2 YEARS & 6 MONTHS - 30 Dec 2012

Wow, 2,5 years already! And it's a GREAT age! So much has happened in the past month. First of all, we are diaper-free!! Well, they still sleep with diapers, but except for that there are no more diapers in our lives. We conquered the pooping-problem by giving them 2 pieces of candy each whenever one of them pooped on the toilet. After a few weeks they got only one piece of candy, until we ran out of candy for a few days and it was, very conveniently, Christmas so we couldn't buy more candy (at least that's what we told them....). Now they just poop on the toilet because that's what big girls do!
They also talk loads more, and are easier to understand and communicate with. They behave themselves really well when we go out, both of them at the same time, and listen to what we tell them. Maybe it has to do with them being able to communicate better, we can understand 100% what they want and need, and can consider their needs much easier when we're out. Maybe that makes everything less frustrating for them, and it's easier to be happy and behave?
We had a lovely Christmas and Liva and Laia of course got loads of nice presents, they play on their own much more, and Christmas eve when we were at my brother's, all the kids were on their own playing in my niece's and nephew's rooms. It was wonderful, and one of the first times we we could all sit as adults and enjoy some adult conversation. I don't know if it's the age or the new toys that has brought it on, maybe it's a mixture of both. Regardless, we love it!
Camila has been to babysit once this week, Liva and Laia loved her, didn't care about me when I came home from work after having been gone for 8 hours, and cried when Camila had to go home. So she's a success, and we're so happy to have found someone to help out!
All in all, 2013 seems to be a good year for us. But I must admit, I think we deserve it, 2012 has not been easy!

2 YEARS & 5MONTHS - 23 Dec 2012

We're all ready for Christmas, and I'm so looking forward to tomorrow. It's the first year Liva and Laia really understand what's going on, and they understand that tomorrow we're all going to my brother's house with my parents and there will be loads of presents. They also understand that the "log" we have been giving food every night will give presents in return tomorrow. Confused? A Catalan tradition... It's the Caga Tió, a log decorated with a face and a Catalan Barretina (a kind of hat). You bring him from the forrest into your home, then feed him nuts, cookies etc. At Christmas you beat the shit out of him (literally - excuse the language but caga tió translates to shit log or shit uncle....) - his shit is small presents - chocolates or small toys. We have our caga tió all ready, Liva and Laia even understand that we have to bring him to my brother's house tomorrow.
So the plan for tomorrow is that we relax and do the last preparations tomorrow morning, after Liva and Laia's nap we all get more or less nicely dressed and go to my brother's house around 15:00. We will do the caga tió for half an hour or so, then the kids will play while we get dinner on the table. Around 17:30 we'll eat - roast, duck, potatoes and gravy followed by a rice/almond dessert (which I'm making this year!). After dinner we will clear the table and get the kids out of the room while my dad and brother light the candles on the tree. Then we all come into the living room and admire the tree, hold hands and walk around the tree while singing carols - a Danish tradition... After 4-6 songs we FINALLY start with the presents! One present at a time so everyone sees what everyone gets. I'm excited to see how the girls will manage such a long night, but they've been sleeping until about 7:30 the past couple of days, and are managing the evenings much better, I am sure they'll be fine tomorrow. There will be so many presents and so many things going on, they won't have time to realize they're tired (I hope!). Christmas with kids is so much fun, I haven't been this excited about Christmas for many years! :)

If you want to know more about the Caga Tió, you can see a funny video on youtube.

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 21 Dec 2012

We're actually starting to get a routine going now. Unfortunately, it doesn't involve me jogging anywhere, but I hope we can get that in there in the new year - New Year resolutions and all that....
So, Albert gets up before I'm even conscious and leaves the house around the time I kind of start stirring... Liva and Laia come into our bed around the time Albert gets up or shortly before - so around 5:00. The first few days they insisted on getting up when papa got up, but soon learned that was pointless - and NO fun since mommy was in a terrible, terrible mood at 5:00!! So now they actually sleep in the bed with me until 6:00 or 6:30, yesterday until almost 7:00 and this morning - when I didn't have to get up coz I had a day off - until 7:30. WOW!! Anyway, on a regular day we'll get up around 6:00 or 6:30 depending on whether I have to go into the office in Copenhagen or am working at home. I get breakfast ready for Liva and Laia, then shower while they eat. If they finish eating before I finish my shower they just play or come into the bathroom and touch all my creams and lotions they know they're not supposed to be touching (they're smart enough to realize I'm in the shower and can't do anything about it). They "help" me dress - pass me my clothes - then brush their teeth while I do my make-up. They get dressed when I'm all done - and yes, they pretty much dress themselves, I just make sure the clothes is the right way around. They can even get their socks on by themselves! (Proud mom!) Between 7:20 and 7:40 we leave the house, I drop Liva and Laia off at daycare, then either go to Helsingør station and take the train to Copenhagen or back home. When I work from home I'm back home around 8:00, giving me an hour before I have to switch on the computer. I spend that time organizing the kitchen and living room (which doesn't get done the days I go to Copenhagen, we come home at 17:00 to a messy house), doing laundry and mostly quickly vacuuming since I normally have students here the afternoons I work at home. I make coffee and at 9:00 I start working. I normally finish at 12:00, have lunch and get ready for my student at 12:30 for 2-2,5 hours. If I don't have a student I continue working for another 2 hours. After work I prepare dinner, go shopping, then pick up Liva and Laia. When we come home, we all sit together on the couch for a bit while they have a small snack, then I cook dinner, lately with Liva and Laia's help which is great fun for all 3 of us, though it does create a HUGE mess... Albert comes home around 18:00, just in time for dinner, and around 19:00/19:30 we put Liva and Laia to bed. The days I work in Copenhagen I pick up Liva and Laia from daycare as soon as I am back in Helsingør, I try to have dinner already prepared, usually from the night before. That gives me more time with Liva and Laia, and kind of eases my bad conscience for leaving them at daycare until almost 17:00.
I have started "interviewing" potential babysitters and house help, I was forced to take a day off today since the daycare was closed, my mom was ill, my nephew was ill and the twin-girls next door were working, so we had no babysitter. There will be more days in the future where the daycare will be closed but Albert and I will both need to work, so we need to have someone who can help us. We also need someone to come once a week to pick up Liva and Laia from daycare and be with them at home until Albert gets home around 18:00, since I will be teaching late one day a week from mid-January. And it would just generally be nice to have someone to help out if the girls are sick, have to be picked up and we can't do it or if Albert and I want to go out and my parents for some reason can't babysit. We hope that whoever we find will also be willing to clean once a week! :) That might give me time to go jogging those 2 days a week I work from home... I interviewed a very sweet girl today, 22 years old, half Danish, half Colombian, Liva and Laia instantly liked her, as did I! I have other potential babysitters who I am supposed to arrange a meeting with after Christmas, but I liked the one today so much, I'm considering just giving her the job. On the other hand, I don't like not exploring the market to see what's out there. But if we were lucky enough to find one of the best ones out there straight away, why spend more time meeting others? And what if I meet some real freaks who will just make me worry and make me reconsider the whole babysitting thing? I'll think about it over the next few days, Albert said if Liva, Laia and I were all happy with the one today he was fine with taking her without meeting others. We need a babysitter on Friday since we both work Thursday and Friday next week but the daycare is closed for christmas. The girls next door might be available, but if they aren't we'd need someone else since my parents and brother can't help out that day. So maybe it will end up being the girl from today... I'm actually quite excited, it will be nice to have a babysitter in our lives again and get some more free time!

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 12 Dec. 2012

I went to a meeting at Liva & Laia's daycare today, a meeting they arrange with all the parents after the children have been there for 3-4 months. They talked about Liva and Laia's social skills, their motor skills and their speech development. First Laia, then Liva. The main difference between the two is that Laia is very extrovert and a typical leader. Liva is much more introvert and needs security and comfort in her life. They are both very happy, fun girls who care about other people - they take very good care of each other (though they also fight loads) and of the other (mainly younger) kids in the daycare. They love helping, they always help put away the toys and are some of the only kids who help clear the table after meals. Their motor skills are very advanced, the educators are especially amazed at how well they dress themselves, and say that for Danish standards their potty-habits are also quite advanced - it's supposedly normal to still wear diapers at 2,5 - 3 years here (according to the educators, I don't know!). They are very good at running, climbing, jumping and balancing. So basically, they are fantastic at everything! :)
However, when we got to the speech section, it was a different picture. We were told not to worry because they are bilingual twins, they clearly have their own "coded" language and speech development naturally comes slower to them. They love singing songs and are starting to learn rhyme - though that is much harder for them since rhyme is all about pronunciation, and that is where they really struggle.
With all the praise Liva and Laia got in the first two sections, I am not at all worried about them being a bit slower at speaking!

