Tuesday, May 28, 2013

do re mi fa so la ti do

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. I recall watching The Sound of Music at my grandmother's house as a little girl, thinking Austria looked like a dream... a dream, in that I would likely never go to this beautiful land, half a world away from me.  Even after these few years in Budapest, I still can't believe we live driving distance from the Austrian Alps. After a few hours in the car, we can climb every mountain, twirl around with outstretched arms, while attempting, very poorly, to sing The Hills are Alive.  

Paddy brought his trusty spatula along for the trip.  It pretty much never left his hands.  If you look close in (almost) every picture, you will find it.  Paddy + Spatula forever.

Now, Claudia didn't necessarily roam around Salzburg in drapes, but this is what she wore for three  and a half days straight.  We left her little suitcase in Budapest.  She was a real sport about the whole thing and even did her best to keep her outfit clean.  Amazing little girl. And beautiful outfit... thank you for sending, Gram!  

Patrick was mostly interested in finding large vehicles and rubbing his hands all over the greasy tires.  He was very keen on this colorful ambulance.
He also tried to pry off all the love locks he found while crossing this pedestrian bridge.  If we had had a lock to spare, we would have attached it to said bridge.  Paddy + Spatula forever.

We're standing on the steps where the Von Trapp children belted out Do Re Mi.   
I believe they danced around this Pegasus statue as well.  
One day when the weather was stormy, we drove into Obersalzberg mountain area in Berchtesgaden, Germany.   It's right across the Austro-German border and is a short drive from Salzburg.   Atop the Kehstein mountain is the the Kehlsteinhaus, also known as the Eagle's Nest.  It was built for Hitler as a retreat, but also includes an elaborate command center carved out into the mountain.   It is disputed who stormed the Eagle's Nest first during WWII, but Eisenhower, the then Commander of US Troops in Europe, reported it was the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division.  It was used as an Allie command post until it was eventually returned to the State of Bavaria.  
If you've seen Band of Brothers, this is the mountain top fortress the soldiers stormed, and, finding it abandoned, kicked back to drink Hitler's finest wines and whiskeys.  According to preserved photographs and newsreels, this was the 3rd Infantry Soldiers. Clever fellows. 
At 1,834 meters above sea level, you are easily eye level with the clouds. 
Claudia fed the swans on our last day. The hotel we stayed at is actually thirty minutes east of Salzburg in the Lake District.  Claudia dutifully warned a little boy "be careful!  Swans are known to attack at a moment's notice!"  He didn't speak English, but luckily he exercised a great deal of caution regardless.

Tiki Man!  The last time we saw him a few years ago, he was covered in snow. This time Claudia wouldn't so much as stand next to him.  Luckily Patrick was happy to pose with "Alfred."

So long and farewell, Salzburg, you definitely lived up to my dreams.  =)  

Saturday, May 25, 2013


First, here are my favorites from last week:  these three here at Jane Mabel's are all great, the light in Ingrid Lerstad's photos  are always amazing and these two sisters at Endearing Life are just lovely.  

As for these two, this week...
When I told Claudia the hotel door hanger said "Do Not Disturb", she said it would make a great bracelet.  She wore it for the rest of the day and tried to bring it home as a souvenir.  Now that we are home, she wants one for her door so Patrick knows to keep out.  Oh, Claudia.
In her defense, this is what Patrick has been up to lately.  He gets great satisfaction from causing us pain... eye gouging, pinching, nibbly bites.   I sure hope this is a passing phase!

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

She Would Live in a Hotel

... so long as that hotel has a good bathroom mirror and an assortment of nice smelling soaps and lotions.

She is also keen on a springy mattress for bedtime bouncing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This week there were moody spells, teething woes, paci withdrawal fits and other maladies.... so not too many smiley face pictures.   Seeing pictures and videos of the tornado devastation in Texas and now in Oklahoma, it just doesn't seem appropriate to post a bunch of smiles at the moment anyhow.   The unpredictable and cruel nature of tornado damage brings tears to my eyes, but the resiliency of the victims and the responders truly replaces those tears with awe, respect and hope.  I am rooting for the recovery efforts in both states and holding my children extra tight today.  
Claudia, sometimes you just don't want to go to "school."   Being that its still preschool, I let you stay home when the mood strikes.  And we're all generally happy about that... you, me and especially Patrick.  This was one such day where you wanted to stay home, wear your ballet costume and entertain us with your guitar.
Patrick was quite tough this week. We started the week by quitting the paci cold turkey.  After a few days, you were doing great and had stopped looking in the usual "hiding places" for them.  Then, of course, came your very last four teeth... all at once.  =(  Thankfully, when those four little canines finally emerged, you will have a full set of 20 teeth!  Well done, little man!

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Ice Cream? Yes, Please!

Spring has finally ushered in a wave of nice hot weather. As the cold weather blows out, with it goes my restraint. I just cannot refuse Claudia's repeated requests for ice cream and ice lollies (I'm sorry, I love this word and can't bring myself to say "popsicle" anymore) and I must let Patrick run amuck in the yard while wielding a water hose.  I can't help myself and neither can they!

They made a paper mache dinosaur on Dino Dan (Clau's new favorite).  So, she wanted to make herself a papier mache lady bug.  I love paper mache, so she didn't have to work too hard to convince me.
This is where we had a breakdown.  It's done, though.  Not really a ladybug, or anything really.  Just a festive candy container waiting to be smashed up.  
Watermelon season is upon as well.  In the past two weeks, she has been averaging one large watermelon every two days.  This is not an exaggeration.  
She eats every slice down to the rind and does not shy from eating the seeds.
I'm not sure how this has happened, but I am a little short on pictures for this guy.  I will make up for that with extra Paddy pictures next week! 
First ice lolly ever!   Made it from sour cherry juice.  He loved it!
He didn't want to share.  He growled like a little junk yard dog if you even got near it.
This one also had her fair share of treats.
For Patrick's two, Claudia had 4.
All was well until she got her first brain freeze.  Ouch!
There was a short cold snap on the weekend, so we decided to go explore the Aquincum.  It's the remains of the old Roman city from the Pannonian region, situated in modern day Budapest, on the way out to Szentendre.  It's in great shape and was a lot of fun.

You could crawl, climb and navigate yourself all throughout the city.  They have it well marked to show you what was where.

It was a bit of a hazard for Patrick, though... way too many jagged surfaces to fall on.  The playground there (which was great) was much more his speed.
She helped me make crepes, with chocolate chips.  She said she wasn't eating the chocolate chips, but her hand in the bag and the chocolate smeared on her forehead (how??) tell a different story.

The best thing about her coming down from her sugar highs (be they from ice cream, ice lollies or chocolate crepes)... she will just go curl up in her chair in the living room and "read" her books.   I like that!  
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