How Skateboarding Saved My Life Sparkle

I am scared to share this. Not because I am embarassed, not because I think it is something that should be hidden away. Yet, I still do it. I hide it away.

I hide that I am struggling with mental health issues. Or, at least I never really bring it up anywhere. It feels safer not to. But I also feel like a coward sometimes.

I am scared, because I fear people’s judgement of me. I fear that friends will back away from us. I fear that potential future employers will exclude my applications. I even fear that friends and acquaintainces will treat me with pity. I don’t need pity.

I have an illness that will never go away. But I have learned to deal with it. Just like a person with diabetes deals with her illness.

I have learned to manage my ups and downs to a degree where I am totally able to live a good life – and one day I might even be a good wife. For now I just concentrate on being a loving mum, a caring girlfriend, a good student, a decent friend – and I am trying to have as much fun along the way as I can. And I can do this. I am doing this.

With a little help from my old faithful.

Skateboarding has a special place in my heart and here is why…

You see, almost eight years ago I was in a dark, dark place in my mind. It was so dark that I had to go to hospital for several months to see the light again.

The doctors prescribed me different drugs, I got therapy sessions, did yoga and mindfullness, came on a healthy diet and was allowed to rest and heal. It was all a combination that slowly, slowly brought me back to life. But one thing that really made a difference to me, and still does, was my skateboard.

I will never forget when my doctor ordered me to go skating each and every day. I thought she was kidding. She was not. She had seen what skating did to me. She had witnessed how getting out there in the streets made me happier. How I had a tiny bit more sparkle in my eyes when I returned.

I needed fresh air and I needed exercise. And I needed to feel free. Skateboarding gave me all these things – and more. It also provided me with a social setting where there was no judgement. Some of the friends I have made through skating has proven to be the most genuine ones out there. In fact, it was one of these friends who picked me up from the hospital when I got released back then. On his skateboard, but of course. To this day, he is still one of my most loyal friends/supporters. Even if we haven’t really seen each other for almost a decade.

It matters.

Skateboarding helped me through my darkest of darkest times. Yet, it also showed me the way to a happy place. A place where I regained my confidence and hope for the future. A place where I learned to focus on myself in a positive perspective.

A place where I keep returning to and it never fails me.

So when I take Abby skateboarding it is not only for her sake. Then again, indirectly it is – because it helps me to be a better parent.

And hey, all that deep sh*t being said, what it often really comes down to – it’s fun! We have fun together – pretty much the best medicine you can get.

I would choose a skatepark over a playground any day. Or even over being a gymnastics-, swimming- and soccer-mom.

Sitting on the sideline for footy or cricket can give me serious anxiety. It is stressful with the little sisters around and I get so socially awkward when hanging out around the other parents there.

Skateparks are different. I feel at home and relaxed. Even with three little ratbags in tow the skateparks around Brisbane are truly helping me feel more at home in Australia.

Oh, just for the record – no, I am not a very good skater. I started way too late. But I love it and it still heals me on dark days and makes me even happier on the good ones.

Just like writing makes me happy. I have actually missed writing in here, but I have been stuck on something to write about.

Once again, skateboarding got me going.

If you are following my Instagram (if not, go do it, ay!) you have probably noticed that Abby has fallen head over heals in love with skateboarding lately. So if my writing urge keeps up I will try and do a little something about her skating journey and generally how kids’ skateboarding is done (right) here in The Sunshine State.

Until then…

Skate or die!

Or do whatever gives you positive energy. Do it! Seriously❤️

Our Home, Split Between Continents

We live 15.556 km. from Copenhagen, Denmark. That is 22 hours by plane. If you take the fast route. Even worse, it is approximately $5556 away for a family of five. Out of peak season.

It is too far.

I lived in Denmark for the first 31 years of my life. Denmark was my home. I have lived abroad occasionally, but Denmark was always “home”. Denmark is still home to me. There is no doubt when I get Danish ground under my feet after being away for months or years – I feel it instantly. It is unconditional. Not even the grey weather can scare me off. I love that tiny, flat country.

But I also love Australia – the giant country almost furthest away from Denmark, that I now call home.

Two homes – 15.556 km. apart. That is not a very practical arrangement, I can tell you now. And yes, it is hard to juggle. Ridiculously hard. Of course it is.

The Absence of Family and Friends Is The Worst

There are many reasons why living 15.556 km. from Denmark is hard for me/us. However, the worst part is, whitout comparison, that my children don’t have the same, close relationship with my family and friends as they would have if we had lived in Denmark. They don’t get to see them regularly and build up those close, long-lasting relationships.

Luckily our children are quite social and generally good at fitting and settling in. When we visit Denmark it only takes them minutes before they warm up to my family, but with friends it takes a little longer. We always prioritise my close family when we are there. Seeing friends is harder. Especially because my parents live in a tiny village hours from where most of my friends live. Some friends we see every time we are there, but some we have only seen once since moving to Australia. Some we haven’t seen at all. Of course it will never ever be the same relationship as if we saw people regularly.

