It was the 10 days I had been dreading. Ten days alone with the kids. Ten days with little support on the home front. Ten days with my husband out of the country.
So…how did it go?
I would say we had more ups than downs.
It started with Thanksgiving. My husband left on Wednesday and the girls and I “celebrated” Thanksgiving. By “celebrated”, I mean we had leftover soup and said “Happy Thanksgiving” to each other and a few other Americans at the international school.
I did do some shopping on Black Friday. It was definitely not as crazy as Black Friday in the USA though. The first store I purchased a snowsuit for Avery at 30% off. I was also the only one in the store. No pushing or grabbing here.
The next store was a hardware store. I was just looking for an extension cord and light bulbs. I know, I’m a crazy shopper. This store did have a line. It was quite busy for the small town but still nothing comparable to what we would see in the USA. There were no stores in our area open at ridiculous times and everyone was very cordial to each other. The store even served coffee. It was actually quite enjoyable as far as Black Friday shopping goes.
Saturday was my birthday! Wooo!! But after turning 21, I don’t feel like birthdays are quite as exciting as they were in my youth. The girls did sing me “Happy Birthday” and Claire gave me a card. We spent the day with some friends. We enjoyed lunch at the Lego House and attended a very Danish Christmas gathering. It involved making traditional Danish ornaments (including the Danish hearts), eating copious amounts of fresh æbleskiver and pebernodder (girls loved it), drinking gløgg and singing a Danish Christmas song while holding hands and dancing around the Christmas tree. Dancing around the tree is a big tradition in Denmark and I’ve already done it twice so far.
And the sun shone with little cloud cover for two full days!!!!!
The next week started off with lighting of the advent candle and opening the advent calendar. You can find both of these things at practically every store in Denmark. Hardware store, grocery store, Lego store, etc. Which is (of course) why our advent calendar is Lego Harry Potter.
Tuesday was a BIG day! First, Claire had a bake sale at school. I made banana bars with cream cheese frosting. They were all gone by the time I picked her up and her class raised a good amount of money to donate to the Red Cross. That evening, Claire had a karate test. She’s been going to karate twice a week and continues to enjoy it. Tuesday was the day to put all her knowledge to the test. And……SHE PASSED! We are so proud of her!
The next afternoon we got to participate in a nisser (elves) hunt. The girls had a blast racing around the town and trying to find all the nisser. There was also a prize at the end along with more æbleskiver, pebernodder and gløgg. They had a great time.
Friday came with another evening to hangout with friends. We enjoyed pizza and the Kolding light festival. It was not quite what I expected. I was expecting more Christmas type lights and scenes like what is common in the states. This was mainly projections and strobe type lighting. The girls LOVED it. We strolled around downtown Kolding first checking out all the projections. There was a giant tree in the center of the festival that also had a type of light show going on. The projection matched the windows of the building and it showed a story of something ongoing within the building. Due to the amount of people in the area and running children, I didn’t quite get to see the whole show.
Claire’s favorite spot was by the Spanish stairs. It involved different colored spotlights changing and moving to the beat of music. She had a blast dancing around and getting lost in the lights. Avery, on the other hand, was not a big fan and stayed by my side until our friend was able to coax her out to dance with her.
We walked around the shopping areas which were also lit up as well before we made our way to the Koldinghus castle. The castle was lit up in changing colors. When we arrived, there was a fire breathing show but we only caught the very end of it. The kids were a bit disappointed about that. We then ventured into the castle and started climbing the stairs. I did not count how many stairs we climbed but by the end I was out of breath. It was a LOT of stairs. And I had to carry my three year old for half of it. Cardio workout!
But the view was awesome! We were at the very top of the castle which is also on one of the highest points in Kolding. We were able to lookout over the city and lake. Avery, who had to do little work to get to the top, was ready to go back down to the bottom after about one minute at the top. She was cold! So ready in fact, she just started walking down the stairs without an adult. Stubborn, that one.
Back down the stairs we went. By the time we reached the bottom, we decided to call it a night. It was late for the kids and us parents were pretty tired as well. The weather was also rainy and cold.
That night we had the biggest down moment of the 10 days. Avery got sick. Throw up sick. It started at 3 AM. I heard it and immediately ran to her room. Why does it always seem to happen in the middle of the night? WHY??
Well to make this story funnier, I lifted her up and started carrying her to the bathroom. Unfortunately, she regurgitated on the tile floor resulting in me slipping on her vomit and falling into it. Excellent.
The rest of the night was spent with clean up, laundry and a few more episodes of sickness.
The next morning, she was fine. She was running around the house with clean underwear on her head chasing her sister. Since her sister ate the same thing she did, I have no idea why she was sick. She just had a lower appetite the rest of the weekend but seemed perfectly normal. *shrug*
On Sunday afternoon, the husband arrived back at home. We showered him with homemade drawings, a welcome back sign and kisses.
We’re so happy to have him back on Denmark soil!