Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arrgh, baby!

The kids club on the cruise was fabulous, with theme nights each night. You can guess what the theme was on this night!  Isn't he the cutest pirate ever? The cutest little pirate also has the cutest pirate saying...instead of  "arrgh, matey," he says, "arrgh, baby!"  We love our pirate!

Friday, August 26, 2011


After Dubrovnik and a day at sea, we visited the amazing city of Athens.  We had booked a private tour with another family - something I would highly recommend! It was cheaper than the cruise tour, and we were able to tailor it to our desires. We had a minivan pick us up at the port, and we headed straight to the Acropolis. Our tour guide gave us lots of history and information along the way. He let us out at the base of the Acropolis, pointing out Mars Hill where Paul preached in Acts 17. From there, we headed up to the Parthenon.  We were with another family with small children, so that helped motivate Chelsea to climb up on her own. Larry was the pack mule for Cade, and we all trekked up the hill. 

A pose from the top...this beauty is full of poses!

After our time at the Acropolis, we traveled to the Temple of Zeus. There, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the dirt. Some old dirt, I am sure. They poured it on each other's heads until Chelsea's hair was grey and Cade's white shirt matched his brown shorts. Whatever keeps them happy!!
Beautiful view overlooking the city 
Throughout the day, we visited the Olympic Stadium, Prime Minister's residence, saw the changing of the guard, ate at a Greek restaurant, and wandered the Plaka.  By then, the kids were tired and so were we. We finished the day with...guess what?  Gelato and happy kids!  It was a great day in Greece!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


 The first stop on our cruise was Dubrovnik, Croatia. The harbor was gorgeous!
Dubrovnik was originally a walled city and a highlight is to walk the walls. The walls are fairly high and go about 2 km around the city. It is a beautiful view from the top. They are not for the faint hearted, however! We were there in the afternoon, and it was quite hot. We each had a child on our back. There were about a zillion stairs up and then up some more, then down a little and back up again. In some places, the ledges were not very high.  We stopped to take a picture, and Larry had Chelsea on his back. He told her not to move for fear he would lose his balance and tumble over the side. Yikes! After we had gone halfway around, we came to an exit point and we decided that was plenty for us.
 The view from the top - it was amazing to see all the houses just crammed together within the walls. Walking the walls, I thought about the story of Joshua and Jericho and the walls falling down. Walking on the walls of Dubrovnik allowed a unique opportunity to give Chelsea a visual of what those walls may have been like. So fun to have those teachable moments!

 After we climbed down, we were so hot. The kids had been riding in kid backpacks and they were drenched in sweat. As is the norm, we had a gelato stop on the way back to the ship. This is how we keep our kids happy in Europe. As you can tell, these were big cones. Little man loves his ice cream and savored this one until the cone turned to mush and ice cream was falling out the bottom.  He didn't mind though - he just kept on eating. Entire tour groups stopped to take pictures of him, and we gathered quite the audience standing there watching him eat his ice cream. Who can resist that face?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Our vacation began in Venice....we had about 24 hours to enjoy the city before getting on the cruise ship. I had low expectations about Venice - I was looking forward to it, but I had heard from some that it is hot and smelly in the summer. It far exceeded my expectations - I loved it!!  

We started off dazed and confused, as seems to be the norm when we travel to new cities and try to find our way.  We had no problem finding the bus to Piazzale Roma, but then we had no idea how to find the hotel. We had a map, but street signs are pretty non-existent. Thankfully, we found someone who was familiar with the hotel and pointed us in the right direction. Double thankfully, we didn't have to go far! Some good samaritans helped us get the luggage and kids up a down a few bridges and then we were there. Note to future Venice travelers - the bridges are all stairs up/stairs down. Thankfully, we didn't bring a stroller, but getting lots of luggage up and down is a challenge!
 We enjoyed dinner and visited St Marks Square before taking the requisite gondola ride. It was great!
I loved roaming the small streets, watching the people and gondolas, perusing the shops....loved it. 
 These little monkeys loved seeing how close they could come to falling in the water. 
The next morning, we took a tour of a Murano glass factory. Beautiful stuff! 