The fact that we are always guests everywhere we go in Denmark and have nowhere to invite people to makes it a bit tricky to see people as well. We always have to go to friends’ or family’s homes – or even meet at parks or cafés – and that can be hard to fit in sometimes with small, wild children.

Feeling Lonely Amongst People

For me personally, the loneliness is the toughest. It has been 5.5 incredibly lonely years, to be honest.

Not having anyone around that understands my traditions and culture has left me feeling alienated on several occasions. Not having those “old” friends who accept me completely. And this; not having anyone who knew me before kids. For some reason, this exact point is crucial to me. I somehow feel that no-one really knows me. Here I am “just” Abby, Billie & Lulu’s mum, but inside I still feel like the person I was before I had any kids. The person who loved being out and about, the person who travelled, the person who partied all night long, the person who was social all day every day, the person with a bunch of awesome friends, the person who called skateparks and ski slopes her second home. That person is still me. Now. She didn’t die with motherhood, but no-one knows her here. That is lonely.

The Practical Side of Things

We have no family here in Brisbane to help us out with anything. I know we have chosen this ourselves but that does not change the fact that it is hard and it would be nice to be able to go to my parents for dinner once in a while, or have my niece babysit the girls or call my brother when we need help with putting up a wall somewhere.

The time difference also makes it hard to uphold relationships across the globe. Not only does it cause immense jet-lag, but is also makes it extra hard to FaceTime with family and friends while the girls are awake – and when they finally go to sleep I rarely have much energy to sit and chat all night. Unfortunately.

Then there is the most boring part of it all, the financial part. It is very expensive to fly from Australia to Denmark when you are a family of five. Kids fly free until they are 2 years old after that they pay full price. SO for the next year and a bit Lulu is still free of charge. Hopefully we get to take advantage of that rebate before it is too late.

So Much To Miss

I sure do miss a lot of things about Denmark.

I really miss having my friends and family come by our house every now and then. Or to meet up in a local park with a bunch of old friends. I miss that.

Or to be able to just go to my mum & dad’s for the weekend when Josh is busy. Or even just send the girls there. Or ask my sister to babysit for an evening while Josh and I go out with friends. I miss going out. And spending time with my brother and his family on Sunday afternoons. My girls’ little cousins. I hate that they cannot see each other more frequently.

Yep, I miss Denmark. No doubt.

I miss my family and friends and I miss the Danish society and system on my childrens behalf – especially the school system. But I also like it here in Australia. I especially like the climate and the possibilities a country with such diverse, amazing and easy accessible nature gives children. Being able to spend as much time as I have and will the next couple of years with my children is also something I would never have been able to in Denmark. I am grateful of this – even if it sometimes brings me close to a breaking point. (Full-time parenting is hard. Revarding, but ridiculously hard).

No Regrets, though

I do not regret moving to Australia. If I would do it again? I think so. It has been 5.5 hard years, for sure. It has also been 5.5 years filled with adventures that I would not have been without.

Saying goodbye to everything I knew to start a new life in Australia with a 5 week old baby in my arms 5.5 years ago was daunting, but also exciting. Little did I know what I was in for. Luckily I have had Josh beside me all along and I am ridiculously proud of us both for what we have accomplished so far building up a life for our little family here in Australia.

But is it really worth it? It seems like there is so much “missing” going on? There is – and it sure breaks my heart when my children miss their Danish family.

This past week Billie has been sad a couple of times. She says she misses mormor & morfar a lot. It breaks my heart that we cannot just go and visit them or that we have no idea of when or even if they will ever come and visit us again.

I will never forget how Abby cried all the way through security on our last flight. It was horrible. She talked about it this morning. She remembers vividly.

My parents are not getting any younger. My mum turned 75 last month and my dad is getting close to 80. I sometimes find it unfair that my children cannot get more “out of them” now while they are still fresh and energetic. Hopefully they will still be for years to come, but you never know what life brings. I just wish we could spend more time with them now, that’s all.

Living in Australia has definitely put a lot of thing in perspective for me, especially regarding my family and I often catch myself feeling…

Sad when my family is gathered in Denmark for a birthday without us.

Jealous when my parents go to Copenhagen to babysit my niece and nephew.

A little bit furious when someone complains that their family lives a whole two hour drive away so they cannot be bothered visiting often.

You see, the biggest advantage about living so far away is that when we do see my family we are together so intensely (this can also be a disadvantage at times, I should ad). When we are in Denmark we spend a lot more time with i.e. my parents than we would have if we lived in Copenhagen. Then we would probably have visited them for a weekend every now and then – now we visit for six weeks. Enough time for grandparents and grandchildren to build up a very close and special relationship. A relationship I never thought my children would have with my parents. A priceless and beautiful relationship.

