Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Bop's second Halloween.
This year she was a little ladybug
my bug
our pumpkin... styled after Winny
Bop's first Halloween
the very hungry caterpillar
I dressed up Winston last year ...
and would have this year, but his costume is in sea freight. =(
another brilliant idea of mine
Claudia's first trip to the pumpkin patch
with BFF Audrey
they were holding hands. very sweet.

Happy Halloween! Here are some of my favorite Halloween memories... past & present. Hope everyone had a spooktacular time!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Halloween to Remember

Halloween assembly at Claudia's school
I couldn't get any good pics, but here is Claudia in her classroom
Again, not many good pics.
Who can be bothered with pictures when there is a balloon so close?

Ah ha! A pumpkin.
Almost had one... but then she saw that balloon again. =)
It actually got pretty crazy in that little village.
They had film crews there. I made sure to stand in the background.
Ah yes, our lovely hotel room in Szentendre!
It was adorable from the outside. Then we came inside.
Russell liked it, but I'm pretty sure I saw bedbugs... so we left fast!

On Friday Claudia's school had their Halloween Assembly. Each class had a special performance for the assembly...each class except for Claudia's class, which is the youngest group (18 - 24 months). Her group was supposed to "sit quiety and watch." That's what it said in the program. Ha! At various stages throughout the assembly, each toddler from Claudia's class was escorted out, screaming. That included Claudia. She had fun while it lasted, though.

That evening, we ventured off to the village of Szentedre (Saint Andrew). It's about 30 minutes outside of Budapest and is a pretty and quaint little village. A local magazine suggested that Szentendre was "the" spot to celebrate Halloween, as it would have pumpkins, trick-or-treating, pumpkins and pumpkin pie contests. As the rest of Hungary is pretty ambivalent about Halloween, we figured we absolutely had to go to Szentendre. And what luck, the festivities were being put on by the English Center of Budapest!

Upon arrival in Szentendre, we discovered no English speakers, (except for the Stanteen family, who were also unwittingly lured into the sticks by the allure of a real Halloween experience), a few soggy and sad little pumpkins, no pies, and very little candy. We still managed to have a good time, though! We took Bop around through the cobblestone village where trick or treaters rushed the door of anyone passing out candy. We ate in an empty restaurant with the Stanteens. (awkward, but tasty!) We almost stayed at our hotel... but simply couldn't stay... you saw the couch. And that was the best thing about the room! We headed back to Budapest, tired & wiser.

Lesson learned... next year, plan a Halloween party and give candy to your neighbors to pass out. =) Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Skeleton is Bad to the Bone

silhouette of Bop a la photoshop
(looks like I need to make some touchups!)
my little skeleton!
she's making her scary face
aren't you intimidated?
don't worry, she won't bite!
my next task in photoshop: how to remove that crumb from her mouth?

Grandma and Grandpa treated us to the new Photoshop software before we left. As you can see... I've been experimenting with it. I can do the basics... cropping, zooming, lightening and darkening, black and white... you get the picture. Haha. Here are some funny ones of Claudia getting ready for bed, in her pink, glow in the dark skeleton jammies. She was in rare form. I also turned a profile pic into a silhouette. I think I'm going to either frame it or turn it into a pillow. Whatever I do, I'll be sure to post a pic!

Meanwhile... in Budapest... we are looking forward to the arrival of our furniture (in a matter of days!), Russell is getting ready for a week-long trip to Dallas (argh!), and Claudia is having fun at her little international kindergarten. And yes, we are getting ready for Halloween. Her kindergarten is having a party on Friday and then we are going to a carnival in a little village outside of Budapest. Happy early Halloween!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Margaret Island + Autumnal Magnificence

sorry, prepare for picture overload.
Daddyboy + Bop
entry to the beautiful fall garden in Maragaret Island
wish I could tell you the names of the flowers
orange ones, purple ones, red ones...
the magenta ones that smelled good
Mommy & Bop
looks like I'm doing a Black Panther salute. But I'm not.
Just trying to get Bop to take her eyes off the gravel.
She loves dirt. Loves gravel. Loves to dig.
Margaret Island pond
Bop riding on Daddy's shoulders
Daddy said "What sound do the monkeys make?"
She said "ooh ooh ooh!"
Daddy launching Bop about 10 feet into the air.
more picknicking.
Would you look at that tree!
And look at these!
I can't get enough of these trees.
Looks like a postcard of fall.
Here's the remains of Marge's convent.
They were all but destroyed by some invading Turks.
A few hundred years ago, a great flood unearthed the ruins.
Happy Fall!

So I've slowly tumbled to the realization that I've never experienced a true fall. In Texas & Louisiana, fall was just a slightly cooler summer. My grass was always dead, it was still 80 degrees and the pine trees still held all their needles. So, round these parts, the trees are yellow, orange & red... it's 50 degrees... and I don't need to turn on the A/C in the Volkswagon! Very nice. While we McLendons still bitterly miss fall football and all the craziness that is the SEC right now, we are adjusting well and enjoying these beautiful fall days.

This weekend, we took in the autumnal splendor at Margaret Island, a skinny little island sitting smack dab in the middle of the Danube. It's named after Hungarian Princess Margit. The story goes that in the 13th century, the desparate King of Hungary, Bela IV, swore that if God were to deliver Hungary from the invading Tartars, he would dedicate his daughter Margaret to the Church. Hungary was spared by the Tartars, so nine (!) year old Margaret was shipped off to the convent on the island. The island is now a beautiful retreat in Hungary, with no cars allowed and lots of beautiful trees and gardens. We had a picnic on the island and toured the beautiful park and gardens.

Claudia had fun running around and playing in the dirt and gravel. She loves the weather and gets so mad
when we bring her back inside. She would play outside all day if we let her. We can't wait to take her back to explore more of Margaret Island. It is truly an amazing place to take in all the changing colors of fall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Card

Bad news... if I printed Bop's card & mailed it to you, you wouldn't get it until after Halloween. Good news... you get it NOW! Happy Halloween!!! Send candy!!
When I was making this... I looked at Bop's card from last year. So funny.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


not an attraction, they just freely roam the zoo.
look close - baby gorilla dangling from branch.
He was adorable.
the friendly silverback.
I'm not including picks of the scary one.
He was swinging all over the place,
freaking Claudia out.
Kodiak (?) bear, taking a swim
ok, now for Claudia's favorite...
oh, hello there, Jerry.
You're looking well today.
Oh, Jerry, too close
NOTE: I have the iphone and Bop in left hand &
a cracker in right hand. Thank goodness Jerry
went after the right hand.
She also loved the zebras
Hungry hungry hippos
We marveled at all the sleeping flamingos.
Apparently the sleep standing up, on one leg,
with their heads resting on their backs.
a slightly more conventional way of sleeping
a stuffed Jerry the Giraffe to commemorate the trip

On Friday, I took Claudia to the zoo with some of her new friends... Carston, whose family moved here from the Netherlands, and William, Cade and Chelsea who are all here from Houston. The zoo was beautiful and had great animals. Claudia had fun seeing the animals. Some made her laugh (the giraffe), some confused her (the flamingos), some freightened her (the silverback gorilla) and some delighted her (the baby gorilla). All the kids had a great time. The zoo is in City Park, so it is just 15 mintues away from our apartment. We will definitely have to go back one day when Daddy isn't working.

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