Baby girl is 7 months!

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It feels more like we’re the parents of a kid than a baby lately!

She’s crawling! Or.. army crawling. The point is that she can get from A to B on her own, and that she’s pretty fired up about it. And so are we! Most of the time.. Just the other day she ventured into the kitchen for the first time. She was so excited that she was breathing like a sweaty dog, before I snatched her up and away from all the dangerous objects.

It’s like I see danger everywhere now.

It won’t be long before she’ll be pulling herself up to a standing position on her own either. In the meantime she has figured out that if she can manage to grab someone’s fingers in each of her hands, she’ll be able to pull herself up. I figured that one out just the other day when I was sitting with her in our bed and she started patting my arms in search for my hands. Once she had a finger tight in each of her fists she clenched her abs, grunted, and stood herself up with a triumphant “Ah!”.

She inspires me! I wish I was as eager to learn and get stronger as she is.

It’s so much fun to observe her little baby logic. If she wants to get to an object she’ll look around to see if someone is standing close and raise her little arms to make them pick her up (she’ll move from arm to arm to get close to my parents’ oven). If the object is however too far away, she’ll see reason and settle for an alternative.

All this moving around makes it hard for her to stay asleep in her own bed. She rolls over a lot and especially pushes herself “upward” and when she reaches the head of the bed she’ll wake herself up every time she moves.

She hardly ever sleeps on her back anymore. She’s almost always on her belly with a face plant in the mattress that worries her parents sick.

So far, it seems that her favorite food is avocado.

No teeth yet! I’m not even sure we’re getting close. She hardly ever drools and I expect her to get a lot more whiny when that time comes.

Her vocabulary has now stretched to “Ah”, “Mah”, and “Bah”. Marcus and I both get really excited about “Mah-mah” and “Bah-bah”.

I do miss having a tiny little baby but I’m not really sad that she’s growing so fast. I’m way more excited to see what kind of person our little girl is going to be!

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Why is marriage so important?

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Last week was finals week which means this week is chill-out week for our family… and this post should have been up over a week ago.

Almost two weeks ago it was Conference weekend at our house. That means that my family gets together, eats a lot of unhealthy food and listens to uplifting talks from the president and leaders of our church.

A lot of the messages are usually about how to strengthen your family (especially this year! Or am I just noticing everything because I’m a new mom?), and one of the things that really stuck with me this time was a quote that Elder D. Todd Christofferson shared by  writer and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

“Marriage is more than your love for each other. … In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown and not merely the will to rule that makes the king, so it is marriage and not merely your love for each other that joins you together in the sight of God and man. So love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God” 

For a while I’ve been wondering about that. Why is marriage so important? I myself have faith in God and an afterlife and therefore believe that marriage has more eternal consequences. But we don’t all believe in God or belong to a church. So, if we just consider this life, for the average Joe out there, what is so different between being in love and living together, and being tied to each other in matrimony? Is it just a piece of paper?

I think the main reason that this question is even relevant in today’s world is that the way that marriage is perceived has changed.

If we think that marriage is only special because it is pretty, magical and romantic… that it can be undone or abandoned just as easily as breaking up with a girlfriend orboyfriend… then that’s what marriage is. No different than a simple relationship.

To use Bonhoeffer’s metaphor, if the king’s will to rule is only temporary and if he wants the flexibility of taking an out – then maybe the crown isn’t fit for him.

Marriage is only what you make it. If you enter a marriage with the attitude that “we can always get divorced if it gets too hard”, then it is indeed not more than a piece of paper.

But if you however enter a marriage thinking that you’re willing to stand by each other through thick and thin, knowing that your love for each other may suffer along the way – then marriage can be stronger and more beautiful and romantic than you could ever dream. To me, my marriage is so much more than just a romantic relationship. It’s a permanent committed partnership in creating a happy life and overcoming the trials of life.

On second thought, maybe that is really the definition of a true romantic relationship.

I’m grateful to be in a loving marriage, and I’m gonna take it all the way.

I know, I might be preaching to the choir. But I really needed to understand that.

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I didn’t get this happy by being a realist

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Throughout my life I’ve had friends and other people come up to me and tell me how they admired or envied certain aspects of my life, things that might not be as common these days. They would ask me how these were possible and upon hearing my answer they would sigh or laugh and give me an excuse as to why that could never work for them.