I also solved the dinner-cooking "problem" - involve Liva and Laia in the whole process! We brought their chairs to the kitchen counter and they got to help as much as they could. When they couldn't help I let them play with cooking spoons and cans, or nibble from the fresh, clean vegetables. Though we got home very late because of the meeting at the daycare, and they were both extremely tired, we've had one of the best evenings for a long time tonight. All in all, a perfect day! :)

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 11 Dec 2012

We're really starting to feel what life as a "normal" working family is like! But we're enjoying it - I'm actually loving it! :) I started my new job 1 week ago, I go to the office in Copenhagen 3 days a week, Tuesday and Thursday for 3 hours and then I teach for the other school, Fridays 4-5 hours in the office and home again. The other days I work from home for 3 hours, then have a student here. This past week my students have cancelled quite a few classes, so I have worked some extra hours for the other job (saving up so I can take time off over Christmas). With Albert leaving the house at 6:00 (or earlier) in the morning, and not getting back until 18:00 (or 20:15 twice a week when he has Danish class), I'm the one dropping Liva and Laia off at daycare, and picking them up again in the afternoon. But it's all working out great, I still drop them off around 7:45 every morning and pick them up quite late, between 16:00 and 17:00. They are always happy and busy doing things when I get to the daycare, one day I arrived at 17:30 and felt really bad for having left them there that long, they didn't want to come home with me! There were only 5 kids left, they were playing with play-dough and having a lovely time. So it seems we're all enjoying this new life of ours! The most stressful time of the day is when we get home in the afternoon, Liva and Laia are tired, they want to be with me but I have to get dinner ready. So often I just cook something very quick (read: boring!), I do wish I were better at planning all that. But it'll come, we're still getting used to this new situation.

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 30 Nov. 2012

My life is falling into place! Yesterday I went to sign the contract at the language school I'll be working at. It seems that if things go well, I will be full-time employed by the summer, and have loads more responsibility in a couple of years. The job sounds amazing, and I am so looking forward to starting there.
I will continue with some of my students for the other language school where I have been working since we moved to Denmark, at least for a while. Just this week, 3 of my students have told me I'm "addictive". Two students, ladies around my mom's age, are finishing next week, they have both said they are so sad at the thought of not seeing me again, I have become like a part of the family. I also really like them, and hope we will somehow see each other again. When you spend 4-5 hours with a person every week and talk about children, work, traveling, hobbies etc, I guess some special bond somehow develops. The other student is a young girl, mid-twenties I think, who has asked that we do 2 hours every class instead of 2,5, because she doesn't want to finish the classes with me to quickly - the students normally get 30 hours in total. Those were nice compliments, and made me feel good! :)
And finally, I've started jogging again! I've so far only been yesterday and today, but I feel super motivated and have planned my working schedule so I can go jogging 2-3 mornings a week. When I stopped back in the summer, I could only just barely run the entire route I do, the first many weeks I interchanged between jogging and walking. I had expected to do some walking now, after not having jogged for months, but to my huge surprise I can run the whole route. It's only about 2,5, maybe 3 kilometers, through the forest so very uneven terrain. It feels great to have started up again, I hope I can keep it up, and that soon I can make my route a bit longer. Finally life in Denmark is what we had hoped it would be! :)

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 29 Nov. 2012

Liva and Laia are (wait, let me count....) 29 months today (I get so confused with these months, I don't understand why people still count in months after 2 years). Though a lot has happened over the past month, it's hard to say exactly what has changed. They of course get better and better at everything - they talk more, understand more, run faster, keep their balance better, eat nicer, hold things more safely, etc. - and many things are easier - we don't worry as much about the safety gates at the stairs, because they can get up and down on their own, they dress themselves and OOHH - BIG NEWS: We're done with diapers!!! More or less.... They don't wear diapers during the day anymore, also not at daycare. They wear them when they nap and when they sleep at night. They also ask for diapers when they have to poop, for some reason they do not want to do that on the potty or the toilet. We put on a diaper, 2 minutes later they come and tell us they have pooped. Very strange.... But progress!! :) They still have accidents, but not very often - Liva hardly ever, Laia about once a day, she just forgets to go to the toilet when she's playing and having fun, and does it in her pants instead. We're getting there, though, and that's the most important part!
They play together and on their own much more, just last night they were in their room playing with their "mobiles". Laia was pretending to be having a conversation with Mormor, Liva was watching her and cracking up at all the silly things she was "telling" Mormor. A few minutes later they ran into their bedroom and jumped into the other's bed. Laia lay in Liva's bed while Liva was being silly in Laia's bed and Laia was laughing like crazy. They spontaneously do silly things, and very often make Albert and me laugh out loud! Little clowns! :)
Unfortunately Liva has started waking up at 4:45 on the dot every morning. Besides getting up 2-3 times during the night, trying to sneak into our bed (I now always take the struggle with her and put her back in her own bed, despite the screaming and hysteria!), she is now up at this ungodly hour. I go to bed around 22:00 every night but am soooooo tired.....
But we can feel that things are getting easier, and though they are still clearly in their terrible twos, they are lovely, sweet, polite, happy girls!

2 YEARS & 4 MONTHS - 27 Nov. 2012

YESSS!!!!! I have a job!! Only part-time, but it's a start! I will be working as course director, marketing responsible and administrative manager for a small language school in Copenhagen. It's exactly the kind of job I was hoping for! I will be working partly from home, partly in the office. I will combine it with teaching, though I haven't heard back from the school I teach for now, I assume they will let me continue there with approx. 10 hours a week. This means I'll be working about 25 hours a week, my salary will be ok (we won't become millionaires anytime soon, but we'll live happily, especially with Albert's new job as well), and I will still have plenty of time for Liva and Laia.
Albert started his new job yesterday, and it seems good. It has completely changed our routines, and I think it'll take a while to find a new routine. Albert used to drop Liva & Laia off at daycare on his way to work, they'd leave here around 7:45 every morning. I planned my classes so that I always had time to clean the apartment Monday morning before starting work. I picked up the girls 3 days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays I worked in Copenhagen and Albert would pick them up. Now I have to drop off Liva and Laia in the morning since Albert leaves before 7:00, some days I still have to go to Copenhagen, other days I have to go home to teach (and work from next week). Albert will be getting home around 18:30 every day (except Mondays and Wednesdays when he has Danish classes and doesn't get back until 20:15), so I also have to pick up the girls every day. I used to message Albert if we needed anything, and he'd buy it on his way home since he had the car. Now I have to do any shopping necessary since I have the car and more time than him. So these first 2 days have been completely different from the past 7 months! But in a good way! We're both very happy about the new situation, and are looking forward to seeing what it'll bring!
I am looking for a cleaning lady here in Elsinore, coz I won't have time to do the cleaning anymore, and as little as we're going to be able to be together as a family from now on, I don't want to waste any time at the weekend cleaning! I am also trying to plan my work and classes so I can start jogging again...... I had started a few weeks after moving here and had gotten a really good rhythm going. But when my mother-in-law was her for a month, I didn't go jogging at all and lost my rhythm. After she left I started up again, but never really got into it, and stopped after 1-2 weeks. Then I couldn't get it to fit time wise, or had other excuses. For the past couple of weeks I have really wanted to start again, but only have time at night after Liva & Laia are asleep - I am just too lazy to go jogging then! But it seems that with this new job I could plan 2-3 mornings a week where I can get out for a short jog after dropping off Liva and Laia. I am sooo excited about the next couple of weeks! And Christmas is just around the corner, too! :) Once again, Life's good! :)

2 YEARS & 4 MONTHS - 21 Nov. 2012

I'm SO sick of having sick children! It just seems it's never ending. We had both Liva and Laia in our bed all night, Laia was crying saying her ear and throat hurt, and she was boiling hot. Liva was coughing and crying because her throat hurt when she coughed. I actually wanted to blame it all on moving to cold Denmark, but then I remembered that in Barcelona they were also constantly sick from about November until about March. I guess it's just something we have to live with until they are a bit older and their immune systems are a bit stronger.
Well, we soon realized there was no way we could drop Liva & Laia off at daycare today, "luckily" Albert had an argument with his (now X) boss yesterday and was told that if there were going to be bad feelings he might as well leave the workplace yesterday and not come back. So he did.... He's home this week, I cancelled my 2 classes today and called the doctor. We got an appointment for 12:10, there we were told that Laia has a rash in her ear which is supposedly very typical for babies and toddlers, and can be quite painful. Liva is coughing because she has a horrible cold and all the snot ends up in her airways. There are no infections in their throat, but with the coughing and colds it's only normal that the throat hurts as well. We also mentioned to the doctor that Laia has been complaining about a pain in her vagina for about a  month, but there's nothing unusual to see and so we haven't been taking her very seriously. The doctor asked if we had seen any little worms in her diaper. At first I was shocked - how could she possibly think that our daughters could have worms? There's no way they have worms, we take care of our girls, clean them well, bathe them every 2 days, of course they don't have worms! Not my children! She asked us to describe the symptoms, then asked if there had been a case of worms at daycare. That made me remember a sign I noticed about 2 months ago in the daycare, something about there being worms and what to do to prevent or cure it. Oh my god, my children DO have worms..... The doctor prescribed a cure and told us to check their poop next time - they are just very thin worms, look almost like little threads. Yup, Laia definitely has worms, I've seen it with my own eyes. I still can't believe it, but the doctor assured us that it has nothing to do with how we take care of them or with lack of hygiene, it is apparently super common among toddlers, especially when they go to daycare because it's extremely contagious. So Laia got some medicine for her ears, Liva got some cough medicine, and they are both put on a worm-cure. It's been a productive medical day....
We spent the afternoon at home, and again we noticed that things are getting easier. Liva and Laia can spend more and more time on their own doing puzzles or playing with pearls. While Albert prepared dinner I tidied up the apartment. Liva played with pearls while Laia created a necklace. Then they did some puzzles until it was time to eat. They are such sweet girls, even when they are not feeling well!

