Friday, June 24, 2011

Pony Ridin', Papa, Pool Party for One

Last fall, Claudia's class started pony riding lessons every Monday.
Here she is last winter. She wasn't really into it.
But now she loves it! The school had an end of the year party at Petnehazy.
It's the horse ranch that does their lessons.
They informed me that she rides without being held now.
I held her anyway.
I didn't do a good father's day post.
And Russell deserves better than that.
Russell loves his Claudia more than anything in the world.
I see so many good qualities in Claudia that I know come from him.
Claudia is a lucky girl to have you as a daddy. =)
They both share a love of dancing.
Notice the sippy cup clinched between her teeth.
That's not going anywhere.
Now here's some patio pool pics.
Looks like this is turning into another hodge podge post.
It's pretty hot here.
Granted its not Gulf coast hot, but hot none the less.
Hopefully everyone can get in a little of this this weekend.

Have a great one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We got a new-to-us grill this weekend, so, accordingly, lots of grilling ensued. Look at Russell's concentration. This is the first time we've ever used a gas grill. We're really charcoal people, but this grill was free... so now where propane people! Russell took to it great.
Claudia's favorite thing was the ice cream. And watermelon. She kept at least one chunk of watermelon hidden on her person at all times. See where she's got it now?
This is Claudia and her buddy William with Reka. Reka is Claudia and Williams' teacher and they absolutely love her. I don't think I'll ever have a party without Reka again. She was a huge help and kept the kids entertained the whole evening.
Claudia with boyfriend, Carsten, and Claudia's proclaimed "big sister", Caroline. Claudia is convinced that Caroline is in fact her sister and usually has a colossal meltdown whenever Caroline leaves.
Claudia's new favorite activity is locking me out of the house. She gets a real kick out of this. I do too, though. I usually take this time to relax in a lawn chair until she lets me back in.
Claudia's favorite part of the evening... and every evening...
was when we let the kids watch part of the Lion King.
She sings all the songs and knows that Simba is good, Scar is bad, Zazu (sp?) is funny, and Pumba is cute. We try not to watch it too much, but this show is so good I can't help myself.
The kiddy table is usually the place to be. I think I had told Carsten I was going to eat his burger... this was the face I got. Carsten is pretty tough, so I casually said "just joking, buddy" and ran away.
This was my favorite part of the evening. A giant game of monkey in the middle.
Here's Carsten, in the middle, telling a grownup that he just got him out.
Then he tackled someone twice his size. Oh my, Carsten makes me laugh.
Claudia had been playing in the wagon,
but when she saw the game she ran right through the circle... her daddy. Thanks to the height advantage, this team never had to be the monkey in the middle. That's the way to play... and this is coming from someone who was perpetually the monkey in the middle.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Future Farmer of America and Stage Presence

We decided to start a little farming. Observe Exhibit A, taken last week. Claudia has been expressing a keen interest in becoming a farmer when she grows up. I credit this to Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever & Great Big School House. There's lots of pictures of farming and discussions of "fine red tractors".
Specifically, Claudia wants to drive this and harvest those.
Now behold... Exhibit B. In one week our seeds exploded!
Radishes! Pumpkins! Peppers!
Well, we don't technically have any of these things, but we have seedlings!
And soon... soon we will have these vegetables.And the next time we go home, Claudia can see this...
Paps' big red tractor!
Claudia was more than thrilled when she discovered that Paps was a farmer...
and that he owns a fine red tractor.
Hopefully this won't happen.
I love Richard Scarry's humor.
In other news, Claudia had her end of school celebration yesterday.
Her class took to the stage at the carnival for special performance.
Oatmeal also took to the stage.
Shortly after taking the stage, she took to the floor.
Parked it. Didn't sing. Didn't do any hand motions.
But, most importantly, no tears! And she seemed proud of herself. =)
I was proud too! Sorry for the blurry pic... it's from the cell phone.
Now it's time to get ready to celebrate Father's Day with this special guy!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lake Balaton. It's a Lot of Fun

This past weekend we went to Lake Balaton.
It's a beautiful spot and only an hour drive from Budapest.
McLendon family photo...
Are we sweaty? Check.
Hot and stinky? You bet.
I think Claudia was actually whispering in my ear: "psst... Mommy... you smell. Baaaaaad!"
I smiled and ignored this comment.
We stayed on the Tihany side of the lake. It had a cute little village up in the hills. This little chapel was built in the 1400s. Most of the houses in the village still have thatched roofs. Until this, I don't think I'd ever really seen a thatched roof.
Beautiful view of the mountains that surround the lake.
There were lots of little vineyards around the lake.
Lake Balaton... dotted with little sail boats. I saw a few big, fancy boats, but other than that, the watercraft of choice was the sail boat. It was odd and refreshing to be on a lake with no smell of gasoline and no constant whirring of engines.
We walked around the village, commenting on the flammability of the thatched roofs
until Claudia passed out out from sheer excitement.
We revived her with raspberry ice cream and apple juice.
Claudia enjoyed herself the most when she was in the water.
I suspect she is part fish.
She even stuck her little head underwater a few times.
I reflect on her "minnow division" swim lessons at the Y last year and laugh.
She pretty much lasted five minutes every lesson.
Now we have to force her (and crab) out of the pool.
She also did yoga in the sand. I'm not sure where this self-taught yoga comes from, but I need to take more pictures to share. Everyday she demonstrates a new move and announces she is "doing my yoga." I don't "do yoga." Where did it come from? I'm at a loss.
If I could give my daughter any gift, it'd be a life time pass to ride the Tihany Express choo choo.
She pretty much smiled and screamed (happy screams) the whole time. When Claudia gets really happy, she screams. We always get concerned or confused looks, but I honestly think it is the most hilarious thing ever. I'll have to video-tape ... err, record, this so you can understand.
The Tihany Express took us on a tour around the lake and up into the hills.
Some of our friends took a trip to Balaton during the winter. During the frigid Hungarian winters the lake completely freezes over. The sport of choice is then ice sailing and ice sledging. I'd like to go back during the winter to see one of the ice sailing competitions.
Or maybe not. I forget that I hate the cold. And most sports involving cold weather.
While Claudia was napping I tried my hand at a new-to-me sport ... stand up paddle surfing.
You stand up on a surf board and paddle your way around. Really complicated. I have to say I loved this. It turned out to be a good workout, but not too tiring. Plus I could paddle around by myself, take in the surroundings and just think about nothing. It could also be a fun group activity.
I paddled around the sailboats...
... and took in the view of the mountains that surround the lake.
Bop trying to wriggle out of Daddy's arms.
She has monkey-like skills when it comes to getting out of a hug.
At other times the monkey is quite willing to be carried...
... and kissed.
Claudia and Oatmeal on the ferry ride home.
Bye Balaton. It was a lot of fun.
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