In my previous life of travel I visited many cities. I have been to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, Bangkok, Amsterdam, London, Dublin but without a doubt (and I’ve been to many more than that) Copenhagen remains one of my favorite cities. This time though I was on a quest. Jakki asked the front desk of the hotel for a good place for us to go for lunch. She was told about a collection of food trucks that were in an old warehouse in the commercial side of the port. It sounded interesting. So we hopped on the metro and wandered our way to the city center (we stayed out by the airport while in Copenhagen). There was a second quest as well for the day, but for now we were in search of the collection of food trucks. We wandered in the direction we were told (along the river in fact) to find this food place. We did have to make a couple of route adjustments and Barb and Jakki asked a young lady riding a bike how lost we were (we were actually in the right place, just hadn’t gone far enough).
I cannot say how hard it was for me not to ask Jakki, “are we there yet.” I didn’t but the urge was nearly overwhelming. The pictures taken on the way to the collection of food trucks. Like the beautiful cities in Norway, Copenhagen has a mix of water and well not water. Less so that Amsterdam but beautiful none the less. The sky as you can see is a little overcast. It didn’t rain on us, although it would have been hilarious to be walking in Denmark getting rained on carrying Norwegian umbrellas,. It was a little coolish heading to cold but not uncomfortable. The boys and I walk outside every day, as does Jakki in her business so we a little better off weather wise than Barb. Of course Barb puts on a coat when she opens the refrigerator (I’m col,”). Once we crossed the river that runs parallel to the port (the middle and third pictures) we were nearly to this collection of street food trucks. Little did we know that was an understatement.
Luke says for the ENTIRE trip what was to come was the best lunch he had. The collection of food trucks was literally a explosion of food that was beyond amazing. From Korean to North American BBQ you could find nearly any restaurant you wanted. The food we ordered was amazing. Simply food that was prepared perfectly and you had so many choices you could eat there every day for a month and still be picking new places. For desert the kids wandered off to the Cheesecake shop. Luke pronounced it(as did Jakki) the best cheesecake ever. Nick said “its cheesecake” but he is the biggest cheesecake eater into he hosue so not unexpected. Barb and I went for the traditional Danish treat of pancakes. They were amazing.
My quest. In 1972 in the middle of a cold winters day my father and I both took pictures of this magnificent statue. The little mermaid in the harbor of Copenhagen. Dad taking his picture (made into a slide and scanned as part of the family history project) and I taking a picture with my Kodak instamatic 110. I have treasured those two photographs and our quest for this day in Copenhagen was to take more, That each person in our family would take a picture of the same statue. Mine is the far left taken from the hill approaching the little mermaid. The next two are Jakki and then Luke. Two more pictures (Nick and then Barb) are coming after this. I can’t say how happy it made me to complete this quest. To reconnect for a moment with my father. It took us two house of walking (we got lost) from the food truck collection to the Little Mermaid. I would love to say the boys didn’t complain during that two-hours. In fact I threatened them with posting here that they were excited and happy to continue walking, but they were very tired. We all were.
The pictures are an homage to my father. As the kids took them (and Barb) I was trying not to cry. 44 years (nearly) had passed since that cold day when he and I stood there and captured the image. Standing there where once I had stood with my father made that moment so incredible. I got to be there with my family. My partner, my kids my life. I wasn’t there recreating a moment alone. I was recreating a moment, as dad had created the original with his family (Mom, Lynne, Barb and I). So we recreated the moment with 5 as well. Each of us taking a picture of the Little Mermaid. For a moment I forgot about the throbbing agony that was my leg. I forgot about breathing (and the pain that was causing) and remember my father. Dad was an amazing human being. He touched all of our lives in so many ways. I was glad to bring a moment with him back to life. I ended up pretending my nose was running to cover up the crying. But the moment was captured, forever again.
