Thursday, September 27, 2012

First Word, Sibling Synchronicity, Winston Expends Another Life

We've got all sorts of fun things happening around the house.
First I'll share Winston's latest escapade.  Week before last, he escaped, stayed out all night and then showed up in the morning with a giant gash in his tummy.   If I had to guess, I'd say it was his pancreas that was sticking out of the gash.  But you know, that cat is so tough.  Recall the incident four years ago when he immersed himself in tar at a construction site by our house in Houston.   Anyhow, his Hungarian vet here stuffed the pancreas looking thing back in, mended the wound and gave him this cone collar to wear around the house.  Now he is as good as new.   Thank goodness cats have nine lives. 
Winston. Down to seven (?) lives.

I've also taught the children some fun party tricks.  Observe!

Today Patrick woke up bright and early at 5 a.m.  A man with a purpose, he woke up saying "mama! mama!"   Here he is, in his "Circle of Neglect," i.e., the Exersaucer, showing off his new verbal skills.  This took us by surprise, as he hardly ever talks.  Not even much of the ooooh and aaaah.  This was an exciting morning around here!

We've been so lucky to have our best buddies from Texas come and visit this past week too!  We've been showing them all around Budapest and we even took a kids-free weekend trip together.   I'm preparing myself for emotional collapse when my Jessie leaves me next week.

Hope everyone is having a great first week of fall!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Delighted in Dubrovnik

It didn't take us long to discover why Dubrovnik is called "the Pearl of the Adriatic." The city is, in a word, breathtaking.  Truth be told, my breathlessness was caused in part to my current out-of-shapeness combined with the fact that Dubrovnik is a city surrounded by steep, ascending and descending walls.  And Paddy wasn't much for walking that day, so I felt obliged to tote him around in the Baby Bjorn. Luckily, both Paddy and CC seemed to appreciate Dubrovnik's beauty as much as Russell and I did, so it was a very good day in Durovnik.
Our ship floated through the fog into Dubrovnik early in the morning, revealing a well wooded coast, sandy beaches and a beautiful old city surrounded by medieval walls. 

The city is beautiful, peaceful and car free.  If you didn't know it, you'd never suspect that it had been plagued with floods, earthquakes and most recently, during 1991-1992, a violent eight month seige involving daily bombings following its declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.  Following the seige, the Croatians quickly restored this city to its pre-war glory, using the same craftmanship and building materials originally used to construct this medieval city. 

We were "wall ready" by eight a.m. sharp.  This was the perfect time to walk the walls and observe the peaceful town and the Adriatic.  It was just us and the senior citizens. 

The views from the heigh points of the wall were amazing.  We just periodically stopped, stared and snapped photos.  Luckily, there were various ice cream shops stationed along the walk.

Although this city has been surrounded by walls since the twelfth centure, it was not until the 1991 seige that the walls were actually used.  A stronghold during the war proved to be a Napoleonic era fortress atop Mt. Srt.  Napoleon had actually built the fort to keep an eye on the Croatians.   Ordinary citizens took the walls and forts to help defend their city, which up to this time, had been a peaceful and coveted tourist destination.  

For Russell and me, the views were amazing and the heart and history of the Croatians were inspiring.  For Claudia, the ice cream and multitude of cannons were just what she was looking for.  Dubrovnik.  There's something for everyone!   And I suspect (or at least hope) this isn't our last Croatian vacation.  It's beautiful national park is just a five hour (maybe add two more hours for the kids) drive from Budapest.   I'm itching to go there next spring.    

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sleep Deprivation Silliness

I'm pleased to announce that, after seven and a half months, Patrick is sleeping through the night!  To mark this occassion, I'm sharing some of my finer moments with you.   For friends with new babies, I hope this gives you a laugh.  Maybe you have some funny, embarrassing stories of your own?  Surely you do!
And now that I'm rested, things are about to change.  I will no longer wear dirty shirts inside out (to get that extra wear out of a washing).   The house will no longer look like the set of Sanford and Son.   Claudia will not be showing up to school wearing two left shoes.  No, all that is about to change.   
And here's some funny Paddy pictures.  His squishy lovey made up for the lack of sleep in spades. 
Silliness:   I went to the grocery store, loaded up the cart, paid for the food, bagged it and then left it on the counter and drove home.  Didn't realize my mistake until it was time to cook dinner that night.  And I had no food.  
Silliness:   I came downstairs (early) in the morning, started doing dishes with the water running, got distracted, went upstairs, got in bed and went back to sleep.  Sadly, the water was still running.  I flooded my kitchen.  

