight to my girls in their bed. And days where I find them both sitting & playing on their couch because they made such a mess on the floor that there’s no space left for them to play.

Rainy day and indoor activities

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• A small list of fun indoor activities to do with your kids •

The simple luxury of staying inside a whole Sunday, while the rain is beating on your window and the storm is shaking the trees. Those bittersweet moments of complete quietness when not a sound can be heard from the children’s room, and you now you should really enjoy it because in a few minutes someone will yell out Mama for the 50th time that day, a fight will begin or at least one of them will be hungry, thirsty or have to use the bathroom.

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Getting back to the rutines and positiv morning rituals

positiv_morning_rituals_little_kin_journal• 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.

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My new year resolutions

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• 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.

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Remembering my favorite moments of 2015

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• 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.

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A few thoughts on a year gone by

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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.

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Some thoughts on giving presents

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About how I try and avoid presents that your kids will never play with, and why I this year decided to make my own •

When it comes to presents, I’m quiet a conflicted person. I love when thought has been put into gift-giving. The idea of keeping a list throughout the year of things that people would like or could really use appeals to me. Or the concept of not having to gift the same people every year, but to only give presents to the ones you really have something personal for.

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Easy morning buns

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• A recipe for my easy morning buns •

A few years back, I used to bake some simple morning buns every Sunday morning. I’m not a skilled baker, but by studying other recipes I managed to make my own easy recipe that could be altered to fit whatever seeds, flour or nuts I would happen to have in my kitchen.

At some point I stopped baking. Maybe it was because I gave birth to Alma, and suddenly would spend my mornings breast feeding or catching up on sleep, or maybe it was because the best baker shop in the whole world, opened up just a block from our old home (I miss you Brød!).

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Pick your battles

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• 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.

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Sisterhood

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I feel like I always knew that I was going to become a mother to a girl and when I learned about the sex of my first born, I wasn’t surprised. A few weeks before I was due to give birth, my husband and I had decided on a girls name before we even knew the sex of our unborn child. Had it been a boy, we wouldn’t have had a clue. Having a girl felt right for both us, our family and our friends.

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What I am thankful for

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• 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.

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Apple pie recipe

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• 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.

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Stroller friendly New York hotspots

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• A shortlist of some of my favorite Stroller friendly New York hotspots • 

When we first moved to New York, I somehow felt that bringing my children to museums and other crowded public places could be a bit overwhelming. Chances were, that my youngest would start feeling tired as soon as we had checked in the stroller and I would end up carrying her around a museum for hours.

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Autumn in Central Park

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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.

Thoughts for my daughters

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Because when they get to the age where my thoughts and experiences can be of a bit of help in their lives they’ll probably find me really annoying, I’ve started writing down some thoughts for my daughters that I’d like to pass on to them. One day they’ll hopefully spend 5 minutes reading them and 5 minutes more thinking about them.

 

– Don’t let life make you forget about the dreams you had as a child. It is easy to forget but even easier to regret all the things you never got around to do. My biggest fear is waking up as an old woman and regretting all the things I never did, and this fear has brought me some great adventures.

– Read books. Long or short, pictures or not. Just read. It will keep your mind bright and hopefully remind you of me.

– Think before you act. What seems to be a great idea in the moment can sometimes end up being a really bad idea just an hour later. I still regret things I said or did before thinking, but I did learn something every time.

– Never be afraid of colors, but if in doubt, always go for black or white. It has worked for me for more than 10 years.

– Traveling is always a good idea, and if nobody wants to come with you, then go alone. It will bring you some of your greatest experiences, and I promise to try to not talk you out of it.

– Never stop creating. No matter what it is or even if it isn’t very good. It keeps your soul awake and your eyes clear and you love doing it. I know, because I see it every day.

– Remember that the most important things aren’t actually things at all.

– Don’t make decisions about your life based on other peoples opinions. Not even your parent’s. Your dad and I are often right, but when you grow up and become strong and independent young women, we might not know what’s always the best for you. And if I really don’t want to understand and except, show me this list, and I’ll try and remember that I too was young once.

– Be nice to animals. Most of them are nice to you and one of the things I wish I could have given you, was a childhood surrounded by animals of all kinds.

– Know, that you’ll have amazing experiences all over the world, but the biggest adventures are often found closest to yourself and in the middle of your everyday life. I have met a cobra in India, seen a wild tiger in the jungle, climbed a mountain in Nepal, travelled across the US in a bus and watched a sea turtle bigger than me lay her eggs on a Nicaraguan beach, still the two of you are my greatest adventure.

