Category Archives: June

Two rays of sunshine

Two rays of sunshine on a cold, grey Sunday morning.

June EllenJune Ellen

Crazy all the way around

It’s hard to imagine, before you have your second child, how anyone could compete with your first. That’s partly because you’re surprised by how crazy you are about the first and can’t imaging being that crazy about another kid. But it’s also partly because you can’t possibly be prepared for how different the second is from the first. You can’t imagine how fully and completely the second child is their own person.

Nothing better than trying big sister's stuff Fresh from the tub Once she can reach the pedals she's outta here

Far from being just a smaller version of Ellen, June is June. She’s fearless, almost violently affectionate, and apparently feels pain to a much lesser degree than most humans. She’s unstoppable and unflappable. June is a whole different experience than Ellen, and I’m every bit as crazy about her as I am about Ellen.


DSC_2084.JPG DSC_2066.JPG The beach (Elsegårde Strand)

In Denmark there is a efterårsferie (“fall vacation”) — a week in the fall when people often travel or stay at a summer house. This year Lisbeth’s parents rented a house on the beach near Ebeltoft (about an hour from Århus and about four hours from Copenhagen.)

Ellen naps in the rental car On the ferry between Sjællands Odde and Århus On the ferry between Sjællands Odde and Århus

I’ve heard a lot about the whole summer house experience, but this was really the first time I’d tried it for myself. Unfortunately I had a deadline at work that, coupled with a vicious migraine, prevented me from enjoying myself as much as I’d like, but I can see the appeal. Good food, family, leisurely walks — not much to complain about.

Elsegårde Strand Lisbeth A summer house at Elsegårde Strand

One thing that struck me was how much my perception of size has changed. Read More →

Summer Vacation 2013

This summer, our vacation was a little different. Instead of flying directly to the US from Copenhagen, we flew to Frankfurt first, where we had a five hour layover before flying on to Denver.

A five hour layover is something I would have liked to avoid before I had kids, but a layover is your friend when you’re traveling with energetic little people who are used to being able to run around all day long.

Vacation! Waiting in Copenhagen for our flight to Frankfurt Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Got a bassinet on the plane (whew!)

Except for a few minutes of icy fear caused by “ESTA” (the for-profit private agency that handles US Visas) when they refused to let Lisbeth board the flight despite the fact that she had a valid visa, it was a pleasant time. But the best part of this itinerary was that once we made the long flight to the US, we were done. That’s a lot nicer than having to face a domestic flight after the Atlantic flight.

Denver, staying with Sarah and Troy Denver, staying with Sarah and Troy Denver, staying with Sarah and Troy
In Denver we stayed with my cousin Sarah and her husband Troy. Read More →

June turns one

It’s hard to believe that she’s the same creature that squirted out into our bathtub a year ago. Probably because she isn’t. That creature slept a lot and had a feeble cry. This creature, on the other hand, regularly needs be be coaxed back to sleep a dozen times a night, and her cry is anything but feeble.

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Lisbeth and I spend a fair amount of time marvelling at how different two kids with similar genes can be. Ellen was cautious, but June is fearless. Ellen didn’t gather the courage to walk until months after she turned one, but June has been walking for months. Ellen lost most of the hair she was born with, June didn’t lose a strand. Ellen slept like a rock, but June wakes up at the slightest noise. And so on.

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Having a one-year old is a handfull, and it’s easy to get frustrated and look forward to when she’s older and can be left alone for more than ten seconds without tempting fate. But on the other hand one year is an incredibly cute age.

And an amazing age. June hasn’t uttered a single discernable word yet, but she can express herself just fine. She knows what she wants, and she’s plenty capable of telling us what it is.

And, of course, punishing us when we don’t comply.

Not long ago I was talking to an ex-colleague who has one child, and I asked if he and his girlfriend planned to have another. “No way,” he said, “I love my son so much — there’s no way I’d have anything left for a second kid.”