Yeah, I am more than certain that THE most important thing I have learned from living in Australia is to appreciate my family. No, it is most definitely not a perfect bunch, but missing them daily has made me realize that they aren’t that bad after all.

Now, I am secretly dreaming of flying home with the girls for the Danish summer this year. Send us a winning lotto ticket and we are on our way!

❤️

Our (new) Routines

Routines are everything once you have children, right? At least that is what you get told. Over and over again. I know I have been, at least – and then I have felt guilty that we suck at sticking to routines in our family. Then again, maybe we are doing alright – maybe we aren’t that hopeless after all.

So, recently I asked a question in my Instagram story. I asked what you guys would like me to write about on this little blog of mine. Surprisingly I got quite a lot of answers. Thank you! One of the frequent answers revolved around our daily/weekly routines with the kids.

To be honest, the word “routine” in itself triggers something in me. You see, I do know it is beneficial for children to have routines. Especially the young ones. However, I also acknowledge that our life is chaotic, that I can be rather absent-minded and routines just doesn’t seem to fit in – at least those vert strict, long-term ones.

First of all, let me just debunk the notion that “routines are everything” a bit – set routines are nice, sometimes, but you can also live a pretty decent life without having every hour of your day revolving around them. Even after having kids. Just in case you, like us, are the not-so-organised kinda people and worried it all is going rumbling down due to your awesome ability to wing it at life. No worries, we usually wing it and make it work.

I do believe balance is key to everything, even parenthood routines.

All that being said, after adding a third child to the fam bam we have realised that having some kind of routine is – not only an advantage – but a necessity to keep our family’s wheels turning.

By now we have build up two daily routines that we strive to stick to all week.

Our Morning Routine

Our most important daily routine is definitely our morning routine. If we don’t stick to a routine in the mornings the situation easily gets out of control and no-one has clothes on by the time we need to get out of the door. Literally. Especially now that Abby has started school and we have to actually be somewhere (at school) at 9 am. every day, our morning routine is crucial. Crucial in order for us to get places on time and crucial to keep relatively sane in general. Our morning routine does create less discussions, stress and tantrums and more cooperation and happy faces all around.

The routine is pretty basic, I guess:

When the girls wake up – usually between 7-7.30 – they have to eat breakfast straight away. If not, it becomes a battle to get them to the table and they also get too hungry to function like actual human beings. Afterwards they clean up their bowls and put clothes on before having their teeth and hair brushed. Only then are they allowed to play. It sounds like a well-greased machine, in reality it is more like a rusty but trusty old road bike. Usually they don’t actually do all these steps immediately or on their own – BUT they know that they are supposed to, so they don’t argue (too much) when we remind them of doing them. They actually do it. Most days.

Since Abby started school we don’t have to leave home earlier than 8.30 am. so most mornings there is time for the girls to either sleep in or play before we need to go. They are not allowed to watch TV in the mornings during the week, so when they are more-or-less ready to leave the house they often sit and draw or play some kind of game until everyone is ready to go. Sounds harmonic, doesn’t it? It’s not always the case, but occasionally it can actually be really nice and calm in the mornings.

Usually our mornings don’t get stressful until I have to get myself and Lulu ready. There is basically no morning where I haven’t gotten in the car only to realise I have forgotten something and have to go back in. At least once. Yesterday I made a new record, I think. I went back in six times. Six times! To get a dummy, to get my coffee I had JUST poured, to get Abby’s school bag, to get Lulu’s bottle, to get my bag with my wallet in…and to close the door. Yep, I got in the car, started reversing – then saw that I had left the door completely open.

“Mummy, can you please stop forgetting things. How hard can it be to close the door. You do it every day.”

Abby Rose, 5 years old.

When I mention all those steps above I have left out Lulu, because she has her own kinda morning routine. Another factor that makes routines bloody difficult in a home with kids of different ages – one of them being a baby. Yet, also a reason why it is important that the big kids are relatively self sufficient. Lulu has to be fed her morning porridge, she needs to get changed at least once before we leave and she usually gets a bit tired at some point and then she will be nowhere but in the arms of Josh or me. The art is to have everything ready before she reaches this state – that rarely happens.

Night Time Routine

Our evening and night time routine is also relatively set. We try to eat together around our dining table every night. The TV is off and we usually have a really nice and hyggelig time doing our Three Happy Questions and talking about our day. Dinner often takes 45 minutes to an hour. Especially Abby LOVES this time of day and she can easily sit a the table for hours if we are up for it.

After dinner it is usually so late that we go more or less straight into our bedtime routine.

We don’t have a set bath routine. We have never had one. Our kids have baths when they are dirty or when they feel like having one. And then they also shower at the pool twice a week. It works for us. They don’t rely on a bath to calm them down for bed or anything like that.