Moving to New York – a one year status

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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.

Moving abroad with small children – a Q&A

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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.

Hand crafted toys

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I was convinced we would never have an apartment full of plastic toys like Barbie, Sylvanians and My Little Ponies. Now I know that was wrong in so many ways. We don’t have tons of toys, but we haven’t been able to avoid the commercial and popular kind, and since these toys often bring many hours of play time, I’m okay with having them around.
But as my children have been getting older, I’ve realized that they often appreciate the more unique pieces that are to be found in their toy collection. With this in mind, I’m trying to avoid buying anymore Barbies or My Little Ponies and instead focus more on hand crafted toys, either made by myself or bought from small companies or individual crafters.
Here’s a small selection of my favorite hand crafted toys, that I wouldn’t mind adding to the toy collection in our household.

1. Handmade Waldorf inspired doll I made for my youngest daughter. 2. Hungry bear doll / Coral and Tusk  3. Handmade ragdoll / Dancey Pants Disco  4. Cat headdress / Animalesque  5. Bunny in bloomers / Yume Creations  6. Camera / Fanny and Alexander  7. Fox mask / Coral and Tusk  8. Stacking toy / Toto  9. Wodden thief doll /  Sketchinc  10. Ragdoll / Tippitoetailor  11. Play tent / Such Great Heights

Things I love about fall

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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

Farmers Market New York

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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.

Halloween inspiration

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When you live in New York with two young children, October easily ends up being all about pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, spooky costumes and Jack-o-lanterns. If you, just like me, want to get through October without having your whole house plastered with tons of tasteless decorations, and would like to avoid spending most of a month salary on costumes and halloween treats, I have put together some halloween inspiration that most children and adults will like.

 

DYI links for my Halloween inspiration:

Carmen Mirande Costume  //  Llama costume  //  Printable monster cup cake holders  //   Sailor costume  //   Field of flowers costume   //   Mini ghost pinatas  //   Baby octopus costume //   Glow in the dark treat bucket  //  Trick or treat bucket

The little white lies I tell my children

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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?

10 things we love right now

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A small list of 10 things we love right now:

– Hydrangeas. I remember the first time I saw this kind of flower as I child. I was seven and we were in France on vacation and I instantly fell in love with them. New York is full of them at the moment, and both the girls and I can’t stop admiring those big balls of tiny flowers.
– The girls’ new dresses. Because when dressed in these, they feel pretty and comfortable at the same time. Even when you’re little, you can appreciate the beauty in small details.
– Collecting leaves. They don’t get any prettier than they are right now.
– Ballet class. After a long break from taking ballet classes, my eldest daughter is once again dancing around in her little pink ballet shoes at the dance studio, in our living room, our hallway and at the playground.
– Indian summer. The leaves might be falling off the trees, but we’re still wearing our sandals and summer dresses.
– Chapter books. My eldest daughter has started reading one chapter in her book by herself every night. I love to see her discovering the magic of reading. 
– Daniel Tiger. Because finally we have found a cartoon which both my girls like to watch and which teaches them a lot of great things, and gives them tools to handle difficult situations. Thanks to Daniel, We now have a Grown Ups Come Back song, a Sharing is Caring song and a Potty song.
– Not having to change diapers. My youngest daughter was potty trained in less than 2 weeks by her own initiative and so far we haven’t had a single accident. Seems like not pushing her worked out to our advantage.
– Homemade play dough. We have spent hours making play dough pizzas, play dough snowmen and play dough dinosaurs. And because it’s so easy and cheap to make, it’s okay to just throw it away when the colors get mixed up. See the recipe here.
– No more co-sleeping. After having had kids in our bed for the last 6 years, they’re now sleeping on their own, and I actually think we all like it. 

 

Learning to count

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In exactly one year, my youngest daughter Alma, who just turned 3, will start school. It scares me to think of her academic life starting at such an early stage (in Denmark you wouldn’t start school before you turn 6), but at the same time I know that she will be at an amazing school with plenty of room to play and explore. Fun things like jumping in puddles, and making roasting food over a bonfire, as Eleanor used to do in her Danish kindergarten, we’ll have to take care of ourselves during family time, but on the other hand, Alma will never be picked up later than 2:45, which is a lot earlier than many Danish children get to go home.
The first two years of school (pre-K & Kindergarten) are mostly play based, and the teaching at our school follows an Imaginative Learning concept, where the children are never told anything is right or wrong. Reading and writing is all based on their own imagination and how the individual child experiences a word and a sentence. This sometimes results in some funny written sentences, since words are being spelled out exactly how the child hears or feels them, and not according to the correct way of spelling. Most younger children don’t realize they’re learning to read, write or do math and the fact that they’re never told if things are right or wrong gives them great confidence.