His logic would have made sense to me before June came along. But now I know better.

Vacation 2012

This year we did something we’d been meaning to do for a while: on the way to New Mexico we stayed in Annapolis for a few days, where my cousin Desmond and his wife live.

At the marina in Annapolis Isabelle and her mother Irma Lunch in town with Irma and IsabelleDSC_2665.JPG At the mall in Annapolis Isabelle at the mall in Annapolis

Unfortunately Desmond was called away for work prior to our arrival, but we had a great time anyway. Irma is a great hostess (and an amazing cook — she made us Indonesian, Thai, and Japanese dishes, each one delicious) but she’s also just a lot of fun. It was great to have  a chance to get to know her better. Our visit was made even better because Isabelle and Ellen had a great time playing together. Long after we left, Ellen kept asking when we were going back to Isabelle’s house.

Isabelle and Ellen burn off some energy after eating ice cream DSC_2576.JPG DSC_2577.JPG

Desmond and Irma live in Annapolis because it’s near to Washington DC, where Desmond works. So we naturally felt like we had to go into DC and see the sights. And so we did. But there is no way to compare what we saw with what we would have seen had we not had two hot and sticky kids with us. We managed to see the World War II memorial and get a glimpse of the White House, and then we were more than ready to call it a day.

Dragging two kids into DC during 'Rolling Thunder' has a way of melting your brain Ellen at the National World War II Memorial At The White House

So, after a few days on the East Coast, we were ready to take the relatively short flight (four hours) to New Mexico, where we spent the rest of the vacation. Read More →

June at four months

It’s not like we didn’t think June was cute before. We did.  But… maybe we just didn’t notice how cute June is until now. But now — now that June is getting more responsive and her personality is starting to come into focus… now, we think she is cute. Extremely cute.

Lisbeth and I don't remember Ellen being quite as eager to smile as June seems to be. The June-bug, making the most of those blue eyes (while they remain blue) The June-bug

But I remember going through this with Ellen. Each month I’d say, “Wow she’s cute — she just can’t get any cuter than this.” And the next month I’d look at pictures from last month and shrug, and say, “Yeah, she was cute I guess. But now she’s really cute.”

Spring has sprung

Winter is over! (And to celebrate, I’m shooting two stops overexposed.)

Lisbeth Ellen Ellen

I like to tease the Danes for their exuberance when the sun starts to spend more time in the sky. They act like they’re kids and Christmas has arrived without warning.

Ellen The June-bug The June-bug

They all rush out at once, and stand in parks, on street corners, and on terraces, close their eyes, and bask in the sunlight. On the first warm day of the year, you can’t find a grumpy Dane in the whole of Denmark.

Happy June-bug DSC_1666.JPG Lisbeth

But I have to admit spring in Denmark is fantastic. It comes on so suddenly, and in such sharp contrast to the winter… each year I spend less time teasing and more time quietly soaking up the sunlight.

Ellen turns three

Ellen turns three today. We celebrated her birthday on Sunday, and, despite the fact that she looks a little sad in some of the pictures, she had a good day. Ellen’s cousin Marie also has a birthday in February (she turned 16 on the 9th), so there was plenty to celebrate.

 DSC_1071.JPG The table is set, the guests are on their way... and where are the gifts!? DSC_1119.JPG

This was the first birthday where she understood the concept. She talked about it for weeks in advance. She knew she was going from two to three, and she knew that gifts were going to be part of the deal.

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She also understood (due to the diligent repetition by her parents) Read More →

June at one month

It’s been a month of adjustment. Adjusting to scattered sleep schedules. Adjusting to not out-numbering our kids two to one. Adjusting to being a family of four (which still sounds a little weird to me.)

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Despite the fact that June looks so much like Ellen did at this age, there’s no confusing the two in other respects. When Ellen was a month old, she was getting Lisbeth up once a night for an hour at most. With June, Lisbeth is generally up four or five hours a night. Read More →