Sunday, November 28, 2010

Claudia's First (Real) Snow

I woke early Saturday morning, looked out the window, aaaaanndd....
... screamed at Russell... "Wake up! WAKE UP! It's snowing!!!" The first order of business was to get Claudia suited up and outside.
She didn't exactly share our enthusiasm.
Truth be told, she seemed annoyed.
You see, I left some important toys in the yard that have now disappeared.
That said, she certainly enjoyed tasting the freshly fallen snow.
Look close. See that little tongue going in for a lick?
Good thing it wasn't a flag pole. We tried to keep her mittens on, but she wouldn't have it.
Here was the most important toy that was nearly lost in the snow.
I was a little sad to see my rose garden completely wiped out.
Still, isn't this lone survivor beautiful?
Russell pretty much went berserk and started pelting us with snowballs.
After a while, we brought Bop in to warm up.
She insisted that the pants come off, but the hat stay on.
Now, some pretty shots.
Somewhere our driveway is under that snow.
our gate, submerged in snow.
the patio... throw pillows frozen in place to the chairs
After the snow, I made some cinnamon streusel, homemade of course.
Just add Betty Crocker + tojas + tej + stolaj.
Claudia learned how to say "muffin" on Saturday.
She was pleased with herself.
Russell stayed outside and pelted us with snowballs. Such a boy.
... a boy with decent aim.
Here's a pic from dinner Sunday night.
Claudia is cramming an entire sacher torte in her mouth.
Others look on with surprise and respect.
Like her mother, she appreciates a good torte.

Snow, snow and more snow! The first snow of Saturday turned Russell and me into giddy children. We ran, we played, we flung snowballs at each other. If you can't tell from the pictures, Claudia was less than thrilled about the snow and quickly reigned us in by suggesting we get to work shoveling the driveway. She's practical like that. Truly though, the snow was beautiful and I am so thankful to be experiencing this amazing place. I'm sure the novelty of the snow will dissipate long before the foot of snow accumulating outside does, but for now I am so happy to be in below-freezing Budapest, in a warm house, with the snow quietly falling outside. I am also thankful to our heaven sent next door neighbors who pulled our car out of the snow today. We discovered we are living next door to an American family who is originally from Wyoming... they pulled our car from the bottom of our steep street up to our house, then helped us shovel our driveway. Hallmark doesn't make cards for stuff like that, so I'll be baking a thank you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

CC is thankful I let her wear this turkey hat!
Not really, I'm thankful she let me take a picture before tearing it off.
I am thankful to have celebrated Thankgsiving with my family.
We are all thankful the Marriott in Budapest recognizes Thanksgiving...
and delivers fully prepared turkey dinners... all wrapped up like Christmas.
I'm thankful to be in our house...
even if it looks like a tornado hit & is covered in boxes.
Claudia is thankful she got to play with Chelsea tonight!
I am thankful for God's many blessings...
...and also that I didn't wash my hair today.
Bop's sticky little hand slid ride out of my hair after this pic.

So we're not in America and Thanksgiving is not a recognized holiday in Hungary (just ask Russell's employer!), but we had a great day. I am thankful to finally have our household goods after eight long weeks of living out suitcases. I am thankful to have a nice cozy house to sleep in. I am thankful to have the internet to be able to blog (sorry for my absence - just got internet today) and to be able to skype. We skyped with lots of family back home & that felt great.

Tonight we went to the Stanteens and had a real turkey dinner! It was just what we needed - a night with fellow Texans who appreciate the need to eat turkey and be thankful. The Marriot here in Budapest delivers fully prepared Thanksgiving dinners. I am thankful for that too! I am missing being home right now and would give anything to be at my mom's dinner table in Houston right about now, but I am grateful to be in a beautiful city, with kind people and to be settling into a new home.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Puffy's Back

Run, Puffy, run!
Puffy grazing on apples

One benefit of living in Hungary: puffy clothes are not only accepted, they are expected. I get funny looks if I don't have her bundled up from head to toe. And it was 65 degrees here yesterday! Here is the second installation in the Puffy series. First series is here. Claudia enjoys "puff wear" because it breaks her falls, her frequent falls. Claudia plays hard. This lifestyle is not without consequence, as she earns her fair share of bumps or bruises. Thank goodness for the puff wear.