After the tour, we headed to the port to get on our cruise ship. Venice has a great monorail that takes you to the port.  From there, it was a long, sweaty walk to the boat. There was a long line of people waiting to check in their luggage. We got in the line, then a lady came over and said, oh, you have small kids, and took us to the front. In Europe, having small children frequently gets you to the front of the line. We were so happy to get on the boat and get some American style air conditioning! 

First stop - Dubrovnik, Croatia...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bon Voyage, Hungary Texans!

The Hungary Texans sailed away from Budapest for a fun filled week at sea. We flew to Venice and sailed to Croatia, Greece, and Turkey. We enjoyed taking in some amazing sights and having a week of electronics-free family time. We also enjoyed the kids club where our kids could play and we could have a nice dinner alone. Ahhhh. Stay tuned for pics and posts over the next few days!

Monday, August 8, 2011

13 Years of Wedded Bliss

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary! I am so thankful for 13 years with my man.  We have had some great adventures over the years, though this past year tops them all!  Tonight, we celebrated by eating leftovers and collecting slugs with the kids. (We really like those snails and slugs!)  I even told him he didn't have to get me a card this year, since I don't think I'd be able to read it anyway. 

But, on Saturday night we went on a real date!  We had a reservation and took a taxi - we are so fancy.
We enjoyed walking around St. Stephen's Basilica and eating at nice restaurant around the corner. 

After dinner, we enjoyed a leisurely walk across the chain bridge. It was a nice evening and fun to people watch. We saw some interesting people, enjoyed taking pictures for a few tourists, and we even saw Spiderman on the bridge. Should've gotten his picture. We walked down the river to a bus stop that goes up near our house. From there, we walked to another restaurant for coffee and dessert. 
Our friends, the McLendon's, had recently had this dessert and I wanted to try it.  It was a banana and ice cream under a chocolate shell. The waiter poured hot custard on top and the shell melted away. Yummy!!

Happy Anniversary, babe! I love you and I am blessed to be your wife!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Houston vs. Hungary

In many areas, I'd choose Houston.  But not this one...

In 2010, 133 people were murdered in the whole country of Hungary.
In that same year, 267 were murdered within the Houston city limits alone.

Maybe we should stay in Hungary for awhile!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails....

...that's what little boys are made of.

Okay, so we don't have frogs or a puppy, but we have a little boy and we have snails! Cade is all boy now and loves to be "side!" as he calls outside. It has been raining and raining and raining in Budapest. I think it has rained at some point every day of the two and half weeks that we have been back. The rain brings out the snails. Budapest has snails like I have never seen. They are all different colors and giant. One day, we found one the size of a golf ball. No exaggeration. I felt like I should take it to the zoo or something! Anyway, a snail hunt is a good post rain activity, and not just for the boy! You can be decked out in pink and hunt for snails, you know!
        Big sis leads the way                                                
                            Cade has a good eye for snails...he gets so excited and yells, "nail, nail!"
                              A few of the friends in our bucket....we ended up with about 20.
When they were finished, Chelsea took them out one by one and placed them back into the bushes.
Snails don't gross me out and I was fine with them being collected. But, we also stumbled upon these guys in the yard.  Today was the first day I have seen them....what are they? Slugs? They were everywhere..seriously gave me the heebie jeebies! They are gross!!!

I love having a yard (or garden as Europeans refer to it) for the kids to play in. We have so many plants and trees and bushes and little creatures. It is a great way to talk with the kids about all the things that God made, and that He said they were all good.  Even the slugs!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Surprise Inside

Going to the grocery store is always an adventure. Easier than it was, yes, but some things are still a challenge to decipher. Today's mystery item:
 Its was a carton of grapes. Giant grapes, but grapes nonetheless. It was next to some black grapes. Grapes are sometimes hard to find, so even though I was sure these weren't seedless, I bought them anyway. The package said szilva. Sounded familiar. Grapes.
We got home and I washed a few and cut them to give them to the kids. Hmmm.....maybe not a grape. Took a bite. A plum! Instead of giant grapes, we have midget plums.

 Grape = szolo. Plum = szilva.

Lesson learned.