Liva in deep concentration, creating pearl-masterpieces

I still haven't gotten an offer from the job yesterday, she is having computer problems and will need a few days before she can get all the information to me. Oh well, I'll just keep crossing my fingers.

2 YEARS & 4 MONTHS - 20 Nov. 2012

Life's good!! :) Though Liva and Laia are still hard work, we're also really starting to notice how things are getting easier. Saturday morning I went to my brother's house with the girls, they had loads of fun playing with their cousins and the neighbor kids, I actually had time to sit and drink a coffee and chat with my sister-in-law. Sunday we spent the afternoon outside playing, Albert chopped wood and did some work in the shed while the girls played in the street with their cars, we drew with chalk on the street, and they played with their dolls.
We're trying to kill this habit of theirs of coming into our bed at night, it's more or less working, but it does mean that we (mainly I since Albert hears NOTHING at night) get up anywhere between 5 and 10 times a night; I am sooooo tired! Last night I gave up and let Liva crawl into my bed when she came in for the 3rd time in 30 minutes. I regretted it less than an hour later, she was tossing and turning, singing, kicking, coughing and making noises - even while she was sleeping... I had no sleep last night and can feel it today.
But to make up for all the negative and difficult things lately, I had a job interview today and I think it went well. It's for a part-time administrative position at a small language school, the owner is pregnant with twin girls due in January, and need someone to help her run the place while she is on maternity leave and afterwards. She will send me details of hours, work and pay tomorrow, then I have to decide whether it's something I could be interested in. The job sounds great and it's exactly what I would love to do, but of course it also depends on what she is willing to pay for my services! :) So, fingers crossed!
Albert has unexpectedly finished his horrible job early and now has a few days off before starting his new job on Monday. So it looks like next week will bring on a lot of positive changes in our little home!

2 YEARS & 4 MONTHS - 12 Nov. 2012

We are REALLY familiar with the Danish healthcare system now... It started Saturday noon, we dropped Liva and Laia off at my parent's house for an afternoon off to go clothes shopping. Liva had been complaining about stomach pains for a few days, and also cried when we left my parent's - very strange, they normally never do that. We decided to take the chance anyways, and drove to a mall. There we looked at clothes, had lunch, looked at more clothes and bought a bit as well. After about 2,5 hours in total, we decided to get in the car and go to another place. As we were driving out of the parking garage my mom called. Liva had been crying for almost an hour and they didn't know what to do anymore. We called the emergency doctor, they told us to go to the hospital and have her checked. This time we did wait for hours and hours, she had a quick check-up shortly after we arrived, but I guess they decided Liva wasn't very urgent and we waited for hours - locked in a room since she might be contagious and they couldn't have her running around the hospital. After some blood tests and other tests (I won't go into details, considering it was her stomach I'm sure you can imagine for yourself), we were sent home again, reassured that she was fine.

Liva had fun, here she's looking at the Hans Christian Andersen poster while singing and clapping

It was a loooong evening......

Laia spent the night at my parent's house, we went home and all pretty much collapsed. A waste of a Saturday night, but nice to know that Liva was OK!
Sunday we went to pick up Laia and had a relaxing day at home.

Monday morning we packed the car and once a again drove to a hospital, this time the main hospital in Copenhagen. As I've mentioned before, Liva & Laia were born with tiny deformations by their ears. It's nothing bad at all, but we don't want them being teased when they are bigger, and wanted them removed.

Liva's little "antenna" - she only had it on one ear

Laia's little bumps - she had them on both ears
We arrived at the hospital Monday at 10:00 and spent most of the morning talking to doctors and nurses, were given loads of information and asked a lot of questions. There was free lunch for the girls, a huge play area when we weren't talking to experts, and even an artistic room with staff where they could paint, play with pearls and other fun stuff. It was very hard to get them to nap, but we managed! All afternoon we just played at the hospital, Liva and Laia had dinner and eventually we put them to bed. Albert had bought Pizza for him and me, there was a kitchen where we could cook and a place for us to sit and eat. We had brought books and had wifi, so we were fine. We went to sleep quite early, we were tired and knew that Tuesday would be a long day.
Painting

At 5:45 Tuesday morning a nurse came in, Laia had to drink because it would be her last chance before the operation. They put some numbing cream on her hands for the needles later, then we were free to do what we wanted until 8:00. Again, Liva and Laia had fun playing....


Copenhagen sunrise seen from the hospital

Playing before the operation

Playing before the operation

Around 7:45 the doctor came and gave Laia some medicine which drugged her. Though it was funny to see her acting all drunk - laughing at her fingers, giggling over her pacifier and unable to stand normally - it was also a bit freaky... Around 8:00 her and Albert went down to the OP, here Laia was given full anesthetic and slept after a few seconds. Albert was sent back upstairs and we had about an hour with Liva before she went through the same process - though the medicine she was given to drug her didn't have the same effect on her at all. It actually hardly had any effect at all.... I went down with Liva, she was given full anesthetic as well, but took a bit longer to fall asleep. Typical Liva, she closed her eyes and just as the doctor said "There she goes, now she's sleeping" she opened her eyes again. Liva WILL NOT sleep, and no anesthetic is going to get her! Eventually it did, though, and I was told I could go straight up to see Laia, she was waking up in another room. Albert was already with her, and the hour after they woke up was the hardest part of the entire stay. They were affected by the anesthetic but awake, their body wasn't reacting properly, and they were just hysterical! Laia wanted to be with dad, when the doctors were sure she was OK and didn't have any side effects from the anesthetic or the operation, they were told they could go back up to the room. I was told to wait, Liva was on her way up to the waking-up room. We went through some pretty rough hours of hysteria, but food always does the trick for both of them, and pretty soon they were both happily eating.

Laia just after the operation, in the waking-up room

A tired and confused Laia eating after an hour of hysteria

Liva eating after the operation

This is almost 1 week ago, they still have a small band aid on their ear which we can take off this week. We are happy to have those little things removed, and we are relieved and thankful that everything went so smoothly. After waiting for 1,5 years in Barcelona, we had it done in Denmark after just 3 months in total. Thank you Danish health care system! I do hope we don't have to see the inside of a hospital anytime soon again, though.....

2 YEARS & 4 MONTHS - 29 Oct. 2012

Liva & Laia are 28 months today. I still can't believe how quickly time passes, it seems like only a few months ago they were helpless babies, suddenly they are little going on big girls!
They can do so many things now, they can run and jump really well, they love dancing, they can stand on one leg, and they love playing "bridge" - one girl crawls under the other's legs.
They talk loads, use sentences of 5-6 words. Of course they don't talk grammatically correct, but we understand the basic meaning. They say things like "Liva like no" meaning Liva doesn't like it or "Papa shower now no" meaning Papa shouldn't shower now / isn't showering now, "Laia sleep more now no" meaning Laia isn't sleeping anymore or doesn't want to sleep anymore. Liva is also starting to use the pronouns "I" and "you". Laia talks more, and more correctly than Liva, but Liva is catching up fast. Sometimes we don't understand Liva until Laia explains what Liva is saying. They speak mainly Danish but say a lot in Catalan as well. Albert is very good at talking to them in Catalan all the time, Liva and Laia both love repeating what he says and Laia very quickly understands what the word means. Then she says "Mom says "måne", papa says "lluna"". Laia saying it like that also helps Liva understand it easier.
They can tell us when they are sad, happy, in pain, hungry, thirsty, whatever, and that is a great help! It makes life so much easier when we don't have to guess what they want.
Their favorite pasttimes at home are reading and doing puzzles, and they are very good at the puzzles! They also love Lego (Duplo) and blocks to build huge towers. They love drawing (preferably on themselves, each other and the table, not paper....) and playing with pearls. They still don't care much for dolls.
They dress themselves and are amazingly good at it. Even the adults at daycare have commented on it, and I am surprised every morning when I dress them. This morning Laia even managed to button her shirt - buttons that go through a buttonhole!
Unfortunately we're STILL potty training (I believe we have been training for a year now, it's insane!!) and they STILL wear diapers. When we are at home we take them off, most of the time Liva and Laia go to the potty or toilet to pee, sometimes they do it in their pants. They don't like pooping on the potty or in the toilet, and normally hold it until we put a diaper on them. We still put on diapers when we go out, I tried last week to walk home from the daycare without diapers, they both peed themselves before we were half way home.
We're also still struggling with the pacifiers. In daycare they only have them for sleeping, as soon as we come pick them up at daycare, the first thing they ask for is the pacifier. Though we desperately try not to give it to them at home, the girls often end up winning just because we can't handle the tantrums they throw when they don't get the pacifier.
As mentioned, they fight a lot, and misbehave in turns. It seems it might be getting a it better, we were all out in Elsinore yesterday and they were both little angles! We met up with their little Bulgarian friend Maggie at an indoor playground, all three girls had a fantastic time. But all that being said, they also play together really well at times, they laugh and giggle and have a lot of fun together. This is a hard time for them, there is so much going on in their heads, so many things they are learning and rules they have to remember. They want to do everything on their own but can't do it all yet, which also aggravates them, especially Laia. Because they are so good at so many things we sometimes "forget" that they are only 2 years old, and maybe expect too much from them. Other times we don't challenge them enough, or don't let them try things on their own because we're afraid they could get hurt. So it's not easy for any of us, and looking at the big picture I think they're managing really really well! I love them with all my heart and tell them every night when we put them to bed. We both shower them with cuddles and kisses, and from the way they hug and kiss us, we know they know they are deeply loved, and that they love us as well! They are happy and healthy, and as I've said before, that is the most important of everything!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 23 Oct. 2012

