Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We Finally Left the House

It just wouldn't be winter without a lot of coughing, runny noses, fevers and general feelings of yuck. We were going on about two weeks straight of not leaving the house when we finally decided to just leave the house.  When we did leave the house, we discovered that the world had kept on going without us.  So.  We were happy to catch right back up with it.  And we are germ free.  Finally!
Poor little caged bird.  She was never really sick, but she stayed home for a bit when I was just too miserable to get out and take her to school.
As for Patrick, you can't keep a good man down.  Even with a high temperature, he was his usual sweet self.
I dont' know how he feels, but I love these crocheted Hungarian booties.  Keeps his wee tootsies warm. 

When we decided to leave the house, we made our way to the Hungarian Transportation Museum.  Sounds pretty boring.  But it was NOT.  Not at all.  It was filled with old planes, trains and automobiles, but had tons of cool exhibits including the evolution of bicycles, the evolution of boats (from Viking and Egyptian ships to modern luxury lines) and all kinds of interactive exhibits.   

It was also nostalgic seeing parts of the original Budapest bridges, the ones that were blown to bits and recovered from the Danube River after the Nazis blew them up while retreating from the invading Soviets who liberated Budapest at the end of World War II.   
If you live in Budapest and have a certain someone that is obsessed with anything with wheels... make some time for this place.  Again, it is just great!

Patrick's love of transportation knows no bounds.  He takes a "kuk" (truck) with him everywhere he goes.  He learns his colors by identifying the colors of "kaas" (cars).  He lives for that moment that the "big kuk, big kuk" (garbage truck) comes rumbling up our hill.  He knows the garbage men by name, "Kuk Man, Kuk Man, Kuk Man!" (I don't know their real names, but they are so nice and greet Patrick every week).
With the big second birthday looming, I suspect we cannot go wrong if we get him a few more kaas and kuks.  ;)

I hope everyone is surviving this winter with as little sniffles as possible!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


First, my favorites from last week.  There were so many good ones this week.  I loved this shot by Wendieland of her sweet girl looking into the mirror.  Plus, both of these shots from The Monster and Me are wonderful.  I love the contrast of a perfect, sleeping baby against the busy, but focused work of a toddler.   And if you want to see two more beautiful captures of an adorable baby + toddler , go see Elk & Bloom.  And just one more...from I Write This... such wonder in this little girl's eyes.  

Around here, we have spent a lot of, really too much, time inside.  Patrick and I were sick for about two weeks, so that was a good enough excuse.  So, lots of pajama and house shoe days around here.  This will change next week.  
Things that make Claudia happy... pajamas, birdie blanket, Oatmeal (the teddy bear) and a cozy chair to cuddle in.  The apple does not fall far from the tree.  ;)  

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Joining up with Jodi!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Petite Artiste

Last month we posted several of Claudia's original works to both her great grandmothers in Louisiana and each piece was received with high praise.   Claudia's reaction:  "I've got to make more.  Much, much more!"  And so she did...

She painted until the sun when down.  I'm pleased to report to all of Claudia's grandparents and great grandparents:   more art is on the way!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


My favorites from last week came from It's the Little Things (teeny, tiny girl with some massive boulders!), Forever Lovely (those curls!) and Woven with Spirit (look at that sky!). 

As for mine, here they are with their prized possessions.  
Out of all her Barbies, Rock Star Barbie is her favorite and her best.   And there's Paddy's little hand, creeping up to snatch that Barbie.   
And, for Paddy, out of all his trucks, this is THE truck.  Well, it actually is the replacement of THE truck.  THE truck was actually left on an airplane a while back and we had to do a switcheroo on him.  Luckily, I don't think he noticed.  ;)

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

Joining up with Jodi!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lost in the Fog

We need to get out more.  We are going completely stir crazy in this house.  It's just those daily waves of freezing fog, though.  They make me want to stay inside and Patrick goes absolutely bananas every time I bundle him up to go out.   We do capitalize on the sunny days, though.   The sun gives us a reason to be silly.  
This is what you get... 
... when you do too much of this.
Patrick:  "Dis kuck."  ("This is the truck.") 

I made him go out one day.

