Sunday, January 27, 2013

Photo Challenge Week #4 - Transportation

Shannon - Transportation is a big issue for us here.  We really have struggled without a car.  Our trip to church today involved a 2km bike ride, 2 train rides, a bus ride and a walk.  It's always frustrating.  Anyway, I had many choices of what to put as my transportation picture, but I settled on this one of Noah watching out of the window of the train.  No matter how many times we ride the train, it still holds some excitement for the kids.

Chad - As biking has moved from entertainment to transportation the need to get the kids more independent  has increased. When we moved here Myra was close but not really riding a bike.  One of the first things they told us at her school was that she need to learn because they would take field trips that required her to ride a bike. So I bought the kids bike and started running around behind them. Myra picked it up fast and quickly progressed to trying to ride with no feet or hands. Lexi, has been more timid and reluctant. She can balance and turn but is scared to do it on her own, she won't really try to start off by herself or stop. This picture was taken with me getting her going from behind, then running in front to take the picture as she past. The tilted angle is actually because it is a hurried shot and not an attempt to be artistic - but who's going to know?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Photo Challenge Week #3 - Food

Shannon - This is a photo of our local Bakery.  It's about 300 yards from our house.  You will find these little bakeries all over the place.  Like everything in Denmark, they are pretty pricey, so we only splurge once in a while, but every time we got to the grocery store, right next to this bakery, we all have to stop and stare through the window for a few minutes and drool over what we would want to choose.  Yum!

Chad - Background:
At work one of my colleges is interested in researching insects as a food source. Yuck right? Well actually there is a lot of sense behind it. Insects are cold blooded, so they don't consume any energy to keep themselves warm. What that means is a much larger portion of the nutrients put in to them are returned as nutrients to the consumer (I think for cows you only get like 20% of what you put into them, insects are like 80%). A lot of interest in insects as a food source is geared towards livestock, realistically it would be very difficult to convince many people to eat insects (although you could have probably said the same thing about raw fish 20 years ago). Well to try to spare my kids of being stuck in the paradigm that insects are gross, for this weeks food-themed photo challenge - I decided to cook them some Tenbrio (mealworms), which are beetle larva that you can get at most pet shops or order by the kilo online to feed pets (birds, reptiles, etc.).  As an insect pathologist I keep them around in my lab most of the time for experiments.

I froze them before I cooked them. Then I decided to fry them with some butter and salt - pretty simple. 

Myra and Noah were very excited about trying them, Lexi was not (I did convince her to hold one for a picture). I ate one first to make sure they tasted ok, and then Myra and Noah joined me. 

They really enjoyed them and kept wanting more, so I had to make a second batch. Once Shannon got home the kids were really excited to show her - she was really grossed out. Lexi, after seeing how much fun her brother and sister were having, decided to try one with a piece of chocolate, once she tasted the first one and realized that they were not so bad she ate several more. 
So now everyone but Shannon had eaten some, so after some persuasion and negotiating I convinced her eat just one, and in exchange I would buy her two of her favorite pastries from the bakery (I think she got the better end of that deal). It took her awhile to finally do it but she did in the end eat one small mealworm with a big glass of water and a lot of gagging.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Our 1st Year in Denmark

We have now lived in Denmark for a year.  And what a year it has been.   
This is all we moved to Denmark with, except for our Dog, Nena.  We really miss her.
 It's been a year of difficulties and great personal triumph's.  Sometimes when I think about it, it's hard to believe that a year has already gone by.  At other times I think that it was the longest year of my life.  That we still have 2 more years to go?  Or that we only have 2 more years left to fit everything in.  It's a lot of conflict of thoughts and emotion. 
We were reminiscing about our first day here last year.  We remembered how cold it was after being Florida and how gray and gloomy it looked.  As we drove to our apartment, I was wondering where all the cool old buildings and castles were.  We were sad about leaving behind our home and family. We thought about going to the store the first time and thinking that we would never be able to figure out what we were buying and how we ended up buying a bunch of random food items that we would never had bought otherwise.  We remembered how we had no lights in our apartment, because in Denmark, you have to provide your own lighting.  We remembered that we all slept in the same room on the same bed that first night and we were freezing.