We've been told that our household goods arrived in Budapest last week and that they are still being "processed" by customs. The longer this "process" takes, the more certain I become that the folks at customs are curled up in our chairs, trying on our clothes and playing our Wii. Living in a hotel room for 8 weeks has definitely taken a toll on the McLendons. Hopefully by this time next week I'll have a happy little post showing you pics of our house... and us living in it. =)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Parks, Puppets, Parliament & Pinkos

Let's start with the pinkos... Here is the Soviet War Memorial,
commemorating the Soviet's expulsion of the Nazis from Hungary
Claudia did not know what to think when she saw...
... a group of Hungarians who gathered to commemorate the Soviets.
She was just so happy to have her Daddy back.
But, being the red blooded American she is, she kept a cautious watch.
... and played with the leaves, of course. Oh, we are are glad Rusty is back.
So happy! Here's me interrupting the train fun to get Claudia to smile for a pic.
She calls trains "Choo choos!" She loves them. Strangest piece of playground equipment.
Its this little cup thing that swivels & rotates.
She loved it. LOVED IT!
Might have to get one installed in our front yard.
Hungarian Parliament
Russell was most impressed with the remote control cars & motorcycles
being raced in front of Parliament.
Here's the flag with the hole in it.
I've given the history below if you're interested.
Ahh, the puppets. We went to the famous Babszinhaz Theater.
Claudia sat still for the whole show.
Check out some posters from one of Babszinhaz's first shows in the 60s.
Pretty violent, huh?
I think that puppet on the left is strangling another puppet! Yikes!
Don't worry, though.
We saw Puss in Boots.
No violence, just lots of laughs.
Claudia with her Puss in Boots playbill.

CAUTION: This post is dripping with Hungarian history. I find it interesting though, so read on if you are interested too. Dear ole Daddyboy returned from Dallas last Saturday! We did some touristy stuff upon his return. First stop was the park at Szabadsag Ter (Liberty Square). It's one of the most tranquil parks in Budapest and Claudia loved the playground. The square is also home to the Soviet War Memorial, which commemorates "Liberation Day" - April 4, 1945 - when the Soviets forced the Nazis out of Hungary. Hungarians are somewhat torn over this monument, as the Soviets later subjugated the Hungarians and dropped the Iron Curtain on the country for several decades. A few blocks up from Liberty Square, you'll find the Parliament building. In front of Parliament there is a flag commemorating the 1956 Uprising wherein Hungarians rebelled against Communism and removed the communist seal the Soviets had added to the Hungarian flag. The revolt resulted in a massacre of many protestors. The Iron Curtain was not lifted until about 1991.

Here's the delimma that plagues Hungary. Do you (a) commemorate the Soviets for liberating Hungary from the Nazis or (b) sweep them under the rug for later oppressing the Hungarians for a better part of the twentieth century? As you can see, some people still gather and pay hommage to the Soviets. Of note, Hungary also has several monuments to American icons, including George Washington (the ultimate rebel!) & Harry Hill Bandholtz (US officer from WWI who protected Hungarian art from being looted during the war).

On a lighter note... we went to a Puppet Show on Sunday afternoon. It was at the Babsinhaz, an amazing puppet theater that has been in operation for over 60 years. They do two performances daily, to audiences of 300+. Their theatrics were slightly more elaborate than my Spring performance of Noah's Ark. We'll definitely go back for another show.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gallert Hill

view of Elisabeth Bridge from the Church in the Rocks
located in Gallert Hill
Monument to King Istvan and his horse, Old Paint.
He converted Hungary to Christianity in the year 1000.
I'm only guessing that he named his horse "Old Paint."
a view of Gallert Hotel and Baths from Gallert Hill
Enjoying the park at Gallert Hill.
I suspect that the graffiti tags read "awesome swing", "sure to delight your baby"
Have I mentioned the trees here are beautiful?
That's Miss Chelsea in the corner.
Claudia cannot get enough of Chelsea.
the maze of slides.
I think there were about 8, varying in lengths from about 10 to 50 feet.
These parents are probably thinking "where the heck is my kid?"
This place was crawling with little Magyars.
Here I am helping Claudia enjoy the slide.
she had fun. =)

On Saturday, Claudia and I accompanied the Stanteens to a trip to Gallert Hill. Gallert Hill, located on the Buda side, is where you'll find the famous Gallert Baths. These are some very popular thermal baths. We fully intend to try them out when our swimsuits (and other household items!) arrive in Budapest... which may or may not be this Thursday. Gallert Hill also has some spectacular slides that are very popular with Budapest children. Because they're so big, Claudia needed me to accompany her on the slides. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. When I came home, I researched Gallert Hill. Sorry, I'm not going to tell you how Gallert Hill got its name. It's too much of a downer and these pics are too fun. If you are interested, just google "Bishop Gallert" + "barrel" "rolled downhill." That's all I'm going to say about that. Big thanks to the Stanteens for the great pics!

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