Saturday, June 25, 2011

As Iron Sharpens Iron...

There's a verse in the Bible that says, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another".  I am so thankful for friends that go out of their way just to stop in and reconnect.  Matt is a friend of mine from my home town.  He is a year or two younger than me, but we still did a few things together growing up.  After House Hunters aired, he contacted me and let me know he and his family would be in Europe and they might take the opportunity to come to Budapest if we could work it out.  As mentioned on the show, mi casa es su casa.  We're glad to host guests so we extended the invitation.

It did work out.  I had never met his wife or 2 kids, but we had a great time over the weekend.  I was so thankful for the company as Carey and our kids are in Houston catching up with family and friends.  Even more than good company though, they were an encouragement to me.  The very first morning they were here, Matt and I were up before the others.  We just sat at the table enjoying a cup of coffee and talking through things.  The amazing thing about Christians is that we can quickly reconnect by simply talking about things that are important to both of us -- namely God and Jesus.  Those conversations set the stage for the rest of the weekend, which I also enjoyed.

We didn't do anything fancy as his kids are still young and needed naps.  But we did go to the castle district, church, and also to visit the Jewish Quarter here in Budapest.  Of course, no trip to Budapest is complete without a kurstokalacs (amazing bread cylinder with cinnamon and sugar on it) and a few scoops of ice cream at our favorite cukraszda, Daubner.  

I am so glad they came to visit.  My only regret is that my family was not here to enjoy them also.

Matt, Eva, Adam and Samuel -- thanks for visiting me!

Coming to America

We are so happy to be in the good ole USA! We all flew down last Saturday. It is such a long day, but worth it once we are here.  We continued our tradition with a trip to Walmart in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Walmart is a fabulous place and I would've hugged it if I could have. Larry was returning to Budapest the next day, so we stocked up on groceries to fill his empty suitcases - peanut butter, salsa, barbeque sauce, cereal, muffin mix, cake mix, salad dressing, fun. After church and Mexican food, we had to take Larry back to the airport - we were sad he couldn't stay and play with us, but thankful he helped me make the trip with the kids. He will join us in a few weeks.

The kids and I have had a fun week of spending time with family, having lots of play dates, swimming, and shopping. And shopping. And shopping. So fun. We love the USA!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's for Dinner?

With Carey and the kids in Houston, I'm living like a bachelor for a while.  I enjoyed 2 rows of Double Stuff Oreos for dinner last night (truly a classic meal - highly recommended!).  I don't recall seeing Frosted Flakes in Hungary, but I understand from my father-in-law that even stale Frosted Flakes, combined with Juicy Fruit can make an acceptable dinner when living away from your wife for a while.

Well tonight, I came home from work to a wonderful meal my wife had arranged, even though she isn't here.  In fact, it even came with a menu!

We are thankful to have a lady come help us keep the house clean twice/week.  Without the kids here, that isn't very necessary.  So Carey arranged for her to check on my grocery supplies and fix me a meal that I can reheat when I get home.  How cool is that?

While Ildi certainly can't replace Carey and the kids, I certainly enjoy having her around!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

End of Pre K!

 The first day.....

The last day.....

Today we celebrated the last day of Pre K! Back in November,  I was reluctant to send my little girl to school 5 days a week. Now, I am so glad I did!  She has had the best year, learned so much, and gotten to do so many great things at school. Her school is fabulous and we are so thankful she loves it so much.  We look forward to having a big Kindergartner in the fall!.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taken to the Cleaners

Dry cleaning is not nearly as common in Budapest as it is in the States. In Houston, I took all of Larry's nice pants to my trusty little $1.25 dry cleaner. It was great. And cheap.

Today, after delaying it as long as possible, I took 4 pair of his suit pants to the dry cleaner.

The price for 4 pair of pants? About $27.

Needless to say, we don't dry clean much!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Larry had a 3 day weekend this weekend, so we decided to take advantage! We planned a super last minute trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Croatia is a neighbor of Hungary.  To get to Plitvice Lakes, it is about a 5 1/2 hour drive from Budapest, including a couple of short stops. Thankfully, we had no delays at the border coming or going. We have heard that traffic can back up there and take a while. They did seem to run some kind of check on us crossing into Croatia, but the guy gave us back our passports after about 5 or 10 minutes and let us go. Larry was afraid they would ask for his Hungarian driver's license...that is a post for another day.  

Croatia seemed to be filled with farms - we saw some authentic sheep herding and some women farming in bikinis. Other than that, the highway and toll system was very modern, but there is very little along them in terms of services. There are gas stations, but that is about it.  Miles of nothing! There are also lots of two lane roads, where if you get behind a slow guy you are stuck. Random sighting - I saw a Carter's/OshKosh store...we don't even have those in Budapest, why is there one in the middle of nowhere in Croatia?

  After this trip, we will definitely visit again! It was spectacularly beautiful.

The city that the National Park is in exists because of the park. It is one road, lined with bed and breakfast type lodging. It was no frills for sure, but our room was clean and cheap. Best of all, everyone we came in contact with spoke at least some English. Worst part - everyone only took cash (the kuna) and the only ATM in town was out of order. Fortunately, we found one not too far away.

Sunday morning, we got up and headed to the park. It was amazing - turquoise blue lakes and waterfalls around every corner. I felt like I was in a movie - it all seemed fake! In Europe, they tend to operate on the every man for himself philosophy - there are no barricades or warning signs as you cross the lakes or the falls - just a little wooden plank to walk. It enhanced the beauty and the experience.

I must give props to my little hiker. Larry and I each wore a kid carrying backpack, anticipating we would need both of them. Chelsea amazed us and hiked along with us for about 4 hours of our 5 hour hike. She rode in the backpack briefly after a fall, but otherwise did an amazing amount of walking.

We climbed 300 (yes, we counted) stairs to get to the top of the waterfall. Too bad you can barely see it in this pic. It was a nice view, but not sure it was worth the climb!

Look closely and you will see i have a foot growing out of my hip.

 After hiking for several hours, we found a place to rent canoes. We rented one for 50 kuna ($10) and explored one of the lakes. It was lots of fun and we appreciate daddy for being our rower!

After a long and beautiful day, we had a crazy thought. The coast was only an hour and a half from our hotel, and we decided to go to the beach. It was about 5 by the time we got there, so it was a little chilly. That didn't stop Chelsea from fully enjoying her swim in the Adriatic Sea. 
Just jump in!
The Croatian beaches are made of pebbles. Cade enjoyed splashing and burying himself.

So beautiful!!!
It was a great weekend and we can't wait to visit Croatia again!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Overheard tonight....
"Hi, I'm Chelsea. I speak a lot of English because I am from Texas America."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nummy nummy!

Daddy left his prized possessions unattended on the kitchen table. A little monkey climbed up, figured out how to open them, and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. Nummy, nummy!!