Family Visits from Across the Seas

We were fortunate enough that our families were willing and able to travel across the Atlantic to come see us after Storm was born.

My mom, whom I had wanted to be here for the birth, arrived with perfect timing two days before my labor began. She met Storm in the hospital already, and after we were discharged on December 21, she was around to help us when we needed it.

We hadn’t made any plans for Christmas and Christmas Eve. With a due date of December 21, it was reasonable to assume that we might be in labor, or still in the hospital on the 24th or 25th. When we realized that we were neither of those things, I shamelessly took advantage of the fact that my mother was around and asked her to cook at traditional Danish Christmas Eve dinner for the 24th. She managed to source all the ingredients (albeit with many substitutes) for this dinner. She spent a good part of Christmas Eve preparing the meal, so that in the evening, we were able to sit down to a feast of duck, caramelized potatoes, red cabbage, and oven-warm chips (I’d really like to know when the tradition of eating chips with the Christmas meal began. Someone over at the chips manufacturer’s PR department is surely due a big bonus).


Hard at work


Red cabbage


The chips


Roasted duck, stuffed with apples and prunes


And now to assemble it all


We’re ready to eat


Storm dressed up in a reindeer hat for the occasion


Mormor (mother’s mother)


Paulus’ parents arrived a few days after Christmas, and Storm then got to meet his Oma and Opa in person.



And then my dad and my brother came to see us.

Morfar (mother’s father)


Morbror (mother’s brother)


Thus assembled, we would gather together for meals and outdoor picnics, often at the outdoor area next to our apartment for convenience. Paulus and I were happy to rely on our families to supply the food stuffs and also to get us some groceries in the process. And it turns out that grandparents are excellent at settling an overtired baby while the parents get some rest.


Grandmothers galore

After another week or so, Paulus’ sister and her partner arrived. They brought Storm his favorite black-and-white animal drawings, and us the most delicious sea salt caramel chocolate that I ate all by myself.


And last but not least, Paulus’ brother, his partner, and their wonderful daughter came to visit us as well.

The Schoutsen family

Getting some attention from auntie, who kept exclaiming ‘oh, he’s so small’. Which, granted, he was, compared to his cousin.

Storm and his cousin are keeping Opa busy

So much cuteness.

Another outdoor picnic, but this time with the theme ‘serious’

A final photo together before most of the Schoutsens journeyed home again.

Although having so many visitors can be challenging for an introvert like me, we were so grateful that everyone came to see us and meet the new family member. Living so far away from everyone is not always easy, and each visit reminds us of how long it has been since we last met. Right now, we are at a stage where our extended family is changing rapidly as family members find partners and babies are born and grow up. My father-in-law summed this up nicely, as he said that we are all constantly receiving  new ‘titles’ – father, grandmother, cousin, sister-in-law. There’s something nice about a small part of all these changes that we’re living resulting in something so tangible as gaining new kinship labels. I’m looking forward to navigating mine in the years to come.


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