Sunday, January 29, 2012

Letters to Paddy & Feeding the Dutch Elephant

When I see this picture, I recall my favorite line from Dirty Dancing... "I carried a watermelon." It's out of focus, but you get the drift. Four days and counting until the due date.
Before Claudia was born, Russell and I both wrote letters to her, sealed them up and put them in her baby book. It wasn't our idea. The baby book we used suggested it would be nice for your child to read your letters when they are all grown up. So we are doing the same for Paddy and CC got in on it too.So here's the gospel according to Claudia. FYI, Claudia likes to send letters and I do all her dictation - the sentiment is 100% hers. The PS part reads "When you wake up, brush your teeth and go downstairs & eat." I finally realized it's a line from the book "George Shrinks" by Bill Joyce. If you haven't read this book (or any Bill Joyce books), let me recommend them now. They're really good. And, yes, she has her own stationery. She has since she was born. I'm a weirdo who believes that thank yous and other notes should be handwritten and you're never too young to start. I did suggest it might make a nice touch if she gave her note a little kiss before we sealed it up. In true Claudia fashion, she began to eat the letter. That was the end of that.
Last night we went to a birthday party at the Budapest Zoo Playhouse. It's a little playhouse connected to the zoo. They let the children get up close with one of the elephants, a sweet old girl from the Netherlands.Here's Claudia refusing to feed the elephant. She went all rigid and said "I don't want to feed that elephant, Dad." Russell took care of business, but that was as close as she would get. I'm pretty sure this kind of thing would never fly in the Houston Zoo... or any other zoo in the US for that matter. Just another perk of living in Budapest. =)So Claudia is not in this picture, but I had to share. This is birthday boy Carsten with some of his guests. They all watched in amazement as Carsten (dressed as Wolverine?) plucked Spiderman from the cake, inserted Spidey into his mouth and then said "Dad, this is plastic." It was a fun party and a nice way to wrap up this weekend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

(Attempting to) Get Ready for Baby!

Hello there! Just wanted to let you know our family will be featured on the next episode of Hoarders. We've got piles of anything and everything accumulating around here. First, I'm trying to figure out whether to give away all Claudia's baby clothes and stuff to some friends that are having girls here. Russell says I'm letting nostalgia over tiny, beautiful baby girl clothes cloud out the conversation wherein we decided that two is a really good number for kids. So, the baby girl stuff is just strewn out and about all over the house. In neat, pretty pink piles.

Next, and the more important issue... effective January 1, 2012, our Hungarian garbage collectors now refuse to pick up our trash. Last week, Russell had a 6 am conversation with our Hungarian garbage man (mostly acted out in a series of charades in the bitter, freezing darkness), wherein we learned that we need to give him extra money ("money" being the only English word in trash man's vocab) and position our can just so, or they wouldn't be taking anything away. Apparently, we've done nothing to his liking, as he has picked up our trash maybe two times this month. And our trash can is roughly the same size and dimensions of an over-sized Coke can. And so the refuse continues to pile up. Ideal conditions for bringing home a newborn!

On that note, we are just 9 days away from Paddy's due date!! I haven't taken many pictures this week, but I do have some bits to share:
Claudia's valentine for this year. I love doing personalized Valentines... it makes me happy and I think it will be fun to show her all her Valentines when she is older. As soon as Paddy's born I'll have to whip one up for him too!
Speaking of whipping things up... this week I finally did something with the silhouette I did of Claudia one year ago. It's hanging in her room.
Doesn't she look a little like this guy? I took a picture of Russell's boyhood silhouette from his house in Mer Rouge to compare with Claudia's. I'm certain she has his nose and facial structure. And my pointy little chin!
And this is how the weekend went ... poor Bop came down with a nasty cold. With Russell working all weekend, Claudia and I pretty much spent the entire weekend in pajamas, sleeping on the couch, watching the same two episodes of Little Bear in a continuous loop.
By Sunday evening, she summoned the strength to play dress up (her new favorite game, wherein I am usually the evil step-mother or some evil ogre-type character), but mostly she just kind of limped around the house.
Earlier in the week there was pony riding at school. They still ride the ponies, even in the snow. They assured me the ponies really like it.
And here's a funny I never shared from this summer. We stopped doing Claudia's riding lessons once school picked back up in the fall - since they do pony riding there - but here is her little get-up from the summer lessons. She definitely was a little bobble-head wearing that helmet. And the funny part is that she has already outgrown this and her previous helmet. That brain is a-growin'!

And speaking of a-growin'... at my ultrasound two weeks ago, Paddy was already bigger than Claudia was when she was born. Maybe he will make an appearance here in the next few days. So, if this blog goes cold, that's where we'll be!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Nursery and a Name

Paddy's room is all ready for him. Sheets washed. Crib dressed. Clothes washed, folded and all put away. Diaper bin filled. Lotions and potions lined up. Toys here and there. All this room needs is a little occupant.
Claudia has been a good sport about surrendering all her furniture and old baby toys.
She still gets in the crib daily and recently noted "I still fit in here, you know." Hopefully we don't find her curled up in there with Paddy.
The little bunny in the crib was my Grandmother's. I think he would like to live in here now.
Penguin family... mommy, daddy & baby
Mr. Fox... the room has a few fox accents and I'm waiting on some fox fabric I ordered to make an extra little pillow. This little guy was my Aunt T's favorite play thing as a little girl. It was on Claudia's changing table and now he'll live in Paddy's room.
If Paddy is anything like Claudia, neither of these little containers will be filled for some time. Claudia didn't grow hair until around 18 months and still doesn't really have enough for a haircut.
Claudia has been keeping busy testing out all Paddy's contraptions. When she bounces in this thing it slumps all the way down to the floor and just kind of lays there. She trapped herself in the eggsersaucer yesterday, so that one has been cleared for Paddy's exclusive use now.
And I don't think I've shared this yet... but little man has a name too. Patrick Wallace McLendon. We picked out Patrick for Claudia's boy name (we waited to find out what she was) and we still really liked it, so we knew we'd use it. Wallace is Russell's middle name and Russell's dad's middle name, so we thought it'd be nice to continue that tradition.