Silliness:  I closed my purse straps in my car door with the purse hanging OUT of the car.  I drug my purse down the street before realizing what was happening. 

Silliness:  Russell was holding Patrick.  Patrick was crying.  I approached Russell with the pacifier and proceeded to gingerly coax the paci into RUSSELL'S mouth.  

Silliness:  I was taking Claudia to school.  I drove past her school and proceeded to take her to Ikea with me and Patrick.  When I got to Ikea, she told me I really forgot to stop at school.  I told her she really didn't want to go to school that day anyway.   

Silliness:  I was giving Paddy his first diaper change of the morning.   I snapped his onesie back up, forgetting he needed to have another diaper put back on.  The second diaper change of the morning followed shortly thereafter. 

Silliness:  This one actually comes from my friend, Thuy, who has a six month old, Sophie.   Thuy attempted to call the pediatrician to schedule Sophie's six month check up.  She actually dialed her hair salon.  As the salon receptionist spoke Hungarian and Thuy spoke English, they went round and round for about five minutes until Thuy realized she hadn't called the doctor's office, but instead had called A List Salon.  Too funny not to share.  Plus it made me feel much better about myself. 

The point of sharing all this "silliness" is that, while it doesn't seem silly in the least bit when it is happening, it certainly is silly afterwards.  And its worth remembering.   Some day silly things like this may not happen to me and I will miss all the daily silliness of life with my busy little baby.  So, thank you for keeping me on my toes, Paddy Boy.  I love you. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Greetings From "Pretty Mykonos"

All Claudia could say about Mykonos was "it's so.... so... so pretty!  Pretty Mykonos!"  I agree.  I myself was having quite a relaxing time... until I managed to eat some hummus with pine nuts and Russell had to repeatedly stab me in the leg with my epi pen so I wouldn't swell up and die. In pretty Mykonos. Thank goodness for Russell. You have saved my life again, my dear! Here's some pictures I took after recovering from the pine nut incident.
It's part of the city ordinances that your house must be white and your doors and shutters must be blue.   I am making this up, but suspect it is true.

The best way to see Mykonos is just to wander around.  It's not like those street signs are going to help you much.   So, I don't know what anything is... I just know it was all really pretty.  Pretty Mykonos!

Look, I found a red door!

Top right pic:  sweet old Greek man and his pet pelican. 
It's all white though.  An albino pelican, perhaps?

It was fun just to wander around the tiny cobbled streets.  Everything there is delivered via wagons hitched up to little scooters.  Nothing bigger will fit through the streets.

I think this might have been our favorite spot on the whole trip.

And it's all becase of that sweet albino pelican.  I named him Milky! 

Greetings from "Pretty Mykonos"!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

There You Have It

Helpful tip from Claudia: if you spill BBQ sauce down the front of your dress, just put the dress on backwards and go on about your business.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tots Atop the Acropolis

We're not sure how much Paddy saw of Athens, as his face was covered up by his hat for half of the adventure.   Sorry about that Paddy!  We didn't realize it till we saw all the pictures.  =)  For the rest of us, the birthplace of democracy did not disappoint.   If y'all are interested in the history, read on.  If not, maybe just check out the pictures.   
The pics of Paddy/Daddy are in front of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (the theater) and the Temple of Athena Nike.  The other pics are close ups of the columns of the Propylaea (gate to the Parthenon).  The columns of the Propylaea and the Parthenon are not single pieces of marble, but stacks of these big chunks called "column drums."  When they were stacked, they fit together within 1/1000 of an inch.   Pretty solid engineering for the BC period. 
Here's the Erechteion.  It's the often overshadowed temple sharing the Acropolis with the Parthenon.  This temple is intended to mark the spot where Athena and Poseiden battled for naming rights of the city.  It also stands where the even more ancient Mycenaens had built their palace. 

