Friday, July 22, 2011

Round Top and my Sea Fan Project

Every year I go a little trip with two of the most important people in my life, my Mom and my Aunt T. We are reunited in our goal to do one thing: antique shop.
We hop in the car and drive down country roads headed north. And eventually, we arrive here. Round Top, Texas! If you like to go antiquing, you should definitely check out the Marburger Antique Festival. It's held twice a year (Spring / Fall) and vendors from all over the country come here to sell their wares.
And if you go in the Spring (March/April), you get to see fields upon fields of the bluebonnets. We went in March. I'm just now getting around to posting about it.You can find anything here... china, books, furniture, bed and table linens... I usually go thinking I need a nice butter dish and then I come back with a bunch of end tables.
Sometimes its just fun to look over the displays.And its also fun to bargain with the vendors. Especially on the last day. They are always willing to negotiate with you on the last day!Now last time we saw a bunch of framed sea fans. I just love sea fans and I really wanted some framed, but the prices were not very reasonable. So I just took down some mental notes on some neat ways to mat them and decided I'd do it myself. I also took a look online. Restoration Hardware just marked their framed sea fans down from $500 to $350. That seems real reasonable, huh?
Especially when you consider that your average sea fan costs about $5.99. $5.99! Last summer I bought three sea fans from my favorite shell store, Murdoch's in Galveston. Thankfully, they actually made it to Budapest in one piece. So I went to Ikea and bought three shadow box frames. They were about $20 each. Now I'm going to paint the fans and frames and mount them. This really shouldn't be too hard I'm guessing. I'll use any excuse to use spray paint. If they don't look too awful, I'll post the "after" pics here next week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Stuffs

Last weekend I sliced a big hunk of watermelon for myself, Russell and Claudia. I went into the pantry to get some plates. When I returned, the melon was gone. Claudia was also noticeably missing. I searched the house. Nothing. I went outside.
Found Claudia. Found the melon. Or what was left of it.
I said, "Claudia, did you just take that hunk of melon?" Claudia responds, "Finders keepers." Teasing. When confronted with even slightly naughty behavior, Claudia either gives no verbal response or says "I didn't do anything." On this occasion, I got no verbal response.So I cozy up to Claudia. She quickly realizes that her melon is in jeopardy. And she runs. Licking the watermelon all the way.
As you can suspect, she did not share. Guess we need to work on that.
Later... we went to the zoo... and saw a baby tiger!
No, three baby tigers! They were having a lazy Sunday moment.
Even their mom (far right) was completely passed out.
I suspect it was the heat, as almost all the zoo creatures appeared comatose.
Claudia really wanted to ride on an animal, so this was her moment.
And this was mine. I'm in love with these stinkin' goats.
They're really aggressive in their feed panhandling, but they are hilarious. They all start bleating and they sound like a chorus of cranky old men. It almost doesn't sound real. This is something that would have been best captured on video, but my phone doesn't have the capabilities. So just imagine roughly fifty goats all going "baaaaaaa!" It's like a symphony! Of goats!
Less enthusiastic, Claudia simply stuck her foot out and said "Stay back, goat. Stay. Back."She was most happy when I got her a lolly pop. We ran into one of her friends at the zoo, Adam, and he kindly offered her a few licks. After 3 or 4 licks, he said "Ok. No more." So, we naturally had to go buy our own.

It's funny how they are learning to share at this age, but aren't really ready for a full commitment to share. Kind of like that watermelon. Wait, no, I didn't get any of the watermelon. We're working on that.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Update from the McBookWorms