So far I've always said that the first 6 months are by far the most difficult with twins. Babies are generally boring (in my opinion! I know there are people who adore babies, I don't belong to that category of people!), having 2 x boring doesn't make it any more interesting. Having two helpless lives to feed, change, dress and undress countless time per day drains any parent, trying to get any sleep with 2 babies is a feat in itself - and I know we were lucky, Liva and Laia were super synchronized, it was still hard - and getting basically no response in return for anything you do eventually becomes quite demotivating. At least that is how I remember the first six months... I know there was the first smile, the first babble, the first eye contact, the first finger-grabbing and many more firsts during that time, it just wasn't all that earth shaking.... After six months it starts getting fun, there's real communication in some form, you start to really understand why they cry and most times know exactly what to do to make them happy again. They can sit on their own and maybe even drag themselves along the floor like a zombie. They are (again, this is just my opinion!) finally starting to show a little bit of human nature.
But all that being said, I'm starting to think that the first six months is not the hardest time! NOW is!! My parents' neighbors have 3 sets of twins - yes, 6 children with 3 pregnancies!! Imagine that! And they have 5-year old twin grandsons. They know a bit about twins, in other words... The lady recently asked my mom how old Liva and Laia are now, when my mom answered "two years" the neighbor just breathed out deeply and told my mom to warn us that the next year would be the most difficult of them all. I decided to ignore that comment, Liva and Laia are little angels and NOTHING can beat those first six months. Boy, was I wrong!! If you have ever heard of the terrible twos you have an idea of waht I'm talking about. If you have ever experienced them, you might even think you know what I'm talking about. Imagine it double! Imagine going out and ALWAYS having at least one child misbehaving. It seems that when Liva behaves Laia doesn't, and when Laia behaves Liva doesn't. I don't know if it's something they have agreed upon between each other, but there are not many seconds of the day where both of them are well behaved. This whole myth about twins being each other's best friends - don't believe it, it's a trap so parents will have twins! Liva and Laia fight all the time! They bully each other - hit, kick, bite, pull each other's hair, poke each other, etc. - they tease each other - takes the sister's toy and runs away with it or hides it somewhere, pretends to want to share toys or food then quickly takes it away again and says "No, mine!" - and they disagree about everything - if one likes the food the other doesn't, if one wants to play outside the other wants to be inside, if one wants to watch Barney the other wants to watch Teletubbies. They argue - "My mom!" "NO, MY mom!", "My cat!" "NO, MY cat!", "Big car!" "NO, small car!", "Red house!", "NO, pink house!". ALL DAY LONG!! Albert and I are seriously going mad! Which is why it's lovely that we can drop them off at daycare in the morning or at my parent's house for a few hours at the weekend. This weekend where we actually had a full 24 child-free hours was priceless. Getting up Sunday morning and just sitting in the couch talking over a cup of coffee, it seemed too good to be true!
Of course we LOVE Liva and Laia. More than words can say! With all our hearts, souls, minds and bodies! Our world would end should anything bad happen to either of them! We haven't regretted for a single second having twins, especially not our two twins, and we are convinced they are the most amazing children in the whole world and that having any other child or children would be at least a hundred times more difficult! But that doesn't mean we don't get tired at times! And it doesn't mean we don't enjoy our breaks! And it doesn't mean we don't find it very, very difficult at times. Coping with the terrible twos x two is exhausting, and though we wouldn't change it for anything in the world, it feels good to admit it!!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 20 Oct. 2012

We have our first night off since Liva and Laia were born tonight! Just before lunchtime we dropped the girls off at my parents' house, then left as quickly as we could (well, not really, we did hang around and say goodbye to Liva and Laia for about 5 minutes). So far Albert and I have been doing "our own" things - I went clothes shopping and Albert continued his restoration of an antique bed we have. When I came home he had just started watching some movie that I have NO interest in seeing, so I have been getting to know my new Mac - a huge change when I've been used to cheap laptops with windows.
We have a reservation at an Italian restaurant just down the street from where we live for 20:00 tonight, I am looking forward to that. Then we can celebrate our 4-year anniversary last week which we didn't really celebrate (sushi for dinner and a lovely flower arrangement was as far as we went), and we can celebrate that ALBERT HAS A NEW JOB! He doesn't have the contract yet, but he was told on Friday that he has the job. He has to give his current employer 1 month notice, as soon as he can get out of there he will start the new position since they want him to start asap. We are both very, very happy about it! It's a job he's sure he'll be happy with, it's within his field, and it pays well! Finally things are looking better for him, I am so happy and relieved because he really doesn't deserve the crap job he has at the moment! Now all we need is for me to find a normal job, but at least I have my teaching and am doing translations for the German company on a regular basis again.
I am sure we will enjoy the dinner and a nice bottle of wine tonight, there are two very positive things to celebrate! :) And tomorrow we can sleep in, together!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 18 Oct. 2012

We've had our first experience with the Danish "out-of-hours-healtcare-system" today. Liva and Laia have, as mentioned before, had a cold pretty much since we moved here (at least that's how it feels!). The cough medicine from the doctor last week helped loads and they're much better, but still with runny noses. Last night Liva didn't sleep very much, after having put her in her own bed 3 times I eventually gave in and let her sleep in our bed. She was quiet this morning, but seemed OK. When they came home from daycare she was crying and complaining about an ear-ache. She wouldn't eat her food, she only ate half the yoghurt Albert offered her, she was hot and crying. Eventually I checked on the net what to do with a sick child in Denmark - we didn't know, we don't know how these things work in Denmark even though it's my country.
I found out I had to call a doctor, who would then tell us whether we should relax and wait until tomorrow when our own doctor is available, or whether we should take action straight away. We were told that if she had a fever and an ear-ache we should go see a doctor. So, at the hospital they actually have an out-of-hours doctor consultation. I was super impressed! I don't know how it works in other countries, but in Barcelona we had to go the the hospital emergency room if there was anything wrong with the girls out-of-hours. We were seen to in order of urgency, meaning we have spent hours and hours at the emergency waiting room. Here, we took a number and 20 minutes later we were called in by the doctor. Liva spent those 20 minutes playing at the indoor playground right next to the waiting area. The doctor checked her, said she was fine, we should just give her some painkillers if she complained about pain, and less than 10 minutes later we were done. Amazing! This country doesn't stop impressing me.
I was thinking about it the other day, and I am actually surprised about how little I miss Barcelona... I loved living there, and I wasn't too crazy about the idea of moving back to Denmark. I liked the idea of being close to family and friends (though I hardly see my friends here now either), but I wasn't too thrilled about the whole Denmark idea in general. Had it not been for my working situation, I don't think I would have moved back here. But I am so happy here, we have met new people and made new friends, Liva and Laia have developed so much after starting daycare, and as mentioned before, we love where we live! I also think that I'll be writing very soon about good news regarding Albert's work. Now we just need a normal job for me, and life in Denmark will be everything and so much more than I had ever dared hope for!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 12 Oct. 2012

Please, someone give me strength!! For about 1 month now Liva and Laia have both had a cold and a pretty bad cough. That in itself isn't a big problem, and after living in Barcelona and suddenly coming to this cold country, I guess it's also quite expected. But they cough a lot at night, meaning nobody gets to sleep! Laia coughs and cries, but at least we can get her to sleep in her own bed. Liva coughs, wakes up and comes into our bed. When I know it's the middle of the night I take the fight with her and put her back in her own bed, handling screaming and hysteria at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. But since they always come into our bed when they wake up in the morning around 5:00 (THAT has to stop as well!!!) or 6:00, and since I am soooo sleep deprived, I sometimes don't realize that it's still the middle of the night when she comes in, I think it's already morning and let her crawl into my bed. Only when I realize hours later that she's still tossing and turning, it's still pitch black outside, and I am even more tired than the day before, do I realize that I should have put her in her own bed. But by then it's too late. Eventually she falls asleep, normally with her head pinned against my back and her legs thrown over Albert's belly, but at least she's asleep. I finally doze off again, only to be awoken by Laia waking up and coming into our bed. Of course Liva wakes up with all the commotion, and happily shouts "look mom, Laia's here" - just in case I hadn't noticed. She makes sure Albert knows as well. This is normally around 5:00 or 5:30, and that is the end of our night!
Ten (or often less) hours of sleep just isn't enough for 2 tired 2-year olds, so we have 2 cranky girls who are constantly complaining, crying and bullying each other. We are two very tired adults with a lot of stress and worry because of work and our financial situation (hopefully there will be good news about that next week!), and our patience just isn't what it should be.
The past few weeks have not been a lot of fun in our little house, I really hope it changes soon and that the girls learn to sleep through the night again! We finally managed to get the doctor to give us some cough medicine for the girls yesterday, maybe next week will be good in various ways! 

