Friday, December 30, 2011

Conversation with Abraham and Isaac

As New Year's Day approaches, many of us kick off New Year's resolutions.  I've been considering resuming a Read the Bible through in a year-type plan.  YouVersion offers many to choose from.  I've used them before and enjoyed it (it can synch to various mobile devices also so you always have your reading plan and text with you).  As I pulled it up this morning to do some reading, I saw one of my notes from a previous time.  I wanted to share it as it still hits home for me.

Read Genesis 22:1-13.
Here are my thoughts from that passage.  I hope it is meaningful for you also as you begin 2012.

Abraham had to journey 3 days, knowing he would be sacrificing his son. At least 3 restless night's sleep as he thought about sacrificing his son. I can't imagine hearing God so clearly that I would be confident that is what He asked me to do.
Worse -- tieing up his son, and laying him on the alter, raising his knife, and finally being stopped. I can't imagine looking at my son's eyes as he tried to understand what I was doing to him.
I wonder if Isaac heard the angel of the Lord stop Abraham. I wonder what the conversation was like between dad and son on the journey home. I wonder what the servants thought as they listened in to that conversation.
I wonder what God, the Father, thought all those days, nights, and years as he knew what His ultimate plan was for His son. I wonder what it was like watching as they nailed him to the cross. I wonder what it was like as God knew that His angel wouldn't be commanding the soldiers to stop the crucifixion.
 I wonder what it would be like if I was talking to Jesus as I sin -- and explaining to him that it is because of my actions that he had to die. I wonder if I would be able to understand that my sin = Abraham tieing up Isaac...I tied Jesus to the cross.
The beauty is -- I didn't have to tie him there. He went willingly and lovingly.
I wonder what it's like to feel His arms wrapped around me, knowing that He loves me.....Nevermind, I know.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!  Our prayer is that each of you will find joy in the Lord this Christmas and throughout the year.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jet Lag

From a few days ago.....
Thankfully, we are now on a normal schedule!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Really Really Big Christmas Show!

We were excited that our time in Houston corresponded to the Really Really Big Christmas Show at Second Baptist. It is indeed a really big show and we all loved it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Texas Time!

We have had a busy week! We wrapped up our Hungary Christmas festivities last week with Chelsea's winter concert and class party. 

The next day, we flew to Texas. Well, that was the plan anyway. After arriving in Frankfurt, we learned the plane to TX had broken bathrooms and therefore the FAA limits the amount of people that it can carry. Never heard that one before!! So, we spent some extra hours in Frankfurt.
                                    This was supposed to happen on the plane, not in the airport.

There were some tears of frustration by me as we learned we would be going to Washington then TX. Chelsea then begin crying, "I don't want to go to Washington, I just want to go to America!" A geography lesson ensued. After a few hours, we got on the plane to Washington and then sat on the runway for over an hour.  The flight was fine, but we arrived in Washington late and missed our connection to Houston. By this point, it was midnight and we had been travelling for over 24 hours. We went to a hotel for 5 hours and then returned to the airport to finish our trip to Houston.

We are thankful to be in Texas and are hoping we never have a trip that long again!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Playgroup

A brave mom hosted our Christmas playgroup last week. She assembled gingerbread houses for 12 kids and arranged for Santa to come with a gift for each child! Cade quickly discovered that the fun in the gingerbread house was in the eating, not the decorating.  Chelsea enjoyed decorating it later.

Santa was great and Cade wasn't afraid at all. My favorite part was when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he answered, "A present." He is easy to please!
He got his wish!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Visit from Mikulas

In Hungary, children have an extended Christmas celebration. Traditionally, Szent Mikulas visits on December 6th. Children polish their boots and leave them in the windowsill the evening before. Good children receive fruit, candy and small toys. Bad children receive a virgacs, or wooden switches.
Mikulas and his angel 
Larry's office hosted a Mikulas party last Saturday. We learned Mikulas is accompanied by an angel and a devil to decide who was good or bad. Yikes. Mikulas was a little thinner than cookies for him, I guess. He was bilingual, so that was a plus. My kids started blankly at him as he spoke to them in Hungarian.  Chelsea spoke up and said, "Nem beszelek magyarul." He then switched to English.