“It’s really cool that you have that good of a relationship with your parents even though you’re a teenager. I could never have that – my parents don’t understand me or let me do what I want”

“It’s so great that you don’t drink alcohol. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t. But I could never stop drinking – I would lose all my friends, because I can’t have fun without being drunk.”

“I wish I had faith in God like you do – that must be such a comfort in your life. But I could never be a believer – (that’s just weird).”

“It’s so wonderful that you are married, it’s just like a fairytale! I could never have that though – I don’t think I could ever find someone that I would want to be with my entire life!”

I’m really not trying to boast, I’m simply trying to convey the message that life is only as good as where you set the bar. It makes me sad to see people limiting their happiness because they are so busy being realists and being like everyone else.

A week ago we celebrated our second anniversary. My marriage (and the fruits thereof) are without a doubt my highest accomplishments in life. And if I’d had a PhD in something frighteningly academic or sold a billion dollar business, those would still be my highest accomplishments in life. In my experience, being part of a family is something that can bring you joy that you cannot find anywhere else.

And I’m not saying that you’re a failure if you haven’t found that certain someone yet. Because I know so many wonderful people that are trying their best in their search. Nor are you a failure if you don’t have strong family ties or if you’re unable to have children.

I am saying that the failure lies in deciding that that sort of happiness is out of your reach. Because it’s too hard, too different or even too good for you. How silly of a thought is that? That something is too good for you. The only person who decides how high you set the bar for your happiness and accomplishments is you. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest. Heck, stop living life like it’s too short! Expect it to go on and on and that you have the power to be happy for every little second of it.

Dream a little!

I’m lying here in bed between my sleeping husband and baby and my heart is singing of gratitude that I didn’t decide to only harvest my happiness from things that I could control or predict or that were socially acceptable. Because I know that I definitely would not have been where I am today.

Those were my early Monday morning thoughts.

Mounting the shopping cart

For a small carless student family, borrowing a car for even a day is pretty much the coolest thing. We have had one all week and it’s been the best! A couple of days ago we went big time shopping in the biggest store in town, just because we could. It worked out nicely since we’d also been looking forward to Baby’s debut sitting by herself in a shopping cart. Exciting stuff, I know! As we don’t have a car, most of Baby’s shopping trips are experienced from the stroller or from an arm.

So we all jumped in the car in high spirits. I told you that Baby has been more happy about car rides lately.. so we enjoyed a nice quiet drive to Bilka and found Baby happy and excited to get out. I wheeled around a cart, put in her baby duvet for support and finally dropped Baby into the seat. And she sat up straight and tall with an excited grin on her face!

It was the happiest and easiest shopping trip we’d ever done! We could take all the time we needed without breaking our backs from carrying Baby or having to rush out because she’d had enough. She enjoyed the entire ride looking at all the colorful groceries and fellow shoppers. I felt so grown up pushing my kid in a cart like that.

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Baby Girl is 6 months

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Made it to the half year mark! Can’t believe it! A year ago I had only just announced that I was pregnant and had just posted my first weekly pregnancy update!

Our little girl is getting so big! Right now, she’s fast asleep taking her first nap of the day in our bed. She strongly prefers to have me breastfeed her lying down. Not sure why. But she gets all fidgety when I lay her down in my lap. So I lie down and she’ll snuggle up close to my body and she falls asleep almost right away.

Right now our bed consists of two mattresses pushed together right on the floor. And they fit neatly into a small corner of the room, so it naturally becomes the perfect playpen and napping place for a baby that is getting more mobile every day. She hasn’t quite figured out crawling yet, but we think it’s getting close. So far her favorite ways of getting from A to B is rolling over, rotating by pushing herself to the sides and rolling over on her back and pushing herself “upward” with her legs. I can’t blame her for getting a little frustrated with herself.

She gets bananas and sweet potatoes every day now. Not quite sure if she likes anything yet, since she makes the same scrunched up facial expression each time, but she swallows and wants more, which I consider a good sign.

The latest tricks include making “mamamama”-sounds – not sure that they’re actually due to me trying to teach her to say “mama” though. Just a few days ago we discovered that she has begun to reach for us. We enjoyed this phenomenon for a few minutes yesterday passing her back and forth and getting excited every time she raised her little chubby arms and leaned forward. Such a tiny little gesture, yet so rewarding! Also, one of the best games we’ve played yet is touching our foreheads to one another’s. Silly, but it’s a game that she understands just as well as we do.  I’ll lean my head close to hers and she’ll giggle and come the last few centimeters and knock her forehead on mine. Seriously, best game ever! I’ll gladly play it with her till the day I die!