Our bedtime routine consists of pyjamas, vitamins, teeth brushing, two books (one each for Abby and Billie) and then a song or five. Ususally we also massage/ground Abby while singing. And as a new addition we have started to put evening meditation stories on for them after we leave the room – it really works.

If both Josh and I are home for the bedtime routine one of us take care of the two big kids while the other one is “on” Lulu. She has gotten so big now that she actually has started to join the girls in the bedroom for their bedtime stories. It makes the entire process a bit easier. So far she is just playing in the room while they hear their stories, but if it evolves as it did with Billie she will eventually want to sit and listen as well.

Afterwards we put Lulu to bed in our bed. She has a bottle and we stay with her until she sleeps. Usually between 5-15 minutes.

Our Flexible Routines

As stated above we do actually stick to routines in the morning and in the evening. However, even they need to be relatively flexible to actually suit us. You see, it is a bit difficult for us to uphold set routines. We seem to just stick to something – until we don’t. Because our life simply has very little routine to it. Let me give you some examples:

Little things like, who leaves the house when, changes quite often. Then one of us needs to stay at uni longer than usual. Then we change the girls’ swimming lessons. Then Lulu gets older and needs to sleep at different times. Then we feel like going to the beach on a Friday. Then Josh works on a Tuesday night. Then he works all Saturday. Then he works Friday day. Then there’s exams. Then we sign the girls up for gymnastics. Then cricket starts. Then cricket ends. Then it’s uni-holidays. Then Josh has a – very exciting – job interview. And if that interview turns out as we hope – then all our routines will probably change once again.

I am actually quite okay with the way our lives unfold in terms of routines and flexibility. We do need some degree of routine, but we definitely also need to change things up sometimes. I would go insane if I had to go for the same walk everyday because that was Lulu’s routine.

Actually, when it comes to babies I know many people swear to very set routines. We are a bit opposite on that matter, I guess. We have never really stuck to any set routines with our babies and they have generally been, what you would call, “easy” babies. When they seem tired we put them to sleep in a bed, a car, a pram, wherever. When they are hungry we feed them. And they kinda just fit into all our other routines and daily chores. Babies are easy. Very easy compared to toddlers and … school kids(!)

New Times and Routines Ahead

Actually, Josh started working a couple of weeks ago – as a concierge next to his full-time uni studies. Up until now he has “only” been studying after we moved to Brisbane last January, so for him to start working as well is quite a different scenario for us. He will, obviously, be very busy as he gets less time to do his studying, so when he is home he is in his office a lot.

It has taken a bit of getting used to, but I am okay with it. I know it is not forever. Once we get to “the other side” things will be different. In fact, he has an interview with an engineering company next week. If he let me I will tell you more about it soon. It is very, very exciting for him – and us.

And obviously, if that interview turns out to Josh’s advantage it will mean that we need to change our routines once again. No biggie.

Our Week in Text – an overview

Abby has school Monday – Friday 9 am. – 3 pm.

Billie has preschool Monday-Wednesday.

Abby has swimming lesson on Tuesdays after school and cricket on Thursdays.

Billie has swimming lesson on Thursday at 10.30 am.

Josh has uni Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and usually Friday.

I have uni on Thursday.

As it looks now Josh works one evening shift during the week plus one or two day shifts Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

I will hopefully start working part-time relatively soon. For now my job is “only” to take care of everything home/kids related – it’s more than full-time.

For everyone interested I have written up our weekly program for this week underneath this cute photo of Abby wearing her rebel socks for school.

❤️

MONDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, have breakfast, puts clothes on and play.

7.30 am.

Josh leaves for uni.

8.30 am.

I take all three girls in the car and drives to Abby’s school where we drop her off at 8.50 am. – in the class room, so have to get everybody out of the car to do so.

9 am.

Back in the car and off to preschool to drop Billie off. The preschool is around 15-20 minutes drive from our house in rush hour. I try to keep Lulu awake – usually I fail.

9.30 am.

Billie is in preschool and I am at the shops with Lulu doing grocery shopping for (some of) the week.

10.30 pm.

Back home with Lulu. Hopefully she is now asleep in her bed. If not, she’s eating or playing. Then we do our things like play in the garden, dance around, sleep, eat, drink, maybe we go the park, I do some house work if Lulu will let me and sometimes I even get to drink hot coffee and write a bit on my blog.

Lulu naps 2-3 times during the day atm. Usually she has a short nap in the car to or from preschool in the morning, then a longer nap around 11 am. and another late nap in the afternoon – this repeats itself every day.

2.30 pm.

I walk to the school with Lulu in the pram to pick up Abby at 3 pm. Monday is assembly day, so it is expected that parents come earlier than usual to show support for the kids and the school. We try to make it.

3.30 pm.