Even though Alma won’t be doing much schoolwork for the first two years, the school still expects her to be able to do a bit of counting when she first starts. This means we need to do a bit of practicing, and with Alma being so excited about starting school, and Eleanor being so excited about Alma learning new things, it has become Eleanor’s little thing to make sure Alma is learning to count. At the moment they’re reading (or counting) a little counting book called Six with paintings by Katherine Bradford. I don’t know if it’s because of the paintings that are so far from anything you would normally see in a children’s book, or if it’s because the book is not structured from 1-10, but jumps around in the numbers. Anyhow, Alma has almost learned to count, and now counts to two every time she sees the Statue of Liberty, since that’s what you have to do in the book when a picture of a statue shows up on the page.

Super girl & going back to school

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One week ago Eleanor went back to school.  After two and a half months spent in quiet surroundings together with her closest family, she had to walk into a class room full of new classmates (and a few old ones) and a new teacher (who everybody says is amazing, and happens to be a real magician) and start a new chapter of her life.
When she turned around on that second day of 1st grade, waved to me and said “mum, you can go now”, I realized that she’s not my helpless little girl anymore. She is a little human who has just started a great journey of independence. Soon she’ll have her own opinions about more important things than what she wants for dinner or which colour is the prettiest.

As a parent I can just stand back, and hope, that we’re doing the right things and that she’ll turn out great. From now on I’ll have to watch her be happy, frustrated, angry and sad and have to let her fight her own battles and make her own decisions, without doing anything else than just being there to support her and helping her navigate through obstacles in her own life. It’s all I can do. That and making her a supergirl mask, that she can wear, when the butterflies in her stomach start speeding around a little too fast, or she just needs a little bit of extra power to get through the day. She says it gives her some extra strength when she has to do stuff like tiding up her room or make new friends at school.

Here’s how you make one for your child, should he or she also be in a bit of a need of some extra powers:

Cut out a paper mask-shape, and make sure the size and eye holes fit your child.

Pin the paper to a double layer of felt in your preferred color.

Cut out the two felt masks and either sew or glue them on top of each other.

Attach an elastic string  to both sides of the mask. I sewed the elastic string to a thin piece of felt, but this is not necessary.

 

Illustrations by Emily Winfield Martin

Back home in New York

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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.

For some reason, this made me nervous about going back to our new home. What if New York wouldn’t feel like a real home when we returned?  What if we would all miss Denmark, our old home, old friends and old routines? Suddenly, for a few days before leaving, it felt like moving abroad once again, or at least until we packed down our stuff and said our goodbyes. As soon as we were on our way back to the airport, it was like we all knew we were going home to the daily routines that we have come to know and enjoy so much, and now that we’re back home, there’s no doubt that living here makes most sense for us right now. So here’s are a few points on why it feels good to be back at our new home.
10 good things about being back home in New York:
– In New York, we live the life we want to, without being concerned about what other people think. As soon as we got back to Denmark, we started thinking about other peoples opinions again. Back here, it just does’t really matter.
– The freshly made juice is so much better and cheaper.
– Our summerhouse is full of old stuff. Old toys, old clothes old books and papers. Our New York-home is minimalistic and empty, and we all love having room to think and play.
– In New York, we had to figure things out on our own. No help, no interference, no parents to call. Instead, it’s only us who need to make all the decisions. It can seem scary sometimes, but it makes me feel like a real adult for the first time in my life.
– People in New York are more spontaneous and that ends up making us more spontaneous. I always liked the idea of not having to plan everything in advance. Here, a playdate or a visit can be arranged 5 minutes before.
– The summer lasts longer. We still have warm summer days and have not yet worn a jacket or long pants. In Denmark, summer is long over.
.- Our bathroom is a lot bigger. With two young children, a bathtub is a luxury. I can’t remember the last time I saw one in an apartment in Denmark.
– The children feel at home here. This is where they have their friends and their daily routines. I’m still amazed at a child’s ability to adapt to new surroundings.
– We spend more time together as a family. Moving has broad us closer together, because for a while, we didn’t have many other people to rely on than our own little family. Now we have made new friends, but we still remain closer together.
– We get to live a slow life in one of the world’s busiest cities. Before it was the other way around, and I like this so much better.