Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fun Among the Ruins

The old Roman amphitheater near our house is the perfect place for adults wanting to pretend they are gladiators and children who want to run, yell and have their little voices amplified up to the heavens. I almost forgot about this fun picnic day at the ruins until I was going through some old pictures from last summer. I think this was on the last day of summer, actually. Makes me wishing and wanting spring to get here already!

Bop:  boost, please, Daddy.
Daddy and Bop are standing at the top of the stairs at one of the entrances. 
There were a few stone bench seats, but mostly it was grass seating. 

They ran around in center for a while and played some croquet too.  I'm curious what kind of shows this theater hosted back in the day.  Although the ruins are pretty much ruined, the accoustics were still impressive.  Claudia's voice rang clear and true up to the cheap seats.   I'm sure she will get a kick out of the Roman Colosseum some day.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pat Be Quick


Patrick walking is a lot like a coiled spring popping.  This walking thing is still so new, so he's a wee bit wobbly (but don't tell him that).  This combined with his speed has led to many spills, but lots of fun times around the house.   Here's a video of Patrick doing his thing.  Who knows how far he could have gotten had it not been for the pile of dirty clothes I left behind in the middle of the living room.   If you can't tell, I am SO PROUD and just giddy watching him go!


Saturday, February 23, 2013


Claudia, loving the sand, happy to leave the snow for a bit.
Patrick, finding a perfect crawl space.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Inspired by Jodi.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Back from the Sahara

Last weekend we hopped a plane for a short, two and a half hour flight ... to Egypt!  We booked this fully-refundable trip quite a while back, when things were pretty quiet in Egypt.  Of course things heated back up with the two year anniversary of the revolution in January, so we weren't sure if we should go or just take a weekend drive to Austria.  All the schools are out and most people are away on ski break (coming from Texas, I'll never wrap my head around this one).  We were packing for Austria and Claudia had even taken ski lessons, but, when it came down to it, we were sick of the snow and had gotten many assurances that things in Giza were nice and calm.  

So, to Egypt we went!  And we were so thankful we did.  I don't think I've ever been so awe struck as when I laid eyes on the pyramids.  I kept saying "it's a pyramid!  It's a pyramid!"  We had been reading the story of Moses leading up to the trip, so Claudia was pretty thrilled to sail down the Nile (though, we did not ride in a reed basket as she suggested).  Before going, we understood that Egypt is dependent on tourism and that this period has been tough on the industry.  Still, I was overwhelmed and heart warmed by the excitement, extra attention and care from everyone we encountered.   Here's some pics we snapped from the trip.
camel riding in the Sahara
Giza pyramid complex  (the road cutting through the pyramids is the tour bus route... took a bit of time to get a shot without one of those shiny yellow buses in the picture).
This came as a surprise... the Sphinx is not that big.  And poor guy is missing his nose! 
Daddyboy and Paddyboy and the Great Pyramid
These kind camels were slow, steady and sweet. Claudia and I rode "Abdul."  Russell and Paddy rode "Mickey."
This solar boat behind us was found buried in a chamber next to the Great Pyramid.  It was a symbolic boat intended to float the Pharoah to his afterlife.  And it's 5,000 years old!
Smiley Abdul
Paddy at the pyramids.  He was largely focused on prying pacifiers out of my hand and pockets for most of the excursion.  
The Nile was full of rowers and feluccas, traditional Egyptian sailing boats.
We took a felucca boat ride on the Nile too.   We didn't have much wind though, so it was more floating than sailing.   Still lots of fun, though.
Egyptians used these boats to sail up and down the Nile to get from the Upper Kingdom to the Lower Kingdom.  If the water was high, they could make it from upper to lower Egypt in about two weeks.  That is assuming the boat did not get tipped by a hippo or crocodile.
Luckily, we did not have a problem with hippos or crocodiles.  Big smiles for that.

Patrick was such a smiley guy the whole trip...
...and was most happy when he was with Daddy (his most favorite person ever).
Oh, fun times with Daddy.  Paddy was just a wailing and I'm pretty sure he was saying "Let me up, let me up there!!"
I'll admit it.  Daddy is the fun one.
We girls had some fun times too.   The weather was sunny and warm so we went swimming and, per Claudia's request, we drank "fancy juices with straws!  (fancy juice = OJ + pineapple juice + strawberries).
Claudia confided that she missed doing things with just me a few weeks back, so we are doing special "girls only" things every week, as we can.  I need to pick up the ingredients for some "special juice."  I think it would go well with popcorn and Wall E tonight.   
And that is our Egypt trip.   In the end, we are so thankful we went.  If you are in close proximity to Egypt (or even not), don't count it out as your travel destination!

Our hotel was absolutely perfect. The amazing concierge arranged all our outings, transportation, guides and even arranged for picnic lunches in the car for when we went out.  They met us the moment we stepped off the plane (literally carried Claudia and my bag off the plane), picked up our luggage, handled our passport and visa clearance. For C, they had a cupcake decoration bar  waiting in the room when we arrived.  For Patrick, they had diapers, wipes, baby cream, wash, powder and baby toys all lined up.  They could not have made it any easier or stress free.  In short, this is still a country dependent on tourism and they want their tourists back.  We were happy to oblige and happy for the amazing memories Egypt!

If you are even thinking of going, I can give you more travel details ... and also where to get some amazing Egyptian cotton sheets.  =)  

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Claudia... completely at home in her subzero, snowy world... there is a smile there somewhere.
Patrick...learning to walk this week!

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Inspired by Jodi.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

From My Heart to Yours

Not much to say besides... more snow.  hot cocoa.  cookies.  valentines.   Happy early Valentines!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Claudia, sick on a snow day.  Total bummer, but made the best of it, playing Candy Land all day.
Sweet Patrick, first week as a one year old!

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Inspired by Jodi.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Playing Nice

This has been one snowy, dreary winter here in Budapest, punctuated with periodic, short lived bursts of bright, beautiful sunlight.   These moments of sunshine really work magic on the children.  They play so nicely.  They cuddle.  They kiss.  I captured one such moment the yesterday. 
With a little encouragement, Claudia sat down next to Patrick and read Goodnight Moon to him, cover to cover.   She's pretty much got the whole book down.

She even read the last pages in a whisper.  Patrick focused on her every word.

I almost ruined the whole thing when I praised her for being so sweet, so kind.

To set things right, she then acted like a little crazy person.

And she turned into a "toilet monster" (don't ask) and pretended to eat him.   He liked it, though, so no problem there.

"Toilet monster" felt a little guilty and decided to hug it out.

Patrick then got his fill of that.  He's really perfected his little stiff arm move.

And Claudia went back in for more.  Just look at his little hand on hers.  He liked that hug and this is proof!  A few hours later, they had a pretty hilarious fight in the bathtub over a toothbrush.  No pictures of that, though, because I just want to remember this sweetness here!
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