Here's Paddy awake (top left) and here's Paddy asleep (bottom right).  The walk through history proved too much to handle for the boy.   Sweet Claudia really enjoyed herself.  She ascended the Acropolis with no complaints and walked around the whole time, never tiring.  Note, I was feeding her gummy bears and marshmallows.  This might have had something to do with her remarkable energy and excitement levels.

Efforts to restore the Parthenon are ongoing.  Did you know that it survived an explosion caused by the Venetians in 1687?  The Turks, who were occupying Athens at the time, thought it best to store their armaments and gunpowder in the hallowed temple.  When the invading Venetians beseiged the Acropolis, they mortared the Parthenon, successfully wiping out the Turks and a good chunk of the temple.    

Regardless, the structures of the Acropolis are, in a word, breathtaking.  

The sights at the Ancient Agora, the "heart of ancient Athens" were equally amazing.  We really felt like we were walking through history as we trudged along where the political and social life of ancient Athens thrived.  We walked the same paths as Socrates, stood where the city counselors lived and ruled over Athens, and we studied all that has survived the past 2000+ years. 

We also checked out the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, watched the changing of the guard, visited the stadium of the first modern Olympic games and Hadrian's Arch.    We always break to write a few post cards.  If you can't read the one Russell wrote to his Grandma, here's how it goes:
Dear Grandma,
Hope all is well. Things were going fine on our cruise, until our cruise ship left without us in Athens. My money and passports were on the ship, so we will be here for a while. We will try to sleep in the Parthenon - hopefully it won't rain!
Love, Russell
Luckily, we made it on the boat and didn't have to sleep in the Parthenon. 
Well, three of us didn't sleep in the Parthenon, at least. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paddy Boy is Seven Months!

Well, well, well!  Look who is SEVEN months old?  Seven months, plus ten days, actually. 
Anyone?  Anyone?

It's Patrick!
What has Paddy been up to?  Teething.  He has had two tiny chickletish teeth on the bottom for a few months and now he has three more coming in at once.  Two on top and another for the bottom.  Everyone is feeling the pain right now.  =(

Since Claudia has started preschool, Patrick has been looking for her all over the house.  He's always spinning his head around, peeking about the room.  I know he is looking for her.  Poor little guy misses his sister.  I do too!
Showing off his bottom chompers.  One of the new toofies is coming in right next to those two miniature marshmallows you see.   It has not been pleasant for little man, but he is so tough.  So brave.

Talents include:  sitting up.  eating solids with ease.  blowing bubbles.  military crawling (i.e., dragging limp legs behind him) and playing the drums.  He likes to slap and bang on anything and everything.   Hulk smash!!

Likes:   pulling glasses off peoples faces, hanging out with daddy, walks outside, a plush basketball toy, apricot baby food, the exersaucer, the smell of bacon (perks him right up out of a funk), baths, breakfast and dinner with sister.

Dislikes:  trimming of finger nails, car rides (still a mobile torture chamber), spinach baby food, the moment right after I take him out of the bath tub, socks & hats (this will make for an interesting winter), and diaper changes.

My favorite Paddy part.  I tickle these little guys all day long. 

My baby got a paper cut ON HIS LIP.   He managed to get a doctor's bill out of my hands and into his mouth, slicing up his upper lip.  Dining has not been pleasant ever since.  Ouch!

Happier days.  Pre-lip-paper-cut.

This is Paddy's little happy place... flying on the living room floor.  Weeeeee!!!
Happiest with Daddy, of course

Happy Seven Months, Paddy Boy!  You fill our days with laughs and smiles.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beach Baby, Beach Baby!

We took the kids to the beach in Bari, Italy and Corfu, Greece.  Patrick's first beach experience involved white sands, blue green water and local Italians playing beach soccer.  Note, Claudia's first beach experience involved muddy brown water, some good old Galveston tar balls and a game called "Dodge the Jellyfish."   I have to say that, to a child, it makes no difference. 

Claudia enjoyed getting in the water, but not too far out.  From the water, she would scream out "get away from that!!" or "tha is MINE!" to any passerby who got too close to her beach pail, which she left on the shore.  Luckily, it appeared that none of the children, or adults, spoke English, as they would smile and wave at her.  

In Greece, we stayed at a private beach that also had a pool.  Shhh, this is wear we washed off all the sand and sunscreen when we were done at the beach. 
Here I am with Patrick and my pet monkey.

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