Home for a bit before we have to get Billie from preschool. I prepare a lasagna for dinner while Abby and Lulu play.

4.30 pm.

Josh is home from uni, so he can stay at home with Abby and Lulu while I go and get Billie from preschool. It takes roughly 20 minutes to drive there at this time of day.

5.30 pm.

Billie and I are back from preschool. The girls are playing and watching TV. Lulu is asleep. Josh is doing whatever. I am preparing dinner.

6.30 pm.

Family dinner. We try to eat together around our dining table every night. The TV is off and we usually have a really nice and hyggelig time doing our Three Happy Questions and talking about our day. Dinner often takes 45 minutes to an hour. Especially Abby LOVES this time of day and she can easily sit a the table for hours if we are up for it.

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine starts. Pajamas, vitamins, teeth brushing, book reading, song singing. Lulu tags along in the girls’ bedroom.

8-8.30 pm.

Abby and Billie are in their beds listening to night time meditation stories. Hopefully falling asleep within 15-30 minutes. Probably will come out at least once to have a drink or a cuddle or to tell a secret.

Lulu gets a bottle in her (our) bed and usually falls asleep within 15 minutes. We stay with her until she sleeps.

9 pm.

All girls are usually, finally, asleep. The much needed adult time kicks in. Time to clean up, do uni work, read and/or fall asleep to a series on the lounge.

11 pm.

Over and out! I try to be in bed no later than 11 pm. every day. If not, I will be a grumpy face all day next day.

TUESDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, eats breakfast, put clothes on, plays.

8.30 am.

Josh and Abby leaves on their bikes for school and uni. I take Billie and Lulu in the car to drop Billie off at preschool.

9.30 am.

Back home with Lulu. We do our things – see Monday. Hanging out with a baby is iterative, I tell you.

2.30 pm.

I pick Abby up from school in the car with Lulu.

3.30 pm.

After getting Abby from school we pick Billie up from preschool and go to the pool for Abby’s swimming lessons.

4 pm.

Abby has her swimming lesson and I am in the pool playing with Lulu and Billie.

Josh goes straight from uni to work.

Lulu and Billie fall asleep in the car on the way home from the pool.

5.45 pm.

We are back home. Kids are hangry. I prepare left overs for dinner.

6.30 pm.

Family dinner. Even when Josh are at work at dinner time we still do our best to stick to our dinner tradition/routine.

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine starts. Without Josh at home it can be a bit harder to get it done especially if Lulu is clingy. But they will eventually get their stories.

8 – 8.30 pm.

All girls are usually in their beds by now, stories have been read, songs have been sung. Since Lulu and Billie fell asleep in the car on the way home from the pool they are not tired. At all. Abby falls asleep in 10 minutes listening to meditation stories.

9 pm.

Billie and Lulu are finally falling asleep – little fighters. I am done!

10.30 pm.

Josh comes home from job. I go to bed.

WEDNESDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, eats breakfast, puts clothes on, plays.

8.30 am.

Abby rides her bike and I take Lulu in the pram and walks to the school.

Josh drops Billie off at preschool before going to uni.

9.10 am.

I am at a philosophy work-shop with Abby (and Lulu) in Abby’s school. It is a so-called philosophy school and I am here to learn more about what that actually means – and how they practice it.

11 am.

Home and Lulu is sleeping in our bed. I blog.

2.30 pm.

I walk with Lulu in the pram to the school to pick up Abby

3 pm.

Abby, Lulu and I go to the park to have a play and meet up with Josh who is getting home from university soon.

4 pm.

Josh is home and he takes Lulu and Abby in the car and drives to pick up Billie from preschool.

FREEDOM! I am, for the first time this week, child free. I go for a run/walk (after preparing dinner, but of course) by the river. Shit, I love this beautiful place we live in!

6.30 pm.

Everybody is home. Dinner is on the table and it’s family dinner time.

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine starts. Josh is on the ball tonight.

8 pm.

Girls are in bed. Even Lulu (see I don’t actually know this yet, but I hope….)

Kid free time for the rest of the night. Both Josh and I have a lot of uni work to do, so that is what we are doing until bedtime. It is actually pretty hyggeligt when we are both studying in the same room at night time. Somehow it feels a bit like we are “just” students again. Students without three kids sleeping next door.

11 pm.

Zzzzzzz

THURSDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, eats breakfast puts clothes on, plays.

8.30 am.

I leave with Abby on our bikes. I drop her off at school at 8.55 am. and goes straight to uni from there. This is “my day” at the university. I love it!

10.30 am.

Josh is at the pool with Billie and Lulu for Billie’s swimming lessons. They all have a swim.

3 pm.

Josh takes Billie and Lulu to Abby’s school. Abby has cricket from 3 to 4 pm. in the school’s oval. Parents have to be there to watch.

6 pm.

