Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lists are good

Happy has gone to Germany to work all ready.

Our countdown has begun as well. Movers show up on the 9th. (9 DAYS!!!!) We'll live in a hotel for the week while the kids finish up school, and then we will pack up the cats and drive to Hamburg on the 12th. (12 DAYS!!!!)

I'm only a little bit stressed, but I am compensating by making lists and it seems to be working. Once I write something on my list it's almost like I consider it "started"... like cleaning my floors. I HATE cleaning my floors so I just keep writing it on the next days list and I feel better about avoiding it.

I currently have seven lists stuck to the wall of my kitchen:
- Things to remind Happy to follow up on
- Things NOT to pack
- Things TO pack for hotel stay
- Things to do NOW and get them over with
- Things for Happy to do this weekend
- Things I need to do on specific days (There are really 12 of these lists... one for each day.)
- Names of people that have RSVP to our Movie Night and Sleepover party this Friday.

Yes... When you are feeling busy you should invite the entire school over to your house for a Movie Night. :) THEN ask the girls to stay and spend the night. :) This will be fine though, it will help the week go by faster because I've decided that waiting for the move is the worst part. I just had a scary thought.... When Scotty gets big I'll have to invite BOYS to spend the night. Boys are crazy. :) Girls just sit around and giggle.

So that is my moving plan. It really won't be hard. Really... Movers come and pack it all. I have three days of an empty house so I can clean it. ...and I have a handful of moms I know I can call if I get stuck. I don't even have to leave at a certain time; no planes to catch, no deadlines, no school until March 1st. I don't need to be anywhere in any hurry... la la la... my life is one big relaxing event. :)

So I'll go to bed now... without cleaning the floors. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Please Sign Here....

Michaela wants me to write something.

Whoever would like for MICHAELA to write something please say so.... Maybe if I get enough people to "sign" a petition she will start writing on her own blog... instead of telling me to hurry up and write something on mine. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hamburg Welcomed Us!

Germany has decided we are good enough to live there. :) After three short hours in the "Hamburg Welcome Center" we have our Visas!

Paul even walked out with a German "Green Card"! Pretty good deal for 500 euros! (...considering we spent $5000 on his American Green Card, which they just took away because we missed one appointment, this would be a WHOLE different topic!)

Here's how our German Visas worked. In case you care. :) We showed up at 9:00am at the Hamburg Welcome Center. Actually, we showed up at 8:15 and spent 45 minutes trying to park... but once we made it inside the kids played with toys and Paul went back and forth between another room and the "kid room" so I could sign when needed. After about an hour we left to get some breakfast across the street. Andrea had a full blown meltdown which was just great; she was exhausted because we had to disturb her beauty sleep that morning at the hotel... We returned back to the Welcome Center 45 minutes later and we were handed our passports with new shiny visas in them.

My favorite part of the whole deal was when we got the visas they gave us a little bag of goodies: Hamburg pens, Hamburg lanyards, Hamburg luggage tags, and some Welcome to Hamburg books in English. :) It made me happy to get the bag. The first thing I thought when I saw the bag was, "Gee in Denmark I GAVE BIRTH and I didn't get me a "Freebie Bag". So I like Hamburg because they gave me a bunch of Hamburg paraphernalia that will sit around my new Hamburg house.... it's the thought that counts.

PS. In AMERICA... when you have a baby you get a huge basket full of fruit, non-alcoholic champagne, diapers, baby clothes, bibs, free coupons, and other baby things... even a diaper bag and insulated bag for food/milk. :)

We did go check out our house again too... just to remind ourselves what it looked like. Good thing we still liked it. Michaela and Sierra made sure they wanted the rooms they picked, and Michaela traded rooms. She switched the "sink" room for the "bookshelf" room. :) now Scotty has a sink in his room. We will make it a place for his boats to play. :)

I didn't remember it being so old... but it is. It's a little ghetto-y. :) BUT IT'S CLOSE TO THE SCHOOL. ...and we can make it a perfectly fine house for us. It won't look so ghetto-y once our things are in it and it doesn't look so empty. Empty houses always look sad.

We even met the owner who gave us the full story on the house which has been owned by his family forever. Here's the story... in short.