I came across this little nugget of truth whilst I was squandering time on Pinterest the other day. It served as a little affirmation that the more time we spend reading together, the better.
I'm proud to report that Claudia loves to read. She loves all her little books and knows them all by name. Some of the books have been memorized... This Jazz Man, every Llama Llama book, Dr. Suess' Lorax. She is very interested in dinosaurs right now, so William Joyce's Dinosaur Bob (my childhood copy) is also a favorite.
So Claudia, these are your favorites. Your go-to book: Richard Scarry's The Best Word Book Ever. Daddy and I cringe when you ask for it... because you ask for it about ten times a day. But we read it again, and again, and again, because it makes you happy. And that makes us happy.
I credit Daddy for your love of reading. The day he found out you were on the way he ordered a sweet little book called Oh Baby, the Places You'll Go. It's an adaptation from Dr. Suess' books, especially for babies in utero. Suess' wife commissioned it after he passed away. Suess was fascinated by a project where in utero babies were read The Cat in the Hat. Increased fetal activity was reported during the reading of the book. Interestingly, after birth, increased activity was reported when these same babies were read the book.
So Daddy chooses to read you lots of Suess. Hunches in Bunches of it.
Reading is a great family activity.
It's something you can do with your friends...
... assuming you can all agree on what to read.
A good book makes everyone happy.
And being happy is good.
Here's a little something extra. I attempted to take some pictures of Claudia at Margit Island. It is one of the most beautiful spots in Budapest. The gardens are amazing. I thought it'd make for some nice shots. But it was hot. And Claudia decided to cool herself off by dumping fistfuls of moist dirt on her head and face. This was a post-dirt pic.
Pre-dirt pic.
Also pre-dirt. The Black Eyed Susans were her favorites.
Post-dirt pic. Clever self-cooling method.
Little miss was actually trying to stick a rock in her mouth.
I love this place. It's a series of walkways, all bordered with rows of bright, beautiful flowers.
Claudia loves the flowers too. Just have to remind her to admire with her eyes, not her feet.
Hello, pretty Zinnia.
Hello, Black Eyed Susans.
And last... she sprinkled a little dirt on the flowers to cool them off as well.
Very thoughtful!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Budakeszi Vadaspark ... Claudia Returns to the Wild

We decided to capitalize on the beautiful weather here in Budapest with a trip to the Budakeszi Vadaspark. It's a wild animal park out in the woodsy Buda hills. We stupidly forgot the stroller, so poor CC hoofed it most of the way. She was a trooper, but eventually tuckered, so we only saw about half the park. We'll save the second have for the next trip. Claudia is so interested in animals right now... what they eat, where the live, what noises they make. I'll admit that she was a little disappointed that some of the animals, particularly those portrayed in Disney cartoons, are not as cuddly and cute in person as they are on film. Better she learn now, I guess.

Entry to park. Note, we went to a restaurant at the park which was quite nice. Nice for being in a remote wooded area, in a children's animal park. However, it was somewhat suspect that everything on the menu was also a feature animal of the park. I guess this is where the animals go to, how shall I put this, retire.
First up, wart hogs. Claudia was keenly interested in seeing a real Pumba, as he is one of her favorite characters from the Lion King. However, when she saw them eating this stinky slop out of the trough and making un-Pumba-like grunts and farting sounds...
... and when this guy ran up with what is, hopefully, mud covering his outstretched tongue...
... she let us know that she was not impressed by the wart hogs and that she would like to move on to some different animals. So we did.
Daddy had this little baby deer successfully eating out of his hand, until some little punk ran up and put his hat on the poor creature. Startled, the deer bolted. Daddy looked at the kid and said "thanks." It was shocking to see that most of the parents let their children virtually terrorize the poor goats and deer in the petting zoo. Some laughed and took pictures. We're teaching Claudia to do better than this. Animals should be respected!
We eventually got this guy to cozy up to us, but he was pretty skittish too.
As we were leaving, Claudia turned around, pointed at the petting zoo animals and said "Thanks! Thanks, goats!"
Moving on to the buffalo. Claudia spent most of the time patting Daddy's face.
Daddy says "Claudia turn around." Claudia said "WHAT is THAT?!" Daddy says "It's a buffalo." Claudia says "I think its a cow." Daddy says "No, it's a buffalo." Claudia says "Ok."
Yes, definitely a buffalo. I love buffalo. Something so majestic about them.
Last up... the bears. She was excited.
After asking various questions about bear teeth and claws...
... her face drops and she solemnly whispers "he's going to eat me." Daddy assured no bear would eat her. Funny, she had no concern with this happening when we were sticking honey covered spoons directly into bear jaws at the ASPCA bear sanctuary. And this place had much better fencing!
We concluded the adventure with a trip to Daubner's. It is the best place for ice cream in Budapest. The best, Jerry, the best. Claudia had her favorite, the raspberry. She's very careful when it comes to eating this ice cream. She carefully dips her tongue in, not getting any on her face.
Doesn't want to waste a drop.
This was probably her favorite activity of the weekend.
It always is.
And there's nothing wrong with that!
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