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 4 Oct. 2012

Laia said "Laia elsker mor" (Laia loves mommy) for the first time today!! :) I tell both Liva and Laia almost every night when we put them to bed that I love them very much, as well as many other times during the day. Today we received a huge box from my mother-in-law full of clothes for the girls. Liva and Laia were thrilled, and can't wait to wear the clothes (they are such girls! :)) so we were talking about this clothes when they were in bed. I told Laia that tomorrow she'll wear a body that says "I love dad" to which Laia replied "Laia loves mommy". Then she said she loves, daddy, Liva and Iaia (grandma). Aaawww, how just a few words can completely melt my heart!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 2 Oct. 2012

When I go to pick up Liva and Laia at daycare, it's a 10-15 minute walk through a forest. At the moment it's fine, but the other day I got to thinking, what will I do when winter comes and it'll be pitch black at 15:00 or 16:00 in the afternoon? I don't want to be pushing their stroller through some scary, dark forest! So I went out exploring the area, and managed to find a path which is lit all the way. Only problem is, it has stairs. Not good with a very heavy double stroller. But it's also much shorter than the way I knew before, so the last few times I've gone to pick up Liva and Laia without the stroller. It takes me a little more than 10 minutes to walk to their daycare, it takes at least 30 minutes to walk home! Not because Liva and Laia walk slowly, they actually manage the walk surprising well! But because we stop to look at trees, bushes, flowers, berries, birds, snails, cats, dogs, ducks, leaves, busses, cars, bikes, airplanes, clouds, etc, etc, etc. Since I'm never in a hurry to get home, it's actually a very enjoyable walk and it's fun talking about all the things we see.
We pass an old chestnut tree, which is full of chestnuts now. Yesterday we stopped and picked up chestnuts from the ground, some were still inside the shell, Liva and Laia loved stepping carefully on the shell and taking out the nut. We managed to collect 40-50 chestnuts (I didn't count them, it's a rough estimate!), which we washed when we got home. I divided them evenly in 2 bowls, and gave the girls a bowl each along with 2 small see-through plastic bags. That has so far given hours of fun, both yesterday afternoon and this morning before going to daycare. They put the chestnuts one by one into the bag, then turn the bag up-side-down into the bowl, then start all over again. Lovely free entertainment with an educational value at the same time! :)
If just Albert and I had normal jobs and made decent money, life here in Denmark would really be prefect! But it looks like things are getting better, I was contacted by one of my former translation clients last week, he asked if I was interested in helping them out again. Of course I was, so I am now working on my second project from them already. Teaching and translating isn't my dream, and I'm still looking for "real" work, but at least there's more money coming in. There also light at the end of Albert's tunnel at the moment, but for various reasons I won't get into that right now. If there's interesting news, I'll get back to it!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 30 Sept 2012

WHY do they do this??? For weeks I have been teaching at home every day, my students come to me at 9 or 10 in the morning, giving us all plenty of time to get ready. Every morning Liva and Laia have been getting up anytime between 5:15 and 6:00. Tuesday this week I started classes in Copenhagen again, from now on I have to leave the house at 7:45 at the latest every Tuesday and Thursday, meaning Albert and I both have to shower, get dressed and have breakfast, and we also have to get the girls ready. If we get up around 6:00 it's not a problem, we have loads of time. Tuesday morning Laia slept until 6:30, Liva slept until 7:00. The one morning where we all had to get up anyway, so it would've been OK if they had woken up at 5:30 or 6-ish. Wednesday morning I taught at home again, Liva comes into our bed at 5:25 and doesn't go back to sleep. Thursday morning I have to leave early, we all have to get up early; Liva sleeps until 6:30, Laia we had to wake up at 7:10! Today, Friday, I had two students come here, the first one at 10:30. And what happens? Both girls are awake at 5:10. WHY??? Why can't they wake up early Tuesdays and Thursdays, and sleep when we don't all have to get up early? We could sleep until 7:00 all the other days, and still have plenty of time in the morning. But no, those days they have to get up before 6:00! So why do they have to sleep in the other 2 days? I can't remember the last time they slept until 7:00 before this week, why do they have to start doing it now that we have to get up and get ready?
Oh well, the perks of having little ones, right?!? :) At least it's Friday and I'm done teaching for the day! Time to enjoy the weekend, hope you all have a good one!

2 YEARS & 2 MONTHS - 25 September 2012

I am so happy about Liva and Laia's new daycare! Every time I pick them up in the afternoon they are in a brilliant mood. Though they are tired they are happy, I always find them playing somewhere, very often together but also sometimes apart. They come home and have learned new songs, new movements to the songs, have been coloring or something else fun. In the old daycare they spent all day outside on the playground, most of the time playing with water. They were wet and dirty when we came to pick them up, and hardly ever wore the same clothes as when we had dropped them off in the morning. Most of the time they wandered around looking bored, very often they were crying.
I met a mom from the old daycare a few days ago, they are from Hungary and so didn't know how the whole system works here in Denmark. She told me that her daughter, who will be 3 in November, hates the daycare and spends all day crying. A few weeks ago she fell out of the pram she was napping in, now she's afraid of sleeping at the daycare. The mom is worried she'll lose her job because they call her almost every day from the daycare, telling her she has to come pick up her daughter early because she is non-stop crying. And of course the mother feels horrible about leaving her child there every day. Since we had said from the beginning that we wanted Liva and Laia to go to the daycare near our house - we didn't even know that it has the reputation of being on of the best, if not the best, in town - their place at the old daycare was always just temporary. But since this other mom accepted the place at that daycare as the one for her daughter - without knowing that it's one of the worst in town, poor people - her only option now is to sign the girl out of daycare, get her on a waiting list for a different daycare, and then wait. That could take months! No family can do that. So the mother is devastated about leaving her daughter in a place neither of them like for hours and hours every day, and the daughter is sad and crying all the time, and of course very, very tired since she doesn't nap. We really have been lucky! :) Time to prepare a small snack now and go pick up my lucky, happy girls in what we consider the best daycare ever!

2 YEARS & 2 MONTHS - 16 Sept. 2012

What a totally weird day today... We're all still not feeling great, so our nights are very interrupted by coughs, cries and nightmares - from all four of us. Today is Sunday, which means I got to sleep in this morning. Well, kind of, anyways. The girls came into our bed at 5:00 and did not go back to sleep. After an hour of trying we eventually gave up. Albert tried going down with the girls, but they refused if I didn't come down as well. I went down with them for a while, but since I was feeling horrible, and since I had already missed out on sleeping in last Sunday because Liva was hysterical and Albert was in a bad mood (and I had been out partying with my work Saturday so had slept less than 5 hours but had gotten up anyways!), I decided that I was going back to bed this morning, no matter what anyone said! I managed to fall asleep again and woke up at 9:30. It's a windy, gray day - yes, fall is starting here in Denmark.... - so we stayed in all morning. Around lunchtime Liva and Laia were super tired, so we figured they'd sleep for 2 hours when we put them down for their nap. Wrong! They refused to sleep!! We spent an hour trying to get them to sleep, they kept getting out of bed, running around upstairs, pooping in their diaper knowing that we'd have to change them, and moving furniture around in their room. After having told them 100 times (at least!) to go to sleep, we gave up. We could hear them playing upstairs and decided to just leave them for as long as it lasted. They actually played for about 40 minutes before they started throwing toys down the stairs. We took that as a sign that they had had enough.
Of course, since they had been up since 5:00, they were extremely tired all afternoon, so we had to somehow keep them entertained non-stop. First we went on the balcony and planted some plants we bought last weekend. They had fun playing with the soil while Albert and I managed to plant all the plants, our balcony looks really nice now! :) Afterwards we went upstairs and got out all the winter clothes so we are ready for the cold. Liva and Laia are such girls and love clothes. There was clothes from last year which we had them try on to see if it still fits, and there was clothes from a friend of mine's daughter which we also had to see if they could fit. They can undress and dress themselves, and love doing it, this was a great way for them to practice even more, and for us to get all the clothes ready and organized. We spent a couple of hours playing with the clothes, then prepared dinner, bathed the girls and put them to bed. They slept within 5 minutes. It's fun watching them play and learn more and more as they get older, they are such fun girls and have a great sense of humor. Though they can be VERY exhausting at times, we do really enjoy spending time with them. I just wish they wouldn't fight and argue as much as they do, but I've read in various twin books that it is perfectly normal at this age. I hope it's just a stage and that it ends soon. I always thought twins were each other's best friends, I hope Liva and Laia will be at some point (soon!).