 We remember being tired and pretty much in shock at the new reality of our life.  It was so nice to think about all of these things now and to be able to laugh about them.  When in reality, those first couple of weeks were some of the darkest times of our life.  We are so glad to have this year behind us and to be able to look back and see how much we have grown.
As I started writing this, I looked back to our posts from 6 months in and it was fun to see what has and hasn't changed.  We still miss our family and friends, our dog, a car, a garbage disposal and warm weather.  But, although we miss the convenience of some things, like Walmart and restaurants, we've learned to live without.  Although our choices of foods are much more limited, we've eaten a much larger variety of dinners, because I've had to really stretch my cooking abilities.  Even the foods that we missed back in the beginning, we don't seem to miss as much now.  Although I would love a good Root Beer right now. =)  And we bought a crockpot from England, so that deficiency has been resolved. 
The things we love about Denmark haven't really changed, but we've just added more to them.  I love the friends my kids have made and the fact that they live right here in our apartment complex.  I love that my kids are learning a new language.  I love all the random things about Denmark that make us just shake our heads and remark, "Only in Denmark."
Not the weirdest thing we've seen, but this was from our first trip into Downtown Copenhagen and the kids especially were all a little shocked.

 I love that now we've lived in such dark days during the winter, we will really appreciate our long days during the summer.  And although I hate the cold weather, I love that first snow sparkling on the all the trees surrounding the bike path we ride on.    I love that I can ride my bike for 5 minutes and be in the middle of the woods.  I love all the Danish traditions.  And the list goes on...
I guess to sum it all up, I'm glad to be a year in.  And I think that this next year will only get better.  The days are already getting longer, we are hoping to buy a car soon and life just feels good.  Much better than it did a year ago.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Photo Challenge Week #2 - Trees

Shannon - A couple of things I love about Denmark are the bike paths everywhere and the Trees!  You can ride your bike all over the city we live in and never even see a car.  This path is just a few minutes from our house.  It's the darkest forest area I've ever seen.  You can look into the trees and see nothing but black.  It was rather spooky being there by myself on a wet, cold, gloomy, foggy day. 

Chad - This tree is kind of near our house on the way to one of my offices. I have always liked how much character it has.

.... Next weeks theme is Food, not sure what do for that.

Through a child's eyes

Last week it was cold and we did not really want to try to go any where, but we needed to get out of the house for a bit. So we went for a short walk around the buildings. We decided to let the girls carry cameras and take pictures of whatever they wanted. Here are are few of the better ones - Do you have a favorite?

M's fotos

L's fotos

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Photo Challenge Week #1 - 100 Steps from your House

Shannon - Our apartment building is the middle one.  100 steps didn't take us very far away from the buildings and there isn't much of a view, but this shows some typical Danish apartments.  There are 8 of these buildings in our complex.  And note the typical Danish gray and cloudy sky.  I miss the Sun.

Chad - 100 steps between our house and Myra's school. This is where the older kids sneak off to during the day to smoke and hang out. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge 2013

Shannon and I have decided to start a photo challenge for this year, we saw this on someone else's blog and decided to create our own.  Basically, we have assigned a theme to each week of the year and are going to try to take a photo during that week that fits in that theme. Of course this is not a contest, there are no prizes, so the themes can be adjusted or stretched to fit certain weeks. We would love it if others wanted to do it with us. If you are interested let us know. If there is some interest  I thought I would start a facebook page for the photos that we could all post on each week and maybe vote on the best or strangest... or people could give us advice. 

I know that this week is mostly over (we have set it up to run Monday to Sunday so there is still some time today and tomorrow for week one), if you do want to do it but don't have this week, just do two next week or do a 51 week challenge - it is not really a big deal.