I am going to Denmark!

It has been my dream since I was last there when I was fifteen years old. For my 35th birthday this year, my parents are buying me a round-trip flight to Denmark.  I asked my dad if he would join me.  He said “Yes!”

This particular dream was one I put onto my 2012 treasure map, and I have visualized it happening pretty consistently since then.  Now that dream is about to become a reality.  I am going to Denmark!

My father was born and raised in Denmark and my mother was born and raised in Finland.  They met when my mom was 19 at a club in Helsinki and fell in love.  It would be a few years of writing love letters and having a long-distance relationship that they would become married and travel the world together, wherever my dad’s work would take him.

I was born in Maryland, where we lived for a short while.  After Maryland, we moved to Wisconsin and my sister was born. Then we picked up and moved across the world to a small town near Copenhagen, Denmark.

I spent about five years of my childhood in Denmark and attended school through second grade.  It was a formative time for me, and Danish was my native tongue.  It was the first culture that was my own and a culture I still identify with. Although I have lived in the United States since I was nine years old, I haven’t lost my Danish roots.

A few years ago I took a similar trip with my mom, who took Alan, Mia and me to Finland.  I have never lived in Finland and I do not speak Finnish, but it is a part of my blood, too.  I met family I never knew I had.  I saw the house where my mother and her four siblings grew up.  I saw my grandfather one last time before he passed away. It was an amazing trip.

I will be away from my family for eleven days.  I will miss them and they will miss me.  So much. I am a little fearful of being so far away and of not being able to touch them and see them for so long; this is something I have never done before.  But it is something I have to do and will never regret.  I will come home from my trip and they will forget that I was ever gone, but the memories will live in my mind forever.

I can’t wait.

My free Gemini reading

I signed up for a free Gemini reading, based on the time and date of my birth.  It is amazingly true and embarrassingly accurate.  It also makes me realize that maybe I am not as serious as I think I am, and maybe more selfish than I realized. Luckily I think I realized a lot of my faults a while ago and have been trying to work on them.  Here is what I got, copied and pasted directly from Astrology.com.

“Section 1: How You Approach Life and How You Appear To Others

    You meet life head on and throw yourself into new experiences with zest and enthusiasm. You are direct, straightforward, assertive, and usually completely aboveboard in all your dealings. Candid and incapable of guile, insincerity or phoniness, you project a confident and sometimes arrogant appearance to others. You often lack tact and sensitivity, and can be completely oblivious to others’ needs, and inadvertently selfish. You are self-reliant and don’t depend upon social approval and reinforcement as much as other people do. You like to be original and do not mind going it alone. You may feel that you do not fit into groups very well, and that you do not naturally blend in and cooperate with others very easily. You like to be either a leader or a loner.     You are a doer and thrive on freedom, challenge, and activity. You tend to think in clear, black and white terms, and to be somewhat simplistic in your outlook, which enables you to act in a very decisive and self-assured manner. When inspired with an idea, you feel such a sense of urgency and excitement about it that you will often charge ahead and try to implement it in a rather bold but poorly planned and crudely executed way. Patience and careful attention to details are not your forte. However, you never accept defeat and will have brilliant and unprecedented successes and discoveries, as well as painful failures. To you it is far better to make mistakes than it is to play it safe and never try.     You are scornful of what you see as weakness or passivity in others and also of the human tendency to imitate and follow. You are not a follower. Others see you as a strong individual, and perhaps brash and brazen as well. You present a strong front to the world and generally do not allow others to see your vulnerable or insecure side.

Section 2: The Inner You: Your Real Motivation

    You are, in many ways, an eternal child. Your mind is bright, alert, curious, flexible, playful, and always eager for new experiences – and your attention span is often quite brief. You grasp ideas quickly and once your initial curiosity has been satisfied, you want to go on to something else. You crave frequent change, variety, meeting new situations and people.     It may be hard for you to decide just where your talents and true vocation lies, for you have a multitude of interests and are loathe to limit yourself by concentrating on just one. You are easily distracted by all of the other fascinating possibilities. Your curiosity and restlessness propel you into many different experiences in life, and you are willing to taste or try anything once. Doing the same thing over and over again, even it is something you do well, is real drudgery for you.     You live in your head a great deal – reading, observing, thinking, spinning ideas around – and you need mental stimulation every bit as much as you need food and drink. In fact, if you had to choose between a good book or movie and a good lunch, you would very likely choose the former. You have a creative mind and often live by your wits.     You are also a very social creature, with a strong need to communicate and to interact with people. You enjoy using and playing with words and have a real flair for getting your ideas across in a clever, interesting, articulate manner. Writing or speaking are areas you have talent for.     You also have a rather light and mischievous sense of humor, and often do not take anything too seriously. Though you crave emotional involvement, it is hard for you to achieve it, for you are frequently unwilling to commit yourself to anything, to take responsibility, or to limit your personal freedom and mobility.     Your happiness lies in using your creativity and your language skills to communicate something meaningful, to teach, inspire, or bring people together. You have an unbiased mind and can usually offer a fresh, clear, uncluttered perspective. Your faults are your lack of constancy and persistence, and your tendency to overlook or ignore deep emotional issues and other people’s feelings.”