2 YEARS & 2 MONTHS - 13 Sept. 2012

Last night we all 4 slept in the big bed all night for the first time! Liva and Laia have slept in their own beds since they were born, for the first 4 or 5 months they shared a bed and slept in our bedroom at night and in their own room for naps during the day. When they got too big to share a bed we moved them into their own room in separate beds. We only took them into our bed if they were sick, but even then the girls preferred sleeping in their own room with their sister. Ever since they have been big enough to make themselves understood, they have made it clear to us after 10-15 minutes in our bed that they want to go back to their own bed by pointing towards their room and saying the sister's name. Since we prefer not having them in our bed, it has never been a problem for any of us! :)
A few weeks after their 2-year birthday we removed one of the sides of their beds, so they no longer have bars on one whole side and can get in and out of bed as they please. A lot of the people I know with toddlers of a similar age did it much sooner, shortly after the child's first birthday. We just couldn't handle the thought of Liva and Laia being able to get of bed on their own, and kept postponing it. We were really worried we'd just end up paying in the end anyways, and eventually decided to just get it over with one weekend. To our huge surprise it went really well! The first 2-3 nights they got out of bed a few times, but nothing like what we had expected! They also fell out of bed once or twice the first 3-4 nights, but they don't fall far, and we have sheep-skin rugs for them to land on. They'd curl up on the rug and continue sleeping. After a couple of falls they started climbing back into bed on their own before we even made it upstairs after hearing the thump, and were asleep again by the time we got up. After the first week they completely stopped falling out of bed. They of course still get out of bed after we put the down for the night sometimes, especially Liva, but it's not every night, and it's not as bad as we had feared! For being only 2 years old they're doing really well! In the mornings they always come into our bed when they wake up, then we all snooze and cuddle for 15-30 minutes before getting up, a lovely start to the day!
But yesterday we were all sick! Albert and I had a fever and both felt horrible, Laia had a cough and was complaining about an earache, Liva was just generally not feeling good. We put the girls to bed around 18:30, by 21:00 we were in bed ourselves. About 1 hour later Laia started coughing and crying. We tried a few times to get her to fall back asleep in her own bed but eventually decided to take her into our bed, something we generally do when they aren't feeling well. Shortly after Liva must have realized she was on her own, because she came in with her pillow in her hand and her pacifier in her mouth. Without a word she threw her pillow on top of mine and lay down next to me, demanding blanket. Though Albert said, shortly before we all fell asleep, that they had to go back into their own beds after a while, we all had a decent night's sleep in the big bed. It was actually quite nice! :) Not something I would do every night, but I did enjoy us all lying together last night.

2 YEARS & 2 MONTHS- 12 September 2012

I don't know what to do with this blog; I'd really love to keep writing it, I often think about what to write for my next post, but then I never get around to doing it. In Barcelona I worked from home and was on the computer all day, not being on the computer made me feel guilty. Writing this blog was a welcome break from work, without feeling guilty because I was still on the computer. Now I'm hardly ever on my computer. I check e-mail and facebook on my phone, and I don't do any work whatsoever on the computer. It's almost a hassle having to go into the computerroom, switch on the computer, sit here and look at the screen...
But I've decided to try to keep this blog going, because I do really enjoy writig it! :)

Liva and Laia had a lovely birthday, my mother-in-law was here from Spain. Liva and Laia had loads of presents in the morning, mainly from their Iaia but also some from Albert & me. I had the day off so Iaia and I had a nice day with the girls. In the evening my parents came over for a birthday dinner, it was a lovely day. Two days later we had a small celebration in the garden for some family, that was great as well, Liva and Laia loved the day and were extremely happy!
Presents in the morning
Birthday dinner
Birthday in the garden
Birthdaycake in the garden

Liva and Laia still love daycare, even more now that they are in the daycare that Albert & I originally wanted them to go to. They started September 1st, I was very worried about how they would manage, they were so happy in the other daycare and had been there for 3 months. I took them to the new daycare 3 Friday afternoons and played with them on the playground, talked to the adults who work there, and made sure Liva and Laia met some of the other kids. The Monday they started I went with them and stayed for about 30 minutes, then I went home to teach for 2 hours, and rushed back to pick them up after lunchtime, before naptime. They were happy and had had a great time. According to the adults there they hadn't cried at any point. The next day Albert and I both dropped them off in th morning, Albert stayed for about 10 minutes, I stayed for about 20. We had agreed they should try napping there, but if there were any problems at all the daycare should call me, my students were warned that I might have to leave suddenly. But there was no phonecall, when I finished teaching I rushed up to the daycare and got there at 14ish, shortly after Liva and Laia had woken up from their nap. They were having such a good time playing that they refused to leave. I ended up staying there with them until almost 16:00. It felt sooo good seeing them so happy there - much happier than in the old daycare! This new daycare has a fixed schedule - there's breakfast until 8:00 (something Liva and Laia never experience since they never get there until just after 8:00), a fruit-snack at 9:00, then they all go play outside on the playground. At 11:00 there's lunch, after lunch all the kids are put down for a nap. At 14:00 there's another snack, then they all go outside and play again, at 17:00 there's another little snack, which Liva and Laia have so far only had once because they're normally picked up between 15:00 and 16:00. Yesterday it was pouring rain all day and I really didn't feel like walking up there with the stroller, so we agreed Albert should pick them up after work, the only day they were picked up at 17:00. When he picked them up that late from the other daycare they were cranky, hungry, wet and mostly crying. When he picked them up yesterday he said they were having their snack and in a great mood. They were happy when they arrived at home and nothing like how they used to be after 9 hours in the other daycare. Albert and I are som much more relaxed and so relieved that they are in this new place. We're not worried about leaving them there for 9 hours once or twice a week because they clearly love being there!

Albert and I still have the same jobs, but I now work only daytime, usually between 8:00 and 14:30, meaning I can pick up the girls at a normal time every day. It's been a rough summer because I only had about 10 teaching hours per week for almost 7 weeks, and Albert couldn't sell very much in August since Spain shuts down completely all that month - and Spain isn't exactly an easy country to be selling in at the moment....
I have a job interview this afternoon as administrative worker at a school 2 evenings per week. I don't really want to work evenings, but if it's onlt twice a week it's OK - and just getting a foot inside the Helsingør school system would be great! So I'm really hoping I get this job!

Though some parts of living here are still difficult (much more so than we had anticipated before moving up here), we're all still very happy here! It's annoying that our financial situation still sucks, but it's starting to lighten up a bit. Albert of course misses his family loads and I miss my friend Susan and her little boy Luca - Liva and Laia still talk about Luca! - as well as our babysitter Emily! We had hoped to go to Barcelona for a long weekend in October, but for different reasons we probably won't be able to. We love the apartment we live in, our neighbors are wonderful, the girls and I love the area (Albert gets a little bored sometimes, he's a city-man!) and we love seeing my family so often (I think Albert gets a little sick of that sometimes, but I completely understand (as does my family) and we have an agreement that he can say no to coming along anytime! That gives him some breaks every once in a while as well).So all in all things are great, and are starting to look like they will only be getting better in the future! :)

1 YEAR & 11 MONTHS - 13 June 2012

As mentioned before, Liva & Laia now go to daycare and love it. So far they've normally been there from around 8:00 to about 15:00, but now that Albert is also working, their days are a lot longer and I feel horrible for leaving them in daycare for almost 9 hours! Albert drops them off shortly before 8 on his way to work, once a week my mom picks them up and drives them home, we do this on days where I finish early. On Fridays I normally only work a few hours, so I drop them off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. These two days they are picked up at 15:00 at the latest. But the remaining 3 days they have to wait for Albert to come after work, meaning they're not picked up until around 16:45. They are some of the last kids left when he comes, they are tired and crying, and can hardly get through the afternoon and evening. I hope I can soon stop teaching late and be home most afternoons, the days I teach late I only see Liva & Laia in the morning; they're asleep by the time I get home.
Now that I'm not with them 24 hours a day (as I was most days in Barcelona!) I have so much more patience with them. I suddenly understand what people mean when they talk about "quality-time" compared to "quantity-time". Quality-time is so much better, and so much easier when there's less quantity-time! I also suddenly understand those people who do this whole baby-thing two or three times! Too bad I'm already in my late-thirties, otherwise I'd have considered more kids in the future.... But it'd have to wait another 2-3 years until Liva and Laia can do many more things on their own, by then I'll be very close to 40 - I don't want to be a new mom at 40! Especially since we'd might get two again... I'll spend all my quality-time with Liva and Laia, I can't think of a better way to spend it! :)