- Used to be one big house. Top floor for servants
- After war... top two floors were given to those who lost their homes... German law said if you had space you had to share.
- Then it was an apartment for three families... (hence the kitchen above)
- Then the two top "units" were combined into one for a family.

...or something like that.

Off to make a list of what we own to give to the moving company...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

per Meter

Big party this weekend... at my house. Paul is having his "Going Away Party" with his work group... and it is here. 16 adults, 10 kids... fun times. :)

Yesterday I bought new plates since at our big party last weekend I was short one plate... I had to wash one to serve the last person... we are cool like that.

Today I decided I needed a tablecloth to go with my plates. Long story. Just trust me, I needed a tablecloth. Off I go with Andrea to buy one. La la la la la...

I found one I wanted. It was too expensive. 180 kroner. $35. I kept looking, no way would I pay $35 for a tablecloth!!! I found the same one at another store... still too expensive but cheaper than the last store so I decided I'd buy it since I was a bargain shopper and obviously found a deal at only $30. AND my husband has told me numerous times that if it will make me happy I can buy it. :) So he had technically pre-approved this purchase.

Following my husband's recommendation to buy things that make me happy, I told the saleswoman I wanted to buy the tablecloth. She rolled it off and cut it for me... and as she was cutting I realized that the price was... per meter. I needed four meters.

So because my husband told me to buy this tablecloth I accidentally spent $100. At least I'm happy, right Happy?

Tablecloths here must be a cool thing to have in Denmark though. Stores have lots of these big rolls outside their stores and the tablecloths are rolled up like wrapping paper on them. There are a zillion different patterns and colors and most are pretty darn tacky. I wonder if most people use tablecloths on a daily basis. Why are there so many choices? We hardly ever use a tablecloth. We only use them when we bring out out the not pretty folding table...

Nobody better spill anything on my tablecloth that's all I have to say.

(it's not purple, it's dark blue...) :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My weekend!

Scotty had his first sleep over!!!! We are friends with a great Swedish family... (remember Andrea's FIRST babysitter?). They have two girls and a boy who is in the 2-3 grade class at school, Johan... and Scotty thinks Johan is super cool because he likes to play video games as much as he does!

So when the girls were invited to stay the night little Scotty tagged along and had a great time! :) He did not miss mommy's night-night hug, I didn't get a 3:00am call saying a little boy wanted his mommy, I didn't even get a second glance when I walked in the next morning. I felt so unloved! :) It's okay, I still have Andrea... she can't stand to be without me. :) ...but I know enough to know that kids that don't NEED you are even better!

This was the night I went to a Wii party with the other moms. I haven't laughed so hard since I've been here! It was so funny!! We played Wii Fit Plus and a hilarious dancing game. Too funny!! :) I don't know if I was more tired from flapping like a bird or from laughing so hard!

Wii Party was Friday night. Saturday night was dinner at my place with the above mentioned Swedish family and some other unexpected guests.. :) It was crazy and crowded, but fun. Sunday was our big toy sale in which the kids made 550 kroner... another crazy and crowded event. :) Sunday was also Michaela's piano recital. She did really well. I couldn't see very well... because the recital was held in a piano store. :) This made me smile. Here's a video of them all playing together. I still can't believe she can use both of her hands to play and follow the music. :)

After my crazy crowded weekend I was happy to send all kids to school today. I was not so thrilled to discover that all surfaces outside had turned to ice though. Everything was just ice; the sidewalks, the driveway snow, parking lot, I almost fell on my butt 8 times. When I picked Scotty up from bornehaven he was sliding down the ice hill on HIS butt with all the other boys. They were just crashing into the pile of sleds at the bottom. They must have decided you slide just as easily without a sled. :) None of the kids on the playground were walking. They were all sitting in various spots, playing. It was really too slippery for anyone to walk anywhere. :) Tomorrow we will ice skate on the driveway.

I also need to mention that my wonderful husband took my HUGE shopping list AND all four kids to Bilka tonight. Only one who has done a huge shopping trip at Bilka can fully appreciate this. I stayed at home, took a shower, vacuumed, finished the laundry and ate a bowl of Frosted Flakes. :) Thanks Happy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I confess...