My day at uni finishes and I ride my bike home. Am home around 6.30 pm. just in time for…

6.30 pm.

Family dinner

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine.

8 – 8.30 pm.

Abby and Billie are in their beds listening to night time meditation stories. Hopefully falling asleep within 15-30 minutes. Probably will come out at least once to have a drink or a cuddle or to tell a secret.

Lulu gets a bottle in her (our) bed and usually falls asleep within 15 minutes. We stay with her until she sleeps.

9 pm.

All girls are usually, finally, asleep. The much needed adult time kicks in. Time to clean up, do uni work, read and/or fall asleep to a series on the lounge.

11 pm.

Zzzzzzzz

FRIDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up

Josh leaves for work.

8.30 am.

I walk with Lulu in the pram, Billie and Abby on scooters to the school and drop Abby off.

9.30 am.

Home again with Lulu and Billie. Lulu has a nap around 10-11 am. for an hour or two. Meanwhile I play with Billie and/or she watches a bit of TV while I do chores. Sometimes we go out for a while, maybe to a friends house or South Bank. We have also gone surfing sometimes.

2.30 am.

I walk with Lulu in the pram and Billie on her scooter to the school to pick Abby up.

3.30 am.

We are all home – including Josh from work. Let the Friday begin.

6 am.

Dinner – usually something easy and child friendly because today we eat in from of the TV for our…

6.30 pm.

Firday movie and Friday candy time

9 pm.

Movie has ended and the girls are going to bed. They don’t get stories on Fridays.

Time to watch a movie and have a beer, I think!

11 pm.

Zzzzzzzz

SATURDAY

7.30 am.

Everybody wakes up. The breakfast routine is the same on the weekends, but they don’t have to get dressed immediately.

8 am. – 12.30 pm.

Free playtime for everyone. We tidy and clean a bit. Do some garden work. Lulu has a nap.

12.30 pm.

Josh leaves for work.

3 pm.

I drive with the girls to Enoggera Dam to meet up with some friends for a swim.

5.30 pm.

I drive to said friends’ house for dinner and hygge and beer.

9.30 pm.

Josh comes to our friends house after work and we all go home together. All of our children are still awake.

10.30 pm.

Good night

SUNDAY

7.30 am.

Everybody wakes up.

9 am.

We pack the car for a day of playing, swimming and surfing at the beach

10 am.

We leave home just in time for Lulu’s nap. We have a 1.5 hour trip ahead of us. Currumundi Beach bound.

12 – 5 pm.

Living the good life at the beach. How I love this place!

5 – 7.30 pm.

Driving home with a McDonald’s pit stop along the way. Sunday traffic back to Brisbane is a bit of a killer. But still so worth it.

8 pm.

Kids are in bed, having their bedtime stories and songs.

Billie and Lulu slept in the car so they are wide awake.

9.30 pm.

Billie and Lulu will not fall asleep. I go and lay with them in our bed. It works – and I stay in here with them.

Zzzzzzzz

And that’s a wrap for that week!

What Made You Happy Today?

Seriously, think about it for a while. It is so easy to get caught up in all the negative stuff that happens around us. Especially when the everyday is rolling away and chores and errends and jobs and tasks and demands and what-not fills up our days. We get stressed. We get tired. We get grumpy. Sometimes we get bored. I get bored a lot. Then the negativity spiral takes off. Damn it.

Negativity breeds negativity

I read this article explaining how emotions are contagious, the negative once even more so:

“Many experts believe that negative emotions are a lot easier to catch than positive ones. Some believe this is reflective of our evolutionary past wherein being highly attuned to other people’s negative emotions (pain, fear, and disgust) was directly linked to survival. Those who could pick up on someone else’s pain, fear, and disgust were more likely to survive than those who could not.

But – positivity also breeds positivity. Phew!

It most definitely does. Take it from the experts and take it from me, the self-acclaimed negative/positive expert that I am.

Saying positive things. Doing positive things. It spreads positive vibes.

So, am I positve all day everyday? Hell no. I am often the opposite. I am prone to dwelving in my own missery, but that is exactly why I need to do something active and conscious to force the positivity into my life – otherwise it all gets too dark and dull to handle. Worst of all, I can give my negative vibe onto my kiddos.

My bag of little tricks to boost my own and my family’s positive spirit is pretty jam packed. I think I need to use it even more, ay?

Well, this particular trick is a family one, because our family needs to calm the fuck down and be postive every night – we can be such a bunch of whingers otherwise.

What is it we do?

It is pretty simple and something everyone can do every day. We eat dinner together every night and while eating we take turns in telling the other which three things that made us happy during the day. Simple.

Does it really work?

Yes! Focusing on some positive things that we experienced during the day help us to:

1. Start good conversations about the day around the table.

3. Give everyone a chance to get a word in and be heard.

2. Focus on the positives and go to bed with that in mind – or at least we can remind us self that life isn’t that bad afterall.