1 YEAR & 11 MONTHS - 09 June 2012

It's been ages since I've written, though I've thought about it 100s of times!
Well, we're living in Denmark, all four of us! We've rented a lovely apartment just outside Elsinore in a huge house with only 5 apartments in total. We have a big private balcony and a lovely garden which we share with the other neighbors. The apartment itself has two floors, on the first floor there's an open kitchen and living room with exit to the balcony and a fireplace! :) There's a bathroom with a tub and a combined computer room / guest room. On the second floor is our large bedroom and a huge room for Liva and Laia which is kind of divided in 2 sections so they have their sleeping area and a play area. We all love the house. The beach is a 2-minute walk away, we can see the water from our apartment, and there's a forest just behind the house.
I work as an English teacher and it's great because I can choose my own hours. I haven't worked much these weeks, I've had time to be with Liva and Laia and help them adjust. Albert's working as salesperson in a small private company, he only just started one week ago and so far it's ok, nothing super exciting or anything...
Liva and Laia go to daycare and absolutely love it! Unfortunately the daycare is located at the other end of town, and though Liva and Laia love it there and the people who work there are really sweet, we're going to move them when there's space in the one just behind our house. The one they're in now is very focused on being outdoors, which is great because it's healthy. But they don't do things like painting, music, clay etc, which is something I would like for Liva and Laia to do, and which is something they do at most daycares here in Denmark. I feel horrible about moving them since they're so happy there, but I keep convincing myself that they'd be just as happy in the other one after a month or so. Also, their days there wouldn't be so long, at the moment Albert drops them off in the morning on his way to work, and picks them up on his way home, meaning they're there for about 9 hours. They are some on the last kids left when he comes to pick them up. Some days I teach at home and could theoretically go get them, but we have to take 2 busses to get home from there, the one to our house only leaves every hour, so if we miss it, we can't really get home. Twice I've taken a taxi, but we can't afford that! Liva and Laia are always tired and usually just cry on the bus, they want to go home. It's easier to have Albert get them with the car. If they were at the place behind our house I could walk there with the stroller and pick them up.
But all in all, things are good. We see my family loads and Liva and Laia are so happy to be with them all always. One of our neighbors has twin girls of almost 18 years and an 11-year old son, they're here every second weekend and they all have a great time together. Another neighbor has grandchildren Liva and Laia's age who also come visit sometimes, and I guess soon they'll start getting friends in the daycare as well. At the moment their best friends there are 4-year old twin girls. I guess twins just have some kind of connection...
Tatanka is here with us as well, and also enjoys it. He's already caught his first bird on the balcony, which he hid under our bed. Nice.... He can get into the garden, but did so one of the first nights here which Albert and I hadn't realized. We closed all doors and windows and went to bed. At 3 am I woke up because of a cat meowing outside. I recognized the meow and went out to look for him. It took us about 15 minutes to find him, he had been in a fight or something and was hurt. Poor thing survived a 7-storey fall in Barcelona, then gets into a fight with some animal after just a few days in Denmark. He still loves being outside, but he stays on the balcony now.
I hope to be a bit better at posting again from now on, so much is happening with Liva and Laia's development these days. They talk loads, especially Laia. She repeats almost everything we say, and is starting to use several words to create sentences. They play really well on their own and with other kids, they eat loads, they pretty much dress themselves now, they love helping with everything around the house and they want to do more and more things on their own. Unfortunately they are VERY attached to their pacifiers, and potty-training is just not happening, though we try. They also don't sleep enough, we put them to bed around 18:30/19:00 every night, they wake up anytime between 5:15 (yes, 5:15 am!! WAAAAYYYYYYY too early!!) and 6:00, they nap around 12:00 but only for about 1 hour, if we're lucky 1½ hours. This means they're constantly tired and so very often cranky. We're hoping it's just a phase, and they just have to adjust completely to this new life. Considering what they've been through in the last couple of months they're doing great! If we have to deal with them being tired and sometimes cranky we can't complain, they're absolutely wonderful and have adjusted amazingly to this new life!

1 YEAR & almost 10 MONTHS - 23 April 2012

Albert's back in Barcelona, we miss him loads! The girls say goodnight to his picture every night and start crying. Yesterday we did facetime while he wsa at his brother's, we saw Papa, Iaia, Avi, uncle Eduard and all the cousins, the girls were thrilled but started crying when we finished. It's not easy for them. But we know they'll be happy here, and we're sure we're doing the right thing.
Today I went with Liva and Laia and my mom to two different daycare centers, Liva and Laia ran straight to the playground and started playing while I was being shown around. The second one we went to is just through the forrest from our new home, and is amazing! A huge institution located in the middle of the forrest with the biggest playground I have ever seen. It was clean and organized, they do loads of activities, all the food is home made and organic, it's perfect! I would love if Liva and Laia could go there! But though I'm guaranteed a place for them, it won't necessarily be in the institution of my choice. So we're crossing our fingers and hoping our lucky streak will continue a while still!

1 YEAR & almost 10 MONTHS - 20 April 2012

Everything is happening so quickly at the moment, I haven't had time to keep up...
Last week Tuesday I went to the language school in Sabadell, Barcelona to sign the contract for the 4 week intensive course. On the train there I received an e-mail reg. a job I had applied for in Denmark. They wanted me to come in for an interview Wednesday noon. That was of course not possible, the company was not flexible since they needed someone who could start the following Monday. I was very sad about missing this opportunity, it was a position I would have loved. It made me realize that if we wanted to live and work in Denmark, we should be in Denmark. I still had contact with the language school in Denmark which had offered me work, so I called them and asked how many hours they'd be able to offer me if I moved to Denmark. Their reply was: "As many as you want!". But I'd have to make a decision quickly, because they needed a teacher who could start the following Tuesday, one week later. They gave me 24 hours to think about it, after that they'd hire another teacher. Albert and I talked all night, calculated salary, talked about how we could do it until he found work in Denmark, called my parents to make sure we could live there at first and that they'd be able and willing to help with babysitting until we were settled and the girls can start in daycare. In the end we decided to take the chance - I'd move up to Denmark with Liva and Laia at least over the summer. If Albert had not found work in Denmark by September I'd move back down.
Wednesday morning I called the language school and accepted. A few hours later Albert received a call from a company in Denmark, they wanted him up for an interview.
Saturday early morning, five days after the e-mail on the train, we all flew to Denmark. I started work on Tuesday, Albert had his interview at the same time. We went to see an apartment near Elsinore that we would love to rent, but until we knew some thing more about Albert's situation we couldn't rent it.
Thursday noon Albert was offered the job! Friday morning we confirmed the apartment! It is now Friday evening, Albert's flying back down to Barcelona tomorrow to quit his job, pack the apartment and rent it out. I will stay here with Liva and Laia, sort out day-care and the apartment near Elsinore, and mid-May the movers will come and pick up our stuff in Barcelona, as soon as possible thereafter Albert will come up with Tatanka.
At the moment, things seem too good to be true! The apartment is lovely; water-view, guest-room, balcony, shared garden, fireplace, bathtub, five minutes from the beach and two minutes from the forrest. Liva and Laia are extremely happy here, they love my parent's garden and see their cousins loads. They talk about Iaia and Avi a lot, I think they understand that they won't be seeing them for a while. But since we'll have a guestroom in the new apartment, we hope they'll come visit often! :)
So, to sum up, loads has happened in a very short time, but it's all very positive, very exciting and we are all very, very happy!

1 YEAR & 9 MONTHS - 4 April 2012

As wonderful as my morning was yesterday, as dreadful was the afternoon! I came home around 12:30, in time to prepare lunch for Liva and Laia and put them down for their nap. They were already cranky and impossible when I came home, it just got worse and worse. After 45 minutes they had had lunch and were ready for their nap. Emily helped me tidy up a bit, after she left I cleaned the kitchen and had lunch myself. Then Liva and Laia woke up, after an only 45-minute nap. They were just as cranky and impossible as before I had put them down! It was raining and grey outside, and I was worried about work (or lack thereof!) and in no mood to deal with two cranky toddlers!
This morning they woke up in a brilliant mood, but since I spent most of the morning communicating with the language school in Denmark, which has offered me 3 courses all starting in April, looking at apartments and trying to find more teaching work in Denmark, Liva and Laia were very much left to themselves and were bored. The combination of me being totally worried about finances, deeply confused about what to do and how to do it workwise, trying to prepare my class this afternoon and dealing was 2 bored toddlers was NOT a good one! Good thing I was working this afternoon and had to get out of the house!
AND - good thing my intensive course here in Barcelona was confirmed this afternoon! :) Now we can stick to the original plan of me working here until mid-May, then going up to Denmark and seeing what I can find. This gives us more time to prepare it all, my mum's coming down in May so if we really do move up for some months, she could take some things up when she flies home. I'm just happy the course down here is actually happening! Hopefully the next few days I will have more patience with my sweet, deprived children.
We've started potty-training a bit, Liva has peed on the toilet twice and pooped once, Laia has peed once! It's a start! :)

1 YEAR & 9 MONTHS - 3 April 2012

I have just had an amazing morning! We needed some government documents for Liva, Laia and Albert which I had said I'd take care of today. Since it's raining there's nobody out, so it took me less than 5 minutes to get these documents, from an extremely friendly civil servant! I knew Emily wouldn't be able to take Liva and Laia out in this weather, and knew that they'd be all over me all the time if I went home. So I decided to go into town. I went to develop some photos, then had a coffee at the Corte Inglés where there's a wonderful view over Plaça Catalunya. I bought a book, then came home when it was time for Liva and Laia's lunch. The girls had had a lovely morning with Emily at home, now they're sleeping peacefully.

