Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Roadtrip

By the time this holiday trip is officially over, we will have logged over 26 hours in the air and over 16 hours on the ground. All worth it!   Each miserable moment experienced crossing the Atlantic is far outweighed by the smiles and hugs exchanged between the children and the grandparents and greatgrandparents.
We've eaten our weights in turkey and dressing, drank ourselves silly on eggnog (well, some of us have) and had more pies, cakes, cookies and pudding than I care to discuss. Because it is Christmas, this is all perfectly acceptable.   




 Claudia still doesn't care much for Santa. This could have something to do with the St. Mikolus who appeared at her preschool, with his sidekick "Krampusz", a little devil who gives switches to the naughty children. St. Mikolus spoke very little English and towered over the children, shouting "DON'T BE SCARE ME!"    Very reassuring, right?

Judging by the frequency and magnitude of Patrick's belly laughs, I am convinced that he thoroughly enjoyed his first Christmas. He's such a sweet boy, even if he didn't, I don't think he would let on.

I was most proud of Claudia and her relentless desire to give gifts to the baby Jesus in the nativity set up next door. Everyday she thinks of something new to take next door.  She will be crushed when they take it down.  My sweet girl.   
Well, that is how we have spent our holidays.  I hope everyone has had a special holiday time, wherever  you may be celebrating!  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

And Away We Go!

I was just telling some pals that Paddy is not a crawler. Well, he decided to crawl later that day. Time to charge the video camera!! On My Way

Go, Paddy go!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Prep

Its hardly the holidays without a gingerbread house.  Last year I attempted to make my own gingerbread and fabricate the pieces of the house myself.  There are no pictures of that house because it fell apart moments after construction.  And it didn't even taste good.  You can imagine Claudia's disappointment and my shame!  =) 

As you can see, I did not make that same mistake twice.  My sweet friend Sandra scored some ready to assemble houses, treats included.  It was easy and Claudia was able to do most of the constructing and decorating on her own this year.  I was excited to see Claudia could do almost everything without my help, but I couldn't help but help her.  After last year's collapsed gingerbread shack, I was excited to contribute to a structurally sound house. 

We girls started what is hopefully a yearly tradition of attending the Nutcracker.  Sweet girl sat through the whole thing, with the help of one bag of marshmallows, one marzipan Santa, two candy canes and one bag of popcorn.  I still can't believe we made it through to the end.  Never doubt the motivational powers of junk food.

During intermission, aka "halftime" (indication that child is watching too much football with Daddy), Claudia performed a solo "nutcrackin'" dance, which closely resembled the "Elaine dance" from Seinfeld. That lady in the bag is doubled over with what I can only assume is excitement.

This was Claudia's first time to the Budapest Opera House.  She spotted about five friends perched in various balconies.  Thank goodness for matinee showings.

Claudia attended a birthday party for her two favorite peeps at RolliPolli, a cool new gymnastics place for kids.  Its like a real gymnastics studio, but everything is tiny.  Tiny beam, tiny uneven bars, tiny rings, tiny vault.   Tiny stuff, big fun.

The Hungarian birthday "candles" will never get old. 
And we had a visitor on December 6 (which was several weeks ago, wow), St. Mikolus!!  He's Hungarian Santa.  Here's CC and Paddy investigating their shoes and goodies.  I think in most European countries, St. Nicolas (or some variation) comes and puts candy, nuts and fruits in the shoes of good children and puts golden twigs (or switches) in the shoes of naughty children.  Most kids get a mix of both, like Claudia.   Also noteworthy, in Hungary, parents tell their kids that baby Jesus brings the Christmas presents.  So if you thought it baffled your children to hear that Santa takes presents all over the world with flying reindeer, just imagine telling them that baby Jesus is doing this now. 