So nothing else is really ready. No bags packed. The rest of the house is a train wreck. Big sister still wants to cut baby brother in half. Citizenship documents not organized. I will do everything tomorrow, I'm sure. =) Mommy and Daddy are definitely ready to hold and love little Paddy, though, and that is the most important thing. That and the car seat. The car seat is now installed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

She Said: Plans for Brother

CC: (pats my tummy)
Me: Are you going to hug and kiss your baby borther when he's here?
CC: I'm going to cut him in two and eat him.
I'm pretty sure (hoping) she was kidding.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If You Had Blinked...

It's been a weird winter here... not too cold and hardly any snow. Coming from Texas/Louisiana, I want snow and I want it now! I got my wish on Monday (for a very brief moment). There were about three hours of big, fat flakes. I called it a snow day, got Bop suited up and we went outside to catch snowflakes on our tongues.
Bop licked snow and ice off of every surface area in the front yard, e.g., the patio furniture, rocks, trees, yard toys. Sometimes there was dirt with the snow, so I tried to steer her away from this.
Sadly, once it stopped snowing, the sun came out and melted it all away. It was like it never snowed. Good thing I took pictures, otherwise I'd probably have no recollection of our brief snow.
Maybe I should be careful what I wish for, though. The little man is due in 3 weeks and we will have a 40 minute drive to the hospital. Don't want to do that in the snow, I guess. I just want to see some pretty snow in our yard and on the mountains. There is something very peaceful about it.
And it makes my heart happy. =)

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Waiting Game... Waiting on a Game

We've been nail-biting nervous waiting for the big game to roll around. So we kept ourselves busy doing various toddler-friendly science experiments. This one (baking soda + vinegar + food coloring volcanos) was found via Carey on Pinterest. Thanks, Carey... this was big fun!
Claudia got really into the whole thing so I started searching around for other experiments... or as Claudia calls them, "magic tricks." Also, big thanks to Paps & Mama Kate for the Tinkerbell costume (she's sporting it here). It arrived last week (with the other much appreciated goodies!) and she's worn it every day since. Every day!
I found a great website, TinkerLab, that has all sorts of science projects, organized by baby, toddler, preschool & school age. Great website with endless experiments... or "magic tricks." Be forewarned... some tricks get messy. So now its game day and this is all the enthusiasm Bop can manage to muster up.
I bribed her with animal crackers if she'd do some sort of cute pose in her LSU get-up (big thanks Amy for the LSU outfits!). So she got up...
.... and ran away. Go tigers!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome to the Dark Side

Claudia, who has never seen Star Wars, just loves Darth Vader. She has, however, watched the YouTube video of Darth Vader wielding a "light saver with a 'B'" (roughly 1 million times) and now loves him dearly. I suspect she'd freak out if she saw the movie... what with the scary Darth Vader breathing and chopping off appendages with his light saver with a "B", etc., so we'll save that for later. Much, much later. For the time being, there's a lot of this going on around here:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And We're Off!

Happy New Year, everyone! We've been very busy doing absolutely nothing since Christmas... wearing pajamas all day, baking brownies, and watching bowl games and Little Bear. Critical stuff. Our first ever staycation has been a total success.
We stayed up really late last night... maybe 10ish? We did wake up early, though... 6 o'clock. And that, my friends, is midnight in the US Eastern time zone. So we were right there with you. =) What did we do to celebrate? Danced around our living room with hats and noise makers until I collapsed in a heap on the couch. This morning I woke bright and early determined to make my first New Years meal. I followed my mother's menu and baked a glazed ham, slow cooked black eyed peas, sauteed cabbage and baked some cornbread. Claudia also repeated her tradition of wearing her cabbage hat.
Bop ate everything and actually liked it. It's a pretty miserable struggle to get her to eat what I cook. A struggle that usually results in me heating up a hot dog and rice and slicing up a tomato. It's her go-to meal. But not today! She actually ate her ham, peas and cornbread.
I think you're supposed to eat the peas for your health and the cabbage for your wealth, but I recently read that this traditional Southern new years meal is to remember the struggles of the South after losing the Civil War. It goes that after the war, the Northern troops raided Southern homes, leaving nothing but undesirable items (like pork fat backs, cabbage and black eyed peas). The stalwart Southerners did the best they could with these foods and it became a Southern tradition to eat these foods on New Years to commemorate their struggles.
In other news, I turned thirty something last week. If there was a theme for the day, it would have been "Go back to bed. Today has been cancelled." Our poor Bop had a nasty 24 hour bug that kept us glued to the couch for the day. She never gets sick, so it was pretty rough on her.
My loving husband gave me a do-over birthday a few days after Christmas, securing dinner reservations, opera tickets and a babysitter for a night out. It was our first time to go to the Budapest opera house and it was absolutely stunning. We mostly went just to see the beautiful theater. The opera was nice, but it is what it is... 3 hours of some folks singing in a language we don't speak. Not the most thrilling thing.
Russell assured me it was the first and last opera we'd be attending here. He's suffered through about four operas total with me. I suspect its the last opera he'll be attending anywhere. Thanks for putting in your time, honey. =)
It was a very nice birthday do-over.
Happy New Year everyone!

I wish you health, prosperity and purpose in this new and exciting year.
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