I finally did it... and despite being embarrassed while actually doing it I will now admit to it in hopes of helping others with the same problem.

I bought a pair of pants... for myself, ...size 12-13, ...years old.

I HAD to...

I have tried on countless pants and they are all flopping off the end of my feet. I'm just too short!! It's silly how tall people think I should be. I'm not that short. I'm 5' 3''... okay well 5' 2.5". I've seen shorter. :)

Over the past two years all my pants have come from stores which have special "short" pants for me. I'm okay with being labeled "short"... I've been "short" all my life and gotten pretty used to it. I even like it. ...except when buying pants!!!

Here in Denmark I've only found one store, Esprit, that sells "short" pants and even then only they only carry them in some styles. Frustrating!

However, to go with my new high-stylin' boots I got for Christmas, but haven't worn yet, I needed new pants. SHORT ones...

Which brings me to learn about these things called "leggings"! Wow! they look like jeans, but they aren't. I may be fashion-challenged or perhaps I just don't pay attention.. maybe I spend too much time picking out cute fuzzy pink things for Poozle instead of myself. SO. I'm now the proud owner of a pair of "not-really-jeans". :) ...and they will fit in my high-stylin boots. :) HA! I wonder where I will debut my new outfit!! Maybe my husband should take me out on a date?

Back to my initial confession. Yes, I did buy 12 year old pants just so they would be the right lenght. I do feel a little better knowing they don't fit perfectly in the waist because I have hips. :) After all, I have given birth four times... hopefully unlike any other 12 year old :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our Hamburg Home

Here it is!!!!

It's a very unique house. :)

My favorite part is that this house is 800 meters from the school. Can you say, "Bye kids, have a nice walk to school... see you when you walk yourselves BACK HOME!!!" :)

It's even a few minute walk from a train station! :) Yippie!

Of course we can only afford this home in the neighborhood of mansions because it is an "apartment". It's really just a HUGE house and the owner, an older lady, lives on the very bottom floor. We get the top two floors... 185 square meters... whatever that means. I understand size in terms of rooms.

So, rooms. It has many, many rooms. :) The four on the very top floor will be the kids living quarters. There is also a kids kitchen. Hmmmm.... ?? But I guess this means an extra oven if I ever need it, OR it means it will be Michaela's kitchen and she can feed the kids. They could survive up there.... all on their own... :) There are also sinks in two of the bedrooms. ...don't know why, but this should solve the arguments over who gets to brush their teeth first. The rooms are pretty big too. ...and a bathroom is up there. So the top floor is the KID AREA. :)

The second floor is: our bedroom, a big bathroom, the kitchen... which we can fit a small bench table in or something... but for eating dinner as a family we will adjourn to the eating room.... Next to the living room. There is then another random room and another random room... I'm thinking - Guest room and Toy Room.

...and two balconies, one in the front and one in the back. AND a HUGE yard... AND a garage with automatic garage door opener. AND a gated driveway that has an automatic opener too! :)

It's an old, interesting house... I'm sure it has quite the history. I wish everyone that had ever lived in it had written a little something about it. It would be interesting.

So I'm done bragging about our house. Oh wait... it has carpet and a bath tub. Okay, now I'm done.

I can go and write Christmas cards now because I now have a return address to give people. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hilde the Hero

I love Hilde.

She saved my family from freezing to death on the side of a dark off ramp just five short minutes from our home, where our car was stuck because....

...we had run out of gas.

YES. I will admit to it because I wasn't driving and we ALL KNOW what responsibilities a DRIVER has. :)

We were coming back from a long weekend of trying to find the perfect Hamburg home. We really were just a few mintues from our home. We just didn't make it. The car slowed to a stop at the end of the freeway off ramp. Super. Three hours of driving, four kids, FIVE minutes from home, -2 degrees and snow outside... It's 4:30 pm and the sun is setting... Ahhhhhh..... My life. :)

I called Hilde. I knew she would save me. ...and she did!!! She quickly showed up a half hour later. She would have been there sooner had finding a gas can been an easier task.