Chelsea wanted a hug. Cade just wanted the candy.
Mikulas also visited Chelsea's class at school. There, they each got candy and a virgacs. Chelsea was excited about the virgacs.
Chelsea and her virgacs                                              
On Christmas Eve, there is no Santa visit. Instead, it is said that baby Jesus delivers the presents.  Interesting, huh? I guess no crazier than saying Santa delivers them... and at least keeps the focus on Christ.  When our kids realize that we're providing the gifts, it will be easier to tell them that Santa isn't real versus explaining that Jesus is real, but baby Jesus bringing gifts isn' each their own.  While we're here, we'll enjoy the celebrations of both our American and Hungarian cultures.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Belated Thanksgiving

Though we already had our Christmas decor up, we did celebrate Thanksgiving. It is just a little different here. Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Cade and I enjoyed attending Chelsea's Thanksgiving program and eating a Thanksgiving Feast with her at school. In her program, she got to read the menu for the feast to everyone. She did so great getting up on the big stage with the microphone! She was not happy that her fellow readers flubbed their lines...she likes everyone to do exactly what they are supposed to do. A girl after my own heart.

Lunch with our pilgrim
 On Thanksgiving Day, Larry was working, Cade was at preschool, and Chelsea and I ate lunch with friends at McDonalds. Pretty exciting.  But, we did celebrate on Saturday night. Contrary to last year, we actually cooked rather than have it delivered by the Marriott. We had a few other families over, and we had a great time with everyone.

I forgot to take any pictures until we were done. This is the only evidence that we actually had Thanksgiving dinner.

Thankfully, Thanksgiving is not limited to a day on the calendar. We have much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Many Faces

Cade now loves to make faces...and have his picture taken. Chelsea doesn't miss an opportunity, either. Next time, I should brush their hair and clean their faces first. Oh well.
and scared.
So sad.
Love them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Yesterday, we decided to search for a Christmas tree. A little early, yes, but we will go back to the US for Christmas and we wanted to enjoy our Christmas decorations for a few weeks.  We have seen artificial trees at a few places, but I kind of wanted a real one. So, we headed to a nursery we were familiar with to see if they had any in stock. Side note - in Hungarian, plant nurseries are called fa iskola, or tree school. I love that.  We arrived at the nursery and found someone that spoke a little English. He led us to a place where there were several rows of trees. But, they were tiny. Like, 3-4 feet tiny. Not exactly what I had in mind.  In the moment, we were trying to get all the information we could and I asked the stupid American question of the day..."Is this normal?"

 In addition to the small size, the trees gave a new definition to "live tree". They all had their root balls still attached. What??? What is that about?? We proceeded to ask the next stupid question of the day.  "What if we just want to throw it away after Christmas?" The nice salesmen were very patient with our ignorance. Apparently here, or at least at that nursery (we have yet to verify this with anyone else), people don't throw the trees away. What a waste that is. Instead, you plant them in a pot until Christmas, and then afterwards you can plant them in your garden. Next year, you can dig it back up and use it again! 2 for the price of one!

At that moment, I was ready to leave and go get a fake one, but Larry thought we should have the full Hungarian Christmas tree experience. So, we picked out the tallest one (about 4 feet). The nice men potted it for us and got it all ready (which doubled the price, maybe we got the special ignorant American deal). They shoved the poor tree in the back of my SUV and off we went.

We got home and had to use a dolly to get it up the stairs. It is super heavy.

We found a little spot for it and let the kids decorate it. They had loads of fun. Cade really appreciates that I have placed all of these shiny balls out for his enjoyment. He is a brilliant child, already experimenting to see which ones bounce, which ones roll, and which ones shatter.  
 It certainly won't win any "most beautiful tree" contests, but it has character. And we laughed. And we made memories. And that is more important than having a 10 foot tree.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Before our Houston trip, the temperature here was beginning to drop and the leaves were changing colors. After only being gone for 10 days, it was amazing to come back to leaves of all different colors. Fall had truly arrived, and now we are on a quick downhill slide to winter.