Remembering Hans Oliver Andersen
Barb and my posse in Europe. Still day one pulling out into the North Sea from Copenhagen. Barb and I have wanted to take the kids to Europe for many years. For what-ever reason we put it off time and ageing. This time we did it. I am so proud of the three of them. They are mature, kind and caring people. They see the injustice in the world and they call it out. It was so much fun to get them out into the world again. We’ve had the chance (thanks to my parents) to see Thailand. Now we’ve had a chance to see Northern Europe. It opened the doors to many wonderful memories. But the most precious for me is traveling with my family. I traveled for work for many years (over a million miles on United) and none of those miles equaled the miles flown with my family over the past two weeks.
Costa does an amazing job with the food. Every night we spent on the ship the food was simply amazing. Our wait team (you get the same team for the trip) was simply beyond compare. The three courses of food were simply outstanding each night. I love Nick’s comment, I wish I knew what I was eating, more often. But unlike years ago when meals were often traumatic we only had one bad meal (Jakki still hates food with faces). Other than that one night we enjoyed the food immensely. What a great experience winding down day one with a fabulous dinner. The view from our restaurant (in the stern of the boat) was gorgeous. We watched as Denmark faded in the distance. We Andersen’s, in the land where they spelled our name right every time without even asking, we Vikings of old headed off on our ocean expedition to see the world.
The main gallery of the ship. Beautiful main area with shops and towards the far wall the main theater. The main floor (3) of this area was the lobby bar. On the floor one below where this picture was taken was the picture area. Funny, the only place on the boat I really never took a picture of was the picture area. Not sure why, I guess the irony of that was lost on me. My favorite all time picture to take is of someone taking a picture. So I guess the end game of someone having taken a picture was more irony than even I could handle. As the first day rolled to a close we headed down to our cabins and headed off to sleep. We had traveled from Friday night (Baltimore) to Saturday afternoon (Copenhagen) to mid-afternoon (Costa Fabulosa (sp)) to the North Sea. Our arms were tired from flying.
Last night we returned to the US after our long talked about and planned trip to Europe. We’ve been talking about going to Europe (we Barb/Jakki and I have) ever since I started traveling internationally. Our trip began in one of my all time favorite cities of the world (Copenhagen). Day one, that included this picture from the top of the Coata Cruise ship was our initial starting point. The vacation was 14 days long, but I suspect there are more than 14 blogs coming about what, where and why. First day, getting on the Costa cruise. We would be onboard for 7 days and our first goal was cross the North sea to Norway! Well after we got on board, settled and prepared to set sail. Oh and don’t forget the lifeboat drill. Oh and getting from the airport to the cruise ship. We had a wonderful cab driver who was extremely kind and helpful getting us from the airport.
We got to Copenhagen around 1 pm local time. Cab ride to the ship took roughly 45 minutes. I love Copenhagen,. so it was nice to be able to show the city to the kids and Barb. We wandered past Tivoli and a number of other attractions. We did not actually go to Tivoli as we didn’t have a lot of time. The cruise was departing on 530 pm Costa time. We found out what Costa time meant later in the cruise. But for now we were on the ship, had a nice lunch and settled into our rooms. The first two images shared are of the harbor in Copenhagen. These images are taken from the 11th and 12th deck of the Costa Favors. It was about 68 degrees and perfect weather as we embarked on our vacation!
Barb on day one preparing to head off into the wild blue yonder. I am really proud of her. She only said I want to live in Norway, Denmark, Holland and Germany 1022 times over the course of the vacation. That is far less than the Vegas predicted 2822 times. So I guess she beat Vegas. Jakki was is in the background of the picture. Interesting factoids. We ended up visiting 4 countries (Denmark, Germany, Norway and Holland). We flew 6 distinct airline flights. I can honestly say that Norwegian Airlines is MUCH BETTER That our first and last flights (WOW). We flew four distinct flights on WOW, of which 3 were late. Not late 10 minutes gosh we have to move quickly through the airport but late 1 hour or more, run pall mall through the airport. But like I said we were starting our adventure! Day one ended with us meeting our fabulous crew for the restaurant we were assigned and one of the two best room stewards I’ve ever had on a cruise (the tie is with the Norwegian line cabin steward from last summer).