She is learning to let go of most of her fears! She almost never cries in the car anymore and as soon as we introduced the rubber duck to bath time she has completely abandoned any need to cling to the sides of the tub and she’ll sit in there for as long as we want – as long as that duck can be in her chubby hands squished into her mouth.

To my surprise, I almost feel more protective of her now than ever. I can’t quite figure out why. Whether it’s the rewarding moments of seeing her appreciation for my love for her or simply the element of time, I don’t know. But someway I feel much more like a real mom these days.

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Running with the family

I’ve always hated running. I’ve had periods here and there when I’ve gotten into good running routines. But I guess I never stuck to it long enough to learn to enjoy it. I’ve just always had a hard time motivating myself to keep going when there was no ball or team mates or table with cake to run to. But as much as I want to get back in shape and as much as I wish I could just lift weights in a gym, I realize I need to do some proper cardio as well.

So the last few weeks Marcus and I have put it back on our weekly to-do list. And last week we, along with some friends, began a challenge to run 10 km a week (it’s nice to have someone to answer to).

After a few days of just taking turns to go out, we decided it would be more fun to do it as a family. Also, spring had finally come to Denmark and it was just hard to not be outside and enjoy the sunshine. So we suited up the baby and walked together to the park. Then we spent the next hour taking turns running laps and watching birds with Baby. And it was a lovely thing!

To us it’s a perfect way to get outside and spend some quality time with the family. We get our workout and Baby’s nap out of the way at the same time.

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I guess bird watching makes babies sleepy after a while. She got a good half hour nap.

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– Also a red-nosed Mama.

 

Returned missionary

Yesterday was one of those days when you wake up and it is as if time stands still. Because the day you have been counting down to for months has finally come.

After 18 months of full-time service as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my sister finally came home! Talk about a long day of work!

It was so great to see her and to feel that nothing had changed. It was so fun to have her meet Baby for the first time. Baby wasn’t quite as excited to see her though – she’ll grow wiser with time.

It’s ironic how the whole process of saying goodbye and being without a family member for a while really brings you closer together when you’re reunited. It was really an experience for me to watch as she threw her arms around my brothers and sister and seeing the tears in their eyes. That alone made me remember how much I love all of them. I love my family. I wish I was better at seeing reminders like that without having to send one of them away for a few years.

And like it is with days like those, I feel surprised that life keeps going on. Now all there’s left to do is have a lot of fun!

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A simple golden ring

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On the occasion of our being married 23 months today I thought I’d share a little bit about my wedding ring. And my engagement ring. Because they’re the same ring.

I don’t know where you’re from, but here where I’m from using the same ring for engagement and for marriage is not traditional. But that’s the thing. If planning a wedding taught me anything, it is that I don’t care much for tradition. At least not some traditions.

We knew quite quickly that we wanted to marry each other. I loved him and he loved me. To us it was as simple as that. And we were too excited to start our lives together to wait around till we were engaged to start planning. When he asked me what kind of ring I wanted I told him I wanted a simple ring without big stones that I could accidentally knock out doing the dishes or working in the yard.

He said, surely I would want a fancy engagement ring. He would love to get me a simple wedding ring if I’d like and he wouldn’t think it was weird at all if I didn’t want to wear my engagement ring every day once we were married.

I told him, no thank you, and that I’d prefer just having one meaningful ring rather than having a very expensive ring stuffed away in a drawer the rest of my life. We both knew that we didn’t have a lot of money and what little we had I preferred we save and spend on something more useful.

In the end he agreed and I waited in excitement for the day he would pop the question. In the meantime we planned our wedding.

Then one day when I was in Stockholm visiting him, he took me upstairs to a secluded spot. He apologized for spoiling some of the surprise but that he needed to ask my opinion on something and that he didn’t think I’d mind. I gave my permission and he pulled out a small black velvet bag. He told me that he had recently been to visit his grandparents. They had asked about the proceedings of our relationship and especially about his upcoming proposal. Kindly, they had offered their own engagement rings for Marcus to take. Marcus opened the small bag and emptied the contents into the palm of his hand. The rings were perfect. Simple, smooth and glitteringly golden. I waved off Marcus’ remarks that I could still have a diamond ring if I wanted, and told him that this was the exact ring I wanted. I asked if I could try it on, but he wouldn’t let me. He told me I’d have to wait till he proposed. He only dragged that out for another couple of weeks.

