Saturday, February 15, 2014

Scandinavian Snow + Hungarian Snow

This has certainly been a strange winter.  North America has been beat down by epic snow storms, with snow even covering the ground in Texas.  Here in Europe, it has been a fairly mild winter, with very little snow.  So, I suspect half of the northern hemisphere is absolutely sick of the snow, while the other half maybe would like to see a bit more.  Sick of it or missing it, maybe we can agree that it certainly makes everything look a little more beautiful.  Here's my snow pics for the season.  First some snow from beyond the Arctic Circle... 
Russell and I recently had a parents-only weekend in Kakslauttanen, Finland.  If you have ever wanted to hear the sound of complete and absolute silence, this is the place to go.   Like music to my ears!

I was surprised, however, by how much there is to do in this Arctic wonderland.   One day we ventured out with the huskies through the woods.  These animals are absolutely amazing.  They live to race through the woods and will go absolutely nuts when you put the breaks on the sled.    

There's an order to arranging these Huskies too.  You need the clever ones in the front.  These are almost always female.  They guide the sled.  You need strong ones in the back.  They will keep the sled moving right along.  Green huskies go in the middle, where it is a good spot to learn from the front runners.  
We spotted lots of reindeer plowing through the snow.  Some of them looked like families, taking an afternoon walk.  One night we rode snow mobiles around and came upon some reindeer crossing our path in the darkness.  It was a bit like having a deer run in front of your car while driving at night.  

We stayed in a cabin out in the woods.  The lodge keeper gave us this handy sled to get our luggage out to the cabin.  Best bellman ever right here.  
We came across a couple of different igloos too.  This was one carved out of a giant chunk of ice.
And this is a new one.  A whole village of  glass igloos for watching the aurora borealis.
And some snow igloos.  I think you can stay in these, but there is a strong chance you will freeze to death in the night.  Pass on that.
The high for the day.  This place was just what we needed for two days of complete peace and quiet.  But we sure did miss these guys, though...
Budapest got a touch of snow as well.  It's been a strange winter because it hasn't been too cold and there has been almost no snow.   Last year was pretty miserable, though, so I'm not complaining. 
She is pretending to hug him.  If you can zoom in, she is actually eating his marshmallow out of his hand.  The marshmallow was the only way I could coax little man outside.  ;)

Sadly, there's no more Hungarian snow.  It all melted and it doesn't look like there will be any more this year.  So, bring on Spring!!  Bring on Spring everywhere!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life in Black and White

We have hit that sweet spot where they really enjoy playing together and I don't have to keep a nervous eye on them the whole time.  She still pushes him around and he still yanks on her hair, but it is still quality sibling time.
Their personalities couldn't be any different, though.  She is super busy and bouncy.  He is more reserved and thoughtful at his play.   
Braids.  They are (almost) the only thing standing between us and punctuality.
General reluctance to get out of bed.  This also contributes to our perpetual tardiness.
Something amazing is happening here too... Patrick is sitting down and listening to books!  He is a big fan of Miffy and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Sight, but Claudia can practically read him the phone book and he is interested.
We went bowling.  There were moments of pure joy when she knocked down pins, but also lots of these moments.  I've always thought that bowling is largely a game of chance, but after watching my four year old beat me, I am absolutely certain about this now.

Cars.  They absolutely love watching Cars.
We had some snow here. Finally!  It came and went, but I have more pictures.  With four months of heavy snow last year, I think Mother Nature is giving us a break this year.  And that is fine with me!!
I bought Claudia a shadow puppet set from a booth at the Budapest Christmas Market.  I can't tell you how much fun she has playing with this.  I need to cut out some more puppets.  It's such an easy thing to do and you can even just project them up on the wall with a flashlight.  A perfect bedtime activity.

And that is that!   Hope everyone is having a great week!

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