Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PreK. First Day. Hey Hey!

At 8 o'clock sharp, Monday morning, August 29, 2010, Claudia ascended the ranks from nursery class to PreK-2 (three days a week from 9 am - 3 pm). I prepared for the worst, as Claudia has become attached to my hip over the past nine weeks of summer, and, simply put, my sweet girl is not good at goodbyes.
We got dressed. Claudia was thrilled to finally wear her apple tee. Things were looking pretty good. She said she was "excited" and kind of posed for a picture.
While walking to school, she definitely seemed a little nervous.
But as soon as she saw her teacher, Miss Reka, who also taught her last year, all those butterflies flew away. Nothing but smiles!
When I picked her up, she didn't want to leave. I had to remind her about my promise to get her a special "first day of school" treat. We went to the ice cream shop for one scoop of raspberry. She came home and spun around in a circle for about 5 minutes. Here she is mid-spin! Dizzy and discombobulated.
It was a great first day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

London: Keep Calm and Carry Claudia

London! A very nice place to stop on the way to the Highlands! ;)  And, surprise, I took too many pictures, so, here's some collages of the highlights.
Claudia was impressed by the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace... the Guardsmen, the bands, the horses, the massive crowd. We found a spot on one of the walls alongside the road leading to Buckingham Palace for CC to sit on so she could see the ceremony and the parade. The busby hats the guards wore were her favorite part of the parade. :)
We all had some fun walking around Trafalgar Square and the parade grounds.  Poor CC had so much fun she passed out!  These moments make the funniest pictures, where we park Claudia, passed out in stroller, next to some monument. She did enjoy riding one of the giant lions and tossing coins into the fountains of Trafalgar Square before her nap. :)
We took Bop to Hamley's, London's famous old toy store. It opened in 1760! She rode a little toy car around the store for a few hours, until we coaxed her out of the store, stuffed pig, named "Hamley," in hand. I did my shopping at Harrod's. :) Claudia also tried out chop sticks for the first time. She did pretty great! 
Claudia ran wild through Kensington Gardens. The Princess Diana Memorial Playground was beautiful. It has a Peter Pan theme to honor J.M. Barrie, who was inspired to write Peter Pan from the Llewelyn Davies family he met at the park. By far the best thing about the playground is the well mannered children in it... so many "pleases" and "thank yous" being murmured as children came and went of the swings and slides.  
Here are some pretty shots taken from the red double decker bus we rode one day. Claudia loved seeing all the sights from up high. Russell, however, was convinced she was an inch away from jumping out of the bus the whole time. We kept a tight hold.
We all loved the Tower of London. We got there early, so we didn't have to wait in any line to see the Crown Jewels, including Queen Elizabeth's coronation crown. Claudia liked learning about the "Royal Beasts," (the Tower used to house all the exotic animals gifted to the royals), seeing the Tower ravens, riding the cannons and exploring all the secret passageways.
The London Aquarium had a pretty impressive collection of sharks. Claudia enjoyed her afternoon on the South Bank, visiting the fishes and eating her cheeseburger and chips.
The London Eye... it gave us amazing views of the city, but Claudia kept running towards the door of the pod thing we were in. I'm not big on heights or being suspended over water (hence my crippling fear of bridges), so I was mostly relieved when it was over!! 
The Lyceum theater that runs the stage production of Lion King in London had a special children's day matinee showing. CC had a great time and got a little stuffed Simba. When we got back to our hotel, we reenacted the "presentation of Simba" scene on the hotel bed about a hundred times. :)
My favorite part of the trip was the tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms, the rooms where the Queen works, entertains and hosts private family events. They also had Princess Kate's wedding dress on display in the ball room. That dress!! I couldn't take any pictures inside the palace, but took lots in the royal gardens and also in St. James Park. That garden!!

Now, here's some random extras:
Claudia and Daddy dancing on this platform that shot out all kinds of neat colors (note Hamley tucked securely under Bop's arm). 
Daddy and Bop at the Tower of London.
Daddy, Mommy & Bop
Daddy and Bop waiting for the parade before the Changing of the Guard.
Claudia and her Union Jack
the Guardsmen marching
Claudia passed out in St. James Park
Claudia very much awake in the Tube. She sang lots of songs and got several claps and cheers. Basking the applause, she proudly reflected "everyone is cheering for me!"
And a souvenir photo from the Tower of London. Daddy is holding Claudia's toy sword still for the picture and she is not too pleased. London was amazing and Claudia has become the perfect little travel companion. The next stops were Scotland and Ireland... so more pics to come, just not as many.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Then Claudia Spoke to Noah

This happened a few weeks back, but I figured I'd better memorialize it here before it slips into the oblivion that is my memory. The Hungarian Natural History Museum is running a dinosaur exhibit. Nothing big, just ten of the most popular dinos stationed in an outside setting where the kids can observe and learn. While observing and learning, we discovered a large scale Noah's Ark exhibit.