The day after he put the ring on my finger we went to a local jeweler to have them resized and engraved. We already had a date. 23 March 2013.

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10 facts about me

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Gonna share a few facts about me with you today. Like the fact that I get super awkward when I realize I need to take selfie for my blogpost about myself. That’s why I did a braid and turned it into a “see-my-hair” kind of picture instead. Sneaky sneaky…
  1. Looking backI wish I would’ve taken dance classes as a kid. I really love dancing. I wish I would’ve learned. Think I could’ve been good – or at least felt really pretty.
  2. I’m a bit nationality confused. When people ask me if I feel more Danish or American I never know what to say. I guess it’s kinda silly cause I haven’t lived in the States for that long, but when I’m in Denmark I definitely don’t feel that Danish. But I guess it doesn’t really matter…
  3. ‘Party’ is a magic word to me. If ever we need to do something we’re not excited about (like packing, moving or doing laundry) I try my very best to motivate Marcus by throwing in the word ‘party’. “It’ll be a cleaning party!”. If it can be done with loud music and snacks – it can be fun! I haven’t quite yet convinced Marcus of this truth.
  4. My family are my best friends. For a long time I’ve felt a little embarrassed about this fact but I’ve learned to be proud of it. I love and cherish spending time with my friends too (Love you guys! I do!) but my family is just something else. They’re just the most wonderful and fun people I know!
  5. I have not yet discovered my love for cooking. I know it’s there – cause I love good food – but right now I honestly don’t think it’s worth the time. Once in a while I’ll get excited about trying a new recipe I found on Pinterest but most days I’d rather just get something on the table fast so I can spend more time doing other stuff. I’m so not living up to my mom’s legacy.
  6. Despite loving the word ‘party’ I’m not really a party person. Or I guess it depends how you define ‘party’. I’d much rather be in a smaller gathering of friends or family than run around at a big party pretending I’m having the time of my life.
  7. I’m a mormon. Yes I am. It makes me a better person and brings me more happiness every day than anything else.
  8. One of my biggest fears is being lazy. Or that other people think I’m lazy. For example, I really really want to be a morning person and I hate myself for finding it difficult.
  9. I have a weird secret (secret no more) fear of old churches. As a little girl I once had a nightmare about the cathedral in Aalborg. It was dark and there were eerie Gregorian chants… I guess it just stuck. It stuck good.
  10. One of my biggest dreams is to someday publish a book. That day will be such a good day.

Baby girl is 5 months!

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5 months. Is that all? and already?

She’s lying on her belly here on the couch next to me, staring me down. I guess she’s waiting for me to turn around and make a funny sound or something. At least right now she is. In a minuteshe’ll have rolled back on her back. Then she’ll get sad that her toys are so far away and she’ll crunch up and try to roll back to her tummy. And eventually she will and she’ll get that surprised look on her face, like she still can’t believe she can do that.

We just gave her an evening bath before bed time. She still really doesn’t like the water, but we’re trying our best to go slow and take our time to play with her and splash around. We’re also still working on car rides. Really hope she gets over that one soon.

Those are however just about the only things besides being hungry that she cries about. She’s the happiest little baby most of the time and has learned that it doesn’t take more than a few calls to get her parents’ attention if she needs something. Which is niiice! On the other hand, now she’ll call us for just about anything. I can’t reach my toy! I want more milk! Keep talking to me!

She’s becoming her own little person more than ever. She loves talking and being social. She doesn’t really seem to mind being with people she doesn’t know either. She has started giving us “kisses” (snarling and attacking our faces if we get too close). She has begun to laugh a little too. Sometimes if she’s in the right mood and we’re being REALLY funny she’ll scrunch up her face as if she’s about to burst with happiness, only she doesn’t quite know how to express it. Eventually a tiny squeak or even a giggle will escape. She wants to touch everything, especially faces. Whenever we carry her around now she’ll keep one hand on our faces or grab my hair as if to make sure we’re still there.

I like to think she’s learning to bond in other ways than through nursing now. I love watching her touch and examine Marcus’ face. I’m glad that he gets to feel a lot closer to her now that she’s responding more to him. As social as she can be in crowds, we can tell a huge difference when we come home and it’s just the three of us again. She clearly shows how comfortable she is by either going straight to sleep or lighting up and starting the party. It’s the best thing ever to feel that we are truly a little family and that she loves being with us as much as we love being with her.

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