Tuesday, April 29, 2008


About a week ago we taught John how to say "please" when he wants something. He'll request something and then one of us will prompt in a smiley, sing-song voice, "What do you say???" and he'll respond with, "peethz!"

The please concept is still a little lost on him. A few days after our "please" breakthrough I was fussing at him for not doing what I told him to do.

"You may not do that, John! What did Mama say?"


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Photo Friday Saturday

Sleepy Saturday Afternoon, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Golden Cream of Potato Soup

I think everyone grew up with some kind of potato soup that their mother, grandmother or friend's mom would make. This is my own little mother's recipe - one of those great carb-filled comfort foods that you need from time-to-time.

Golden Cream of Potato Soup
6 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
2 cups water
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped onions
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 cups milk
¾ pound Velveeta

Bring to potatoes, celery, carrots, onions and water to boil. Stir in bouillon cubes, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to low. Add milk and Velveeta stirring carefully to avoid scorching.

Serve with homemade biscuits made with a little fresh ground pepper.

If you live in a country without Velveeta (*cough* Denmark *cough*) you can substitute any cheese that works well in a cheese fondue like Jarlsberg, Emmenthaler (both Swiss-style) and Gruyere.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Passports and Things Like Them

What is it about driver’s license, school ID and passport photos? Regardless of how hard you try to do your hair just right, wear just the right short of shirt and focus on keeping a pleasant expression, you always end up looking like the walking dead. This is also true for the most youthful and darling among us as you can see from poor James’ passport photo. Next week we have an appointment at the American embassy to register James as an American citizen and apply for his passport and social security number.

One interesting thing I learned from going through the process of getting James’ Danish birth certificate is Danes aren’t required to give their children an official name until six months after they’re born. That must be nice for those people who take longer than nine months to agree on a name. Traditionally Danish children don’t have a name until it is announced at the child’s baptism; for example the now 1-year-old Danish Princess Isabella’s name wasn’t revealed to the public until her baptism. This is also why birth certificates are handled through your local church parish and not a regular state agency like it’s done back in the States.

Lucky for James his passport is only good for five year. On the other hand I have to show customs officials a picture of my bloated, eight-months-pregnant face for another eight years.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Photo Friday

Who Likes Shawarma?!, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Walk 5 Miles in My Shoes

Now that the weather is nicer, the boys and I have been spending a lot of time outdoors. Between the Christiania Bike and the double stroller we have been covering a lot of ground; out to the beach, into the center city, down to Christiania to feed the swans. I do it primarily because it entertains John, and James naps really well with the constant motion of the stroller and the bike. But I also take these long outings because they're good exercise. I tend to be one of those people who exercise grudgingly and without joy. But I find myself trying to lengthen walks and bike rides to melt the baby fat off my midsection kill time.

That's how I ended up on a five mile walk today (thanks for the distance measurements Gmaps pedometer). And any moment now my legs are going to turn black and fall off.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

I'm slowly getting back into cooking now that James is generally only waking up once at night and new patterns of juggling my two babies are falling into place. Last night I attempted a new recipe from my friend Karen over at Curious Lyle for Vegetarian Sloppy Joes. They were delicious and I ate more than I care to admit (nursing makes me feel like a bottomless pit).

I used red wine vinegar rather than white vinegar as it was what I had on hand and that tasted fine. These were very spicy as I used Mexene chili powder though a milder chili powder would likely make them more child-friendly.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

8 kaiser rolls

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic: saute until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Stir in kidney beans, and cook an additional 5 minutes.

3. Cut a 1/4 inch slice off the top of each kaiser roll; set aside. Hollow out the center of each roll, leaving about 1/2 inch thick shells; reserve the inside of rolls for other uses.

4. Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls and replace tops. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Fella

My Dad very kindly offered to do our taxes for us this year since he had all our tax paperwork and I strongly suspect he enjoys playing with TurboTax. Because of that we ended up spending more time than usual on the phone together over the weekend confirming details related to tax-like things.

Dad turned 60 last year but looks much younger. He's a humble man; I didn't realize until a few years ago when I was helping him put together a resume for a consulting job that he had been The Man in charge of a whole state's bank regulatory agency before he retired. I think he was so good at his job because he's such a natural judge of character. Dad has a soft southern drawl and the highest compliment he can pay is to say someone is a "good fella." He was the one who showed me how to give John his first bath and trim his tiny newborn fingernails (two things that are much harder than they look!).

Before we left for Denmark last August, I had been encouraging my Dad to check out all the free podcasts he could download on iTunes since he had just acquired my sister Rosalie's old Nano when she upgraded. Dad is reasonably technologically savvy but the podcast concept seemed a little foreign to him.

Then this weekend while were waiting for TurboTax to spin its wheels and give us our magic refund number, Dad commented, "I've been checking out those podcasts you told me about. There is a lot of really interesting stuff out there." He went on to detail the podcasts he discovered on baseball, genealogies, finances and every other topic that he finds interesting.

The next step is getting him to try putting those podcasts on the iPod.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Our Linguist

Language acquisition is such a great thing for a child. Finally being able to articulate what one is thinking. Communicating clearly with the people you love most. Today John spoke his first three word sentence as Michael was putting a fresh diaper on James:

"Bye-bye baby wee-wee."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Photo Friday

Christiania Biking, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

And this week's other Photo Friday contender.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Things I Get Way Too Excited About

Riding the Escalator - I always ride the elevators when I'm taking public transportation due to the stroller and if I get caught during rush hour will sometimes have to wait an incredibly long time to get where I'm trying to go. About five weeks into my life as a stay-at-home mother, I got my first few hours away from John and the highlight of my outing was riding up and down the escalator at the local mall. Pathetic but true.

Using the Bathroom Unmolested - Which sounds crase but I can't think of another way to put it. You wouldn't think this was such a big deal until the bathroom becomes your only place of semi-privacy; a place to collect your thoughts and just be still for the 60 precious seconds you might have. Or perhaps longer if:

Both Children Are Napping at the Same Time - It's like a little miracle. And it's happening right now.

Decalf Starbucks Coffee - It's my afternoon treat obsession. I have yet to find good decalf coffee in this country and Starbucks only lives at the Copenhagen airport. It's my little taste of home.

Buttoning Into My Old Jeans - Thank you breastfeeding.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


One of our favorite things about Copenhagen are all the great shawarma shops. It's meat on a stick at its best. Shawarma night used to be a special treat that we'd enjoy once or twice a month but in these weeks since James arrived we've been frequenting our favorite local shawarma shop about once a week.

Our increased patronization became real to us Sunday night when Michael walked in the shop door and the owner already knew our order and which language to give it in.

"Two larges. One with chilis."

"Um. Yes, that's us."

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Gracious Covenant

Baptismal Day
Originally uploaded by TilleyShots

Just as God included the children of Abraham in the gracious covenant, God, who is rich in mercy and love, includes all of God's children in his covenant. God's promises are spoken in the waters of baptism. And as they grow, we teach them that they have been set apart in baptism as God's own children, bound to each other by the Holy Spirit, and joined to Christ's loving ministry for the life of the world, so that they may respond to God in faith and commitment.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Photo Friday

Post, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Things that make you go: "Haha"

The Slate.com Hillary Clinton Deathwatch. Current chance of winning the Democratic nomination sitting at 9.9 percent.