The kids actually waited patiently in the car while we assured them we wouldn't freeze to death. It wasn't too bad, just an extra 45 minutes... sitting in a dark car. Nope, nobody stopped. I even stood on the side of the road for a while waiting to see the mickey mouse antenna ball on Hilde's car... I've never been so happy to see her in all my life!!

Hilde. Thank you!!! I'll rummage through the kids things and find you a medal of some sort. :) We owe you! Tak!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One more thing I learned today...


Also called spiny anteater. any of several insectivorous monotremes of the genera Tachyglossus, of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, and Zaglossus, of New Guinea, that have claws and a slender snout and are covered with coarse hair and long spines.

Michaela taught me about echidnas today. Apparently an echidna is NOT a porcupine....

Three Things I learned

I shoveled snow today. I have never truly "shoveled" snow because I HAD to. It was extremely un-fun.

First thing I learned:
- Wear Gloves.

My hands hurt SO bad when I came back inside. After 15 minutes I couldn't feel them anymore... really. I thought I had done something bad. Yes, I know wearing gloves would have been smart so I don't need comments on that....

Second thing I learned:
- When snow sits for a week and people walk on it every day it turns to ice.

Third thing I learned:
- You can't shovel ice.

So. Those are my three helpful hints of the day about shoveling ice/snow.

Why did I choose 7:30 am in -3 degree weather to shovel snow do you ask? I'll tell you. When I came home from dropping off Paul at work I saw my downstairs neighbor was out there. I would have felt bad for weeks if I didn't help. So I took my trusty red and yellow toy shovel out to the sidewalk and offered to help. :) (It's the only shovel we have.)

That's when I learned that the city had told her she had until 8:00am to clear the sidewalk completely or else they would send someone out to do it and we would get the bill. Apparently several people on the street had received this notice because we were not the only ones out shoveling snow before the sun came up.

I would like to be the City Sidewalk Police. OR I wonder if someone told on us... maybe the lady across the street who sweeps her sidewalks clear three times a day told on us. But at least now I know why she sweeps her sidewalks three times a day. She must have already learned the "Second and Third Things" that I only learned today.

So Erin, I hope this was an amusing enough of a story for you. I hope you enjoyed Hawaii and playing in the sand and sun and swimming and snorkling and hiking. I got frostbite today and it was fantastically wonderful. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cell phones and Bus to Aarhus

I've answered these questions for more than one person who has come across my blog in an attempt to figure out how to move to Denmark. :) So my new plan is to answer these questions here in the blog so maybe it will help someone else. ...and anyone else can give their own advice too.

Taxi from Aarhus Airport:
Taxi to downtown Aarhus from airport... At least $75.00 I'm guessing. Airport to downtown is about 30 minutes. I'm not exactly sure, but a 15 minute taxi ride from Aarhus to our house is always around $40.00. If you want to take a taxi, call me, I'll pick you up in exchange for a can of cream of celery and a box of lucky charms! :) What a deal!!

They do have an airport "shuttle" bus... a blue one... called the "airbus". I think? It goes directly to the main train station where you can get a train or any bus in town. It leaves from the airport 20 minutes or so after every plane lands. I think you can buy a ticket on the bus? For some reason I want to say a ticket costs ~$30.00. If you call the aarhus airport they can give you details on times and cost and HOW to pay. You might need kroner. I take no responsibility if you show up and my bus info is not valid. :)

Buses are great here. They go everywhere, I had never rode on a bus until coming here and it's been a fine way to get around... almost more convenient than my car.

There is also a tourist information place near the train station. It's not inside, if you are looking at the front of the station... go right, past all the bikes.... across the street. They have bus maps, etc.

Cell phone:
I made a cell phone store man very mad one day when I interrupted him trying to sell an phone to a student who wanted a phone for only a few months... I couldn't sit there and listen to this poor teenager get ripped off. He was totally being lied to! Prepaid minutes is the best way to go. I paid $150 for a used phone and minutes that lasted me an entire year. If your cell phone is unlocked you can just get a Danish chip that will give you a Danish number and you are set. I think any phone store sells them and every grocery store sells "more minutes".