Miss Bojangles was dancing and singing on the street in front of the state Opera House, entertaining a gaggle of tourists on a Big Bus tour.  We eventually had to scoop her up and take her home.
Her favorite indoor activity is creating lovely bracelets, necklaces and rings for the entire family.
See that girl in the bottom of the mirror there?  She's got a critical eye for fashion.   She said that (insanely expensive) purse is not pretty.
 Good!   :)  

Sunday, January 12, 2014


First, my favorites from last week come from Emily's Three Things, the light, the reflections... they are both so peaceful and so perfect!  
Claudia.  Super excited to see the sun!  Soggy, grey weather has kept us in too much this winter, but she's a happy camper playing in any weather.  
Patrick.   Perfectly content to stay inside all day, every day, so long as he has his trucks.
Both.  I asked Claudia to indulge Patrick and play inside with the trucks for a bit before heading out.   He was so happy to show her how they all work!  She was less thrilled, but was a good sport!   

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

Joining up with Jodi!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dubai: the Desert and the Oasis

This year we decided to do things a little differently for Christmas.  Specifically, we decided not to go to Texas.  This decision was fueled, in large part, by my growing anxiety of flying long haul flights with small, time zone resistant children.  It was a little sad to celebrate Christmas away from our families back in the US, but it was pretty awesome to hop on a four and a half hour flight and find ourselves in the middle of a desert oasis. 
In just a couple of decades, Dubai has gone from desert nothingness to one of the world's most opulent and efficient cities.  Now pull up a map of the Middle East.  Look at Dubai's neighbors along the Persian Gulf:  Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq... not exactly tourist hot spots at the moment.  

What they have done with the city (that didn't exactly exist 20+ years ago) is amazing.   They world's biggest this, the world's fastest that... it's remarkable. 
The hotel we stayed at was built on a man made island in the shape of a palm frond, aptly known as "The Palm."  Sheikh Mohammed, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate had quite the vision... there wasn't enough of a coastline along the Persian Gulf... so all these islands were created to make more coastal property.  There is another chain that was built in the shape of a map of the world.   
Here's everyone stepping lively on one of the man made islands.  

look left for the chain of islands shaped like the world.  
Paddy and Daddy and the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.  It also holds the world's fastest elevator.  We climbed over one hundred floors in 60 seconds the elevator.  We never even realized we were moving.  

Visiting our dear friend Karim and his horse was a big highlight for Claudia!
Sweet Karim also took us on a boat ride through the Marina.  Patrick slept through the whole thing and Claudia refused to take off her backpack.   Silly kids!
Saw a lot of these around the Marina.  This one belongs to Sheikh Mohammed's son, but it used to be the property of one Mr. Saddam Hussein.  I physically cringed just looking at something that belonged Saddam Hussein.    
And this.  In addition to ATM machines dispensing dirham, the local currency, they also had gold ATMs for when you just need a bar of gold.  I still can't wrap my head around this one.  
Just one of the many skylines of Dubai.  Again, NONE OF THIS was here 20+ years ago.  Nothing.  Just desert.  

And the desert.  We spent a day in the Rub' Al Khali desert visiting a Bedouin camp, riding camels and touring the Dubai Conservation Reserve. 

I asked one of the Bedouins about children of the camps and what they do for fun.  He said that they often play hide and seek in the desert, following up with "sometimes you find them, sometimes you don't."  We made sure not to let the kids wander off too far.
Not us, but I loved this picture of a sweet family from China that was at the camp with us that day.  
Our main guide was exceptionally great with the kids.  He toted this little monkey around quite a bit.  

Claudia really took to the food at the camp, nearly eating her weight in chickpeas. 

We observed several desert fauna on the Conservation Reserve, but I favored this sweet creature, the Oryx.

Now, here's a few (hundred) desert pictures.  Sorry, it was just such a cool place to explore.  It was disappointing to hear that the Bedouin culture is dwindling as more and more Bedouin families decide to leave the desert camps for a life in the city.  But after seeing both worlds and the stark contrast between desert and city, I can understand why so many families are embracing modern living in Dubai.  

And look how happy Patrick was that Santa and Rudolf came to the Middle East!  Sweet Claudia explained to him that it wasn't the real Santa, but just a helper with a man in a reindeer costume.  So practical, this girl!   ;)

Dubai.  Regardless of how you feel about downright opulence, one thing is certain, the vision it took to build this city is unparalleled.   The infrastructure, the population boom the commercial surge... amazing.  It was a perfect place to spend Christmas and wrap up 2013.
But, as always, I'm glad to be back in Budapest, even if everyday is just more freezing fog!
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