Dannenborg Cirkus

September 18, 2008

Catie is this excited about seeing the circus!

A few weeks ago we went to the Danish National Circus. There are actually several of these traveling shows, and all of them claim to be “Denmarks Oldest” or “Denmarks Largest” or “Denmark’s Official” circus. The circus tent was set up in a park near where we first lived here, and even had sawdust on the floor! We sat in the first ten rows of this one-ring show and were completely charmed by it’s old school approach. The elephants were so close, the guy in the first row reached out and slapped on on the rump! (A far cry from watching Barnum and Bailey’s with four year old Christian from the nose bleed section 14 years ago!) I fell in love with the preening seals and the adorable herd of penguins. Catie had to close her eyes at the finale high-wire act, it was so daring! And Paul loved the guy on the unicycled who balanced a bazillion glasses. We’ve put up a few silly little videos that we thought the younger cousins might enjoy.


Sommerfaire Party

September 7, 2008

This weekend was the annual end-of-Summer party at Cate’s after school program (SFO). This year’s theme was “Cowboys.” It was very surreal to watch another cultural interpret the American west. There were lots of Indian costumes that would never pass the PC squad in the States, and the students happily carried cap guns around and shot each other with glee.

The kids had a lot of fun digging for gold (gold beads) and eating a bazillon cactus and cowboy hat shaped cakes. There was a Saloon with Carlsberg for the grown-ups and bright colored sodas with fruit sticks for the kids. The highlight was a kid’s version of an electric bull. Kid after kid bounced up on that thing and rode like a wrangler. Eden and Cate road it several times each and held on pretty well until they got thrown over the (foam) horns. (Only in Denmark can you have the electric bull run by a teenager who’s downing beers while he spins the joystick ’round!)

Paul and I were glad to shoot the breeze with Ruth, an MIT air-power specialist who is here from Seattle for a year. Her company has a short-term position here, and her husband Don works at Microsoft and was able to work out a work-at-a-distance deal between the office in Velbeck and the office in Redmond. They are bravely putting both thier kids in Danish school for the year, for which we are very grateful as Ali is a year younger than Eden and Peter is a year younger then Cate. The stair-step cuties are becoming fast friends.

The Big One-Oh!

September 2, 2008

My darling Eden turned 10 in July, but due to family visits and poor planning on my part, she never got her annual birthday letter from Momma. Today I finally sat down and wrote my big girl the letter she deserves. Happy (belated) birthday dearheart!)

(open this in a new tab for a musical background 🙂

Dear Eden,

And now, you are ten. The big one-oh. A decade. A Decade! How can that be? (Do I say that every year? I bet I do. Silly Mama.)

Eden, I’m just so proud of you I hardly know how to express it. When I was younger, and I heard parents say they were proud of their children I always thought they were being kind of stuck up. I thought the parents meant they were proud of the job that they had done raising their children – like whatever wonderful traits the boy or the girl had, it was because their parents were so good at parenting. Now that I’m older and have been a Mother for a decade, I realize that’s not what parents mean at all when they say. “I’m so proud of her.” What they mean is, “Isn’t that amazing, all the wonderful things that girl can do? Isn’t she strong! Isn’t she smart! Hasn’t she learned so much! I am so proud of her!”

One of the things I like best about being a Mom is watching my children learn and grow. You have always been such a bright child that watching you learn was one of those things I could notice right away—even when I didn’t really know what Mom’s should be watching for yet. (New Mom’s have a lot to learn!) People hardly ever believe me, but even before you left the hospital you were lifting your head up off my shoulder so you could look around – something most baby’s don’t do for many weeks. I have a picture of you on Gig Gig’s shoulder looking all around and you are so tiny I can hardly believe your little neck can get your head up and around like that! You can see you inquisitive mind working in lots of your baby pictures. It’s easy to see that your wide, wise eyes are soaking in as much of the world as possible.

But these last few years, as you’ve become a school-aged kiddo, and are now a ‘tween’, I am even more amazed at how clever you are and how quickly you learn about your world.

In the time between when you were nine and when you were ten, you have accomplished so many things! You learned how to be responsible enough to ride your bike on your own. I remember the first time you got to ride your new bike around the block by yourself. You were so in awe. You looked at me in amazement and said, “I get to ride it all by myself! I’m going to ride around the block 29 times tonight!” I think you did ride around 29 times too! I know for sure you went through a couple bottles of water and rode until dark, that’s for sure.

In the time between when you were nine and when you were ten you learned how to choose friends who were good for your soul – leaving behind friends who treated you disrespectfully, and discovering loving souls like Noah to be your withmates. Is so good to see you and Noah together and know that you are two peas in a pod, and I know you will find someone that lovely here as well as time goes by. You are good friend Eden, caring and fair, generous with words of affection, quick to comfort someone when times are hard, and just as quick to celebrate when something goes well. Being a good friend is one of the best qualities person can have in this world, and you have that gift in heaps and mounds!

Between the time that you were nine and ten you learned an entire new language in just 2 months! You read a half dozen—not just novels—but series of novels! You learned how to make pancakes, grew responsible enough to have your own cell phone, and started to do some of the family shopping by bike! You are amazing.

And you’ve grown in other ways too this year. Remember how we used to be a totem pole with Souren? I fit under his chin, you fit under mine and Catie fit under yours? Not anymore! Now you are now nearly as tall as your Momma. (5 1 to my 5 3). Pretty soon you’ll be looking down at me and patting me on the head! And you’ve grown into your own sense of style this year too – sporty and comfortable, with soft seams and no pink sparkles. You always look long, lean, healthy, and vibrant. I know you get embarrassed when I say it and often roll your eyes, but you are so beautiful!

I can hardly believe my frail little baby who wouldn’t nurse and had to be weighed everyday for fear she was shrinking is now this tall, elegant girl who reads through entire libraries, swims like a fish, rides her bike around Copenhagen, and speaks two languages. Miss Eden Claire, I declare, you’re the sweetest anywhere…and I am indeed, very proud of you.

Happy birthday Ten Year Old!