If your cell phone is NOT unlocked I know a place that will unlock it for 100 kroner ($20). :) ...they can also sell you a chip with a danish phone number and help you set it up in English too. This is where I went. It's a small and weird store ...almost in a basement of an alley. :) ...but the guy is helpful and has cheap phones. ...and when my phone broke after a couple months he replaced it for free.

I use Lebara. I think it's the most common. (...maybe Telia?) ...and Lebara to Lebara phone calls are free.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year, New Country.

So we started looking for houses in Germany.

...with all the kids. That was super fun. (Remember I have dibs on the sarcasm font?) In every house they argued over which room would be theirs. :) I guess they did pretty well though and I think looking at new houses made them more excited.

- Scotty would prefer that we leave whatever house we get empty because there is more room to run.
- Seriously. Andrea would plop down and crawl on any carpet we came across. She would rub her head and face on it. I PROMISE... the next house we live in will have fuzzy carpet in at least one room... "the-fuzzy-carpet-room". There will be NO chairs in it. In the "the-fuzzy-carpet-room" you sit and lay on the floor.
- Michaela and Sierra want the expensive houses. :) Happy, get ready to fork over 4100 euros a month!

HA, YAH RIGHT! 4100 euros? That is... hold on, let me google it....

5872.00 US Dollars!!!??!
...A MONTH!!!! I don't care how nice the house is. It can be across the street from the school. There is no way on earth that I will pay that much money!!! I have "upgraded" many things in my life but spending that much on a house I am NOT ready to do. I'm pretty sure I could feed a small country for a day for that much money! ...needless to say, we are expanding our search to some cities outside Hamburg to keep the cost down. :)

...and honestly the expensive houses aren't even nice. They are old... just in the "yuppie" part of town.

- I don't want to live in a rich neighborhood. I want to live with normal people. I think "normal people" are nicer and more accepting of others.
- I don't like the people who think they need to have the best of everything and who end up thinking they are better than those who don't have the best of everything. I want to kick these people... hard... in the shins.

Anyways, we found a great house outside of Hamburg 20 minutes.... just like we are now here in Denmark... a little outside of the "city". It's such a perfect house.... but it's kinda in a weird location. I want to go back this week and see how traffic is and see what it is like during the day. It's near a bunch of apartments and across from a kindergarten/park, there just seems to be a lot "going on"... it's a bit crowded. But the house is GREAT! Two HUGE rooms on the 4th floor. Three MORE bedrooms on the 3rd floor. Big kitchen and living room on the 2nd floor. ...and the Basement/1st floor is totally finished and heated and has three more rooms! :) Its a newer house. Rooms were painted colors... I just want to check out the commute and check out the area. :) But we need to do it during the week, not on a weekend...

Aside from this WONDERFUL HOUSE we found.... We found many houses where the kitchen was the size of our bathroom now and a space to eat is found down the hall. People tell us the kitchen is not a "living space", that you cook the food and take it else where to eat. Yah, well what if you forgot the ketchup or lemon juice? Walk... all. the. way. down. the. hall... sounds dumb to me. I've always had a huge kitchen. Luck I guess, but I've gotten used to it.

All the houses have basements too. Some are finished and liveable. Some are cold. Some look like bomb shelters with big metal doors and no windows. :)

Basements remind me of living in Georgia. We finished a room in the basement of the house we lived in in Georgia. My dad spraypainted, "Tara loves Brian" on the wall before he put sheetrock up. Brian was my boyfriend in 5th grade. :) We were voted cutest couple in school. :) Really, an elementary school has a vote for "cutest couple"?? I remember holding his hand during a movie at school and on the field trip to the planetarium. I even remember going to his baseball game to watch him play and I had crimped my hair!!! :) The crimper. It was like a curling iron, but it made your hair zig zaggy. HA!! Great, Michaela is in fifth grade... boyfriends? AHHHHH!!!

Michaela did go to the mall with a friend last week. They wandered around aimlessly and then watched a movie. I guess she's getting older. I'm happy she's doing regular 11 year old things... even here in Denmark.