Sweetness and sickness.

Yesterday I was sick. While I felt pretty miserable, there is a gift that comes with being sick.  It comes in letting housework go, in letting everything go, and simply being present.  Being sick always makes me extra grateful for how good I normally feel and for what a gift it is to have good health.

While spending much of the day on the couch and/or bed, I was deliciously present and connected to my sweet 4-year-old Anna. I watched, admired, and chatted with my little munchkin.  I even took some pictures.

This is what we did:

she watched 4 (yes, that’s FOUR) movies while I laid on the couch

played with PlayDoh and chatted with me while I laid on the couch

she “read” me lots of books while I laid on the couch

she took a bath while I sat on the toilet (lid closed)

my sister, Annette (aka Auntie Daja) came for a visit to give Anna her birthday present (cute overalls and a skirt, which Anna promptly changed into, then out of, multiple times)

After Mia came home, they both eagerly got me things I needed and were so happy to take care of me, and so did their daddy.

I am not quite sure what Anna ate, but I guess I fed her here and there.  And I watched her.  I soaked her in.

Here are some pictures I took of our special day:

 

 

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Today I am on the road to recovery.  Fever and body aches are gone, though a very sore throat and painful ears and no appetite remain.  Today I get the day to myself, to rest, sleep, and get well.

Alan took Anna to work with him and will bring her to his parents’ house over lunch.  I have amazing people in my life.

I am grateful.

 

Happy 35th birthday, Alan!

Alan turned 35 yesterday.  I wanted to make the day special and memorable, even though he spent most of it at work.  He is an amazing father, husband and person.

Here is what we did:

we ate the yummiest meal I have ever made:

Asian Orange Chicken with Ginger Veggie Stir Fry with steamed jasmine rice

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with Mixed Berry Pavlova for dessert.  We ate the whole thing.

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Mia gave Alan a Caribou gift card that she bought with her own money, and Anna gave him a special package filled with crumpled drawings.

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Mia and Alan sang and played guitar and worked on a song they are writing together.

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I gave Alan a day off this weekend and money that he has to spend on himself.

Happy birthday, Alan!

Last day of “three”

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I feel surprisingly less sentimental about this day than I expected (although I don’t know yet what tomorrow will bring).  This is the day, four years ago, that I went into labor with Anna and had one of the most transformative experiences of my adult life.  While I still deeply appreciate what it was, I greet this anniversary with contentment and peace. There is no pain or longing for the past.  There is a look and a smile at what it was, and then a savoring of the present moment.

I am still a little sentimental about Jeanne, my beloved midwife who cared for me before, during and after the birth of Anna.  I suspect I always will be sentimental about her; she has a special place in my heart. Sometimes I see someone who looks like her and it gets me thinking of her, and I can get a little choked up about it.  She was such an important part of my journey, and for that short time, I needed her.  Accepting that I do not need her anymore and may never need her again has taken some work on my part, but I think I am mostly there now.

I turn 35 this year, and my body no longer feels up for the challenge of another pregnancy, birth, and baby.  It is hard work in so many ways.  I am now in a place where I look forward to a future that looks quite different from my past;  I am in a place where I am able to embrace the present without longing for what I no longer have. In this moment I have a very lively (and at times, exhausting) little bundle of joy, and she turns four tomorrow. FOUR!

Happy fourth birthday, Anna, and happy home-birth anniversary to me.

“No, thank you.”

In recent years I’ve slowly learned to say “no, thank you” to entities and activities that I truly did not want to partake in, and am now able to do so without guilt…most of the time.  I still tend to give in sometimes, but it is a little less the norm than it used to be.

This summer, I am saying “no, thank you” to all of the enticing camps and activities I could enroll my children in.  I am saying “yes, please” to family time, building a play house out of pallets, tending the garden, camping, and cabin time.  A few guitar, singing, and/or swimming lessons may make their way in, too.  For the most part, though, it will be a summer of down-time.

I will work my regular shifts and maybe pick up some extra when I can, and Alan will enjoy what may be his last summer off.  If or when he starts a job as a school administrator, he may work year-round.  It will be hard to say goodbye to these glorious summers off, and because of this, I don’t think I would mind if he kept his current job forever.  Teacher’s schedules are awesome.