The story of Noah's Ark has always been one of Claudia's favorite Bible stories and we do the puppet theater version around the house with some regularity. This is why I was surprised to hear her answer when I asked "Now who told Noah to gather his family and two of every creature onto the Ark?" Her reply "me. I did." Me again "you sure?" Claudia replies "yes, it was me." We went round and round for a few minutes, but her answer remained the same. Guess one more puppet show couldn't hurt.

All the animals, and Claudia, my little wild animal, marching onto the ark.
fascinated by the animals...
... and the bugs. The model ark also housed bugs, cones, seeds, fungi and every other little form of life you could imagine.
She couldn't care less about the butterflies, but was fascinated by the beetles and all the other creepy crawlers.
The primate section. All she could say was "the gorilla is sad. He wants his mommy."
This was actually the reason we came. To observe, poke and feed rocks to the dinosaurs.
She asked to be hoisted atop the T-rex so that she could ride him.
She settled for tossing pebbles into this guy's mouth because "he hungry."

So ends our dinosaur and Noah's Ark adventure!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Feel Pretty! Oh, So Pretty!

Each morning I wake up, before I put on my makeup... I have to take my makeup away from Claudia. She loves to put the brushes on her face because they tickle, so I let her play. I also let her put on her "makeup cream." It's Nivea sunscreen I squirted into an old cosmetic jar. She says her skin feels "smooth like a princess" and I don't have to fight her to put on sunscreen. Everbody wins.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oh Captain! My Captain! My Toddler Wants Off Your Boat!

On a pretty day in Budapest, a boat ride is a great way to pass the day.
We took Bop on a quick boat ride up and down the Danube last weekend.
A few minutes in, the novelty of the boating trip wore off.
She pretty much just wanted to lie around and eat a giant loaf of bread.
One of my favorite spots on the Danube is Parliament. It is huge.
It looks more like a fortress. Interesting fact on the size... its one of Europe's oldest legislative buildings and is the second largest. Today, only 1/8 of the building is actually used, though. This well illustrates the fact that the Hungarian government was once much larger, back in the days when it controlled much more territory. Claudia was on the look out for ducks, seagulls and fish. We saw none of these things. We spotted St. Matthias Cathedral and Fisherman's Bastion. I can't remember what the church up front on the right is, but it had the deco mosaic tiled roof you see everywhere here. I love those tiles.
Chain Bridge and Buda CastleAnother shot of Buda Castle
Gellert Hotel... this is where the famous Gellert Bath is.
Liberty Bridge and behind it the Church in the Rocks. During the Communist regime, the Soviets concreted the church up. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the church was opened back up.
hmm... this is a ... university? I took a picture because of the mosaic tile roof. Claudia had ripped my guided tour ear piece out, so I'm not certain what this is. more of Buda Castle
Claudia's favorite part of the tour was when it ended. She spent the last fifteen minutes (of the hour long tour) chanting "I want to go home! I want to go home! Let me goooooo!" Once we docked, in a fit of relief, she hugged the first person she could find. She then professed her love for the statue, gushing "you are my best friend... in the world. And I love you." Not joking about any of these quotes. And neither was she. She bear hugged that statue for no less than 15 minutes. This is me trying to subdue Claudia and quash the "I want to go home! I want to go home!" chants. The guy next to me was videotaping the tour. I sensed he was not too pleased with the soundtrack Claudia provided. Oh well. After the boat tour we took Claudia to Gerbeaud. Since 1858, they've been serving the best (and most expensive!) coffee and treats in Budapest. Here's Claudia enjoying the most expensive milk shake I've ever bought. It really is delicious, though. This is something every child in Budapest loves to do... ride on the lion fountain in Vorosmarty Ter. Everytime we hit this spot up, the fountain is crawling with kids, with at least one child riding on each of the four lions. Claudia spent much of this ride trying to stay on the lion while also plugging his spout. Eventually, she was successful.It briefly warmed up in Budapest enough for Claudia to play in her splash pool. Observe this feat of strength.
I'm a little sad that Claudia's cute little toddler tummy is disappearing. Every day she gets a little longer and skinnier. She's definitely taking after her daddy. The thing that made her happiest...
... was dumping water on her head.
... and pouring water out of her ladybug.
Ladybug is actually a sprinkler head, but sadly, it doesn't fit on any of the Hungarian water hoses.
For the record, this is 100% Russell's hair. Russell had this identical head of hair as a child.
Looking at baby pictures, I observe that it got bigger, curlier and pouffier as the years progressed.
Claudia received some care packages from Gram this week. She then decided she would put herself in one of the boxes so that she could send herself back to Gram.
And that's all. Well, one last shot. This is how Claudia likes to read with Daddy. She climbs up on his shoulders and settles in for a good read. Ok, now, that's all!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...