Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Party for Paddy

Somehow this sweet Paddy boy of mine managed to sneak in another year on me.   Drawing up this post about Patrick's birthday (which happened a month ago), I am reminded just how important it is to memorialize the special times in our lives.   The time it slips right through our fingers, but at least this way I can ink out my favorite bits and collect them here for memory's sake.   So, this boy of mine.  He is two!  We celebrated with a special little party.

I made cupcakes the day before the party.   He wasn't in the mood for napping that day, so he helped me get everything ready in the kitchen.  He wanted to make sure everyone's cupcake was just right.  
The sweet guy felt pretty special at the head of the table, especially when everyone started singing and smiling at him.  

Sweet little man was giggling so hard he couldn't blow out his candles.  

Birthday parties are pretty exhausting when you're two.  He took a tiny cat nap after the party and was back up to see what was going to happen next.  Sweet Patrick, I hope you always greet the world with your bright eyes and sweet smile!
Here's some pics of my sweet guy from this year.  The wonderful Regina Koszta took these and I am so happy to have them.  It's rare to have pictures WITH Patrick (and even pictures of Patrick that are not blurry), so I treasure these.

Sweet Paddy, we love you and love you and love you and love you.

Whether you are practicing your new favorite word ("no!"), drawing on the walls, running away from me in the post office, dancing wildly to Chaka Khan in the grocery store, throwing tantrums in the car, falling asleep in my arms, playfully squealing "No waaay!!" to old ladies in the grocery store who want to kiss you, nestling yourself in my lap for story time or giving us all kisses and slaps and kisses again, you are my one and only baby boy.  And I love you.   

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!

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!
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