It might sound basic, but, as you know, back to basic is the new black. Some days it is really easy. Some days it can actually be pretty hard. On all days it is a good idea.

Here are some examples from our dinner table:

Today it made me happy (kids edition)…

…to play with my friends.

…to eat pizza here with you right now.

…to play in the sandpit.

…that I love my whole family.

…to get lollies.

…to swim in the pool.

…to play games together.

And the adult edition…

to paint the bathroom.

…to have a nap.

…to see Lulu take her first steps.

…when you girls played nicely together.

…to finish my assignment.

…to hear back from that job.

…to get the shopping done.

And one that very often goes again around the table:

Right now, eating dinner together.

As you can see, it does not have to be huge magnificent things. It can be, but it can also be tiny little things that made your day better in some way or another.

Have a go yourselves tonight and let me know how you go. Also, be a bit patient. It somehow gets better over time. At least that is my experience.

What has made you happy today?

❤️

Sunday Blues and My Empathy Super Heroes

I have been a bit down this weekend. Especially today I basically just wanted to go back to bed. I have had no energy and everything has been a struggle. It might sound relatively normal for a mum with a teething baby, but for me it is an alarm bell I have to take seriously. If not, things can get a lot worse – I am planning on writing more about my mental health, but it takes time and curage, so for now I’ll just tell you my little Sunday story. It’s actually a feel good one, if you stay ’til the end 🙂

Mummy is just gonna paint a wall

Luckily Josh caught me before I really fell – he took the girls and sent me to bed in the airconditioned bedroom. A nap and a cool down (it’s bloody hot here atm.) gave me enough energy to go and paint the bathroom. As you do, right? Maybe not your average stress-down activity, but when I struggle in my mind it helps me to focus on a specific hands-on task. This bathroom has been a running project for weeks now. Stressful in itself.

I sweated and painted for four hours.

Meanwhile I could hear the girls play together in the garden. Play. Not fight.

Then, at one point I could hear screaming from the living room. Billie fell down the stairs and bled from her lip. Apparently Abby “accidentally” pushed her. Well, I went out to save, what I thought was, the sinking ship. While I gave Billie a cuddle, Abby came over and said sorry, gave her a kiss and they shook hands (that’s Billie’s thing these days) and hugged each other. Then all was good and they went outside to play happily together again.

Wait, what just happened?

A little later Abby came and slit a drawing under the bathroom door. She made it to make me feel better. You see, when I don’t feel good we let the girls know that mummy is tired or maybe even a bit sad. Then they accept that I need a break and they, somehow, get extra loving and caring towards me – but also towards each other. It’s like some kind of “family above all”- thing is happening.

My Emphatic Super Heroes

While I was wrapping up my painting I could hear the girls talking to Josh:

“Mummy has painted a lot today. I think she’s trying to make us proud of her. I am proud of her, but she doesn’t need to paint so much. I am always proud of her”

Oh, my heart!

I am so proud of them. They often drive me nuts, but their intuition of when they need to step up is (almost always) spot on. It becomes so obvious that they do have loads of empathy hiding underneath their cheeky, rascal surfaces.

The Flower Dilemma

Actually Abby is in quite a dilemma due to her emphatic nature. It can be hard to have loads of empathy and be an aspiring scientist at the same time, I tell ya.

So, Abby wants to find out if flowers have feelings (don’t ask). Josh set an experiement idea up for her: get two similar flowers. Plant them in similar pots, place them next to each other and give them exactly the same amount of water. Then, one flower you keep telling how much you love and the other you keep telling how much you hate. Then, if flowers do have feelings, the loved one will flourish and the hated one will die. Logic.

Abby gets the idea and really wants to try the experiment. However, she is very worried about doing the experiement in case flowers actually DO have feelings – because she doesn’t want to make any flowers sad. Oh dear.

Mummy, are you okay?

At dinner Billie said to me: “now mummy, you don’t have to paint anymore” and gave me a kiss and a cuddle. I think it was her way of saying “mummy, are you okay? I hope you are feeling better.

And I do feel better. Exhausted, but better. Fingers crossed for a good nights sleep. Ready for the Monday rush in the morning.

Oh, and I actually do have to paint some more. The little sucker of a bathroom needs another coat. Exciting when that’s going to happen.

❤️

How (and why) We Are Raising Our Kids Bilingual

One of the most frequent questions I get in regards to us living in Australia is: “Do the girls speak both Australian and Danish?” followed by “do you speak Danish with them?”

The short answer is yes. They are, what you would call, bilingual. They understand Danish fluently and can switch back and forth between Australian and Danish effortlessly. However, they don’t actually speak much Danish when we are in Australia.