View over Plaça Catalunya from the Corte Inglés café
I still don't know anything about any of the jobs; the possible intensive course here in Barcelona apparently still hasn't been confirmed by the client, the school in Denmark have told me to contact them at the beginning of May if I plan on staying here until mid-May. Something has to happen, I need work so I can earn some money... Fingers crossed!!

1 YEAR & 9 MONTHS - 2 April 2012

We've started eating together as a family whenever possible, tonight I decided to cook while Emily was here so we could all have dinner together. It meant quite a late dinner for Liva and Laia, and a very early dinner for Albert and me. But it was so worth it! Liva and Laia were in a brilliant mood, Laia ate more than I did! After dinner we played a bit, then gor the girls ready for bed. They were exhausted after a morning at the playground with Luca, an afternoon at the playground with Emily and full bellies after a lovely family dinner!

1 YEAR & 9 MONTHS - 29 March 2012

Liva and Laia are 21 months old today! So much happens so quickly now! They both desperately try to talk, but we still struggle with understanding most of what they try to tell us. They clearly understand each other, though, as well as everything we say to them in both Danish and Catalan, and a lot of what Emily says in English. That, to me, is very impressive!
They also pretty much dress themselves! I tell them to take off their pants and socks, then help them with the tops. Laia puts on all her clothes herself except her body and her socks - this week she even learned to pull her pants up all the way, she couldn't get them over her diaper before. Liva needs help with her top as well, but can put on her own pants. Laia can more or less put on her own shoes, Liva still can't.
They love helping around the house, they love going out without the stroller, they love playing, Liva loves being around other kids, especially if they're older. They love food, we give them new things to try almost every day, it's great seeing how they enjoy it!
They still fight a lot, and I don't understand that. I thought twins were supposed to be each other's best friends, Liva and Laia definitely aren't yet! But at the same time it's clear they love each other. They spontaniously give their sister hugs and kisses, if one cries the other one feels really sorry for her, and when we're out they keep a close eye on their sister.

Today we saw Luca for the first time in over a week, they were thrilled about that. We had a nice morning together - Albert was there as well, there's a major strike in the country today and he couldn't get to work. I was telling Susan about my new, crap working situation when the phone rang. A language school in Sabadell, about 30 minutes outside Barcelona, need a language teacher for 4 weeks, Monday-Friday 9:00-13:00. That would be absolutely perfect for me, I have an interview there tomorrow, I really hope I have more luck with this job than with the previous interviews I've had....!
Then, this afternoon a language school in Denmark called. They promised they could have given me fulltime teaching had I been in Denmark, but since I'm not they might be able to give me some skype classes. Now we're thinking about me going up to Denmark for a couple of months to see what this school could really give me. If I have no work here anyway, it doesn't really matter whether I'm here or there, I'd have to go where the work is. If I get the job in Sabadell, it'd only be 4 weeks, I could fly up mid-May until end of June and see how it all works out. Of course Albert hates the idea of being away from his three girls, and I hate the idea of being away from him and taking Liva and Laia away from their dad, but as long as it's only temporary, and it's because we're trying to improve our situation, it'll be okay. We'll manage somehow! Just the fact that I'm being offered work is a good thing!

1 YEAR & almost 9 MONTHS - 27 March 2012

This has been two strange days! Sunday evening I sent off my translation and, to my great surprise, I was sent the next project Monday morning already. Along with a mail explaining that this will be the last project from that company for the next couple of months, since they have no need for Danish translators at the moment... Darn! They're my biggest income, besides them I only have my few hours of teaching every week, we can't live off that.
Monday morning I took the girls to a friend's house, she has a little girl a couple of months younger than Liva and Laia, and a dog. It was nice doing something different, we took the metro there, Liva and Laia loved the whole morning, from we left until we got back home. Oh, and they slept until 7:30 Monday morning!
Monday afternoon Emily came, while she was out with Liva and Laia I got an e-mail from the translation company I interviewed with last week - I supposedly only scored 40% on the test they had me do, so then will not proceed with my application. WTF?? It was correcting a business letter which had been translated from English to Danish, and I cheated! My parents were here, my mom's a former Danish teacher, my dad's a Sales and Export Manager in an international company, they both helped me - my mom with the general Danish, my dad with the business language. How the F**K could I only get 40% on that test??? Well, nothing I can do about that! I spent last night and most of the morning today sending out applications, both here and in Denmark, hopefully something will come up somewhere soon!

This afternoon I met up with two twin moms at the Ciutadella Park playground, that was nice! One of the moms was my German friend who I hadn't seen for months, since before Christmas I think! Though it was very short, it was nice seeing her again! The other mom I met because her and her husband bought some stuff from us while she was still pregnant. Their twins are now 2 months old. It was sweet seeing little baby twins, but I am so happy I now have toddlers and not babies anymore!! I love that Liva and Laia just ran around and played on their own while I sat and chatted with the other moms.
We left the playground quite late, I figured Albert would be on his way home from work and would be in the area, so I calle dhim to see where he was. As luck would have it he was just a few minutes away. He came to meet us and we all walked home together. After putting the girls to bed I skyped with one of my best friends who lives in Sweden, talking to her always makes me happy!

1 YEAR & almost 9 MONTHS - 25 March 2012

This has been an absolutely wonderful weekend! Friday morning I took Liva and Laia to their favorite playground at Park de la Ciutadella. On the way there we pass my mother-in-law's builing, and Liva and Laia start calling for her. I spontaniously called her on Friday, she happened to be out but very close to her house, so we met up and she came along to the playground. The girls loved that both their grandma and their mom was at the playground with them. Albert came home shortly after they woke up from their nap, and we all went to Poble Nou, one of my favorite parts of Barcelona. We walked around a bit, had tapas and went home.
Saturday morning we all went back to Park de la Ciutadella, we didn't go to the playground, instead we walked around and looked at all the animals. There were geese, goslings, ducks, turtles, parrots as well as all the dogs. The weather was brilliant, and we all enjoyed it loads!



When we came home we all had lunch together. The girls love it when we all eat together, but it's unfortunately something which doesn't happen very often. Liva and Laia have dinner too early, Albert normally isn't even home yet. I don't actually know why we never have lunch together at the weekends - probably because Albert and I often don't really have lunch at the weekend. It might be an idea to change that, and all eat together at least one of the days. Liva and Laia have breakfast with their dad every morning, and a fruitsnack with me a few hours later.
Sunday morning Albert took the girls out while I worked on a translation, I took them out in the afternoon while Albert cleaned the house a bit.
Last night we put the clocks back an hour, summertime started. I love this time of year, I love the long evenings! But - now that we have kids it's a bit different, Liva and Laia didn't sleep until 20:30 tonight, normally they're out by 19:15ish. It'll be interesting to see what time they wake up tomorrow morning!

1 YEAR & almost 9 MONTHS - 21 March 2012

Last week I decided to make a small change in the daily routine: I have always showered after Albert left for work, the last few weeks it was dreadfull, Liva and Laia would either be fighting in the bathroom, be running around breaking things or hurting themselves, or quietly be doing things they knew they shouldn't be doing. My showers were stressful, and when I got out I always got mad about something they had done. So we decided I should shower while Albert has breakfast with the girls. My parents have just been here for four wonderful days, and the showering hasn't been a problem. Only this morning did we try the new (to be) routine for the fist time, it was great! It meant that after Albert left I had time to sit and read books with Liva and Laia, I had time to tidy up the apartment a bit, there was nothing stressful about my shower, there was no reason to be angry at Liva and Laia. It has been one of the best mornings for a long time!
Emily came, and though it was very grey outside I suggested they risk going to the playground anyway. Poor girls all got stuck outside in a torrential-like downpour! They quickly came home again, we changed the girls, sat in the livingroom for a bit, then I went to the computer to prepare my classes for tomorrow. The few times I've tried to get some work done while Liva and Laia have been at home with a babysitter it's been impossible. Today they've been playing in the livingroom with Emily all morning, only once or twice have they come into the computerroom to say hi. It's so nice that they are getting older and things are getting easier and easier. It's just such a shame we'd lose Emily if I had to work fulltime!