The countdown is on... Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Two Cents on Gun Control

Day to day, my blog is just where I share pictures and accounts of our family.  I don't get political here.  But almost a week has passed since the tragedy at Newtown and it is weighing on me.  I'm sure it is weighing on everyone.  Watching the news coverage, I just shake my head.  So many defenseless children and teachers, all lost.   I feel helpless and just want to hold my children tight and pray that this kind of senseless act of evil doesn't happen again.  But it does keep happening. 
Personally, I have never been a strong proponent for or against the right to own, possess and carry a gun.  If pressed, I usually defend the second amendment, in particular, as it has been interpreted to ensure the right of an individual to possess a gun in the home for self-defense.  
In light of Newtown, I have to say that our gun control laws are failing us.  If kids, the smallest of the small, cannot be safe in their schools, something has gone terribly awry. I don't think guns in general should be illegal.  I just think that guns should be a lot harder to acquire.  I think that ordinary citizens do not need assault rifles.  I think that gun owners must undertake heightened measures to secure their weapons from theft or loss.  
Ultimately, violent people may still commit acts of violence, but if stricter gun control laws make it harder for such people to commit such acts, I welcome reform.   I came across this website from a friend.   They propose some very reasonable measurements that may make this country safer.  I don't want to argue and I don't want to debate.  I'm just very, very saddened about what has happened and am looking for some kind of voice of reason.   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It Snowed!

Coming from Texas, this just doesn't get old. Not a single bit. Well, we could have done without it last year when we had to drive newborn Patrick back out to Telki hospital, at night, through the woods, in a snow storm for his jaundice treatment.  And I also could have done without the giant, half-melted snowball Claudia "saved" in my purse yesterday.  Aside from those two things, the snow is beautiful.  I'm pretty miserable driving in it, but it is beautiful.  Did you know its 80 degrees farenheit in Houston today?   80 degrees!    
Patrick enjoyed looking at the first few flurries on Monday.

But then it looked like this by Wednesday morning.

Front patio, nice and icy. 

Claudia's slide, frozen solid

Claudia trudging around in the snow, exploring and yelling back and forth at the next door neighbor boys.

ear to ear smiling

Falling face first into the snow didn't wipe off that grin.

Paddy rolled around in wagon for a bit, then wanted in.  He found a pinecone in the wagon and did his best to eat it up.  He really loves nature.

We stayed in pajamas for most of the day and drank hot chocolate.  Great snow day!  Doing the same thing tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Residency Renewal Photo Booth Fun

In connection with our two year anniversary in Hungary, we had to renew our residency permits. For most, it's like a day at the DMV. Not for Claudia, though. Life's a party for this one! It took a good 15 minutes and 1500 HUF ($7.50) to get an "acceptable" pic for C. Totally worth it.

grumpy parents

happy child!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ten Months (is too close to ONE YEAR)

As we inch closer and closer to the one year mark, I become more and more attached to my little man.  He keeps me smiling from the moment we wake up (which is really way too early) until the moment I put him down.
He is a-crawling, a-climbing and a-cruising all over the house.  In doing so, he is not careful, cautious or concerned about his  physical well-being.  This has left me a nervous wreck, hovering over him every step of the way.  That said, I am proud of his unwavering bravery! 
 He was pretty cheeky for a diaper change the other day and the lighting was decent, so I snapped away. 
A choo!  He's very much like his father in that he practically screams out his sneezes.

He is sleeping nicely at night and taking two naps during the day.

He doesn't want to eat baby food.  He thinks its total junk now.  He wants what we eat, so I cook everything to extra sogginess and give him what we eat.  The slow cooker has been very helpful.

Paddy doesn't have much to say, but when he does, it's "Ma Ma Ma Ma" or "Ba Ba Ba Ba" or "Gaaaa  Gaaaa" and a lot of "OOOOOOOO".  When I asked the pediatrician if it was a problem that he doesn't talk too much, she reassured me that his personality is just coming out now.  She asked about Russell's personality and if he is quiet.  I guess now I know where we're headed.  I think he'll balance out Claudia nicely.  =)

Patrick is holding the injector for his antibiotics.  He had his second ear infection this month and was tough as nails about it.  And was a very good sport about taking his meds.

pulling up

made it!

Absolutely addicted to the paci

See the drool about to roll off his chin?  He just cut his 8th tooth & I didn't even realize.  My friend gave me the most amazing homeopathic teething syrum & it is working wonders.
And it looks like he will be taking after Russell in another respect... those super long legs take him to and fro pretty quickly.  Makes for fun times playing chase around the house!
Happy 10 Months, Paddy!

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