The leaves have been dropping like crazy, and I think I am the only one who deliberately swept leaves from outside our gate onto our driveway and into the yard so the kids could jump in them and enjoy them. I also made a "things they should tell you when you move here" observation.  I noticed the sidewalk in front of our house was the only one covered with leaves - apparently you are supposed to sweep your sidewalk. Who knew?

We enjoyed our leaf frolicking for about an hour right after Chelsea got off the bus - notice it is already getting dark at 4 pm in these pics.  The kids loved jumping and sliding and throwing the leaves. So fun!

 We will enjoy the leaves for another week or two, then it should be snow time! We can't wait!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween in Houston

Last year, we had a not so exciting and somewhat disappointing Halloween adventure in Hungary. This year, as a result of the great dental trip, my kids were able to trick or treat in Houston. 

Chelsea started out in a "Jasmine" costume we got in Turkey, with a leotard underneath.

 For trick or treating, she shed the dress and went as a ballerina. 
She was accompanied by a cute little spiderman. 

 We trick or treated up and down my parent's street.  The houses are pretty spread out, so my little people had to work for their candy. Many in the neighborhood were trick or treating in golf carts.                    Nothing says America like going house to house for free candy in a golf cart. 
 Spiderman figured it out quickly and was quite the cute trick or treater. 
He usually stayed a little long at each house, commenting on their puppy or pumpkin. 
His cuteness caused most people to give him a second round of candy. 

He got lots of his favorite candy...a successful night!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trip to the Dentist

And what a trip it was! Long story short - when Chelsea was 2, she fell and hurt her front tooth. It has been fine for 3 years, but started bothering her and then developed an abscess in September. Dental visits here were super cheap, but more painful and different from the US in treatment recommendation. So, we decided to go back to Houston over fall break to get her tooth taken care of. She was a trooper! She is quite proud of her lost tooth and loves telling everyone about it.

While we were in Houston, we all had our teeth cleaned. Following the cleaning, Larry's whole face swelled up horribly and it turns out he had a bad tooth infection. He ended up having a root canal right before we left to come back to Budapest. We were thankful it happened there and he was able to get it taken care of easily. We are now back home in Hungary and hopefully done with dentists for awhile!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Tidbits from Our Day

*99 times out of 100, you can throw a dirty diaper from the top floor to the bottom and it works perfectly. On the 100th time, it may explode. Upon exploding, it may shoot its' contents all over and some may stick to the wall. Just maybe.

*If you have no bread, frozen puff pastry dough can be used for peanut butter sandwiches. Pretty good, actually!

*Today my car was in the shop. I am thankful to live somewhere there is public transportation so that I could still go to my hair appointment! Today's public transport methods included a taxi, a bus, walking, and sitting in a friends child's booster seat for a brief time. All worth it for the haircut!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Fun Day at the Vidampark

Trying to take advantage of the sunshine, we visited the Budapest Vidampark on Saturday. It is Budapest's only amusement park, and it is quite amusing in more ways than one. Inside the gates, it resembles a parking lot carnival.  The amusement park was built in the 1950's, and I think some of the rides have never been updated. In spite of some questionable safety issues, we all had a fun time.

There was a cute little kids area with little rides and a playground. 

Notice Chelsea's left hand over Cade's shoulder....the rides pretty much all lacked seat belts. This one bumped up and down and went in a circle pretty quickly. She was a good big sis and Cade didn't fall out!
The kid ferris I was formulating my strategy on how to catch Cade if he decided to stand up.
He didn't like the rides that went in the dark..."All done! Scary!"

This was the most memorable ride of all...the Hullamvasut.  It is a giant wooden roller coaster built in the 1920's and is the oldest operating roller coaster in central Europe. 

There were NO seat belts or lap bars, and the seats had springs underneath for that extra bounce!

This man was the brake guy.  I later read that this roller coaster is called a side friction roller coaster and has nothing to keep the cars from flying off the track, thus the brakeman. Yikes!  

We took Chelsea on the ride and she LOVED it. I held onto her for dear life and prayed. There were some pretty decent sized drops, and without any restraining devices it was a bit scary! There is an overall theme of personal responsibility in Hungary, but this took it to a new level.  Thankfully, we all survived and had a really fun day.