Friday, January 1, 2010

To sell

Okay, This list has circulated around a bit and since our time in Hamburg is quickly disappearing I'm posting it to Facebook to see if anyone else is interested!  :)

First of all we have a car.  :)  It's a BMW 2006 Diesel Touring.  - 11,500 euros
147,000km.  It's sparkling graphite colored ...which translates to grey.  It has tan leather interior ...because who wants to look at a dark interior on a dark Hamburg day.  :)  If you are interested I can email you all the details.  Car is green sticker-ed,  just passed his state test, and had his breaks replaced.  

New.  Electric Fan heater.  10 euros

Couch/Fold out Double Bed -  400 euros
Microfiber.  Never really used as a couch so it's clean.  It just sits in our spare bedroom until we turn it into a bed for guests.  My mom slept on it for three weeks and didn't complain ...and she would have if it was uncomfortable.  :)  I just found the "couch paperwork"... turns out he's Italian..  :) 
Here is the ottoman that goes with the couch.  It's the same color...  flash didn't go off.

New curtain rods... 5-15 euros
...because if you lose your receipt you can't return stuff to IKEA; even if you haven't opened it.

Computer Monitor #1 - 120 euros
17" with (resolution 1024 x 1280)  with built in speakers. (American Plug).
Computer Monitor #2

Computer Monitor #2 -  $175 euros
21" samsung resolution (1200 x 1600)  This one is special because the screen swivels around and makes it vertical opposed to horizontal.  See? Cool huh?  ;)

Ouuuhhh...  a Danish light.  Think of how trendy you could be!!  I believe it mounts onto the wall and accordions out.  Comes with a paper lamp shade. 5 euros

The long anticipated picture of the helicopter light.  :)  10 euros

Here's the couch again, you know you want it....

Light.  Probably IKEA 5 euros.

Closet - 300 euros
 Mirror doors.  Has hanging bar and four sliding out drawers... 

Big wardrobe closet.  500 euros 

Avent Baby Monitor.   50 euros.
New was 120, ugh...

Two bathroom things...  :)  Drawers and shelves.  20 euros each. They are IKEA, but the cheaper brand.

20 euros European Bed that fits American sheets for some reason. Two drawers below that pull out on rollers...  

Froggy Potty.  Has been peed in.  :)  10 euros.

Tall paper light...  really bright unless you only put in one light bulb.  :)  5 euros  we have two. It's not IKEA if that means anything to anyone.

Moon light.  5 euros  I guess we also have a sun ceiling light that goes with it.

Desk on rollers.  20 euros... the corner is a little ugly from a sticker so maybe just 10 euros

Several boring ceiling lights 5 euros each

Ice Machine.  Makes soft, crunchy ice!  50 euros.  Brand NEW!  It's our second one that we never used because we bought a big freezer.  New batch of ice every 12 minutes  :)
Here's a better picture of the ice maker.

Toddler bed.  Dog and Cat on it.  From IKEA 40 euros.
Kritter series.  It's a dog and cat on top... that you could take out and paint pink if you wanted.  :)KRITTER Bed frame with slatted bed base IKEA
- I didn't take a picture, but we also have a "half bunk bed" know the one with a slide attached.

Pink potty that sings when pee-pees go into it.... but you can turn off the sound .  :)  The top flips down and it turns into a stool.  WHOO HOO.  :)  10 euros.

Oops.  We bought too many Christmas toys.  This is a big Littlest Pet Shop house/ playground thing.  20 euros.  New and never opened.

Hanging pink light.  A dragonfly?  It's cute with it's light bulb head.  :) 10 euros

Good ole IKEA red light.  10 euros.

My Special Bodum Water Heater Upper.  :)
It only makes two cups of hot water at a time, but it's small and cute and the perfect size for me.  It's off white.
25 euros.

Tefal Fondue pot.  50 euros
I think Tefal is Teflon... because nothing sticks to it.  It just wipes clean.   You can adjust the temperature and boil water in it.

Coolest desk light around.  30 euros...  because I kinda want to take it home with us, not sell it.  :)
It's NOT ikea.
Don't buy it unless you will love it forever.  :)

Water heater upper...  5 euros.

It's skinny.  50 euros.

Fold out desk thing.  

Curtain section.   I have yellow, red, and brown ....  We have curtain rods, poles and sliders and any attachments you can think of.    :)


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