A few more pictures from our Mexican beach vacation. We (well Barb) loves beach vacations. Not beach on a lake, but beach on the Ocean. This on the Pacific side of Mexico. One of the coolest thing was the pirate ship that fired its canons every night, really a cool experience. Jakki got her hair braided, and we went to a wonderful water park. Every day was a different experience of wandering around, and seeing the many sites. I wonder if tasting wonderful (real) Mexican food is why Lukey loves Mexican food so much. The food was amazing. My favorite thing was table side guacamole! I love it when a restaurant makes the guacamole right at the table right in front of you. I think that is my favorite thing when it comes to food experiences. I don’t know why that is, it just is one of my favorite food experiences.
One of the things that Jakki said to me when Barb was pregnant was that she was going to be the best big sister ever. Kids say things like that all the time. You remember them but you don’t take them seriously. Except that Jakki has accomplished that goal. The boys adore her. To this day they will do virtually anything she asks them to do. They also know they can always go to her and ask questions, seek council and have a great friend. Jakki is without a doubt the best big sister ever for the boys. At least for what they need. Twins are different so its hard to figure out what is a twin need and what is a little boy need. My experiences are muddled at best. This, the three of them in Mexico. Of course, we can’t take a picture without glamming for the camera. I am not sure why that started but I know who started it (Jakki) and it spread to the girls (Courtney, Megan) and then the boys.
So beautiful. They had bar service at the pool so I was in heaven. One afternoon Barb took the boys somewhere, Jakki wanted to swim so I relaxed with beer and a cigar. When Barb got back she asked Jakki “what did you do?” Jakki said “I swam.” Barb looked at her and said “what did dad do?” Jakki smiled and said “he drank beer and smoked a cigar.” She then proceeded to tell Barb every time I had a corona on the rest of that trip and how many I had. Every single time. What a rotten kid. It was actually, like Nick’s apple a running family joke for a long time (how many beers did dad have). I don’t often drink beer, once or twice a month at the most. So of course Jakki made it into a big deal. The image on the bottom was the sun setting into the Pacific ocean. Truly a beautiful shot, so I suspect Jakki probably took it.
Turkey Run State Park, Indiana. Here is the Bean. She’s had many names over the years. She joined us in November 1992. I can’t imagine the world without her smile, her laugh and her understanding. She is a dog whisperer. There were, as Barb and I were remembering yesterday also color phases. Jakki only wore purple one year. She wore only yellow another year. There were proper colors and of course she remains one of the 5 pickiest eaters the world has ever seen. Funny how a tiny child enters your life and becomes a huge force. You don’t think about the impact of a baby being huge other than the lost time. But the impact of a child goes far beyond the time you spend. The impact of a child is something you treasure. It can be painful when they wander off the path you think they should be on. But it isn’t your job to keep them on the path it is your job to release them into the wild!
Children bring a sense of wonder to your life. But they also bring fear. We almost lost Nick when he was born. Not right away but he was very sick shortly after being born. Jakki was also very sick when she was 2 in both cases we were wrecked. I can’t imagine or even remember how we made it through those two times. I remember sitting in the hospital room with Jakki as they gave her medicine at two in the morning. Those of us who know Jakki know the needle rule (as in keep that damn needle away from me). So it was traumatic. For Nick we split up. Barb stayed at the hospital so he was not alone and I watched Luke, Jakki and Becca. It was the toughest time. Visiting the hospital took coordination and the other two weren’t allowed in for the four days Nick was back in the NICU. It was hard to tell Jakki she couldn’t go in. She was already attached to both of them.
Last Luke, born 10 minutes ahead of Nick. The two of them are amazing. Of course they had an amazing big sister. I see so much of Jakki in the two of them. She was always there for them. From a very early age she told them what to do and they did it. Luke is the more talkative of the two. He has a keen mind and sees the world as an opportunity. He is very good, excellent even in converting thoughts to words when talking. Funny that Nick is better at writing thoughts than Luke. Luke is better at speaking thoughts than Nick. They compliment each other and yet are completely different people. All these pictures taken at Turkey Run State Park in the early 2002 range. Actually probably closer to 2000 or 2001 as the boys are not a lot more than 2 or 3 years old in these pictures. Barb stayed at home while they were little. It was hard on her to be home, but we agreed it was what the kids needed. She gave up so much to help the kids get started. Its why mother’s day is such a big deal in our house.