I guess it makes sense. Here in Australia it’s only me who speaks and understands it, but they know that I fully understand them if they speak Australian back to me. So why bother? That’s what it seems like they are thinking. However, in Denmark they learned that especially other kids don’t understand them unless they speak to them in Danish. This has been a huge eye opener for Abby, especially. She’s such a social little butterfly.

On our recent trip to Denmark magic happened and Abby started to actually speak a lot of Danish. Those 6 weeks we were there made such a difference in her Danish vocabulary and her pronunciation and it is obvious that the words are in there – she just has to practice using them.

And she does practice at home with me now. We speak Danish together daily and I love it. Billie is also tagging along as she does and says pretty much everything that Abby does. She is still mixing the two languages a lot, but she’s getting there and Danglish is so damn cute – and even if it is not perfect, it is so amazing hearing my children speak my language. It just matters.

How do we do it?

I am being very consistent, persistent and determined. Otherwise it wouldn’t work with me being the only Danish speaking parent. At home I only speak Danish unless we are having a group conversation involving Josh. I even speak Danish when Josh is present sometimes. It can make the communication in our house a bit messy, but Josh actually understands quite a lot of Danish by now and he can usually follow our conversations enough to join in if he wants to.

I also read Danish books to them, sing Danish songs, they watch Danish cartoons and we have started doing some easy Danish exercises with Abby, now that she can read and write a bit.

An added bonus is our Danish friends here in Brisbane, who gives us just that extra little bit of Danish almost every week. I do believe that makes a difference to get inputs from others than me.

The girls making our friends happy in Denmark 🙂

Then, of course, we visit Denmark regularly. Every time we do so their Danish evolves with the speed of light. Kids can adapt and learn so much, so fast. It is amazing.

Why do we even bother?

I mean, Danish is not exactly a language they can use many places in the world. In fact, they can only use it in Denmark and in Denmark everyone over the age of 10 speaks English pretty fluently.

Well, first of all I would be sad if my children didn’t understand my language and my culture – which I believe is closely connected to language. It means a lot to me that they, not only know, but also understand where they come from.

Then, of course, there is the practicality of it. That they can actually speak the native language when we are in Denmark makes it both easier and more fun for them to be there. Especially now, when they are playing with cousins and friends there who have not yet learned English. I guess it’s also another way of better understanding the culture. To be completely integrated when we are there and not have a language barrier, makes a huge difference.

There are also other more, lets call them, intellectual benefits connected with bilingualism. They are not the direct reason why we do it, but they definitely are added bonuses. Being bilingual is supposedly a great way to train childrens’ brains and make learning easier for them in the future. Not only new languages but also other subjects. And it can potentially help them fight off brain diseases such as dementia in the future.

There really isn’t any downside to bilingualism, as I see it, so we will keep on doing my very best to keep them bilingual. No matter where we’ll live in the world in the future, we will speak both Danish and Australian in our home. At a minimum.

Actually, Abby has started learning Japanese in school now. I think that’s pretty cool, but it might be a Danish thing. Learning Japanese in Denmark is quite exotic, here it’s more common I guess. Anyways, learning a third language by the age of five is cool no matter what – and I have already started dreaming of a trip to Japan sometime soon-ish. To support my child’s education, of course 🙂

Billie learning about Danish culture.

Have a nice day / ha’ en god dag / konichiwa (that’s all I know in Japanese)❤️


Sunday Scribbling

The photo has nothing to do with my writing what so ever, I just like it.

Writing for the sake of writing. That is my new thing in the evening after all the kids finally have gone to sleep. Writing about anything, everything or mainly nothing in particular.

Being the good girl I am, I do it because I was told to by my professor in one of my two courses at the university this semester; Creative Writing – expecting to get a “good job” sticker someday soon.

I have never had any writing education or training after I finished high school half a lifetime ago, so I think it is about time to get some tools and some direction.

The first lecture debunked a bunch of myths about writing that I actually feel like I have been restrained by. And then it set the forthcoming direction for us:

Write, write a lot. Read, read a lot.

Easy. In theory.

Time is not always on a parent of three small kids’ side. But hey, tonight I have already read two entire books before 8 pm. That they included pictures, a grumpy princess and turtles that celebrate brithdays is immaterial.

Our professor wants us to write at least a full page of whatever, by hand, for each tutorial. By hand, guys. She warned us that we would probably get sore hands and underarms, since no-one is used to hand writing anymore. She’s probably right. My hand is yet to be fatigued. One advantage of being 15 years older than most other students, maybe. The “forced” writing is good, though. It works. The words get out and down on paper. Words that I had no idea was in there, somewhere in my mind. It almost feels like therapy.

Self help writing. It’s actually a thing. I have used it before, but that’s a whole other story which I might share with you one day – if(when) I find the courage.

For now, I will keep on writing. Another day. It’s time to go to bed and do some reading (for two minutes before I fall asleep) instead.

Good night❤️