Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Week with our Best Friends/European Family

Bobby and I were lucky enough to spend a week with our best friends/European family Kate, Olivier, and little Iris over the Easter holiday. As you may remember, we were with Kate and Olivier when they brought Iris home from the hospital last Easter. It's amazing to see how much has changed over the last year!

Iris is growing up before our eyes. She is a very girly girl. As you can see in this picture, she loves to brush your and her hair. She also loves jewelry! If you aren't careful, she'll steal your watch and wear it for the rest of the day (here, she is wearing Bobby's watch). She also loves to put headbands and scarfs on herself.

Since birth, Iris has loved Bobby's accordion playing. Her love of it probably has something to do with how much she heard Bobby's playing while still in the womb.

One day we took Iris to the park. She loves playing on the teeter-totter with Uncle Bobby and Papa.

Iris is also a very adventurous eater! Here she is chowing down on a fried sardine. We couldn't believe all the things she ate!

In addition to playing with and adoring little Iris, we also had a great time with Kate and Olivier! When we are all together, we often find ourselves sitting together around a table, laughing and planning our future around delicious food and plenty of wine, cider, and beer.

Of course, delicious food, wine, cider, and beer isn't hard to come by in France. Bobby and I devoured this violet eclair. How can you not love a country that makes violet eclairs?!?

After Bobby's and my year in Paris, plus the numerous trips we've made back to the city, we were pretty sure we had seen most of what Paris has to offer. These gardens proved us wrong! The gardens of Palais-Royal are right across the street from the Louvre, yet are hidden between the old Palais-Royal walls. There were many people enjoying the sunshine, fountain, and shaded benches.

After a few days in Paris, the Mulliez-Sturm family headed north to visit Olivier's parents in Lille. This is Bobby's and my third visit to the Northern French town of Lille: the first was with Dad, Gloria, and Stacy; the second was last summer with Kate and Olivier. Here, Bobby, Kate, and I are photoed in Vieux Lille, or old Lille. We had a lovely late afternoon in town with MamamIbiza (our nickname for Iris's paternal grandmother) watched Iris.

On Easter Sunday, we took a day trip to Belgium. We started the day in Oostende (where the top photo is from), a coastal resort town. The beach was packed with people sunbathing and enjoying the long stretch of sand. While we didn't sunbathe (our poor Danish skin would burn to a crisp!), we did enjoy a lovely seafood lunch. We next headed to Bruges, the town of beautiful canals and lovely Flemish architecture.

Kate and Olivier suggested we take a canal tour, and we are glad they suggested it! The 30 minute ride was both informative and beautiful.

This is just one of the many beautiful sights we saw from the water. Bobby and I really loved the town and we hope to come back soon for a long weekend. After a another day in Lille, we all headed back to Paris, then Bobby and I headed back to Copenhagen, which is now filled with flowering trees, sunlight, and a tough of warmth. We had an amazing week with our best friends and we miss them terrible, but we get to see them soon when we spent a weekend in St. Malo in just a few short weeks! We love you, Kate, Olivier, and Iris!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday! Believe me when I say I lucked out in the parent lottery. My Dad is a great cook (I am especially fond of his breakfasts, especially the potatoes O'Brian), a funny guy (even if he steals my jokes), picks great sport teams to root for (Dodgers, Trojans, Lakers, and Kings), and is an incredible handy man (he has helped to install many things in the many apartments Bobby and I have lived in over the years). He is also the most well-traveled person I know: he has visited all 7 continents and has traveled to more countries than I can name. It is not a stretch to say I caught the travel bug from him. He and my Mom took me on many international trips as a child. Maybe if they hadn't introduced me to romantic Europe, I wouldn't live so far away from them!

My Dad is also incredibly generous. Here I am with a bike he bought me for my Christmas gift (I have named it the Golden Goose, or Goose for short)! Dad is also generous with his time: he makes an effort to call all of his kids at least once a week to check up on us, and he visits all of us quite often. That's saying something considering I live in Denmark, older brother Gregg lives in Pennsylvania, and younger brother Jordan lives in California.

My Dad is also a talented artist. When I was a kid, Dad expressed his artistic side through his incredible wood work and watercolor paintings. Dad still makes beautiful furniture (and a great recipe box!), but his artistic outlet now is stained glass. I received this fantastic chef stained glass. I even have one of my Dad's pieces in my office window. Gloria's home in California and Dad's home in Pennsylvania are filled with many of Dad's pieces. He also incorporates stained-glass into his handmade Arts and Crafts furniture.

I hope you have a fantastic birthday, Dad! I love you very much and am grateful for all you do. Thank you for being the best father!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My food pic, 2

After the great success of my previous food pic, people around here have said, "I saw your pancakes wearing an egg hat. You know down is the only way to go from here?" Bull. I give you my Tour de Gateaux Qui Met Chapeau de Deux Oeuf (Tower of cake that wears a hat of two eggs).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tune of the Month: April

With a sick day yesterday I was able to put the finishing touches on my arrangement of this month's tune: La Roulante. And is it a doozey! So far the comments on YouTube have been, "too much horn" and "TOO MUCH HORN!" With two thumbs down, none the less! To this I reply, "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more horns." Hint: Watch it in full screen mode and with earplugs.

Maybe it is because my congestion makes things hard to hear?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Friendly Visit

Our good friend Caitlin visited us last weekend! Caitlin and I (Carla) went to UCSB together, where we played in several flute ensembles together and became good friends. Caitlin and her husband have recently become ex-pats; they live in Switzerland, where Caitlin's husband is a researcher at a university (sounds familiar, yes?). On Thursday night, we all went to the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra. As you can see in our photo, we had seats behind the orchestra. It was very interesting to see the conductor at work, though the acoustics were terrible for the Prokofiev 1st Piano Concerto. The highlight of the concert, though, was the Gorecki 3rd Symphony. It is an incredibly moving piece.

Friday was a relaxing day. I came home early from work, and Caitlin made an awesome potato leek soup for our lunch. Bobby and Caitlin also practiced accordion together. Caitlin has purchased an Alpine button accordion (no pictured here), so she had fun playing some of Bobby's accordions.

On Saturday, we had a Mexican Fiesta! Poor Caitlin hasn't had Mexican food since she moved to Europe. We invited my office mate Kamilla to join us for dinner since she has never had real salsa (can you imagine that?!). We started the evening with a little entertainment... tandem rides for our guests! Both Caitlin and Kamilla enjoyed their ride with Bobby. Unlike me, they didn't feel the need to scream the entire first minute...

After dinner, we continued the entertainment with a group accordion session! We had a lot of fun playing together until a neighbor knocked on our door and asked us to keep the noise down. Who knew 4 simultaneously played accordions could be so loud?

All in all, it was a great long weekend with Caitlin. Thanks for visiting, Caitlin! We look forward to seeing you soon in Switzerland!