(I couldn’t resist here is one more with all of the kids)
In 1999 we traversed Ohio to a town called Twinsburg. It was founded surprisingly by a set of Twins. I would guess that someday the boys might go again but the one time was enough for the rest of us. If you think one set of twins is scary, try being in a parade with more than 4000 sets of twins, triplets and multiples. The town has the festival every single year. Again once was enough for the boys, but we still have the picture. We ended up leading a section of the parade. We wandered through the town of Twinsburg Ohio. Twinsburg is just South of Cleveland. We ended up moving out of Cincinnati Ohio later that fall (in October). The festival is usually around the first week of August, and last year (2015) was actually the 40th anniversary.
I have to say over the years that Barb has gotten quite adept at managing two children at once. (I hope I have but who knows). She was always prepared when we went on trips like the one in the Twinsburg pictures here. She had wipes, diapers and changes of clothing. When Jakki was little, she would get car sick on the way to Indiana. So she always arrived in a new outfit. I have to say now that maybe she was just wanting a new outfit and forced herself to get sick. (kidding Jakki). By the time the boys were this age we were rolling along. We were ready for twins. We collected two of everything. Now they are very different people and it is very funny to me how much difference there is. But then it was about being prepared.
Long days back then became long naps. I miss the quiet of those long naps. Actually I really, for the most part, enjoy the kids more now that they are older. There is something to talk about, to converse about and the conversations are more alive. I miss hugs from the bubbies where they were little. Or falling asleep on the couch to be awakened by a twin on top of me, having jumped on me off the back of the couch. Teaches you not to fall asleep, to be ever vigilant. Now we have things we can discuss and sometimes we have things to debate. We don’t always agree but arguing and defending your position is an important part of growing up. If you can’t defend your position in a non-emotional argument, your position needs work. Everyone should be able to argue points without emotion. So I try to teach the boys that every day (Jakki as well). Argue the idea presented. Argue the thoughts. Never argue the person.
Memories of Twinsburg Ohio
Family holidays are always fun. July 4th was always a big one when the kids were little. We for many years would sit on the porch of the place where my sister worked (actually on the sidewalk in front of the building) and watch the parade go by. Here we have the girls relaxing and waiting for the festival to start. It was an expedition for us when we lived in Cincinnati, and we have only been back one year around July 4th since moving to Maryland. We didn’t go tot he parade in 2014 when we came back. But those years are stored in our digital picture archive. It is fun to watch the kids when they were that little. They aren’t that little anymore. But they were that little once. It brings back nice memories of them.
Beanie, braces and bunnies. The three B’s of Easter. This taken at our house in Indiana (Greenwood). In the kitchen looking out over the back deck. This picture from 10 years ago. Jakki (Beanie) was 13 at the time of the picture. She still has that beautiful smile. Jakki loved stuffed animals for many years, so I got her a lot of them. Barb got her a lot of them. Luckily as she got older she got easier to buy presents for. She is really good about saying this is what I want. It is fun as kids get older and are able to share and guide you. You don’t have to worry if they will like the present. When kids are young you know what they want. Sure every commercial on TV is something they react to, but the things that mean the most to them are the ones they come alive for. They see them in the store and make a bee line directly to them. That’s what you watch for when they are little. As they get older it gets harder to remain connected to what they love. So when they stop and tell you, its easier!
I’ve shared this picture before but I love it so much. This is Halloween 1998. The boys are seven months old. Jakki is dressed as Blue of Blue’s Clue’s. Even as a small child she loved dogs. Now she is a professional dog walker and is extremely exceptional at her job. The boys are dressed as thing 1 and thing 2. Barb is dressed as the cat in the hat. Barb was a theater person growing up and love dressing up at Halloween. Me not so much. I like going as a software architect to most Halloween parties. I used to love dressing up for Halloween but like many things over the years grew out of it. The last time I dressed up in earnest was while working in a pre-school many years ago. My best friend Sean dressed up as Day Care Man and I dressed up as his loyal assistant Diaper Boy.
Not a Halloween Fan boy